The goal of life according to the Vaishnava, or Krishna conscious, teaching is to awaken within each soul knowledge of their original spiritual nature, thus bringing the individual to the platform of God consciousness, or devotional service to God.
Thus for ISKCON, education is an integral part of its communities. Temples around the world sponsor adult educational programs as well as Sunday Schools for children. ISKCON also has a wide spectrum of online and classroom courses ranging from the fundamentals of spirituality to the advanced concepts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism; from communications to developing spiritually focused family life.
Srila Prabhupada wanted to provide opportunities for all people to gain a systematic understanding of the profound Vaishnava philosophy. Thus, his followers have developed systematic studies of the texts fundamental to Krishna consciousness such as a preliminary Bhakti-sastri course that focuses on the famous Sanskrit texts Bhagavad-gita and Sri Isopanisad along with later writings, the Bhakti-rasamrita Sindu (Nectar of Devotion) and Upadeshamrita (Nectar of Instruction).
ISKCON also offers short term programs on leadership and management, conflict resolution, discipleship, etc. ISKCON and its affiliates thus enable students to improve their academic and vocational potentials, apply Vedic principles to contemporary lifestyles, and make positive contributions in society.
ISKCON also has two affiliated colleges, the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium and the Bhaktivedanta College in Hungary. Both offer full degrees in affiliation with government and academic accrediting boards. The Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium has collaborative partnership with the University of Chester in the United Kingdom offering a Theology and Religious Studies degree program. Hungary’s Bhaktivedanta College for Religious Science (BCRS) is the the first fully accredited Vaishnava Theology College in Europe. It has over 300 students.
In recent years, ISKCON affiliates have parterned with the UK Government in establishing a series of Krishna Avanti Schools, the first state-funded Vedic, or Hindu, schools in United Kingdom. ISKCON also has several affiliated schools for children in India, including Vrindavana, Utar Pradesh, and Mayapura, West Bengal. These programs and others internationally are designed to give children the opportunity to grow to their highest potential — academically, socially, emotionally, and physically — all the while developing their spiritual identities in a nurturing and positive environment.
In all these programs ISKCON promotes an inclusive worldview through a variety of cultural studies and experiences. We foster an understanding that our essential spiritual self transcends all designations of race, ethnicity, gender, and economic status—and that ultimately we are all children of God.