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Rock Maze


  • What are the main rituals and traditions of Bhakti yoga?
    Learning to live our everyday life in a way that supports our spiritual growth and devotion to God is the premise of Bhakti Yoga's rituals and traditions. Bhakti is about making our whole life a ceremony, an offering, in hopes of catching the attention of Krishna. Coming to that place takes time, as the soul rehabilitates from its long and habituated tendency to serve the material energy. On that journey, there are 4 practices that act as pillars to support our growth. They are: Meditating on Krishna’s names Spending time with serious spiritual practitioners Studying and discussing the sastra (sacred texts) Preparing and eating prasada (sacred food) These four elements are easy to incorporate into everyday life because we have already established habits of listening to music, spending time with friends, reading and hearing stories and eating.
  • Why the chanting/singing of “Hare Krishna” on repeat? What do the words mean?
    Mantra as Relief from the Anxieties of Life The word mantra comes from the Sanskrit language and literally means to “free the mind,” in particular from mental anxieties. The mind, especially in our modern world, is filled with endless distractions. Mantra meditation helps engage the mind and can free one from anxiety and stress through its repetition. The practice of mantra meditation consists of chanting a mantra out loud and listening. By focusing on the transcendental sound vibration, the chanter’s mind becomes naturally cleansed and one experiences bliss and satisfaction. Why the Maha Mantra (The Hare Krishna Mantra) While there are thousands of mantras, there is one that is recommended by the ancient yoga texts that has the greatest benefit: The Maha Mantra or Hare Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is the most effective mantra in this age to chant because its effects are quick and powerful, with the practitioner experiences positive results within the first few sessions of chanting. "Krishna is the real controller; we can never really renounce anything because it’s not ours to begin with; he’s the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities. Anyone who understands this—a person in full consciousness of Krishna—attains peace from the pains of material existence. How do we put this idea into practice? It’s simple, one just has to chant: 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.'” —Bala Gopal Prabhu, Sunday Feast Class, 6/25/23 The Meaning of the Chant's Individual Words Composed of just three words, Hare, Krishna, and Rama, the Maha Mantra’s meaning is quite profound. Each word is a name for the Divine. "Hare" refers to the compassionate energy of the Divine. We appeal to the kind nature of the Divine for grace to be able to connect to Krishna, or the all-attractive, possessing all qualities in full. "Krishna" is all-good, all-playful, all-loving, all-everything, and as parts of Krishna we, too, possess these qualities in small amounts. By chanting the Maha Mantra, we can realize our true potential in context with our unique relationship with Krishna. The third word, "Rama," is the reservoir of all spiritual happiness. Through meditation on this mantra, we make a prayer to the Divine to deliver us from material existence and place us into spiritual existence, where our activities are full of eternal bliss and knowledge. The Science of Chanting This form of chanting meditation is a timeless and powerful method of meditation that has been practiced for thousands of years. It helps the practitioner control the mind by tuning into transcendental sound vibration created by the verbal sound of chanting itself. The transcendental sound vibration is unlike ordinary sound vibrations, because it has the potency to connect the practitioner to the Divine and allows the individual to obtain higher states of consciousness. To do this form of meditation is to practice the science of self-realization. As in any science experiment, there is a hypothesis. In this case, our hypothesis is simple: mantra meditation will help you feel happier. Then, the scientific method applied is chanting the mantra daily. The experiment has been tested internationally and found to be true. Try it for just a few minutes every day and see how you feel. If you feel some effect, try chanting more every day and again, see how that continues to improve your feeling and sense of peace and happiness. Who Can Chant and Why Some Use Beads Anyone can chant the Hare Krishna mantra because it is non-sectarian and thus is not limited to any race, culture, religion, etc. Mantra meditation can be practiced by oneself or in a group and can be used to engage all the senses. The personal, private practice is called "japa" which consists of chanting on meditation beads, usually with a commitment to a certain amount of chants. Advanced spiritual practitioners of Bhakti yoga practice mantra meditation for about two hours daily. To practice in a group is called "kirtan," and is often accompanied by musical instruments in a call-and-response style. Most people who practice mantra meditation practice both japa and kirtan and both are equally potent meditation practices.
  • Why is your food blessed/offered and is that why it tastes so good?
    What’s the secret ingredient that makes Hare Krishna food so delicious? The yoga of food is an essential element in the Bhakti Yoga practice. Every aspect of our cooking is a meditation on the divine. Beginning from shopping for the ingredients, to cutting, to stirring and finishing the preparations—all is done in a meditative state. We never taste what we prepare while we are cooking, and even try our best not to smell it during the process. We are cooking as though we are cooking for the divine Himself, and want Him to enjoy. Imagine an esteemed guest is coming to your home. You prepare what you know they like and offer them the food first before eating yourself. Therefore, once finished preparing sacred food in this meditative state, we offer it to Krishna. Krishna accepts all nice vegetarian dishes that are prepared with love. We simply place a special plate before a picture or a deity of the Lord, say a little prayer, and wait for Krishna to eat. After just a few minutes, the food placed before Him is now sacred food, or prasadam. Prasadam literally means “mercy,” and after offering our food, we have the honor of literally consuming Krishna’s mercy. Even though we are spirit souls, we are contained in bodies that require sustenance. However, if we simply offer all vegetarian food to Krishna before eating, then we can spiritualize ourselves physically from the inside out.
  • Can anyone go in the temple and/or gift shop?
    Yes, we simply ask that you remove your shoes and dress modestly as you would when going into any church or house of worship. Our gift shop provides a wealth of treasures from India and is open to the public. From hand-rolled incense to beautiful saris in in many colors, to jewelry, we have gifts for you and your loved ones. See temple hours and gift shop hours prior to visiting.
  • Why do people remove their shoes when they enter the temple?
    This is not just a Denver Temple tradition but a requirement of all Hindu temples, and is one that mutually benefits both guests of the temple and the temple itself. Firstly, it is a sign of respect and humility, and secondly it keeps the temple clean (shoes carry all manner of material from city streets that we don't want on the floors). We often sit on the floor and bow our heads to the floor, so we want to keep the floor clean. Because of the above, it's also recommended that you have clean feet and, while not required, you're also welcome to wear clean socks or slippers for your own comfort.
  • What's the best way to get started/involved?
    Explore this site. Attend the Sunday Feast and get a free introductory book while you're there. Sign up for our mailing list to be notified about upcoming events that may interest and inspire you.
  • Is Kirtan like a drum circle where anyone can participate?
    In some ways, yes, Kirtan is an "open jam". The word "kirtan" means to vocalize the glories of the Lord. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated the "sankirtan" movement, which is the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. "Sankirtan" means to chant in community. So in kirtan, the main purpose is to chant the holy names together with others, in a. mood of prayer, gratitude, and connection.
  • Why do you feed people?
    All food prepared by us is made with consciousness and offered to Krishna who transforms it into "sacred" food. The name for this food offering is "prasadam" which means "mercy." When we give this food to the community, all have the honor of literally internalizing Krishna's mercy. And when we serve others, we serve Krishna.
  • Why did your restaurant close and will it open again?
    While our vegetarian restaurant, Rhada Govinda's, is currently closed to the public, we hope to bring it back one day and continue its 30-year tradition of vegetarian delights. Like so many other local, small businesses, we also were affected by the global health crisis. Not only did we lose valuable staff who helped us run the restaurant, we also lost the use of our kitchen due to its aging infrastructure. With that recently renovated, we're thinking about how to re-open to the public in a way that works for our staffing capabilities and budget but we don't have a solid date as to when that will be. Please be sure to join our mailing list for updates.
  • Do you provide housing or guest house facilities?
    We unfortunately have no guesthouse facilities for visiting guests and life members of ISKCON at this time. We are very sorry for this inconvenience. But please reach out to us through our contact page, let us know who you are and we will try our best to assist your stay if you're planning a visit.
  • Are there classes on Bhakti teachings at Denver Temple?
    Yes, see our "Programs" page, our YouTube channel (in social icons in the footer of this website) or go directly to these classes to sample teachings and discussions: Tusta Krsna class Mother Nidra class Bala Gopol class
  • What is the significance of the Dieties/statues in the temple?
    Krishna is an eternal person, and so are we. It’s hard to wrap our heads around because our experience of identity is related to our physical bodies which decay and die. The deity is an opportunity for us to relate to Krishna’s eternal form in a way we can perceive, even before our transcendental self has been fully developed. The forms are carved according to the realizations of saints who have fully uncovered their own souls identity, and the revelations of those saints consistently confirm the specific features of Krishna and the other Divine personalities we offer service to on the deity altar. Offering practical service to the deity each day; cooking, dressing and decorating with flowers and jewelry etc. helps us recognize it is more fun to give than to receive. Most people live their life struggling to get that kind of attention for themselves. In Bhakti we learn to offer that energy to Krishna instead, it quickly helps the soul see the true joy in spiritual service.
  • Who started the Krishna consciousness movement?
    Also see Our Founder page in the About section. Srila Prabhupada was an Indian spiritual teacher and the founder of the popular international Bhakti Yoga Movement known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as “the Hare Krishna movement.” He was a rare personality who appeared on the earth and dedicated his life to spreading God consciousness, bringing a spiritual dimension to the lives of thousands of followers all over the world. Born and raised in Kolkata, he met his spiritual inspiration and guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, there. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was married and raised several children before becoming a renunciate monk in his later years. He traveled to America in 1965 (at the age of 69) and established ISKCON in 1966. One of the world’s most prominent teachers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavite Hinduism based on the teachings of 16th-century Saint Sri Krishna Caitanya, he is especially noted for his determination to share the message of Bhakti Yoga outside of India. He is renowned for his prolific translation of sacred texts and his significant role in the Western counterculture of the 1960s and 70s. Before his death in 1977, at age 81, he circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours, accepting thousands of people on six continents as his disciples. Followers of ISKCON today look to him as their prominent spiritual guide and inspiration, and his many books serve as a philosophical foundation for understanding and practicing Bhakti Yoga. You will often see a statue of him in most Krishna temples, as we also honor him in the Denver Temple. Hare Krishna! The Man, The Movement, and the Swami Who Started it All is a beautiful, award-winning documentary film where you can learn more.
  • What are the core beliefs of the Krishna faith/Bhakti Yoga?
    Bhakti Yoga, which means devotion to God, is the Krishna faith and is centered around recognizing our original identity as a servant of eternal truth. In Krishna consciousness, we believe that we each have a unique relationship with the personification of truth whose name is Krishna. Our unique relationship with Krishna is based upon service. Bhakti yoga is about reviving an attitude of service in our relationship with divinity. As our attraction to spiritual service grows it gradually cleanses our heart of the painful, frustrating confusion of selfish emotions like anger, greed and lust. As we are purified of these tendencies the original nature of our true self as an individual and eternal spirit soul, separate from any material designation, becomes clearer. Krishna Prema (pure love) manifests in the stage of perfection once a person has completely let go of any identification with matter and see’s fully their own self beyond circumstance. From this place of pure love a person may still be in the world, but their every action becomes an expression and indication of divine truth and its potential to be experienced by all life.
  • What is the most unique aspect of your faith?
    In a word: harmony! Bhakti Yoga is unique because it seeks to harmonize the practitioner with the world around them rather than reject or hide from it. As an aspect of Krishna’s identity is to be the sum of all energies, the material energy we are confused by is not evil or bad in and of itself. What is lacking is our own consciousness of how to relate with that energy in a way that supports rather than degrades our consciousness. Bhakti Yoga helps to rehabilitate our sense of identity so that we don’t feel a need to exploit and manipulate the world around us for pleasure or gain. This is because we develop a deep sense of inner satisfaction because we are becoming reestablished in our original loving relationship with Krishna. That, in turn, lets us relate to the outer world in a wholesome way that supports the chance for spiritual development in others.
  • Do you use a holy text like the Bible?
    Yes, are primary text is The Bhagavad Gita ("God's Song")—set in a narrative framework of dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna and his charioteer guide Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu. Summarizing the Upanishadic conceptions of God, the Gita posits the existence of an individual self (Atman) and the supreme self (Brahman) within each being. The dialogue between the prince and his charioteer has been interpreted as a metaphor for an immortal dialogue between the human self and God.
  • Do I have to give up my current religion to adopt Krishna/Bhakti?
    Bhakti yoga is devotion to God and self-understanding, and so can be practiced by anyone from any background and is supportive rather than in conflict with other faith traditions. The practices of Bhakti Yoga are about uncovering an identity already present, so it’s not a question of belief in the same way eating isn’t an act of faith but one of nourishing a need which we deeply feel in a healthy way. We’ve become distracted from the identity of our soul because of attraction to the shiny but shallow glamour of the world around us. This draws us to identify with designations related to the body – a certain race, or nationality, gender etc. – rather than our eternal spiritual nature. For this reason we can earnestly value all other spiritual practices or religions that may be followed to the degree we can see the individuals practicing them are being freed from the harassments of mundane consciousness and are developing their awareness of their original spiritual nature as a spark of Divinity.
  • Are Hare Krishnas against the use of drugs?
    Yes, the tradition of Bhakti Yoga and the self-awareness that is part of the practice, combined with the "natural high" that come with meditation, chanting, singing, drumming, prasadam, and worship replaces the use of and need for recreational drugs.
  • Are all Hare Krishnas vegetarian or vegan?
    Our tradition is "prasadatarian". We only eat foodstuffs which have been first offered to the Lord, or prasada. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita to offer Him fruits, vegetables, grains. Therefore, we offer foodstuffs which He specifies, and that does not include meat, fish, eggs. Our diets do include dairy products—honoring the gifts of cows rather than consuming them (thus, India's infamous "sacred cows"). As we believe that all life is sacred, we avoid supporting the harmful practices of factory farms in mass production of animal food and products. So we also don't eat eggs or use leather goods. While our vegetarian restaurant, Radha Govinda's, is currently closed to the public, we hope to bring it back one day and continue its 30-year tradition of vegetarian delights.
  • Where does your faith fall on the line of modern social values regarding women’s empowerment, income equality, LGBTQI issues, etc.?
    The practice of Bhakti is about becoming less dependent on worldly circumstances for our sense of happiness and fulfillment and more focused on the spiritual opportunity that is the birth right of every living being, whether they are in a human body at present or not. We recognize that society as a whole must be structured in a way that supports the general health and well being of all life and with that principle in mind we can appreciate social policy that can help bring this about. The danger is when social circumstance is overemphasized as all in all. For example, racism is abhorrent, but we don’t see the attempts to correct its effects having substantial value without being based in first recognizing no soul should be reduced to the value of the physical body it inhabits on this earth. None of us are white, black, Chinese, American, young, old, rich or poor in the ultimate sense. The misconception that the identity of the self is based in the physical body is the root of all violence.
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