Hrishikesh or Rishikesh is a city located at the foothills of the Himalayas in the northern part of India also known as ‘The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’. Surrounded by three other districts namely Tehri, Pauri and Haridwar, Hrishikesh in its present day has become the commercial and communication hub of the state of Uttarakhand. The city is named after Lord Vishnu who, pleased by Raibhya Rishi’s austerities, appeared as Lord Hrishikesha. At an altitude of approximately 1,360 ft. above sea level, Rishikesh represents the site where Lord Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu.
Madhuban Ashram is located at the sprawling suburb of Muni-ki-Reti or ‘Sands of the Sages’, traditionally considered as the gateway for the Char Dham pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It is here that the Ganges leaves the Shivalik Mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India.
Bhaktiyog Swami Maharaj
The spiritual head of Madhuban, Swami Bhaktiyog Maharajji, widely renowned and respected, is regarded as one of the most contemporary authority on bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, as taught in the ancient vedic scriptures of India.
Our spiritual life begins when one inquires about the nature of the absolute truth. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing? What should I do? Where am I going? In our journey of self realization, to empower each and everyone to return to their eternal relationship with the Lord, in this age of Kalyuga, is one of our missions. Lord Krishna has himself stated in the Bhagwad Gita:
“O Arjuna, listen to how you shall know Me fully without any doubt, with your mind absorbed in Me, taking refuge in Me, and trying to reach Me.” (7.01)
To impart and deliver spiritual knowledge to anyone desirous of approaching Krishna conscious in accordance with the ancient scriptures and traditions of Vedic India.
To teach and educate fundamental procedures and regulations about the correct way to approach the Lord to make strong progress in spiritual life through Harinam Sankirtan, Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, Vaishnava culture and philosophy, Bhakti Yoga , etc.
To promote the chanting of the holy names of the Lord as revealed by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
To support and encourage upliftment of the society at large.
In the current Age of Kali we live in, to be free of any form of anxiety and attain bliss, acquiring and developing sincere efforts towards the true spiritual science is the only way to salvation. Understanding we are eternal spirit souls, parts and parcel of the Lord, accepting the process of transmigration of the soul, believing Lord Krishna as the eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and all-attractive, consciously studying the absolute truth as contained in the Vedas from a genuine spiritual master, performing all actions as offerings to the Lord and to chant the holy names of the Lord with love and devotion is prescribed.
In our material existence, our love and devotion towards God, or simply put, our Bhakti is covered by gross material consciousness and is misdirected away from Krishna. Above all, Bhakti Yoga is the only way to develop our dedication, our service and our love for the supreme being, Krishna.
Chanting the Holy Names of the Lord
The names of God and God Himself are identical. The practical system for everyone is the chanting of the name of Godhead. In Bhakti yoga, chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on japa beads is the most potent and important method of purification. This is done through quiet individual japa or kirtan. Chanting cleanses the heart, calms the mind, and inspires a life of purpose and meaning. It is universal & not a sectarian mantra for particular type of people.
How to chant
As you chant, pronounce the names clearly and distinctly, addressing Krishna in a prayerful mood and listen to your own self. Concentrate on the Holy names of the Lord and if, or when your mind wanders, bring it back and restart. Chanting is a prayer to Krishna.
The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra means “O energy of the Lord [Hare], O all-attractive Lord [Krishna], O Supreme Enjoyer [Rama], please engage me in Your service.” The more attentively and sincerely you chant, the more spiritual progress you will make.