Following are the main sections of the HareKrsna website. Click on the 'Site Map' button in each of these sections to see a detailed Site Map for that section.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead
The sign of a genuine spiritual seeker is their focus on the primary question, "Who is God? After the question itself, the next most important aspect is who you're asking the question of. On the HareKrsna.com website, questions are posed to the Sampradaya Acarya, who is representing the greatest spiritual minds on the subject of God. He has provided a wealth of detailed information in answer to the question. Just by reading this section of the site, one can see how much detail there is on the subject of God. In fact, within the title, "the Supreme Personality of Godhead", we have the essence: He is God, He is a person, He is the supreme person, He has a personality, and that personality is the ultimate. When asking the question, "Who is God?" one ultimately has two choices: is God a person, or is God an impersonal energy? If you have wisely concluded that ultimately everything resides in a person, then you're open to receive the elaborate detail on who this person is.
From the previous section we know that God is a person, and that everything is emanating from the Supreme Person. The absolute truth will ultimately lead to the supreme person. This means that we can examine any aspect of the total cosmic creation, and with the help of the Acaryas, our inquiries will lead back to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whether one is looking at different aspects of the material energy, the workings of time and karma, or the infitesimal spiritual entities, the jiva atmas, the absolute truth gives you the information that will allow you to actually see Krsna in everything. In our present state, we are unable to see God with our mundane senses and mind, but the knowledge found in this section of the site allows us to appreciate the inconceivable intelligence behind everything that is going on. In this way, we can see God.
Guru, Sadhu and Sastra
There are two type of knowledge. Transcendental knowledge is descending from God through the line of disciplic succession of guru, sadhu, and sastra. Ascending knowledge is what one finds in the universities, wherein one scholar is building on whatever knowledge another scholar has contributed in the past. Using empirical evidence and scientific formulas, each scholar makes his own hypothesis. This process is the opposite of the guru, who's perfectly passing down the knowledge from the previous teacher, without changing, speculating, or contaminating. The guru provides answers to our practical questions by applying the unchanged absolute truth according to time, place and circumstance.
Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya
The line of disciplic succession that is presenting the knowledge found within this website is known as the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya. It is one of four original lines of disciplic succession, and at this point in time, it is the most surcharged of the four sampradayas. This is due to the appearance of the Yuga Avatara, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who advented into this sampradaya 500 years ago. Following him was the latest Sampradaya Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who came following the Acaryas immediately preceding him in the Sampradaya. Whether we fully realize it or not, we have a very unusual opportunity at this point of time in Kali Yuga to gain access to the secret of all secrets. One who appreciates this opportunity to take shelter of the preeminent Sampradaya Acarya can make immense spiritual progress.
His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami
All the knowledge presented thus far in the HareKrsna.com website has been on account of the mercy of the preeminent Sampradaya Acarya, Srila Prabhupada. His Divine Grace has been empowered by the previous Acaryas and by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to build a bridge between two great cultures - the east and the west. By his efforts to present this knowledge in the English language, and from English translations into many other languages, he has unlocked the door that leads directly to the spiritual world. To fully appreciate this knowledge, one must appreciate the deliverer of the knowledge and the level of realization that was necessary for him to accomplish his task. By reading the knowledge that is provided here, one can simultaneously develop love for Srila Prabhupada, the person bringing this knowledge to you.
In studying the teachings of the Acaryas, one is introduced to the great Vaisnava literatures such as the Bhagavad-Gita, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the life and teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One of the first lessons we learn is that, since time immemorial, great sages have debated on these transcendental subject matters. The philosophical debate is going on to this very day. Although the great Acaryas have presented this transcendental knowledge in its entirety, unless one has direct access to the Acarya there will always be some controversy amongst the conditioned souls who are striving to understand the absolute truth in their own individually unique way.
Religion essentially means bhakti, or love of God. Within the Vaisnava tradition, just as in other religions, there is a process for practical application of the universal absolute truth. Just as the philosophy of Krsna Consciousness is absolute truth, similarly the practice of serving with the ultimate goal of developing pure love of God is a universal, absolute principle. This process is open to anyone and everyone, and can be adopted or applied to one's life in any degree. The practices may even be dovetailed with devotional processes from other traditions. What is recommended here is the process for strictly following the line of disciplic teachers, which is sure to bring spiritual advancement.
The Devotional Process
While some traditions may emphasize one process over others, devotional processes all incorporate the same basic activities. The Goswamis of Vrindaban are known as the architects of the devotional process as it is practiced by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. The Goswamis have presented the process in an organized, practical and scientific way, and it has been passed down without change by the Sampradaya Acaryas. In this section of the website, all the fundamental processes are explained in detail, and an explanation is given on how the aspirant may proceed from one level to the next, properly participating in these devotional practices so as to get the maximum benefit. As the soul is ultimately an individual, there will be a natural tendency for different spirit souls to become more attracted to one process over another. This is not a problem or deviation. Becoming perfect in any one of these practices will bring one to the level of pure love of God.
"Sadhana" refers to a particular set of devotional processes that are engaged in by the devotee. One should follow the process recommended by the Spiritual Master as closely as possible, making adjustments according to individual circumstances. In the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, chanting and hearing are considered to be essential ingredients of sadhana practice. Adding the practice of Deity worship increases the potency of the process still more. The Sampradaya Acaryas not only introduced Sadhana practices that give the individual a wide variety of devotional activities to engage in, they also provided a great deal of direction on how these processes should be performed to get the maximum benefits. By following the Acarya's program, one gets the proper blend of ingredients in both religious practice and philosophy: the religious practice doesn't become too sentimental, and the philosophy doesn't become too dry or academic. In this way, one can quickly taste the results and experience the ecstasy that comes from engaging in devotional service.
The Four Regulative Principles
Anyone being introduced to Krsna Consciousness will soon be presented with the standard practice commonly known as “the four regs”. When these regulative principles are presented they seem common sense and straightforward, but there is, understandably, a certain degree of disagreement amongst those in the Vaisnava community about their exact definition. While the following of these four regulative principles is often expounded as being the highest principle, or nearly the highest, most newcomers find that following these four regs honestly, purely and without deviation proves, in due course, to be a daunting task. It’s much better to accept these principles as being the topmost standard, rather than allow the mind to dilute their definition so as one can pretend that they are actually following them, when in reality they’re not. One should not be discouraged in one’s attempts to be Krsna Conscious because they’re not purely following these regulative principles. It may take years before one can honestly come to the standard of following. This will depend on the individual’s circumstances, both karmic, conditional, and circumstantial.
If you study this section of the website, it will lead you to the realization that Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtana Movement has incorporated the preparation and consumption of Krsna Prasadam as an essential part of the bhakti process for this age. As such, it is a real science, on many levels, from Lord Krsna’s instructions to simply offer Him a little fruit, flower, leaf or water, up to elaborate processes for cooking the most exotic foodstuffs on the planet and offering them to Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Deities. Certain devotees have a natural attraction to preparing and taking prasadam, while some are more attracted to other aspects of Krsna Consciousness. Regardless, everyone has a material body that needs to be supplied with nutrients to keep it healthy and functioning properly, and they have to take some type of foodstuffs to do this. Krsna Prasadam is what is required. There are few restrictions beyond the elimination of meat, fish and eggs. If foodstuffs are prepared and offered in devotion to Krsna, the remnants of Krsna’s mercy may be enjoyed by all.
One of the main principles of the Bhagavad-Gita is given wherein Lord Sri Krsna instructed Arjuna not to give up his prescribed duty within the varnasrama system, namely to be a Ksatriya, and as such to fight in the Battle of Kurukshetra. Lord Krsna goes on to explain that one does not make genuine spiritual advancement by simply changing one’s material circumstances, but rather advances through the practice of Krsna Consciousness under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master. One can remain in whatever material circumstance one finds oneself in, and by gradually purifying oneself and replacing passionate and ignorant activities with those of goodness and devotion, one can transform all activities to pleasing Krsna rather than to pleasing the senses, the family, country, etc. Nama hatta means that you transform your home and family into an asrama wherein Krsna becomes the center and the Holy Name of the Lord is chanted regularly, Krsna prasadam is offered, and the Deities are served.