His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder Acharya International Society For Krishna Consciousness
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) is widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent exponent of the teachings and tradition of Bhakti-yoga, the practice of loving devotion to God, to the Western world.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born AbhayCharan De on September 1, 1896 in Calcutta, India. From birth, Abhay was raised in a family devoted to Krishna (whose name means the all-attractive, all-loving Lord). As a youth he became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. However, it was a meeting with a prominent scholar and spiritual leader, SrilaBhaktisiddhantaSarasvatiPrabhupada, which proved most influential on young Abhay’s future.
Upon their first meeting in 1922, SrilaBhaktisiddhanta, who represented an ancient tradition of Bhakti-yoga, asked Abhay to propound the teachings to the English-speaking world. Deeply moved by SrilaBhaktisiddhanta’s devotion and wisdom, Abhay became his disciple and dedicated himself to carrying out his mentor’s request. But it wasn’t until 1965, at the age of seventy that he would set off on his mission to the West.AbhayCharan, now known as Bhaktivedanta Swami (an honorary title awarded by his peers), was given free passage aboard a cargo ship to New York. The journey proved to be treacherous, and he suffered two heart attacks while on the ship. After 35 days at sea he finally arrived at a lonely Brooklyn pier with just seven dollars in Indian rupees and one crate of his translations of sacred Sanskrit texts.
7 PURPOSES OF ISKCON
To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people 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 (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, especially Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. We accept the principle of transmigration of the soul (reincarnation).
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 CaitanyaMahaprabhu.
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 and to create websites that help realize these purposes.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was officially established in 1966 in America by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
The philosophy of ISKCON is nothing but the philosophy of Sanantan Dharma. Sanatan means which has no beginning and no end. This is existing from the dawn of creation. It is the world’s most ancient religion. The main scriptures are The Bhagavad-gita (The Song of God), and the ShrimadBhagavatam (entire story of supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna).
The principles and practices of ISKCON were taught by ShriChaitanyaMahaprabhu (1486-1532) through his dearmost associate NityanandaPrabhu and six of his principle associates, the Goswamis of Vrindavana, Sanatana, Rupa, Jiva, GopalBhatta, RaghunathaDasa and RaghunathaBhatta. And later by BhaktivinodaThakura (1838-1914), his son BhaktisiddhantaSarasvatiGoswami (1874- 1937) and SrilaPrabhupada (1896-1977) who spread Krishna consciousness all over the world in English Language.
ISKCON’s history includes a disciplic succession (guru sisyaparampara). It draws its legitimacy from its place in a succession of spiritual teachers and disciples. There are four major disciplic successions, and ISKCON belongs Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya lineage founded by ShriChaitanyaMahaprabhu in the 16th century.