- Ritualistic worship (puja) and religious festivals
- Chanting of the mantra ‘Hare Krushna’
- Krushna Gayatri
- Yantras and bijamantras
- Main sects
Krushna belonged to the Satvat clan of the Yadav dynasty. After He renounced His body this clan began worshipping Him. This was a kind of beginning of the Path of Devotion (Bhaktimarg). The Alvar saints of Tamilnadu in South India propagated the devotion of Krushna.
Krushna being Vishnu’s incarnation is worshipped just like Vishnu. (Refer ‘Chapter 12 : Vishnu, point - Ritualistic worship’.) The birth of Krushna is celebrated on the eighth day (ashtami) of the dark fortnight of Shravan at midnight.
‘गोप्य: नाम विष्णुपत्न्य: तासां चन्दनं आल्हादकम्’ means that which imparts Bliss to the consorts of Krushna is gopichandan (गोपीचन्दन). It is also named Vishnuchandan.
This is a kind of white mud found in Dvarka. The holy texts say that just as sins are cleansed by bathing in the Ganga, so also by applying a paste of gopichandan all sins are overcome. It is customary to apply gopichandan to the forehead amidst chanting of the Vishnu Gayatri mantra.
‘Kalisantaran Upanishad is a part of the Krushnayajurveda and is also referred to as the Harinamopanishad. This Upanishad was narrated by Lord Brahma to Sage Narad at the end of the Dvaparyug. The gist of this text is that solely by chanting the Name of Lord Narayaß are the ill-effects due to the influence of Kali destroyed. This Name is comprised of the following sixteen words.
Hare Krushna Hare Krushna Krushna Krushna Hare Hare
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे ।।
These sixteen words are associated with the sixteen stages (kalas) of the embodied soul. This mantra has the capacity to destroy the covering of the embodied soul. Some followers of the Krushna sect chant the second line of the mantra first.’
1. देवकीनन्दनाय विद्महे । वासुदेवाय धीमहि ।
तन्न: कृष्ण: प्रचोदयात् ।।
Meaning: We are quite familiar with Krushna, the son of Devaki. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Krushna inspire our intellect benevolently.
2. दामोदराय विद्महे । वासुदेवाय धीमहि ।
तन्न: कृष्ण: प्रचोदयात् ।।
Meaning: We are quite familiar with Damodar. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Krushna inspire our intellect benevolently.
Three yantras of Lord Krushna are well-known. ‘Klim’ is Krushna’s one letter yantra or bijamantra.
Sanak (Nimbarka): Radha is Lord Krushna’s Blissful Energy (Alhadinishakti).
Pushti (Vallabh): Rama, Lakshmi or Bhu are the Divine Energies endowing opulence and the gopi is the Energy bestowing gentleness (Madhuryashakti).
Radhavallabh: Radha is the supreme object of worship and Krushna being Her worshipper is worthy of worship.
Chaitanya: Devotion through intense emotion is its spiritual practice. The gopis represent Blissful Energy. The founder of this sect ‘Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’ was born in 1485 A.D. in Bangal.
Mahanubhav: This was founded by Swami Chakradhar.
The new sect ‘Hare Krushna’ was founded in Bangal in recent times.
Reference: 'Vishnu and His forms', Published by Sanatan Sanstha