Incorporation of ISKCON New York


Jul 26, CANADA (SUN) — Today we celebrate the auspicious anniversary of Srila Prabhupada's incorporation of ISKCON New York, in 1966.

In 1966, Srila Prabhupada began chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra under a tree in New York's Tompkins Square Park, thereby inaugurating the western advance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's glorious Sankirtana movement. On July 20, 1966 Srila Prabhupada incorporated ISKCON New York, and in Autumn of 1966 he established the ISKCON Press, which clearly demonstrated his emphasis on the importance of publishing and distributing his books. Since that time, many millions of His Books have been distributed throughout the world, translated into many different languages.

"We shall call our society I.S.K.C.O.N.", Srila Prabhupada said with great pleasure when he first coined the acronym for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. 'Krishna Consciousness' was Srila Prabhupada's rendering of a phrase from Srila Rupa Goswami's Padyavali:


"To be absorbed in the mellow taste
of executing devotional service to Krsna'."

"He had initiated the legal work of incorporation that spring, while still living on the Bowery, but even before its legal beginning, he had been talking about his "International Society for Krishna Consciousness", and so it had appeared in letters to India and in "The Village Voice" (newspaper). A friend had suggested a title that would sound more familiar to Westerners "International society for God Consciousness". But 'God' was a vague term, whereas 'Krishna' was exact and scientific; 'God Consciousness' was spiritually weaker, less personal. And if Westerners didn't know or understand that Krishna was God, then the 'International Society for Krishna Consciousness' would tell them, by spreading His glories 'in every town and village'.

"Your Ever Well-wisher", page 45-47

Within ISKCON's Articles of Incorporation, Srila Prabhupada included seven points quite similar to those presented in his prospectus for The League of Devotees, which he founded in Jhansi, India in 1954.

Seven Purposes of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

    (a) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of the values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

    (b) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.

    (c) To bring the members of the society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus to develop the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the Quality of Godhead (Sri Krishna).

    (d) To teach and encourage the 'sankirtan' movement, congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

    (e) To erect for the members and for society at large, a Holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

    (f) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

    (g) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

More than ten years after the date of his ISKCON New York Incorporation, Srila Prabhupada was still emphasizing the meaning and intention behind his society's name. During an evening darshan in Tehran, Srila Prabhupada said:

    "If you want to know Krsna, then you have to know from the persons who are dealing with Krsna. That's all. They have no other business. Our Krsna consciousness movement means we are dealing with Krsna. That's all. We're writing books, so many books for Krsna. We are preaching and going country to country. We simple deal with Krsna. Therefore the movement is known as "Krsna consciousness." Somebody suggested "Why don't you write 'God consciousness'?" No, if I say "God consciousness," they'll bring so many gods. It is very simple. If we take it seriously, then benefit is there. But if we hesitate, it is our misfortune."


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