Every thing to about the Hare Krishna Movement alias "ISKCON" in simple way
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), otherwise known as the Hare Krishna movement, includes five hundred major centres, temples and rural communities, nearly one hundred affiliated vegetarian restaurants, thousands of namahattas or local meeting groups, a wide variety of community projects, and millions of congregational members worldwide. Although less than fifty years on the global stage, ISKCON has expanded widely since its founding by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda in New York City in 1966.
ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradāya, a monotheistic tradition within the Vedic or Hindu culture. Philosophically it is based on the Sanskrit texts Bhagavad-gītā and the Bhagavat Purana, or Srimad Bhagavatam. These are the historic texts of the devotional bhakti yoga tradition, which teaches that the ultimate goal for all living beings is to reawaken their love for God, or Lord Krishna, the “all-attractive one”.
God is known across the world by many names including Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Rama, etc. ISKCON devotees chant God’s names in the form of the maha-mantra, or the great prayer for deliverance:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Many leading academics have highlighted ISKCON’s authenticity. Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University, describes the movement as “a tradition that commands a respected place in the religious life of humankind.”
In the 1980s Dr A. L. Basham, one of the world’s authorities on Indian history and culture, wrote of ISKCON that, “It arose out of next to nothing in less than twenty years and has become known all over the West.
This, I feel, is a sign of the times and an important fact in the history of the Western world.”
What is ISKCONISKCON’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, has drawn appreciation from scholars and religious leaders alike for his remarkable achievement in presenting India’s Vaishnava spiritual culture in a relevant manner to contemporary Western and worldwide audiences.
Members of ISKCON practise bhakti-yoga in their homes and also worship in temples. They also promote bhakti-yoga, or Krishna Consciousness, through festivals, the performing arts, yoga seminars, public chanting, and the distribution of the society’s kinds of literature.
ISKCON members have also opened hospitals, schools, colleges, eco-villages, free food distribution projects, and other institutions as a practical application of the path of devotional yoga.
Vegetarianism is one of the four tenets of ISKCON. With respect to AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's focus on food distribution, many ISKCON devotees have opened vegan and vegetarian eateries based on the Vedic non-violent eating principles. These include the informal "Govindas’" food chain, Doughnut Plant, Divya's Kitchen NYC and OmNom Enlightened Eating.
Not all restaurants opened by ISKCON members are officially affiliated with ISKCON, although many Govindas’ restaurants or catering businesses operate out of the main temple centre. The type or style of vegetarian behaviour which is followed by the Hare Krishna followers is called 'Krishnatarian' in their own words.
According to Dewan (2020), "A Krishnatarian meal is one which is cooked using fresh, vegetarian ingredients (sans onion, garlic, red lentils or mushrooms) and milk products which is cooked by a Krishna conscious individual who cooks for devotion instead of for-profit, and offered to Lord Krishna before it is distributed or consumed by an individual."
This definition is the result of a long ethnographic in-depth study over a period of 4 years conducted by Dewan on Hare Krishna ISCKON devotee's food consumption habits wherein he had intense clarifications from various devotees who mentioned this word.
Four Regulative Principles
During initiation (Diksha) ISKCON devotees vow to follow four basic rules and regulations, are as follows:
- to follow a Lacto-vegetarian Krishna prasadam diet,
- to not consume any intoxicants (alcohol, cigarettes or drugs),
- to not gamble, and
- to not engage in 'illicit sex' (i.e. any sexual activity that is not procreational in nature within the context of marriage)