The ISKCON movement prevalently known as Hare Krishna movement in the west is a monotheistic wing of Gaudiya Vaishnava branch of spirituality that is believed to have started from the days of Lord Krishna. He is believed to be the head of all goods and creatures who took birth on earth to give the sermon of Bhagavad-Gita about five thousand years ago. This movement follows his teachings as it is written in Vedas and scriptures such as Srimad Bhagavat or Bhagavad-Gita.
Few important practices of this movement involve chanting God’s holy name consistently to bring solemn and lasting peace. This is primarily done to revive our relationship with the almighty. It is said that Lord Krishna took incarnation as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 525 years ago. He took incarnation as his own devotee to come out with a new form of congregational chanting known as Sankirtana which is a subtle form of spiritual practice in this era. He also made famous the chant of Mahamantra which comprised of simple names of gods such as Hare Rama or Hare Krishna. It was in fact, Swami Srila Prabhupada (1896-1977) who transformed Sri Chaitanya’s movement into ISKCON.
The journey of Hare Krishna Movement founder:
At 69 years of age, Swami Prabhupada left Vrindavan to spread the message of Lord Krishna to the west to execute the message of the spiritual master. He reached Boston in a freight ship, carrying a meager $7 and a chest containing books of Lord Krishna. For a few years, he struggled in the new country and earned his living by speaking at Yoga studios or at spiritual meetings of bohemians. In the free time, he would just sit under a tree of a public park and chanted the names of Lord Krishna. Few curious onlookers joined him in chanting. Some of them took an active interest in his cause and founded ‘Krishna consciousness’ movement.
Like the sun is the same source of light for everyone around the world but is known by different names; similarly Krishna consciousness, Krishna or god are synonymous terms for the worship of the supreme deity. One can practice Krishna consciousness anywhere and can become a part of ISKCON. To adopt the practices of this movement, you need not change your religion. Though ‘Krishna consciousness’ is known to have arisen from the Gaudiya Vaishnava cult commonly referred as Hinduism, but it aims to serve the eternal purpose of a soul which is to attain eternal spiritual equanimity and hence is known as sss. Also, it transcends the religious and social identities of individuals.