When Srila Prabhupada established the Krishna movement, one of the first things he did was to open temples in different cities all over the world. These cultural centers work as oases, as embassies for the spiritual world. Because of that, people now have the opportunity to meet Krishna devotees and become inspired by, study and develop the practice of Krishna consciousness.
The basic understanding in our philosophy and our ethics is the conviction that “I am not the body”. The body we possess is temporary by nature, but the soul is sat-cit-ananda; eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. The body, which is material, is just the opposite. As long as the soul is in the body, the body is permeated by consciousness, but as soon the soul leaves the body, the body becomes dead matter.
The Krishna movement advocates the practice of bhakti-yoga. which translates as Krishna consciousness. The soul, which is spiritual, is a part of the supreme spiritual soul, God, Krishna. As small individual parts of the supreme, our natural relation to Him is one of service in love. The most important activity in devotional service is to meditate upon the holy name of Krishna in the form of the maha-mantra:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
By this meditation we can realize our spiritual nature, our eternal relation to God, Krishna, and how everything rests in Krishna’s energy. This might take time. Therefore, it is recommended to arrange life in the best way to be able to remember Krishna. One of the ways to remember Krishna is worshiping the Deities in the temple, arca-vigraha. A Deity is created according to descriptions in the scriptures regarding the material, shape and form of the Deity.
Then Krishna is asked to enter the created figure to enable us to more easily serve Him. All energy, both material and spiritual, belongs to Krishna. If He wants to, He can use the material energy to show himself. The temple is the center of the community. It is in the temple that we meet on a daily basis for meditation, singing about Krishna and studying the Vedic scriptures, foremost of which are Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
We have the possibility to serve Krishna in a very personal way by, for example, sewing clothes, cooking food, bathing the Deity, clothing and worshiping Krishna in the form of arca - vigraha. We don't have to wait until we have fully developed our Krishna consciousness. The Deity allows us to do the service already in our present state. By having a common focus in the local community, Krishna, a communion is created on a spiritual basis, even though we have different responsibilities and activities. By having access to the temple of Krishna, our ability to develop in spiritual life strengthens and having the temple of Krishna in the center for our operation opens for everybody the opportunity to come and visit, and learn more about Krishna consciousness, participate in festivals and other programs, open for all. Welcome!