Pranam Mantra for A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”

Pranam Mantra for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His Associates

sri-advaita gadadhara

“I offer my obeisances to Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all others in the line of devotion.”

Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

The words “Hare” (pronounced ha-ray), “Krishna” (pronounced krish-na), and “Rama” (rhymes with “drama”), are Sanskrit words. “Hare” is an address to God’s energy, known as Radha, and “Krishna” is a name of God meaning “He who is attractive to everyone.” “Rama” means “one who gives pleasure and enjoys life.”

When chanted the maha-mantra is a petition to God: “O Krishna, O energy of Krishna, please engage me in Your service.”


The Nectar of the Holy Name

For attaining the topmost goal, hearing and chanting about Lord Vishnu is more important than varnashrama-dharma. (More on Varnashrama dharma in the discussion passage).

For your understanding:

The 4 varnas:

Brahamana: The intellectual class, Kshatriya: The warrior class, Vaishya: The business class, Shudra: the labour class

The 4 Ashramas or stages of life

Brahmacharya: The student stage, Grihastha: The married stage, Vanaprastha: The retired stage, and Sannyasa: The renounced order.

The chief acharya of the Tattvavada community was very learned in the revealed scriptures. Out of humility, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu questioned him. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "I do not know very well the aim of life and how to achieve it. Please tell me of the best ideal for humanity and how to attain it." The acharya replied, "When the activities of the four castes and the four ashramas or stages in life are dedicated to Krishna, they constitute the best means whereby one can attain the highest goal of life. When one dedicates the duties of varnashrama-dharma to Krishna, he is eligible for five kinds of liberation.(To get the same bodily features as the Lord(Sarupya)( to reside in the same planet as the Lord(Salokya), to be as opulent as the Lord(Sarshti), to be in His personal association(Samipya), and the one of merging into the Lord’s Brahma jyothi (Sayujya).) Thus he is transferred to the spiritual world in Vaikuntha. This is the highest goal of life and the verdict of all revealed scriptures."

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "According to the verdict of the shastras, the process of hearing and chanting is the best means to attain loving service to Krishna."

According to the Tattvavadis, the best process is to execute the duties of the four varnas and ashramas. In the material world, unless one is situated in one of the varnas (brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra) one cannot manage social affairs properly to attain the ultimate goal. One also has to follow the principles of the ashramas (brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa), which are considered essential for the attainment of the highest goal. In this way the Tattvavadis establish that the execution of the principles of varna and ashrama for the sake of Krishna is the best way to attain the topmost goal. The Tattvavadis thus established their principles in terms of human society.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, differed when He said that the best process is hearing and chanting about Lord Vishnu.

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Madhya-lila 9.254-58

Passage for discussion

Srila Prabhupada:

The Vedic system of religion we have been describing—the varnashrama system created by Krishna—is not to be confused with the present-day caste system—determination of social divisions by birth. But as to eradication of all social divisions, it cannot be done. This is still more foolishness, because Krsna Himself says, catur-varnam maya srishtam guna-karma-vibhagasah: [Bg. 4.13] "This system of four social divisions, according to quality and work, is ordained by Me." But the difficulty is that this so-called caste system has come in, on account of the false notion that in order to be a brahmana, one must be the son of a brahmana . That is the caste system. But Krishna does not say that. He says "according to quality and work." He never says "according to birth." So this so-called caste system in India is a false notion of catur-varnam, the system of four social divisions. The real system of catur-varnam means guna-karma-vibhagasah, determination of the four social divisions according to quality and work. One must be qualified.

And how does one become qualified? That is also described. For instance, in Bhagavad-gita Krsna describes the qualities of a brahmana as follows: samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca jnanam vijnanam astikyam [Bg. 18.42]. "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness." So people who want to become brahmanas must be educated to acquire these qualities.

It is not enough simply to abolish the caste system, which is contaminated by the false conception of qualification by birth-right. Certainly, this wrong caste system should be abolished. Also, educational centers should be opened for teaching people how to become genuine brahmanas and ksatriyas. Guna-karma-vibhagasah: [Bg. 4.13] according to their qualities and work, people naturally belong to different social groupings. So you cannot avoid it, but because you have created a false caste system, that should be abolished, and the system recommended by Krishna—that should be adopted.

Our point is, wherever you go, you'll find a first-class man who is truthful. Now, wherever you find a truthful man, you can classify him as a brahmana and train him to serve the social body in that capacity, as a spiritual teacher and advisor. That is wanted. Why assume, "Here is the son of a truthful man; therefore he is truthful, a brahmana"? That is a misconception.

You have to find the truthful men all over the world and train them as brahmanas. That we are doing. "If you follow these principles—no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat-eating—you are a brahmana. Come on and receive further training." The fellow's father may be a meat-eater or a gambler or a drunkard, but if he himself is truthful and agreeable to the brahminical life, then tell him, "All right, come on—you are welcome." Then everything will be all right.

The benefit will be that the whole social body will function harmoniously. The social body must have a brain and arms and a belly and legs to be complete. If there is no brain, no head, then what is the use of these arms and legs and belly? It is all dead. So in human society, if there is not a class of learned, truthful, and honest men—men with all the brahminical qualifications—then society is ruined. That is why people are perplexed. Today almost everyone is trained to be a sudra, a labourer: "Go to the factory." That's all. "Go to the factory and get money." And when the man gets some money, he immediately purchases wine and women. So if you try to make society classless, you'll produce such men—useless men, disturbing to the social body.

If you take to this system, then the social body will be perfect, not only for Hindus but also for Christians, for Muhammadans, for everyone. And that is being practically realized in our Krishna consciousness movement.

When you fully surrender to Krishna you can give up all regulations pertaining to these four social classes. That is why Krishna says, sarva –dharman partyajaya :”In the ultimate issue, my instruction is to give up all the religious formularies”-including even the Vedic formularies- “and simply surrender to Me.” Brahmana dharma”, “ksatriya–dharma, hindu dharma”, this dharma, that dharma- give all these up and simply surrender to Krsna, because ultimate aim of dharma is to come to Krishna” you directly come to ME: then everything is all right.”.

Civilization and transcendence


1. What has Krsna said about the caste system?

2. What are the qualities of a brahmana according to Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita?

3. When can we give up all regulations regarding the caste-system?


1. Explain with an example why it is ridiculous to determine one’s caste by birth.

2. Why is every one a sudra at the present moment?

3. How can people be trained to be a brahmana?

4. What is the ultimate goal of all religion? How do we achieve it?


1. Discuss the benefits of dividing society according to varnasrama.

2. Discuss how society would be if everyone were surrendered to Krishna.

One must constantly pray to the Lord for protection and the blessings to preach:

Unless one is sufficiently protected by the Lord, he may fall down from his spiritual position; therefore one has to pray constantly to the Lord for protection and the blessing to carry out one's duty. Lord Chaitanya also entrusted His missionary work to His devotees and assured them of His protection against the onslaught of material affection. The path of spiritual life is stated in the Vedas to be like the edge of a sharpened razor. A little inattentiveness may at once create havoc and bloodshed, but one who is a completely surrendered soul, always seeking protection from the Lord in the discharge of his entrusted duties, has no fear of falling into material contamination.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.9.24


The Nectar of the Holy Name

In this age, sankirtana-yajna, chanting of the holy name of the lord, is more important than vedic ritualistic sacrifices:

Since one may easily achieve the highest success by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one may ask why there are so many Vedic ritualistic ceremonies and why people are attracted to them. This verse answers that question. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: the real purpose of studying the Vedas is to approach the lotus feet of Lord Krsna.

Unfortunately, unintelligent people bewildered by the grandeur of Vedic yajnas want to see gorgeous sacrifices performed. They want Vedic mantras chanted and huge amounts of money spent for such ceremonies. Sometimes we have to observe the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies to please such unintelligent men. Recently, when we established a large Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrindavana, we were obliged to have Vedic ceremonies enacted by brahmanas because the inhabitants of Vrindavana, especially the smarta-brahmanas, would not accept Europeans and Americans as bona fide brahmanas.

Thus we had to engage brahmanas to perform costly yajnas. In spite of these yajnas, the members of our Society performed sankirtana loudly with mridangas and I considered the sankirtana more important than the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Both the ceremonies and the sankirtana were going on simultaneously. The ceremonies were meant for persons interested in Vedic rituals for elevation to heavenly planets (jati-krta-matir madhu-puspitayam), whereas the sankirtana was meant for pure devotees interested in pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We would simply have performed sankirtana, but then the inhabitants of Vrindavana would not have taken the installation ceremony seriously.

As explained here, the Vedic performances are meant for those whose intelligence has been dulled by the flowery language of the Vedas, which describe fruitive activities intended to elevate one to the higher planets.

Especially in this age of Kali, sankirtana alone is sufficient. If the members of our temples in the different parts of the world simply continue sankirtana before the Deity, especially before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they will remain perfect. There is no need of any other performances.

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.25

Passage for discussion

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatara, appeared in India nearly five hundred years ago. It is the custom in India that when a child is born, an astrologer is called for. When Lord Krsna, the supreme personality of Godhead, appeared five thousand years ago, Gargamuni was called by His father, and he said, “This child formerly incarnated in three complexions, such as red and golden, and now He has appeared in blackish colour.” Krsna’s colour is described in the scriptures as blackish, Just like the colour of a cloud. Lord Chaitanya is understood to be Krsna appearing in golden complexion.

There is much evidence in Vedic literature that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is an incarnation of Krsna, and this is confirmed by scholars and devotees. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is confirmed that the incarnation of Krsna, or God , in this present age, Kali-yuga, will always engage in describing Krsna, He is Krsna, but as a devotee of Krsna He describes Himself. And In this age His bodily complexion will not be blackish.

Another feature of this avatara is that He is always accompanied by His associates. Krsna, or God, comes with two missions: to give protection to the devotees and to destroy the demons. In this age Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission is also like that: to deliver the devotees and to annihilate the non-devotees, the demons. But in this age He has a different weapon, That weapon is not a club or disc or lethal weapon His weapon is the sankirtana movement. He killed the demonic mentality of the people by introducing the sankirtana movement.

Therefore, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that this is the incarnation of God in this age. And who worships Him? The process is very simple. Just keep a picture of Lord Chaitanya with His associates. Lord Chaitanya is in the middle, accompanied by His principal associates Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa.

Anyone can have His picture in his home, chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and thus worship Lord Chaitanya. That is the simple method. But who will capture this simple method? Those who have good brains. Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krishna, then one will realize God.

In this age, those who have sufficient intelligence take to this sankirtana movement, and they advance very quickly.

Lord Chaitanya is called, “the golden avatara.” Avatara means “descending, coming down.” Just as one may come down from the fifth story or the one–hundredth story of the building, an avatara comes down from the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky.

The avatara for this age, Lord Chaitanya, is described in Vedic literature. We cannot accept anyone as an avatara unless he has the symptoms described in the scriptures.

Krsna Himself came to teach us how to surrender. His last instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is to surrender, but people – mudhas, rascals said, “Why should I surrender?” Therefore, although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, this time He teaches us practically how to execute the mission of the Bhagavad-Gita.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives us the opportunity to reach God directly When Rupa Goswami, the principal disciple of Lord Chaitanya, first saw Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he was a minister in the government of Bengal but wanted to join Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s movements. So he gave up his position as a minister, and after joining, when he surrendered, he offered a nice prayer to Lord Chaitanya. This prayer says:

Namo maha-vadanyaya
Krsna-prema-pradaya te
Krsnaya krsna-caitanya
Namne gaura-tvise namah

My dear Lord, You are the most munificent of all the incarnations.” Why? Krsna-prema-pradaya te: “You are directly giving love to God. You have no other purpose. Your process is so nice that one can immediately learn to love God. Therefore You are the most munificent of all incarnations. And it is not possible for any personality other than Krishna Himself to deliver this benediction; therefore I say that You are Krsna.” Krishnaya krsna-chaitanya-namne: “You are Krsna, but you have assumed the name Krsna Chaitanya. I surrender unto You.”

So this is the process. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, and He is teaching how to develop love of God by a very simple method. He says simply to chant Hare Krsna.

Harer nama harer nama
Harer namaiva kevalam
Kalau nasty eva nasty eva
Nasty eva gatir anyatha

"In this age, simple go on chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. There is no other alternative.”

The chanting process offered by Lord Chaitanya for achieving love of God is called sankirtana. Sankirtana is a Sanskrit word. Sam means samyak “complete.” And kirtana means “glorifying” or “describing.” So complete description means complete glorification of the Supreme, or the Supreme Complete Whole. It is not that one can describe anything or glorify anything and that will be kirtana. From the grammatical point of view that may be kirtana, but according to Vedic system, kirtana means describing the supreme authority, the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is called kirtana.

Science of Self Realization


1. Compare the similarities and differences between Lord Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


1. How can one worship Lord Chaitanya at home? Why does it require good intelligence to take up this process of worship?

2. Why is Lord Chaitanya the best of all the incarnations?

3. What exactly is Sankirtan? What does it give us?


1. Discuss what you find attractive in the process given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? How is it different from the standard processes of worshipping God?

Preaching is the Essence

The preacher is very dear to the Lord:

"Therefore, my dear young friends... show mercy to all living entities by enlightening them in devotional service, thus becoming their well-wishers." The Lord says in Bhagavad-Gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah: "One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service." Prahlada Maharaja ultimately instructed his class friends, the sons of the demons, to accept the process of devotional service by preaching the science of Krishna consciousness to everyone. Preaching is the best service to the Lord. The Lord will immediately be extremely satisfied with one who engages in this service of preaching Krishna consciousness. This is confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (18.69). Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: "There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear." If one sincerely tries his best to spread Krishna consciousness by preaching the glories of the Lord and His supremacy, even if he is imperfectly educated, he becomes the dearmost servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is bhakti. As one performs this service for humanity, without discrimination between friends and enemies, the Lord becomes satisfied, and the mission of one's life is fulfilled. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu therefore advised everyone to become a guru-devotee and preach Krishna consciousness (yare dekha, tare kaha Krishna-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]). That is the easiest way to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.24