Word „Bhakta“ (devotee) comes form „Bhagavan“ what means „The one who possess everything“ or God. Bhakta is a servant of God and that is very wide concept. Vaisnava has the similar meaning, but it follows certain spiritual practice, in this case the Vaisnava one. Vaisnava´s theology in its teachings reclines on Vedas, especially on fifth Veda, BhagavadGita and Srimad Bhagavatam, which are two Vaisnavas most important books. In fact, only a small part of Vedas is about spirituality, while these two books are all about it. Specially Srimad Bhagavatam is engaged in pure spirituality without any earthly nominations such as nationality or religion. Because of that it is the one of Vaisnava´s favorite books.
Vaisnava is top most title that every living being can get, because this is the person who is very dear to the Lord. Vaisnavism is spiritual science which covers different aspects of actions, as we can see...
1. understanding of our own identity (spiritual knowledge), also spiritual identity of other living beings.
2. understanding of God and His wishes (what He expects from human society)
3. acting according to our eternal duty (dharma), practical service (with mind, body and intelligence) for satisfying His wishes.
4. understanding the correlation between God, living beings, nature, time and karma
5. understanding the difference between matter and spirit (passable and eternal)
6. disrooting the lower human nature (greed, lust, envy, uncontrolled anger..) and developing divine, virtues characteristics (love, pity, tolerance..)
7. understanding the difference between sinful and pious activities.
Shortly, vaisnavism is a spiritual science which sets out geographical limits, types and colors of body and also sectarian division based on belonging to certain religion. People who really understand truthful spirituality, they don´t make problems based on sectarian divisions, which manifest themselves lately as religion intolerance, terrorism, wars, etc.
From this spiritual science everyone can benefit, no matter what religion tradition he is into. People often have wrong judgment when they see Vaisnavas on the street. Vaisnavas are often seen as members of ISKCON, who dance and sing the Holy Name, dressed in traditional clothes. They are generally temple monks, but others, who make majority of society, live privately according to their work and profession. They practice this process of bhakti yoga (Krishna consciousness) at their home, regularly visit the temples and take shelter in temple services, events and festivals.
ISKCON at this moment consists of 15 000 ordained monks (men and women) and half a million congregational members all over the world (not including India). Every devotee of Krishna is voluntary ready to give his time, energy, talents and materials for spreading the mission and serving Krishna. Members of ISKCON are trying to cherish substantially principles of spirituality: pity, veracity, purity and practicing the austerities.
Austerities mean following the four regulative principles which have the goal control of the mind and senses, a that are:
1. not eating meat, fish and eggs
2. no gambling
3. no extramarital sexual relationships
4. no intoxicating (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee)
According to the BhagavadGita, by breaking these regulative principles we cause our physical, mental and spiritual instability and increase conflicts in society. So we see that Vaisnava od devotee is not something strange or odd. These people are very fine; they constantly try to act upon welfare of others and for the pleasure of God. They are not just part of some religion or sect but members of various spiritual movements. We are members of ISKCON (International society for Krishna consciousness). Please come to our center and meet persons that tries to become Vaisnavas.