Bhakti - The Yoga of Love
The Krishna Farm 'New Govardhana' and - as its outreach program - the Krishna Village Eco Yoga Community, are a place of connection, spiritual communion and immersion in ancient yogic teachings.
The guiding principle of our daily practice at the Krishna Village is Bhakti, the yoga of love and devotion. This yogic path, immortalised over 5000 years ago in the Bhagavad Gita, aims to re-connect the individual’s consciousness to the Divine through the rendering of service in a mood of love and care, as if for one’s own close friends and family.
The word 'yoga' itself, derived from the Sanskrit root syllable 'yug' means 'to link' or 'to connect' to the Divine. Whilst other paths use practices like physical movement (asana yoga), acquisition of knowledge (jñāna yoga) or mindful action (karma yoga), the Bhakti yoga path emphasises love, compassion and devotion, in remembrance of our eternal relationship with the Supreme.
Daily Bhakti Yoga Practices
When visiting the Krishna Village, you will have the opportunity to witness our spiritual activities and - if you like - join in and get a first-hand experience of devotional lifestyle. Here's an overview of daily practices you might see around and find interesting:
(1) Mantra singing and chanting
Whether in the yoga hall, temple or spontaneously in the middle of the day - we love singing kirtan. Feel free to join in if you wish! Or learn how to use japa beads for individual mantra meditation.
(2) Following a vegetarian diet and offering our food
Our path emphasises non-violence (ahimsa) towards all living entities, whether they are in a human or animal body. Hence, we don't consume meat, fish or eggs and instead prepare the most delicious vegetarian and vegan meals. In addition, before we eat, we sing Sanskrit mantras to give our gratitude to the Divine for providing for us. Thus, we add a spiritual aspect to the nourishment we receive and the preparations become prasadam (sanctified food).
(3) Making offerings to the Deities in the temple
We have beautiful Deities of Krishna and his beloved Radha, of Krishna with his brother Balarama, and of Gaura Nitai. They are dressed daily, receive fresh flower garlands, are offered food and worshipped in many more ways. With that, we remain in loving service and mindful that the Divine is here in our midst at all times, and not some far away, detached being.
(4) Hearing and studying sacred texts
Every morning, you will see the devotees gathering at the temple for the Srimad Bhagavatam class, with one of our spiritual teachers or senior devotees reading a sloka (verse) from this ancient text, teaching it to the group, and then giving class, elaborating on the topic. If you are interested, come along. There's time for questions at the end of every class.
(5) Spending time with like-minded souls
'Show me your friends and I can tell you who you are' - we put this old saying into practice by associating with like-minded spiritual seekers to learn from them and mutually strengthen our spiritual practice. We also honour our elders and make a point of listening to their stories and advice, tapping into the wealth of spiritual wisdom they have acquired.
(6) Protecting cows
In our spiritual tradition, cows are considered sacred and are therefore protected and cherished. We have about 80 cows on the Krishna Farm and they are looked after and cared for by a team of experienced cow herds.
The mantra we are famous for
The Sanskrit word mantra means 'to deliver the mind' and is the practice of repeating a single word or phrase to oneself (chanting) or as a communal practice (kirtan singing). The purpose of mantra meditation is to fix one's mind on the powerful transcendental sound vibration of the chosen words in the ancient sacred language of Sanskrit.
The mantra we Hare Krishnas are famous for is the Maha Mantra. It is recognised even by other spiritual paths in India as the maha (great) mantra, because rather than asking for benedictions or blessings, it is a simple and heartfelt offering of unconditional love and service to the Divine feminine (Radha) and masculine (Krishna):
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Whilst most other mantras in ancient times were only taught to members of the brahmin (priest) caste and simple people were refused initiation, the Maha Mantra was the first one to be given freely to people, regardless of their educational background, or social status. The Bhakti Saint Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who lived and preached in India about 500 years ago, spread this practice and taught his disciples to bring love and devotion for the Divine to every town and every city, in the form of chanting this simple mantra.