HIS DIVINE GRACE ABHAY CHARANARAVINDA BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRABHUPADA
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also more famously known as the "Hare Krishna movement" is a global spiritual society founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in July of 1966 in New York.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a worldwide organisation dedicated to preserving and sharing India’s authentic and traditional spiritual culture. Colloquially known in Australia as the “Hare Krishnas”, the Society has been well established in Sydney for more than fifty years and has become renowned for its community outreach and charitable causes.
ISKCON Sydney has the grand legacy of being the first Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre to be established in Australia (at Potts Point in May 1970). In North Sydney, the Temple has always been an important, active, and all-inclusive community hub since beginning operations in the area in 1984. Being the only established Hindu Temple on the North Shore, a great majority of ISKCON Sydney’s congregation comes from local areas.
For forty years, ISKCON Sydney has been serving the North Sydney and neighbouring communities through its wide range of initiatives such as:
• Daily free food distribution charity
• Educating students through organised visits by local schools and universities
• Seminars and yoga workshops focusing on physical health and mental wellbeing
• Scriptural classes, youth groups, Sunday School, and choir assemblies
• Running a range of public festivals to promote culture and harmony
• Performance of traditional Hindu rituals and Deity Worship practices which attracts people from all backgrounds
Historically, ISKCON Sydney began in North Sydney with a handful of dedicated monks and resident volunteers but over the last four decades it has expanded to include a sizable, culturally diverse and vibrant congregational base.
Bhakti Yoga and Deity Worship
In the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna establishes Bhakti Yoga as the pre-eminent yoga system to be able to understand Him (BG As It Is 18.55). Bhakti is the natural expression of the soul in its eternal relationship with God - this is expressed through loving devotional service to the Supreme Person.
As we are persons, similarly God is the original Person and when we engage all our facilities in the service and pleasure of Krishna, we reach the pinnacle of all spiritual endeavours.
Currently we spirit souls are embodied within matter and so Krishna agrees to manifest Himself in a form made of the material elements, this most merciful form of Krishna is known as the "archa-vigraha" or the deity form. Although the deity appears to be made of matter, He is in fact completely spiritual in nature. Just as the energetic Sun and its energy the sunshine are inseparable, similarly, the Supreme Energetic Person Sri Krishna can agree to manifest Himself within His material energy as the archa-vigraha avatar. In this way the devotee in Bhakti Yoga re-establishes his or her relationship with the Personal form of God through the loving worship of the Deity. This is done in a variety of ways such as bathing and dressing the Deity, cooking and offering food to the Deity, performing Arati for the Deity, bringing gifts and donations for the Deity and much more.