Who is Srila Prabhupada? His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, or Srila Prabhupada, is the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). On the order of his guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, Srila Prabhupada left India at the age of 69 to teach the timeless message of bhakti-yoga, or connecting to God through devotion. Prabhupada founded ISKCON in 1966 in New York City, and in the eleven years before his passing away in November, 1977 traveled the world to establish over 100 ISKCON temples. He also translated, with elaborate commentary, several dozen books on the Vaishnava tradition, or Krishna Consciousness, which are highly esteemed by scholars and have been translated into more than 70 languages.
ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiaya Vaishnava sampradaya (denomination or tradition), a monotheistic tradition within Vedic or Hindu culture. The word “Hindu” is not found in the ancient texts of India. The word originated as a designation for the people living in the vast regions east of the Sindhu River. Today,Hinduism has evolved into an umbrella term that refers to the “family of religions” based on the Vedic writings, including the major traditions Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism. Together, they make up the world’s third largest religion—today called Hinduism.
What is reincarnation and what happens at death? The word ‘reincarnate’ derives from the root ‘carna’ which means ‘flesh’. Reincarnate therefore means to enter into the flesh again. The Vedic texts explain that the spirit soul is eternal and it never dies. In the natural course of life the body grows from a baby to youth to boyhood, middle age, then old age and death, and then transmigrates into another body at death. Your destination depends upon your thoughts at death, and what we think of at the time of death depends on what we have been absorbed in for most of our lives.
Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or God. While residing eternally in His spiritual kingdom, or Vaikunatha, the place of no anxiety, He also descends into this material world from time to time to reestablish the principles of spiritual life, or religion, as He did when He spoke the Bhagavad-gita 5,000 years ago, one of the world’s classic spiritual literatures.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as a devotee of Krishna in Mayapur, West Bengal, India in the late fifteenth century. He introduced sankirtan, widespread congregational chanting of the Supreme Person’s names, as the most effective means by which anyone can achieve spiritual perfection. By His influence, many of India’s leading religious scholars and their followers became devotees of Krishna themselves. He is considered by disciples, scholars and followers to be the latest avatar of Krishna Himself, based on extensive evidence found in Vedic literature. ISKCON is a continuation of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement.
The answer is Karma. Western science and philosophy explain that the law of causality governs all actions and events in the universe. Actions and events have corresponding reactions on the material platform. The Vedic texts, call this principle of action and reaction ‘karma’. The spirit soul, which is entrapped in the material nature, acts in particular ways which can cause it either further bondage or liberation from the laws of nature. An individual’s actions bring about his or her transmigration from one body to another. One cannot become free from karma simply by refraining from action. One has to learn the art of working without accruing karma, which is the process of bhakti yoga. or devotion to God.
A devotee of Krishna does not take the regulations of spiritual life as restrictions, but rather as ‘regulative principles of freedom’ – a tool for advancing personal character development & spiritual consciousness.The four regulative principles we follow are: 1. Cleanliness: Of body, mind and soul - This means the daily washing of the body, but also refraining from illicit sex (only sex for procreation within marriage). Chanting of God´s (Krishna´s) holy names and studying the holy Scriptures help us to keep the mind and soul clean and balanced. 2. Mercy: To help living entities (materially as well as spiritually). True followers of the Vedic (or any other) Scriptures are strictly vegetarians. It is perfectly possible to live healthily and happily without needlessly killing innocent animals. 3. Austerity: To take only what we really need, without greed or violence. Intoxications like alcohol, hard and soft drugs, tobacco, etc. make someones mercy and friendliness disappear. Addictions are not only unnecessary, but also very harmful (to body, mind and to others). The best alternative for addictions is an awakening of our relationship with God (Krishna) by living in accordance with His laws. 4. Truthfulness: Means that we should not lie or gamble.Gambling destroys truthfulness because it is an attempt to bypass the laws of nature and obtain material profit without honestly working for them.An honest deed is the best gamble in the world and a sure winner.
The markings are called ‘tilak ’and applied with sacred clay. Although the forehead marking is the most conspicuous, the devotees of Krishna mark their bodies at 13 central energy centers, reciting various names of Lord while applying to each spot. This meditation is designed to promote the awareness that body is a temple of God.
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