The term “Hare Krishna”, or The Hare Krishna Movement™ Organization, formally The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is the orthodox core of Hinduism. It was registered in the West (in New York) in July 1966, but dates back over 5000 years. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1532) popularized the movement all over India. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion with over 900 million adherents, second to Christianity and Islam (according to various leading encyclopedias, websites and almanacs). The principal scriptures are The Bhagavad-gita (The Song of God), and the Shrimad Bhagavatam (the story of the Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna Bhagavan). Krishnas believe in one God.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as The Hare Krishna Movement™ Organization, was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. ISKCON follows the teachings of the Vedas and the Vedic scriptures, includingBhagavad-gita and the Bhagavata Purana; it teaches and practices Vaishnavism, or devotion to God in the supreme personal aspect of Radha Krishna.
ISKCON receives these teachings through the preceptorial line known as the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya. This well established traditional line descends through the respected teacher Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (AD 1486–1534), the full incarnation of Sri Krishna, whose philosophy and practices unify the teachings of all four major Vaishnava Acharyas: Sri Madhvacharya, Sri Ramanujacharya, Sri Vishnuswami, and Sri Nimbarkacharya.
ISKCON embraces the chanting of the holy name of Krishna as a primary practice and accepts the concepts of transmigration, karma, vegetarianism (ahimsa), worship of the deity (Shri Vigraha), and the preceptor-disciple (guru-sishya) relationship. Initiated members vow to refrain from gambling, illicit sex, intoxicants (including coffee, tea, and cigarettes), and non vegetarian food.
In this way ISKCON faithfully continues the core traditions of the Hindu faith. ISKCON’s teachings are non sectarian and non denominational, for they are not limited to any particular historical religion. Vaishnavism inculcates the essential and universal principle of all religion. That principle, called sanatana dharma, denotes the natural and eternal activity of all living beings, loving devotional service to the one Supreme Personality of Godhead.
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