ISKCON 50

In 1965, Srila Prabhupada at the age of sixty-nine, boarded the cargo ship Jaladuta to New York City in order to bring the teachings of Lord Krishna from the sacred land of India to the English speaking world.
Onboard the ship, Srila Prabhupada suffered from two heart attacks and after 35 days at sea, he arrived in Boston's Commonwealth Pier with just seven dollars and a crate of his translations of sacred Sanskrit Texts.
Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure as You like. ~ Excerpt from the translation of Markine Bhagavata-Dharma, a bhajan Srila Prabhupada wrote while aboard the Jaladuta.

After his arrival in America, Srila Prabhupada made his way to New York City. In New York City, Srila Prabhupada faced many hardships and began his mission humbly by giving classes on the Bhagavad-gita in lofts on the bowery and leading kirtan (devotional chanting) in Tompkins Square Park. Soon thereafter Srila Prabhupada's message of loving god, spreading peace, and goodwill started to resonate with many of the young men and women. Some of whom came forward to become serious students of the Krishna Bhakti Tradition. With the help of these students Bhaktivedanta Swami rented a small storefront on New York’s Lower East Side to use as a temple and in July of 1966 established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Years after Srila Prabhupada sat under this tree preaching about Lord Krishna's teachings, the City of New York dedicated this tree in ISKCON's name.

In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times spreading the teachings of Lord Krishna. He inspired men and women from all walks of life to accept his message. With their help, Srila Prabhupada established temples, farm communities, a publishing house, and educational institutions all around the world.

Deity installation, Paris 8/10/73.

During these years Srila Prabhupada returned to India several times along with his disciples, sparking a revival in the sincere practice of the Vaishnava tradition. In India, he opened many temples including the Krishna Balaram Mandir in Vrindavan and Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir in Mayapur India.

Left: Srila Prabhupada performing Arati to the Krishna Balaram deities in the Vrindavan Temple during a festival. Right: Srila Prabhupada walking with his disciples.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) is the world’s largest publisher of classic Vaishnava texts and contemporary works on the philosophy, theology, and culture of bhakti-yoga.

However one of Srila Prabhupada's most significant contributions to the world are his books. He authored over 70 volumes on the Krishna tradition which to this day are highly respected by scholars for their authority, in-depth explanations, unaltered message, and coherence. Several of his books have been used as textbooks in college courses and have been translated into over 76 languages. His most prominent works include the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the 30-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the 17-volume Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of ISKCON's incorporation and founding.

Although Srila Prabhupada was alive for only 12 years of the Movement's beginnings, to this date, 50 years later his vision lives on through his disciples. With ISKCON having around 650 temples all over the world and the teachings that he so courageously brought to the western world continuing to spread, touching many people's hearts and lives.

A life of devotion, focused upon the Divine, leads to the ultimate harmony of being. ‘Devotion to God, Compassion to All’ is ISKCON’s world contribution, it is the purpose, the solution; it is the lifeblood and mission of ISKCON.

What Srila Prabhupada achieved in 12 years is unparalleled in all of world history.
Srila Prabhupada laughed playfully when he first coined the acronym for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and said, “We shall call our society ‘ISKCON.’ – July 1966, New York
Created By
Srinidhi Murali
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