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Very short history of internet preaching in ISKCON

ISKCON's internet presence began already in 1986 with a creation (not evolution) of "COM", a NE-BBT-run BBS facilitating its internal communication. Parallel "LINK" BBS in USA later merged with COM. Since many other devotees gradually joined COM, at one point it became too difficult to manage. Thus in 2000 it was transformed into the private BES-Pamho system and subscriptions were introduced. For more refer to an elaborate writeup on the history of COM.

ISKCON "went WWW" in 1994 by publication of the first all-ISKCON comprehensive site hosted at Swedish major ISP Algonet. Later it changed its name to iskcon.org and then it transformed into Krishna.com, the current main site under the auspices of the BBT.

Devotees from iskcon.org also pioneered the IRC preaching in 1997: Undernet's #Krishnachat was possibly the first registered channel run by ISKCON devotees. Here's the old IRC info page. Quite some mainly young people worldwide got interested and at least one joined, from Sweden.

During the second half of 90' more and more devotees went online. Many made their own websites (devotee.s5.com/DLweb.html and some were active on Usenet, starting the soc.religion.vaishnava group, at Wikipedia, various web forums, etc., spreading Srila Prabhupada's message far and wide.

This growth sparkled an idea to coordinate and support ISKCON's internet preaching and so in 1997 IBIS (ISKCON-BBT Internet Services) was started as a division of the NE-BBT. However, it lasted only for one year and then the financial support was cut due to personal changes in the GBC. IBIS devotees were quite frustrated by this development but they were forced to disband the project and find regular jobs.

Also in 1997 the GBC appointed an Internet Preaching Minister but he remained in this position only for a short time without replacement.

Some former IBIS members made another attempt in the form of The Hare Krishna Foundation (www.harekrishna.net) active in 2002-2005.

Since then there were no efforts made for online preaching coordination known to me which is quite incredible, given the immense and continually increasing potential of the internet.

An attempt to start a new place, under the good old name Krishnachat at namahatta.org, unfortunately also lasted only two months, March-May 2007.

Let's pray to Sri Krishna to inspire many devotees to cooperate in utsaha mood for the grand success of this maha brihad mridanga! If you are interested in online preaching synergy, please contact us.

(This is more or less how I viewed the "history in the making" while living in NE-BBT headquarters and taking some part in it. VEDA's connection with it is mentioned here.)

ys Jan

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