• info.jaipur@hkm-group.org
  • +91-9799999881

Yug Dharma


Harinama Sankirtan

Sankirtana Yajna: Sole Hope for World Peace and Prosperity

Sankirtana Yajna means congregational chanting of the holy names of the Supreme Lord. This is the path prescribed in the Vedic literatures for achieving spiritual perfection in the human form of Life, namely God-realization and ending all the sufferings that we undergo in this world.

There are so many other different ways such as ashtanga yoga, cultivation of transcendental knowledge by logic and reasoning, performing austerities and so on – all meant for self-realization. We have also learned of many great souls in history who have achieved perfection through these practices in different ages and even now we find many spiritual aspirants following these methods.

What we see is that a particular path is best suited for a specific age and can be practiced well considering the duration of Life, religiosity and the virtues of the people in that age. In Satya-yuga people had a long duration of Life and were very peaceful and religious and they could practice meditation for thousands of years. In Treta-yuga, they could perform various Vedic sacrifices (yajnas) as there were qualified brahmanas, an expert in chanting the Vedic mantras and conducting yajnas.

In Dwapara-yuga, people could perform elaborate Deity worship. In the present Kali-yuga fraught with so many defects and deficiencies, the people are hardly interested in pursuing the spiritual path. They are short-lived and disturbed by many physical and mental ailments. Violence, criminality, corruption, and many unlawful activities are widespread in society. Under these circumstances, the scriptures recommend that the only way for an ordinary person towards spiritual realization in Kali-yuga is Sankirtana Yajna which is the Yugadharma of this age. It is the simplest yet sublime method that can be practiced by everybody with no pre-qualification. It is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, Padma Purana and Brihan-Naradiya Purana that the results obtained in the previous yugas by different processes of spiritual perfection can also be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting and glorifying the names of the Lord.

This Sankirtana Yajna comprising Shravanam (hearing the glories of the Lord) and Kirtanam (chanting His glories) helps in remembering the Lord (Smaranam) always. In this manner, if one is able to remember the Lord even at the point of death, by His mercy, one can attain liberation from the pangs of birth and death and go back to the spiritual world inhabited by the Lord and His devotees. Many exalted acharyas such as Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya and other great saints of the Bhakti tradition in the past have stressed this important point based on scriptural authority.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared over 500 years ago, was the leading advocate of the path of Bhakti and He introduced the chanting of the holy names of Lord Krishna in the form of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Sri Chaitanya was Lord Krishna Himself who pioneered a spiritual revolution by spreading the Sankirtana movement throughout India.

It is stated in the Kalisantarana Upanishad: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare — these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga. In all Vedas it is observed that to cross the ocean of nescience, there is no alternative to the chanting of the holy name.”

Although the Supreme Lord has thousands of names in connection with His form, qualities, pastimes, etc., the name Krishna is principal among them. Krishna means all attractive. Lord Krishna unlimitedly possesses all the opulence – wealth, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation and hence He attracts every living being.

Brahmanda Purana stresses the glories of the name Krishna by saying that the pious results derived from chanting the thousand holy names of Vishnu thrice can be attained by only one repetition of the holy name of Krishna. Such is the potency of the name of Krishna.

The words Krishna and Rama in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra are forms of addressing the Lord and the word Hare is the form of addressing the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. When a person chants this mantra sincerely, Mother Hara helps him achieve the grace of the supreme father, Hari or Krishna who reveals Himself to the faithful devotee.

Lord Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth as revealed in the Vedic literatures like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. This truth is also established by great authorities like Sri Vyasadeva, Sri Narada, etc., and it is declared by Lord Krishna Himself in the Gita. Lord Krishna being the absolute truth, His names are non-different from Him, being fully spiritual and having all the potencies of the Lord. Therefore when one chants His names, one is purified by direct contact with the Lord, who is supremely pure. The spiritual vibration of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra acts like medicine to clean our hearts and destroy our sinful propensities, which force us to commit evil acts resulting in miserable returns.

The word Yajna means Lord Vishnu or Krishna, and this word also refers to any work we perform for the satisfaction of Vishnu. Sankirtana Yajna is meant for pleasing the Lord by glorifying and chanting His holy names with devotion. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (10.25): “Of sacrifices, I am the chanting of the holy names.” In Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda, 71.270) the Lord tells Narada, “My dear Narada, actually I do not reside in My abode, Vaikuntha, nor do I reside within the hearts of the yogis, but I reside in that place where My pure devotees chant My holy name and discuss My form, pastimes and qualities.”

There are no stringent rules for chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Any person belonging to any country and of any religion and language can chant at any time under all circumstances. The mantra can be sung loudly, individually or in a group with musical instruments (Sankirtana) or uttered softly to oneself (Japa).

Although Kali-yuga is characterized by so many flaws and imperfections, there is still one wonderful quality of this age. Just by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can be freed from the cycle of birth and death and can go back to the spiritual world where one leads a perpetual, blissful life in association with the Lord. The Sankirtana Yajna is the only hope for creating a spiritual atmosphere in the world which automatically leads to peace, prosperity, and happiness in the society by driving away all the imperfections of this age.

 

Hare Krishna Mantra

Chant and make your Life sublime

The Vedas recommend that in the present age the most effective means for achieving self-realization is to always hear about, glorify, and remember the all-good Supreme Lord, who is known by many names. One of these names is “Krishna” which means “He who is all-attractive,” another is “Rama” which means “He who is the reservoir of all pleasure,” and “Hare” indicates the Lord’s inconceivable energy.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

This sublime chanting puts us directly in touch with the Supreme Lord through the sound vibration of His holy names and gradually awakens us to our original relationship with God. ISKCON’s primary mission is to encourage all members of the human society to devote at least some portion of their time and energies to this process of hearing and chanting about God. In this way they will gradually come to realize that all living beings are spirit souls, eternally related to the Supreme Lord in service and in love.

It is mentioned in the scriptures that Sri Krishna, the Reservoir of Pleasure, dances on the tongue of the chanter of His name. To chant and hear fixes the mind, in meditation, in direct contact with God. The mantra is not to be mistaken for an ordinary song or anything tinged with the mundane; it is a pure transcendental sound vibration of the Absolute and has been upheld as such since time immemorial by the great sages and Vedic scriptures.

Anyone who hears the chanting also benefits if he simply likes the sound of the chanting or he appreciates the sankirtana in some way or other. The holy name is compared to fire; whether one is scientifically conversant with all the properties of fire or knows nothing about it, if one puts his hand in the fire, he will be burnt. Sincere chanting and hearing of the mantra will cleanse the mind and elevate one and all to the original natural position of the spirit soul.

Srila Prabhupada on Chanting

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 of reviving our Krishna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere in which we are now 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, this is called illusion. In this polluted concept of Life, we are all 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 more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material Nature can be stopped at once by the revival of our Krishna consciousness.

Krishna consciousness

Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind; this consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. And this process is recommended for this age by authorities. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding – surpassing the stages of senses, mind, and intelligence – one is situated on the transcendental plane.

The process

We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material Life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on the hearers, and 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 the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean “the supreme pleasure,” and Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are also the energy – marginal energy – of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, called Hara, the living entity is established in his happy, normal condition.

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

No other means of spiritual realization, therefore, is as effective in this age as chanting the maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Scriptural Reference

Following are the Scriptural references for Hare Krishna maha mantra: 

All the grievous sins are removed for one who worships Lord Hari, the Lord of all lords, and chants the holy name, the Maha-mantra. (Padma Purana, 3.50.6)

When the sixteen names and thirty-two syllables of the Hare Krishna mantra are loudly vibrated, Krishna dances on one’s tongue (Stava-mala-vidyabhusana-bhasya, Baladeva Vidyabhushana in Bhaktisiddhanta’s Gaudiya Kanthahara 17:30)

One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly (to indicate something else), jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.2.14)

The nama sankirtana(public chanting) of Hare Krishna maha-mantra delivers a complete revelation of all of spiritual reality. (Brahmanda Purana 6.59-60)

My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. (Srimad Bhagavatam – 12.3.51)

 

Harinama Diksha

Srila Prabhupada Ashraya Program

On the path of regulative devotional service, one must observe the following: 

accept a bona fide spiritual master.

take initiation from him.

serve him.

receive instructions from the spiritual master and make inquiries in order to learn devotional service.

follow in the footsteps of the previous acharyas and follow the directions given by the spiritual master.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, elaborates on accepting a bona fide spiritual master in a lecture as “adau gurvasrayam. First thing is to accept a bona fide guru. Otherwise there is no devotion. It is simply false imitation. This is the injunction of Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrita sindhu…”
(Evening lecture, Bhubaneswar, January 23, 1977)

Ashraya means to act under the direction and supervision of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada writes in the introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

“In the human society, whether one is laborer, merchant, administrator, or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence. The Lord therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation, he should remember Krishna (mam anusmara). If he doesn’t practice remembering Krishna while he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krishna at the time of death. Lord Chaitanya also advises this. Therefore we have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and molding our Life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.”

Undoubtedly it is important for everyone to practice Krishna consciousness or devotional service to Lord Krishna in their Life. The beauty of Krishna consciousness is that you can take up the practice of devotional service to the Lord as much as you are ready, for Krishna Himself promises in the Bhagavad-gita: “There is no loss or diminution in this endeavor, and even a little advancement on this path protects one from the most fearful type of danger.” So bring Krishna into your daily Life, and soon you will feel the benefit.

The following are the different levels of commitment and standards of devotional service that you can practice at home while carrying out your normal activities. You can choose the level and standard that you can most comfortably practice and ISKCON will offer you guidance and inspiration to practice at that level and help you to gradually reach higher and higher standards.

Levels of Ashraya Program

Srila Prabhupada SHRADDHAVAN

Chant a minimum of one round of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly

Attend as many temple programs as possible

Actively participate in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 4 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 4 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada SEVAKA

Chant a minimum of 4 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Shraddhavan Ashraya

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly (Read “Beyond Birth & Death” entirely for the written test)

Accept Sri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Attend as many temple programs as possible

Actively participate in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 8 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 8 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada SADHAKA

Chant a minimum of 8 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Sevaka Ashraya

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books regularly (Read “Raja Vidya” & “Perfection of Yoga” entirely for the written test)

Try to wake up early morning and complete the sadhana of chanting, worshipping the Lord at home, offering food, etc.

Fasting on Ekadashi & festival days

Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 12 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 12 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Avoid eating non-vegetarian food

Srila Prabhupada VANDANA

Chant a minimum of 12 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Minimum 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Sadhaka Ashraya

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books every day (Read “Science of Self-realization” entirely for the written test)

Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat-eating including eggs, onion & garlic.

Follow a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam class

Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home

Fast on Ekadashi and festival days

Try to contribute regularly to the temple within your means

Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 16 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 16 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada UPASAKA ASHRAYA

Chant a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Minimum of 3 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Vandana Ashraya

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday (Read “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” from INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER 3 for the written test)

Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat-eating including eggs, onion & garlic.

Follow a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam class

Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home

Fast on Ekadashi and festival days

Grihastha and employed singles: To contribute to the temple on a regular basis according to one’s means.

Actively participate and assist in preaching in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 20 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 20 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Srila Prabhupada CHARANASHRAYA

Chant a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day

Minimum of 6 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Upasaka Ashraya

Read Srila Prabhupada’s books everyday (Read “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” from  INTRODUCTION to CHAPTER 12 for the written test)

Follow the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat-eating including eggs, onion & garlic.

Following a daily sadhana program including rising early, chanting, a simple morning program consisting of one arati, Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja & attending/ hearing Srimad Bhagavatam class

Implement the Krishna Conscious practices at home

Fast on Ekadashi and festival days

Grihastha and employed singles: To contribute to the temple on a regular basis according to one’s means

Actively participate and take a lead role as the preacher in Krishnashraya programs near your house

Render a minimum of 20 hrs of practical devotional service in the temple in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Actively participate in Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution for at least 20 hrs in every quarter of the year (3 months)

Harinam Diksha

Chanting a minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day for the past one year

Minimum of 6 months after taking Srila Prabhupada Upasaka Ashraya

Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books every day for the past one year.

Should have completed reading the following books of Srila Prabhupada:

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Sri Isopanishad

Science of Self Realization

Perfection of Yoga

Raja Vidya

Beyond Birth and Death

Following the four regulative principles as instructed by Srila Prabhupada for the past one year – No illicit sex, gambling, intoxication including coffee & tea, meat eating including eggs, onion & garlic.

Following a daily sadhana program including rising early, attending Mangala arati, guru-puja and Srimad Bhagavatam class for the past one year, either at home or at the local temple the devotee is in touch with.

Actively engaged in temple service and/or distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books or preaching for the past one year.

Avoiding eating bhoga (food not offered to Lord Krishna) for the past one year.

Contributing once every month a percentage of one’s income according to one’s means and in the spirit of serving the mission of the spiritual master with the fruits of one’s work.

Harinama Festival (Kirtan Fest)

We have been organizing a day-long Harinam festival once in three months at the temple as one of the means of distributing the holy names of Lord Krishna.

Chanting the holy names of Lord Krishna is recommended in the scriptures as the only effective remedy for counteracting all the vices in this Kali-yuga.

The Harinam festival is organized in order to spread this awareness among people and inspire them to take up this devotional practice for their ultimate benefit-both material and spiritual. This is the best welfare activity and also the yuga-dharma of this age.

During the festival many teams of devotees take turns in singing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in different tunes to the accompaniment of musical instruments. This also includes a batch of children who devotedly perform sankirtan, proving that devotional service to the Lord is not restricted to any particular age of the person. Hundreds of devotees join this celebration and the whole atmosphere becomes vibrant with the loud chanting of Krishna’s names.

The melodious and spiritual sound vibrations of the Hare Krishna mantra engross the devotees and the general public alike. This indicates that the all blissful Lord Krishna is present in His holy names. The kirtans are interspersed with a number of quotes cited from scriptures and the teachings of the acharyas, glorifying the holy names. Songs composed by the Vaishnava acharyas are also sung on this occasion. Participants listen to excerpts from Srila Prabhupada’s (Founder-acharya of ISKCON) lectures wherein he enlightens us about the spiritual potency of the holy names on the basis of Vedic scriptures.