The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Srila Prabhupada) in New York City in 1966. ISKCON is coming in the disciplic Gaudiya (refers to Bengal) Vaishnavism line, a devotional tradition based on the teachings of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. ISKCON’s history includes a disciplic succession (sampradaya or guru parampara). It draws its legitimacy from its place in a succession of spiritual teachers and disciples (parampara). There are four major disciplic successions, and ISKCON belongs to the Brahma-Gaudiya-Madhva (referring to Madhvacharya [A.D. 1239-1319]) sampradaya, founded by Lord Krishna Himself.
The precepts and practices of ISKCON were taught and codified by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1532) who was an incarnation of Lord Sri Krishna Himself, along with His brother Nityananda Prabhu and six of His principle associates, the Goswamis of Vrindavana (Sanatana, Rupa, Jiva, Gopal Bhatta, Raghunatha Dasa and Raghunatha Bhatta).
The Bhagavad-gita, the principal scripture of The Hare Krishna Movement, is an eternal teaching, having Its’ written origins more than 5000-years ago, and before that time it was an oral tradition handed down from teacher to student from time immemorial.
Sri Chaitanya gave a powerful impetus for a massive bhakti (devotional) movement throughout India. Under His direction hundreds of volumes on the philosophy of Krishna consciousness were compiled. Many devotees followed in the preceptorial line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu including in the 19th century an outstanding Vaishnava theologian, Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838-1914) who brought Krishna consciousness to a modern audience by first sending a book on the Teachings of Lord Caitanya to McGill University in Canada in 1896. Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s son, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami (1874- 1937), became the guru of Srila Prabhupada (1896-1977) and instructed him to spread Krishna consciousness to the English speaking people of the West. On this order, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada took a perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean to USA in 1965, and consequently started the most auspicious spiritual movement, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, for the fulfillment of his guru’s desire. ISKCON quickly spread to the major cities of the whole world in a mere 11 years.