Krishna can be considered perhaps as the most important incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the supreme God of sustenance. One among the holy trinity of Gods, Vishnu is regarded as the physical manifestation of spiritual consciousness, and Krishna can be said to reflect this consciousness in all its purity and entirety. Krishna was a historical figure, who lived a legendary life. A multi-faceted personality, he remained an embodiment of traits like love, knowledge, power, and wisdom. Playing many significant roles, he strode like a colossus on earth standing by the virtuous, punishing the wicked, rooting out evil and establishing dharma, the righteousness, by his own words and deeds. Bhagavad Gita, the total of the teaching that he gave to his friend and disciple Arjuna in the battlefield, remains as a virtual treasure trove of wisdom and is often referred to and expounded by saints, philosophers and eminent personalities, not only of our country but of the entire world.
Practicing Krishna consciousness, thus, amounts to imbibing this supreme consciousness into the very core of our being.
Practicing Krishna Consciousness
Krishna consciousness is nothing but bringing in Lord Krishna into one’s own space and integrating his divine knowledge with one’s own. This is something that is achieved through thoughts, words, and actions, all of which are pervaded by devotion and service.
This is a spiritual exercise, in which the well-known hymn Hare Krishna Maha Mantra plays a pivotal role. This reads as under:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
This is a prayer that addresses the divinities Krishna, the great attractor, and Rama, the object of divine enjoyment. It is also dedicated to Hare, the divine energy of the Lord and appeals to all the divine entities to accept the devotee for their devotional service. This is also said to be the hymn of freedom or liberation — something that can free the mind of ignorance, free the self of sorrow and free the soul of Samsara, the eternal bondage.
This auspicious mantra can be recited by anyone, at any time and anywhere. It can also be stated repeatedly in the mind as a chant, uttered through the mouth as a recitation and sung as a kirtan or song, accompanied by dancing too. Whatever is the mode of its use, it is better to bring in regularity and consistency in its practice, for greater effectiveness. Hence, it can be best practiced daily at the same time and this time can preferably be the early morning hours when the mind is fresh, and so is the atmosphere.
The practice can also be done anywhere, but still, it makes sense to set up an exclusive place for worship with all due care for chanting. The area has to be clean, uncluttered, well-lit, where idols or pictures of Krishna and Radha can be installed. Images of saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada can also be set up along with. The photos can be decorated with fresh flowers, traditional lamps, incense sticks, etc. can be placed in front, and fruits and exclusively prepared food items can be made as offerings.
As Krishna has said in Bhagavad Gita that he will accept even humble items like leaf and water given to him with love, it is most important to make the offerings with total devotion. While these should strictly be vegetarian, negative energy producing items like onion, garlic, etc. should be avoided.
Once the items are offered to the Lord with love, they all become sacred Prasad, and the devotees should make it a point only to consume such sanctified offerings, with prayers and gratitude to the Lord.
Devotees should also strictly avoid any form of immoral activities in their lives and dedicate all possible time to devotional service.
There cannot be a greater blessing than bringing Krishna into one’s home and life and assimilating his consciousness into one’s self.