Our Philosophy & Spiritual Values

Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1965, and travelled the world teaching the science of self-realisation and writing numerous books. 

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organisation.

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means to link up with, or combine. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service. 

The Vedas are ancient sacred texts which form the foundation of Hinduism. These vast volumes of writing are written in Sanskrit, and the earliest date back to at least 1700 BC.

The Hare Krishna movement is based upon Vedic philosophy, with a particular focus on scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Krishna consciousness means an awareness of and affection for the Supreme Person, Krishna. It is the culmination of all forms of yoga, knowledge, meditation, and spirituality.

At the Hare Krishna school deity worship is an important part of our daily spiritual practice. Krishna, or God, is pure spirit. He’s not made of anything material. But in the material world, we can’t see spirit. All we can see is matter. By agreeing to appear in the form of a Deity, God allows us to see, honor, and serve him, even while we’re still in material existence.

Krishna is a name of the original, unique Supreme Person, the source of all that exists. God has many names, and each describes a different aspect of His personality. The name Krishna—”the all-attractive one”—indicates the unequaled charm and beauty of the Supreme Person, as He appears to His most dear devotees. Krishna has many pastimes, as a baby, a child, a lover, a friend, a son, or a mentor. 

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534) was a spiritual teacher who founded Gaudiya Vaishnavism. He is believed by his devotees to be Krishna himself who appeared in the form of His own devotee in order to teach the people of this world the process of Bhakti and how to attain the perfection of life.

The divine counterpart of Sri Krishna is known as Sri Radha (Radharani). Together they are the male and female aspects of God. Sri Radha is the complete energy, and Sri Krishna is the complete energetic source. Radha and Krishna are one, yet they have assumed two separate forms to enjoy loving pastimes.

The four pillars of spiritual life are described as mercy (compassion), cleanliness (of body, mind and spirit), self-discipline (self-regulation), and truthfulness (integrity). ​To support these four pillars we believe that it is helpful to abstain from eating meat, illicit sex, intoxication, and gambling.   

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As an important part of our spiritual practice we encourage the chanting of the Maha Mantra in individual meditation, or in communal songs of worship.The words call on the male (Krishna/Rama) and female (Hare) energies of God.

The word ‘Prasada’ means “a gracious gift” or “mercy”. Within the Vedic tradition, food is offered to God with a prayer before it is eaten. This changes the experience of eating from a material to a spiritual experience. We recognise that we are not the “owners” of the food, but that we have been allowed to eat it as a gift. 

Within Vedic philosophy we believe in reincarnation. That is to say, the soul transmigrates at death to another body, or at the end of its cycle of reincarnation, to the spiritual world. Karma dictates which form the soul will take in its next life. 

Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

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