INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS

Founder Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a branch of the monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism dating back 5000 years to Lord Krishna Himself. ISKCON was established in the West in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada) and has since developed into a worldwide confederation of over 500 temples, centers, communities, schools, and restaurants with some 250,000 devotees. The mission of this nonsectarian, monotheistic movement is to promote the well-being of society by teaching the science of Krishna consciousness according to Bhagavad-gita and other ancient scriptures.

PURPOSES OF ISKCON

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada incorporated the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1966 with seven explicit purposes:
  1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people 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.
  2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
  3. To bring the members of the society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna.
  4. To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, as revealed in the teaching of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
  5. To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
  6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
  7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

HISTORY OF THE HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known in the West as the Hare Krishna movement, is a monotheistic branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava spiritual tradition that dates back to Krishna Himself—the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appeared on Earth and spoke the Bhagavad-gita over five thousand years ago. ISKCON follows Krishna's teachings as revealed in the sacred Vedas, including Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam (aka Bhagavata Purana).

525 years ago Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the form of His own devotee to establish the congregational chanting of God's holy names, sankirtana, as the easiest and most sublime spiritual practice for this age. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu popularized the chanting of the maha-mantra, comprised of sacred names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In 1965, the prominent emissary of India's spiritual teachings, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada Prabhupada (1896-1977) brought Sri Chaitanya's movement to the West and founded ISKCON in New York City under seemingly humble circumstances.

FOUNDER ACHARYA: HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C.BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the extraordinary person who dedicated his life to teaching the world about Krishna consciousness, ancient India's most noble message of spiritual wisdom.

In 1965, at the age of 69, on the order of his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, representing a line of teachers dating back to Lord Krishna Himself, Srila Prabhupada sailed from India to New York to share Lord Krishna's message. He brought with him a trunk of books, $7 in change, and the firm faith that the holy name of Krishna would transform the hearts of people he would meet. In the years that followed, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), traveled and taught throughout the world, opened more than 100 temples and inspired thousands of devotees. He wrote over forty volumes of translation and commentary on such classics as Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), Chaitanya-charitamrita, and Bhagavad-gita.

He wrote not only as a scholar but as a consummate practitioner, teaching by the example of his life. Throughout his works, Srila Prabhupada's mood was to convey the natural meaning of the scriptures without far-fetched interpretations, giving us an authentic rendition of the Vedic conclusions on such important topics as the purpose of human life, the nature of the soul, consciousness, and God.

From 1966 to 1977, despite his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. Though no longer physically present among us, he lives forever in his instructions, books, videos and audio recordings, and in the hearts of those whose lives he touched.

TEMPLES OF ISKCON

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