When your daily woes dissolve on hearing the chanting of Hare Krishna and you can hear the bells ringing, people singing melodiously in glories of Krishna with that beautiful Tilak on the forehead, you should guess that you have entered into the beautiful kingdom of ISKCON.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas is a religious organization that follows the teachings of Vedas and Vedic scriptures, practicing and preaching Vaishnavism – The worship of Krishna or Vishnu. The institution, which came into existence in the year 1966 in New York by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada managed to turn the tables for the Hippie culture in the west, providing them with a sort of higher bliss which in fact left many think seriously about spirituality.
Visit an ISKCON Temple and you will probably realize that this higher bliss is simply attained by chanting the holy names of god, dancing till the world ends and well, when it does, Feast! The Society is striving to become a sort of self sufficient one, giving people a sense of independence through an enveloping positive association, mentors, friends and many others to help one solve their problem’s.
Today, ISKCON is a worldwide confederation of more than 550 centers, including 60 farm communities, some aiming for self-sufficiency, 50 schools, and 90 restaurants. With personalities like George Harrison from the Beatles, Alfred Ford, Hema Malini and many others, ISKCON has become a hub of brainy people who have faith in spirituality. The society is full of IIT and IIM who are experienced and believe that ISKCON is a well sorted organization that makes one grow as a human being and understand some simple facts about life. ISKCON is that one road that makes you witness the path of peace through experience, faith and association.
With singing, dancing, worshipping the deities and feasting, the place provides one with a moment of respite, joy and self introspection. ISKCON teachings are non sectarian and non denominational, for they are not limited to any particular historical religion. Vaishnavism inculcates the essential and universal principle of all religion To care and love all, by devotional service to the one who resides within and ISKCON aims at establishing a peaceful God Conscious society.
What is ISKCON?
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the spiritual institution founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in July 1966 as a continuation of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya. ISKCON was personally directed by its Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada until his departure on November 14, 1977. According to Srila Prabhupada’s will, ISKCON continued thereafter under the ultimate managing authority of the Governing Body Commission (GBC).
In ISKCON’s incorporating document, Srila Prabhupada imparts the “Seven Purposes of ISKCON”:
(1) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples 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 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 quality of Godhead (Krishna).
(4) To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement of congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings 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.
Under Srila Prabhupada’s guidance, ISKCON has grown from a small group of disciples assembling in a New York City store front into an international society with scores of centers. At present, there are more than three-hundred ISKCON centers worldwide.