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About Krishna

Who Is Krishna

Who is Krishna? The Vedas call Him " the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Krishna Himself—in The Bhagavad-gita—says He is the source of all material and spiritual worlds. In the same Bhagavad-gita, the great military commander Arjuna confirms Krishna's statement and lists all the sages throughout history—including Vyasadeva himself, the editor of the Vedas—who accept Krishna as the Supreme Being.

Who is this Person?

  • Krishna the Person. What does He like to do? Who does He prefer to spend His time with? Where does He live? What happens when He visits this (material) world? Does He have any helpful hints for us humans?
  • Krishna's Book—The Bhagavad-gita—Here are Krishna's helpful hints for humans: How are we supposed to act? How does He recommend we live? What are the guidelines for human life? What things should we avoid? Why are some people so difficult to get along with? What's the ultimate goal of life?
  • Krishna's latest incarnation—Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—The most recent (c. 1486) avatar of Krishna, the greatest teacher and example of Krishna consciousness ever.

Krishna Consciousness

Krishna consciousness, or bhakti-yoga, means how to act in harmony with ultimate reality—the Supreme Person. Bhakti—“devotional service”—is how the bhakta—“devotee”—and Bhagavan—“God, the possessor of all opulences”—relate.

We're all naturally Krishna conscious. In illusion, we think we’re the center of the universe, and our bodies are our real selves. Krishna consciousness means becoming free from that illusion, and experiencing our true blissful, eternal nature. It's a process that works. Anyone can do it.

Krishna consciousness is both a "practice" and the goal of the practice. The goal is to be Krishna conscious. The practice is to always stay conscious of Krishna.


An overview of some of the basic teachings of Krishna consciousness
FAQs about Krishna, Krishna consciousness, the nature of spiritual reality, and more.

In-depth articles, in our Reading Room:

  • Meditation and Yoga—Everything under the sun about meditation, mantras, chanting, and the meditation of chanting mantras
  • Faith(s) and Knowledge—What's the difference between religion and knowledge? Between different religions?
  • Spiritual Eating—All about preparing and offering food to Krishna. How is this done? What are the life-changing effects of eating Krishna prasadam?
  • Kirtan/Sacred Sounds—What happens when the power of music is harnessed, focused, and directed towards glorification of the Supreme Person? Something extraordinary.
  • Spiritual Masters—How to identify, find, inquire from, and relate to a qualified guru, or teacher of spiritual science.
  • Forms of God—Does the Supreme Being have a form? If so, what is it? What's the difference between worshiping that form and worshiping an "idol?"
  • Simple Living—Do God consciousness and a return to a more natural, agrarian lifestyle go hand in hand?
  • Holy Places—Do some places on Earth have greater spiritual potency, where anyone can make spiritual benefit just by going there?
  • Spiritual Association—An essential ingredient for steadiness in spiritual life. Hear from those who've made the quantum leap of faith toward Krishna consciousness, and learn why it's impossible to make spiritual progress in a vacuum.
  • Practice at Home—Practical "how-to"s, stories, tips, tools, and meditations for anyone wanting to practice Krishna consciousness right now, right where they live.

The Reading Room

Looking for an overview of everything on, or for an article by your favorite Back to Godhead Magazine/ author? Searching for historical articles written by previous generations of spiritual teachers? Speaking of Back to Godhead Magazine, want to search back issues or find out more about the magazine in general? See an assortment of Q and A on a huge variety of Krishna conscious topics?

  • Overview - An extensive, FAQ-style compilation on many of the basic points of Krishna culture and thought.
  • Assorted Q and A - an informative (and often entertaining) collection of many years of Live Help chat transcripts, dealing with topics from "How can I become free from sex desire?" to "Can I offer celery to Krishna?"
  • Articles - Some of the best (we think) present-day writing and thinking on real-life, practical applications of Krishna consciousness
  • Ebooks - A list of Srila Prabhupada's books available in PDF format. You can also read it online or buy the book from our store.

Krishna the Person

The Vedas say Krishna is the original person, but that He always appears young and attractive. He knows everything, He contains all of reality, and all other living beings are His inseparable parts. He is the all-powerful, supreme controller of all energies. He is known by different names in different cultures (such as God, Allah, and Jehovah, for example).

Sometimes Krishna sends His representatives—as saints, prophets, or His sons—to teach humankind about Him, and sometimes He comes Himself, as He did approximately 3000 B.C. He spoke the spiritual and philosophical teachings known as the Bhagavad-gita, which explains the essence of our spiritual identity and our relationship with God.


In-depth articles from our Reading Room:

Why would the Supreme Being Himself want to personally visit Earth, a relatively insignificant marble in the cosmos?

Krishna knows how to have a good time better than anyone.

The sun is always shining, always existing, but we can’t always see it.

Krishna comes here for a variety of reasons. One is to give us something genuinely exciting to talk about.

Radha-Krishna are the male and female aspects of God. Known as the Divine Couple, together they are the full manifestation of God.

Lust isn’t love, so it doesn’t last. But the love between the gopis and Krishna never breaks. That is the difference between lust and love.

Krishna's book - the Bhagavad-gita

The Bhagavad-gita ("song of God")—the famous conversation between the warrior Arjuna and the Supreme Being, Krishna—posing as Arjuna’s charioteer—at the onset of the battle of Kurukshetra, circa 3200 B.C.

Krishna explains all the essential spiritual truths: the difference between the soul and the body, the difference between the soul and the Supreme Soul (God), the science of reincarnation, the nature of time, the ultimate goal of yoga, why different kinds of religion appeal to different kinds of people, and the ultimate purpose of human life.

Just a few reasons behind the boldness of this important book's title.

Did Krishna recite the Bhagavad-gita as a representative for a higher impersonal truth? Or is He himself that truth?

The word "dharma" has been absorbed from Sanskrit into common English. But when Krishna says "dharma," what He's really talking about?

Originally published in Back to Godhead Magazine, here is a compressed, distilled version of the Bhagavad-gita—on a single Web page! (some scrolling required).

Read our unabridged, online version of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, listen to the complete audiobook, sign up for an e-course on the Gita, buy your own copy . . .

"Look, Swamiji, it's an order from Macmillan. They're one of the biggest publishers in the world. . ."

Our Three Divisions

When you’re trying to present the whole of reality—which is essentially what we’re trying to do here at—how do you organize that, and have it make sense? After years of puzzling it over, we thought, “Why not present things the way they’re already naturally organized in the Vedas?”

Everything we offer on falls within three basic categories:

Sambandha, or “Nature/God/and Us”—explaining the who, what, where, how, and why of our current situation.

Abhideya, or the “Activities of Life”—outlining practical steps for making spiritual progress from wherever we are towards:

Prayojana, the “Ultimate Goal”—dealing with the perfection of our spiritual life, where we fully understand our own spiritual identity and that of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The terms may be new to you, but you will hopefully see how helpful they are. They’re like landmarks on a map, making it possible to see where you are on the way to God realization

1. Sambandha (Nature, God, and Us)
Sambandha means “relationship.” This section features info on the “who, what, where, how, and why” of our situation in this world, and how these things relate to each another. Topics in Sambandha address the following questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What is the nature of this world?
  • How did we—and the world—get here? Where does everything come from? And
  • Why does anything exist at all?

In other words, Sambandha focuses on understanding matter, spirit, and the controller of both.

2. Abhideya (Activity of Life)

Abhideya means “transcendental activities,” or “the chief function of the living entity.” Here you’ll see how to put everything from Sambandha into practice—and begin living a life centered on self-realization. For example, Abhideya is where you’ll find information on:

  • Bhakti-yoga
  • Krishna consciousness
  • Mantra meditation
  • Helpful guidelines for living a more sattvic or purified life

3. Prayojana (The Ultimate Goal)

Ultimately, is all about Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. To be able to fully appreciate Krishna—as He is—it helps to understand the difference between spirit and matter (Sambandha), and be sincerely and seriously engaged in spiritual practice (Abhideya). Prayojana is where to learn about:

  • Krishna the Person
  • Krishna’s pastimes
  • Forms of God
  • Krishna’s pure devotees
  • The spiritual world

Nature, God and Us

Who are we? How did we get here? Why do bad things happen, no matter how well we plan for them not to? What makes us act in crazy ways? What happens when we die? Is anyone in charge?

Here we delve into some persistent questions.

  • Existence of God—How can we know if God exists? By faith, religion, knowledge, or all the above?
  • Reincarnation—Have we all been here before? You bet. The real question is, "Where are we going next, and how can we avoid coming back?"
  • Life's Problems—When what goes around comes around—with a vengeance—we're often surprised. It helps to know what we're up against in our search for happiness here.
  • Bodies and Souls—Are we bodies with souls on the inside, or souls with bodies on the outside? There's a big difference.
  • Social Issues—Terrorism, euthanasia, economic upset, disease, climate change—these are all symptoms of a greater, underlying spiritual condition. Can these and other serious problems be solved? Not just sidestepped, but solved?
  • Death and Dying—The crest jewel of all the problems we face as living beings. What is this phenomenon we call "death?"
  • Science—What if we were as scientific about God as we are about Darwin?


Our Overview was developed by the editorial team to provide a big-picture, bird's eye view for those seeking an "at-a-glance" introduction to the philosophy of Krishna consciousness.

Click on topics to expand menu choices:

Who Is It for?

Krishna consciousness is meant for any reasonable person looking for reasonable answers to questions like "Who am I?", "Where did everything come from?", and "What is the point of life?" It's for anyone interested in becoming free from all miseries (including—but not limited to—birth, death, old age, and disease) and experiencing their true, authentic, blissful self in relationship with the supreme self.

Krishna consciousness is not for you if you can't stand the idea that anything exists besides matter, if you think one life is all we get, that the body and the self are one and the same, that all of reality popped into existence without any cause—for no good reason, and that the happiness and distress we get in this world is perfectly acceptable. Unless you're open to reasonable, alternative suggestions.

What kind of people practice Krishna consciousness? Find first-hand accounts from real-life practitioners here:

Seek Spiritual Company—An essential ingredient for steadiness in spiritual life. Hear from those who've made the quantum leap of faith toward Krishna consciousness, and learn why it's impossible to make spiritual progress in a vacuum.

"Krishna People" Video Series—interviews with committed practitioners of Krishna consciousness. What attracted them? What keeps them attracted? What do they eat for breakfast?

Who Started It?

One could say that Krishna Himself "started" Krishna consciousness. He came to Earth (circa 3200 B.C.) and spoke the Bhagavad-gita—the comprehensive manual for Krishna consciousness.

Krishna came again as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at the beginning of the fifteenth century to practically demonstrate how to practice Krishna consciousness.

There has also been a line of teachers—acharyas—throughout history preserving and perpetuating the knowledge of Krishna consciousness. The acharya responsible for bringing Krishna consciousness out of India at the end of the twentieth century and spreading it all over the world is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.