Sometimes, it seems, devotees of the Hare Krsna movement say that Krsna consciousness is a form of Hinduism. Yet at other times we say it's not Hindu at all it's nonsectarian. So we seem to swing back and forth according to convenience.
Several friendly Hindu organizations have called us up on it. What are we Hindu or not? Even ISKCON's leaders seem to give contradictory answers.
So ISKCON's governing body this year drafted a statement to make our position clear That statement reads as follows:
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krsna movement, was founded by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. ISKCON follows the teachings of the Vedas and the Vedic scriptures, including Bhagavad-gita and the Bhagavata Purana. It teaches and practices Vaisnavism, or devotion to God in the supreme personal aspect of Radha-Krsna.
ISKCON receives these teachings through the preceptorial line known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. This well-established traditional line descends through the respected teacher Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (A.D. 1486-1534), the full incarnation of Sri Krsna, whose philosophy and practices unify the teachings of all four major Vaisnava acaryas: Sri Madhvacarya, Sri Ramanujacarya, Sri Visnu Swami, and Sri Nimbarkacarya.
ISKCON embraces the chanting of the holy name of Krsna as a primary practice and accepts the concepts of transmigration, karma, vegetarianism (ahimsa), worship of the Deity (Sri Vigraha), and the preceptor-disciple (guru-sisya) relationship. Initiated members vow to refrain from gambling, illicit sex, intoxicants (including coffee, tea, and cigarettes), and nonvegetarian food.
In this way ISKCON faithfully continues the core traditions of the Hindu faith. ISKCON's teachings are nonsectarian and nondenominational, for they are not limited to any particular historical religion. Vaisnavism inculcates the essential and universal principle of all religion. That principle, called sanatana-dharma in Sanskrit, denotes the natural and eternal activity of all living beings-loving devotional service to the one Supreme Personality of Godhead.