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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Who is Krishna?




Krishna is the original SUPREME PERSON, the Absolute Truth, the ultimate source of all energies and of all other incarnations of God. The Vedic literatures such as the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Bhagavata Gita reach this conclusion about the identity of God Himself.   God’s name is Krsna, and that Sanskrit name means “the all-attractive person”.

What is Krishna Consciousness?
Krsna Consciousness means being fully aware of the Supreme Person, Krsna, and serving Him with love. To help one attain this state of full awareness of God, we practice bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion.  In this type of yoga, everything one does is centered around Krsna. By constantly practicing connecting with God through loving service to Him, we will purify ourselves and become aware of our eternal relationship with Him.
The first teaching of the Bhagavata Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is that we are not these bodies, we are eternal spirit souls.   Because we are eternal, we do not die when the body dies, instead, the laws of karma, or action-reaction, will dictate our next body and we will take birth again.  “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death.  A sober person  is not bewildered by such a change.” (Chapter 2, Verse 13). We will remain in this cycle of birth and death until we become fully God conscious.  It is only then that we are qualified to return to the Kingdom of God.  This is the real goal of human life, and those who strictly follow the tenets of bhakti yoga, serving Krsna with love, can perfect themselves and become fully God conscious, Krsna conscious, even in just one lifetime.   Those fortunate souls will never have to take birth here again, but will return to the spiritual world with Lord Krsna.

Why do we chant Hare Krsna, Hare Rama?
The Vedic literatures tell us that the names of God are nondifferent than God Himself. The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krsna and Rama (which means “the highest pleasure eternal”) are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, and when addressed as Hare in the vocative, She helps us reach the Supreme Lord Krsna (On Chanting Hare Krsna).
Anyone can chant Hare Krsna and simply be happy. “The Maha Mantra, the Hare Krsna mantra, has been prescribed as the easiest and surest way for attaining God realization in this present age.” Srila Prabhupada stated that once you chant you realize the benefit.  The response that comes from chanting is in the form of bliss, or spiritual happiness, which is a much higher taste than any happiness found here in the material world (Chant and Be Happy, Chapter 1).
So why not just give it a try?  What have you got to loose, but everything to gain?! Hare (Pronounced Ha-re) Krsna (Pronounced Krishna) * Hare Krsna * Krsna Krsna * Hare Hare * Hare Rama * Hare Rama * Rama Rama * Hare Hare.

Who is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada?
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. In 1965, fulfilling the order of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada set sail for America.  When he disembarked the ship in NYC, he was 70 years old, possessed only 40 rupees cash ($7 US dollars) and a trunk containing his translations and commentaries of the ancient Vedic literatures. From this humble beginning, Srila Prabhupada started the Krsna Consciousness movement.
Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution, however, is his books.  He authored over 70 volumes on the Krishna tradition, which are highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, fidelity to the tradition, and clarity.  Several of his works are used as textbooks in numerous college courses.  His writings have been translated into 76 languages. His most prominent works include:  Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the 30-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the 17-volume Sri Caitanya-caritamrita.
Srila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours, bringing the teachings of Lord Krishna to hundreds of thousands of people on six continents.  Men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life came forward to accept his message, and with their help, Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON centers and projects throughout the world.  Under his inspiration, Krishna devotees established temples, rural communities, and educational institutions, and started what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program, Food for Life Global (ffl.org).

What is ISKCON?
ISKCON stands for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. ISKCON is a branch of the monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition dating back 5000 years to Lord Krishna Himself. ISKCON was established in the West in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and has since developed into a worldwide confederation of over 500 temple, centers, communities, schools, and restaurants with hundreds of thousands of followers.
The mission of this nonsectarian, monotheistic movement is to promote the well-being of society by teaching the science of Krishna Consciousness according to the Bhagavad-Gita and other ancient scriptures.

What’s the history behind ISKCON Los Angeles?
In 1970, a distinguished and prominent center was established in Los Angeles, formerly known as ISKCON World Headquarters and now known as ISKCON Western World Headquarters. Srila Prabhupada spent months upon months in Los Angeles conducting festivals, instructing proper Deity worship, lecturing, transcribing his books, and so much more.
In Los Angeles, we have multiple grand-scale festivals that we celebrate throughout the year, such as Gaura Purnima, Snana Yatra, Ratha Yatra, Prabhupada Festival, Janmastami, Radhastami, etc.  (See our Calendar for details) In between all these festivals, we have daily Deity worship, kirtans, artiks, lectures, seminars, workshops, and always someone on hand to welcome guests and tell them more about ISKCON and Krishna Consciousness. We also have a wonderful Bhagavad-Gita Museum, which explains the science of self-realization and what is the ultimate goal of human life.