University to host conference marking fifty years of ISKCON

University to host conference marking fifty years of ISKCON

On Saturday 23rd April, Bath Spa University will be hosting a conference to mark the first fifty years of the Hare Krishna Movement, also known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

One of the movement’s leading gurus, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, will be in attendance and there will be an opportunity to experience the arati ceremony where worship is offered, enjoy Indian dance and join in chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra.

A panel chaired by Suzanne Newcombe (INFORM), bringing together academics and devotees, will debate what happens when a New Religious Movement is no longer so new.

The keynote lecture will be given by Prof. Kim Knott (Lancaster University) who will focus on the movement’s achievements and challenges in a British setting.

Other papers consider the role of the movement in education (Rasamandala Das) and its place within the wider Vaishnava context (Dermot Killingley).

This conference offers an opportunity to assess how the Hare Krishna movement has changed in the course of its first half century.

Dr Catherine Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at Bath Spa University, said: “From controversial beginnings in the West where it attracted allegations of being a cult, it has established itself as a vital part of the contemporary religious scene with activities as diverse as feeding homeless people, ecological farming and workshops for schools alongside various forms of public witness and outreach.

“From humble beginnings in America in 1966, where Bhaktivedanta Swami had journeyed from India, the Hare Krishna movement has now become popular in the West and increasingly worldwide.

“By examining its origins and development, as well as offering some insights into the life of the movement, not least through sharing food, the conference will be a forum for reflection on the development of the Krishna movement and it’s made an impact in the world today.”

The conference runs all day from 10am – 6pm on Saturday 23rd April at Bath Spa University (Newton Park Campus).

Conference tickets are available online at www.bathspalive.com.