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Iskcon Krishna-Baldev Temple

The international Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was initially raised as a spirtual society in New York to Propagate the message of the Bhagwad Gita. It was founded by Swami Prabhupada.

Swami Prabhupada was born in Calcutta in 1896 to a family of cloth merchants. In 1932 he moved with his family to Allahabad where he became a disciple of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Convinced by his spiritual master to spread the message of Krishna consciousness, he travelled westwards and, at the ripe old age of 70 years, arrived in New York in 1965 with a paltry Rs.40/- and over 200 three volume sets of his books for distribution, sale and teaching. He held discourses on Lord Krishna and classes in yoga and meditation. He soon started attracting adventurous American youth into his fold. They were sent all over the world to propagate Krishna consciousness.

Soon ISKCON became a worldwide movement. In the words of A.L. Basham, a leading authority on Indian history and religion: “Here for the first time since the days of the Roman Empire is a new Asian religion – that is to say, an Asian religion new to the Western world – being practised by people of Western race. It arose out of nothing in less than twenty years and has become known all over the West…and an important fact in the history of the Western world.”

Today there are over 500 Hare Krishna temples in all major cities of the world: New York, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Washington, Moscow and Pakistan. In India there are about 40 ISKCON temples.

Upon his return to Vrindavan in 1977 Prabhupada entered into samadhi Mandir (memorial) in his honour. It is located within the premises of the Krishna-Baldev Temple in Vrindavan. Beautiful paintings depicting the life of Lord Krishna adorn the galleries leading to the main temple. ISKCON devotees from various parts of the world can be spotted manning the library or ISKCON book stalls and partaking in temple rituals with gay abandon.

At Vrindavan the ISKCON society also runs a boarding school on the lines of a gurukul with classes being run from I to VII. A gurukul is a holistic kind of educational system whereby students and teachers live in the same complex so students may learn by observing the teacher. There are guest houses for devotees within the premises so they may take part in the day to day activities of the temple.

ISKCON philosophy incorporates the following seven purposes:

  • Propagate spiritual knowledge

  • Propagate Krishna consciousness as revealed in the Bhagwad Gita and Srimad Bhagvatam (the “spotless Vedic scripture”).

  • Bring each member spiritually closer to Krishna.

  • Teach and encourage sankirtan movement (chanting of the holy name of God).

  • Erect places of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

  • Bring the members closer to teach a simpler and more natural way of life.

  • To achieve the above aims – publish and distribute books, periodicals and magazines.