The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was incorporated in New York in 1966. However, it is not a new religion. Its founder, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, represents a tradition tracing back to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. And Chaitanya Himself appeared in a succession of teachers dating back thousands of years in India. This lineage, called the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya, is one of the four principle traditions of Vaishnavas, those who worship Lord Krishna or Lord Vishnu as supreme.

Vaishnavism is one of the main theological schools within the tradition broadly defined by the word Hinduism. However, the terms “Hindu” and “Hinduism” are not found in any of the scriptures. They were coined by the Persian invaders to refer to the religion and culture of the people beyond the River Sindhu (now called the Indus in modern Pakistan). Hinduism has been used to refer to the totality of India’s religious culture, apart from those faiths originating outside of India (such as Christianity); it includes those which arose within this context but have since defined themselves as distinctive traditions (such as Buddhism and Sikhism).

Many adherents to the tradition prefer the term sanatan-dharma. This term refers to the eternal function of the living being, understood as service to God. It implies that genuine religion is above temporary designations of faith, gender, colour, nationality, and species. The principles of sanatan-dharma are enunciated in the sacred texts called the Vedas.

The following, entitled "What We Believe"

1. The Absolute Truth is contained in all the great Scriptures of the world: the Bible, the Koran, Torah, etc. However, the oldest known Revealed Scriptures in existence are the Vedic literatures, most notably the BHAGAVAD GITA, which is the literal record of God's actual words.

2. God, or KRISHNA is eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful and all-attractive, the seed-giving Father of man and all living entities. He is the sustaining energy of all life, nature and the cosmic situation.

3. Man is actually NOT his body, but eternal spirit soul, part and parcel of God, and therefore eternal.

4. That "all men are brothers" can be practiced only when we realize God as our common ultimate Father.

5. All our actions should be performed as a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord,"all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me." (Bhagavad Gita IX, 27)

6. The food that sustains us should always be offered to the Lord before eating. In this way He becomes part of the Offering, and such eating purifies us.

7. We can, by sincere cultivation of bona fide spiritual science, attain to the state of pure, unending blissful consciousness, free from anxieties in this very lifetime! And the proof is in the practice.

8. The recommended means of attaining the mature stage of "Love of God" in the present age of Kali, or quarrel, is to chant the Holy Name of the Lord. Any Name of God will do, but the ecstatic method, the easiest method, for most people, is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra:

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