International Society for Krishna Consciousness

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) a Vaishnava community founded by Acharya Krishnakripasrimurti Shrila Abhaycharanaravinda Vaktivedanta Swami Probhupada, Shrila Probhupada for short. He was born in Kolkata on 1 September 1896, son of Gauramohan Dey, a cloth merchant. From his childhood Abhaycharan was a krishna devotee.

Abhaycharan Dey was educated at Scottish Church College in Kolkata. He supported the Indian freedom movement, and, in 1920, responding to Mahatma Gandhi's call, he rejected his diploma. He started working at the Basu Research Laboratory as section chief. In 1922 he met Acharya Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur at Kolkata. Giving up his job, he went to Allahabad where he became a disciple of Saraswati Thakur. In 1965 he went to the United States, and in July the next year he set up iskcon in New York. He ran this institution until his death on 14 November 1977, shaping it into an international organisation with over a hundred temples, ashramas, schools and Krishna centres. After his death, iskcon has been run by a chief elected for one year on the basis of seniority. The Governing Body Commission (GBC) conducts its affairs under his leadership.

In 1968 Probhupada set up in a 'new Brindaban' a village ashrama, occupying an area of 6,500 acres, in West Virginia. Similar ashramas have also been set up in other countries. There are now over 350 iskcon temples all over the world with its main temple at Mayapur, West Bengal. People from different parts of the world continue to be initiated into Krishna worship to lead a Vaishnava life and chant chaitanya's refrain: Hare Krishna Hare Rama.

ISKCON activities began in Bangladesh in 1978. There are now 12 ISKCON temples in the country. The main temple is at Banagram in dhaka. The other ISKCON temples are at chittagong, sylhet, jessore, comilla etc. Many Americans, in saffron robes and with caste marks on their foreheads, frequent the Dhaka temple. [Monoranjan Ghosh]