ISKCON History

Maha  Mantra The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. It belongs to the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, a devotional tradition based on the teachings of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

The precepts and practices of ISKCON were taught and codified by the 15th century saint and religious reformer Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his principle associates, the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana.

Sri Caitanya, whom devotees revere as a direct incarnation of Krishna, gave a powerful impetus for a massive bhakti (devotional) movement throughout India. Under his direction hundreds of volumes on the philosophy of Krishna consciousness were compiled. Many devotees have followed in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu including, in the 19th century, an outstanding Vaisnava theologian, Bhaktivinoda Thakura who brought Krishna consciousness to a modern audience.

Bhaktivinoda's son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, became the guru of Srila Prabhupada and instructed him to spread Krishna consciousness in the West.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness draws its legitimacy from its place in a long succession of spiritual teachers and disciples (parampara). There are four major disciplic successions (sampradayas), ISKCON belongs to the Brahma Sampradaya, founded by Lord Krishna Himself. There are many branches to this sampradaya. Our society belongs to the branch founded by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the 16th century.

The principle is that Vaisnava teachings should be passed on, unchanged, from guru to disciple. The most prominent devotees in this lineage are accepted as acaryas: those who teach by example, who carry the line forward. Listed below are the acaryas since, and including, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
The Six Goswamis of Vrindavana
- Srila Rupa Goswami
- Srila Sanatana Goswami
- Gopal Bhatta Goswami
- Ragunatha dasa Goswami
- Ragunatha Batta Goswami
- Jiva Goswami
Krsnadasa Kaviraj Goswami
Narottama Dasa Thakura
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana
Jagannatha Dasa Babaji
Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada