KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, THE SANKIRTANA MOVEMENT
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a bona fide religious society strictly following the principles described in the Vedic scriptures and practiced in India for thousands of years. Our basic beliefs are as follows: 1) The absolute truth is contained in all the great scriptures of the world; the Bible, Koran, Torah, etc. However, the oldest known revealed scriptures in existence are the Vedic literatures, most notably the Bhagavad-gītā, which is the literal record of God’s actual words. 2) God, Krishna, is eternal, all knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, all attractive, and is the seed-giving father of all living entities. He is the sustaining energy of all life, nature, and the cosmic situation. 3) Man is actually not his body but is spirit soul, part and parcel of God, and therefore eternal. 4) Brotherhood among all men can be practiced only when we realize God as our common ultimate father. 5) All our actions should be performed as a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord: “All that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Bhagavad-gītā, 9.27) 6) The food that sustains us should always be offered to the Lord before eating. In this way He becomes the offering, and such eating purifies us. 7) We can, by sincere cultivation of bona fide spiritual science, attain to the state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness, free from anxiety in this very lifetime. 8) The recommended means of attaining the mature stage of love of God in the present age of “Kali,” quarrel, is to chant the holy name of the Lord. The easiest method for most people is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra: hare k a hare k a k a k a hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare Our basic mission is to propagate the sa kīrtana movement (chanting of the holy names of God) all around the world, as was recommended by the incarnation of the Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People in this age are very reluctant to understand about God consciousness on account of their unfortunate condition of life. They are working hard day and night simply for sense gratification. But this transcendental vibration of sa kīrtana will knock at the door of their hearts for spiritual awakening. Therefore, they should be given this opportunity. It is not recommended that a Krishna Conscious devotee go into seclusion for chanting by himself and thereby gaining salvation for himself alone. Our duty and religious obligation is to go out into the streets where the people in general can hear the chanting and see the dancing. We have already seen practically how by this process many, many boys and girls of America and Europe have been saved from the immoral practices of this age and have now dedicated their lives to the service of Krishna. The state laws are specifically meant for making citizens into men of good character, and good character means avoiding the following sinful activities: intoxication, illicit sex life, gambling and meat-eating. We are checking people from practicing these sinful activities. All of our students are applying these principles practically in their lives, and they are teaching others to follow the same principles. Therefore it is the duty of the government to help us in our missionary work rather than to hinder us. It is hoped that the government authorities will cooperate with our sa kīrtana parties in enabling us to perform sa kīrtana on the streets. To do this it is necessary that we be able to chant the names of Krishna, dance, play the mda ga drum, request donations, sell our society’s journal, and, on occasion, sit down with the mda ga drum. As devotees of Lord Krishna it is our duty to teach the people how to love God and worship Him in their daily life. This is the aim and destination of human life.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.