International Society for Krishna Consciousness
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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Parbhupada
Time Period
A businessman turned Hindu guru, A.C. Bhakitvedanta Swami Parbhupada (1896-1977) came from India to America in 1965 to spread the message of Lord Krishna. In 1966, Swami Parabhupada founded the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York.

ISKCON, more popularly known as Hare Krishna, grew quickly -- especially among young people who would shave their heads, don loose robes and go onto streets and in airports, dancing and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

Its path has been rocky. In the 1970s, Hare Krishna was frequently accused of being a cult. In 2001, a lawsuit over allegations of sexual and physical abuse at Hare Krishna boarding schools resulted in a $9.5 million payout to more than 500 former students.

Since Swami Parbhupada's death, ISKCON has been overseen by a governing board. Now a recognized branch of Hinduism, ISKCON reports a worldwide membership of 250,000 congregational devotees and 10,000 temple devotees.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Hindu


Hare Krishna followers, Yonge Street- Flickr- photo from Toronto History (CC BY 2.0)

Hare Krishna devotees at Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban WV- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Henrydoktorski

Bhaktivedanta Swami in Golden Gate Park, 1967- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Mukunda Goswami (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Swami Prabhupada portrait- photo by Eequor at English Wikipedia
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
The Los Angeles Times, "Krishna Payouts Begin" (June 26, 2005)
ReligionLink, "Hare Krishna in the US turns 50" (June 23, 2016)
ISKCON of San Diego website
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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