The Hare Krishna movement ISKCON in Finland belongs to the community of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Indian sannyasi and spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada), founded ISKCON in the United States in 1966. In a short time ISKCON has grown into a global organization consisting of 10 000 disciples living in the temples and about 250 000 members belonging to the congregation. There are also hundreds of thousands of supporters and well-wishers.
The mission of the Hare Krishna movement is to promote the wellbeing of the society by teaching Krishna consciousness, God consciousness. It belongs to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, and is based on Vedic literature, especially on the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
The teachings and lifestyle of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism was established by the saint and religious reformer Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who was living in 15th century, and his followers known as the Goswamis of Vrindavana: Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta, Sri Jiva, Sri Gopala Bhatta ja Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami.
SRILA PRABHUPADA BROUGHT KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE WESTERN WORLD
Sri Caitanya is Krishna or God Himself, according to the writings. He revived the method of bhakti yoga, the devotional service, in India. Hundreds of books dealing with the philosophy and theology of Krishna consciousness were compiled inspired by Him. Numerous teachers of the disciplic succession have followed this same example until the present day. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, living in 19th century, presented Krishna consciousness in a way that particularly took into account the modern audience.
The son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, was the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada. On his advice Srila Prabhupada brought Krishna consciousness outside India, and established Krishna movement in the Western World.
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES
1. 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.
2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna, as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, 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).
4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya 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 and more natural way of life.
7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
The first temple in Finland was founded in Jääkärinkatu, Helsinki, in 1982. It was moved to the current premises in Ruoholahdenkatu in 1993. Krishna-movement has been an officially registered religious community since 1984.
The temple of Helsinki and the congregation of the metropolitan area consist of about 400 persons. The congregation is also found in fourteen other cities in Finland, like in Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Vaasa and Oulu. There are about eight hundred members and supporters of Krishna movement in Finland. One hundred of them are officially registered. They are mainly bhaktas, servants of Krishna, who have been initiated for the Vedic tradition
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is an international corporation, the main centre of which is situated in Mayapur, West Bengal of India. The founder of the Hare Krishna movement is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is an authorized spiritual master of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya -oppilasketjun discplic succession.
FUNCTION AND FOLLOWERS
The Hare Krishna movement has 420 temples, 70 farm communities, 50 schools, 2 universities and 100 restaurants in all over the world. There are about 800 000 followers of the movement.
The temple gets its finance from the donations received from distributing books and sanctified vegetarian food (prasadam = food offered to Lord Krishna). The congregation is also supporting the temple financially.
INTERNATIONAL GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION
The international organization of ISKCON is directed by the GBC (Governing Body Commission) that is composed of fifty governing bodies.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE TEMPLE OF FINLAND
Timo Kuivanen (Tattvada Dasa) has been a temple president and a spokesman of the administration of ISKCON in Finland since 1999. The leaders of the temple’s five different departments are also part of the administration.