The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a denomination of the Gaudiya Vaishnava faith, a devotional tradition based on the teachings of Bhagavad-gita and the Bhagavat Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam). The tradition traces its roots back 5,500 years.The precepts and practices of the members of the present day ISKCON were taught and codified by the 15th century saint and religious reformer Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his principle associates, the six Goswamis of Vrindavana. SriChaitanya, whom devotees revere as a direct incarnation of Lord Krishna, gave a powerful impetus for a massive bhakti (devotional) movement of Krishna followers throughout India. It was under his direction that hundreds of volumes on the philosophy of Krishna consciousness were compiled. The movement diminished somewhat until the 19th century, when a outstanding Vaishnava theologian, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, again revived Krishna consciousness. His son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, became the guru of Srila Prabhupada and instructed him to make the spreading of Krishna consciousness in the West the mission of his life. After arriving at New York City in September 1965, Srila Prabhupada struggled alone for the first year to establish his God conscious movement. He lived simply, lectured whenever and wherever he got opportunity, and gradually began to attract some small interest in his teachings. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (center) who appeared 500 years ago to propagate the chanting of Hare Krishna mantra In July of 1966, while still working alone from an obscure storefront in New York City's Lower East Side, Srila Prabhupada nonetheless founded a spiritual society intended for worldwide participation. He called it the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON for short.
At the time of incorporation, Srila Prabhupada had not attracted even one committed follower. Undeterred, he enlisted volunteers among the small group of regular attendees at his evening lectures to act as ISKCON's first trustees. That was then. Today, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness comprises more than 350 temples, farms, schools, and special projects throughout the world and maintains a congregation numbering in the millions. ISKCON's Purpose Krishna consciousness is more than another sectarian faith. It is a technical science of spiritual values that is fully described in the Vedic literature of ancient India. The aim of the Krishna consciousness movement is to acquaint all people of the world with these universal principles of God-realization so that they may derive the highest benefits of spiritual understanding, unity, and peace. The Vedas recommend that in the present age the most effective means for achieving self-realization is to always hear about, glorify, and remember the all-good Supreme Lord, who is known by many names. One of the names is "Krishna," which means "He, who is all attractive," another is "Rama"' which means " He who is reservoir of all pleasure," and "Hare," indicates the Lord's inconceivable energy.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - Founder Acharya of ISKCON Following the Vedic recommendation, the members of ISKCON are always seen chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. This sublime chanting puts us directly in touch with the Supreme Lord through the sound vibration of His holy names and gradually awakens us to our original relationship with God. ISKCON's primary mission is thus to encourage all members of human society to devote at least a portion of their time and energies in this process of hearing and chanting about God. In this way they will gradually come to realize that all living beings are spirit souls, eternally related to the Supreme Lord in service and in love. Srila Prabhupada gave a clear mission statement for ISKCON, which is outlined in the following seven points.
The Seven Purposes of ISKCON
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 (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
3) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing 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 sankirtana movement, 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, more natural way of life.
7) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.