In addition to daily chanting and meditation, ISKCON members practice their faith by attending regular worship services, studying scriptures, sharing sanctified vegetarian meals, and fostering fellowship among other Krishna devotees. Members also practice four “principles of religion”: compassion, truthfulness, cleanliness and austerity. To uphold these principles, and to focus the mind and senses on their spiritual pursuits, practitioners follow for basic rules of conduct. They are strict vegetarians, not eating any meat, fish or eggs. They also abstain from gambling and illicit sex, and do not smoke, drink, or take drugs.
ISKCON has over one million members worldwide. While some members live in temples and ashrams (monasteries) as monks and nuns, most Hare Krishna devotees live, work, and go to school in the general community. Practicing Krishna consciousness in their homes and attending the temple on a regular basis. Participation is open to anyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or any other factor.
Prior to his passing away in 1977, Srila Prabhupada established a Governing Body Commission (GBC) to oversee the international society’s activities. This ecclesiastic board consists of senior Krishna devotees who work together as a body to guide the organization. Each ISKCON temple is individually incorporated and manages its affairs through local leadership.