What is Krishna consciousness?

“What is Krishna consciousness? Krishna consciousness means real love and beauty. Real love and beauty must predominate; not selfishness, or exploitation. Generally, whenever we see beauty, we think that beauty is to be exploited, but actually, beauty is the exploiter, beauty is the master, and beauty is the controlling principle….
And beauty will be victorious in the world. Love will be victorious in the world. We will sacrifice everything to see that the banner of divine love will flutter all over the world, for a particle of that divine love will be able to keep peace and distribute peace in all directions.”

— Swami B.R. Sridhar

The teachings of Krishna consciousness are known by various names – bhakti-yoga, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the prema-dharma, Bhagavat-dharma. In the scripture Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna consciousness is compared to a ripe, juicy fruit without seed or skin, which has grown on the wish-fulfilling tree of the Vedas. The ancient Vedas of India take a very broad approach to spiritual thought, discussing and accommodating a great diversity of conceptions, but in their conclusion they present love for the personal Deity of Sri Sri Radha Krishna as the highest goal and true end of all that was previously discussed.

In a nutshell, Krishna consciousness presents these facts: we are eternal, spiritual beings who have at present mistakenly identified with the temporary physical body and associated material phenomena and conceptions. Through devotional practices such as spiritual discussion, chanting, worship, and offerings of practical service, however, we can become free of our material bondage, awaken our intrinsic spiritual identity, and ultimately realise our natural relationship with our divine, loving source, Sri Krishna, who embodies the divine masculine principle, and Sri Radha, who embodies the divine feminine principle.

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give, and whatever vow you may keep—do everything as an offering unto Me.
(Bg: 9.27)

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo ’si me

Think of Me always, devote yourself to Me, worship Me, and bow to Me, and surely you will come to Me. I promise you this, because you are dear to Me.
(Bg: 18.65)