The Hare Krishna movement is the name by which is best known International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON, the association founded in New York in 1966 by the spiritual master Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. ISKCON movement is based on the teaching of the mystical Bengali Chaitanya, according to a disciplic line of spiritual teachers (guru parampara) that the Gaudiyas date back to Krishna.
The doctrine, as for other current Gaudiya, is based on the focus of religious faith in the figure of Krishna, here understood as the Bhagavad. God, the Supreme Person, in one with his eternal, Radha, here understood as a manifestation of the same Bhagavat, and in that of Chaitanya and its Panca-tattva, here understood as the manifestation of deity Krishna and his eternal paredra Radha , and the promotion of an active missionary activity.
New members have to face a trial period of at least six months, strictly observing the regulative principles, after which, they can choose a guru of ISKCON and take initiation (diksha). Initiation occurs through the celebration of a yajna, a ritual in which the devotee receives a name from the master in the tradition Vaishnava (completed by the suffix Dasa or Dasi, servant and a rosary, the Japa Mala. The members traditionally mark the body and forehead with tilaka.
The men shave their hair, leaving a pigtail (sikha), and dressed in saffron, if celibate (brahmacharya) or white, if married, then is head of household (gārhasthya). Women usually wear the sari, white if they are widowed or if they have achieved the status of sannyasa.
After the great spread in the seventies, especially addressed to proselytism aimed at a specifically cenobitic life and then to a radical renunciation of worldly life today ISKCON is composed primarily of members living outside the temples , in communities that can also give up the traditional attire of Hindū devotees.
The association now comprises about 400 centers, 50 rural communities and farms, 10 schools and 60 vegetarian restaurants around the world. The association's headquarters in Mayapur, in India. The ISKCON is managed by the Governing Body Commission (GBC), created by the same AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1970, to work alongside him in organizational management and why administer the association after his death.
Since 1997 the twelve members of the GBC are assisted by a forum composed of senior devotees. It is the GBC appointing the sannyasa initiators and masters (diksha guru), authorized to grant the initiation of new members.
Since 2009 the GBC has established that women can become masters.
In 1972 was created the BBT - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust , a publishing house committed to the dissemination of works by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his own religious literature of Gaudiya Visnuism , which publishes in sixty different languages, whose headquarters is in Los Angeles.
Inspired and partly funded, ISKCON, Food for Life is a program that deals with the distribution of vegetarian meals and other charitable initiatives, such as the establishment of schools, protection of widows, relief to victims of natural disasters, adoptions distance, etc.