The Christchurch Hare Krishna Centre is the home of the beautiful Temple of Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandra - forms of Krishna who appeared 500 years ago as Lord Caitanya and His brother Lord Nityananda. Together they taught the easy and sublime process of bhakti-yoga through the chanting of the names of God.
Here, in the temple, devotion is expressed through meditative rituals that have been carefully preserved for centuries, handed down in a lineage of the great saints and teachers of the bhakti-yoga tradition. Spending time here can be a deeply refreshing and pleasing way to leave the day’s troubles behind and reconnect with your true spiritual nature. We welcome everyone to spend quiet time here alone, or come for gatherings and festivals.
Our daily morning meditation begins at 4:30am, one to two hours before sunrise. The solitude and quiet that accompanies this time of day provides the perfect environment for meditative contemplation.The meditation begins with prayers honoring our spiritual teachers, accompanied by light instrumentation. This is followed by two hours of mantra meditation in which practitioners sit together chanting with a focus on the sound and devotional meaning of the mantra. At seven am a daily philosophical discourse is held on the devotional texts of ancient India. At around eight am we hold kirtan - sung to an uplifting musical accompaniment, followed by a vegetarian breakfast at eight thirty. This morning program of meditation and devotion is performed at over 500 Hare Krishna centres, and in numerous member's homes worldwide. The combination of devotional prayer, meditation, education and culture is guaranteed to add deep spiritual meaning to your day. At the Hare Krishna Centre in Christchurch we encourage people to attend whenever they wish, however if it's your first time, or if you are busy during the week, we would encourage you to come for our Sunday morning meditation as part of our 'Krishna Sunday' program designed for the wider community.
Devotees of Krishna worship Him in various deity forms with the understanding that God is the source of all energies, the Absolute Truth. He can therefore appear before us in any form He likes. Everything about the Supreme Person, including His form, is spiritual and worshipable. The ancient Vedic yoga texts define who is Supreme and who isn't. They also describe the science of Deity worship in detail - what Deities should look like, how they're supposed to be made, how to worship Them, and the benefits of such worship. Krishna, or God, is pure spirit. He's not made of anything material. But in the material world, we can't see spirit. All we can see is matter. By agreeing to appear in the form of a Deity, Krishna allows us to see, honor, and serve him, even while we're still in material existence. Krishna consciousness is a science of practical action, and so deity worship is meant to fully engage our senses in serving a form of the Supreme Person we can see and touch. One can bathe, dress, feed, and decorate the Deity, as well as entertain Him by singing and dancing. The more absorbed in such service we are, the more tangible our relationship with Krishna becomes. Deities may be made of stone, wood, metal, paint, or even worshiped within ones mind. Deity worship is distinct from idolatry, which is usually defined as worship of any image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a personal form of God. God is omnipotent. All energies, material and spiritual, are completely under His control—He can turn matter into spirit and vice versa. So through His deity form, God may appear in a form apparently made of wood or stone, to accept our offerings of devotion to Him.