- To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
- To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
To achieve (1), ISKCON temples have been built. But, (2) is a little confusing. Is is only relating to personal life, and not applicable to temples? Afterall, grandness in architecture is not a natural way of life. Followers will be leading a simple life, but remembering/chanting god rhymes in a lavish environment! Lavishness at all possible levels should be avoided according to ISKCON philosophy. Then, why do the followers need such huge temples to chant and pray? Is a simple temple, with spiritual environment, not good enough? Aren't these temples built as a marketing tool? Afcourse, there is no harm in marketing your way of life or philosophy, but marketing should not shake up your own philisophical foundations. Wouldn't it be better if the money invested had been used for educational or social purposes?
I have in touch with few ISCKON followers. Debating them is quite a tedious task as they derive their thought process from Vedas and other scriptures. I can think of one possible explanation from their side: "Followers are not affected by the lavishness of temples. They have insulated themselves from materialistic pleasures." Accepted. But then why need lavishness at all?
I have not been following ISKCON philisophy. Some of my inferences may not be complete, looking for an informed explanation....