What is Krishna Consciousness?
All living beings are eternal persons and all life’s problems are rooted in the individual soul’s forgetfulness of his or her relationship with God.
By chanting God’s names, the soul can reawaken his original spiritual knowledge, live peacefully in this life, and return to the spiritual realm (Vaikuntha) of no anxiety.
Krishna consciousness, or bhakti-yoga, is acting in harmony with the ultimate reality—the Supreme Person, Krishna. Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means to link up with or combine. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service.
The path of Bhakti-Yoga is developed through a variety of activities. Namely, mantra meditation, or the chanting of the names of God. The chanting is done either individually on prayer beads (japa) or in community by chanting mantras accompanied by music (kirtan). Other core practices include: the study of sacred texts such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with like-minded spiritual aspirants, eating sanctified vegetarian food, and living in a way that upholds the principles of truthfulness, mercy, austerity, and cleanliness.
God is known across the world by many names including Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, and Rama. Bhakti-Yogis or devotees of Krishna chant God’s names in the form of the maha-mantra, or the great prayer:
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”