In February, 1974 the temple purchased its own building on Woodland Street in Germantown. The next year was very auspicious. In 1975, ISKCON of Philadelphia was formally incorporated, Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai were installed and Srila Prabhupada came to Philadelphia to personally take part in the Rathayatra parade and festival.
A steadily increasing congregation led to the search for a larger facility, and in 1977 the temple purchased its present residence, the former Cresheim Arms Hotel, an historic landmark in Mt. Airy. The hotel's dinning and reception room became a temple room, and on the new large altar Shri Shri Radha Sarad-Bihari were installed in 1979 .
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness Popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 temples, 100 vegetarian restaurants, and a wide variety of community projects. ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya, or denomination, a monotheistic tradition within the broad Hindu culture. In 1965, at the age of 70, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada journeyed alone from India to America, to bring the teachings of Krishna West. On July 11, 1966, ISKCON was officially registered in New York City. Srila Prabhupada passed away in 1977. This nonsectarian, monotheistic movement’s mission is to advance the well-being of society by promoting the science of Krishna consciousness.
Please visit www.iskconphiladelphia.com for more information.
The Founder-Acharya of the Hare Krishna Movement
Our Loving Father
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami is affectionately known to his followers as Srila Prabhupada, meaning one who is fixed at the Lotus Feet of the Lord as His servant. As a young family man during the British Raj in India, Srila Prabhupada was encouraged by his own spiritual teacher to take steps beyond Gandhi’s movement and personally carry the essence of India’s universal spiritual knowledge, bhakti-yoga, to countries outside of India, and particularly to the English-speaking world. Gradually, Srila Prabhupada took this up as his life’s work. He began by publishing a fortnightly magazine in English, Back to Godhead, and then published English translations and commentaries to the two basic books of Vedic wisdom, Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In 1965, at the age of 69, Srila Prabhupada sailed to New York City to try to fulfill the order of his spiritual master given over forty years before. He carried with him a few books and his spiritual courage. He had no traveler’s checks but just 40 rupees, about $8 at the time. He had no sponsorship from any family, group, or organization in India. He was materially alone.
Srila Prabhupada then began his teaching in Greenwich Village, the center of the beat generation. He held morning and evening classes along with public chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. He prepared “Sunday Love Feasts” where guests came to discuss Krishna philosophy and enjoy a sumptuous feast of vegetarian food offered to Krishna. Soon a group of young people became his followers. He guided them in their personal lives and encouraged them to spread the practice of bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Krishna. They enthusiastically did so. He incorporated a society to give shape to his mission; The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Soon the chanting of Hare Krishna spread to San Francisco, Montreal, and London. With the help of George Harrison, the Hare Krishna Mantra was recorded on the Apple label and became a #1 hit broadcast throughout Europe and the world. Hippies were becoming happies.
Over the next 10 years Srila Prabhupada traveled the globe seven times, planting seeds of Krishna Consciousness in Latin America, the Soviet Union, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia as well. Wherever he went Srila Prabhupada tirelessly encouraged his followers, gave classes, and met with anyone interested in understanding Krishna Consciousness while maintaining a personal regimen of chanting and devotion. He continued to translate several hours a day while sleeping and eating little. He led by his example. By the time of his passing, in 1977, Srila Prabhupada had translated and published over 60 volumes of Vedic literature. He and his disciples had established over 100 temples on six continents. He had touched the hearts of millions.
Srila Prabhupada was a prolific author. His translations, commentaries and summary studies of the devotional classics of India have now been translated to over eighty languages. Dr. Larry Shinn, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bucknell University, wrote: "Prabhupada's personal piety gave him real authority. He exhibited complete command of the scriptures, an unusual depth of realization, and an outstanding personal example, because he actually lived what he taught." Prabhupada referred to his commentaries as his devotional ecstasies. These ecstasies ushered Krishna into the hearts of thousands of readers. Srila Prabhupada rose just after midnight every night no matter how demanding his schedule and translated for several hours. In his work he synthesized the commentaries of ancient scholars and saints, while drawing on his own knowledge of Sanskrit and his practical devotional experience in the disciplic line of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Prabhupada's works include the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam (30 volumes), Chaitanya-charitamrita (9 volumes), The Nectar of Devotion, Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Teachings of Queen Kunti, Sri Ishopanishad, The Nectar of Instruction, and dozens of smaller books.