A surge of positivity with people chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, singing melodious kirtans and glories of Krishna, ringing cymbals and dancing in a moment of pure joy; that is any ISKCON temple picturized through words. Visit an ISKCON Temple and you will probably realize that happiness is simply attained by something as simple as chanting the holy names of God, dancing, and feasting your way out of problems!
So, what is ISKCON?
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), colloquially known as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas is a spiritual organization that follows the teachings of Vedas and Vedic scriptures, practices and preaches Vaishnavism – The worship of Krishna or Vishnu. The institution was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in July 1966 in New York. The small society, at that time, managed to turn the tables for the Hippie culture in the west, providing them with a sort of transcendental bliss which in fact left many think seriously about spirituality.
Over the years, ISKCON became a hub of people who have faith in spirituality, are searching for the real purpose of life or simply, some positive association. ISKCON’s devotional attitude also caught the eye of various prominent personalities like George Harrison from the Beatles, Alfred Ford (Ford motors), Hema Malini (Indian actress and MP) and many others.
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. Hare Krishna Food for Life program is the world’s largest vegan and vegetarian non-profit food relief organization with projects in over 60 countries. Volunteers serve more than 1,500,000 free meals daily in a variety of ways, including food vans serving to the homeless within major cities around the world; lunchtime meals for poor school children throughout India; and, in response to large natural disasters, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
What is Our Purpose?
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.
What do we strive for?
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 religion. Instead, Vaishnavism inculcates the essential and universal principle of all religion that is to care and love all, by devotional service to the one who resides within.
That is why ISKCON aims at establishing a peaceful God Conscious society striving to become self-sufficient, giving people a sense of independence through an enveloping positive association, mentors, friends, and many others to help one solve their problems.In one sentence, ISKCON is that one road that makes you witness the path of peace through experience, faith, and association and We invite you to be part of this journey.