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Cults and World Religions

ISKCON



The International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Hare Krishna Movement

As Western youth have searched for the meaning of life and spiritual fulfillment, they have turned to the Eastern Religions. One of the groups most willing to accommodate this emptiness is the Hare Krishna Movement. Their goal is to spread the Krishna Consciousness of Hinduism to overcome the pollution of modern society. You may recall that Krishna was one of the incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Caitanya Mahaprabu (1486-1534) introduced liberation through devotional love and service to the religion. This devotional approach includes chanting aloud and ecstatic dancing. This group was introduced to the Western world by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. He formed ISKCON in 1966 and a few years later began a fertile writing career, producing some thirty books. The Krishnas have an ambitious goal of bringing a Krishna temple to every city in the world. Former Beatle George Harrison is involved in this movement through the distribution of records which include Hare Krishna mantras (hymns).

The Krishnas claim to be the direct discipleship succession from Krishna himself, and are, thus, the only true Hindu religion. Only through Bhaktivedanta’s writings can the “authorized transcendental science of God-realization” be known.

To achieve Krishna Consciousness, one must participate in the temple activities. This includes communal living, austerity, and the spurning of all drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, illicit sex, science, education, violence, or carnality. All sleeping is done on the floor using sleeping bags. There are strict dietary rules. There is also a strict daily routine. Spouses are selected by the temple leaders. Only those who cannot remain celibate should marry. The ideal is not to have sex.

Krishnas are one of the few religions who worship a personal and infinite god. They view Krishna as the “supreme personality of God-head.” However, salvation is by works, since the group has incorporated both the ideas of karma and samsara (reincarnation) into its beliefs. Salvation, then, is the liberation from the never ending cycle of reincarnation. Sin is viewed as being caused by ignorance and illusion.

 

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November 14, 2018

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