Where the Teachings Come From?
the Hare Krishna Movement has only been established in the West since 1966, its roots extend thousands of years into the past,
back into the Vedic tradition of India. The Vedas were originally a vocal tradition, but then were written in Sanskrit over
5000 years ago.
The compiler of the Vedic literature, Srila
Vyasadeva, divided the Vedic knowledge into various departments of material and spiritual knowledge, entrusting his disciples
with particular sections. In this way, the scriptures developed into the four Vedas, the Vedanta Sutras, 108 main Upanishads,
the great Mahabharat which includes the Bhagavad-gita, and the 18 major Puranas, among other texts. Of the Puranas, the Bhagavat
Purana or Srimad-Bhagavatam is described as the most ripened fruit of all Vedic literature. It is accepted by the Vedic tradition
as the conclusion of Vedantic principles and understanding, and relates the pastimes and characteristics of the Supreme Lord.
The process of spiritual development described in the Vedic literature is one of a
gradual process of God-realization and love of God. This wisdom has been carefully preserved and passed down through the centuries
through the vehicle of the disciplic succession of self-realized teachers.
This ancient spiritual wisdom is now again being presented in the West through the Hare Krishna Movement. They invite
people of all kinds to visit their temples, communities and websites, and participate in whatever way they like in this sublime
and easy process of bhakti-yoga and Krishna Consciousness. There are also many books that can also help explain how you may
begin this spiritual process.
Why do some members wear robes and saris?
In the ancient Vedic culture a person dressed according to his or her social and spiritual position. Following those
traditions, women who live in Hare Krishna communities wear saris and men wear robes called dhotis. Married men wear white,
and unmarried men wear saffron. Men living a monastic lifestyle shave their heads and leave a tuft of hair in the back, called
a sikha. This is done as a sign of renunciation and surrender to Krishna, as well as for cleanliness and simplicity. The sikha
is also a sign of accepting the premise that God is a person and not merely an impersonal force. The clay marking on the forehead
signifies that the body is a temple of God. The clay comes from sacred rivers in India.