AC Bhaktivendata Prabhupada (born 1896) was a Bengali spiritual teacher, who in 1965 came to the United States to teach Gaudiya Vaishnavism in the West. He founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1965, and travelled the world teaching the science of self-realisation and writing numerous books until his death in 1977.
The Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula (Hare Krishna School) is the only International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) school in Australia. Worldwide ISKCON runs 500 major centers, temples and rural communities, nearly one hundred affilated vegetarian restaurants, thousands of local meeting groups, and has millions of congregational members worldwide.
At the Hare Krishna school we teach Bhakti yoga. 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.
Within the philosophy of bhakti yoga "Krishna consciousness" means to recognise ones true spiritual nature through a personal relationship with God. Though God is described as having innumerable names, and incarnations, we see God as one person, who can expand in endless ways.
The Vedas are ancient sacred texts which form the foundation of Hinduism. These vast volumes of writing were written in Sanskrit, and the earliest date back to at least 1700 BC. The Hare Krishna movement is based upon Vedic philosophy, with a particular focus on scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Krishna is a name of the original, unique Supreme Person, the source of all that exists. God has many names, and each describes a different aspect of His personality. The name Krishna—"the all-attractive one"—indicates the unequaled charm and beauty of the Supreme Person, as He appears to His most dear devotees. Krishna has many pastimes, as a baby, a child, a lover, a friend, a son, or a mentor.
The Divine Couple
The divine counterpart of Sri Krishna is known as Sri Radha (Radharani). Together they are the male and female aspects of God. Sri Radha is the complete energy, and Sri Krishna is the complete energetic source. Radha and Krishna are one, yet they have assumed two separate forms to enjoy loving pastimes.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) was a spiritual teacher who founded Gaudiya Vaishnavism. He is believed by his devotees to be Krishna himself who appeared in the form of His own devotee in order to teach the people of this world the process of Bhakti and how to attain the perfection of life.
At the Hare Krishna school deity worship is an important part of our daily spiritual practice. Krishna, or God, is pure spirit. He's not made of anything material. But in the material world, we can't see spirit. All we can see is matter. By agreeing to appear in the form of a Deity, God allows us to see, honor, and serve him, even while we're still in material existence.
The Four Pillars
The four pillars of spiritual life are described as mercy (compassion), cleanliness (of body, mind and spirit), self-discipline (self-regulation), and truthfulness (integrity). To support these four pillars we believe that it is helpful to abstain from eating meat, illicit sex, intoxication, and gambling.
26 Qualities of a Devotee
Lord Chaitanya described 26 qualities of a devotee. Here are the first 11. Please click on the link below to read them all:
1.) Kind to everyone, 2.) Does not quarrel with anyone, 3.) Fixed in the Absolute Truth, 4.) Equal to everyone, 5.) Faultless, 6.) Charitable, 7.) Mild, 8.) Clean, 9.) Simple, without material possession, 10.) Benevolent, 11.) Peaceful
The Maha Mantra
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna Krishna, Hare HareHare Rama, Hare Rama,Rama Rama, Hare Hare
As an important part of our spiritual practice we encourage the chanting of the Maha Mantra in individual meditation, or in communal songs of worship.The words call on the male (Krishna/Rama) and female (Hare) energies of God.
The word 'Prasada' means "a gracious gift" or "mercy". Within the Vedic tradition, food is offered to God with a prayer before it is eaten. This changes the experience of eating from a material to a spiritual experience. We recognise that we are not the "owners" of the food, but that we have been allowed to eat it as a gift.
Within Vedic philosophy we believe in reincarnation. That is to say, the soul transmigrates at death to another body, or at the end of its cycle of reincarnation, to the spiritual world. Karma dictates which form the soul will take in its next life.
Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.
On particular dates in the Vedic calendar Hare Krishna devotees observe a fast, where they avoid eating grains and beans. This means avoiding bread, pasta, lentils, rice, as well as beans and preparations made from bean flour.