ISKCON – International Society for Krishna Consciousness – known as the Hare Krishna movement.
- 1966 – ISKCON was founded by Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), in New York who is worshipped by followers as Guru and spiritual master.
- Bhaktivedanta Swami spent his life setting up the institution of ISKCON. As a charismatic leader, Bhaktivedanta Swami’s personality and management had been responsible for much of the growth of ISKCON and the reach of his mission.
- ISKCON Head quarters is in Mayapur, situated in Sri Navadvipa Dham, West Bengal. It is the birthplace of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
List of Worldwide ISKCON temples: http://directory.krishna.com/temples
- Core beliefs are based on Hindu scriptures, particularly the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.
- The appearance of the movement and its culture come from the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.
- Spread the practice of bhakti yoga, bhaktas dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna.
- 550 centers worldwide, including 60 farm communities, some aiming for self-sufficiency, 50 schools, and 90 restaurants.
- Pancha-Tattva deities: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, Gadadhara and Srivasa, installed in a Gaudiya Vaishnava temple
- ISKCON devotees worship Krishna as the highest form of God, svayam bhagavan, and often refer to Him as “the Supreme Personality of Godhead” in writing, which was a phrase coined by Prabhupada in his books on the subject. To devotees, Radha represents Krishna’s divine female counterpart, the original spiritual potency, and the embodiment of divine love.
Devotees sing aloud (kirtan) or chant quietly (japa) on tulsi mala. This mantra, known also as the Maha Mantra, contains the names of God Krishna and Rama.
The Maha Mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Seven purposes of ISKCON
- 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.
- To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The principle of reincarnation is accepted.
- To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus to develop the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
- To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
- To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
- To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
- With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
Four regulative principles
Bhaktivedanta Swami prescribed four regulative principles, in relation to the four legs of dharma as the basis of the spiritual life:
- No meat-eating, including fish or eggs;
- No illicit sex: only between married couples and only for the procreation of children;
- No gambling (playing any games keeping/for money and/or things);
- No intoxicants (including alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and other recreational drugs).
The four legs of Dharma are:
- Daya: Mercy
- Tapas: Self-Control or Austerity
- Satyam: Truthfulness
- Śaucham: Cleanliness of body and mind
The Bhaktivedanta Institute (BI) is the scientific research branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Founded in 1976 by Bhaktivedanta Swami and Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami (Dr. T.D. Singh), it aims to advance the study of the nature and origin of life, utilising Vedic insights into consciousness, the self, and the origin of the universe.
The institute’s motto, in the Sanskrit language, is “Athato brahma jijnasa,” which translates as “One should inquire into the Supreme.”
Food for Life
- ISKCON has inspired, and sometimes sponsored, a project called Food for Life. The goal of the project is to “liberally distribute pure vegetarian meals throughout the world”,
- The Governing Body Commission (or GBC) was created by Bhaktivedanta Swami in 1970.
The Guru Shishya Parampara
ISKCON adheres to the traditional system of guru shishya paramparā, or disciple succession, in which teachings upheld by scriptures are handed down from master to disciple, generation after generation.
Visit ISKCON temples and seek Radha Krisha blessings.