Krishna West (UNC)

Program Details

What?

Join us for a relaxing night of musical mantra meditation and FREE delicious vegan dinner!

Why?

The musical mantra meditation relieves us from stress and nourishes our inner self, allowing us to realize the unlimited pleasure within.

How?

Musical mantra meditation is an easy process of meditation with no prior experience necessary. We chant a powerful mantra (the Hare Krishna mantra) in a call and response format, so it’s easy for everyone to follow along.

Who?

We welcome any college student or any recent college graduate.

If anyone needs to make a religious visit for one of his or her classes, this is the perfect program for you!

When?

On Wednesday, join us for meditation and dinner starting at 6:30 pm.

On Thursday, join us for a free dinner on UNC campus anytime during 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Where?

Just 5 minutes off of UNC’s campus near MLK Boulevard. Please contact Akshay for more information.

Contact:

Name: Akshay

Email: akshayg95@yahoo.com

Cell: 828-242-8436

Philosophy

Philosophy

At Krishna West we practice bhakti-yoga, which is a holistic form of yoga meant to awaken the unlimited joy and bliss that lie within us. Bhakti-yoga is based off the highly revered text Bhagavad Gita, which teaches us how to find deeper meaning and satisfaction in life. By chanting sacred mantras like the Hare Krishna mantra (practiced by musicians like George Harrison), we can realize our spiritual nature, reconnect with the Supreme, and start to experience true happiness.For more information, check out the articles tab.

Lifestyle

By choosing to incorporate elements of goodness into our daily lives, we experience the higher taste of living a life centered on principles of wisdom, piety, compassion, cleanliness, health, and sustainability. When we focus on living each moment for the pleasure of the Lord and for the welfare of all living beings, we move away from egocentric motivations that demand acknowledgement and monetary gain from everything we do. It is one of life’s greatest ironies that the less we seek to fulfill our own selfish desires, the happier and more satisfied we become!

Mission

Krishna West is part of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the “Hare Krishna Movement,” founded by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We call this Krishna West because we do everything possible to make bhakti-yoga easy, relevant and enjoyable for Western people, without in any way compromising, diluting, or diminishing the purity and power of a glorious ancient tradition. We do this by offering the essential spiritual teaching and practice in its entirety.

Article

The following is an article written by one of the students participating in Krishna West. It provides a brief explanation of bhakti-yoga and will be published in the Back to Godhead magazine in July/August 2017.

Bhakti-yoga: Fulfilling Our Need to Love

By Akshay Gupta

Loving is essential to our identity as spiritual beings, and we can learn to direct our love for complete satisfaction.

Imagine you had to take care of a bird. Wouldn’t it be a little silly to polish and take care of the bird’s cage but forget to feed and care for the bird inside? Neglecting the needs of the soul is a lot like taking care of a bird’s cage but neglecting the bird within. But the soul isn’t satisfied if we simply take care of the body. The soul needs a deeper fulfillment and a higher purpose. Bhakti-yoga is the means by which we can nourish the soul and awaken our blissful nature.

Many people are familiar with yoga as physical exercise, but bhakti-yoga is different. The Sanskrit word yoga means “to connect,” and in bhakti-yoga we reconnect with our original source, through bhakti, or devotion, and fully awaken the great love that lies dormant within us. We all have the inclination to love. But when we direct it towards our family, friends, pets, society, country, nation, and so on, the reciprocation we seek is never fully satisfying, and we find ourselves frustrated. Our desire to love can be fully satisfied only when we direct it towards our original source. When we do so, we can experience the limitless love and ecstasy that comes from reestablishing that lost link.

The Vedic literature of India teaches us how to practice bhakti-yoga and nourish our connection with the Supreme. One of the primary means to do so is by chanting the mahā-mantra, which consists of sacred and powerful names: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma. Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Just as sound can awaken someone who’s asleep, the sound of the mahā-mantra can awaken our dormant love within. Simply by chanting this mantra, one can realize one’s spiritual identity and its ecstatic nature.

The Bhagavad-gītā explains that we are eternal spiritual beings but material nature now covers our spiritual identities, causing us to consider our temporary body to be our actual self. Just as dust on a mirror blocks our ability to see our reflection, the covering of our material body blocks our ability to see our true spiritual nature. By chanting the mahā-mantra, however, we can clear the “dust” from the mirror of our consciousness, which has been recording material impressions for many, many years. When the dust is removed, we can see our true selves clearly and experience boundless love.

Chanting the mahā-mantra also cleanses the heart of negative qualities like lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride, and envy. When these are removed, we begin to discover a sense of freedom, because our lower desires gradually lose their power over us. We also come closer to the true nature of the soul: eternality, knowledge, and bliss.

Transformed Activities

While chanting sacred names is central to bhakti, there’s much more to the practice. In fact, we can transform all of our activities through bhakti-yoga. By doing everything to serve the Supreme, we spiritualize our life at every step. Because we can serve the Supreme according to our own natures, we can serve in endless ways. We can write for the Supreme, sing for the Supreme, cook for the Supreme, eat for the Supreme, teach for the Supreme, drive for the Supreme, design buildings for the Supreme, write computer software for the Supreme and so on.

Also, bhakti-yoga is not a solitary practice. Like many other endeavors that benefit from the company of likeminded people, bhakti-yoga practiced with other bhakti-yogis nourishes one’s spiritual life. To stress the importance of spiritual fellowship, the great bhakti teacher Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his Upadeśāmṛta (“The Nectar of Instruction”), listed six ways bhakti-yogis can enhance their relationships with one another:

  1. Give gifts
  2. Accept gifts
  3. Give prasāda (sanctified vegetarian food)
  4. Accept prasāda
  5. Reveal one’s mind confidentially
  6. Inquire confidentially

Of course, in our hectic modern world, pursuing the path of bhakti-yoga can be difficult at times. Luckily, to make rapid spiritual advancement we can take instruction from spiritual mentors who can help our dormant love for the Supreme flow through our hearts. Kṛṣṇa advises Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.34),

tad viddhi praṇipātena

paripraśnena sevayā

upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ

jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual mentor. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.” Here Kṛṣṇa implies that reading books on bhakti-yoga is not enough; one requires guidance from someone more experienced. This principle applies in other fields, of course. For example, to become a doctor, one doesn’t simply study medical textbooks and then jump into operating on patients. One has to follow the standard process of going to the university and postgraduate school, all while following the instructions of professors.

Moving Steadily Forward

By learning from and following the instructions of a spiritual mentor, one can cleanse the heart and make steady progress on the path to pure devotion. One develops a taste for the activities of bhakti-yoga and starts to feel incredible ecstasy by awakening the love within.

This progression may take some time, but that shouldn’t discourage us from taking up the process. We should not neglect to take care of our soul, our real self. While the body is important, nourishing the needs of the soul will make us truly happy. Through bhakti-yoga we can develop the endless love within us and become eternally blissful.

Akshay Gupta is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.