A.C. Baktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Prabhupada was the one introduced chanting of “Hare Krishna” as a way of salvation in the west.
He was born in Calcutta, in 1896, named as Abhay Charan De.
He was a graduate of Calcutta University majoring English, Philosophy and economics.
He was active in independence movement.
In 1922, he first, met his guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Maharaj.
In 1933 took initiation and was ordered to spread his teaching in the west.
But he worked until his retirement in 1954, as a manager of a chemical firm unit.
He did not renounce the world fully till 1959.
But from 1944 he began to express his religious idea sin English through a magazine called “Back to Godhead”.
Spreading the message in the west began in 1965, when he won a patron in Sumati Morarji, the owner of a India’s largest shipping firm.
She gave him a berth on one of her ships and some money to get him started on the mission.
He sat under a tree in Tomkinson Square, New York and began chanting his mantra “Hare Krishna…”
Few attracted passers-by came for discourses . Some took initiation thus I ISKCON
ISKCON claims that he is “the Acharya for this age.”
His succession goes back to Lord Chaitanya (born 1486) and to Krishna
Chaitanya came to set things right (BG). He started Hare Krishna and from him we (ISKCON) got the mantra.
History of the Hare Krishna Movement:
Chaitanya (1486- 1534) started ‘sankirtana’ movement or chanting Hare Krishna in Bengal and Orissa.
His nagar sankirtana was very effective. But there was a break in between.
Now ISKCON founded by Prabhupada, has made Chaitanya’s message (or at least the mantra) popular in the west.
ISKCON was formed in 1966.
Their monthly magazine is called “back to Godhead”.
It has a factory for manufacturing incense in Los Angeles.
It was for financial stability and job to devotees.
ISKCON propagates the glory of Krishna in India with the help of foreign missionaries.
ISKCON considers all its members as equal.
ISKON was not first accepted in India. Of course now…
The appeal of the ISKCON in the West:
Appealed to young, who joined the early phase of “counter culture”.
Western – individualistic culture failed certain things that are promised in ISKCON i.e.
The desire for community, the desire for engagement (dealing directly with social problems) and the desire for dependence.
ISKCON met their obvious needs (warmth and friendliness).
It suited for hippies –
Surrendering to Krishna, serving him, and strict discipline.
For an average man he has to share 50% of his income with the community.
It was too difficult for average person
It did not appeal to Indians because of culture, faith, etc.
During the end of seventies ISKCON appealed to those successful in business,
From the previous dropouts of society. Thus it became strong in India.
Whether ISKCON is a genuine spread of religious culture in India or merely the economic success of a sect?
Now affluence. ISKCON slipped into materialism? Religion of the rich?
ISKCON’s membership fee was 4444- could stay in ISKCON guest house in the business cities of the world.
It was popular in India because it gave spiritual consolation to the affluent (guilt of economic offence).
It guaranteed a removal of moral guilt.
Now ISKCON has started service tot eh poor i.e. ISKCON rural development (IRD).
Whether ISKCON an provide a genuine philosophy for social action?
Teaching of ISKCON:
The favourite scriptures of ISKCON are Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavad Purana.
God is personal but the human soul is not God.
The material world is not illusion.
Idol worship is essential part of ISKCON devotional service.
The ultimate reality is personal God-Krishna.
The highest goal of Krishna consciousness is to realize ecstatic bliss f Krishna.
Krishna consciousness is the original pure state of the soul.
Chanting of the mantra brings the original Krishna consciousness.
Self realization is not merging into God, but realizing oneself as a part of God.
Not only man, animal and plants also have soul.
They migrate until reaching Krishna consciousness.
Guru plays important role in devotional service to Krishna. Without guru, cultivation of Krishna consciousness is impossible.
Therough chanting the mantra one can associate personally with Krishna.
Finally to Goloka Vrindavan- there Krishna lives eternally in the highest love relation with Radha.