The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organisation

ISKCON was founded in 1966 in New York City by A


Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Its core beliefs are based on Hindu scriptures, particularly the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, which has had adherents in India since the late 15th century and American and European devotees since the early 1900s

ISKCON devotees follow a disciplic line of Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya and are the largest branch of Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Vaishnavism means ‘worship of Vishnu’, and Gauḍa refers to the area where this particular branch of Vaishnavism originated, in the Gauda region of West Bengal

The organization was formed to spread the practice of Bhakti yoga, the practice of love of God in which those involved (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing Krishna, whom they consider the Supreme Lord

Its most rapid expansions in membership as of 2007 have been within India and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Russia and the rest of the formerly Soviet-aligned states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Today, it has around a million congregational members worldwide with the towering majority situated in India, and despite its relatively small number of followers in the West, it has been described as influential

ISKCON itself estimates to have “one thousand active devotees living full-time in Canada and the United States and a further 390 initiated devotees on their current lists in Britain