Five thousand years ago Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, spoke the Bhagavad-gita (the Song of God) which contains information about God, the living entities, karma (action and reaction in this world), time, and the material energy.
The Bhagavad-gita is one of the Vedic literatures. The word veda (from which the word Vedic comes) means knowledge. The Vedic literatures deal with spiritual and material subject matters. The knowledge they contain is perfect, because of its perfect source. God, or God’s devotees in disciplic succession from God.
The Bhagavad-gita teaches us that the soul is unbreakable, unchangeable, insoluble, everlasting, immovable, and neither burnt nor dried. l The Vedic literatures inform us that there are many eternal souls of whom the chief is Krishna, who is maintaining all of the other souls. The Bhagavad-gita explains that the body, which we (who are souls) identify ourselves with in the material world, is simply a machine. It is, of course, a very complex, wonderful machine. Nonetheless, it is still a machine.
In the way that one drives a car, the soul is driving the body. Unfortunately the soul thinks that it is the body, so the characteristics that pertain to a particular body are thought by the soul to be its characteristics. For example: if the body is white, has a gigantic nose, is female, and is born in the United States; the soul thinks that it is an American white woman that needs a nose job.
Because of the soul’s identification with the characteristics of the body, he (the soul) identifies others according to their machine, body characteristics, and forms alliances and animosities accordingly. Thus he develops family attachment, racism, nationalism and even specism; which are all manifestations of the same disease misidentification of the self with the body). When the soul becomes Krishna conscious he no longer distinguishes between living entities because of the differences in the bodily encagement; therefore he sees the true equality of all beings.
The soul is situated along with God (the Supersoul) in the heart of this machine. The soul is driving this machine according to his desires. The Supersoul is observing the soul’s actions, and waiting patiently for the soul to become frustrated in its attempts to enjoy through manipulating the machine body.
When the soul decides that its attempts at enjoyment have been futile and that all future endeavors will miserably fail, he may decide to seek out God. At this point Krishna sends His representative in the form of the spiritual master to guide the soul on its spiritual path. The soul, being covered by the material energy, is not capable of perceiving the existence and direction of the Supersoul who is situated next to him in the heart. Therefore the Supersoul directs His external representative (the spiritual master) to help the sincere searcher.
The Vedas call the present age the "Age of Kali" the age of quarrel. This age began approximately 5,000 years ago. In this age people are less for tunate, less intelligent, shorter lived, have shorter memories, and have weaker bodies. Good qualities such as sympathy for other seducation, truthfulness, cleanliness, forgiveness, and mercyare quickly disappearing. Society is beset withcheating, diplomacy, and violence. The so called leaders of society are encouraging intoxication, illicit sex, gambling, and meat eating, which are considered the principles of irreligiousity.
There is one good quality in this age. That is, simply by chanting the Lord’s names, one can escape the miseries of this age, and go back to the kingdom of God at the end of life. Krishna incarnates in every age to preach the religious practice that is applicable for that particular age. In other ages Krishna taught meditational yoga, or temple worship, or sacrifice.
Krishna appeared about 500 years ago as Lord Caitanya. This advent was predicted in the Vedic literatures more than 5,000 years ago. Lord Caitanya taught the religious practice recommended for this age, Sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Lord’s names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Devotees of the Krishna consciousness movement engage in the chanting of the Lord’s names in public, distributing transcendental literatures (which encourage others to chant), and performing personal meditation on the Lord’s names (called Japa).