top of page
KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
A MILLENNIA-OLD TRADITION

THE CULTURAL BACKGROUND OF

KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS

vedic.jpg

​In addition to the scriptures, there were always teachers (gurus) who embodied and passed on Vedic knowledge through their personal example - over the generations and centuries, from master to student, right up to the present day. This unbroken line of disciples, which goes back directly to Krishna, kept the Vedic tradition alive, although people increasingly turned away from it in the Kali-yuga. Therefore, those who knew the meaning and purpose of the Vedas longed for the appearance of that divine incarnation that would re-establish the pure form of Vedic culture and religion.

caitanya4.jpg
caitanya1.jpg
sankirtan2.jpg

SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU

In 1486, Krishna appeared in Bengal as Sri Caitanya. His appearance as a divine incarnation (avatara) had already been predicted in the Vedas. He founded the Krishna consciousness movement in India and revealed the process of God realization in Kali-yuga: chanting (singing and praying) the holy names of God.

In other words, the same Krishna who spoke the Bhagavad-gita five thousand years ago appeared again five hundred years ago to show how to live the Bhagavad-gita, because God always gives both the perfect teaching and the perfect example. Sri Caitanya planted the seed of a new spiritual epoch within the Kali-yuga.


He taught that true God-consciousness is not dependent on caste or religious affiliation. Therefore, he opposed all social, religious and racial bias and introduced the communal chanting of the names of God to enable all people to become Krishna-conscious. He prophesied that one day the holy name of Krishna would be chanted all over the world. The followers of Sri Caitanya saw the fulfillment of this prophecy as their main task. They traveled all over India, wrote books and, from the 19th century onwards, also began to make Vedic knowledge accessible to the whole world through the English language.

The decisive step was taken ten generations after Sri Caitanya by the great scholar and devotee A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), who made the name of Krishna and the message of the Vedas known worldwide.

prabhupada-with-german-devotees.jpg
Srila_Prabhupada_smiling_happily.jpeg
NY_Kirtan_by_Hilton_1974.jpg

THE FOUNDING OF ISKCON

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement, is the contemporary branch of the ancient Krishna religion. ISKCON is a cultural and religious movement that provides people with the opportunity to learn, study, and practically apply Vedic knowledge.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was founded in 1966 in New York by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Known affectionately as Shrila Prabhupada among his disciples, he had already established himself in India as an author, Sanskrit translator, and spiritual teacher. In recognition of his contributions, he was honored with the title "Bhaktivedanta" in 1947, meaning "teacher of bhakti, the conclusion of the Vedas."

In 1922, his spiritual master instructed him to spread the teachings of Krishna in the English language, a directive that shaped his entire life. At the age of sixty, after fulfilling his family obligations, he became a monk and began his seminal work - a multi-volume annotated translation of the 18,000-verse Shrimad-Bhagavatam, a philosophical masterpiece of the Vedic scriptures.

In 1965, at the age of 70, Shrila Prabhupada traveled to America on a freighter to fulfill the mission of discipleship. He began as a penniless monk, alone and without any support; yet gradually, young people came to him, drawn by his spiritual maturity and charisma.

1970-1973-01-42-13.jpg

PRABHUPADA'S LEGACY

Despite his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada traveled tirelessly. He established 108 centers in 49 countries, accepted thousands of disciples, and brought the message of Krishna consciousness to millions of people. At the same time, he wrote over sixty books with translations and explanations of the Vedic scriptures, which he himself described as "ISKCON's greatest gift to humanity."

Gurus.jpg

ISKCON TODAY

After Shrila Prabhupada's passing at the age of 81, the Krishna Consciousness movement is continued by a committee of 30 members responsible for organization, problem-solving, and maintaining Vedic standards. Additionally, this committee appoints new generations of spiritual masters from among Shrila Prabhupada's disciples (currently around 80), who bear the responsibility of upholding the purity of the Krishna-conscious tradition and initiating new students. Thus, the Hare Krishna movement represents an authentic continuation of the Vedic disciple succession.

bottom of page