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The Historical Development of Vaisnavism and ISKCON

3102 BCE/BC: the end of Dvapara-yuga/beginning of Kali-yuga; the departure of Lord Krishna; the compilation of Vedic literature by Srila Vyasadeva
6th century BCE/BC: Lord Buddha, rejected the Vedas as an emergency measure to prevent indiscriminate animal slaughter, ostensibly based on concessionary injunctions of the Vedas. (6th century is the mainstream academic date, the traditional date is 12th century BCE, see Buddha)
788-820 CE/AD: Adi Sankaracarya, introduced the doctrine of advaitavada (monism) which largely replaced Buddhism in India and people re-accepted the Vedas. (Again, this is a conventional academic date, traditional date derived from the time of Buddha is 6th century BCE)
1017-1137: Ramanujacarya, visistadvaita (qualified monism), established mostly in South India
1238/9-1317/9: Madhvacarya, suddha-dvaita (pure dualism) - eternal distinction between the soul and God, prominent mainly in the state of Karnataka (Udupi)
1473: Sri Nityananda avirbhava
1479: Madhavendra Puri visits Sri Radhakund and Govardhan Hill, establishes worship of Sri Gopala - Nathaji
1482: Sri Advaita Acarya takes diksa from Madhavendra Puri in Vrindavan
1483: Lokanatha Gosvami avirbhava
1486: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu avirbhava; the incarnation of Radha-Krisna (the Supreme Lord and His consort/sakti), acintya-bhedabheda tattva (inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference) incorporated elements from all four Vaisnava sampradayas (Madhva, Ramanuja, Nimbarka and Visnusvami), widely popularized the congregational chanting of the Hare Krisna Mantra and opposed the rigid and hereditary caste-system. His followers are known as Gaudiya Vaisnavas (from the word Gauda, the name of Western Bengal).
1487: Sri Gadadhara Pandita avirbhava
1488: Sanatana Gosvami avirbhava
1489: Rupa Gosvami avirbhava (or 1493)
1491: Madhavendra Puri tirobhava; Sri Visvarupa takes sannyas
1494: Raghunatha dasa Gosvami avirbhava
1496: Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami avirbhava
1503: Gopala Bhatta Gosvami avirbhava
1505: Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami avirbhava
1509: Lokanatha Gosvami and Bhugarbha Gosvami come to Vrindavan
1510: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu takes sannyas
1513: Jiva Gosvami avirbhava
1515: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visits Vrindavan
1516: Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvami comes to Vrindavan
1534: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tirobhava, Narottama dasa Thakura avirbhava
1535: Jiva Gosvami comes to Vrindavan
1541: Sri Nityananda tirobhava; completion of BRS by Rupa G.
1542: Installation of Radha-Damodara and Radha-Ramana at Vrindavan
1545: Raghunatha dasa Gosvami starts excavation of Sri Radhakund
1550: Sri Advaita Acarya tirobhava
1554: completion of Sri Radhakund and Sri Syamakund
1558: Sanatana Gosvami tirobhava
1564: Rupa Gosvami tirobhava
1570: Emperor Akbar meets Jiva Gosvami at Vrindavan
1571: Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami tirobhava
1575: completion of Caitanya Bhagavata by Vrndavana dasa Thakura
1576: Jiva Gosvami appointed Mahant of Sri Radhakund
1578: Gopala Bhatta Gosvami tirobhava
1580: Temple of Sri Madana-mohana at Vrindavan
1581: completion of Caitanya Caritamrta by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami
1582: Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami tirobhava
1583: Raghunatha dasa Gosvami tirobhava
1585: Lokanatha Gosvami tirobhava
1590: Sri Govindaji Mandira opens at Vrindavan
1608: Jiva Gosvami tirobhava
1611: Narottama dasa Thakura tirobhava
1630: Syamananda Pandita tirobhava
1638: Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura avirbhava
1670: Emperor Aurangzeb attacks Vrindavan
1708: Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura tirobhava
1534-1600: Six Goswamis of Vrindavan and other Sri Caitanya's closest followers, writing of the core Gaudiya texts, their disciples formed lineages (parivara)
18th century: Period of decline by widespread misinterpretation of the tradition by apasampradayas (herestical lineages) but also the time of luminaries like Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
1838: Bhaktivinoda Thakura avirbhava
He re-established the integrity of Gaudiya Vaisnavis by opposing heresies, founded Nama-hatta preaching, wrote many books and predicted the international success of the movement.
1874: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami avirbhava
The son of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, great scholar and renunciate, consolidated and expanded his father's work by establishing 64 centres (mathas) throughout India and abroad (Dhaka, London). On March 27 (Gaura Purnima) in 1918 he took sannyas and opened his first center - Sri Caitanya Math in Mayapur.
1896-1977: A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON
1914: Bhaktivinoda Thakura tirobhava
1915: Gaurakisora dasa Babaji tirobhava
1920 September 6: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura founded the Gaudiya Math which split into several maths after his demise
1933: Srila Prabhupada took diksa at Allahabad
1935: Srila Prabhupada meets his guru at Sri Radhakund
1935: Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tirobhava
1944: Srila Prabhupada founded Back to Godhead magazine
1954: Srila Prabhupada takes vanaprastha
1959: Srila Prabhupada takes sannyas from his Godbrother B. P. Kesava Maharaja
1962-4: Srila Prabhupada published the 1st canto of Srimad Bhagavatam in 3 volumes ("Delhi Bhagavatam")
1965: Srila Prabhupada arrived in New York at the advanced age of 70 carrying the message of the sampradaya and 200 sets of his edition of Srimad Bhagavatam
1966 summer: Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON in New York [An interesting coincidence: In movie / there is scene in the depository of a church in USA in which a priest tells an auction firm rep that in the half of 1966 churches suddenly emptied out and no one knew why.]
1968: Six of Srila Prabhupada's disciples arrived in London.
1969: Devotees with the help of George Harrison (Beatles) recorded the Hare Krisna Mantra receiving a huge success; the first temple in Britain opens in London.
1970s: Fast worldwide expansion of the Movement unprecedented by any other spiritual tradition. Sporadic visits of preachers to the Eastern Bloc countries, including Czech Republic. More regular contacts after 1976.
1973: George Harrisson donated to ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire near London, which is the ISKCON UK headquarters.
1975: Srila Prabhupada opens Sri Sri Krsna Balarama Mandir in Vrindavan
1977: Srila Prabhupada passes away, leaving:
- more than one hundred ashrams, temples, schools and farming communities worldwide
- more than seventy books on Vedic philosophy, religion and culture
- 10,000 initiated disciples entrusted to further the spiritual lineage
1977-87: Zonal Acarya period (11 world zones with one acarya for each), many devotees left ISKCON
1984-7: Guru reform, abolishment of the zonal acarya system, many new gurus appointed; one diversionary reaction to the zonal acarya period was the appearance of ritvik movement, a heresy trying to eastablish SP as the only diksa guru for ISKCON in future
1996: 100th anniversary of the Founder’s birth, worldwide-scale celebrations
2016: 50th anniversary of the founding of ISKCON, whole-year worldwide-scale celebrations
2017: 40th anniversary of the Founder’s departure

Vaisnava Digdarsani (detailed Gaudiya Vaisnava timeline)
Caitanya Charan das - History of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (seminar, mp3)
The Persuaders (1985 TV document from Bhagavan's era; more videos from ISKCON's history are at

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© 2001 - 2024 VEDA - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust -, authors. CC-BY-SA J. Mares (contact)