The following eight principles form the basis of ISKCON’s philosophy:
- By sincerely cultivating spiritual knowledge, we can be free from anxiety and reach a state of pure happiness in this lifetime.
- We are not our bodies but eternal souls, parts and parcels of God, or Krishna. Te soul transmigrates into diferent bodies according to the consciousness at the time of death. As eternal souls, we are all brothers and sisters, and Krishna is ultimately our common father.
- Krishna is eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and allattractive. He is the father of all living beings and sustains the entire cosmic creation. He is also known as God the Father, Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, and Yahweh.
- The Absolute Truth is revealed in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the world. The essence of the Vedas is found in the Bhagavad-gita, a literal record of Krishna’s words.
- We gain spiritual knowledge from a genuine spiritual master.
- Practicing vegetarianism and ofering all our food to God before eating purifes our consciousness, minimizes the violence in the world, and frees us from bad karma, or material reactions.
- All our actions should be done as offerings to Krishna and not for selfsh motives.
- The best way to attain selfrealization and pure love of God in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy is to chant His holy names. Te easiest method for most people is to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra or the ‘great mantra’:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Chant the Names of God
The maha-mantra (above) is composed of three Sanskrit names of the Supreme Being: Hare, Krishna and Rama. Hare addresses the energy of the Lord as the supreme pleasure potency, Radha, who helps us in reaching Krishna, or God. Both Krishna (the All-Attractive) and Rama (the Source of All Pleasure) directly address the Lord.
This chanting comes directly from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower states of consciousness—sensual,mental, and intellectual. People from all walks of life can experience spiritual and personal fulfilment just by chanting the names of God. Tis chanting can be done either as an individual practice (japa)—chanting quietly on beads as a personal meditation, similar to the recitation of the prayers on a Christian rosary or on Islamic prayer beads—or singing more loudly in a group, which is called kirtana.
The basic concept of ISKCON’s philosophy is the understanding that we are not our material bodies, but rather that our true identity is the soul within. You could say that the Krishna consciousness movement is not exactly a religion, but an educational and cultural system that is open to everyone. Admittedly, the complete philosophy is a detailed one. However, we all like to eat, sing, dance, and make friends! These activities form the main functions of the movement and are performed in a spirit of service to Krishna, or God.