Category Archives: Teachings

Meat and the Environment

This is an excerpt from chapter two of “Divine Nature” a book which you can purchase at: “By eliminating beef from the human diet, our species takes a significant step toward a new species consciousness, reaching out in a spirit of shared partnership with the bovine, and, by extension, other sentient creatures with whom we share the earth.” Jeremy Rifkin   Beyond Beef Killing animals for food, fur, leather, and cosmetics is one of the most environmentally destructive practices taking place on the earth today. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement’s policies of protecting animals, especially cows, and broadly promoting a spiritual vegetarian diet could-if widely adopted-relieve many environmental problems. These policies are rooted in the following philosophical and functional principles: 1. Humans should not slaughter animals for food. They should be as compassionate to cows and other farm animals as … Continue reading

Why avoid tea?

Chay! Chay!” The calls of tea vendors echo through India’s train stations at any time, whether it be two o’clock in the morning or ten at night. The vendors are always busy selling tea through train windows. Sometimes they climb aboard a train and get off at another station, sure that tea addicts will buy a cup. The voices wake the passengers, reminding them of their daily need, urging them to take a cup of hot tea. “One rupee!” the vendor says. Drinking tea is not part of our Vedic culture. The British introduced tea in 1834, after they had conquered India. Once I asked my grandmother, “Dadiji, did you always drink tea?” “No,” she replied, somewhat embarrassed. When she was a child, her father, a well-known attorney in town, would not permit tea in the house except to offer … Continue reading

Why No Onions and Garlic?

Many of our readers are habituated to eating and onions and garlic and do not understand why devotees of Lord Krishna strictly avoid eating them. I have been asked this question so many times that I decided to devote an article to it. Our reason for not taking onions and garlic is very simple. It is not at all complicated.  According to the instructions very clearly given in the Bhagavad-gita, devotees of Lord Krishna are meant to eat only the remnants of food offered with love and devotion to Lord Sri Krishna. yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ bhuñjate te tv aghaḿ pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt “The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.” –Bhagavad-gita 3.13 … Continue reading

How To Chant On Japa Beads

1. Hold the beads in your right hand. 2. There’s one head bead, a bead that’s bigger than all the rest. Grasp the first bead to one side of the head bead (the one which is the largest) with your right thumb and the middle finger of your right hand. (Your index finger doesn’t touch the bead.) 3. Chant — Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The word Hare is pronounced huh-ray. Krishna is pronounced Krish-na. And Rama rhymes with the English word drama. Say each syllable of each word as clearly as you can. Concentrate your attention on the sound of each word of the mantra.  (As an option you can roll the bead back and forth between your thumb and middle finger when chanting the first half of … Continue reading

Tilaka: The Mark of God

By Rohininandana Dasa Anyone who wishes to acknowledge the simple truth that “I am Lord Krishna’s servant” can wear tilaka, the clay mark devotees wear on the forehead and other places on their body. You may not feel you have much devotion to Krishna, but you’re not prohibited from wearing tilaka, because it’s a sign that you’re trying to be His devotee. What’s more, the qualifications for being Krishna’s devotee soon develop in a person who learns the art of wearing tilaka.   Why Decorate the Body? A devotee of Krishna decorates the body because it’s a temple of God. Instead of decorating our body as if it were the self, or destroying it, or despising it for its filthy emissions, we can respect and care for it as a residence of the Supreme Lord. The soul lives within the … Continue reading

Is Shiva the Supreme?

Śiva is among the most widely worshiped deities in India. With names such as Mahādeva (“the great god”) and Naṭarāja (“the king of dancers”), he is venerated in ancient holy cities like Benares, where Śaivites (as his worshipers are called) devote their lives to him, viewing him as the Supreme Lord. The fact is, he is supreme. As the scriptures say, “Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is supreme among Purāṇas just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta [Viṣṇu] the best among deities, and Lord Śambhu [Śiva] the greatest among devotees of Lord Viṣṇu [vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhu].” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 12.13.16) According to this and similar statements, Śiva may correctly be considered the greatest—at least among devotees—but among gods the supreme is Viṣṇu. This is made clear as far back as the Ṛg Veda (1.22.20): “The lotus feet of Viṣṇu are the … Continue reading

Is a Guru Required?

Some people argue, “What is the necessity of having a spiritual master when God is there?  Why can’t I just have God directly as my guru just as Arjuna did?” The answer is that we are not standing face to face with God as Arjuna was. Of course since God is omnipresent, He is certainly present with us. That’s a fact. But in our present state of conditioned consciousness we can neither hear Him nor see Him. So how we will receive instructions from Him for our deliverance from birth and death?” To this question someone could answer, “Since God is present in the form of scriptures, if we simply follow the instructions in the scriptures, we will become delivered.” This a valid principle. And in the scriptures we find that over and over again we are instructed to take … Continue reading

The Story of Ekadasi

From the 14th chapter of the Padma Purana, from the section entitled “Kriya-sagara-sara”. Once the great sage Jaimini Rishi said to his spiritual master, “O Gurudeva! Previously, by your mercy, you described to me the history of the Ganga River, the benefits of worshiping Vishnu, the giving of grains in charity, the giving of water in charity, and the magnanimity of drinking water that has been used to wash the feet of the brahmanas. O best of sages, Sri Gurudeva, now, with great enthusiasm, I desire to hear of the benefits of fasting on Ekadasi and of the appearance of Ekadasi.” “O Gurudeva! When did Ekadasi take birth and from whom did she appear? What are the rules of fasting on the day of Ekadasi? Please describe the benefits of following this vow and when it should be followed. Who … Continue reading

How to Offer Your Food to Krishna

As you walk down the supermarket aisles selecting the foods you will offer to Kṛṣṇa, you need to know what is offerable and what is not. In the Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa states, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it.” From this verse it is understood that we can offer Kṛṣṇa foods prepared from milk products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat, fish, and eggs are not offerable. And a few vegetarian items are also forbidden—garlic and onions, for example, which are in the mode of darkness. (Hing, or asafetida, is a tasty substitute for them in cooking and is available at most Indian groceries or from Temple Services.) Nor can you offer to Krṣṇa coffee or tea that contain caffeine. If you like these beverages, purchase caffeine—free … Continue reading

Krishna Consciousness at Home

In The Quest for Enlightenment Śrīla Prabhupāda makes it clear how important it is for everyone to practice Krishna consciousness, devotional service to Lord Krishna. Of course, living in the association of Krishna’s devotees in a temple or āśrama makes it easier to practice devotional service. But if you’re determined, you can follow at home the teachings of Krishna consciousness and thus convert your home into a temple. Spiritual life, like material life, means practical activity. The difference is that whereas we perform material activities for the benefit of ourselves or those we consider ours, we perform spiritual activities for the benefit of Lord Krishna, under the guidance of the scriptures and the spiritual master. The key is to accept the guidance of the scripture and the guru. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gītā that a person can achieve neither happiness … Continue reading