1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

ISKCON and "Hindu"

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Fireside_Hindu, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Fireside_Hindu

    Fireside_Hindu Jai Lakshmi Maa

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    2,363
    Ratings:
    +1,317
    Religion:
    Hinduism
    Namaste all,

    This question occurred to me as inspired by @Twilight 's thread. It's actually a question I've had for a while but keep forgetting to ask. I think I just figured it might be a silly question.

    Do Hare Krishnas consider themselves Hindu? I never hear them refer to themselves as Hindus and Hinduism as a term is never used whenever I read about their events. I've also been told that the founder considered ISKCON a distinct movement from Hinduism.

    Can anyone shed some light on this?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Terese

    Terese Mangalam Pundarikakshah
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    3,362
    Ratings:
    +3,068
    Religion:
    Sanatana Dharma
    I'm not a Hare Krsna, but they should, Vaisnavas are Hindus. The term "Hindu" is quite a generalisation on it's own, so perhaps they prefer to call themselves Hare Krsnas, Vaisnavas, Gaudiyas, what have you, but not Hindu.

    It's actually very interesting, i've heard this too. ISKCON should be a Gaudiya Vaisnava organisation, not a fringe group of it, but it seems like most of the stuff they teach in their temples is not "accurately" Gaudiya Vaisnava teachings, i remember a post from a lovely member here saying jivas "fell" from Vaikuntha. That ain't so! At all!

    I don't think Prabhupada intended on creating a distinct movement from Hinduism, unless you mean a movement only directed towards Western devotees, which is a distinct movement on it's own, but other than that, he was a Gaudiya, and so expunged Gaudiya teachings. Therefore, he was a Vaisnava, meaning he belonged to the religion known as Hinduism. (to be frank, i don't know if Tattwas or Sri Vaisnavas consider themselves Hindu also; they should, i see no reason why they wouldn't, but i'm not learned on the matter).
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  3. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    6,069
    Ratings:
    +4,540
    Hmm I don't know. There are a few ISKCONs in my family and there hasn't been any real distinction made between ourselves. (Or rather everyone merely thought it too rude to bring up the topic, I dunno.)
    There are some grumblings from various Hindus I know that they "take things too far." But apart from that no one on either side seems to care enough to draw any lines.

    I know ISKCONs tend to be rather universalist in their approach (kinda ish) so perhaps they do not see any real need to be termed one way or the other?
     
  4. निताइ dasa

    निताइ dasa Nitai's servant's servant

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,133
    Ratings:
    +1,382
    Religion:
    Gaudiya Vaishnav
    Jaya Nitaai! Prabhupada himself did not like the term Hindu, because he understood that first and formost we are servants of God, and then after we have a specific religion. Furthermore, Hindu is pretty vague term, so we prefer the term Vedic Dharma (i.e the religions which stem from the Vedas), which is what Prabhupada used to refer to Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Also another think to consider is that, at that time espcially, Hinduism in the west was sort of synonmous to the Neo-Adwaita of Vivekananda and other missionaries, so in order distance themselves from Adwaita, ISKCON didn't call themselves Hindu.


    But, in terms of philosophy, ISKCON is pretty much Hindu as we understand the term today (it is a really vague term!). I would consider myself Hindu.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  5. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    29,091
    Ratings:
    +14,863
    Religion:
    Beyond the Light
    During the time when I was associated with ISKCON, though everyone knew it was a branch of Hindu thought, it was never really spoken of in that way. It was, almost exclusively, explained as being Vaisnava thought which effectively separated it from more mainstream thinking.
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Terese

    Terese Mangalam Pundarikakshah
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    3,362
    Ratings:
    +3,068
    Religion:
    Sanatana Dharma
    Out of curiosity, is the term Vedic Dharma also used synonymously with the term Sanatana Dharma? :)
     
  7. निताइ dasa

    निताइ dasa Nitai's servant's servant

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,133
    Ratings:
    +1,382
    Religion:
    Gaudiya Vaishnav
    The more traditional schools would claim so yes. Those schools who see the Vedas as eternal, will use Vedic Dharma and Sanatana (eternal) Dharma interchangeably. Although Sanatana Dharma is a more popular label for Hinduism in general.
     
    #7 निताइ dasa, Mar 14, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  8. Kirran

    Kirran
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    10,693
    Ratings:
    +6,363
    Vivekananda was about Neo-Vedanta, not Neo-Advaita. Very distinct and different things.

    R.e. the OP - I get the impression those from Hindu backgrounds will see themselves as Hindus when becoming followers of ISKCON, while those of non-Hindu backgrounds are likely to have a more tenuous relationship with the idea of Hinduism. I guess that makes sense, as they're very focused on this quite discrete individual movement and its teachings, and don't feel a need to relate to this broad amorphous 'Hindu' term. This varies though, I think. ISKCON members in Ghana seem to generally see themselves as Hindu, it seems.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. निताइ dasa

    निताइ dasa Nitai's servant's servant

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,133
    Ratings:
    +1,382
    Religion:
    Gaudiya Vaishnav


    Sorry haha, you corrected me once before I think. I always get the two confused.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    27,773
    Ratings:
    +12,053
    Religion:
    Saivite Hindu
    That same theme follows with the changing demographic at many ISKCON temples. 30 years back they could be 90% western, and now its more likely to be 90% Indian. The exception is the eastern bloc, Russia, Ukraine, etc, where the pattern is more like that of Britain and America in the 70s.
     
  11. Kirran

    Kirran
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    10,693
    Ratings:
    +6,363
    True! Gone from 'mostly-white people with an Indian at the top' to 'mostly Indians with white people at the top', I saw it put once.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    27,773
    Ratings:
    +12,053
    Religion:
    Saivite Hindu
    Varies substantially from temple to temple though, as far as I know.
     
  13. Kirran

    Kirran
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    10,693
    Ratings:
    +6,363
    Yeah, that makes sense. I've never been to one.
     
  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    27,773
    Ratings:
    +12,053
    Religion:
    Saivite Hindu
    I've only been to 3.
     
  15. Kirran

    Kirran
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2015
    Messages:
    10,693
    Ratings:
    +6,363
    Nice?
     
  16. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Messages:
    5,534
    Ratings:
    +2,143
    Religion:
    Sanatana Dharma
    only reason for the apparent rejection of Hinduism is as mentioned before its vaugeness , purely because it encompases so much , .....Gaudiya Vaisnava is the correct term meaning devotees of Visnu in the liniage of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , and in Nitai Dasa's case Chaitanyas accociate Nityananda Prabhu , it is simply that we are from a very distinct liniage therefore dont follow all of the commonly held Hindu celebrationsand probably to most traditional Hindu we are far stricter in our behavior , [email protected] Dasa so sweetly said , .....
    many Hindu are striving to attain some personal benifit in this lifetime and ultimatly some personal liberation, ....the true Vaisnava wants only to become the eternal servant of the supreme, so in many respects there is some distinct difference , ...
    The true Gaudiya does not want to merge with Brahman , He does not want to become one with God , he wants only the position at the lords lotus feet as his eternal servitor , ...

    there is a distinct difference also in that the Gaudiya forms an eternal relationship with the supreme , this personal element does not exist in many forms of Hinduism , the Gaudiya has an eternal love afair with God this is one of total adoration thus the atributes of the supreme are relished to the utmost , there is no desire to accept Aham bramasi in the sence that the impersonalist does beliving or accerting that he and the infinate are one , ...the Gaudiya accepts that he is but a small spark of the infinate but that the infinate himself surpasses all in his greatness , beauty , wisdom and knowledge .....

    imagine if you will that of your own beloved , be that ones mother , father , husband , ones wife or ones child who we love so dearly that we would wish to be allways in their company , ....would we ever wish to merge with that person ?...if we were to merge with that person we would have lost the object of our love and adoration , so as Gaudiya we are symultaniously of that one supreme but different in that we are the mother , the father , the freind or the lover but we are not the supreme , that would not please the Gaudiya at all he needs to love , to serve , to adore , and to please the supreme , but this is no common love , it is the deepest of loves which comes from knowing the Lords glories , ....

    To many Hindu we perhaps seem a litle mad , we are seeing something that they canot relate to inthe same way , ...so perhaps illustratesa little of the difference between Gaudiya and Hindu ......Symultanious oneness and difference !
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    19,334
    Ratings:
    +7,539
    Religion:
    I am an advaitist Hindu pagan and a strong atheist.
    Beautiful, Ratiben - simultaneous oneness and difference! That says it all.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  18. Shantanu

    Shantanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4,284
    Ratings:
    +678
    Religion:
    Satya-advaita (Truth Accommodation)
    The idea that God and humans are one and yet different, with surrender of the human to God being the crucial element that determines how one lives one's life is, in my view, the highest religious concept of Hinduism. ISKCON is a particular branch of that concept and not all who realise God in this way subscribe to it. I for example belong to a different school in this belief system in which we do not relate to the Bhagavad Gita as the basis of our beliefs and have our own interpretation of what God likes us to be living our lives to. That is why I am a satya-advaitic theist. Gaudiya Vaishnavas do not believe in oneness with God and regard humans as sparks of God, whereas I regard it as of central importance that I should be at one with God as far as I am able to using my own mind and other tools of union. Further as @ratikala has said Gaudiya Vaishavism are much more strict than me with their behaviour and could be said to be fundamentalists in this regard steadfastly adhering to the principle of being servants of God. I do not regard myself to a servant of God but because there is union we are working to a common purpose. Satya-advaitic Theists believe that God wants us to go with the flow and survive with dignity that only truth brings. For example, Gaudiya Vaishnavas would be pure vegetarians whereas I can eat non-vegetarian food if it is the only thing available to me on a particular day. However, we are both Hindus and steadfastly hold on to our own beliefs.

    Please note that I do not call myself Satya-advaitic Vaishnava because I have a different idea of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the triad deities of guna consciousness, with Supreme God Sri Krishna being the Paramatma.

    Both these religions derive from Acintya bhed abheda tatwa. They are slightly different interpretations of it. To answer Fireside_Hindu's question, that is also what makes both of these Hindu religions.

    The second point to bear in mind is that Krishna is a Hindu God and is regarded by vast numbers of Hindus whether or not they are Gaudiya Vaishnavas or Satya-advaitic Theists as the Supreme diety. So ISKCON cannot be separated from Hinduism.
     
    #18 Shantanu, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  19. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,471
    Ratings:
    +162
    Religion:
    Dharmic
    What is the difference between the ISKCON Hare Krishnas and 'mainstream' Hinduism? The only surface difference that I see is that they believe Krishna is the source of all deities and incarnations whereas most other Hindus think Parabrahman isthe supreme God and is formless. But Vaishnavas, Shaivaites and Shaktiites think Vishnu, Shiva or Durga are the supreme. respectively.

    Another thing I don't like about Hare Krishnas is the Ratha Yatra where they push and shove each other out of the way for fruit prasad. I personally found it embarassing.

    What else makes ISKCON differ from Mainstream Hinduism?
     
  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    19,334
    Ratings:
    +7,539
    Religion:
    I am an advaitist Hindu pagan and a strong atheist.
    ISKCON is one of the main-stream Hindu views. :) (like it or not, that is your view)
     
Loading...