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August 16 marks the anniversary of Lord Krsna’s appearance on earth, and devotees around the world will celebrate the event, known as Janmastami, with grand festivals. Krsna promises in the Bhagavad-gita that He descends during times of irreligion to protect His pure-hearted devotees and destroy the envious miscreants. Fifty centuries ago He came to protect devotees like His parents. Vasudeva and Devaki, who had been imprisoned by the vicious King Karhsa. Krsna appeared in the prison in His four-armed Visnu form to assure them that He was God and they had nothing to fear. He then assumed the form or an ordinary child.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the international Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to America in 1965. at age sixty-nine, to fulfill his spiritual master’s request that he teach the science of Krsna consciousness throughout the English -speaking world. In a dozen years he published some seventy volumes of translation and commentary on India’s Vedic literature, and these are now standard in universities worldwide. Meanwhile, traveling almost nonstop, Srila Prabhupada molded his international society into a worldwide confederation of asramas, schools, temples, and farm communities. He passed away in 1977 in India’s Vrndavana, the place most sacred to Lord Krsna. His disciples are carrying forward the movement he started.
BACK TO GODHEAD is the monthly journal of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. When Srila Prabhupada began the Society (in New York City, in 1966), he put into writing the purposes he wanted it to achieve. They are as follows:
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 Krsna, as it is revealed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krsna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krsna).
4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krsna.
6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
7. With a view toward achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, books, and other writings.