54 years ago from today, in the year 1966, the sankirtan movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu established its stronghold in the western world in the form of the International Society for Krishna Conciousness, taken there for the benefit of the conditioned living entities in that part of the World by his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad. Having travelled to New York in a Cargo ship with next to no money, Srila Prabhupad set foot on the soil of America and changed the destiny of numerous people without their realising it. Despite having had two heart attacks on the ship voyage and nearly leaving his body, his spirits were not in the least dampened as he carried with him in the core of his heart the instructions and desire of his Spiritual master, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupad. Although seemingly penniless, he had with him the greatest treasure of all, the holy names of Krishna and transcendental literatures describing the names, forms, qualities and pastimes of Krishna. After endeavouring very hard and almost losing hope on a few occasions, in the year 1966 he was able to fulfilled the desire of his spiritual master and the prophecy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by establishing ISKCON in New York. And from there everything is History. With the help and support of his dedicated disciples, Srila Prabhupad preached and propagated Krishna Conciousness throughout the world, establishing 108 temples and covering the entire globe 14 times, tirelessly taking the movement forward. While incorporating the institution, the following seven explicit purposes of ISKCON were penned:
1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings
Now, with 53 years having gone by, the movement has grown exponentially, with millions of people having become members of the society and regularly practising the process of Krishna bhakti and spreading the Sankirtan yajna of Mahaprabhu, which is the only means of deliverance from the bonds of this material world in this age of Kali. Numerous Temples have been established in all the major cities of all the major countries and vaishnavas can be found in every nook and corner of the globe. It is by the mercy of Srila Prabhupad that the holy names of the Lord have reached all over the world and it is his mercy that we pray for so that we may be able to continue taking his mission forward with utmost devotion and in this way make our lives sublime.