International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also famous as the Hare Krishna movement was established in the year 1966 in New York City by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Within short span of time it has now expanded exponentially throughout the globe. ISKCON consists of around five hundred major centers, temples and rural communities, thousands of nama hattas, around hundred affiliated vegetarian restaurants, a wide variety of community projects, and millions of congregational members worldwide.
ISKCON’s philosophy is based on the Sanskrit texts Bhagavad-gītā and Srimad Bhagavatam as it belongs to Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya, a monotheistic tradition within the Vedic culture. These historic texts provide elaborate insights on practice of bhakti yoga so that one can ultimately achieve the highest goal of life i.e. reawakening the love for God head.
In every civilization all over the world people acknowledge the presence of a supreme power addressed by various names like Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Rama, etc. ISKCON devotees chant God’s names in the form of the maha-mantra, which is nothing but prayer to Lord Krishna and His energy to always keep them engage in the service of Their Lordships. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
ISKCON’s authenticity have been approved by many leading academics. A noted historian and author Dr. A. L, Basham, wrote about ISKCON that, “It arose out of next to nothing in less than twenty years and has become known all over the West. This, I feel, is a sign of the times and an important fact in the history of the Western world.” Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, also describes this movement as “a tradition that commands a respected place in the religious life of humankind.”
ISKCON’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, undertook the herculean task of spreading Krishna conscious movement in western world as per his spiritual masters instructions and became successful in doing so due to his strong faith in the words of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his guru. His phenomenal work of presenting the Vaishnava spiritual culture of India in a very simple and relevant manner to the western world is highly appreciated by various scholars and religious leaders.
The followers of ISKCON practice bhakti-yoga in their homes and also worship in temples. They not only practice themselves but also preach Krishna Consciousness among masses, through festivals, the performing arts, yoga seminars, public chanting, and the distribution of its books and magazines. They also help the poor and needy by providing them basic necessities of life through their various welfare activities like opening hospitals, schools, colleges, eco-villages, free food distribution projects, and similar institutions to facilitate easy journey in devotional life.
Updated on 16 November 2021