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

Chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the common platform for the universal religion of mankind in the Kali-yuga:

In this present age quarrels take place even over trifles, and therefore the shastras have recommended for this age a common platform for realization, namely chanting the holy names of the Lord. People can hold meetings to glorify the Lord in their respective languages and with melodious songs, and if such performances are executed in an offenseless manner, it is certain that the participants will gradually attain spiritual perfection without having to undergo more rigorous methods.

At such meetings everyone, the learned and the foolish, the rich and the poor, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Englishmen and the Indians, and the chandalas and the brahmanas, can all hear the transcendental sounds and thus cleanse the dust of material association from the mirror of the heart. To confirm the Lord's mission, all the people of the world will accept the holy name of the Lord as the common platform for the universal religion of mankind.

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto1, Introduction

Passage for discussion

Krishna consciousness is meant to save human society from spiritual death. At present human society is being misled by leaders who are blind, for they do not know the aim and objective of human life, which is self-realization and the re-establishment of our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the missing point. Krishna consciousness can enlighten human society in this important matter.

According to Vedic civilization, the perfection of life is to realize one's relationship with Krishna or God. In the Bhagavad-gita, which is accepted by all authorities in transcendental science as the basis of all Vedic knowledge, we understand that not only human beings but also all living entities are parts and parcels of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers, and ears are meant for serving the total body. We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are duty-bound to serve Him.

Actually our position is that we are always rendering service to someone, either to our family, country, or society. If we have no one to serve, sometimes we keep a pet cat or dog and render service to it. All these factors prove that we are constitutionally meant to render service, yet in spite of serving to the best of our ability, we are not satisfied. Nor is the person to whom we are rendering that service satisfied. On the material platform, everyone is frustrated. The reason for this is that the service being rendered is not properly directed. For example, if we want to render service to a tree, we must water the root. If we pour water on the leaves, branches, and twigs, there is little benefit. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is served, all other parts and parcels will be automatically satisfied. Consequently all welfare activities as well as service to society, family, and nation are realized by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

It is the duty of every human being to understand his constitutional position with God and to act accordingly. If this is possible, then our lives become successful. Sometimes, however, we feel challenging and say, "There is no God," or "I am God," or even, "I don't care for God." But in actuality this challenging spirit will not save us. God is there, and we can see Him at every moment. If we refuse to see God in our life, then He will be present before us as cruel death. If we do not choose to see Him in one feature, we will see Him in another. There are different features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is the original root of the entire cosmic manifestation. In one sense, it is not possible for us to escape Him.

Krishna Consciousness is not blind religious fanaticism, but an authorized, scientific approach to the matter of our eternal necessity in relation with the Absolute Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Enjoyer. Krishna Consciousness simply deals with our eternal relationship with Him and the process of discharging our relative duties to Him. Thus, Krishna Consciousness enables us to achieve the highest perfection of life attainable in the present human form of existence.

Srila Prabhupada, The Science of Self Realization


1. What really is the aim of life?

2. How does Krsna consciousness help us achieve this goal?


1. What is wrong with our materialistic society?

2. What does the Vedic civilization say about the perfection of life?

3. How can we perfectly serve and satisfy everyone in this world? Why is it not possible to do so in any other way? Illustrate with an example/s.

4. Why is it necessary to learn about God?


1. Share about what you are looking for in life.

Krishna Consciousness is the highest gift to human society

Srila Rupa Goswami has given a definition of auspiciousness. He says that actual auspiciousness means welfare activities for all the people of the world. At the present moment groups of people are engaged in welfare activities in terms of society, community or nation. There is even an attempt in the form of the United Nations for world-help activities. But due to the shortcomings of limited national activities, such a general mass welfare program for the whole world is not practically possible.

Krishna Consciousness however, is so nice that it can render the highest benefit to the entire human race. This movement can attract everyone and everyone can feel the result. Therefore, Rupa Goswami and other learned scholars agree that a broad propaganda programme of devotional service all over the world is the highest humanitarian welfare activity.

Nectar of Devotion


The Nectar of the Holy Name

The people in this age are very short-lived and slow in understanding spiritual life. Actually, human life is meant for understanding spiritual values, but because everyone in this age is a shudra, no one is interested. People have forgotten life's real purpose.

The word manda means both slow and bad, and everyone in this age is either bad or slow or a combination of both. People are unfortunate and disturbed by so many things. According to Srimad Bhagvatam, there will eventually be no rain and consequently a scarcity of food. The governments will also levy very heavy taxes. The characteristics of this age predicted by Srimad Bhagvatam are already being experienced to some degree.

Since Kali-yuga is a very miserable age, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Sri Krishna Himself, advises everyone simply to chant Hare Krishna.

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
[Cc. Ādi 17.21]

"In this age of Kali there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative for spiritual progress than the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord."

This process is not Caitanya Mahaprabhu's invention, but is advised by the shastra, the Puranas. The process for this Kali-yuga is very simple. One need only chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti

Passage for discussion

Two children are born at the same time on the same day. The parents of the first are wealthy and well-educated and have anxiously awaited the arrival of their first-born for years. Their child, a boy, is bright, healthy and attractive, with a future full of promise. Surely destiny has smiled upon him.

The second child enters into an entirely different world. He is born to a mother who was abandoned while pregnant. In her poverty, she feels little enthusiasm to rear her sickly new offspring. The road ahead is fraught with difficulties and hardships and to rise above them will not be easy.

The world is full of disparities like these; blatant inequalities that often provoke questions: How could providence be so unfair? What did George and Mary do to have their son born blind? They are good people. God is so unkind!”

The principles of re-incarnation, however, allow us to view life with a much broader perspective, i.e., from the stand point of eternity. From this point of view, one brief lifetime is seen not as the beginning of our existence but as nothing more than a flash in time and we can understand that an apparently pious person who may be suffering greatly is suffering the effects of impious activities performed in this or previous lives.

With this broader vision of universal justice we can see how each individual soul is alone responsible for its own Karma.

Our actions are compared to seeds. Initially they are performed or planted, and over a course of time they gradually fructify, releasing their resultant reactions.

Such reactions may produce either suffering or enjoyment for the living being, and he may respond by either improving his character or by becoming increasingly animal like.

A criminal chooses to enter prison by willful transgression of law, but another man may be appointed to sit on the Supreme court by dint of his excellence of service.

This is the special benediction of human life- even if one is destined to suffer terribly for impious acts performed in this and previous lives, one can by taking up the process of Krsna consciousness, change his Karma. The soul in a human body stands at the evolutionary mid point. From here the living entity can choose either degradation, or liberation from reincarnation.

If a living being makes some degree of spiritual progress in his present life, then in the next life he is allowed to continue from that point. The Lord tells His disciple Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita, “In this endeavour (Krishna Consciousness) there is no loss or dimunition and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the greatest type of fear (returning in a lower-than-human form in the next life).” The soul may thus develop its inherent spiritual qualities through many lives, until it no longer has to reincarnate in a material body, until it returns to its original home in the spiritual world.

Coming Back, The Science of Reincarnation


1. Mention some inequalities we find in life among different people in their enjoyment and suffering.


1. Why do even pious people suffer sometimes?

2. Explain why each person is responsible for his own Karma

3. How can we overcome our suffering and bad Karma?

4. What are the advantages of taking up Krishna Consciousness?


1. Have you believed in re –incarnation so far? Why or why not?

2. Do you want to change your Karma? Do you think Krsna consciousness will help you achieve that? Why do you think so?

Preaching Krishna Consciousness is showing real mercy to living entities:

"If a living entity is developed in Krishna Consciousness and is merciful to others, and if his spiritual knowledge of self-realization is perfect, he will immediately attain liberation from the bondage of material existence."

In this verse the word dayä jévesu, meaning mercy to other living entities, indicates that a living entity must be merciful to other living entities if he wishes to make progress in self-realization. This means he must preach this knowledge after perfecting himself and understanding his own position as an eternal servant of Krishna. Preaching this is showing real mercy to living entities. Other types of humanitarian work may be temporarily beneficial for the body, but, because a living entity is spirit soul, ultimately one can show him real mercy only by revealing knowledge of his spiritual existence.

Srimad Bhagvatam 4.29.1b


The Nectar of the Holy Name

Lord Sri Krishna personally came as Lord Chaitanya in order to distribute the process of chanting—the easiest means, in this age, to the highest perfection of life:

Out of many thousands of persons who are in self-knowledge as to what and who they are, only one or two may be actually liberated. And out of many thousands who are liberated, only one or two may understand what and who Krishna is. So understanding Krishna is not such an easy job.

Thus in this age of Kali, an age characterized by ignorance and chaos, liberation is out of the reach of practically everyone. One has to go through the whole ordeal of becoming civilized, then religious, and then one has to perform charities and sacrifices and come to the platform of knowledge, then to the stage of liberation, and finally, after liberation, to the understanding of what Krishna is.... Practically speaking, this process is not very easy in this age of Kali. In Srimad Bhagavatam, a description is given of the people of this age. Their duration of life is said to be very short, they tend to be phlegmatic and slow and to sleep a great deal, and when they're not sleeping, they are busy earning money. At the most they only have two hours a day for spiritual activities, so what is the hope for spiritual understanding? It is also stated that even if one is anxious to make spiritual progress, there are many pseudo-spiritual societies to take advantage of him. People are also characterized in this age as being unfortunate. They have a great deal of difficulty meeting the primary demands of life—eating, defending, mating, and sleeping—necessities which are met even by the animals. Even if people are meeting these necessities in this age, they are always anxious about war, either defending themselves from aggressors or having to go to war themselves. In addition to this, there are always disturbing diseases and economic problems in Kali-yuga. Therefore Lord Sri Krishna considered that in this age it is impossible for people to come to the perfection stage of liberation by following the prescribed rules and regulations.

Thus out of His causeless mercy, Sri Krishna came as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and distributed the means to the highest perfection of life and spiritual ecstasy by the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This process of chanting is most practical and it does not depend on whether one is liberated or not or whether one's condition is conducive to spiritual life or not—whoever takes to this process becomes immediately purified. Therefore it is called pavitram (pure). Furthermore, for one who takes to this Krishna Consciousness process, the seeds of latent reactions to his sinful actions are all nullified. Just as a fire turns whatever we put into it to ashes, this process turns to ashes all the sinful reactions of our past lives.

Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge

Passage for discussion

Krishna Consciousness is not a question of belief, it is a science.

The first step is to know the difference between a living body and a dead body. What is the difference? The difference is that when someone dies, the spirit soul or the living force leaves the body. And, therefore, the body is called “dead.” So there are two things: one is this body; and the other, the living force within the body.

One must first understand that he is a soul, or something other than this body.

For example, as a child grows, he becomes a boy, the boy becomes a young man, the young man becomes an adult, and the adult becomes an old man. Throughout all this time, although his body is changing from a child to an old man, he still feels himself to be the same person, with the same identity. The body is changing but the occupier of the body, i.e. the soul, is remaining the same.

So when your body is finished, annihilated, you are not finished. You get another body, just as you may change your coat and shirt. If you come to see me tomorrow wearing a different shirt and a different coat, does that mean that you are a different person?

No. Similarly, each time you die, you change your bodies but you, the spirit soul within the body, remain the same. This point has to be understood. Then, one can make further progress in the science of Krishna Consciousness.

The spirit soul is invisible to our material eyes. It is atomic in size. After the destruction of the gross body, which is made up of the senses, blood, bone, fat, and so forth, the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego goes on working. So at the time of death, this subtle body carries the small spirit soul to another gross body.

The process is just like air carrying fragrance. Nobody can see where this rose fragrance is coming from but we know that it is being carried by air. You cannot see how but it is being done. Similarly, the process of transmigration of the soul is very subtle. According to the condition of the mind at the time of death, the minute spirit soul enters into the womb of a particular mother through the semen of a father and then the soul develops a particular type of body given by the mother. It may be a human being; it may be a cat, a dog or anything.

You are eternal. According to your work, you are simply changing bodies. Therefore, you should want to know how to stop this business, how you can remain in your original, spiritual body. This is Krishna Consciousness.

The Science of Self-Realisation, Chapter 1


1. What is the difference between a living body and a dead body?


1. Explain with an example, how we can understand that we keep changing our bodies, but we are the eternal soul.

2. Explain how the soul transmigrates from one body to the next at death?

3. Why do we get different types of bodies?

4. When can we stop changing our bodies?


1. Do you feel relieved to know that you are an eternal soul? Share your impressions.

The Lord descended as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to deliver the entire world:

Advaita Acharya was always absorbed in the thoughts of how to deliver the fallen souls of the entire world. "The entire world is full of nondevotees," He thought. "How will they be delivered?" Determined to deliver all the fallen souls, Advaita Acharya decided to cause Krishna to descend.

With this vow, He began to offer Ganges water and tulasi leaves to worship the Lord. Similarly, Haridasa Thakura chanted in his cave on the bank of the Ganges with the intention to cause Krishna's descent. Because of the devotional service of these two persons; Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu descended as an incarnation. Thus, He preached the holy name of the Lord and ecstatic love of Krishna to deliver the entire world.

CC Antya 3.223-226


The Nectar of the Holy Name

In this age, Kali-yuga, one cannot execute any process of self-realization or perfection of life other than kirtana. Kirtana is essential in this age.

In all Vedic literatures it is confirmed that one must meditate on the Supreme Absolute Truth, Vishnu, not on anything else. But there are different processes of meditation recommended for different ages. The process of mystic yogic meditation was possible in Satya-yuga, when men lived for many thousands of years. Now people will not believe this, but in a previous age there were people who lived for one hundred thousand years. That age was called Satya-yuga and the meditation of mystic yoga was possible at that time. In that age the great yogi Valmiki Muni meditated for sixty thousand years. So that is a long-term process, which is not possible to execute in this age. If one wishes to conduct a farce, that is another matter. But if one actually wants to practice such meditation, it takes an extremely long time to perfect such.

In the next age, Treta-yuga, the process of realization was to perform the various ritualistic sacrifices recommended in the Vedas.

In the next age, Dvapara-yuga, the process was temple worship.

In this present age, the same result can be achieved by the process of hari-kirtana or glorification of Hari, i.e. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Science of Self-Realisation

Passage for discussion

The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness.

As living souls, we are all originally Krishna Conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere.

The material atmosphere, in which we are living, is called maya or illusion. Maya means, “that which is not.” And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, he is said to be in illusion.

We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our Krishna Consciousness.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.

Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original, natural energy of the living entity. When we hear this transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived.

This simplest method of meditation is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great chanting of deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum.

As such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.

The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself.

The material energy called maya, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord; and we are also the energy, the marginal energy of the Lord.

The living entities are superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely, Hara, Krishna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is the spiritual call for the Lord and His energy, to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is like the genuine cry of a child for its mother’s presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the supreme father’s grace and the Lord reveals Himself to a devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Science of Self-Realisation


1. What does the Hare Krishna mantra do to our consciousness?

2. Why is our consciousness adulterated now? What do we think wrongly in this consciousness?


1. What happens when we try to exploit material energy?

2. How can we stop this great struggle over material energy?

3. Explain the meaning of the maha-mantra.

4. What makes the living entity happy? Why does the maha-mantra make one happy?

5. Why is it important for us to chant this maha-mantra?


1. Share your realisation of how you feel when you chant the Maha-mantra during the kirtan or japa.

The Lord has inaugurated the Hare Krishna movement for the benefit of human society:

Whenever the principles of religion deteriorate and the principles of irreligion increase, the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead Sri Hari, appears by His own will.

In the present age, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to inaugurate the Hare Krishna movement. At the present time, in Kali-yuga, people are extremely sinful and bad.... They have no idea of spiritual life and are misusing the benefits of the human form to live like cats and dogs. Under these circumstances Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has inaugurated the Hare Krishna movement, which is not different from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one associates with this movement, he directly associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. People should take advantage...and, thus, gain relief from all the problems created in this age of Kali.

Srimad Bhagvatam 9.24.56

The Lord sends His representatives to remove the miseries of life:

Material existence is full of undesirables. Things we do not want are forced upon us by some superior energy, and we do not see that these undesirables are under the grip of the three modes of material nature.... undesirable happenings in life cannot be checked by any number of plans. Such miseries can be removed only by the mercy of the Lord, who sends His bona fide representatives to enlighten human beings and thus save them from all calamities.

Srimad Bhagvatam 1.14.11


The Nectar of the Holy Name

The best purpose of Vedic rituals, Vedanta philosophy and Vedic mysticism is served by chanting the holy name:

[Lord Krishna to Arjuna]: All purposes that are served by the small pond can at once be served by the great reservoirs of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.

The rituals and sacrifices mentioned in the karma-kanda division of the Vedic literature are to encourage gradual development of self -realization. And the purpose of self-realization is clearly stated in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita (15.15): the purpose of studying the Vedas is to know Lord Krishna, the primeval cause of everything. So, self-realization means understanding Krishna and one's eternal relationship with Him. The relationship of the living entities with Krishna is also mentioned in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. The living entities are parts and parcels of Krishna; therefore, revival of Krishna Consciousness by the individual living entity is the highest perfectional stage of Vedic knowledge. This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7) as follows:

aho bata śva-paco ’to garīyān

yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam

tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā

brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te

"O my Lord, a person who is chanting Your holy name, although born of a low family like that of a candala [dog-eater], is situated on the highest platform of self-realization. Such a person must have performed all kinds of penances and sacrifices according to Vedic rituals and studied the Vedic literatures many, many times after taking his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. Such a person is considered to be the best of the Aryan family."

So one must be intelligent enough to understand the purpose of the Vedas, without being attached to the rituals only, and must not desire to be elevated to the heavenly kingdoms for a better quality of sense gratification. It is not possible for the common man in this age to follow all the rules and regulations of the Vedic rituals and the injunctions of the Vedantas and the Upanisads. It requires much time, energy, knowledge and resources to execute the purposes of the Vedas. This is hardly possible in this age. The best purpose of Vedic culture is served, however, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, as recommended by Lord Chaitanya, the deliverer of all fallen souls.

Passage for discussion

Primarily, religion means to know God and to love Him. That is religion. Nowadays, because of a lack of training, nobody knows God, what to speak of loving Him.

People are satisfied simply going to the places of worship and praying, “O God, give us our daily bread.”

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, this is called cheating religion, because the aim is not to know and love God but to gain some personal profit.

In other words, if I profess to follow some religion, but I do not know who God is or how to love Him, then I am practicing a cheating religion.

Whoever teaches how to know God and how to love Him - he is a spiritual master. Sometimes bogus men mislead people. “I am God,” they claim, and people who do not know what God is, believe them.

You must be a serious student to understand who God is and how to love Him. Otherwise, you will simply waste your time.

We are presenting the science of how one can know Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead; by practicing the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. They teach us that our only business is to love God. Our business is not to ask God for our necessities. God gives necessities to everyone - even to one who has no religion. For example, cats and dogs have no religion, yet Krishna supplies them with the necessities of life. So why should we bother Krishna for our daily bread? He is already supplying it. Real religion means to learn how to love Him

First class religion teaches one how to love God without any motive. If I serve God for some profit, that is business - not love. Real love of God is ahaituki apratihata: it cannot be checked by any material cause. It is unconditional. If one actually wants to love God, there is no impediment. One can love Him whether one is poor or rich, young or old, black or white.

There are four classes of men: the karmis, the jnanis, the yogis and the bhaktas - and each achieves a different goal.

The karmis work for some material profit. For example, in the city, many people work hard day and night, and their purpose is to get some money.

A jnani is a person who thinks, “why am I working so hard? The birds, bees, elephants, and other creatures have no profession, yet they are also eating. So why should I unnecessarily work so hard? Rather let me try to solve the problems of life - birth, death, old age and disease.” Jnanis try to become immortal. They think that if they merge into God’s existence, then they will become immune to birth, death, old age and disease.

Yogis try to acquire some mystic power to exhibit a wonderful show. For instance, a yogi can become very small if you put him in a locked room and he can come out through any little space. By showing this kind of magic, the yogi is immediately accepted as a very wonderful man. Of course, modern yogis simply show some gymnastics - they have no real power. But a real yogi has some power, which is not spiritual, but material.

But the bhakta or the devotee doesn’t want anything for himself. He simply wants to serve God out of love, just as a mother serves her child. There is no question of profit in a mother’s service to her child. Out of pure affection and love, she cares for him.

When you come to this stage of loving God, that is perfection. Neither the karmi nor the jnani nor the yogi can know God- only the bhakta can know God. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati: “Only through the process of bhakti can one understand God.” Krishna never says one can understand Him by other processes. No. Only through Bhakti can one understand Krishna. If you are interested in knowing God and loving Him, then you must accept the devotional process. No other process will help you.

Science of Self-Realisation


1. What is real religion?

2. Who is a true spiritual master?


1. In what different ways are people cheated from following real religion?

2. What is Krishna Consciousness teaching you?

3. Describe who a karmi, jnani, yogi and bhakta is?

4. Why is the bhakti or devotional process the best of all?


1. Share your realisation on what you want from following religion and why you want it.

Spreading Krishna Consciousness is the highest benefit for society:

My dear Arjuna, one who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of previous activities and from mental speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to Me.

A devotee of Krishna is friendly to everyone. Therefore, it is said here that he has no enemy. How is this? A devotee situated in Krishna Consciousness knows that only devotional service to Krishna can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this and therefore, he wants to introduce this system, Krishna Consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in the history of devotees of the Lord risking their lives for the spreading of God Consciousness. The favourite example is Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the non-devotees, but He sacrificed His life for spreading God consciousness.... Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Thakura Haridasa. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Krishna Consciousness and it is difficult. A Krishna Conscious person knows that if a man is suffering, it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krishna. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one's neighbour from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord.

Bhagavad Gita 11.55


The Nectar of the Holy Name

Chanting of the Holy Name Yields All Results of Austerity

By chanting Hare Krishna one attains the highest perfectional stage, formerly attained only by great austerities:

If one wants to perform austerities and penances in order to attain the supreme goal, one must attain the favour of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one achieves the favour of the Supreme Lord, it is to be understood that he has finished all kinds of austerities and penances and has attained efficiency in their execution.

On the other hand, if one does not attain the perfect stage of devotional service, all austerities and penances actually have no meaning, for without the Supreme Lord no one can attain the highest results derived from performing them. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (5.29), Lord Sri Krishna is the master of all penances and sacrifices. Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram. Thus the desired result of performing austerities may be derived from Lord Krishna...

Even if a person is born in a family of candalas—the lowest birth one can get in human society — he is glorious if he chants the holy names of the Lord, for it is to be understood that by such chanting a devotee definitely proves that he underwent all kinds of austerities in his previous life.

By the grace of Lord Chaitanya, one who chants the Mahamantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) attains the highest perfectional stage, which had previously been attained by people who entered the ocean and executed austerities for ten thousand years. In this age of Kali, if a person does not take advantage of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, which is offered as a great concession to the fallen human beings of this age, it is to be understood that he is very much bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord.

Srimad Bhagvatam 4.24.14

Passage for discussion

Purification of consciousness is the purpose of this Krishna Consciousness movement. Presently we are preparing this divine consciousness, for our consciousness goes with us at the time of death. Consciousness is carried from the body just as the aroma of a flower is carried by the air. When we die, this material body composed of five elements — earth, water, air, fire, and ether — decomposes and the gross materials return to the elements. Or, as the Christian Bible says, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." In some societies the body is burned, in others it is buried and in others it is thrown to animals. In India, the Hindus burn the body and thus the body is transformed into ashes. Ash is simply another form of earth. Christians bury the body and after some time in the grave, the body eventually turns to dust, which again, like ash, is another form of earth. There are other societies — like the Parsee community in India — that neither burn nor bury the body but throw it to the vultures, and the vultures immediately come to eat the body, and then the body is eventually transformed into stool. So in any case, this beautiful body, which we are soaping and caring for so nicely, will eventually turn into stool, ashes, or dust.

At death, the finer elements (mind, intelligence, and ego), which, combined, are called consciousness, carry the small particle of spirit soul to another body to suffer or enjoy, according to one's work. Our consciousness is moulded by our work. If we associate with stool, our consciousness, which is like the air, will carry the aroma of stool and thus at the time of death will transport us to an undesirable body. Or, if the consciousness passes over roses, it carries the aroma of roses, and thus we are transported to a body wherein we can enjoy the results of our previous work. If we train ourselves to work in Krishna Consciousness, our consciousness will carry us to Krishna. Different types of body are developed according to consciousness; therefore, if we train our consciousness according to the yogic principles, we will attain a body wherein we can practice yoga. We will get good parents and a chance to practice the yoga system, and automatically we will be able to revive the Krishna Consciousness practiced in our previous body. Therefore it is stated in this last verse, "By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles — even without seeking them." Therefore, our present duty is to cultivate divine consciousness. If we want divine life, spiritual elevation, and eternal, blissful life, full of knowledge — in other words, if we want to go back home, back to Godhead—we have to train ourselves in divine consciousness, or Krishna Consciousness.

This can be easily done through association (sangat sanjayate kamah). Through divine association, our consciousness is made divine, and through demoniac association, our consciousness is made demoniac. Therefore, our consciousness must be trained to be divine through the proper association of those in Krishna Consciousness. That is the duty of one in this human form, a form that gives us a chance to make our next life completely divine. To attain this end, we should try to contact those who are developing divine consciousness.

Krishna Consciousness is a method for connecting directly with the Supreme. This is the special gift of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Not only is this method direct and immediate, but it is also practical. Although many people entering this Society have no qualifications, they have become highly advanced in Krishna Consciousness simply by coming in contact with the Society.

Path of Perfection


1. What is the purpose of the Krishna Conscious movement?

2. What happens to our bodies at death?

3. What happens to our souls at death?


1. Why is it important to purify our consciousness? Explain with the examples mentioned.

2. What are the benefits of going back to the spiritual world to Krishna?

3. Why is it very important to associate with the devotees in Krishna consciousness?

4. How does the Krishna consciousness movement easily elevate everyone, even if they are without any previous qualifications?


1. Do you enjoy coming regularly for the program? Share the obstacles if any that you face in attending the sat-sanga regularly.

Preaching Is The Essence

Krishna Consciousness should be distributed to everyone, without discrimination:

With great respect, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu requested Advaita Acharya, "Give Krishna Consciousness, devotion to Krishna, even to the lowest of men [candalas]."

This is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order to all His devotees. Krishna-bhakti, devotion to Krishna, is open to everyone, even low-class men like candalas. One should follow this order in the disciplic succession stemming from Sri Advaita and Nityananda Prabhu and distribute Krishna Consciousness without discrimination throughout the world.

There are different kinds of men, beginning with the brahmaëa and going down to the lowest platform known as candala. Whatever one's position, everyone in this age of Kali needs to be enlightened in Krishna Consciousness. That is the greatest need of the day. Everyone is acutely feeling the pangs of material existence.... everyone is feeling the resultant pinpricks of Kali-yuga brought about by human society's indulging in illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Now is the time for the members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to distribute Krishna-bhakti all over the world and thus follow the orders of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord has ordered everyone to become a guru (Cc. Madhya 7.128)... Everyone in every town and village should be enlightened by the instructions of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishna Consciousness should be distributed to everyone indiscriminately. In this way, the entire world will be peaceful and happy and everyone will glorify Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as He desires.

The word candala actually refers to a dog-eater, who is considered the lowest of men. Even candalas can be enlightened in Krishna Consciousness due to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's benedictions. Krishna-bhakti is not the monopoly of a certain caste. Everyone is eligible to receive this great benediction given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Everyone should be given a chance to receive it and be happy.

Cc. Madhya 15.41


The Nectar of the Holy Name

In This Age, Krishna Appears in His Name in Order to Annihilate the Demons and Protect the Devotees

Krishna has now appeared in His holy name through the Hare Krishna movement to annihilate the demons and protect the devotees:

[Vasudeva to Lord Krishna]: O my Lord, proprietor of all creation. You have now appeared in my house, desiring to protect this world. I am sure that You will kill all the armies that are moving all over the world under the leadership of politicians who are dressed as kshatriya rulers but who are factually demons. They must be killed by You for the protection of the innocent public.

Krishna appears in this world for two purposes, paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam: [Bg. 4.8] to protect the innocent, religious devotees of the Lord and to annihilate all the uneducated, uncultured asuras, who unnecessarily bark like dogs and fight among themselves for political power. It is said, kali-kale nama-rupe krsna avatara.

The Hare Krishna movement is also an incarnation of Krishna in the form of the holy name (nama-rupe). Every one of us who is actually afraid of the demoniac rulers and politicians must welcome this incarnation of Krishna: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Then we will surely be protected from the harassment of demoniac rulers. At the present moment these rulers are so powerful that by hook or by crook they capture the highest posts in government and harass countless numbers of people on the plea of national security or some emergency. Then again, one asura defeats another asura, but the public continues to suffer. Therefore the entire world is in a precarious condition, and the only hope is this Hare Krishna movement.

Srimad Bhagvatam 10.3.21

Passage for discussion

In the Vedic disciplic succession, the spiritual masters always base their statements on what they have heard from authoritative sources, never on personal experience. Trying to understand things by one's own direct experience is the material process of gaining knowledge, technically called pratyaksa. The Vedic method is different. It is called shruti, which means, "to hear from authoritative sources." That is the secret of Vedic understanding.

With your imperfect senses you should not try to understand things that are beyond your experimental powers. That is not possible. Suppose you want to know who your father is. Can you find out by experimenting? Is it possible? No. Then how can you know who your father is? By hearing from the proper authority, your mother. This is common sense. And if you cannot know your material father by the experimental process, how can you know the Supreme Father by the experimental process? Krishna is the original father. He is the father of the father of the father, all the way down to you. So if you cannot understand your immediate father, the previous generation, by the experimental process, how can you know God, or Krishna, in this way?

People search for God by the experimental process, but after much searching they fail. Then they say, "Oh, there is no God. I am God." But the isopanishad says that one should try to learn about God not by the experimental process but by hearing. From whom should one hear? From a shopkeeper? From fanatics? No. One should hear from those who are dhira. Dhira means "one whose senses are not agitated by material influence."

So if you want real knowledge, you should take knowledge from the literature known as the Vedas. (The word veda means "knowledge.") Part of the Vedas, are the 108 Upanishads, out of which eleven are very important. Of those eleven, the Isopanishad stands first. In the word upanishad, upa means "near." So the knowledge in the Isopanishad will take you nearer to Krishna.

In learned society the Vedas are accepted as shruti, or primary evidence. The Vedas are not knowledge established by the research work of contaminated, conditioned souls. Such people have imperfect senses, and so they cannot see things as they are. They simply theorize, "It may be like this. It may be like that." That is not knowledge. Knowledge is definite, without any doubt or mistake. Conditioned souls commit mistakes, become illusioned and cheat. How do they cheat? When one who does not understand the Bhagavad-gita writes a commentary on it, he is cheating the innocent public. Someone has a title as a scholar, so he takes advantage of the popularity of the Bhagavad-gita and writes a commentary. Such so-called scholars claim that anyone can give his own opinion. But in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says that only His devotee can understand the Gita. So these so-called scholars are cheating.

The conclusion is that if you want genuine spiritual knowledge you have to approach a bona fide spiritual master who has realized the Absolute Truth.

The Laws of Nature


1. Mention 2 ways in which we can obtain knowledge.

2. How have the Vedas come down to us?

3. Who should we hear the Vedas from?


1. With an example, explain why we cannot understand God, on our own.

2. Which literatures give us real knowledge about God? Why are these literatures perfect?

3. Who can really understand the Bhagavad-gita? Why?

4. Why should we be selective in whom we hear the Bhagavad Gita from?


1. Have you found a path, which will take you to God? Share your realizations.

The preacher is recognised by Krishna:

If one gives the conditioned souls a chance to become Krishna Conscious, all his activities are approved by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is extremely pleased... Following the examples of the previous acharyas, all the members of the Krishna Consciousness movement should try to benefit the conditioned souls by inducing them to become Krishna Conscious and giving them all facilities to do so... By such activities, a preacher or anyone who endeavours to spread Krishna Consciousness is recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord Himself confirms in Bhagavad-gita: "For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear."

Srimad Bhagvatam 6.4.44


The Nectar of the Holy Name

In Kali-yuga, rather than looking toward the light of mental speculation and atheists, people should take advantage of Lord Chaitanya’s movement of chanting Hare Krishna:

During the rainy season, in the evening, there are many glow-worms visible about the tops of trees, hither and thither, and they glitter just like lights. But the luminaries of the sky, the stars and the moons, are not visible. Similarly, in the age of Kali, persons who are atheists or miscreants become very prominently visible, whereas persons who are actually following the Vedic principles for spiritual emancipation are practically obscured.

This age, Kali-yuga, is compared to the cloudy season of the living entities. In this age, real knowledge is covered by the influence of material advancement of civilization. The cheap mental speculators, atheists and manufacturers of so-called religious principles becomes prominent like the glow-worms, whereas persons strictly following the Vedic principles or scriptural injunctions become covered by the clouds of this age.

People should learn to take advantage of the actual luminaries of the sky, the sun, moon, and stars, instead of the glow-worm's light. Actually, the glow-worm cannot give any light in the darkness of night. As clouds sometimes clear, even in the rainy season, and sometimes the moon, stars and sun become visible, so even in this Kali-yuga there are sometimes advantages. The Vedic movement of Lord Chaitanya's—the distribution of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra—is heard in this way. People seriously anxious to find real life should take advantage of this movement instead of looking toward the light of mental speculators and atheists.

Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Passage for discussion

The Position of Krishna

God and His energies

The Isopanishad explains that whatever we see, whether animate or inanimate, is controlled by the Supreme Lord. Lord Krishna says the same thing in the Bhagavad-gita (9.10)—that His energies are managing everything. And the Vishnu Purana confirms, eka-deca-sthitasyagner jyotsna vistarine yatha: "As heat and light are distributed all around by a fire situated in one place, so the whole creation is a manifestation of energies expanded from the Supreme Lord." For example, the sun is in one place, but it is distributing its heat and light all over the universe. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is distributing His material and spiritual energies all over the creation.

The Position of Krishna

The Isopanishad states, "Although fixed in His abode, the Personality of Godhead is swifter than the mind and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He controls those who supply the air and rain. He surpasses all in excellence." The Brahma-samhita says something similar: goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutau [BS. 5.37]. Although Krishna is always in Goloka Vrindavana, He is simultaneously in the hearts of all living beings.

Krishna has no duties to perform in Goloka. He is simply enjoying in the company of His associates—the gopis, the cowherd boys, His mother and father, His cows and calves, etc. He is completely free. And His associates are even freer than He is, because when they seem to be in danger, Krishna feels some anxiety about how to save them. But His associates feel no anxiety. They simply think, "Oh, Krishna is here. He will protect us." When Krishna enacted His pastimes five thousand years ago in Vrindavana, India, He would go every day with His cowherd boyfriends and their calves and cows to play in the forest on the bank of the Yamuna River. And often Kamsa would send some demon to try to kill Krishna and His friends. Yet the cowherd boys would continue enjoying their pastimes without anxiety because they were so confident of Krishna’s protection. That is spiritual life, which begins with surrendering to Krishna.

Surrendering to Krishna means having the strong faith that Krishna will save us in any dangerous condition. The first step in surrendering is that we should accept whatever is favourable for devotional service. Then we should reject anything that is unfavourable for devotional service. The next stage is the confidence that in any situation Krishna will protect us and maintain us. Actually, He is already giving protection and maintenance to everyone. That is a fact. But in Maya (illusion) we think that we are protecting ourselves, or that we are feeding ourselves.

For the devotees, Krishna personally takes charge of their protection and maintenance. And for the ordinary living entities, Maya-deve-Krishna's external energy-takes charge. Maya-deve is Krishna's agent for punishing the conditioned souls. The situation is like what we see in the state: good citizens are taken care of by the government directly, while criminals are taken care of by the government through the prison department.

The Laws of Nature


1. Where does Lord Krsna reside? How does He manage the material world?


1. Mention some reasons why Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

2. How can we be free of all anxieties if we surrender to Krsna? Illustrate with an example.

3. How can we practically express our surrender to Krsna?

4. Who looks after those who do not surrender to Krsna? How are they treated?


1. Share your experience of a time when you were in great anxiety. How did you react then? Do you think you should have reacted differently in that situation? Why?

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 yaç casmi tattvatau: "One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service." Prahlad 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 manunyenu kascin me priya-krttamau: "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 dear most 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