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Incorporation of ISKCON in New York
Today is the anniversary of ISKCON’s incorporation in 1966.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, was a spiritual disruptor of the highest calibre. In 1966, at the age of 69, homeless, penniless and alone, he arrived in the Lower East Side of New York, searching for ‘better opportunities’ to share the message of the Gita. This was Skid row; the lowest of the low. Here he lived, worshiped, studied and taught. Every evening, his decrepit residence, the rat-ridden 94 Bowery, would fill up with buzzing acidheads, bearded bohemians, ruined alcoholics and disillusioned dropouts. Sex, music, LSD and consciousness expansion; that’s what made them tick. The Swami would nonchalantly step into the makeshift ‘temple’ and take his seat at the front, face-to-face with these confused souls who were looking for real love, real happiness and real spiritual experience.
The Swami was unfazed; his expression exuding bottomless depth and boundless compassion. In short, straight-forward philosophical discourses, he delivered eternal truths with resounding impact. When he sang in simple tunes with a bongo drum, their heads would spin and their hearts conquered. His tremendous devotion empowered his urgent message to penetrate the depths of their consciousness. He effortlessly smashed layers of illusion, unrelentingly exposing the fallacy of all materialistic ideology.
From these humble beginnings, Prabhupada went on to establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and in a few short years made ‘Hare Krishna’ a household name. More than institutionalised religion, ISKCON was designed to be a movement for dynamic spiritual adventure. Beyond rules, regulations and rituals, it’s meant to facilitate deep spiritual experience. ISKCON continues to grow in beautiful ways, delivering wisdom that breathes in a world that is suffocating from materialism.
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