The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. It belongs to the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, a devotional tradition based on the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The mission of Hare Krishna movement is to promote the wellbeing of society by teaching the science of Krsna consciousness, according to Bhagavad-Gita and other ancient scriptures. The precepts and practices of 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.
Sri Chaitanya, whom devotees revere as a direct incarnation of Krsna, gave a powerful impetus for a massive bhakti (devotional) movement throughout India. Under his direction, hundreds of volumes were compiled on the philosophy of Krsna consciousness. Many devotees have followed in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu including an outstanding Vaisnava theologian, Bhaktivinoda Thakura who brought Krsna consciousness to a modern audience in the 19th century.
Bhaktivinoda’s son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, became the guru of Srila Prabhupada and instructed him to spread Krsna consciousness in the west. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness draws its legitimacy from its place in a long succession of spiritual teachers and disciples (parampara). There are four major disciple successions (sampradayas) of which ISKCON belongs to the Brahma Sampradaya, founded by Lord Krsna Himself. There are many branches to this sampradaya. Our society belongs to the branch founded by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 16th century.
The principle is that Vaisnava teachings should be passed on, unchanged, from guru to disciple. The most prominent devotees in this lineage are accepted as acharyas, i.e., those who teach by example and who carry the line forward. Listed below are the acharyas, Starting from Lord Krishna himself all the way down to the Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada.
The Disciplic Succession
Evaa Parampara-praptam imaa rajarnayo viduu ( Bhagavad-gita 4.2) This Bhagvad-Gita As It Is, is received through this disciplic succession :
- 1. Krishna
- 2. Brahma
- 3. Narada
- 4. Vyasa
- 5. Madhva
- 6. Padmanabha
- 7. Narhari
- 8. Madhava
- 9. Akshobya
- 10. Jaya Tertha
- 11. Jianasindhu
- 12. Dayanidhi
- 13. Vidyanidhi
- 14. Rajendra
- 15. Jayadharma
- 16. Purunottama
- 17. Brahmanya Tirtha
- 18. Vyasa Tirth
- 19. Laknmepati
- 20. Madhavendra pure
- 21. Ishvara puri (Nityananda, Advaita)
- 22. Lord chaitanya
- 23. Rupa (Svarupa, Sanatana)
- 24. Raghunatha, Jiva
- 25. Krishnadasa
- 26. Narottama
- 27. Vishvanatha
- 28. (Baladeva) Jagannatha
- 29. Bhaktivinoda
- 30. Gaurakicora
- 31. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvate
- 32. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Seven Purposes of ISKCON
- To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and achieve real unity and peace in the world.
- To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, 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 name of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya 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 towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.