The devotees seen dancing and chanting in the streets, dressed in traditional Indian robes, are for the most part full-time students of the Hare Krishna movement. The vast majority of followers, however, live and work in the general community, practicing Krishna consciousness in their homes and attending temples on a regular basis.
In order to revive their own and humanity’s inherent natural spiritual principles of compassion, truthfulness, cleanliness, and austerity, and to master the mind and the material senses, devotees also follow these four regulations:
1. No eating of meat, fish, or eggs.
2. No gambling.
3. No illicit sex.
4. No intoxication of any kind, including tobacco, coffee, and tea. According to the Bhagavad-gétä and other Vedic literatures, indulgence in the above activities disrupts
our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and increases anxiety and conflict in society.
A Philosophy for Everyone
The philosophy of the Hare Krishna movement (a monotheistic tradition) is summarized in the following eight points:
1. By sincerely cultivating the authentic spiritual science presented in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic scriptures, we can become free from anxiety and achieve a state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness.
2. Each of us is not the material body but an eternal spirit soul, part and parcel of God (Krishna). As such, we are all the eternal servants of Krishna and are interrelated through Him, our common father.
3. Krishna is the eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and all-attractive Personality of Godhead. He is the seed-giving father of all living beings and the sustaining energy of the universe. He is the source of all incarnations of God, including Lord Buddha and Lord Jesus Christ.
4. The Vedas are the oldest scriptures in the world. The essence of the Vedas is found in the Bhagavad-gita, a literal record of Krishna’s words spoken five thousand years ago in India.
The goal of Vedic knowledge—and of all religions—is to achieve love of God.
5. We can perfectly understand the knowledge of self-realization through the instructions of a genuine spiritual master—one who is free from selfish motives, who teaches the science of God explained in the Bhagavad-gita, and whose mind is firmly fixed in meditation on Krishna.
6. All that we eat should first be offered to Lord Krishna with a prayer. In this way Krishna accepts the offering and blesses it for our purification.
7. Rather than living in a self-centered way, we should act for the pleasure of Lord Krishna. This is known as bhakti-yoga, the science of devotional service.
8. The most effective means for achieving God consciousness in this Age of Kali, or quarrel, is to chant the holy names of the Lord:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare.