The Yuga Dharma Ashram is dedicated to following the teachings of Bhakti Yoga as revealed in the authorized Vedic literature, especially the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, and distributing this knowledge, which was brought from India to the rest of the world by Srila Prabhupada in 1965.
The Yuga Dharma Ashram is dedicated to the propagation of Hari Nama Sankirtana (the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God). It is unequivocally affirmed in all authoritative scriptures that in the Kali-Yuga, this present age of quarrel and strife, the only viable method of attaining complete self purification and self realization is Nama Sankirtana. Nama Sankirtana is the highest practice of and perfection of yoga, meditation and personal sacrifice. It is the highest expression of love for all beings and the best course for attaining the highest plane of Love of God, or Vraja-Prema.
The Yuga Dharma for the present age of Kali Yuga was introduced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Yuga-Avatara and direct expansion of Krishna who appeared in 1486 in West Bengal. Upon His advent, he inaugurated the Golden Age amidst this age of quarrel and hypocrisy called the Kali Yuga. He taught that by performing the Yuga Dharma, the congregational chanting of the Maha Mantra –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
- we can become free from the samsara chakra, the repeated cycle of birth and death, and achieve the highest goal of eternal life; at the same time, he showed that we can have a happy life in this world. By performing the Yuga Dharma, chanting Krishna’s names, Krishna will be pleased, and because He is the supreme controller, all energies will be brought into harmony to bring real peace into the world. Historically, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began his first public performance of the Yuga Dharma in 1503.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that the chanting of Hare Krishna would soon spread to every town and village on the planet. Lord Nityananda, the brother and expansion of Sri Caitanya, also predicted that a Senapati Bhakta, or a great commander-in-chief devotee, would appear and spread the teachings of Lord Caitanya and the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra all over the world. That personality is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada (1896-1977), the founder-acarya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. He is widely regarded as the world’s most prominent authority on bhakti-yoga and has translated and commented on over eighty volumes of Vedic literature that have been translated into over 150 languages.
At age sixty-nine, with forty rupees and a trunk of his Bhagavatam commentaries he came to New York City and thus fulfilled this great prophecy. During the last twelve years of his life, he inspired millions of people worldwide to devote their lives to Krishna, establishing 108 Temples, farm communities, educational institutes, ashrams, and restaurants and a worldwide movement that is continuing today with over 500 of these major centers and related organizations, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON in July of 1966 and personally wrote the incorporation document with 7 Purposes of ISKCON, of which the Yuga Dharma Ashram is dedicated to 3 specific goals:
(1) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
(4) To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement of congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
(7) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
From Srila Prabhupada’s earliest public kirtans in Tompkins Square Park to the worldwide sankirtan endeavors of today, the singing of the maha-mantra has always been the hallmark of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). This tradition now makes a full circle, landing us back where it all started—New York City. Here and now, sankirtana is being held every day since March 25th 2012 for 6 hours in Union Square Park or in the subway stations during inclement weather. We share the joy of kirtan and distribute the teachings of Srila Prabhupada to others, and we invite them to regional Temples to learn more about Krishna Consciousness.
In pursuance of historic practice of the disciplic line, Srila Prabhupada instructed that there be a nonstop 24-hour Kirtan in the holiest of places - Sri Vrindavan Dham. The collective benefit of this program is very great and uplifting for the entire world. One of Srila Prabhupada's disciples, Aindra Das, successfully established this nonstop 24 -hour Kirtan in 1986 and it has continued now for over 30 years, enlivening and encouraging the worldwide expansion of the chanting of Hare Krsna.
Rama Raya Das had the good fortune to serve in the Vrindavan 24 hour Kirtan for many years. His inspiration is to please Srila Prabhupada by sharing the profound experience of Harinam Sankirtan in Sri Vrindavan Dham and the distribution of Srila Prabhupada's books with the residents and many visitors of NYC, where the Hare Krishna movement began over 50 years ago.