What is Krsna Consciousness?

The following interview with freelance reporter Sandy Nixon took place in July 1975, in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s quarters at the Kṛṣṇa center in Philadelphia. This discussion serves as a superb introduction to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and covers such basic topics as the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the relationship between the spiritual master and God, the difference between genuine and fake gurus, the role of women in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the Indian caste system, and the relationship between Christ consciousness and Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

What is Krsna Consciousness?

Ms. Nixon: My first question is very basic. What is Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa means God. We are all intimately connected with Him because He is our original father. But we have forgotten this connection. When we become interested in knowing, “What is my connection with God? What is the aim of life?” then we are called Kṛṣṇa conscious.

Ms. Nixon: How does Kṛṣṇa consciousness develop in the practitioner?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is already there in the core of everyone’s heart. But because of our materially conditioned life, we have forgotten it. The process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—revives the Kṛṣṇa consciousness we already have. For example, a few months ago these American and European boys and girls did not know about Kṛṣṇa, but just yesterday we saw how they were chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and dancing in ecstasy throughout the whole Ratha-yātrā procession [an annual festival sponsored by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in cities around the world]. Do you think that was artificial? No. Artificially, nobody can chant and dance for hours together. They have actually awakened their Kṛṣṇa consciousness by following a bona fide process. This is explained in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22. 107)

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No Personal Ambition

Srila Prabhupada warns about the danger of personal motivation
compiled by: Yasodanandana Dasa

But the question may be raised as to why is it that we have seen so many devotees, even senior devotees with many years of direct physical association with the acarya, Srila Prabhupada, were [and are] seemingly incapable of clearly understanding Krishna Consciousness philosophy, with so many examples of distortion, blatant philosophical deviations, concoctions, misrepresentations etc. What is the reason for this? The acarya, Srila Prabhupada, explains:

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. (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 21, 1970)

Srila Prabhupada describes the key of success for the mission of Lord Caitanya

“…Hundreds of people join in our Sankirtana Party daily in downtown Calcutta, and I am confident that this mission of Lord Caitanya’s will be successful if only we continue to push on this great movement, without any personal motivation. Hope this finds you and your good wife and child in good health…” (Srila Prabhupada letter, September 19, 1970)

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