The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), more popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement, is a constituent of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, which is based on the doctrine of monotheism and adheres to the Vedic Indian belief that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It disseminates teachings of the great spiritual culture ingrained in the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Incorporated in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON’s main objective is to improve the well-being of human society by propagating the science of God (Krishna) consciousness in line with the timeless wisdom of India’s Vedic scriptures.
This movement of Krishna consciousness is not something concocted or manufactured to deceive or misguide people. It is an authorized movement based on a scientific philosophy, because the practical experiences are not contrary to the scriptures; rather they underpin and bolster the scriptures. On the strength of ancient respectable traditions, which have roots that go back thousands of years, the Krishna consciousness movement was established to help people attain the zenith of spiritual elevation and enlightenment.
A number of very prominent scholars, academics and intellectuals have underscored the genuineness of ISKCON. Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, considers the movement as “a tradition that commands a respected place in the religious life of humankind.”
Also, in the 1980s, Dr. A. L. Basham, one of the world’s renowned experts in Indian history and culture, wrote of 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.”
In a little over five decades since its inception, ISKCON has experienced an exponential growth around the world. It now consists of more than 650 major Centers, Temples & Rural Communities; more than 100 purely vegetarian Restaurants; thousands of local Study & Meeting Groups called the “Bhakti Vrikshas”, “Bhakti Shastris”, “Ashraya Groups” & “Namhattas”, etc; and millions of congregational members globally.
The members of ISKCON worship Lord Krishna- the original person & the Supreme Lord – with love & devotion. They foster the principle of rendering devotional service unto Him by celebrating a variety of joyous festivals; organizing various performances, plays & dramas; conducting spiritual seminars & yoga sessions; participating in the Sankirtan Yajna – congregational chanting & dancing to the tune of the Holy Name in the streets of the city; and distributing the transcendental Vedic literatures.
Also, scores of educational institutions, hospitals, eco-villages and free vegetarian food distribution programs are operating under the auspices of ISKCON.
Keywords -: ISKCON, ISKCON Temple, Krishna consciousness, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON Gurugram