Our Philosophy

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, also known as ISKCON or colloquially as the Hare Krsna movement, was founded in 1966 in New York City by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

The lineage of ISKCON is known as the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya and is the largest branch of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (Vaisnavism refers to the worship of Lord Visnu/Krsna and Gauda refers to the region of West Bengal where this branch originates).

The main goal of ISKCON is to spread Bhaktiyoga, which is the practice of love of God. Practitioners dedicate their thoughts and actions to pleasing The Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna by constantly thinking of Him and praising Him. This thought is inspired by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is believed to be an incarnation of Krsna who appeared on earth 500 years ago. The scriptures state that Lord Caitanya is not different from Lord Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us through practice how to love God, dedicate our lives to worshipping and pleasing Him, and cultivate a relationship with Him. All this is to be done through chanting God’s Holy Names.  He also taught us that one need not have any prerequisite to becoming Krsna’s devotee – anyone, regardless of class or creed can learn to love God and become His devotee by learning to love Him.

Lord Caitanya gave us the following mantra for the deliverance of the soul:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare

hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

One way that ISKCON devotees practise bhakti-yoga is through kirtan, which is the congregational chanting and singing of the Hare Krsna Mantra. Devotees believe that this is the best way to express their devotion and love to Sri Krsna.

Another important practice within ISKCON is japa, or the meditative practice of chanting the same Hare Krsna mantra on a set of rosary beads. For Vaisnavas, this is considered to be the only way to salvation. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, has set a standard that all initiated disciples of ISKCON must chant sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra everyday (wherein one round consists of chanting the mantra 108 times) on Tulasi beads.

During initiation (or diksa), ISKCON devotees vow to follow the four regulative principles:

  1. To refrain from the consumption of meat
  2. To refrain from illicit sex (the act of sexual relations before marriage)
  3. To refrain from gambling
  4. To refrain from intoxication (including drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes)
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