The Hare Krishna movement is the popular name for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Founded in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON carries on in the modern world a great ancient tradition rooted in the Bhagavad-Gita , the teachings Lord Krishna spoke five thousand years ago. The Gita and the other Vedic scriptures declare Krishna to be the original person, God Himself, who appears periodically in this world to liberate all living beings.
Only five hundred years ago, Krishna descended as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach the most sublime and effective means of meditation for the present day: the chanting of the names of God, especially as found in the Hare Krishna mantra.
Today, members of ISKCON continue Lord Caitanya’s movement by distributing the teachings of Lord Krishna and the Hare Krishna mantra all over the world.
When Srila Prabhupada began ISKCON, he defined seven purposes:
- 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.
- To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
- 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).
- To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
- To erect for the members and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
- To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
- With a view toward achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, books and other writings.