Philosophy & Meditation
The pure Hindu religion is referred to as Sanatan Dharma (the Eternal
Path of Loving Devotion to God). Sanatan Dharma is the essence of all
religions. The Vedic perspective views all religions (including
Hinduism) as cultural variations of Sanatan Dharma.
The word Veda means knowledge. The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God,
contains the essential teaching and conclusion of all Vedic knowledge.
It is the main scripture of the Hindu religion. The Gita describes that
each soul (jivatma - the infinitesimal soul) is eternal and has an
unbreakable relationship with God (paramatma - the infinite, supreme
Soul). The individual souls (jivatma) are part and parcel of God and
are meant to reside with the Lord in the Kingdom of God (Vaikunta).
However, the souls wandering in the material world are bound up in a
chain of material activities, or work(karma), and are in a state of
forgetfulness of their relationship with God. These type of activities,
which may produce good or bad results, inevitably lead to frustration.
The conditioned souls, living under the illusion (maya) that they can
derive happiness through actions independent from the will of God, are
subjugated to a cycle of birth and death (samsara - reincarnation). To
achieve liberation (mukti), it is not recommended that one give up
activity, but one should redirect activity toward the devotional service
(bhakti yoga) of the Supreme Lord. The conditioned souls can awaken to
their eternal nature of knowledge and joy (satchitananda) through
service to God. Living a life of pure devotion includes several
restrictions - no gambling, no intoxication, no illicit sex, and a
vegetarian diet, as well as engaging in daily meditations on the name of
Daily meditations include chanting on a prayer beads (mala). Srila
Prabhupada asked his students to chant the Hare Krishna prayer a
prescribed number of times daily. He explained that there are many names
of God throughout the world and one can draw closer to God by the
chanting of His holy name. The Krishna prayer (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare)
consists of the names of God - Hari, Krishna, and Rama - and essentially
means "O my dear Lord, please allow me to serve You."