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Hare Krishna

Lessons on Krishna Conscious practices
SANKIRTANA

1) Sankirtana means the congregational chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna.

2) The words Nama Sankirtana, Sankirtana yajna, Kirtana also convey a similar meaning.

3) Sankirtana is the recommended process in Vedic scriptures for spiritual advancement in the present age, called kali yuga. It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.3.52):

krte yad dhyayato visnum
tretayam yajato makhaih
dvapare paricaryayam
kalau tad dhari-kirtanat


"Whatever result one obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord's lotus feet one can also obtain in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra."

4) The scriptures further stress that sankirtana is the only means for spiritual upliftment in kali yuga. It is stated in the shastras,

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha


"For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord."

5) Sankirtana is the best way to worship the Supreme Lord Krishna. In the course of describing His opulences in the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad gita, Krishna tells, yajnanam japa-yajno 'smi - Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names (BG 10.25)

6) Sankirtana is also the easiest way to worship the Supreme Lord Krishna.

7) The Sankirtana movement was inaugurated in the fifteenth century by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is Krishna Himself. He also predicted that the Sankirtana movement will soon spread to every town and village in the world.

8) This prophecy was fulfilled by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada who propogated the Sankirtana movement all over the world.

9) Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in 1966 to further the Sankirtana movement all over the world.

10) To begin Sankirtana, one should first offer prayers to Srila Prabhupada by chanting his pranama mantra,

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-prestaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine


I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine


Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvämi. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

11) Then one should offer prayers to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates by chanting the Panca Tattva Maha mantra,

jaya sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta vrnda

All glories to Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara Pandita Prabhu, Srivasa Thakura and all those devotees who follow in their footsteps.

12) Now one should chant the Hare Krishna Maha mantra,

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare


O Srimati Radharani (the divine energy of the Lord Krishna), O all-attractive reservoir of pleasure, Lord Sri Krishna, please engage me in Your loving devotional service.

13) Sankirtana should be performed in a call and response manner i.e. one devotee should lead and the others should follow.

14) The basic musical instruments to accompany sankirtana are Karatals, or hand cymbals and Mridanga, or drum.

15) The karatala should be played in 1-2-3 manner while accompanying the Sankirtana.

16) One should also dance, clap his hands and raise his hands during Sankirtana.

Sankirtana maha yajna ki jaya
All glories to the Sankirtana yajna, the congregational chanting of the holy name.

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