The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a branch of the monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism dating back 5000 years to Lord Krishna Himself. ISKCON was established in the West in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada) and has since developed into a worldwide confederation of over 500 temples, centres, communities, schools, and restaurants.
The mission of this non-sectarian, monotheistic movement is to promote the well-being of society by teaching the science of Krishna consciousness according to Bhagavad-Gita and other ancient scriptures. ISKCON traces its spiritual lineage directly to the speaker of this sacred book, Lord Krishna, who is revered as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The text teaches that the goal of life is to develop love of Lord Krishna. This love is realized through the practice of bhakti-yoga, the science of devotional service.
The purposes of ISKCON are:
(1) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
(2) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
(3) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members and
humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
(4) To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement (congregational chanting of the holy name of God), as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
(5) To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
(6) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
(7) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.