Ritualistic worship of Shri Krishna



        Shri Krishna 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 Alwar saints of Tamilnadu in South India propagated the devotion of Shri Krishna.

2. Ritualistic worship (puja) and religious festivals

        Shri Krishna being Vishnu’s incarnation is worshipped just like Vishnu. The birth of Shri Krishna is celebrated on the eighth day (ashtami) of the dark fortnight of Shravan at midnight.

3. Some regular acts that are performed during the worship of Shri Krishna

Act of worship Divine Knowledge received about the act
1. Before worshipping Shri Krishna, how should the worshipper apply gandha to himself ? Applying a vertical tilak with the ring finger (just as Shri Vishṇu has on Him) or applying gandha which is filled in between
2. With which finger should the gandha be applied to Shri Krishna ? With the ring finger
3. Offering flowers
A. Which flowers should be offered ? Krushnakamal
B. In what number ? Three or in multiples of three
C. How should the flowers be offered ? The stalk of the flower should be towards the Deity
D. In what shape should the flowers be offered ? Elliptical shape (By filling the space in between or by letting it be empty)
4. Waving incense-sticks
A. Incense-sticks of which fragrance should be waved for tarak (Saviour form) worship ? Chandan, kewada, champa, chameli, jai, vala and ambar
B. Incense-sticks of which fragrance should be waved for marak (Destroyer form) worship ? Heena and darbar
C. In what number ? Two
D. What should be the method of waving with a lit lamp ? Holding it between the thumb and the index finger of the right hand, and moving it three times in a clockwise direction
5. Which fragrance should be offered ? Chandan
6. How many pradakshinas (Circumambulations) should be performed around Shri Krishna ? Minimum three or in multiples of three

4. Gopichandan

        ‘गोप्‍य: नाम विष्‍णुपत्‍न्‍य: तासां चन्‍दनं आल्‍हादकम्‌’ means that which imparts Bliss to the consorts of Shri Krishna 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.

5. Chanting of the mantra ‘Hare Krushna

        ‘Kalisantaran Upanishad is a part of the Krushnayajurveda and is also referred to as the Harinamopanishad. This Upanishad was narrated by Brahma to Sage Narad at the end of the Dvaparyug. The gist of this text is that solely by chanting the Name of Narayan are the ill-effects due to the influence of Kali destroyed. This Name is comprised of the following sixteen words.

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krushna Hare Krushna Krushna Krushna Hare Hare

हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे।
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 Shri Krishna sect chant the second line of the mantra first.’

6. Krushna Gayatri

  1. तन्‍न: कृष्‍ण: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

    Meaning : We are quite familiar with Shri Krishna, the son of Devaki. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Shri Krishna inspire our intellect benevolently.

  2. तन्‍न: कृष्‍ण: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।।

    Meaning : We are quite familiar with Damodar. We meditate on Vasudev. May that Shri Krishna inspire our intellect benevolently.

7. Yantras and bijamantras

Three yantras of Shri Krishna are well-known. ‘Klim’ is Shri Krishna’s one letter yantra or bijamantra.

8. Main sects

  • Sanak (Nimbarka) : Radha is Shri Krishna’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 Shri Krishna 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 : Sanatan Sanstha’s Holy text ‘Shrivishnu, Shriram and Shrikrushna’

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