Hare Krishna FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Hare Krishna FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Some years ago I happened across this interesting internet page called “Hare Krishna FAQ”. The page was located at; http://www.harekrsna.de/artikel/faq.htm I quickly read through it and copied it to my files to re-read at a later time. I read it again this evening and found it very interesting and at times amusing. We share it with our readers here at The Hare Krishna Movement.

Hare krishna FAQ

• About “Hare Krishna”
• About Srila Prabhupada
• About ISKCON
• About Gaudiya-math
• About regulative principles
• About the Vedas
• About India
• About devotional service (bhakti)
• About initiation (diksa)
• About the disciplic succession (parampara)

What is the meaning of Hare Krishna?

It is the short form of the maha-mantra, the great spiritual sound of final liberation:
 
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

“By vibrating this transcendental sound, the meaning of everything, both material and spiritual, is revealed. This Hare Krishna is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead.” (from Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada Commentary, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.40)

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Qualities of a Devotee

Srila Prabhupada and Sudama Swami

For some time now I have been meaning to look up the 26 qualities of a devotee and print them out.  This was the topic of a discussion we had with a fellow devotee some time back.  None of us could exactly remember all 26 qualities, but we were pretty sure that we were not in possession of them all in full.  After a little searching we found them, and share them with you.

…These qualities of a devotee,twentysix in number, are listed as follows: (1) kind to everyone, (2) does not quarrel with anyone, (3) fixed in the Absolute Truth, (4) equal to everyone, (5) faultless, (6) charitable, (7) mild, (8) clean, (9) simple, (10) benevolent, (11) peaceful, (12) completely attached to Krsna, (13) has no material hankering, (14) meek, (15) steady, (16) self-controlled, (17) does not eat more than required, (18) sane, (19) respectful, (20) humble, (21) grave, (22) compassionate, (23) friendly, (24) poetic, (25) expert, (26) silent. (from purport to SB 4.20.16)

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Meaning of the Auspicious Marks on the Lotus Feet of Sri Nityananda Prabhu

Nityananda lotus feet

This will be our last post for a couple of weeks, as we will be doing some traveling and pilgrimage. Hare Krishna!

On February 1st, we will be celebrating the Appearance of Nityananda Prabhu.

nitai-pada-kamala
koti-candra-susitala

The lotusfeet of Lord Nityananda are cooling like a million moons

Meaning of the Auspicious Marks on the Lotus Feet of Sri Nityananda Prabhu
Compiled and translated by Dasaratha-suta dasa

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Photograph of a Spiritual Teacher is in the Absolute Stage

Srila Prabhupada framed

click on image to enlarge

…Yes. Those who are spiritually advanced, their photograph and ordinary photograph is different. Just like here is statue of Kṛṣṇa. He’s not different from Kṛṣṇa. The original person Kṛṣṇa and this statue of Kṛṣṇa is the same. Similarly, a spiritually perfect person and his photograph is the same. Because it is in the absolute stage. In the absolute stage there is no difference. In the material stage there is difference. Is that clear?… (Srila Prabhupada Bhagavad-gita Lecture Sept. 16, 1966)

Full Lecture More

Wedding Ceremony and Lecture

Vedic Wedding

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Wedding Ceremony and Lecture
given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Boston, May 6, 1969

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Transcendental Teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Transcendental teachings of Lord Caitanya

We share with you this nice little booklet printed in 1972 by the ISKCON Press. This book is Srila Prabhupada’s “A short sketch of the life and teachings of Lord Caitanya, the preacher of Srimad Bhagavtam”, which appeared in the Introduction to the Srimad Bhagavatam. This scanned copy was made available by Krishnapath.org where you can go to find other ebooks and Audio books that are available as a free download. To veiw or save the entire book follow link below. Hare Krishna!

The transcendental teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu offer a practical and scientific method by which anyone can easily develop love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. These teachings, in their pure form, have been spread all over the world by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to whom devotees of Lord Krsna and Lord Caitanya throughout the world offer their most humble and respectful obeisances.

Especially in the West, where the philosophies of impersonalism and voidism, presented in different ways, are enjoying temporary prominence, the culture of pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord appears to have been lost in the oblivion of time. Now Srila Prabhupada has appeared in the West to spread the Krsna consciousness movement introduced by Lord Caitanya in India 500 years ago and thus renovate the principles of pure devotional service. (From Preface)

to read online or to save click on following link; Transcendental Teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu

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Gaura Purnima

Bhagavad-Gita-Original-Art-Pancha-Tattva1

Today we celebrate the appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We honor His appearance with these two select verses from the Sri Caitanya-caritmrta.

“O most munificent incarnation! You are Kṛṣṇa Himself appearing as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and You are widely distributing pure love of Kṛṣṇa. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.

“We offer our respectful obeisances unto that merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead who has converted all three worlds, which were maddened by ignorance, and saved them from their diseased condition by making them mad with the nectar from the treasure-house of love of God. Let us take full shelter of that Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, whose activities are wonderful.”

Full text and Bengali More

Honey, which is Transcendentally Relished by the Devotees

honey1

This last week we harvested some of the honey from our bee hives, and as we extracted it I was in awe of its beautiful golden color. After we offered some of it to the Lord, we sampled its taste and it was amazing, not of this world. They must be devotee bees’s gathering the nectar from the lotus flowers and rose gardens at Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, here at New Vrindavan. The taste and texture was other-worldly, and remarkable. So I thought I would take a moment to to find some references on honey from Srila Prabhupada’s Books.

The pure devotees are always hankering after the lotus feet of the Lord. The lotus has a kind of honey which is transcendentally relished by the devotees. They are like the bees who are always after the honey. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the great devotee ācārya of the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, has sung a song about this lotus honey, comparing himself to the bee:

“O my Lord Kṛṣṇa, I beg to offer my prayers unto You. My mind is like the bee, and it is after some honey. Kindly, therefore, give my bee-mind a place at Your lotus feet, which are the resources for all transcendental honey.” (SB 1.11.26)

When the Lord entered the forest of Vṛndāvana, all the inhabitants of the forest, both animate and inanimate, were eager to receive Him. He saw that the flowers of the forest, all fully blossoming, were weeping in ecstasy, honey flowing down their petals. The waterfalls on the hilly rocks were gladly flowing, and one could hear sweet sounds from the caves nearby. (Light of the Bhagavata text 24)

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Unlimited Forms of Godhead

Krishna's unlimited forms

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Sometime back I ran across this picture and saved it to my files thinking I could use it in a post someday. While posting this chapter from the Teachings of Lord Caintanya, entitled “Unlimited Forms of Godhead”, I was looking for an image to use. So I selected the above image and to my surprise when I clicked on it, it moved. I had forgotten how cheesy cool this image was, and why it captured my interest, back when I saved it. So we share it today with our readers, and thank the unknown artist who put this picture to life.

…The different forms of Kṛṣṇa are distributed throughout the universe to give pleasure to the devotees. It is not that devotees are born only in India. There are devotees in all parts of the world, but they have simply forgotten their identity. These forms incarnate not only to give pleasure to the devotee but to reestablish devotional service and perform other activities which vitally concern the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Teachings of Lord Chaintanya
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter Seven

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Heaven or Hell

Srila Prabhupada in New York City

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…The Kṛṣṇa conscious person can go even to hell and still be happy. The pure devotee is never unhappy in any condition of life.

For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmīs and jñānīs. Karmīs therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jñānīs want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity.

A Vaiṣṇava is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one can get the clue to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life… The members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Kṛṣṇa one cannot be happy. Thus the Kṛṣṇa conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists. (from Purport to SB 7.9.44)

Full Verse and Purport More

Ways of Meeting Krishna

Radha Krishna in the rain

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…When Kṛṣṇa and His devotees meet, the meeting is technically called yoga, or linking up with the Lord. Such meetings between Kṛṣṇa and His devotees can be divided into three classes-namely, perfection, satisfaction, and steadiness. When the devotee meets with Kṛṣṇa in great eagerness, that state of meeting is called perfection.

An example of this perfectional stage of meeting Krishna can be found in the words of Srimati Radharani in this very nice verse;

Rādhārāṇī told Her companion, “My dear friend, I was just going to the bank of the Yamunā, and all of a sudden a very nice boy whose complexion is like a dark blue cloud became visible in front of My eyes. He glanced over Me in a way that I cannot describe. But since this has occurred, I am sorry that I can no longer engage My mind in the duties of My household affairs.”

The following is Chapter 39 from the Nectar of Devotion More

Prabhupadanugas

Scan74a

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Perhaps it was Krsna who directed me to the last chapter of Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta, by Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī. The famous book chronicling The life of our Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In this last chapter entitled, “The Final Lesson”, last sentence of this voluminious book, Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswāmī concludes with this statement:

“Our hope is that by hearing about Śrīla Prabhupāda the reader will become himself a Prabhupādānuga, a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda. We can wish no better fortune upon anyone.”

Update:
this came as a comment…

This is probably the best thing Satsvarupa Maharaja ever wrote.

When a devotee decides to join the Hare Krishna movement as a full-time member, they are announcing to the world their acceptance of Srila Prabhupada as the empowered representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By mature realization they will come to recognize Srila Prabhupada as their eternal spiritual master. These lifetime servants of the spiritual master are called Prabhupadanugas.

Those who mould their lives in such a way that they can always think of the lotus feet of the spiritual master will live with him eternally. Because of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental position, there is no separation in time or space between us. He is present in our lives and is guiding us back to Godhead through his written and spoken word. By his unlimited blessings we continue to move forward in Krishna consciousness and surely we will one day reach the ultimate goal of love of Godhead. The more we advance toward that goal, the more we will understand the greatness of Srila Prabhupada’s compassion upon us and his concern for the conditioned souls of this world who are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna. (Locanananda das)

Sometimes the ISKCON devotees refer to Prabhupadanugas as some splinter group, not belonging to the mainstream devotees. But in fact we can plainly see from some of the writing of the senior members of our society that becoming a follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda is exactly what is needed. For instance in Bhakti Curu Swami’s, Disappearance Day offering to Srila Prabhupada, given June 16, 2010, he states:

…everyday, in all the temples of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada is worshipped by everyone. Then why do we hesitate to tell a new comer who is searching for a guru that Srila Prabhupada, the best guru the world has ever seen, is still here, and one can surrender unto him and go back to Godhead very easily? When we have such a great good fortune, why do we not take full advantage of it? It is only when we do so that the glorious days of ISKCON will come back again and we will witness Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement starting to spread in leaps and bounds all over the world.

If we really love ISKCON and if we sincerely want the Krsna Consciousness movement to spread all over the world in every town and village, then let us broadcast all over the world that Srila Prabhupada is still with us and that anyone who wants to receive his mercy can approach him and establish his eternal relationship with him.

Full Chapter of the “The Final Lesson” More

Everyone is Eligible for the Supreme Destination Part II

Krishna-gopakumara

Everyone is Eligible for the Supreme Destination Part II

This is a continuation from yesterdays post because as I continued my reading from Chapter Eleven entitled “Lord Kṛṣṇa’s Entrance into Dvārakā”, it became apparent that:

The Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead is neither impersonal nor an inert object unable to reciprocate the feelings of His devotees. Here the word yathā-vidhi, or “just as it behooves” is significant. He reciprocates “just as it behooves” with His different types of admirers and devotees. Of course, the pure devotees are of one type only because they have no other object for service but the Lord, and therefore the Lord also reciprocates with such pure devotees just as it behooves, namely, He is always attentive to all the matters of His pure devotees. There are others who designate Him as impersonal, and so the Lord also does not take any personal interest. He satisfies everyone in terms of one’s development of spiritual consciousness, and a sample of such reciprocation is exhibited here with His different welcomers.

Yes, this is a beautiful chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and Srila Prabhupada’s Purports are dripping with transcendental Knowledge.

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Kumbh Mela: A Festival of Immortality

Kumbha Mela

…With just a few days left before Kumbh Mela at Allahabad ends, the world’s largest gathering of human beings is winding towards an end. Devotees from far and near are turning out in large numbers to take a holy dip at Sangam for the last time. Devotees after bathing in the holy water pray to the Sun God, the source of life and positivity, before retreating from the sacred waters. The festival, which lasts for 55 days, is an important part of Hindu tradition and an ancient ritual. The last bathing date is coming up Sunday March 10th, 2013 (Shivaratri Snan)

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The Perfection of Self-realization

Krishna and the gopis

…Kṛṣṇa’s only business is satisfying the devotees, and their only business is satisfying Kṛṣṇa. This is the reciprocation of love… The Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanders on the banks of the Yamunā to please the gopīs, the cowherd boys, the birds, the bees, and the cows and calves. These are not ordinary birds, bees, cows, calves, or men; they have all reached the summit of self-realization and thus, after many, many lives, have attained a position whereby they can play with Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can enable everyone to go to Kṛṣṇaloka and become Kṛṣṇa’s associate as a friend, servant, father, or mother. Kṛṣṇa is agreeable to take any of these positions in relation to His devotee.

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The Philosophy of the Hare Krishna Movement

theharekrishnamovement

click on above image to buy Srila Prabhupada’s original books

A Short Statement of the Philosophy of the Hare Krishna Movement

The Hare Krishna Movement is a worldwide community of devotees practicing bhakti-yoga, the eternal science of loving service to God. The movement was founded in the western world in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a pure devotee of God representing an unbroken chain of spiritual masters originating with Lord Krsna Himself.

Although the Movement has changed in many ways since the physical departure of Srila Prabhupada, still the principles, and practice has remained the same. And Srila Prabhupada is still the Spiritual Master for the Hare Krishna Movement.

“As long as the Spiritual master is physically present , the disciple should serve the physical body of the Spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.” (Srimad Bhagavatam Purport 4.28.47)

The following eight principles are the basis of the Krsna consciousness movement. More

The Face of the Lord is the Embodiment of Beauty

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…The essence of everything is the Supreme Lord: He is called the sāram. And those who sing and talk about Him are called the sāraṅgas, or the pure devotees. The pure devotees are always hankering after the lotus feet of the Lord. The lotus has a kind of honey which is transcendentally relished by the devotees. They are like the bees who are always after the honey. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the great devotee ācārya of the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, has sung a song about this lotus honey, comparing himself to the bee: “O my Lord Kṛṣṇa, I beg to offer my prayers unto You. My mind is like the bee, and it is after some honey. Kindly, therefore, give my bee-mind a place at Your lotus feet, which are the resources for all transcendental honey. I know that even big demigods like Brahmā do not see the rays of the nails of Your lotus feet, even though they are engaged in deep meditation for years together. Still, O infallible one, my ambition is such, for You are very merciful to your surrendered devotees. O Mādhava, I know also that I have no genuine devotion for the service of Your lotus feet, but because Your Lordship is inconceivably powerful, You can do what is impossible to be done. Your lotus feet can deride even the nectar of the heavenly kingdom, and therefore I am very much attracted by them. O supreme eternal, please, therefore, let my mind be fixed at Your lotus feet so that eternally I may be able to relish the taste of Your transcendental service.”

for full verse and purport More

Krishna & the Spiritual Master

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Letter by Srila Prabhupada

“Lately there has been some misunderstanding amongst our devotees about our Krishna Consciousness philosophy. Particularly there has been some confusion about the relationship between the Spiritual Master and Krishna.

The Vedas say that there is a Master Krishna. This Servant Krishna is the Spiritual Master and this is the conclusion. The Spiritual Master is the Mercy Representative of the Supreme Lord and as such He is given honor as good as Krishna, but He is never identical with Krishna.

Perhaps you know the picture of Madhvacarya, one of the great Acaryas in our line, who is holding two fingers up to indicate Krishna and jiva. The impersonalists hold up one finger because their idea is that everything is one. So if we make the Spiritual Master identical with Krishna, then we will also become impersonalists.

If we say that our Spiritual Master is Krishna, then the conclusion is that if we become Spiritual Master some day, then we will also become Krishna. Please try to understand how dangerous this kind of reasoning is.

In my books I have tried to explain clearly this simultaneously one and different philosophy acinta beda beda tattva propounded by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But sometimes it happens that this philosophy is given a self-interested interpretation. As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy.” (From Letter to Isana and Vibhavati, 21 September, 1970, Calcutta)

Full Letter More

The Spiritual Master (Part 3)

This is a continuation from our previous posts, The Spiritual Master some time ago, and the further discussion in The Spiritual Master (Part 2) This is a fascinating account by Sriman Locanananda Prabhu revealing his insights into the ‘guru issue’ in our ISKCON society today, from his own personal understanding, and his realizations of the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada shortly before his untimely departure. Our obeisances to him for sharing his personal recollections and realizations. [Note: some of the other comments were edited out so as not to distract from Locanananda Prabhu’s train of thought. You can follow the entire stream of comments by going to Prabhupada News As I stated, this is a fascinating account, however, this does not necessarily reflect our views on the ‘guru issue’. But Locanananda Prabhu makes a very well stated argument, and we are in complete agreement with his assessment that “success in spiritual life, means following the instructions of the spiritual master”.

… the next step is to find a way to convince others of Srila Prabhupada’s actual intention in laying out a ritvik initiation system. It was not to end the parampara with himself as the last guru in our line. It was not to push aside what he himself referred to as the “law of disciplic succession.” It was to introduce a method by which millions of souls throughout the world could be initiated into the society of vaisnavas and attain the mercy of Krishna and the previous acaryas on their journey back to Godhead.

…everyone is taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada and receiving transcendental knowledge, but they are receiving so much more. By his grace, we will be able to enter the spiritual abode and interact with Krishna face to face. Without pleasing Srila Prabhupada, one cannot even make one iota of spiritual advancement.

…Srila Prabhupada had his reasons for introducing the title “officiating acarya” instead of “diksa guru” or “initiating spiritual master,” to designate the giver of diksa when he would no longer be present. Why devotees cannot accept Srila Prabhupada’s terminology is beyond my comprehension. As far as Srila Prabhupada’s present position, we can learn from a letter written to Brahmananda on Nov. 15, 1969 where he said,

“So far as I am concerned, in relationship with my disciples who are so kindly cooperating with me in the matter of my rendering service to my spiritual master, for them I am always ready to come back from Goloka Vrindaban, if they are not delivered along with me.”

The point made here is that one should think that upon his disappearance from our visual perception, the spiritual master has returned to Goloka Vrindaban. What he has left behind is the legacy of the temples he established, the Deities he installed and the body of instructions he imparted. By his inconceivable mercy, Srila Prabhupada, while residing in the abode of Krishna, continues to bestow his blessings upon us. As disciples, we should make every attempt to end the cycle of birth and death by preparing ourselves through the purificatory process of devotional service to go back to Godhead so as not to oblige the spiritual master to come back to this world to deliver us.

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Association with the Pure Devotee

From the Concluding Words to the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

…There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapu. Vāṇī means words, and vapu means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad-gītā continues.

I still consider His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words.

It is my wish that devotees of Lord Caitanya all over the world enjoy this translation, and I am glad to express my gratitude to the learned men in the Western countries who are so pleased with my work that they are ordering in advance all my books that will be published in the future. On this occasion therefore, I request my disciples who are determined to help me in this work to continue their cooperation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

For full text More

Previous Older Entries

108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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