Fifty years on and the movement has grown and changed. The philosophy and practises remain the same, but most of the members do not live in small communal clusters. There is still communal living – in around 600 locations internationally – but the majority of ISKCON’s members now live in their own homes, visiting a nearby temple or group if there is one. Preserving Srila Prabhupada’s request for his responsible senior disciples to provide spiritual leadership and to ‘teach by example’ has needed some careful re-designing for a new and vastly expanded situation. The rapid growth in the movement’s membership is proof of the success of Srila Prabhupada’s messages, but with size often comes greater complexity, and so it has with the challenge of helping others on the spiritual path. Because helping others to grow in spiritual life is as important as initiating them into it, for ISKCON simply to hang on to its membership required a slightly more developed approach.
By Kripamoya Das