The Hare Krishna Movement was started in 1966 by its founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. The movement began with a handful of followers in New York, with the aim to uncover our original spiritual consciousness. Both then and today, Hare Krishna members look beyond materialism and daily practice activities like chanting, meditation, and worship. They seek blessings from Krishna by serving him and humanity in whose heart they see him residing.
Hare Krishna fundamentals are rooted in the ancient spiritual treatise, the Bhagavad Gita or “Song of God”. The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of the relationship between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna, and how Krishna helped Arjuna overcome his doubts and conflicts. Hare Krishna is a monotheistic faith that acknowledges Krishna as the Supreme God over all other gods.
The Purpose of the Hare Krishna Movement
The Hare Krishna Governing Body Commission states the seven purposes are:
- To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples 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.
- To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam (Vedic Scriptures).
- To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
- To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement of congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
- To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
- To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
- With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
In the Hare Krishna Movement, the practice of mantra meditation, also known as kirtan, is prominent. Dedicated kirtan festivals occur all-round the year. You will find Hare Krishna Melbourne members chanting and dancing regularly on Swanston Street on Tuesdays and Fridays. Drums, cymbals and accordions are the go to choice of musical instruments. You are welcome to join in with any Hare Krishna singing party! Music meditation sessions are also held at local university “Bhakti Youth Clubs”, mantra lounges, and at yoga and wellness retreats in the Hare Krishna Valley.
Hare Krishna Movement in Australia
The Hare Krishna movement has over 300 centres spread around the globe. In Australia, there are seven centres located in all major cities and three farming communities, of which Melbourne’s Hare Krishna congregation is the most thriving. Our Melbourne temple is quite prominent in conducting events and charity activities, and is well-known for our three vegetarian restaurants (Gopals, Radheys, and Crossways), food relief efforts, and cultural performances, which often draw crowds.
The Hare Krishna Movement is also known as the kitchen religion across the globe because of its focus on food charity. Members refer to food as prasad, the mercy of God. The food that is served through our Food For Life program is prepared without meat, fish, eggs, onion, and garlic, to nourish both body and spirit. All food is cooked by a large team of volunteers. The motivation behind the cooking is not profit, but service to the community.
The Hare Krishna Melbourne Visitor centre is located at 197 Danks Street, Albert Park. You can connect with the movement by visiting the centre or a restaurant, as well as through our contact us page. All are welcome to experience this beautiful and ancient tradition!