The first year after his arrival in Boston, in September 1965, Srila Prabhupada struggled on his own to establish his spiritual movement. He arrived in New York, in the Lower East Side, lived a simple life, gave lectures where and whenever he got the possibility, and started to get gradually more interest for his teachings. In July 1966, Srila Prabhupada founded, as he called it himself, a spiritual community where the whole world can live. He named her the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement. At that time, Srila Prabhupada did not have any disciples. Dauntlessly he appointed a few volunteers from the small group that regularly visited his evening lectures, as ISKCON’s first delegates.
In the meantime, ISKCON has transformed into a worldwide organisation of temples, farm communities and preaching centres over the whole world. According to estimations, ISKCON has 30.000 active followers and 250.000 congregation members worldwide. With about 350 centres, 60 farm communities, 50 schools and 60 restaurants, you can find us in almost every major city.
Who is Krishna?
Krishna is God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “Krishna” is a Sanskrit word and means “all-attractive”. It is one of the names that is used by Vaishnavas, devotees of Lord Visnu, to call God. Krishna is considered to be the supreme personality, the absolute truth.
Some philosophers do not believe God to be a person. Because our bodies are perishable, full of ignorance and misery, they conclude that God cannot such a kind of body, nor such a form. They have the correct assumption that God is not limited, but conclude it incorrectly as that He must be formless. They prefer to see God as an invisible power, the total universe or another kind of all-pervading truth.
About Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada, or Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Acarya is mostly translated as founder.
He was born in 1896 in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. He met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakur Prabhupada, for the first time in Calcutta in 1922. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent scholar in Krishna consciousness and the founder of 64 Gaudiya Matha’s (vedic institutes), appreciated this well educated young man. During their first meeting, he requested Srila Prabhupada to spread vedic knowledge in English.
Hare Krishna and Krishna Consciousness
Krishna consciousness is not some kind of sectarian belief. It is a technical science of spiritual values, completely described in the vedical literatures in ancient India. The goal of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is to introduce these universal principles of God realisation to all mankind, so they can have the most benefit with spiritual insights, oneness and peace. The Veda’s advise that the most effective method for self-realisation in the current era is listening about, glorifying of and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known by several names.
One of those names is “Krishna”, which means “the all-attractive”. An other name is “Rama”, which means “the source of all happiness”, and “Hare” indicates the unimaginable energy of the Lord. The members of ISKCON took this advice seriously. That’s why they’re allways chanting:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
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Stichter-Acharya Zijne Goddelijke Genade A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada