“What gets measured gets improved,” says Vaisesika Das, quoting leadership expert Robin S. Sharma. “Just by becoming aware of how many times they’re doing it, and how many times others are doing it, devotees will naturally become encouraged to do it more.” The Kirtan Party program isn’t just interested in increasing the quantity of kirtan parties going out, however.
ISKCON Detroit Sunday School children won second place at the Future City Competition held at the Suburban Showplace in Novi, Michigan, USA. These youth competed with 23 other groups. Their city called as Vaikuntaville won five other special awards as well.
There seems to be a tension between comfort and aspiration in our lives. We seek to explore, to grow, to achieve, yet we also desire security, safety and certainty. It’s clear, however, that we often have to sacrifice one to get the other.
In 2014, ISKCON's worldwide book distribution increased 10% over 2013, with almost nine million books distributed, the best year since 1996. It is in India is where the biggest amount of books has been distributed, 5,355,465 of the 8,913,251total books handed out in 2014.
After reaching the quarter finals in the Russian edition of hit talent show The Voice, ISKCON devotee Premamaya Vasudeva Das (Pierre Edel) is continuing to use his newfound fame to deliver a Krishna conscious message. After his final performance, Premamaya thanked his guru Jayapataka Swami on live TV watched by 40 million people, and ended his concession speech with the words, “Hare Krishna.”
ISKCON Communications Ministry has issued a media release about the film "Wolfpack" that was screened at Sundance Film Festival in the USA on Sunday. The film has received a significant amount of media attention. Wolfpack portrays a true story of a family in New York City where the father locked his children inside their four-bedroom apartment for years--except for occasional supervised visits outside.
Distribution of ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s books in North America has made another dramatic increase for the third year in a row. At this point, says Sankirtan Strategist Vaisesika Das, “It’s no fluke.” According to Vaisesika, the increase in book distribution has resulted not only in new people becoming devotees, but also in a renaissance of programs to care for these new devotees.
“Burritos are perhaps the most 'addictive' thing that we are distributing. People become ecstatic, overwhelmed and attracted to Krishna. They are made so well that it is hard to give them out because our devotees might eat them even before we distribute them. So we need to lock our burrito box until we get to the site,” Hari Vilas Das said.
Students will be awarded with a certificate by successfully completing the course. Attendees can experience devotional lifestyle at Bhaktivedanta Manor amongst devotees and likeminded students. They learn to build up a regular sadhana (devotional practice), attending daily morning and evening program at the temple.
Kirtan band Krishna Sambandha were invited to hold a Krishna conscious outreach program for inmates at the San Miguel women’s prison in Santiago, Chile on January 19th. The band plays concerts regularly all over Chile at prestigious theaters, cultural events and massive yoga retreats with audiences of 5,000 to 7,000 people. They also hold programs in hospitals, nursing homes, children’s homes, and of course prisons.
The latest collections by award-winning fashion designer and Krishna devotee Mandali Mendrilla, inspired by her path of devotion, have been featured in the February issue of British Vogue magazine. The magazine’s staff told Mandali that they felt her beautiful contemporary designs would be a perfect fit for their customers.
The world believes that Newton was the first to discover the law of gravity. You will be surprised to known that the theory of gravitation was created 1,200 years before Newton by an Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya.
The mind is fascinating. Especially, how easily it gets roped into finding someone attractive. The greatest films are based on that storyline: boy meets girl. But did you know that attraction is a science?
Tanzanian people were first introduced to Krishna consciousness in the 1970s by Srila Prabhupada’s early disciple Brahmananda Das as well as then Nairobi temple president Ajamila Das. In the 1990s, the late inspirational traveling preacher Tribhuvanath Das visited the country’s cities Dar Es Salaam and Tanga and made a major impression.
The Krishna Sambandha kirtan band from Chile, South America, has a motto that is inspirationally opposite to just about every other music artist out there: “We don’t want fame through music, but we want to make Krishna famous.” The group has the skills to do just that. Formed in 2007 by Sri Bhakti and Visvanath Chakravarti, it now has seven members, each with over ten years’ formal music training.
Twenty men and women of the Christian and Vaishnava traditions met for more than two days of interfaith dialogue in the historic temple town of Tirupati, in Andra Pradesh, India, earlier this month. The event, convened by the ISKCON Communications Ministry, was the first formal Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue ever held in India.
In today’s stress-filled environment, corporate leaders are increasingly turning towards the world’s time-honored traditions for relief and insight. “10 Leadership Sutras from Bhagavad Gita” serves this need by presenting the wisdom of one of the world’s greatest philosophical classics in condensed sutra-like nuggets by drawing on the rich commentarial tradition of the Gita.
The ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry (IDVM-India) has announced its official launching of the OM Sri Surabhi Campaign, a 12 years initiative invoking “global auspiciousness” centered on the Surabhi Cow, the Universal Mother. The message they wish to convey is simple yet profound: the urgent need to give total and absolute care and protection to Mother Cow.
Moscow Vaisnavas have prepared a gift for all the Russian readers. Now A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's books are available in one of the leading bookstore chains in the country. All BBT books can be bought in 204 stores of the chain in 80 Russian cities.
ISKCON now has an official website on its founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The website is full of information on Prabhupada's accomplishments and teachings, and it includes a graphic timeline of Prabhupada's life, photos, videos, and links to Srila Prabhupada's books.
Though we act as spiritual doctors, we are undoubtedly patients as well. After a month of sharing spirituality with others, now comes an opportunity to do some soul-searching and reflect on whether I’m walking the talk.
US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard visited Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir in New Delhi earlier this week for a darshan and arati of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi. Later, Congresswoman Gabbard who was on a three-week tour of India on the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met Gopal Krishna Goswami, Governing Body Commissioner and BBT Trustee.
So far, “Sixth Rainfall” has been a hidden kirtan gem, with only a few homemade copies making the rounds amongst its creator’s friends. But the word is starting to spread about the unique project – an epic eight-hour boxset that was born in Gopagana Das’s home studio near the lake island temple of Govindadvipa in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
A husband and wife devotee couple are trying to live a simple life on Canada’s Prince Edward Island according to ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s instructions – with inspiring results. Gaura Nitai Das, originally from Scotland, and Lala Gopala Dasi, a Cree native from the White Bear reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada, were both initiated by Srila Prabhupada at Bhaktivedanta Manor near London in 1976.
Radha Krishna Records, launched at Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara’s 40th anniversary in 2009, aims to release spiritual albums with high production values that will inspire appreciation for kirtan and a Krishna conscious message in a broad audience. Inevitable Time is mixed at Metropolis, a studio used by Madonna and Michael Jackson.
Many women have perceived ideals of a perfect male romantic match. Having experienced them through the movies, fairy tales, such males often handsome and romantic, rescuing the "damsel in distress" from all her woes.
A brave group of devotees have mounted a Food For Life effort and are preparing enough vegetarian food to distribute to 600 to 800 people every day in the war-ravaged city of Donetsk, South-East Ukraine. When Kishora Gopala Das, Yuthesvari Dasi and others at the ISKCON temple in Donetsk saw the situation escalate last year, they wanted to help citizens in affected areas.
Moscow’s first ever Kirtan Mela, which ran from Friday January 30th to Sunday February 1st, drew nearly 2,000 devotees from around Russia – and it was a colorfuly uplifting affair on a grand scale. The event was organized by Saraswati Dasi after ISKCON guru Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami, inspired by a “Mantra Yoga” program he attended in Moscow, expressed the desire to participate in more outreach programs there.
Gabhadhana-samskara, the first and most important of all the purificatory processes in the tradition of Sanatana dharma is yet either less prevalent today or almost extinct. Such a sacred practice remains obscure, less propagated and even less understood. The new publication titled, “Garbha̅dha̅na-saṁska̅ra, The Science of Vedic Family Planning” humbly attempts to fills this gap.
On February 9th, devotees from ISKCON Patna held the first ever program in Ranchi, the capital of the Indian state of Jharkhand. The program’s purpose was to provide a basic understanding about the goals of ISKCON, about the Bhagavad-gita, and Srila Prabhupada’s contribution to humanity.
100,000 people are expected to participate in a third march protesting the condition of the sacred river Yamuna this spring – and this time, organizers say, they will not budge or negotiate with the government. Two previous marches in 2011 and 2013 yielded some results -- for instance, the government agreed to construct a sewage canal to stop Delhi drains discharging pollutants and sewer waste into the river.
On the third day of the ISKCON GBC’s Annual General Meetings there were presentations about a mega kirtan festival, entitled as “Chant for Change”, about the work of ISKCON Deity Worship and Youth Ministries. The GBC members also visited the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium and the Sri Mayapur International School.
On this third and last day, participants took on the task of looking seventy years into the future, when all of Srila Prabhupadas disciples – and even most of the devotees who took initiation not long after Srila Prabhupadas departure – will certainly have left the planet. The participants were asked to envision what kind of ISKCON they would like to see – what a highly successful ISKCON would look like.
An intriguing and inspiring new documentary by French filmmaker Vasudeva Das takes viewers into the world’s largest Bhakti Vriksha community, comprising of multiple Krishna conscious congregational groups. The twist? It’s located in the Persian Gulf, in a country whose name is withheld due to its laws against public exhibition and propagation of non-Islamic practices.
The first “Latin American Congress of Education with ISKCON,” brought together ISKCON educators from all over South America, along with prospective collaborators. Their goal was to create effective networks amongst each other, share inspiring reports of educational efforts; identify strengths and challenges faced in ISKCON education in South America; and develop practical proposals for implementation.
After four days of Strategic Planning Network meetings, the GBC Body reconvened with presentations on the ISKCON Disciples Course, the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai and Mayapur and on ISKCON's Child Protection Office.
Discrimination, whether raced-based, caste-based, gender-based, or religion-based is springs from ignorance and has no spiritual value. It only serves to distance us from other human beings and from God.
On Day One of the ISKCON sannyasis and gurus in Mayapu,r participants explored ISKCON’s past, examining the trends in and influences on ISKCON. Following from that, on the second day participants began to look at ISKCON’s present. The meeting’s facilitator’s started with a question: How well do the four groups in the room address the trends in ISKCON.
Kayla Mueller, 26, from Prescott, Arizona, USA, who had been held hostage by Islamic State militants for 18 months, had been killed on February 6th in Syria. She was also an active volunteer in Hare Krishna movement projects in India, with a deep interest in the practice of bhakti-yoga.
After concluding the three-day Sanga for GBCs, Gurus and Sannyasis, ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission began its Annual General Meetings (AGM) on 6th February, in Mayapur, India. The meetings began with a presentation on the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) by Badrinarayan Swami, congratulating the devotees for the best book distribution year since 1996.
The Vedic Museum – popularly known as the “Vedic Expo” – at ISKCON New Delhi’s massive Glory of India Vedic Cultural Center is in the process of adding two new exhibits. These will be incorporated into its section on the Chaitanya Charitamrita, the sixteenth century biography of Gaudiya Vaishnava Saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Today saw the start of the much-anticipated Sanga of Sannyasis, Gurus and GBCs, (SGGS). Over eighty of ISKCON’s most senior leaders and preachers from across the globe gathered in Sri Dhama Mayapur for three days of association, contemplation, and in-depth discussion in response to Srila Prabhupada’s directive to find unity in diversity.
Stephen Fry, for those of you who don’t know him, is a spectacular comedian, charismatic actor and a national treasure. Recently, he was asked by Gay Byrne, an Irish TV presenter, what he would say to God if he died and had to confront him.
Krishna Das or KD as his famously called in the Kirtan and Yoga circles and a Grammy-award nominated singer, visited ISKCON's Glory of India project in New Delhi last week while on a visit to the country's capital. The singer recalled his association with Srila Prabhupada when he would go to join the kirtans at Tompkins Square Park in New York in the late 60's.
Starting March 15th, once again, more than 100,000 Vrajavasis, devotees, farmers and people from various organizations will march from Vrindavan to Delhi to stop the abuse of the Yamuna River. This Pada Yatra represents a turning point in the popular Save Yamuna Campaign and takes place under the name “Yamuna Muktikaran Abhiyan”.
The first ISKCON GBC college for leadesrsip and management held at Govardhan Ecovillage, Maharastra, India was a great success. “It’s been a life-changing experience to attend these GBC College sessions,” said Gauranga Simha Das, Co-director for ISKCON Mayapur. “This training has motivated me in such a way that I want to rededicate myself to serving the movement of Srila Prabhupada with more seriousness and vigor.
The Indian government has finally agreed to restore the Yamuna’s ecological flow through several steps demanded by protestors, beginning with bringing the sacred river under the Environment Protection Act within two to three months. The move is a huge victory for the Free Yamuna Campaign of Braj (the land of Lord Krishna’s pastimes), which has been fighting for years now to restore the beleaguered river.
When Cyclone Hudhud raged through the province of Andhra Pradhesh on India’s East Coast on October 12th 2014, it caused serious damage to ISKCON Visakhapatnam, leaving devotees feeling demoralized. But like the proverbial phoenix from the flames, a grand, beautiful new temple is rising from the debris. Construction began on the auspicious day of Gaura Purnima on March 5th this year.
Over 500 people attended the inauguration of the exhibit “Forms of Devotion: The Spiritual in Indian Art” at New Delhi’s prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi on March 21st. The exhibit features about 400 works by nearly 200 artists, selected from the Museum of Sacred Art’s (MOSA’s) permanent collection of over 1,600.
Conflict, friction and human disagreement is, unfortunately, a major part of daily life. Whether it’s the erratic driver who cuts in front of you, or crafty and cunning work colleagues pulling a fast one, unsavoury interactions can spoil our day really quickly.
For many, the season of Rathayatra, or the Festival of Chariots, won’t start until the summer. But Florida, which has become “The Rathayatra State” with a record-holding one dozen festivals in-state and more organized by Florida devotees out-of-state, is already kicking off its celebrations.
The release of India’s Daughter, a documentary on the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, has brought the issue back again into a limelight that most prefer switched off: so much so that the documentary is banned in this country.
The world of love refers ultimately to the spiritual world, Krishna’s personal abode where there is endless love. There, Krishna exists eternally, the soul exists eternally, and their love exists and expands eternally.
Since its launch in 2000, Festival of Inspiration has been a unique standout of the festival season. It has just the right mix of enlightening presentations by ISKCON’s best speakers; top-quality entertainment from dramas to stand-up comedy; rip-roaring kirtans; and mouth-watering prasad. This year, 600 to 700 devotees from all over the USA, Canada and beyond are expected to flood into the emerald hills of New Vrindaban.
The morning hours are the most conducive for spiritual practice since the mind can peacefully flow toward the spiritual goal. However, just as early morning road works slowed down my car, mental agitation can similarly inhibit the strength of one’s spiritual connection.
ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s masterwork the Srimad-Bhagavatam has been reprinted in Spanish after being out of stock for four years, to the delight of the Spanish-speaking world. It’s been a lot of work. Proofreader Gauravani Dasi in Mexico and designer Govinda Damodara Das in Argentina marathoned for sixteen-months nonstop to get the proofs ready.
The GBC College for Leadership Development isn't specifically or exclusively designed to groom future GBCs (ISKCON Governing Body Commissioners). The intention of the GBC is to assist in creating better leaders; devotees who can deeply imbibe Srila Prabhupada's mood and instructions and who can give shelter to devotees and help them feel happy in Krishna-consciousness.
The material world is like a jail; here we eternal joyful souls are sentenced to life in temporary miserable bodies. What matters most in a prison is not how miserable it is, but how accessible the way out of it is.
The GBC College for Leadership Development started its first day of its first year of operations today, 8 March 2015, at the Govardhana Ecovillag on the outskirts of Mumbai. The College’s primary focus shall be on contributing to prepare devotees to serve in crucial leadership roles within ISKCON. The hand-picked selection of about 25 devotees traveled from different parts of the world to attend the course.
ISKCON has been active in Finland for more than 30 years but there has never been a fixed location to serve as a temple. In 2012 the devotees had to vacate the previous temple due to the termination of the lease. Devotees have been working since then to find a temple for Srila Prabhupada and a suitable base for the Vaishnava community in Finland.
In Australia, devotee academic Padma Dasi was chosen to receive first prize in a Bhagavad-gita As It Is Essay Competition amongst 200 university and tertiary education students across the country. The competition was organized by Satya Armstrong and other disciples of ISKCON guru Bhakti Charu Swami to encourage people to delve more deeply into the ancient spiritual text.
The GBC’s Strategic Planning Network (SPN) recently concluded its five-day bi-annual meeting in Mayapur. Facilitated by the GBC’s Strategic Planning Team, the numerous SPN committees, made up of GBC members and ISKCON leaders and thinkers from across the globe, continued to explore new ideas and initiatives with the view to providing documents that will form a comprehensive plan for the future of ISKCON.
A new official Youtube channel, dubbed “The Sadaputa Digital Channel,” is offering the most complete and organized collection of the late ISKCON scientist Sadaputa Das’ lectures, seminars, interviews and videos in one place. Sadaputa Das (Dr. Richard L. Thompson) received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University, where he specialized in probability theory and statistical mechanics.
Writer-director Shaktyavesha Avatar Das is planning a sequel to his award-winning short film, “Long Lost.” The original 25-minute short, which tells the story of a young London man searching for answers in life and discovering Krishna consciousness, came in at third place in Russian film festival “I See God.”
For material success one needs to put in hard labour. However the process of devotion taught to us by Lord Caitanya is so simple, so sublime, so sweet and so joyful that while treading the path of devotion there is no negative emotion.
Where is your God? Ask him to come before me now or else I won’t believe that he exists? Many agnostics frequently put forth such logic to deny God’s existence. This phenomenon isn’t new, God’s authority has been challenged since the dawn of creation.
So far the Food For Life in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur has served over 40,000 plates of hot prasadam in shelters and hospitals. On Tuesday 28 April, 15 doctors arrived from Bhaktivendanta Hospital, Mumbai, who are conducting health camps around the affected areas. FFL Nepal has also received supply of two tons of grains from Kolkata.
The three steps of anything: 1) Initial enthusiasm, 2) doubts, disinterest and struggle 3) eventual reward for the committed. This seems to be the standard pattern for most things in life: studies, career, relationships, hobbies, and yes, even spirituality.
With the help of 350 Food for Life volunteers, the FFL team is daily serving five thousand people in Kathmandu and seven thousand people Bhaktapur with fresh nutritious meals. Over the next few days, the number of meals being served by the FFL volunteers are expected to double from twelve thousand to twenty four thousand per day.
On April 25th, a massive earthquake hit Nepal, which is now reported to have killed some 2,500 people. The ISKCON community has also been affected, with many devotees injured and having their houses lost. Some of their relatives got buried under the collapsed buildings and died. ISKCON Katmandu is trying its best to help devotees and people in need by providing shelter, medical help and organizing prasadam distribution.
A massive earthquake struck central Nepal on Saturday, April 25, affecting Kathmandu and he city of Pokhara. The tremors could also be felt in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. According to international new agencies hundreds of people had been killed across Nepal. Rescuers are digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kathmandu trying to reach survivors. A number of historic buildings have been destroyed.
From the holy day of Janmastami – September 5th -- this year, devotees wishing to take initiation from an ISKCON guru will be required to first pass the ISKCON Disciples Course. The course grew from the ISKCON Guru Seminar, created by the GBC Guru Services Committee in 2008 to educate those taking up the service of guru in how to be effective in caring for their disciples.
Amsterdam - known for being one of the largest street markets in the world, orange coloured everything, and its yearly Kingsday festival with music concerts, street performances, and lots of intoxicated people. So what better way to spread Krishna consciousness, than to bring it to a large mass of people, in their time of celebration?
To expand ISKCON’s outreach mission Srila Prabhupada offered sannyasi (renounced monk) initiation. Thus ISKCON’s Ministry for Sannyasa Service has established a website to provide information about potential sannyasis to the ISKCON community and to get feedback in order to help in the candidate's training.
New Vrindaban's Festival of Inspiration is only two weeks away, and it's a big one -- the 15th anniversary! There will be exciting and inspiring presentations by ISKCON’s best speakers; top-quality entertainment from dramas to stand-up comedy; rip-roaring kirtans; and mouth-watering prasadam, and much more!
A desire to live life on one’s own terms, expecting people around to accept their way of living, never compromising attitude and carrying tonnes of emotions on the sleeves are some of the attributes which characterise people today.
With a profusion of secular “color runs” and “color festivals” everywhere these days, it’s hard to find one that stands out. But Holi D.C., beginning with its conspicuous moniker – it purposely retains the festival’s original spiritual name rather than calling itself “Festival of Colors” – is decidedly unique.
One no longer has an excuse to be ignorant on the topic of animal rights. Simply by browsing the Internet we can directly see the dealings between humans and animals, and animals and animals, even between different species.
With National Child Abuse Prevention Month inspiring child protection efforts from both secular and religious organizations across North America this April, ISKCON North America’s Child Protection Office (NACPO) is welcoming a new member to its team.
Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre (ISKCON Toronto), has always been the hub of a rich, vibrant and enthusiastic community. Whether it be grand festivals, programs at local universities and yoga studios, philosophical discussions, cooking sessions, or singing and dancing on the streets, there are events taking place for everyone's interest.
As part of ongoing efforts to establish good relations with the wider Hindu Community, ISKCON’s Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandir Temple was honoured to welcome Swami Baba Ramdev, the famous yoga teacher from India, on Friday 10th April. It was just a short visit (part of an official welcome to Melbourne) as Swami Ramdev gave his yoga programs elsewhere.
The ISKCON Studies Institute will hold its next conference at Radhadesh (Belgium) from May 22-24, 2015. This year’s conference theme is Devotional Ethics, Community, and Practice in Caitanya Vaisnavism. The ISKCON Studies Institute Conference 2015 features an outstanding array of academic scholars from around the world.
Thirty years ago no one gave a damn. You could gum up a river with factory sludge, chop down rain forests wholesale, spray fluorocarbons into the air like a kid sprinkling confetti , and non one would say boo. No longer.
Students at ISKCON Saranagati, Canada, have topped the British Columbia Green Games winners’ lists in both the secondary and elementary school categories this year. The Green Games are run by a Vancouver center that promotes science education. To enter, students had to create and submit a photo essay, video project or website that showed an environmental action project their school had undertaken.
BBTmedia is happy to announce that The Path of Perfection by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is now available in all flavors at bbtmedia.com. In February 1969 Srila Prabhupada gave a series of lectures on the yoga system as it is discussed in the sixth and eighth chapters of the Bhagavad-gita. The Path of Perfection is a collection of these talks.
Launched in 2011 as a small gathering for a few ISKCON gurus and their disciples, the Sadhu Sanga Retreat has quickly become the biggest kirtan festival in ISKCON North America. From just 250 attendees in its first year, 1,600 to 1,700 are expected this May from 41 U.S. states and several countries around the world.
Since Prabhupada set foot on New York soil, “Hare Krishna” has become a household word. What many don’t know, however, is that he wanted, too, that “Mayapur” become similarly known to the world. The beauty, peacefulness, and mantra soundtrack of Mayapur decorate the pages of Lost & Found in India, weaving their way through what is otherwise one person’s story of why they live in India.
Over 650 tribal people from six different states and twenty-seven tribes in India attended the second annual ISKCON Tribal Convention from March 26th to 29th in Mayapur, West Bengal this spring. The event was organized by ISKCON Tribal Care (ITC), which provides spiritual, educational, emotional, social and health care to tribal communities throughout India.
On Wednesday, 1st April 2015, Minister of State of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation Dr. Mahesh Sharma (who is also a MP from Gautam Budh Nagar, Nodia, UP, from BJP) visited the Noida ISKCON temple. The objective of the meeting was to seek the minister’s help in linking ISKCON’s spiritual tourism to India’s tourism map and recognising ISKCON’s participation in promoting Indian Vedic culture around the world.
Seventy-eight years after the last issue of The Harmonist – the legendary academic magazine produced by ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati – all its issues have been lovingly restored in a new eight-volume set dubbed “The Harmonist As It Is.”
The human heart is very sensitive to words. Few things can dishearten an inspired heart as much as callous or critical words. And conversely, few things can enliven a depressed heart as much as comforting or compassionate words.
100,000 visitors from all over the world took part in Krishna Balarama Mandir’s week-long 40th anniversary celebrations from March 23rd to 29th in Vrindavana, India. The mood of the festival was both epic and sweet, recalling Srila Prabhupada’s ten-year struggle to establish a temple in the sacred village where Lord Krishna grew up, and his victory upon Krishna Balarama Mandir’s grand opening festival in April 1975.
In its recent annual report, ISKCON South Africa – which has fifteen centers and five Govinda’s restaurants – let readers know about a string of inspiring achievements throughout the nation. Many of these came from new centers. In Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape, devotees acquired a three-bedroom house in the suburbs to serve as an ashram for three brahmacharis and three students.
On 16th May, ISKCON held its annual Ratha Yatra Festival it Parramatta, Sydney. The program was a great success, it was also attended by Julie Owens Member of the Australian Parliament. On May 27th, Julie Owens in a speech given in the Parliament House expressed her heartfelt appreciation of the Ratha Yatra festival
In April and May 2015, Grihastha Vision Team (GVT) members, Uttama dasi and Partha das spent 5 weeks in Brazil, offering seminars, workshops, retreats, individual couple education and mentor training in various cities across Brazil. The Brazilian centers are developing a devotee care initiative, and one of the many aspects is to try to assist members to have better marital relationships.
In a move that could change ISKCON’s community development, social life and outreach if other centers follow suit, ISKCON of Portland, Oregon has shifted its Sunday Feast from its traditional late afternoon time and added a whole raft of activities to cater to families.
On May 10th 2015, ISKCON-guru Jayapataka Swami was hospitalized in India due to severe difficulty breathing. As of May 28th, he is still in critical condition. He had to be placed on a ventilator due to his ongoing difficulty breathing. It was identified that Jayapataka Swami has pneumonia. All relevant tests and medications had been administered to check this problem. Nevertheless, his body is not responding as it is expected.
The three biggest fears in life: exams, public speaking and death. Of them, the final is probably the most acute. As that fateful hour approaches, everything we worked so hard for is snatched away, throwing our entire sense of identity and purpose into question.
The Age of Stupid is a documentary-film set in 2055, a time distinguished by derelict buildings, burning plains, and poverty-stricken, war-ravaged people.Why had people ignored the signs when they “could have saved themselves”?
In 1486, Krishna appeared as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. While a renaissance of philosophical and theological thought was going on in the world, Shri Chaitanya ushered in a spiritual revolution through His personal interactions, philosophical discourses and most importantly His joyous public chanting and dancing.
On 27th of April 2015, Radhanath Swami spoke at a Civitatis International Policy Seminar for the Ambassadors to the Court of St. James’s at Goodenough College, in the United Kingdom. Ambassadors and diplomats from many nations around the world came to listen to his unique insights into spirituality and peace.
Two unique opportunities have arisen in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, USA. ECO-Vrindaban, a non-profit organization that promotes Prabhupada’s ideals of simple living, cow protection, engaging oxen, local agriculture, and above all, loving Krishna, is searching for managers for its ox care and garden programs.
One of the catchiest kirtan albums you're likely to hear, "Bhakti Without Borders" is immaculately produced by Dave Stringer, and features creator Madi Das and eleven Vaishnavi singers including legendary kirtaniyas and new arrivals. The best thing about it? 100% of the proceeds go to Food For Life Vrindavan’s Sandipani Muni Schools.
Mukunda Goswami’s new book Spirit Matters has been released by Torchlight Publishing is now available as e-book for free download for 3 days only on dates May 11-13. The book is a compilation of Mukunda Goswami’s articles published in the Hindustan Times discussing topics related to war, peace and love.
In 1970, Srila Prabhupada wrote in a letter: "So go on with your organization for distribution of my books through press and other modern media and Krishna will certainly be pleased upon you. We can use everything—television, radio, movies, or whatever there may be—to tell about Krishna…." In this spirit, on April 21st, a group of dedicated devotees led by Gopal Bhatta das, Pancharatna dasa launched the ISKCONOnline.com project.
Sivarama Swami’s “Krishna in Vrindavan” book series has been recently released in e-book format and available at every major e-book store. The series consists of four books – the Venu-gita, the Na Paraye ’ham, the Suddha Bhakti Cintamani and the Krishna-sangati.
The Bhakti-sastri and the Bhakti-vaibhava courses are a systematic study of Srila Prabhupada's books. Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON devotees to deeply study his books, so that they could become better preachers and teachers, and, very importantly, achieve a clear understanding and application of the beautiful science of devotional service.
After being officially affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in Delhi in July 2014, the Bhaktivedanta National School at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal continues to expand its operations. The school has ensured that teachers’ qualifications and salaries meet with CBSE requirements, and is now undergoing a series of physical improvements and additions.
Saraswati Vidya Niketan in Assam was founded in 2011 as an adult educational program where ISKCON devotees educated, local village youth who were previously working in nearby towns and cities as a labourers. Most of them were suffering from alcohol abuse, addiction to gambling, which severely affected their economy, ecology and cultural roots.
The Sacred Arts Festival in New Delhi brings together different styles of spiritual art and explores the confluence of art forms and spirituality. Forbes India interviews Martin Gurvich (Mahaprabhu Das) the founder of the Museum of Sacred Art in Radhadesh, Belgium, who says, "this is what the project is about: a dialogue between different faiths, styles of art, taking out judgements that we have about different art forms."
Rasikanam Das, a young Russian kirtaniya who was well known for his dedication to chanting Krishna’s Holy Names, passed away at the age of 32 due to heart trouble after he felt weak while leading a Harinam in the town of Sarapul, Russia. The details of his extraordinary life and passing have just come into ISKCON News through an interview with his widow Narasimhi Dasi.
It was the first time Anti-Cult members have visited an ISKCON temple and did a presentation. It was held during Radhadesh’s hosting of the ISKCON Europe Communications conference. ISKCON is no stranger to the organisation. Over the years Anuttama Das, ISKCON Global Communications Director, has built a relationship with the organisation by attending conferences and speaking openly about ISKCON’s issues.
On June 28th, 2015, at 8.45 AM on the auspicious Padmini ekadasi in the greatly auspicious month of Purushottoma, amongst the sacred cows in the holy land of Vrindavan, Mathura, Kurma-rupa Das left his body surrounded by devotees, Vrajavasis, and uplifting Hare Krishna kirtan, with sacred tulasi on his tongue and head and his salagram-sila on his chest.
For at least the past two decades, ISKCON Baltimore has been a small center, and the congregation remains at only around 150 people today. But it has been growing, with more young Indians and Westerners becoming regular visitors due to several innovative outreach programs.
The worldwide increase of popularity of yoga inspired the United Nations to recognize 21st June as ‘International Yoga Day’. On this occasion, ISKCON’s Youth Forum (IYF) shared the bliss of bhakti yoga with Delhi youngsters through its bi-monthly youth festival called ‘Umanga’.
June 12th marked the last day of a moderately successful first year at the New Goloka Community School (NGCS), located in Hillsborough, North Carolina, USA. After pioneering for almost 10 months, the students are happy to take a break during the long summer stretching ahead.Challenges present an opportunity to learn and grow, and NCGS has done just that in their fledgling year.
Where do your thoughts and actions gravitate towards when you are alone? What is your natural level of spiritual absorption behind closed doors? Good questions to assess our spiritual whereabouts, since our weaknesses are often exposed when nobody else is watching.
The much-awaited festival of chariots finally, after one year of absence, glided through the streets of the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi, with all glamour and grandeur. Hundreds of wanainchi (members of the public) came out on the streets to watch this colorful festival and the grand cart carrying the Lord of the Universe.
The School is affiliated with ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium. Administrators of that College began working with Alfred Ford (Ambarisa Das) back in 2009, after the 2008 financial crisis showed that there was a need for a different approach to business management.
ISKCON and the spiritual leaders and members of the four bona fide Vaishnava Sampradayas are set to unite to chant the Holy Names during the international kirtan festival. The aim of the event is to bring together people from various races, faiths and nationalities to chant the Names of God, a process that is common to all faiths of the world.
Today the network of affiliates expands the globe and now includes projects all over Asia, the former soviet union and many parts of Africa and South and Central America. “We are pretty much everywhere these days, although some projects are very small in comparison to our larger and more sophisticated projects in India, where it all started,” Paul Turner said.
When my children were small they pooled their resources one year to purchase for my birthday a fine looking tie pin in the shape of a golf bag and clubs. Actually I’ve never played golf in my life, and as far as ties go, since my schooldays, I have made a point of avoiding them
Over the five days of the fifth annual Holy Name Festival in Ljubljana, from May 28th to June 1st, around 250 devotees from all over Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and other Eastern European countries chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The festival also brought the joy and color of chanting to the general public.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, one of the top papers in London, covered the event the day after; putting a ½ page photo of the famous dressed up sister couple of Radha-Krishna for its audience of more than 500,000 people. The MP of Hendon Matthew Offord was in attendance, arriving back from Paris just before, but making it in time for viewing Lords on Their cart at Trafalgar Square.
ISKCON devotee-run company Radha-Krishna Records made Krishna consciousness accessible to a wider audience with its professionally-produced “Contemporary Krishna Culture Showcase” at the Camden Centre in Central London on May 28th. Around 400 people poured in to see the show, which ran from 7:00 to 10:00pm with an intermission at 8:30.
Greater Boston is home to one of the United States' largest populations of Nepalese. At the same time, ISKCON Boston is a spiritual home to a small but growing number of devout members of that ethnic community. While attendees at the Boston City Council meeting stood, listening attentively, Parama Rupa offered a succinct yet powerful invocation that touched upon tragedy, renewal, the interconnectedness of humanity, and Srila Prabhupada's compassion.
People are hungry to fill the hole in their hearts. Honest individuals will recognise they are dying for want of real love. We want others to see our sacrfice, we crave to be appreciated, we desire others to make us feel wanted and hope that others will be concerned for our happiness.
It is quite common to see a 60/40 women/men split of attendance to religious services. Sometimes women outnumber men by 2-1. It makes sense that women play whatever role is needed within a religious body whose membership is disproportionately women.
On the auspicious occasion of ISKCON London’s Rathayatra festival, the team at both the Bhaktivedanta Manor and Radha Krishna Temple’s would like to invite everyone to join in the festivities this Sunday, June 14th, 2015.
The purpose of the North American ISKCON Medical Professionals is to connect and inspire all devotees within the medical profession; to improve their practice of Krishna consciousness; and to expand Krishna consciousness amongst medical professionals. They will hold their first annual retreat in Gita Nagari between September 25-27th.
Brahmananda Das, one of Srila Prabhupada’s very first disciples, passed away at his residence in the holy land of Vrindavana, India, at 3:31pm local time on June 7th, the auspicious day of Vakresvara Pandit’s disappearance. He was 71 years old. Devotees all over the world are mourning the loss of the ISKCON legend, while at the same time rejoicing that “Prabhupada’s son” is surely back with his father now.
Krishna.com – “the temple on the web” – has discovered an unexpected but surprisingly effective way of introducing spiritual seekers to Krishna consciousness – through its online store. Krishna.com, launched in 1996 as the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust’s official website and staffed almost entirely by second generation devotees, has two distinct sections.
Every day we experience a small miracle. Last week, on our way to Torquay, the driver lost his bearings and we accidently parked up in Paignton, a small neighbouring town. As we got onto the high street, we realised we were in the wrong place!
Launched in 2000, Festival of Inspiration kicked off the “spiritual retreat holiday” template that is so common throughout ISKCON today, and with its packed roster of seminars on a broad range of topics, it remains one of the most popular and unique.
PK was released in Dec 2014 and went on to become the highest grossing Indian film of all time. Using an alien named PK (drunk) and a journalist as its central characters, the movie exposes the shenanigans of godmen and the gullibility of their followers. But in its negative stereotyping of religion, it mixes superstitions with meaningful spiritual practices and reduces God to an irrelevant cipher.
Mayapur Tourism, ISKCON Mayapur’s travels and tours division, has announced the launching of its improved website www.visitmayapur.com. Sri Mayapur is the birthplace of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu- the most merciful form of Lord Krishna who distributed love to even the most fallen through the chanting of the Holy Names.
“People go to Vrindavan and their lives change… for the better,” says Shyam Gopal Das (Maksim Varfolomeev), who wrote and directed the 40-minute film Reconnection with his wife Vijaya Radhika Dasi (Olga Avramenko). The film has won an Award of Excellence from the Best Shorts Competition, whose previous winners have gone on to win Oscars and Emmys.
Indian thought is sometimes deemed fatalistic, as holding that everything is destined by past karma, thereby leaving little room for human initiative. The bhakti literature, however, offers a far more nuanced and empowering outlook to life.
There were three days of unforgettable kirtans that lasted late into the night, hundreds of guests, participants and volunteers. BB Govinda Swami spoke about the importance of sharing the happiness that we experience, as “love should always be shared – such is its free nature. Love cannot be limited, we just need to become the instrument, through which love will flow further and further…”
For many, the horrors of the world, the war, injustice, crime and suffering through centuries, can only signal the supreme triumph of atheism. After all, who could believe in God in the face of such horrifying acts of violence and brutality?
ISKCON yoga teachers will gather at the Simhachalam farm in Germany August 13th to 17th to develop an ISKCON-wide system for presenting Mantra Yoga through their professional yoga studios. Fifteen teachers will attend the “Strategic Planning Meeting,” including Jiva-Maya Dasi and Ranga Devi from the UK; Matsya Avatar Das from Italy; and Krishna Kripa Das, who teaches yoga and meditation to prison inmates in Spain.
Detroit ISKCON celebrated its 30th Annual Rathyatra on Sunday July 19th with its largest attendance ever – an estimated 10,000 visitors. There were many highlights of the day, including grand opening ceremonies, amazing kirtan by Gaura Mani, Gopal and others, five hours of captivating stage entertainment, jammed packed Kidz Zone featuring Vedic crafts, live cooking demos and so much more.
In his new book Vanity Karma: Ecclesiastes, the Bhagavad-gita, and the Search for the Meaning of Life, ISKCON guru and BBT trustee Jayadvaita Swami explores the works that set him on his spiritual path in the hopes that they may help others on theirs. “Both books deal with questions crucial to the life of an intelligent human being,” he says.
The Lake shore city of Kenya – Kisumu, celebrated its annual Rath Yatra on the 18th of July, coinciding with the Puri Rath Yatra, and "Idd-Ul-Ftr" (a local holiday). Taking advantage of the auspicious date, the Kisumu devotees organized the festival in less than a week.
In the 16th century, Sri Chaitanya brought about social reform in India by propounding the joyful public chanting of Krishna’s holy names – Harinama Sankirtana -- which inspired love of God and brought about peace. Today, travelling group Harinama Ruci is one of the simplest, most distilled examples of Sri Chaitanya’s message you’re likely to see -- bright, colorful, happy, and always chanting, dancing, and making people smile.
On July 12th 2015, Shriman Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundaria Indian Minister of Agriculture, during his official trip to Kenya, visited ISKCON Nairobi. The minister was received by temple president Umapati Das at the entrance, and some special mantras were also recited for invoking auspiciousness and welcoming the minister into the temple.
On Sunday, July 5th, at the last Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) presentation of the North American fundraising tour, the CHAD "Chapter a Day" children's group of the Seattle, Washington, USA, temple pledged $11,000 (Silver Gratitude Coin) for the TOVP under construction in Mayapur, West Bengal, India.
Gundas (thugs) attacked a temple at the sacred birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates Vasudeva Datta and Mukunda Datta in Chittagong, Bangladesh in the middle of the night on July 8th, brutally injuring the ISKCON devotees who were staying there. The attack is being erroneously reported by various anti-Muslim/rumor-based websites as both a Muslim and a terrorist attack.
Interest in Bhakti-Yoga is rising in Turkey, an Islamic country with few devotees and no official ISKCON presence. With the increasing popularity of yoga in general in Istanbul, and yoga studios popping up everywhere, Nrismha Krishna Das and his wife Krishna-Mala Dasi established their own studio, Gouranga Yoga, in the capital city in 2013.
Recently, devotees of Vrindavan started a petition asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to control the town’s “modernization”, as they think it is neither suitable to the holy place, nor sustainable. According to many in Vrindavan, modernization has reduced this place to a weekend spot for tourists instead of a sacred place of pilgrimage.
The Indian media is exploding with the story of Maryam Siddiqui, a 12-year-old Muslim girl from Mumbai who came first place in her class in the Gita Champions’ League, an annual contest organized by ISKCON Chowpatty, but gave away her winnings to humanitarian efforts.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Bhaktivedanta Manor’s main drama group. It has been led chiefly by Jaya Krishna Das and Dwarka Puri das but over the years a great many other devotees of all ages and backgrounds have participated and given much of their time.
Among the many games that the mind plays, comparison is one of its favorites – and one that is rarely favorable in terms of how it affects us. The mind will always find something with which to unfavorably compare our situation and make us miserable.
So often in routine life we experience phenomena unexplainable by the current western paradigm. What then to speak of understanding superconsciousness, a phenomenon we all experience throughout our lives.
Young religious environmental leaders from around the world, including four ISKCON devotees, attended an environmental “convergence” and march in Rome at the end of June. The event was put on by Our Voices, a New Jersey based international organization created to encourage religious communities to put pressure on political leaders for the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
I'd like to point out an important aspect of ISKCON's interaction with anti-cult organizations, or cult-watching organizations. The goal of such dialogue is not to ascertain whether ISKCON is, or is not, a "cult."
Three Hare Krishna devotees, Aleksandr Grankin, Aleksei Vlasyuk and Pavel Ivanov, were detained in the streets of Vitebsk on 17 June for sharing their religious views and offering religious literature to passers-by, they complained to Forum 18. The three were detained by Sergei Fadeenkov, the Chief Specialist of Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee Department of Religious Affairs and Nationalities.
Kurma Rupa was born to Mexican parents and grew up in New York. At 21, he was drafted for the Vietnam War. “While I was in the army, I prayed for the first time in my life,” he recalls in the recent short film ‘My Part of the Bargain.’ “I prayed very intensely that, ‘My dear God, if you save me from having to go to war, then I will figure out how to serve you.’”
Philosophers and scientists, dedicated to spreading the Word of Atheism, find no greater sport than to ponder upon the deficiencies of the universe. Congratulating one another for having transcended the magic spell, they make grand plans to enlighten the gullible ones.
While it may be turning up a little late, the BBT Africa’s recently released 2014 report shows encouraging growth in outreach – especially for a branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust established just five years ago to better deliver Prabhupada’s books to the African Continent. “The continent has recorded amongst its best book distribution scores ever in 2014,” says managing trustee Govardhana Das.
The Hare Krishna Festival tour that drew many Irish people to Krishna consciousness in the 1990s returned to the Emerald Isle this summer, and once again got Irish feet dancing. Between 1990 and 1995, the late inspirational preacher and Prabhupada disciple Tribhuvanath Das toured Irish cities with his festivals based on Prabhupada’s model from the early days of ISKCON.
There may be many Hindu temples in Malaysia, but the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Devotion and Understanding in Seberang Jaya, Penang, is in a class of its own in terms of building design and function. The temple is now receiving the final touches before the “kumbabeseigam” (consecration ceremony) on August 29.
UN data show that more than 300,000 refugees have tried to reach Europe so far this year. Of those, almost 200,000 landed in Greece and 110,000 in Italy. At the same time, some 2,500 migrants or refugees are estimated to have died or gone missing this year, trying to reach Europe. Civil organizations have stepped up to help refugees with medical aid, water or food.
When John Herbison (Yasoda Dulal) said goodbye to his wife before setting off on a walk, he didn't say "I'll see you later", it was "I'll be back in about a year". The devout Hare Krishna of 30 years has set out on a pilgrimage to mark the 50th anniversary of the Hare Krishna Society's arrival in the western world.
Srila Prabhupada's vision for ISKCON’s world headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal, India focuses on inspiring devotees worldwide through education. For the last fifteen years, the Mayapur Institute (MI) has been developing as a powerful institute to fulfill his vision.
Back in 1995, a young Manorama Das launched a two-week bus tour with his gurukuli friends, covering 1,500 miles and visiting Rathayatras and temples along the way. This year’s 20th anniversary bus tour ran for six weeks from July 8th to August 24th, with fifty youth including a large group from the UK, and gurukulis from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and India.
With the help of a European Union grant for building youth relations, about 175 European youth received an immersive experience of Krishna consciousness on the Senagataway retreat at ISKCON’s beautiful Radhadesh community in Belgium from August 1st to 10th. The event was organized by the Pandava Sena, a UK-based youth organization.
In today’s ‘motor car civilization’, one of the most profound thing to ask would be, ‘who owns the world’s biggest and the most exotic car?’ To get an answer to this question, you would have to go to the Eastern part of India, to Jagannath Puri.
My trip to India brought a few surprises. It’s been some years since I was last there and things are changing fast. The cities are still the same bustling mess of teeming madness, much like anywhere else I suppose, but it’s in the outlying rural areas that I was most shocked.
ISKCON of Central New Jersey will celebrate the grand opening of its new 18,000 square foot temple in Plainfield – a converted church -- with a three-day weekend festival from August 28th to 30th. Close to 10,000 people, including devotees, members of the Indian community, and other locals are expected to attend at the height of the festivities.
The International Society For Krishna Consciousness – in partnership with Muvi LLC has launched its Video-on-Demand (VOD) service www.iskcontelevisionindia.com with an aim to bring its library of spiritual and devotional content, such as lectures, films and documentaries, to ISKCON followers all over the world.
We’re in a golden age of kirtan albums. The offerings are diverse: In May, Ananda Monet’s Inevitable Time told us the story of the Mahabharat in theatrical, epic style; and Madi’s Bhakti Without Borders stuck in our heads with its catchy pop sensibilities. Now, Jahnavi Harrison’s Like A River to the Sea (July 24th, Mantralogy) takes us on a journey.
After 30 glorious years of performance, including almost 20 international tours, UK's Bhaktivedanta Players marked their outstanding contribution to devotional art with a gala performance of The Mahabharata. This was a brand new production conceived and directed by Jaya Krishna das, and acted by a cast of more than 20.
The first mega kirtan festival at Jagannatha Puri entitled as “Chant for Change” attracted more than 10,000 people on the idyllic and historic sea beach at Jagannatha Puri. Held very near to the Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s beachside statue at Swargadwar, the festival had the crowds chanting, dancing and drowning in the nectar of harinam sankirtana.
“Not many are aware of the fact that the ancient kings of Indonesia, in particular that of the Majapahit Kingdom, were devotees of Lord Vishnu," started his inaugural speech the senator of the Legislative Council of Indonesia, Dr. Shri Gusti Ngurah Arya Wedakarna Mahendradatta Wedasteraputra Suyasa III, who attended the Festival of the Chariots held in Denpasar, Bali on 19th of July, 2015.
Teak wood is a naturally grown wood from Myanmar (previously Burma). This wood is known for its superb stability, good strength, easy workability, resistance to bugs – and most of all, its outstanding resistance to decay. It basically will last forever. This wood will be used for all windows and doors in the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.
Scientific materialism is essentially a philosophy of death. Its philosophical delusions literally block the mind of a scientist from being able to recognize that this human being is worth more than the collection of its parts.
One of the defining delusions of our society is the equalization of lust with love. People who feel physically attracted to each other assume that are in love. But often their attraction is nothing more than lust.
Srila Prabhupada disciple Surabhir Abhipalayantam Das, who was the design coordinator for ISKCON’s flagship Indian temples in Vrindavana, U.P. and Juhu, Mumbai in the 1970s, has passed away. He left due to liver cancer on July 30th in the sacred land of Vrindavana, surrounded by devotees. All were chanting along to a recording of Srila Prabhupada’s kirtan.
The monsoon in West Bengal is midway and has brought tremendous rainfall already. The ISKCON Mayapur campus and the surrounding villages are fully flooded with three feet water. Devotees now are getting around in boats and still continue to attend temple functions and visit the Deities.
More than 50 ISKCON medical practitioners—doctors, nurses, medical technicians, Ayurveda experts and other healthcare professionals—gathered at the Gita Nagari Yoga Farm in rural Pennsylvania on September 25-27 for a three-day event, the “North American ISKCON Medical Professionals Retreat.”
With the European public completely divided over how to treat refugees poring in from war-torn countries, whether Europeans should welcome them or be afraid of them, likewise, being at the epicenter of the crisis, Hungarian devotees have also expressed their concerns about the issue. Sivarama Swami addresses some of these concerns.
That weekend, on Saturday September 19th, nearly 500 of his disciples and grand-disciples from all over the U.S. and Canada as well as from Russia, Ukraine, England and India gathered at Commonwealth Pier – the same place he had arrived alone – to celebrate his priceless gift to them and to the world. Chartering a two-storey touring boat, they took a three-hour ride into Boston Harbor, as Niranjana Swami led a beautiful kirtan.
The life of a modern man is stuck in a web of duties towards the family, society, occupation and religion. His entire life revolves around shouldering these responsibilities and he hardly finds time to reflect inside his own heart and listen to the need of his soul.
Epiphanies often occur when we somehow see the common in an uncommon light. The question “Can you keep a secret?” is almost always a rhetorical question – the hearer hardly ever gives a negative answer.
Dubbed “The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky,” Mongolia is a large and rather wild country divided between deserts, steppes, and mountains. About fifty-three per cent of the population are Buddhist, and about forty per cent continue to live the traditional nomadic lifestyle.ISKCON devotees first came to Mongolia in the 1990s.
All of us are like Arjuna in so many ways. We stand on the battlefield of life faced with all kinds of challenges which often seem overwhelming. Sometimes we too don’t know which way to turn but the message of the Gita is also there for us.
A Sarasota, Florida family have opened up their home to provide a Krishna conscious oasis for devotees and newcomers in their city, which is three hours’ drive from the nearest ISKCON temples in Alachua and Miami. “People can make the drive on festival days,” says mother of four Rachel Ward. “But we wanted to give them the temple experience on a weekly basis.”
After several internal events celebrating its progress so far, the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) is set to officially open in Villa Vrindavana, Italy, at the end of this month. The museum is MOSA’s second branch, with the first running in Radhadesh, Belgium since 2009 and currently attracting around 12,000 visitors a year.
Noticias.iskcon.org, ISKCON News’ Spanish language website, is back in action after beating off a hacker attack which targeted the site back on April 26th. “I received an email from an unknown sender asking for money in exchange for solving problems on the website,” says managing editor Baladeva Das, who also serves as the Communications Director for ISKCON Argentina. “I thought it was spam and deleted it.”
This month, the ISKCON Disciple Course – a program introduced in 2012 to help devotees better understand the guru-disciple relationship – became a requirement for initiation into ISKCON. And now, the straightforwardly-named The Guru and Disciple Book, by Prabhupada disciple Kripamoya Das, adds to the complex age-old topic and makes it even more accessible.
Construction is set to begin on a new dayschool gurukula near Sochi, Southern Russia sometime this spring, with plans to open in September 2017. With no other gurukulas currently in operation in Russia, it may be under high demand as the only one of its kind.
ISKCON’S very first literature on Vraja Mandala Parikrama, the book promises its readers a walkthrough of Vraja through its 608 colorful pages and poetically gives one the immersion experience of the sights and the smells of the twelve forests of Vrindavan. It contains 30 chapters each for a day of parikrama with 246 photographs, 107 paintings and 28 precise route maps obtained from Google Earth.
A standard war strategy for defeating a strong enemy is divide and rule. The Bhagavad-gita (06.06) states that the mind can often act as our enemy. Acting inimically, it targets us with this strategy when we practice bhakti-yoga.
The insatiable hankering of the modern man has deprived him of spending quality time with himself and his family and, it has landed him into an island where he finds himself all alone surrounded by the ocean of threats
Just one week after the grand opening of an 18,000-square-foot temple in Plainfield, New Jersey, comes the news that a Bhumi Puja ceremony will be held to break the ground for another new ISKCON temple in Parsippany on September 26th. Brahmana priests headed by Amara Das from Germany will carry out the elaborate fire ceremony on the 3.2 acre site at 170-180 Troy Road, which was acquired back in 2008 for $1.9 million.
Kaulini Devi Dasi, a much-loved disciple of Srila Prabhupada known for her simplicity, surrender and purity, and for her many years of dedicated service at Gita Nagari, passed away on September 3rd. She was 69. Born and raised in Northern California, her life changed when she received Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita in 1972 while on a trip to Mexico.
Bhadra Rupa, alias Luis De La Calle, is signed to Sony World Music, has performed at theaters around the world, and is a member of the US, British, and Japanese national flute associations. At his music academy in Geneva, Switzerland, he teaches students how to play devotional songs by Vaishnava composers like Narottama Das Thakur.
For over 45 years, Hridayananda das Goswami has shared the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita with ISKCON communities and at prestigious universities around the world. His new publication A Comprehensive Guide to Bhagavad-gita is the fruit and culmination of a long, distinguished career of studying, teaching, and living the text.
SKCON’s founder-acharya Srila Prabhupada had a keen desire that a temple of Lord Krishna and his devotee Arjuna come up in the holy land of Kurukshetra where the message of Bhagavad Gita was spoken 5,000 years ago. The future temple would be shaped as a chariot and would cover an area of 6 acres. Among other functions, the temple would house facilities for Bhagavad Gita studies, food distribution, and a goshala for cow protection.
"I want to take this opportunity to offer my deepest respects and gratitude to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, who 50 years ago made the arduous journey from India to the United States to share Krishna with the Western world. Without him, I and millions of others would never had known about the all-attractive, supremely-lovable Lord Krishna," Tulsi Gabbard says.
A small yet growing crew of dedicated devotees have been doing Harinama Sankirtana in downtown Vancouver, Canada, for over 200 days in a row now, chanting the Holy Names of God for two hours every week day after work and for three hours on weekends.
Everything is produced in time, stays in time and perishes in time. But there is a place and there are beings, completely beyond the influence of time. Everything is eternal there. No one ever dies or grows old. Time is not divided into past, present or future.
ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das and Bhumi Project Director Gopal-Lila Das presented a proposal for a new ISKCON Environmental Initiative at the North American GBC meetings in Chicago this August. The proposal was unanimously accepted, and if successful will see ISKCON temples reducing waste, and increasing renewable energy use.
The Canada Rugby World Cup Team attended the ISKCON Leicester Kirtan Fest this Sunday 27th September. The Canadian Team, who are in the UK for the World Cup tournament, were walking through Leicester’s City Centre, when they heard the sound of kirtan coming from the magnificent temple. Ananda Monet was leading a beautiful kirtan.
It is believed that a classic is a book that doesn't need to be written again yet it inspires numerous other books to be composed. Srimad Bhagavatam is such a timeless classic that it has inspired numerous intellectuals to write commentaries since ages; commentary of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami being the most well known in late century.
This year's Jagannath Puri parikrama will be from the 27th to the 30th November. The parikrama usually consists of a majority of Hindi and Bengali speaking devotees, so this year the organizers have decided to have an even bigger international group specifically for English speaking devotees.
World Holy Name Week (WHNW), first established in 2008, is increasing in popularity with forty-three ISKCON Centers worldwide in 2013 and over fifty last year putting on events designed to share, spread and become absorbed in the Holy Name of God.
We live in an overcommunicated world. The prevailing culture insists we reply to all text messages within 10 minutes, be mindful of the mountain of emails building up in our inbox, and religiously return random ‘missed calls’ on our phones.
"Prabhupāda has brought more light into this world, a world in which we still find too much darkness. Let us celebrate on this day how Prabhupāda raised greater awareness to the monumental teachings of the Gītā."
Born in New York City, Amala-bhakta Swami worked in motion pictures in California before beginning a search for the true purpose of life. Moving back to New York in 1957, he studied and then began teaching ashtanga yoga, establishing his own yoga center and amassing a following of 400 disciples. In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles to join the ISKCON temple there and receive initiation from Srila Prabhupada.
Who has time for mindfulness when deadlines are looming and our managers are breathing down our necks? Mindfulness might be good for monks living in the forest or folks who have retired from corporate life but unrealistic for busy, working individuals.
Huddled together in sub-zero temperatures with no power during an ice storm this past holiday season, devotees in Toronto, Canada discovered the joy of simplicity and Krishna conscious association. The storm struck in the midst of book distributor Vaisesika Das’s annual “Festival of the Heart,” held from December 19th to 24th at ISKCON Toronto.
On New Year’s Day, devotees at ISKCON Baltimore in Maryland, USA set a group goal to read 100,000 pages of Srila Prabhupada’s books by the end of the year, as an offering to the ISKCON founder. Within two weeks, they were already on track to beat their goal, and had set a new goal of nearly twice as much -- quite a start to the New Year!
With a Spanish language ISKCON News website launched on January 1st (noticias.iskcon.org), and running successfully, it’s now Russia’s turn. “There is a lot going on in Russian-speaking ISKCON,” she says. “But a system for timely communication between different temples’ Communications Departments is only in the making now," says managing editor Bhaktin Olessia.
When New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first rural community, was first established in 1968, it became, for many years, a shining example of the best that ISKCON had to offer. After a series of well-documented legal transgressions and spiritual deviations in the 1980s, however, many devotees left. Now New Vrindaban is in the midst of a major transformation.
In this long-awaited follow up to The Journey Home, renowned spiritual leader Radhanath Swami shares intimate stories from his forty years as a teacher of devotional (bhakti) yoga. His heartfelt down-to-earth writing makes accessible topics that have remained esoteric for generations: explanations of the material and spiritual selves, the way of righteousness (dharma), and what happens at death.
"I would only believe in a God that knows how to dance" - says Fredrick Nietszche. Maybe he was searching for Krishna, the enchanting flute-player who dances with the cowherd maidens in the moonlight. Maybe we all are.
For the first time ever ISKCON Adelaide Hare Krishna Temple celebrated Jagannath Ratha Yatra (Jagannath Chariot Festival) on Sunday 26th January as part of the Australia Day celebration which included a parade, concert & fireworks.
“How does the concept of “mind” emerged? How the division of science was conceived? What was the contribution from the philosopher and psychiatrist Carl Jung to Western philosophy?” The conference was led by the psychologist Huber Hutchin Robinson, internationally known as Hanumat Presaka Swami, an ISKCON monk who spreads the knowledge of the ancient Indian texts since more than 30 years.
From May 17th to 18th this year, ISKCON Houston will finally celebrate the grand opening of its brand new Vedic temple. The temple was originally set to open in November 2010, then later in 2011, but was delayed by multiple challenges. Amongst them were city permit and structural issues, as well as the shocking theft of small utsav deities Sri-Sri Radha-Giridhari on October 6th 2010.
On Januray 7th, 2014, the China Social Sciences Press proudly announced the historic release of two ancient cultural classics of India: Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad-gita As Is. The two released works are authored by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, and translated into Chinese by Jahnava Devi of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
On January 18-19, ISKCON held its first Ratha-yatra Festival in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia. It was a very successful event. The mayor of Medan, the head of the Regional Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia, the head of ISKCON in Indonesia opened the event attended by over 3,000 people, who joyfully pulled the chariot of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra on a 4-kilometer route.
Over thirty thousand people are expected to attend the grand opening of the seven-storey Radha Govind Dev Mandir and Bhaktivedanta Academy in Noida, Uttar Pradesh from February 11th to 13th. Each morning of the festival will feature talks by senior devotees and spiritual ceremonies inviting the new Deities of Sri-Sri Radha Govind Dev into Their new home.
More than 200 young minds from all over India participated in the GIE Contest each with their individual business modules focussing on 'Green Technology for Sustainable Future', 'Technology Solutions for Rural India', 'Thinking on Global ideas Using Local Infrastructure' and project based on 'Skill development for Underprivileged'.
The Office of Communications for ISKCON launched its brand new website, communications.iskcon.org. The site’s main purpose is to serve as an initial touchpoint for outside parties. It allows groups such as the media, academics, neighbors and the interfaith community to find contact details for their local ISKCON communications liaison, and to get some basic information about what ISKCON is and what it does.
“On New Year's Eve central London becomes one big party,” says organizer Parasuram Das, who serves prasadam meals to one thousand needy people daily as director of the Food For All charity. “Millions of people take to the streets, and no cars are allowed. The ground is set for the biggest Harinam ever.”
Food for life volunteers distribute pure vegan food daily to more than 1,000 victims of typhoon Yolanda-Haiyan in different barangays in Tacloban, Leyte and Samar. A total of 64,210 meals have been served over the last the two months from November 11, 2013 to January 11, 2014.
As ISKCON's flagship project The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium's representatives put it: "The day has come. The suspense is over. After over a year of correspondence, negotiations and near failure, the blue marble has finally been ordered."
It's a constant reminder that, restaurants, delis, and a variety of other businesses are opening or going out of business, but the one establishment that seems to remain constant and unaffected by the economy is that funeral home.
This year’s ISKCON North American Leadership Conference, held at Hare Krishna Dham in Houston, Texas from January 9th to 12th, presented many developments that inspired both new and seasoned devotees alike. Seventy-five devotees attended in total and were housed at ISKCON Houston’s recently built residential apartments.
Today, as they did four decades ago, devotees at ISKCON New Vrindaban are embarking on a labor of love. They’re restoring the Palace of Gold, home to Srila Prabhupada. Devotees began building the Palace with their own hands back in 1973 as a simple residence for Srila Prabhupada, who enjoyed the peace and spiritual atmosphere of New Vrindaban during his visits.
ISKCON's Grihastha Vision Team is offering "Strengthening the Bonds That Free Us" in Mayapur, India on Feb 13-15th, 2014. This is an interactive skill building seminar for grihastha couples and those wishing to enter grhastha ashram.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) India invites ISKCON devotees to participate in a 2-day seminar on the “Merits of Organized Book Distribution.” It is scheduled to take place on Jan 31,2014 and Feb 1, 2014 at ISKCON Tirupati. It is being conducted under the expert guidance of Vaisesika Dasa Adhikari.
The newly launched website DevoteeClassifieds.com - is a place where devotees (and their friends) can buy and sell items amongst themselves, whether it be a house, a car, furniture or children’s books.
Ten thousand devotees are expected to attend the special 25th anniversary Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama from March 5th to 11th this spring.The Navadvipa area of West Bengal is considered sacred as it is the place where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu -- believed to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna, or God Himself -- lived and taught his message of chanting God’s Holy Names.
Engaging the body in graceful dance for the pleasure of the Lord, and the mind in prayerful contemplation on the sound of His holy names quickly transports our consciousness to the joyful realm of divine love.
As we usher in 2014, ISKCON News takes a look back at 15 stories that helped to shape the last 12 months. In 2013, ISKCON made steps in child protection; cared for victims of natural disasters; re-focused on preserving Srila Prabhupada’s position; continued work on its Temple of the Vedic Planetarium; opened a brand new art gallery; and began plans for its 50th anniversary.
At the European Leaders’ Meetings this fall, ISKCON leaders discussed a common dilemma for devotees today: do we drink milk? Or do we avoid it, since today’s store-bought milk supports the slaughter industry? The answer is to drink milk from our own protected cows. Unfortunately, there are few ISKCON dairy farms in the world today -- but there are some.
On the 21st and 22nd of December 2013, 45 youth from all over Bali, Indonesia, gathered for a retreat to study the Bhagavad-gita. Surprisingly, none of them had to even open their Bhagavad-gitas as the entire knowledge, practical applications and philosophy of the Gita was taught through games, dramas, presentations, kirtan and moments of contemplations.
Due to the continuous help and incoming of donations, ISKCON’s Food for Life (FFL) activities are still going on and reaching the victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The dedicated Food for Life team has been working in Tacloban city since Christmas day, and they prepare hot meals and deliver them to different areas of the city every day.
ISKCON News, the official news agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has launched the Spanish version of its website on January 1st, 2014. The website opens ISKCON News’ reach to a vast extent: Spanish currently has 410 million native speakers, and is a second language for a further 60 million, while it is the official language in 21 countries.
New Year's resolutions are hard to maintain. We are very familiar with the routine where we feel Gung-ho about a change we want to make and a few weeks into the New Year, the resolution is already slipping away.
A revolutionary public program was organized in a Sinhalese area in a town near Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Just a few years ago, when the civil war between Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Tamils was raging, nobody could have imagined that a Hare Krishna program would be held in the heart of Buddhist culture in Kandy.
Around ninety Russian-speaking devotees attended the 3rd anniversary celebrations of London’s Russian Bhakti Vriksha program on Saturday February 15th. The event was held at Covent Garden’s Swiss Church, a beautiful sacred space built in the 1850s that has become home to many Vaishnava gatherings.
The interior is like a combination of modern museum and Indian palace. It is spotlessly clean, airy and full of sunlight from the skylights in the ceiling. And it’s filled with chandeliers, glass, shining reflective Italian marble floors, hand-painted furniture from Gujarat, and a stunning marble altar for Sri Sri Dayal Nitai Vijay Gauranga.
ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF), which has so far served 1.25 billion healthy sanctified vegetarian meals to underprivileged school children across India with its “Annamrita” program, celebrated its tenth anniversary on February 6th. People packed out the 3,500-seat auditorium at the Yogi Sabhagriha of the Swaminarayan Temple in Mumbai for the event, entitled “Abhar: Expressing Our Heartfelt Gratitude.”
The Mahabharata says that, while ordinary arrows cut us once, the arrow of our words ‘burn the heart day and night.’ This is poignantly true when the heated exchange is between near and dear ones, as is so often the case.
The final plenary was scheduled for two hours, but went on for three, with devotees longing for more. As a perfect ending, the very last plenary for the ISKCON Leadership Sanga 2014 ended as the first one started – with a very sweet and loving Guru puja for the founder acarya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Throughout the entire ILS, Srila Prabhupada and his teachings were at the center.
Thousands poured into ISKCON’s architecturally stunning new Radha Govind Dev Mandir and Bhaktivedanta Academy in Noida, Uttar Pradesh for its grand opening from February 11th to 13th. Two thousand national and international ISKCON devotees stayed overnight for the festival, with that number rising to 5,000 during the day on the 11th and 12th.
Bukvoed, one of Russia’s leading bookstore chains, has been selling Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is from a prominent stand at one of its specialist stores in St. Petersburg since last year. The bookstore, called “The Shop of the Most Essential Books: In All Senses,” stocks about 60,000 titles, with many unique books on spiritual traditions, world religions, spiritual practices, history, astrology, philosophy, psychology, health and business.
Devamrita Swami took to the stage to deliver a powerfully relevant class on Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and the topic of innovation. Maharaja spoke as to the numerous ways by which Saraswati Thakur utilized the technology and resources of his time to spread Krishna-consciousness.
The ILS serves as a forum for devotes to not only learn about the work being done to push forward the ISKCON’s Governing Commission’s (GBC) strategic plan, but provides leaders with the tools to help implement it in their own communities.
We live in an overcommunicated world. Good etiquette insists we reply to all text messages within 10 minutes, be mindful of the mountain of emails building up in our inbox, and unfailingly return all ‘missed calls’ on our phones.
Day 3 of the ISKCON Leadership Sanga in Mayapur, India, was dedicated as Devotee Care Day.The day was filled with presentations where devotees had the opportunity to attend five seminar slots and choose between forty-eight presentations! As the day was devoted to Devotee Care the majority of presentations focused on this important topic.
Devotees had the opportunity to attend talks such as Unity in Diversity, Being Trusting and Trustworthy, Harmonizing Lines of Authority, Srila Prabhupada: The Living Bhagavatam, The Avanti Schools Model or a Theatre Arts Workshop (VANDE) which were among the twenty two seminars offered in the morning.
The 2014 ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) was inaugurated on February 16 in Sridham Mayapur. Day 1 consisted of three sessions during which at least ten seminars would run in parallel per session. Seminars such as Effective Outreach, How to Implement the 5 Steps of Succession and Identify Future Leaders, Devotee Care Through Cow Care, Invest in the Future, and To Love is to Cooperate were just a handful of the numerous seminars devotees had the opportunity to attend.
Something very special about the launch of The Journey Home in Tamil was the opportunity to witness the heart warming exchanges between Bhattar, chief priest of the most revered temple for the Sri Vaishnavas, the Sri Rangam temple and Radhanath Swami.
In the latest in a series of exhausting trials, ISKCON devotees have been given until March 1st by the Moscow government to move out of their temple at Dinamo. The devotee community has already found a new space to rent, and will stay there while they go to court to pursue justice.
The one Srimad-Bhagavatam verse that vividly describes Lord Caitanya’ appearance tells how this incarnation of Krishna has descended in Kali-yuga “accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions [the Panca-tattva]” and how He is worshiped by “intelligent persons” who “perform congregational chanting.”
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which publishes the spiritual literature of ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada, has reached a new watermark of success. Thanks to the efforts of book distributors around the world, it has sold over half a billion books -- 503,385,383 to be exact -- since Srila Prabhupada began ISKCON in 1965.
Krishna consciousness was first introduced in Bolivia in 1977, but from 1985 onwards, devotees had to work undercover while they were harassed by the country’s constantly changing military regimes. Finally, on December 18th 2012, ISKCON was given legal recognition by the Bolivian government, now a Democratic Republic. So in a way, Krishna consciousness is really just starting to take off in the country.
BBT India organized a two-day seminar fon Jan 31st and Feb 1st 2014 on the topic of ‘Merits of Organized Book Distribution’ at ISKCON Tirupati, India. This was a pioneering attempt to get book distributors in India more organized. Around 80 devotees participated at the seminar.
Nearly 1,000 ISKCON leaders from around the world are confirmed to attend the second ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) in Mayapur, West Bengal from February 16th to 23rd. The event was created by ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) to provide leaders with a forum where they could share best practices and learn from each other.
We all get caught up in it. It’s a tendency that begins in our early childhood. It’s almost a spontaneous reaction. When someone points out our mistake, we react and respond by deflecting it onto someone or something else.
Festival of Colors, traditionally known in India as Holi, is a spring festival inspired by Lord Krishna’s pastimes 5,000 years ago, when He and the cowherd girls and boys of Vrindavana playfully celebrated with colored dyes. While the festival has not historically been a part of ISKCON’s large repertoire of spiritual festivals, it has gradually become more and more of a staple especially in North America
Pucón is a city in the south of Chile nestled in the middle of majestic landscapes of volcanoes, lakes and forests. Its population of 22 thousand people icreases to 60 thousand in the summer due to its strong tourism, which fills the streets with foreigners and locals captivated by the native environment. This year, for the third consecutive year, was held the Festival of India Ratha Yatra through the main streets of the city.
Voted the best president in the world, President of Uruguay, Jose “Pepe” Mujica agreed to allow Food for Life Global director, Paul Rodney Turner (Priyavrata das) to cook him a vegan lunch (prasadam) and then discuss setting up a Food for Life project in Montevideo.
Devotees overseeing the restoration of the Delhi temple where Srila Prabhupada stayed in the early 1960s before leaving for the US have discovered a treasure of his personal belongings. Breaking open the locks on a door that had not been opened for 25 years, they were amazed to find the items still in his room at the Chippiwada Sri Sri Radha-Vallabha Mandir in Delhi’s busiest market, Chandni Chowk, after so long.
Thousands sat on the road outside Parliament 20 years ago protesting about the closure of one of the most famous Temples outside of India. However 20 years later a celebration in Parliament recognised how it was possible for the Hindu, Jain and Sikhs communities to come together behind ISKCON and show what can be achieved with one voice.
On Friday July 11th, the second floor of the Museum of Spiritual Art (MOSA) in Villa Vrindavana, Italy will be completed and receive an internal opening ceremony attended by devotees. The museum is the second branch of MOSA in ISKCON, modeled after the original in Radhadesh, Belgium. It is located in the most historic part of Villa Vrindavana’s Villa, dating back to the 16th century.
Guests staying at Mayapur's largest and new guesthouse, Ishodyan, had the privilege of having their morning shower with hot water heated by solar power. Due to the new “Green Revolution”, it is not long before residents and visitors see ISKCON Mayapur transforming into being a truly sustainable Krishna-community.
One elderly American lady and two younger ladies wandered into the lobby of Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra temple the afternoon of Thurs. March 13, 2014. “Rhis is my mother, Sally Aggarwal!" a younger one says. "She sponsored Srila Prabhupada on the Jaladuta from India in 1965!” she proudly declared.
The buildings at Dinamo where Vaisnavas worshipped Krishna for ten years have been recently demolished after the devotees had moved all their belongings to their new temple. The new rented place is spacious and beautifully renovated. But still not spacious enough to accomodate the crowd of five to ten thousand people that are expected to visit the Centre on Janmashtami.
Many years ago, Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia today was a part of India and its Vedic heritage. Much resemblance of India and its culture is seen in Indonesia. This includes the moral structure, the language, the arts and to some extent, the religion. As Indonesia only recognises six official religions, all religious organisations has to be linked to either one of them.
The boards of ISKCON New Vrindaban and ECO-Vrindaban, the two landholding entities in New Vrindaban, voted on February 20th and February 23rd, respectively, to sign leases for the Utica Shale, a deep natural gas formation. In 2010, both boards signed similar leases for the Marcellus Shale. As with that decision, this one was fraught with controversy.
Today, Ukraine is all over the news for the civil unrest in its capital Kiev. But devotees are safe, and doing what they can to assist those affected. The crisis has, however, affected the Bhakti Sangam festival, which draws thousands of devotees and is the biggest ISKCON festival in the Ukraine and one of the biggest in the world. The festival was held every September in the Crimean Peninsula on the coast of the Black Sea, an area which became Russian territory in late February.
ISKCON devotees in Russia and Ukraine have had quite a turbulent time in the past month with the revolution in Ukraine. Due to this situation Bhakti Vijnana Goswami has recorded an appeal to the devotees of Ukraine and Russia.
Around 1,300 devotees from 41 US states will attend this year’s Sadhu Sanga Retreat from May 23rd to 26th over the Memorial Day Weekend. A unique festival, it creates an immersive space for devotees to experience rejuvenating kirtan from morning till night in the company of many senior Vaishnavas who have a deep taste for the Holy Name.
The fifth annual Vaishnava-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue was held on Saturday April 19th this year in the Washington D.C. area. After covering topics such as the name of God and “What do we Love When We Love Our God?” during previous years’ meetings, this year’s focused on peace and peacebuilding within the Vaishnava and Muslim traditions. Twenty participants attended, including professors, scholars and religious leaders.
New youth organization The Sanga Initiative just launched in October of last year, but it’s already inspiring North American youth to pursue big ideals – building relationships, offering service to ISKCON, and setting the foundation to become future leaders in their communities. The Sanga Initiative hopes to hit the ground running because it already has a sizeable base of members.
With this desire and missionary spirit in place, at the age of 65, UK-born Adikarta Das and his wife Rucira Dasi decided to start life anew; they packed up lock, stock and barrel, and after scouting through several properties, decided to settle on a heavenly locale in Irvine, Kentucky, calling it Cintamani Dham.
The Vaishnava tradition is famous for its festivals. And within ISKCON, the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia has become one of the most renowned places to celebrate. As New Vrindaban finds a fresh start and rebuilds itself, festivals have been found to be one of the best ways to inspire and bring together devotees, as well as to develop a mutually appreciative relationship with the local public.
“Srila Prabhupada: The Founder-Acarya of ISKCON,” was written by ISKCON scholar Ravindra Svarupa Das and published by ISKCON GBC Press. “Our main concern [in writing this book] was that, in the very near future, our movement faces a time when all the devotees who had direct experience of Srila Prabhupada will no longer be on the planet,” says Ravindra Svarupa. “And I know from the history of religions that this is always a critical time.”
The second-largest ISKCON temple in the world is set to open in Kanpur on October 3rd, 2014. Construction began in October 2011 and will conclude this August. Set on a 15-acre site, the elaborate 100,000 square-foot temple, with its majestic towers, will include an open-sky courtyard and large temple hall.
UK's Pandava Sena - a dynamic youth organization - has been established twenty years ago, in 1994, with the aim to protect Bhaktivedanta Manor from being closed down by the government. On April 12th, the Pandava Sena members has spent an evening remembering the historic pastimes, hearing from the original members of Pandava Sena, the stalwarts that headed up the campaign to 'Save the Manor'.
Upon its birth in 1994 out of necessity to protect Bhaktivedanta Manor from closure, the UK’s Pandava Sena youth group was a powerful force. 250 current members and alumni, ranging in age from 14 to 38, packed into Bhaktivedanta Manor’s temple room for its 20th anniversary on April 12th. They were joined by several senior devotees who had been long-time well-wishers.
Golden Gauranga and his dear associates glanced at thousands of devotees with eyes full of compassion. There was love in the air and it seemed like thousands of honey bees had finally found the treasure house of nectar.
Most people have heard of the Oscar, the Tony and the Emmy Awards. But, who has ever heard of a Wilbur? The Wilbur Award is a highly sought after annual prize awarded to members of the secular media in North America. This year for the first time ever the event was hosted by an RCC member from outside the Christian or Jewish faiths, ISKCON’s own Governing Body Commission Chairman, Anuttama Dasa.
On April 4th, the presiding Deities of ISKCON Houston, Texas, were moved into Their beautiful new home. Construction began on the 24,000 square-foot Orissan-style temple in 2004. The official opening festival, on May 17th and 18th, will draw an estimated 15,000 people and mark the culmination of many years of hard work.
Both Martin Luther King and Gandhi were people who gained tremendous inspiration from their faith traditions and were able to perform tremendous feats of courage through the implementation of non-violence.
It’s a brave and bold step to strive for purity in a world of degradation, to embrace simplicity amongst rampant materialism, and to cultivate selflessness in an atmosphere surcharged with exploitation.
Hrdaya Caitanya Das, who served as president of ISKCON’s Radhadesh community in the Belgian Ardennes for twenty-seven years, is grateful to be taking on the service of co-director at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal. He and fellow newcomer Gauranga-Simha Das from South Africa will bring the board of co-directors to six.
Young poet and hip-hop musician Mikey Jay describes himself as “a wandering soul learning the lessons of life” as he “traverses its diverse path.” For Rama Navami, April 8th, 2014, he came out with a new music album the “Sri Isopanisad”, consisting of 19 songs; an Invocation and 18 songs based on the 18 Mantras of the ancient scripture the Sri Isopanisad.
Intrepid ISKCON Guru and GBC Bhaktimarga Swami, known colloquially as “The Walking Monk,” is planning his next big adventure. The Swami has already trekked across his native Canada three times, and has walked in Ireland, Israel, Guyana, Trinidad, Fiji and Mauritius, promoting spiritual thought and healthy living.
If the message of sacrifice as a means to deep human relationships was all that the Ramayana offered to the world today, then that message in and of itself would be valuable. But the Ramayana’s gifts are much greater.
To expand ISKCON’s preaching mission Srila Prabhupada created sannyasis. Thus the Ministry for Sannyasa Service has established a website to provide information about potential sannyasis to the ISKCON community and to get feedback in order to help in the candidate's training.
At the 2014 Annual General Meetings of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission in Mayapur, the GBC resolved that devotees wishing to take initiation from an ISKCON guru will be required to first pass the ISKCON Disciple Course. The resolution will not be effective until Janmastami 2015, so that ISKCON leaders throughout the world will have time to put the proper systems in place to make the course widely available.
The May 26th grand swearing-in ceremony of India’s new Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, in the capital city of New Delhi, turned out to be a high-profile event with several head of states, leading businessmen, scholars, spiritual leaders, movie stars and sports players participating in it. ISKCON was also specially invited to this carefully tailored event and was represented by its Indian Communications Director, Vrajendranandan Dasa.
An incredible 11,000 people from the US and around the world attended the grand opening of ISKCON Houston’s brand new Vedic temple from May 16th to 18th this spring. The Hon. Consul General of India, Mr Parvathaneni Harish, also attended with his wife Nandita and warmly appreciated the devotees of ISKCON for their sincerity and commitment to the path of Bhakti.
Swami Prabhupada explained how an expert businessman can thrive in any economic climate. When the market booms he sells commodities and makes a healthy profit. When the market is down, he buys abundantly, remaining alert to sell when the demand rebuilds
Exciting news lands in Mayapur. A service whereby helicopters transport pilgrims and devotees and guests from Kolkata to Mayapur is moving forward. May 30th marked the first time the journey was made and several people greeted the arrival with enthusiasm.
In an age when convenience is king and religion is often ridiculed, some churches looking to widen their outreach efforts are embracing what community banks have utilized for decades: the drive-through.
BBT Media is happy to announce that two audio books are now available from bbtmedia.com: Sri Isopanisad, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; and Sri Sri Brihad Bhagavatamrta, Part 1, by Srila Sanatana Goswami.
Sri Sri Radha Bankebihari Deities made Their advent in Nairobi, Kenya in 1972 when Srila Prabhupada personally installed Them. At that time the Temple had a few facilities and very few devotees ran the temple. The temple gradually grew from a small place to a bigger one in 1994, when Gopal Krishna Goswami installed Sri Sri Sita Rama Laksmana Hanumana and inaugurated the new temple. Now it was time again to upgrade the facilities.
It’s almost noon. The organisers Rasika Siromani Devi Dasi, Rama Vijaya Das and Govinda Charan Das are discussing last minute festival details over breakfast at the registration tables. Just across the street, surrounded by picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, there are around 1400 devotees immersed in chanting the Holy Names.
Veteran second generation devotee Raghunath Giuffre, who is one of the youngest disciples of Srila Prabhupada and has been active in helping many fellow gurukulis, is in a stable condition in hospital after receiving multiple stab wounds in a knife attack.
On May 23rd, ISKCON Hungary has sent a group of volunteers to the flood affected Bosnia. Having served in several flood and other natural disaster affected areas, these volunteers are experienced humanitarian workers. Primarily, they will help in the Sarajevo area by cooking, serving, driving and taking care of the victims in many other ways.
Finland is considered to be one of the top countries in the world what comes to education and one of the policies of Finnish government is to export education.Tattvavada das was invited to participate a group which consisted of well-respected Finnish professors from Tampere, Turku and East-Finland (Joensuu) universities. Main lectures were held in Pune and Mumbai and they were arranged by the university of Pune.
ISKCON devotees are assisting people affected by the catastrophic floods that have ravaged the Balkan countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Crotia. NPR, which called the floods the worst in a century, reported that three months of rain fell in just a few days. This caused the river Sava, which flows through all three countries, to burst beyond its banks and sweep through towns and villages.
Over thirty devotees from the UK and Ireland attended a special ISKCON National Communications Training Day at Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK.Taking part in a series of innovative and interactive workshops, the group learned about why engaging with the media matters, what makes a good news story and how compatible the worlds of spirituality and media really are.
On May 18th, 2014, amid bomb blasts and terror attack threats, Nairobi ISKCON had a very peaceful and jubilant initiation ceremony. ISKCON-guru Gopal Krishna Goswami gave spiritual initiation to 38 devotees. 26 of them took Harinam initiation, while 12 devotees took Brahmin initiation.
Sankirtana Das disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is a sacred storyteller, workshop leader and author of Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest. The book was recently awarded Finalist in 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. He is interviewed by Lilasuka Devi Dasi, Communications Director at New Vrindaban.
The Balkans has been hit by some of the worst natural disasters in history. Three months' worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days, causing rivers to burst their banks and sweep into people's homes. In Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, the floods killed at least 35 people and forced tens of thousands to evacuate. ISKCON devotees in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Serbia immediately responded.
History, if seen from a purely materialistic perspective, seems to be nothing more than a list of names of dead successful people. Decade after decade, century after century, millennia after millennia, people come, people live, people die.
He’s already retold the epic spiritual classics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. His are among the bestselling English editions, with 60,000 and 100,000 in print respectively, and have garnered ebullient praise from the media, academia and general public alike. And now Krishna Dharma has retold the work closest to his heart in “Brilliant as the Sun: A Summary of Srimad Bhagavatam, the Complete Science of God.”
Nearly 50 years after Srila Prabhupada journeyed from India to America to bring the new teachings of Krishna to a generation of Western burnouts, Hare Krishnas have moved out of the airports, into the streets, and into the cubicle right next to yours.
We can have successful cow protection projects in ISKCON. But only if we’re willing to accept the high cost of violence-free milk, and of caring for cows and their handlers.That’s the message that Shyamasundara Das, the recently appointed Global Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture, is bringing to communities around the world.
Distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books in the East African country of Kenya has reached an all-time high, with 54,399 books distributed during the December marathon of 2013 by just three small temples: Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa. The score catapulted Kenya to the number seven country in the world during the marathon.
A young women becomes a nun. She travels to Brazil to work with poor children and then returns to Italy to live quietly in a convent in Milan. Now she is the star of Italy’s version of the TV show “The Voice.”
I had arrived at New York's JFK Airport and was immediately struck by the hundreds of cars all around the airport.I asked my friend who had come to pick me up, "How exactly are all these cars be sustained once the fuel supply is over?"
The proceeds from a unique new kirtan album, “Kirtan Shakti,” will all go towards educating underprivileged young women at the Sandipani Muni girls’ school in Vrindavana, India -- Lord Krishna’s birthplace.
ISKCON Deity Worship Minister for North America Jayananda Das, a disciple of Bhakti-Tirtha Swami, has visited twenty-five temples in North America since 2012, and plans to visit sixteen more by the end of this year. This will bring him to about eighty per cent of the total 55 temples in North America.
During the second week of April (7-13th), Cochabamba, Bolivia, South America received a visit from five representatives of the Spanish anguage branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. ISKCON News had the opportunity to interview the five participants and get to know about the plans and surprises that await Latin America and Spain in 2014.
“Aha! I’ve got a name for our festival!” Citralekha Dasi called to ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das from her office across the hall. And she told him what it was. He grinned. “It’s perfect." The first annual Festival of Inspiration, held in 2001, quickly lived up to its name. It put New Vrindaban, which had recently rejoined ISKCON, back on the map as an important place of pilgrimage for North American devotees.
Many communities around the world celebrated Earth Day this April 22nd. But on Saturday April 19th, several days early, They Call Us Friends -- a non-profit organization run by ISKCON devotees -- staged its own Earth Day event at Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park for the first time.
Four to five hundred devotees, including over sixty from around the world, enjoyed the perfect rejuvenating Krishna conscious holiday from June 14th to 22nd at the Festival of Fiji, as they experienced the best kirtan, prasadam and spiritual association in a tropical paradise.
A new ebook has just been released by Torchlight Publishing.Cosmology on Trial: Cracking the Cosmic Codeby Pierre St. Clair takes on the speculative arguments of modern science and its Big Bang Theory with intelligence and logic.
Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia celebrated its 487th anniversary on Sunday, 22 June 2014. On this occasion, the city hosted the Jakarnaval, a cultural parade from the National Monument to the Central Business District of Jakarta. Hare Krishna devotees took this opportunity to organize their third annual Ratha-Yatra festival.
The 14th Anniversary of the Birmingham Rathayatra Festival 2014 promises to be a spectacular event with a City Centre procession and festival, incorporating all the exoticness, vitality and colour that is India.
One of the essential steps in the bhakti process is acceptance of the shelter of a guru, who helps connect one with Krishna, as well as assisting in progressively fully restoring one's relationship with Him.
The first in the new “Kitchen Religion Series” of cookbooks, Rice: 65 Recipes From Around the World doesn’t just offer an astonishing amount of sumptuous ways to prepare that simplest of staple foods. It’s also the first ever ISKCON cookbook to focus on how to cook in large quantities, an extremely valuable resource for its target audience of ISKCON devotees.
Today, for the whole day of June 23rd, Wikipedia is commemorating Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s 100th disappearance anniversary by a clickable reference to his article, complete with his photograph on its Main page. The Wikipedia section "On this day…" is dedicated to promoting events of global significance.
A restaurant in Nairobi is subsidizing its sanctified vegetarian food, or prasadam, so that it’s affordable for low-income workers, while at the same time developing an ambitious plan for large-scale free prasadam distribution. Located on the ground floor of the Golok Dham building at ISKCON Nairobi, the Jagannath restaurant projects a warm and welcome vibe even before you enter.
On the weekend of Friday June 6th to Sunday June 8th, around 500 yoga practioners from Tuscany and beyond attended a yoga festival with a difference: the third annual Bhakti Festival at Villa Vrindavana, Italy. The festival was established in 2012 by ISKCON Villa Vrindavana and Yogendra, leader of the Samadhi yoga school in Florence
On Sunday 15 June, London's most famous landmarks were brought to life in a dazzling display of sound, music and colour, as thousands of devotees came to the streets of London's West End to celebrate the 46th annual Rathayatra festival. Three chariots began their journey in Hyde Park and were pulled by hand to greet a huge gathering of devotees, visitors and tourists in the city's iconic Trafalgar Square.
ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner and Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) trustee Gopal Krishna Goswami met the honorable President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on 12th June, 2014 at the President’s official residence in New Delhi and presented him the BBT’s deluxe edition of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is along with the maha-prasad of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi.
On Thursday, June 12th at 12.30 PM EST ISKCON Communications Minister and Governing Body Commission Chairman has released an updated report about the tragic bus accident that claimed at least two lives of Russian ISKCON devotees who were visiting holy places in Northern India. In the meantime, ISKCON Russia has confirmed the names of the deceased devotees.
In the evening of Wednesday, June 11th it got confirmed that it was indeed a group of Russian ISKCON devotees whose bus crushed into the river Ganges in the Himalayas on Tuesday. Two of them died on the spot, one is still missing, and many are injured. The accident was caused by the bus driver, who had a seizure attack.
Since the first Italian Rathayatra in Viareggio, Tuscany in 1981, the ancient parade festival has been celebrated at least once a year in cities such as Florence, Milan, and Verona. But there hasn’t been a Rathayatra in Italy’s renowned capital, Rome, until this May. Spurring devotees on was the fact that May 2014 was the 40th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s visit in 1974 to Rome, where he stayed for one week.
International media spread the news that a bus carrying Russian tourists plunged into a river in northern India on Tuesday, killing at least two and injuring eight. According to ISKCON News sources in New Delhi, the victims are ISKCON devotees who were on a tour with several buses, one of which fell into the river. Updates will follow as details are revealed.
Today, 24 and 12 hour kirtan festivals seem to be spreading all over the world like wildfire. Devotees are gathering to immerse themselves in the Holy Name every year with events like Kirtan Mela in Mayapur, Germany and Australia; in the UK; Italy, Belgium, and several places in the US. But back when the New Vrindaban 24 Hour Kirtan began in West Virginia, it was one of only a small handful of early trendsetters.
At the Dreft Fashion Week in Zagreb, Croatia from May 6th to 9th, fashion designer Mandali Mendrilla, a Krishna devotee, displayed designs inspired by the Vaishnava practice of Bhakti-yoga and the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita.
While the Bhakti Center has had a restaurant on and off for the past seven years, Taste of Bhakti is a fresh new start spearheaded by ISKCON’s second generation and other young devotees. Taste of Bhakti’s home, at 25 1st avenue, is in the midst of Manhattan’s East Village, a hipster spot populated by vegan restaurants and organic juice bars.
In May, Bosnia and Herzegovina had been hit by the worst floods in its history, forcing tens of thousands to leave their destroyed homes. During the two-week operation, with the help of the ISKCON community worldwide, especially the Hungarian devotees, the local devotees distributed 6,000 plates of prasadam to the victims.
One hundred devotees from ISKCON Radhadesh in the Belgian Ardennes pack into the community’s small bakery, just a few meters away from the Château de Petite Somme turned Krishna temple. They’re all craning their necks to get a glimpse over the counter at Nadia Bihari Das, his wife Shyamalika Dasi and son Gopinath Das as they bake up a storm in celebration of their family business’s 25th anniversary.
An interfaith panel discussion on the topic of “Spiritual Science and Modern Education” was held at the Macquarie University, Sydney on April 29, 2014. The panellists were Bhakti Rasamrita Swami who spoke on the topic from the perspective of Gaudiya Vaisnavasim and Mr. Kamal Saleh who spoke in the context of Islam.
ISKCON’s Family Vision Team explores practical tips for loving relationships in a new book. The authors have a total of approximately 200 years of marriage experience and 100 years of providing marriage, family and relationship education.
On Saturday 31 May, the George Harrison Memorial Garden at Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK was brought to life with the enchanting melodies of his music, as a local community choir performed a special concert in celebration of their tenth anniversary.
On July 22nd, 2014, ISKCON Zonal Secretary for Mumbai Juhu, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan Devakinandan Das and ISKCON Indian Communications Director Vrajendranandan Das met the honorable Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Parliament of India Srimati Sumitra Mahajan.
On July 24th, Abhinanda dasa reported that Alchevsk, a city between Donetsk and Lugansk in Eastern Ukraine, which had been relatively peaceful until now, looked like it would become the next battleground. “There is a large devotee population in Alchevsk”, he says. “If the conflict moves into Alchevsk, there may be many more devotees looking for refuge.”
Twenty-five young girls aged eleven to sixteen embarked on the Kishori Yatra bus tour from June 6th to 29th this summer, taking a life-changing road trip in America that was a major positive influence at an extremely formative period in their lives. With them were a group of positive role models and experienced youth leaders, dubbed “counselors,” all of them second generation ISKCON devotees themselves.
Seven years after its first release and people are still talking about it. ‘The Secret’ that Rhonda Byrne felt she had discovered was the ‘law of attraction’; whatever you think about and focus on, eventually becomes reality in your life.
Recently, responding to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ukraine, the Executive Commitee of ISKCON's Governing Commission released a letter addressed to the Ukrainian devotees affected by the challenging situation.
“When the military operations intensified our home turned out to be on the front line. Until the last moment, I had hoped that the war would be over soon.” They were not so lucky. When Lugansk got attacked by mortars and the neighboring street became a battlefield, it was time for Nilacala Dasi, her husband Vrajamani Das and daughter Vrinda Gopi to leave.
Attending Krishna’s Image: Caitanya Vaisnava Murti-seva as Devotional Truth by ISKCON scholar and guru Krishna Kshetra Das (Kenneth R. Valpey) discusses how the ancient historical tradition was brought from India to countries all over the world. It shows how it has taken firm root today in both India and the West
How to understand that according to the scriptures Maharaja Ugrasena had over 100,000 times more bodyguards than the entire present population of the earth planet? The Vaishnava acharyas have given a number of interesting answers.
On July 13th, the American Nick Mom TV Channel featured 7 year old Gauri, daughter of Bal Gopal Das and Lalita Sundari Dasi, residents of ISKCON New Dwaraka Dham, Los Angeles. The television show called Take Me To Your Mother was exploring how different children from all walks of life celebrated their birthdays.
ISKCON News is happy to report that at 6.35 AM on Saturday, July 12th, 2014, a new member was born into the ISKCON News family. Our staff writer Madhava Smullen and his wife Manjari Smullen are now the proud parents of Ambika, a beautiful, healthy baby girl.
Facebook isn’t like marmite – I hate it and love it. I can’t stand it, but I can’t get off it. How many of you feel the same? It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night. It seems to be devouring my entire life.
Lately, in India there has been an ongoing war of words between the Shankaracharya and the followers of Sai Baba. Now there is a threat that the conflict will escalate and apart from the court cases, it will spill over into a physical fights. ISKCON Communications Minister Anuttama Dasa and Communications Delhi representative Yudhisthir Govinda Dasa have released an official statement addressing the situation.
Over the past weeks, the international media has been reporting about an escalating political situation in Ukraine, which is now close to a civil war. The government has launched a massive military offensive on the insurgent-controlled parts of Eastern Ukraine, using heavy weaponry, aviation, and troops to subdue their resistance. Many ISKCON centers and hundreds of devotees are also seriously affected by the conflict.
Although World Cup host Brazil is still reeling from a 7 – 1 loss to Germany on Tuesday July 8th, football fever still grips the country as the World Cup barrels towards the Germany vs Argentina final on Sunday June 13th. In the midst of it all, a large Harinama party of ISKCON devotees has been a hit as they travel to the major cities where World Cup games are being held, as well as to viewing parties in nearby locales.
“As if their Gods fell into the dust.” This was my first reaction seeing the videos and photos of the devastated faces after the Brazilian football team’s 1-7 loss to Germany. "What’s the big deal? Wasn’t it just a game?”
On July 7, 2014, girls from Senior Girl Scout Troop 733 from Alachua, Florida were invited to meet with Samuel Mbae Ragwa, Governor of the Tharaka-Nithi County in Kenya. The girls were invited to share details about their project focused on reducing barriers to education for girls and young women around the world.
In Bhagavad-gita Lord Sri Krishna indicates one of the essential steps in the bhakti process is acceptance of the shelter of such a Postal Peon, a guru, who helps connect one with Krishna, as well as assists in progressively fully restoring one's relationship with Him.
Before going into politics, Councilor Ajay Maru would regularly visit ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Manor just outside London as a congregation member. So when he was voted in as the new Mayor of the London Borough of Harrow on June 12th, it wasn’t a difficult choice for him to select Manor president Srutidharma Das as his chaplain.
Celibacy is no longer a vexatious condition of religious life. It is now a considered choice individuals are exerting -- those not of the cloth or cloister but choosing nevertheless to test the frontiers of self-restraint and redirect their Eros towards other ends.
Today, Ramaraya Das leads parties of twenty-five or more devotees in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra at Union Square Park in Manhattan, New York City, every day without fail. Hitting the streets from their very own Harinama Ashram, they chant and dance enthusiastically, passing out books by ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada and drawing passersby to join in the fun. But things weren’t always so easy for Ramaraya.
There is a growing interest today in learning about different cultures and ways of life. In schools, in the workplace and in society in general, more and more people are sharing their traditions and different aspects of spirituality with each other. This year, two primary schools in Tavazzano and Sordio, in the province of Lodi, Italy, presented the culture of India.
If you have ever thought sincerely about the phrase: “you are what you eat”, well we have a new one for you –“you are what you listen to”. With that in mind why not make a conscious effort to decide: what is the soundtrack to my spiritual life? Radha Krishna Records, ISKCON London’s own record company has released it 10th album: “Mantra Lounge” on May 28th, 2014.
On the evening of June 30th, a Rath Yatra program was being held within the premises of ISKCON Dhaka, Bangladesh, when a group of people, believed to be local miscreants, began throwing stones over the boundary wall, into the temple.
During the winter of 2012 to 2013, as the pilgrimage season quietened down and a blanket of snow fell across the rural West Virgnia community, professional devotee foremen, carpenters and electricians flung themselves into five months of hard work to transform the guest facilities.
BBT media has just released new audio books and e-books, including The Nectar of Instruction” by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrita, Part One, by Srila Sanatana Goswami.
In the picturesque Tweed Valley in New South Wales, Australia, ISKCON’s New Govardhana farm began work on the final stage of its five-part self-sufficiency plan in late May of this year. Once the plan is complete, it won’t immediately render the community fully self-sufficient; however it will set the farm on the path towards gradually reaching that goal.
In celebration of Shri Krishna’s birthday, ISKCON Moscow has organized a beautiful and spiritually deep cultural show in the prestigious Concert Hall “Russia” in Luzhniki, Moscow. Fabulous were not only the performances, which included singing, dancing, and theatrical acts of Krishna lilas and Vedic philosophy, but also the sound and the scene illumination.
The event was first launched by ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission in 1996 as a one-day celebration to commemorate 100 years since ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s birth. It was lengthened to a week-long event in 2008, and has been held every year since. Scheduled for September 5th through 15th this year, WHNW will be packed with sacred Vaishnava holidays.
This year ISKCON Atlanta hosted its first ever summer camp, “Atlanta Krishna Camp,” attended by 16 enthusiastic children. The week long camp was from July 20th – 27th and was held on the temple premises.
Seventeen hundred people flooded into ISKCON Italy’s Villaggio Hare Krishna on the outskirts of Milan to celebrate Krishna’s birthday, and to catch their first glimpse of the stunning new painted ceiling of the community’s Radha-Ramana temple. The one-hundred square meter (1,076 sq ft) oil painting is divided into two distinct sections, one depicting Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes, the other Lord Krishna’s.
A ban on soliciting donations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) does not tread on Hare Krishna members' free speech rights, the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday. A city ordinance forbids the immediate solicitation of money at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), including the terminals, the parking lots, and adjacent sidewalks.
"The International Society for Krishna Consciousness for Indonesia has been celebrating Ratha-yatra festival for twelwe years,” Bala Krishna das head of this year’s Ratha Yatra committee says. "Every year the festival changes its location, moves from regency to regency within Bali. Now, after twelwe years, we have reached a full circle, and the festival arrived back in Bali's provincial capital Denpasar."
ISKCON-guru and well-known academic, Krishna Kshetra Das (Dr. Kenneth R. Valpey) took sannyasa (entered the renounciate order) at Goloka Dham, Germany, on Janmastami, 2014. His new name now is Krishna Kshetra Swami. An interview about his academic activities, upcoming book projects and future plans.
The Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Bhupendra Singh Hooda and ISKCON GBC Gopal Krishna Goswami laid down the foundation stone for the upcoming ISKCON temple at Kurukshetra on 18th August, 2014, which was also celebrated as Krishna Janmastami, appearance day of Lord Krishna.
A brand new professionally-shot documentary about the construction of ISKCON’s flagship temple, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, West Bengal has just been released, as the initial burst of progress settles to a slower yet steady pace.The documentary is the second in a multi-part series focuses on the community behind the ambitious project.
The 10thAnnual Festival of the Chariots & Ratha Yatra Parade, an Indian multi-cultural extravaganza, will take place on the beach & at the Seawalk Pavillion, Seawalk Plaza Beach Blvd. & Ocean Front South in Jacksonville Beach from 3:30 to 9 PM.
Vyasa-puja is an annual celebration by devotees of Krishna to offer homage to their guru, or spiritual teacher. Each year, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publishes a limited number of copies of a Vyasa-puja book—a collection of homages to Srila Prabhupada from devotees and temples all over the world.
A new Mahabharata is being released as not just a book, but also bite-sized MP3 audio chapters and comic books downloadable onto your iPad, bringing continued interest in India’s spiritual classics into the 21st century. While author Sriram Raghavan is not an ISKCON member, ISKCON devotees may be interested in his bright, dynamic retelling of the ancient text, especially for their children.
“Srila Prabhupada first arranged and celebrated Rathayatra at the age of five on the streets of Kolkata with his neighbors and friends,” says organizer Ananga Mohan Das. “He always wanted the ISKCON Kolkata Rathayatra to be the second largest in the world after the one in Jagannath Puri. And since he established ISKCON in Kolkata in 1971, it has been growing, with an ever-increasing number of attendees.”
The Honorable Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of the city of Boston, has signed a proclamation declaring August 17, 2014 to be "Sri Krishna Janamastami Day", a first for Boston ISKCON. It was at Boston’s Commonwealth Pier in 1965 that Srila Prabhupada first set foot on Western soil, and where he composed his prayer "Markine Bhagavata-dharma", entreating Lord Krishna for the spiritual deliverance of the western countries.
Over the past few weeks the Ukrainian refugee crisis has intensified. Risking their lives, many more ISKCON devotees are trying to flee from the troubled region. One of ISKCON's refugee coordinators in the Donetsk region has been arrested by separatists.
Touchstone Media has announced the release of the book Govardhana, the Hill thatFulfils all Desires written by ISKCON spiritual master Bhakti Caitanya Swami. The book is a virtual guide to this mostholy place of pilgrimage fordevotees of Lord Krishna. This book is the first of its kind that vivd take us around Govardhana Hill even without being physically there.
Several ISKCON leaders participated in the Hindu Forum of Europe’s General Assembly meetings in Savona, Italy on July 3rd and 4th this summer. “We’re trying to make sure that Hinduism is considered an official religion in EU countries, not an obscure sect,” says HFE President Radj Bhondoe. “So far it’s only officially recognized in three EU countries: the Netherlands, the UK and recently Italy. So there’s a lot of work to do.”
"As a determined follower of Srila Prabhupada from the very beginning, Madhudvisa Prabhu accepted many roles of responsibility in the growth of ISKCON worldwide. Posts he held include: President of the ISKCON temple San Francisco, President of the earliest residence for the devotees in Bombay , an original member of the international Governing Body Commission, and the initial Governing Body Commissioner for Australia."
ISKCON's Governing Body Commission (GBC) began its strategic planning work to help ISKCON grow into a healthy, sustainable, world-class organization. Srila Prabhupada wanted the GBC to lead ISKCON through good governance and to establish global policies, and he wanted an expansive, thriving movement that served both the public and those who accepted its shelter.
The museum features several permanent pieces including three large framed wooden depictions of Lord Krishna’s universal form, Lord Ramachandra, and the Dasavatar (Krishna’s ten incarnations). But its main offering is an annually rotating roster of exhibits that include sculptures, paintings, photography, video, and other art mediums.
Healthy marriages, happy families, strong ISKCON. “The larger society is a microcosm of the family unit,” says Grihatha Vision Team member Krishnanandini Dasi. “So if our family units are healthy, vibrant, dynamic and enthusiastic, our ISKCON society will be too.” The GVT are doing their bit towards this aim with their second annual Couple’s Retreat from September 12th to 14th this year.
On August 5th, 2014, one of Srila Prabhupada's earliest disciples, Madhudvisa Das, passed away at the age of 67.He took his initiations in 1968; the first in San Francisco, and the second in Los Angeles. Srila Prabhupada once described him as the "Emperor of Kirtan." When Srila Prabhupada himself was departing this world he said, "bring my son Madhuvisa here."
Wikipedia. With 30 million articles written by volunteers worldwide, the free Internet encyclopedia receives nearly 500 million unique visitors a month, and is the fifth most popular website in the world. Since 2011, topics and personalities of importance to Gaudiya Vaishnavas and ISKCON devotees have been appearing, with increasing regularity, on Wikipedia’s main page.
"Our children need to be engaged in our ever blissful spiritual culture and values. The only way, they can experience this bliss, is by engaging in pure spiritual connection with the process of Bhakti Yoga. Engaging their intelligence, mind, and senses in the devotional service to the Lord." This was the essence of the just concluded successful Children’s 4th Annual Gita Camp, held at Houston Hare Krishna Temple from July 7 – 13.
Dr. Catherine Cornille, Chair of the Department of Theology and Professor of Comparative Theology in Boston College, and author of numerous books on inter-religious dialogue, phoned ISKCON Boston with a request: Could she bring a large group of theologians to the temple on a site visit to experience a non-Western religious tradition?
Nancy De Luca Stempel (Nandapatni Dasi) the Executive Director of the Learning Community International, a private school “Without Walls” claims her school’s unique learning style is a good fit for ISKCON children.
Serving up to 1,200 students a day, five days a week, the Krishna Lunch prasadam distribution program has flourished under Srila Prabhupada's vision. Krishna Lunch is served on the University of Florida's main crossroads, the Plaza of the Americas, which is the very place Srila Prabhupada lectured to over 500 students and faculty on his visit to Gainesville in 1971.
World Holy Name Week (WHNW), first established in 2008, has seen its biggest success so far this year. In 2013, around forty-three different ISKCON centers celebrated the week in some capacity with events designed to share, spread and become absorbed in the Holy Name of God. This year, WHNW organizers have already received reports from over fifty ISKCON centers from every continent in the world.
The shelter project for the devotees displaced in Ukraine has been going on smoothly over the past weeks. At this point, with the generous donations offered internationally, ISKCON Ukraine has raised enough to provide basic care and support for the devotees in need. Their focus right now is the development of buildings that will shelter devotees as the cold winter months quickly approach.
True success, according to Hinduism, is not in the achievements of the first half of life, but in the unraveling of a deeper mystery of our authentic identity and relationship with this transient world.
It’s refreshing to learn that science is finally catching up with the power of meditation, but I’m guessing it will be another decade until they ‘scientifically’ discover the revolutionary philosophy behind it.
An enthusiastic team of devotees led by ISKCON Lagos temple president Kavi Karnapur Das is placing Srila Prabhupada’s books in bookstores and bookstands throughout the Nigerian city. They have a huge audience: the New York Times estimates the population of Lagos at an astronomical 21 million, which would make it the most populous city in Africa.
Another well-known title, Beyond Birth and Death, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is now in e-book form and available at bbtmedia.com. In this small yet profound book, Srila Prabhupada tells readers how the soul travels from one body to another and presents startling evidence of its incredible journey after death.
On September 18th a special art exhibition opened at the Cultural Center of the Indian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary. The “Blossoming of Vedic Life in Rural Hungary” exhibition displays over 40 original drawings from ISKCON-guru and author Sivarama Swami’s new book the Nava Vraja Mahima, a monumental work in glorification of New Vraja Dhama (or Krishna-valley), a rural Vaishnava community in Hungary.
“Spiritual Leadership: Being a Guru in ISKCON” seminar wiill be offered once in 2015, at Mayapura from February 22-25. Per ISKCON Law this Seminar is mandatory for devotees who take up the service of diksha guru and for sannyasa candidates. The GBC also “highly recommends” it for siksa gurus, senior managers and other ISKCON leaders.
“Long Lost,” a new 25-minute short film about a young man encountering Krishna consciousness as he searches for answers in life, is being well-received at film festivals and other events internationally. In August at the Russian film festival “I See God,” which features different film-makers’ interpretations of how they perceive the Almighty, Long Lost was chosen for third place out of 65 shorts by the audience themselves.
In Cueramaro, North-Central Mexico, ISKCON devotees are using natural brick and plenty of glass to construct a brand new “green” building for their Colegio Bhaktivedanta that will blend into, rather than invade, its natural surroundings. Colegio Bhaktivedanta follows other colleges in Belgium and Hungary named after Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who was renowned for his impact on spiritual education.
It was Prabhupada's own sister Pishi Ma who trained Saci mata, Prabhupada's first Bengali dispicle to cook in such a way that pleases Krishna. Saci Mata, now a gentle lady in her late sixties was touring South India along with her husband, inspiring second generation ISKCON devotees by narrating their sweet encounters with their spiritual master Srila Prabhupada.
In theory, the solution to the violence is very easy. However, the application is very difficult because it deals with shifting one's consciousness and learning to see beyond all the external designations of an individual.
“As you can see, the Festival of Colors in Moundsville today was a complete success!” This was the declaration made by Sarafina Brooks, a reporter from the local TV Channel, WTOV 9 who appeared on TV Sat. Sept. 13, 2014 covered from head to toe in green powdered chalk.
The Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has recently increased its focus on succession; on the need to identify and develop new leaders. As a result the GBC has asked three of its committees to focus on ways to speed up the selection and development process without compromising the quality of the training.
Eleven select international students immersed themselves full-time in ISKCON’s first systematic kirtan course for nearly two months this summer, at Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium. During this time they studied the theology behind kirtan, the proper mood and way to perform it, and its history and tradition, and took practical lessons in how to skillfully sing and play instruments to glorify the Lord.
Praying for others is itself an act of selflessness, but praying for God is the act of ultimate selflessness. What the Vrajavasis are unconscious of is Krishna’s divinity, not divinity itself. They are obviously not atheists – they are the topmost theists.
She was in the prime of her youth when her world flipped upside down in an instant. Up until the year before, Jahnavi had been enjoying all of the thrills and fun that life could offer. Not worrying about the future, not taking the Krishna consciousness that her parents had given to her very seriously. But then it happened – the harsh pains of suffering that many of us have faced in this world hit her family like a storm.
People have a romantic idea of spirituality: escape worldly distraction, access higher states of consciousness, and settle into an internal serenity. The dedicated practitioners, however, will frankly admit that it doesn’t always work like that.
Patients at Sewree's TB Hospital will soon be fed hygienic, protein-rich food specially prepared by cooks from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Keeping in mind that patients need wholesome meals to improve their health, BMC has asked ISKCON to set up a kitchen at the 1,000-bed hospital, that has recently come under fire for bad food and poor hygiene.
An updated edition of Searching For Vedic India by Devamrita Swami is now available as an e-book in all flavors at bbtmedia.com. The sages of India’s lost past delighted in knowledge of the nonmaterial. But they testified that they also knew how to produce material benefits without industry. Dare we consider that the subcontinent of India, thousands of years ago, was the center of the greatest spiritual wisdom and mystical technology that Earth has seen?
A unique offering may be presented to the sacred hill Giri Govardhana upon the October 24th festival of Govardhana Puja this year. Renowned UK musician and singer Jayadeva Das (John Richardson) will put together a virtual version of his Mantra Choir project in which over 108 – and possibly as many as 300 or 400 – singers will harmonize through their webcams on a mantra in praise of Govardhana.
As a monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition under the broader umbrella of Hinduism, ISKCON has signed on to support a new bill that would require school textbooks to more accurately portray Hinduism, as well as other religions and cultures.
Twenty beautiful paintings of Lord Krishna by the late celebrated traditional artist B.G. Sharma are set to show at the prestigious Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas this fall. The exhibition will be named “Seeing and Believing: Krishna in the Art of B.G. Sharma.”
"We have good news and bad news from Ukraine.The good news is that practically all devotees from the Lugansk region have been safely accommodated elsewhere. Devotees are still fleeing the Donetsk region. On August 28th, eight more devotees from Donetsk, including three children, were assisted into safer accommodations."
Bhakti Purusottama Swami visited ISKCON Detroit for three days and flooded the congregation with very sweet narrations of divine appearance, supreme qualities and inconceivable pastimes of Srimati Radharani in anticipation of Radhastami.
The North European branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) announced that Srimad Bhagavad-gita,The Complete Sanskrit Text in Roman Transliteration – popularly known as the BBT’s “chanting Gita,” is now available in all flavors at bbtmedia.com.
On the auspicious day of Radhastami, Jayapataka Swami, co-minister of the Congregational Development in ISKCON, congratulated the Namahatta devotees from Sridhama Mayapur for having reached out to a record number of 15 million people in their last 35 years of preaching Krishna Consciousness.
Since time immemorial, human societies have championed Mother Nature’s therapeutic splendor as a reliable and sacred source of healthcare. It is important to be aware of the various health issues sprouting up during this iron age of Kali.
Just down the hill from the Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra Mandir, in a simple wooden building under the shade of tall, leafy oaks and maples, lies the key to New Vrindaban’s future. Four children are currently taught in the brightly painted aqua classroom of Gopal’s Garden, a homeschool co-op established in 2007. That may not be many, but it doesn’t make Gopal’s Garden any less important to New Vrindaban’s families, or to the very foundations of the community.
The 108 Upanisads are considered the essence of all the Vedas, and Sri Isopanisad is foremost among them. The readers can discover the distilled essence of all knowledge in these eighteen enlightening verses.
On September 8th, award-winning flutist Luis De La Calle opened his own music academy in Geneva, Switzerland, where students aged four through seventy-five can learn the transverse flute, recorder, pan flute, and Japanese, Bansuri, and Peruvian bamboo flutes. But his lessons come with added spiritual nutrition. Because Luis, also known as Bhadra Rupa Das, is an ISKCON devotee.
Devotees headed by ISKCON Communications director for Italy Parabhakti Das organized and participated in the Diwali celebrations at Rome’s City Hall on October 23rd, with positive results. “If Brussels is the diplomatic capital of Europe, Rome is its capital from the religious and cultural point of view,” Parabhakti says. “So it is important that our movement is well represented and clearly visible in this world-famous city.”
Communications secretary for the temple, Radha Mohan Das, said: "The day was a really big success, everyone had a lot of fun. There was a great atmosphere, particularly in the lead up to the fireworks." The day also saw two drama perfomances, which told parts of the story behind Diwali. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, which is told in the ancient Indian text, Ramayana.
The festival was greatly anticipated, as students in Patna have lesser opportunities to attend youth events, compared to youth of metro cities of India. The event was aimed at providing Krishna-conscious philosophy to youngsters as an alternative solution to practical problems faced by contemporary society.
Luxuries have become necessities, without which, we just can’t function. Modern-day spiritualists, it seems, are faced with a unique challenge: the art of living is not how big we can make it, rather how small we can keep it!
The Sahyadri Varnasrama College (SVC) is now accepting applications for its one-month course to be given from January 1 to 31, 2015 on the campus of Sahyadri Sri Krishna Balarama Ksetra (SSKBK) located near the small town of Hebri in the district of Udupi, South Karnataka, India
Representatives of the Global Village Initiative Committee (GVIC) from three continents (Asia, Europe and North America) met at the ISKCON Tirupati temple along with members of various global committees from October 14th to 18th to share insights and prepare strategies to further the purpose of the initiative committee.
Construction is set to begin within a few weeks on an opulent new ISKCON temple in Bangalore, South India, one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in the country. The temple will be set on a half-acre of landscaped gardens, with the words “ISKCON” and “Founder Acharya: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada” embedded in a waterfall at the entrance that will light up at night.
The Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) recently completed a special three-day session during which the GBC Body considered whether or not this worldwide Vaishnava community should endorse and implement the policy of having women serve as diksa-gurus, or initiating spiritual masters, within the ISKCON society.
A new two-volume work will give readers an in-depth, personal look at the journey of one of the most beloved devotees in ISKCON – Yamuna Devi, an ISKCON pioneer and one of the first disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Yamuna passed away on December 20th 2011 at 69, and “Yamuna Devi: A Life of Unalloyed Devotion” is itself a loving offering of devotion from some of the many devotees who were deeply impacted by her.
When we see success in someone else, it’s easy to forget the years of sacrifice, austerity and perseverance that got them to that stage. This lapse of memory can often lead us believe that there is a ‘quick-fix’ solution to reach such a level.
ISKCON’s Bhakti Yoga Society operates on campuses at some of the most prestigious universities in South Africa and is program dovetailed for university students. This year the society was awarded the accolade for the Most Outstanding Student Society for 2014 at the University of Witwatersrand, one of Africa’s leading universities at a sepcial event earlier this month.
“Swamiji,” a new book that recounts Brahmananda Dasa’s memories of his guru Srila Prabhupada, has been called “a long overdue addition to the early history of ISKCON [that] fills in many details only an insider would know” by scholar Thomas J. Hopkins. Author Satyaraja Das (Steven Rosen), whose previous books include biographies of Bhakti Tirtha Swami and Sridhara Swami, interviewed Brahmananda for two weeks, yielding some twenty 90-minute tapes.
ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) concluded its annual midterm meeting with a daylong plenary session October 19th in Tirupati, India. The plenary session which had in attendance the GBC members along with Ministers and other guests saw several encouraging reports from different parts of the world detailing the growth and development in outreach efforts of ISKCON.
Nineteen ISKCON devotees were injured when a Vrindavan bound bus rammed against a tree after one of its tyres punctured near Maghera village falling under Vrindavan police station today "While eleven devotees were rushed to district hospital, eight were taken to Paras Mani Hospital. Nobody is in critical position," Dy SP Anil Yadav said.
A little later the kitchen roof flew away, along with some bowls and plates. When I saw the sheets on our temple hall flying away tears went rolling down my cheeks. We all prayed very sincerely: “oh, Kishna, please protect yourself.”
Seven hundred people including animal lovers, environmentalists, alternative medicine enthusiasts and ISKCON devotees are expected to turn out for this year’s Save The Cow Kirtan Mela at New Talavana, Mississippi from October 24th to 26th. The event will raise awareness for New Talavan’s cow protection program – one of the largest in the US – which has cared for a steady 100 cows or more since 1976.
The local ISKCON temple, Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir, a picturesque project shaped in the form a temple on top of a lotus is the host for this year’s meetings. More than seventy ISKCON devotees from different parts of the world were greeted upon arrival with flower garlands and rapturous kirtan by the resident devotees. The GBC Strategic Planning Network (SPN) meetings continue upto October 18th.
ECO-Vrindaban (ECOV), the self-sufficiency wing of ISKCON’s New Vrindaban community in West Virginia, USA, is on the lookout for a general manager to oversee its steadily expanding operations. Today ECOV has a herd of 48 cows, oxen, and calves, in contrast to the 300 it started with at its inception. This may at first seem like a step back, but it’s actually an intentional move towards a far more sustainable model.
The first day of the conference at Kanpur was indeed a day of inspiration and planning for the near future. Prominent ISKCON leaders addressed the audience which consisted of communication personnel from different parts of the Indian subcontinent. Devotees were also given the opportunity to give detailed reports on their communications efforts at their respective centers.
The aged and wise are special – irreplaceable constituents of any family or society, what to speak of a spiritual movement. While many may have knowledge, the seasoned spiritualists bring something special to the table.
The arrival of devotees from around the world - among them senior devotees like Niranjana Swami, Radhanath Swami and Malati devi dasi has added to the already spiritually sweet, enlivening atmosphere of ISKCON Tirupati. ISKCON News readers able to read the highlights of initiatives adopted through these meetings over the next few days.
Cyclonic Storm Hudhud raged through the province of Andhra Pradesh on India’s East Coast on October 12th with wind speeds of 109 mph, causing what initial estimates say could be as much as 70,000 crore rupees (11 billion US dollars) in damages and killing at least 84 people.
ISKCON has seen considerable global expansion since its birth in 1966. To ensure that as ISKCON grows, its organizational systems and process remain relevant to a growing ISKCON, the Organizational Development Committee was established and mandated to thoroughly review ISKCON’s current leadership model.
On October 6th, Jayapataka Maharaja was admitted at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Delhi. Maharaja was admitted due to fluid retention in his body because of a weak liver. ILBS is one of the best institutes in the world to deal with liver related complications. The Director of the hospital, Professor Sarin, is a world-renowned liver specialist and is personally treating Maharaja.
ISKCON devotee Premamaya Vasudeva Das (Pierre Edel) has reached the third stage in Season 3 of the Russian version of TV singing competition show The Voice, an international phenomenon. At every opportunity along the way, he’s sharing what he knows about God consciousness, vegetarianism, and sacred mantras with judges, contestants, and journalists.
Vrinda's Seth dance film 'Shedding Skin' created with Rasa Acarya Partin was screened at The Outlet Dance Project in New Jersey, USA, at the beginning of the month, and will be shown at the Indie Fest in Southern California in October 16-19.
With temperatures falling to freezing at night, devotees are working as quickly as possible to erect a new building to shelter Vaishnava refugees in Ukraine. According to ISKCON leader Niranjana Swami, the current crisis in Eastern Ukraine forced many Ukranian devotees, including families with small children, to flee their homes.
Turkish devotees gathered on one of the beautiful Princes’ Islands off the coast of Istanbul for Bhakti Fest, from September 12th to 15th. 27 devotees stayed for the full duration of the event, while daily guests brought attendance to 45 by Sunday. Although that may have been a small group for many ISKCON communities, it was a crowd for Turkey, an Islamic country with very few devotees and no official ISKCON presence.
My friend cringed when he heard that the final instruction of the Bhagavad-gita is to surrender to Krishna wholeheartedly. "Am I a criminal that I should surrender to Him? Better worship a God who is more humble and down-to-earth!"
Holi, or the Festival of Colors, which heralds spring and celebrates the pastimes of Lord Krishna and his eternal consort Srimati Radharani, was once an esoteric festival celebrated mainly in India. But today, thanks to festivals like the one at the Krishna temple in Utah, USA, it has become a phenomenon across the world. The latest country to host the event is Brazil, with last year’s hugely successful “Festival das Cores” in Sao Paulo.
One of my fellow monks is an extremely prayerful person. He has regular stories of the reciprocation and interaction that comes from conversing with God. Though inspired, I personally find it difficult to pray.
KC Socs aim to make Krishna-consciousness relevant to the youth of the UK by having stimulating sessions based on topics such as: "What would you do if you had 24 hours to life?", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and "Wasn't life much simpler when apples and blackberries were just fruits?", but with a spiritual twist.
A group of mothers based at Bhaktivedanta Manor near London are teaching their children the ancient scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam – from as young as four months old. “We began to develop a framework,” Sucirani says. “Then, when my son Madhav was just six months old, we thought, ‘Why wait until they can understand?"
An initiated devotee of ISKCON, who wishes to remain anonymous, approached his spiritual master Devamrita Swami, that he wished to donate 1 million dollars to some project in ISKCON. Devamrita Swami immediately motivated his disciple to donate this money to the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) project in Mayapur, India, which is at the present the most important project of ISKCON.
High streets are intriguing places. It’s where people descend in their thousands. Crazy as it may sound, this is where monks spend many days and weeks; standing on street corners, speaking to random people, and showing them spiritual books.
Around forty North American youth aged 17 and up will spend this Christmas and New Year’s on the adventure of a lifetime. Traveling 7,000 miles all the way from Alachua, Florida to Cancun, Mexico and back on ISKCON Youth Ministry’s Krishna Culture Tour bus, they’ll stage festivals and change lives all over Mexico.
Brazilian and international youth aged 12 to 16 will get the opportunity to experience Krishna consciousness in a fun way at the first ever Radha Krishna Camp in January, which is summertime in Brazil. It will be held amidst the stunning natural beauty of the Ibirapitanga Reserve, part of the remaining 7% of the Atlantic Rainforest preserved by the Brazilian government.
After a two-year struggle following the end of their rent contract at their temple of the past twenty years, Finnish devotees have secured a new temple for rent, a beautiful Manor in the Helsinki. Now, they’re applying modern technology to realize an ever-elusive dream: they’re attempting to use crowdfunding to purchase the Manor and make it the first temple ISKCON Finland has ever owned outright.
Devotees are still rebuilding their temple complex in the city of Visakhapatnam after Cyclonic Storm Hudhud ravaged it back in October. The cyclone blew through the province of Andhra Pradesh on India’s East Coast at speeds of 109 mph, causing $11 billion USD in damage and killing over 100 people. Fortunately, it spared the devotees and the Deities at ISKCON Visakhapatnam, but destroyed the community’s gift shop, dioramas, temple shed, and goshala (cow shelter)
The Bhaktivedanta Research Centre in Kolkata has added some new treasures to its vast library of over 15,000 works that includes many important and rare works by Vaishnava acharyas. Amongst the recent acquisitions are seven hand-written manuscripts donated by Sri Sanjay Goswami of Vrindavan, a 14th generation descendent from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intimate associate Sri Advaita Acharya.
Attendees can experience devotional lifestyle at Bhaktivedanta Manor amongst devotees and likeminded students. They learn to built up a regular sadhana (devotional practise) by attending the daily morning and evening program in the temple room.
Tens of thousands of devotees and members of the public attended the recent opening of the grand new Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir in Kanpur, India. A particular highlight was an elaborate dance presentation on Lord Krishna’s pastimes and the great saint Mirabai by Hema Malini. A longtime Krishna devotee and supporter of ISKCON, Malini is a legendary Bollywood actress and a Member of Parliament for Mathura.
At 60, Mahattama Dasi, a former preschool teacher and caregiver for terminally ill devotees, has found a new way to give back to the community. The Mexican native has leased a two-storey house on six-acres of private land in Alachua, Florida, home to the largest ISKCON community in North America. It will serve as an “Arts and Languages Center,” as well as offering many other services to the community.
State houses, traditionally meeting places of United States' governors, legislators and decision makers, rarely host gatherings related to religious expression or discourse. However, for the third year in a row the Massachusetts State House, amidst the majesty of its Hall of Flags & Grand Staircase, hosted a Diwali opening ceremony.
Since it was launched in January 2014, readership of ISKCON News’ Spanish language sister website ISKCON Noticias (noticias.iskcon.org) has increased rapidly, now reaching around 7,000 every week, and growing. Readers are more far-flung, too. Although most hailed from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay when the site was first launched, today there are also readers in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, as well as Spanish-speakers in the USA.
KidSpirit, an online magazine that encourages teens to write about topics like faith and spirituality, is featuring some of its best young writers at the non-profit’s 2014 award ceremony in New York City on November 9. Nimai Agarwal is a member of the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. chapters of ISKCON. His parents Lokadaksha das and Vidarbha Suta dasi are active in local college and book distribution programs.
Recently, Arjuna Krishna Das and Ram Lakshman Das took a month-long tour of seven farm communities across India to report on and unite them all. Both devotees represent ISKCON Daiva Varnashram Ministry, which promotes the development of spiritual eco-communities in India. Their travels took them first to ISKCON Juhu’s satellite farm project Nilachal Dham.
We live in an age that that cherishes equality for all and celebrates the breaking down of barriers such as race. Intriguingly, a similar egalitarian spirit is enshrined in the Bhagavad-gita written millennia ago.
he Krishna Kidz Camp has grown from 25 kids to over 100 as word spreads about the fun and exciting immersion into Krishna-consciousness during this four-day camp. The camp is filled with energy and excitement as these wonderful children begin to experience the spiritual bliss of learning about Lord Krishna.
With temperatures expected to fall below freezing in less than two weeks, getting the new shelter for Ukrainian devotee refugees up in double-quick time is more urgent than ever. The ten-room shelter, which is going up just outside of Kiev, will include a communal kitchen and a sawdust-fueled boiler for cost-effective heating and hot water. The property will also have four wells for water and septic.
The Seattle ISKCON temple is a happening place. When someone enters on a Friday or Saturday, it feels like a Sunday feast. The classrooms are filled with teachers presenting a successful seminar called Discover Yourself, a crash course on the Bhagavad Gita that wets their appetite to delve deeper into the ancient wisdom of Lord Krishna. In the main temple hall there is a Bhagavad-gita class for curious visitors.
“Prasadarians” is a prime example of just how powerful Facebook can be when used in the right way. Started by Mexican devotee Mahattama Dasi in 2012 when she was in remission from cancer and looking for a service she could do from home, it immediately exploded into a hugely popular group of 7,000 members, all sharing beautiful photos of food offerings (prasadam) to their Deities, along with recipes and stories.
Food for Life Global Inc, the headquarters for the world’s largest food relief is moving its headquarters to Melbourne, Australia.The non-profit will continue as usual but with the functions and services now running from Australia. All international affiliations will continue as before.
ISKCON’s Padayatra Ministry has been active since its creation in 1991, and padayatras (walking festivals, usually with bullock carts) are still happening today in different parts of the world. The Ministry's goal is to celebrate ISKCON’s 50th birthday with 50 padayatras, starting from March 2014 till the end of 2016.
On 22nd Oct 2014 the Victorian Government awarded a $500,000 grant to ISKCON Melbourne (Australia) for the Temple kitchen’s upgrade. The Temple kitchen has been distributing sanctified food to the poor and needy of Melbourne through the Temple and various other outlets such as Crossways Hare Krishna Food for Life, for over thirty years.
The Initiative is currently focusing on the Munda and Sauntala tribes of the state of Orissa, the Karbi and Dimasar tribes of Assam, the Riang and Tripuri tribes of Tripura, the Mizo tribes of Mizoram, and the Naga tribes of Nagaland.
At least one hundred Prabhupada disciples, including several who helped build Krishna Balarama Mandir, are expected to attend the epic five-day celebration of the Vrindavan temple’s 40th anniversary from March 24th to 28th 2015. They’ll be recalling the even grander original opening festival from April 16th to 27th, 1975, attended by 1,000 devotees.
During the month of December, ‘Food For Life Hungary’ ISKCON Hungary’s charity program has been distributing 30 tons of dry food (rice, flour, oil, pasta, canned vegetables) as well as 30,000 plates of hot meal to the needy all across the country. The ‘Christmas packages’ that the volunteers have been giving out in 12 locations and cities represent the only source of food for many families during the cold winter and the holiday season.
While it may still be something of a well-kept secret, at least in the English-speaking world, Brazil’s Hare Krishna Seminary of Philosophy and Theology has been systematically educating Portuguese-speaking devotees in Srila Prabhupada’s books since 2001.
The Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education (VIHE) course covers the most important sutras of the Sri Harinamamrita Vyakarana, Srila Jiva Gosvami's complete Sanskrit grammar, a work that contains around 3200 sutras or grammatical rules. By the end of the course students will be able to directly read and understand the Sanskrit verses and commentaries on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, along with several other writings of Vaishnava acharyas.
ISKCON Communications Director and Governing Body Chairman Anuttama dasa offered his thoughts on lessons Vaishnavas can gain from the Christmas season during a Sunday Feast lecture at the Washington DC Temple. Is there something to gain from contemplating the sacrifices of Lord Jesus Christ...and plastic reindeer?
The best way to tackle world poverty and indeed all other material problems is to simply abide by the divine instructions given by God, depending on him for our needs while engaging in spiritual practise to keep our desires and demands in check.
Around 1,000 devotees, including many youth, from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, the U.S., the U.K., and India are expected to celebrate the New Year with the Holy Name during Kirtan Fest at Brazil’s Nova Gokula Dhama from December 31st to January 3rd. It is the biggest Vaishnava festival in Latin America.
Karthiga deepam a festival celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva attracted more than 12 lakh of people at Thiruvanamalai, South India this year. This festival has been attracting millions of pilgrims to this tiny town of for hundreds of years now. In the midst of all this there was one thing that caught a lot of attention, the Bhagavat Gita As it is.
ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor has just made a meditation app available on iTunes and Playstore. It has been designed for an unfamiliar audience and features Sandipani Muni, Ghanashyam Priya and Jahnavi. It's an honest and free app. After beginning with guided generic meditations it introduces our unique contribution in the section named heart.
The 10th of December 2014 marked the 18th Anniversary of the signing of the South African Constitution. This day was also the commemoration of the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. These two seemingly arbitrary events in history converged in the shape of a lecture entitled TheLaw Meets The Vedas delivered by Jayadvaita Swami at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
In a country torn apart by war and suffering a plunging economy, Ukranian devotees are braving sub zero winter temperatures to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books this December. And they’re being rewarded by a receptive public. “People are very grateful,” says ISKCON Ukraine Regional Secretary Acyuta Priya Das.
Do we find ourselves, needlessly dwelling on negative situations for long periods of time, unable to detach ourselves from our thoughts? This is a problem shared by all of humanity. The mind is an equal opportunity misery provider.
An armed man took 17 hostages in a cafe in Sydney's central business district on Monday. Two hostages as well as the gunman died in the incident. Sydnyers are coming to terms with the tragic loss of life during the siege on Tuesday, by adding to a rapidly expanding floral tribute in Martin Place. To help the healing process ISKCON devotees led by Indradyumna Swami have been chanting and doing Harinama nearby.
Outstanding success is achieved through remarkable results and it is rarely, if ever, achieved by the individual alone. It happens through support, guidance, advice, willingness, corporation and commitment of others, beside the individual’s own contribution.
The latest effort from the African branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust – which has been publishing ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada’s books in various African languages since 2009 – is the e-magazine “Imprint.” The magazine, which released one issue last year but is becoming a regular quarterly with this November’s issue, is intended to communicate all the latest developments of the BBT Africa.
The Phoenician are believed to have been maritime traders from Bharat. However, it is also possible that they were outcasts from ancient Afghanistan (Gandhara), who had turned into merchants after migrating to coastal Canaan.
ISKCON Mayapur has announced the dates for the 2015 Gaura Purnima festival. In 2015 Gaura Purnima will be celebrated on March 5th. The Mayapur community is working very hard to accommodate the tens of thousands of devotees from all over the world that are to be expected to visit Mayapur at this time of the year.
“The Srimad Bhagavatam Gifting Chain Project” is a unique idea inspired from the purport by Srila Prabhupada to the first verse of the first chapter of the first canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, where Srila Prabhupada referring to the Matsya Purana, states that anyone who makes a gift of this great work on a full moon day attains to the highest perfection of life by returning to Godhead.
A recent article in the Op-Ed of the Dec 8 New York Times entitled "Know Thy Self - Really" by Quassim Cassam, philosophy professor at the University of Warwick, UK., asks “How do you know you believe you are wearing socks?”
Krishna consciousness continues to spread in one of the last frontiers, South Korea, with Patanjali Muni Das and Prayojana Das recently returning from their third tour of the East Asian country. Former Korean army officer Patanjali Muni spent three years living and teaching Krishna consciousness in his native country in the mid 2000s, and has translated both the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and the Sri Isopanisad for the Korean audience.
ISKCON devotees distributing books for the end-of-year Prabhupada marathon got an unexpected boost on December 4th when Dr. Eromosele S.A, a highly influential chief in the Bini Kingdom of Benin, Nigeria, invited them to preach at his Trado-medical Herb Healing Home.
While Thanksgiving meals typically feature a dead turkey as their central dish – something that makes ISKCON devotees’ hearts fill with sadness and compassion – the American holiday has other elements that fit with the Vaishnava mindset, such as the central theme of gratitude.
Just as Srila Prabhupada had folded his hands and thanked his disciples in Mayapur for helping build the Mayapur Chandradoya Mandir, Ambarish Das and his wife Swaha Dasi this kartik month toured Dubai, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries to raise awareness about the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur. Their sincere appeal to the devotee congregation raised over 3 million dollars in pledges.
Around 1,500 devotees from all over the U.S., Canada, and South America attended the fifth annual Festival of the Holy Name in Alachua, Florida this Thanksgiving Weekend from November 28th to 30th. The increase in popularity of the homegrown, gurukuli-organized festival each year despite a total absence of advertising shows the power of word-of-mouth from attendees who’ve had a truly lifechanging experience.
Prison inmates, who have hit rock bottom in their pursuit of material happiness and have plenty of time to think about their choices and the real purpose of life, are one of the most receptive and enthusiastic audiences to Krishna consciousness. Since relaunching in 2009 under director and full-time volunteer Bhakti-lata Dasi, the U.S. branch of ISKCON Prison Ministry has been reaching more and more of this audience throughout the country’s correctional system.
ISKCON Communications Global in collaboration with the New York based Odyssey Networks have produced a series of short Krishna-conscious themed videos to be distributed on the company's mobile platform. The first three Krishna-conscious videos have been released recently through Odyssey Network's Call on Faith application.
Spiritual havens in India attract millions of visitors each year as they offer their obeisances to treasured deities and honor sites of worship. However, while each step of a parikrama and each esteemed celebration are invaluable tributes, the aftermath of such glorification remains the responsibility of the local communities.
Practitioners in the Vaishnava tradition are encouraged to follow certain restrictions which aid their spiritual development. One such recommendation is to refrain from gambling. Many people I meet are often confused by that. Why is it so bad? Surely, a little flutter here and there can’t be harmful? After all, you have to be in it to win it.
In the early seventies, the Deities of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari were housed in a small shack and Srila Prabhupada promised Them “My dear Sir, please remain here and I shall build a beautiful temple for You”.
Kumbha-mela the largest religious gathering issues no written invitation, yet all spiritual seekers come here to meet one another and enjoy the nectar which falls on this day. It also marks cleansing of sins besides granting liberation.
At a meeting of the ISKCON Bureau of India on January 10th, Radha Jivan Das laid out his new plan for funding Srila Prabhupada’s passion project, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, West Bengal.
On the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti, devotees at ISKCON Juhu distributed more than 1,08,000 plates of hot meals to visitors at the temple and the underprivileged in Mumbai on 14 and 15 January 2013.
On the early morning of January 20th, a rare and special Vaishnava was taken from this world. Shyamdas, world-renowned scholar, author and translator, kirtan leader and dear devotee of Krishna was killed in a motorcycle accident while in Goa, India.
During the flight I had a recurring bad feeling. Then, after waiting at the Delhi Airport Baggage Reclaim for one-hour, it was confirmed. KLM had lost my luggage! As the taxi pulled onto the busy highway the deeper meaning began to dawn on me. To truly enter the spiritual reality we have to leave all of our attachments behind.
Officials believe that over the next two months as many as 100 million people will pass through the temporary city that covers an area larger than Athens on a wide sandy river bank. That would make it larger even than previous festivals.
Around 400 devotees eagerly gathered for the 12th annual Vaishnava Institute for Higher Education (VIHE) Japa and Kirtan Retreat in Varshana--all the way from South and North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Russia, India, and even China.
Be it attempts to create artificial rains or create artificial life, modern technology frequently aims to bend nature to human will. This desire is essentially the desire to play God, because God is the controller of nature, not man.
Beginning with a Supreme Court order in New Delhi in November, recent developments show an escalation in the battle for India’s sacred Yamuna river—which was declared ‘dead’ by the Ecological Department of India.
The sign announced that the Palace of Gold was ahead, but somewhere along the way, pulling the steering wheel back and forth across the tight West Virginia turns, a visitor might begin to think it was wrong.
The third and final day of the North American ISKCON GBC and Temple President Meeting was a half-day session that focused on Child Protection, Communications and strengthening the Brahmacari ashrama (celibate monastic student communities) in ISKCON temples in North America.
An incredible two hundred thousand people are expected to flood in to ISKCON Pune’s New Vedic Cultural Centre complex for its opening on February 24th. The crowd arriving in the western Indian city—the seventh largest in the country—will include nearly 30,000 ISKCON devotees, and 20 to 25 senior Srila Prabhupada disciples.
A hidden jewel in Hindu culture and spirituality: a story of Lord Jagannatha, which may sound very surprising to Westerners, especially who had the experience of being denied entry to the famous Temple in Puri.
An Orlando-area couple that faced prosecution from city officials over their front-yard garden in November is in hot water once again after refusing to dig up their veggies, only this time they are facing stiff financial penalties for their non-compliance.
ISKCON's North American Governing Body Commission and Temple President Annual Meetings began at the Houston Hare Krishna Temple with two inspiring topics: A Key Note address on “Srila Prabhupada’s Position” by Ravindra Svarupa Das, ISKCON scholar and GBC member, and a Book Distribution Report by Vaisesika dasa, North American Book Distribution Minister.
Believing that every soul has the potential to do good, and to gain the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, ISKCON Prison Ministry corresponds with inmates all over the US under the direction of full-time volunteer Bhakti-lata Dasi.
On November 10th, 2012, the devotees at the Devasadan Mandir in Detroit (Michigan, USA) began an auspicious year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the installation of the presiding deity Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari.
The Bible and Torah have long been used at swearing-in ceremonies for members of Congress and have been joined by the Quran in more recent years, but this week marked the first time the Bhagavad Gita was used.
The horrifying gang-rape of a young physiotherapy student in a private bus in Delhi has sparked outrage across India. Our female citizens definitely require much better security. We need a more vigilant police force, prompter help-lines, and stronger and swifter punishments for sexual assaulters. Yet will better security be enough?
Sitting on the floor chanting Sanskrit phrases under soft lights isn’t for everyone, but it’s for a lot more people than it was a few decades ago, when Sanskrit chanting was reserved for the Hare Krishna. Demand is suddenly so great that kirtans are being offered at many local studios for yoga, which, like meditation, has become a gateway to the transcendent for millions of secular Americans who still, in some quiet corner, believe in God.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation that makes a course on the fundamentals of religion mandatory in all schools. It wasn’t clear if that means lessons on Orthodox Christianity or world religions generally.
After seeing the success of the Krishna Lunch program at the University of Florida in Gainesville—which serves hot vegetarian meals to around 1,000 students daily—ISKCON devotees in Chicago have followed its example to create their own.
Stories that had the most impact on the whole of ISKCON as a society, those that demonstrated ISKCON’s impact on the outside world, as well as stories that were the most popular among our readers in 2012.
Nowadays teachers use experiential learning to increase the students’ assimilation of the subject. Krishna uses the ultimate experiential learning method when he transforms a battlefield into a classroom where he speaks the Gita to Arjuna. Krishna uses a real-life experience, in fact, one of the most intense of real-life experiences: a battle.
On December 27th, 2012, ISKCON spiritual master Indradyumna Swami took part in a function at King Goodwill's palace in Zululand, South Africa. The program was organized to promote peace and harmony in South Africa.
The first question often asked about the Bhagavad-gita is why was it spoken on a battlefield? Despite a common view that religion is a major cause of war, in most people’s minds the two should remain separate. Religion or spirituality should result in peace not conflict.
Erasmus's book, "The Praise of Folly," published in Paris in 1512, was a masterful critique of the arrogance and pretension that characterized the religion of his day. Half a millennium later, it still speaks powerfully as an appeal for spiritual renewal.
ISKCON devotees established a large camp at the Maha Kumbha Mela in Prayag (Allahabad) from January 14th to February 15th, bringing kirtan, prasadam and Srila Prabhupada’s books to the largest religious gathering in the world.
Researchers at the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center have identified an India-based plant which has been used for centuries to treat inflammation, fever and malaria that could be used to help kill cancer cells.
Over the years I’ve managed to keep a journal with some daily thoughts and reflections. Today I looked back to read my entry on 21st February 2003. It was disappointing. The exact same character frailties, unhelpful desires and spiritual blocks I had then, are still affecting me now. It can be disheartening to see a lack of transformation and progress, and naturally calls one to question themselves.
While there are a host of well-known devotees throughout ISKCON from whom we derive inspiration, there are also many, many who exist “under the radar.”
Devotees who have steadfastly carried out their service for years on end, with very little recognition and no desire for it.
The President of India said, “Centers such as these are invaluable assets for developing India’s social infrastructure – just as the education that they impart helps break the vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment. The spiritual awareness such centers propagate are the life-sustaining nourishment for our souls.”
The upcoming “New Devotee Training Retreat” at the Bhakti Bhavan Ashram in Alachua, Florida, promises to give new devotee women a solid basis in Krishna consciousness by immersing them in the kind of ashram experience that’s rarely seen in ISKCON today.
The 5 million or so vegetarians residing in the UK must be feeling relieved at their dietary choice given the grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unacceptable horse meat controversy that shows no sign of abating in Europe.
The late Beatle George Harrison, who was deeply impressed by Srila Prabhupada, was concerned that the ISKCON temple in Bury Place near the British Museum was overcrowded. With overwhelming generosity he offered to donate a much larger property ‘somewhere in the countryside but within easy travelling distance from London’.
The Earth was so young 300 million years ago, the first land animals had yet to evolve into dinosaurs, most scientists believe. If that's the case, how do you explain the discovery in Russia of a piece of a gear shift -- a common machine part -- embedded into a hunk of 300-million-year-old coal?
Sri Mayapur International School in Mayapur, West, Bengal, India is a unique school which provides a broad educational program. Their aim is to give the students a strong spiritual foundation, build their character and develop their academic knowledge.
It’s the second time the worldwide prayer will be held for the beleaguered holy river, after the hugely successful January 30th, 2010 kirtan, which saw 130 groups participating along with prominent kirtaniyas Aindra Babaji, Shyamdas Ji, Radhanath Swami, Jai Uttal, Gaura Vani, Karnamrita, and The Mayapuris.
The recent rape case in New Delhi gave ammunition to certain academicians to spill venom on Vedic literatures. These scholars unequivocally attribute all the wrongs happening in India as the outcome of the Vedic Culture. To substantiate their point they oft quote Vedas but mostly wrongly.
The Birth of Kirtan: The Life and Teachings of Chaitanya is the biography of a mystic saint who pioneered devotional yoga (Bhakti) in sixteenth-century India and started the practice of sacred chanting (kirtan) that has now spread around the world.
In spiritual life, everybody is told to do the same activities like chanting the same mantra. Doesn’t this standardization suppress and destroy our individuality? Not at all. In fact, this standardization destroys the coverings that block our actual individuality.
It is ironic that one of the more popular holidays in America is named for a saint about whom very little is known -- who, in fact, is of questionable historical provenance. In fact, the feast day of St. Valentine is no longer recognized in the current liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. It was removed after the calendar was revised in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
When Sanskrit scholar Gopiparanadhana Das passed away unexpectedly at his home in Govardhana, India on September 15th 2011, the ISKCON world was shocked. But with his passing, the biggest question was what would happen to his Sanskrit school, Srimad-Bhagavat Vidyapitham.
Elaborating on the Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, through the conversations between young gopis, Sivarama Swami describes how tremendous is the effect of the sound of Krishna's flute on all the moving and nonmoving creatures of Vrindavan.
Men who live in a permanent state of stress are 45 percent more likely to develop Type II diabetes than men who are not stressed, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric condition that often arises after an individual witnesses or is involved in a life-threatening event such as a disaster, rape or violent assault.
The environmental battle for the dead river Yamuna continues on with the singing and chanting of the Holy Names of God by hundreds of thousands believers from all over India and abroad, who will join forces in a peaceful protest march starting on March 1st in Vrindavan and concludes in New Delhi 10 days later.
He served Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda for decades as a pujari, for eleven hours a day, seven days a week, from waking the Deities in the morning to putting them to rest at night. At 69 years, he was the oldest male priest at Bhaktivedanta Manor.
“If it works out well, the New Vraja Mandala model—where large, underused ISKCON properties are supported and utilized by educational projects—can be replicated in other places,” says Yadunandana Swami.
"Morning-type people reported feeling happier than evening type people, whether they were young or old, and our results suggest the shift towards morningness with age may have positive emotional benefits," said the study's leader, Renee Biss.
"It will cover nearly eight kilometers followed by cultural functions", said a member of the organising committee. "For the first time large and big LED screens would be installed in various parts of the city."
On February 16th, two days after Valentine’s Day, between fifty and one-hundred-and-fifty Londoners will gather to celebrate the loving holiday in a unique way. Entitled “Love Your Soul,” the event will be held in Covent Garden’s beautiful Swiss Church, a sacred space built in the 1850s.
Every individual on this planet earth very eagerly wait for the arrival of the New Year because of the hope that the New Year will bring something new in their lives. However in the New Year practically nothing changes.
A few dozen Ohioans will meet Wednesday evening in a community room at a Panera Bread outside of Columbus for tea, cake and conversation over an unusual shared curiosity. "The goal is to raise death awareness with the view of helping people make the most of their lives."
Who is a true saint? The Bhagavad-gita explains that such persons are not stereotyped. The one essential quality of the truly saintly person, is their enthusiastic, dedicated and unwavering conviction to selflessly serve.
The Vrindavana Institute for Higher Education heartily invites Vaishnavi ladies to take part in the upcoming third International Vaishnavi Retreat, to be held at the foothill of Sri Giriraja Govardhana from March 30 to April 3, 2013.
Second generation ISKCON devotee Goura Prema Riggan moved judges and an audience of 35 million on Season 4 of the talent show India’s Got Talent late last year, depicting Queen Draupadi’s surrender to Lord Krishna in one performance.
Broccoli has always been regarded as one of the most essential vegetables for health and nutrition not only because it is nutrient-packed, but because several studies have already demonstrated its ability to fight off cancer.
In vedic society, the cow is not considered a money-making machine but a sacred animal, an entity who softens human passions, elevating humanity to the mode of goodness so that it can lead a peaceful and harmonious life. The cow is considered very sacred in vedic tradition for very good reason. It's good qualities are those that we can emulate.
When Stella Knobel's family fled World War II Poland in 1939, the only thing the 7-year-old girl could take with her was her teddy bear. For the next six years, the stuffed animal never left her side as the family wandered through the Soviet Union, to Iran and finally the Holy Land.
The reincarnation theory claims that we get our characteristics from our own past-lives karma, whereas genetics asserts that we inherit our characteristics from our parents, which is what we actually observe in the many physical resemblances among parents and offspring. Don’t these observations disprove the reincarnation theory?
Pope Benedict XVI put church leaders on notice, saying social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter aren't a virtual world they can ignore, but rather a very real world they must engage if they want to spread the faith to the next generation.
Shri Chaitanya, the most recent avatar of Krishna or God, took birth on this day, in the small town of Navadvip in West Bengal in the year 1486. He appeared not as God, but as a devotee and kept his divinity hidden from most. He did this to demonstrate the mood and behavior an adherent should aspire for.
When I first began to study the bible, the people told me that it was wrong for me to be a vegetarian. I have found a common attack by Christians, and even Muslims on vegetarianism goes along the lines of "God said we could eat meat. Are you trying to say you are more merciful than God?" The answer to that question is "surely not", God should be the most merciful being.
Bhaktivedanta Academy, largest ISKCON school in North America, which sits on a five-acre plot at ISKCON’s New Raman Reti farm in Alachua, Florida, has been offering an innovative Montessori-based learning program for pre-k through 6th grade since 2007. But this year will mark a major milestone for the school, as it launches its first ever middle years program.
Every 30 minutes in India, a farmer kills himself in despair because he can no longer provide for his family. Following a US complaint to the WTO, India had to open its doors to foreign seed companies. Within a few years multinational corporations have taken over India’s seed market replacing the local disease-resistant strains, with dire consequences for local farming.
The Vrindavan Institute For Higher Education (VIHE) in the 2013-2014 semesters offers Bhakti-shastri in English as well as Hindi starting July 9, 2013. The two courses will run in parallel and will conclude on November 2.
The Teachers Training Course Level 2 (TTC 2) will be offered at New Raman Reti (Alachua, FL, USA). This is a six-hour a day, six-day course that offers a certificate of completion and is the prerequisite for Bhakti Sastri teachers’ certification.
An ISKCON youth based near the Hare Krishna temple in Potomac, Maryland, USA has joined the staff of online interfaith magazine KidSpirit. A free teen quarterly that empowers youth to tackle life’s big questions, KidSpirit holds its headquarters in New York but has satellite editorial boards run by youth in schools in Maryland, California, and India.
In the late 1960s, when ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada personally negotiated his first book contracts with Japanese publisher Dai Nippon, he insisted on high grade paper and binding, considering the highest quality to be essential for books containing the highest knowledge.
Ravi M. Gupta, associate professor of religious studies at The College of William & Mary, USA, is working on an abridged English translation of the Bhagavata Purana. He is working with Kenneth R. Valpey, the author of "Attending Krishna's Image".Their translation will come out in 2014 and will accompany a new volume of scholarly articles examining the Bhagavata Purana, just published by Columbia University Press.
ISKCON Crawley will be hosting the grand opening of the Bhakti Yoga Centre on Saturday 23rd March, 2013. It’s been a long time coming for the community of devotees situated in a small town, in the South East of England.
Many readers familiar with the life of Bhakti Tirtha Swami may wonder how Hari-Nama Press has published a new book, considering that the author left this world on June 27, 2005. Printing an author’s book posthumously warrants an explanation.
This years Durban Festival of Chariots, promises to be an incredible gathering featuring a variety of locally and internationally acclaimed performers and entertainers. Inspired by Mayor James Khumalo’s call for a socially cohesive society, the festival has adopted the theme of “Culturally Many, Spiritually one”.
On occasion of Women's Day on 8 March 2013, the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and all ranks invited ladies from ISKCON Mumbai to participate in an awareness program to enhance the safety of women in Mumbai as representatives of Vedic culture.
The humble karela, it has emerged, is a giant slayer of pancreatic cancer cells. A University of Colorado cancer study published in the journal 'Carcinogenesis' shows that bitter gourd juice restricts the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to metabolize glucose, thus cutting the cells' energy source and eventually killing them.
To inspire ISKCON devotees to increase their desire to distribute more books and thereby make this world more Krishna-conscious, the Book Distribution Ministry and ISKCON Desire Tree has come together to launch a new website
Stress seems to be the dreaded ailment of the age. Everyone seems to be searching for ways to avoid it! But maybe living a little on the edge is not so bad after all.
A suitable amount of stress can help you grow, push you to achieve amazing things, give real meaning to your life and add an element of excitement and adventure.
Starting March, 1st more than 100,000 brajavasis, devotees, farmers and people of various organizations marched from Vrindavan to Delhi to stop the abuse of the Yamuna river. On March 13th the march was called off but the protest continues.
Approximately seventy-four gurus, sannyasis (renunciants) and members of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission—the society’s highest ecclesiastical body—gathered in Mayapur, West Bengal this spring for the first annual Sanga for Gurus, GBCs and Sannyasis (SGGS).
The Master Cleanse operates on the principle that, for disease to be addressed, cleansing must be undertaken. Simplifying and correcting disorders through this process is actually a way of correcting every disease.
To survive and thrive in our hyper-competitive culture, we usually hide our weaknesses and hype our strengths. Such a strategy may be necessary in material life, but it is unnecessary and even undesirable in spiritual life.
The Yamuna Bachao Yatra continued to camp in Delhi after the government didn't accept all their demands. Yamuna Rakshak Dal members were in a meeting with water resources ministry officials till late Wednesday night and are expecting an outcome by midnight.
Fifty thousand people, including devotees from all over India as well as spiritually minded residents of Belgaum were in attendance, pulling the chariot of the Lord with great love and enthusiasm. This year, a special chariot in the shape of a swan was prepared for Their Lordships, Sri Sri Jagannathji, Baldevji and Subhadra Devi.
Generally, we tend to focus on what we do (or how we behave) or what others do (or how they behave) instead of going deeper and asking the why question.
Similarly, people and organizations (religious and non-religious) who want to market their products also tend to highlight or market what everyone should buy from them versus why they should buy!
Sura Dasa of ISKCON Los Angeles’ Temple Bhajan Band has been presented with the World Interfaith Harmony Humanitarian Award, for his work in providing free prasadam and kirtan at interfaith charitable events throughout Southern California.
Fifteen years ago, devotees acquired a house and land in the Tollygunge suburb of Kolkata that had belonged to Prabhupada’s maternal grandfather. But the exact site where Prabhupada was born on September 1st, 1896 remained elusive until now.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect in the horrific Boston Marathon explosions has been apprehended. Here are ten basic points that we would all do well to keep in mind as we try to make sense of a world that seems to be in need of sanity and compassion.
Physically, psychologically and spiritually we will go through many changes in the natural course of our lives and our marital relationship may need to adapt accordingly. Yet some basic, vital qualities are present throughout all healthy marriages.
“The idea is to have spirituality, culture, agriculture, and ecology working together to create a model that can inspire society,” says Parabhakti Das. “I strongly feel in my heart that we have something very important to say. And when people see we are doing something useful, they will come to hear it.”
The topic of “Lines of Authority” is a heritage or legacy issue. By “heritage” or “legacy” issues we mean those topics that are of core importance to the future of ISKCON. These are the issues that are going to be relevant for generations to come. How to address them in a way that reflects Srila Prabhupada’s intent and purpose will be expressed in papers like this one.
Human relationships are riddled with argument, quarrel and conflict. It’s a symptom of the age. But that’s not a problem per se, since every disagreement is pregnant with positive and negative potential.
Hare Krishna in the Modern World, which arrives in the wake of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, offers an eye-opening look at how ISKCON has changed over the years since it was inaugurated nearly fifty years ago, as well as some insight into how it can remain relevant in the future.
Decades of doubt over the role played by "Hitler's Pope" under the Fascist regimes in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s may be answered if Pope Francis, as a close friend has suggested, opens the Vatican archives.
Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. Honey will crystallize if it is left in a cool dark place for the long time, but do not mistake this crystallization for it turning into sugar. Honey never will become sugar.
Animal protection, what to speak of cow protection, is quite underdeveloped in Russia compared to Western countries. The book on cow protection is very much needed, especially in the Russian-speaking countries of the Middle Asia, where people eat meat three times a day.
It had never occurred to me to think of God as a therapist when I began to spend time, 10 years ago, at an evangelical church in Chicago. Does it work? In my own research, the more people affirmed, “I feel God’s love for me, directly,” the less stressed and lonely they were and the fewer psychiatric symptoms they reported.
From Saturday April 20th to Sunday July 28st (14 weeks) Bhakti Raghava Swami will be giving a course entitled “Dharma Sastri” at La Nouvelle Vraja Bhumi located at St-Rémi d’Amherst near Mont-Tremblant (Laurentian Mountains) in the Province of Quebec, Canada.
The construction of Mayapur's Temple of the Vedic Planetarium has steadily progressed over the last couple of years. This is in large part due to the support of many devotees and donors from temples around the world. The art and the fundraising departments have especially been actively expanding over the recent months.
UK Food for Life champion Parasurama das appeared on the Food Glorious Food ITV program on April 3rd at 8pm 2013. Featuring the ISKCON classic dish "Kichari" and got an excellent review from Lloyd Grossman, former Masterchef host and famous food lover.
In worldly spheres, as people grow in age they tend to slow down and do less. Work now, retire later. The youthful years are considered the most fruitful. In spiritual spheres, however, the older years may well be considered the “business end.”
In the hub of one of Asia’s most scandalous places, Bangkok, there are two ISKCON temples floating untouched of the city's murky waters like lotus flowers: the student center located near the Assumption University, and the Siyak Bangkhaek temple in Thonburi, the heart of the old city.
It’s not every day that a stranger says you’d look good in pink and douses you in colored powder. But at last Saturday’s Holi celebration at the Hare Krishna temple in Potomac, this spontaneous act was in no short supply.
“Realizing that we are not suspended in the uncertainty of uncaring chance, but are enveloped in the certainty of unfailing love is life’s greatest discovery”: Chaitanya Charan Das reminds us in his newly published book The Gita for Daily Enrichment.
In the mid-1920s, Lawrence Fisher of the Fisher Brothers Body firm, which supplied parts for General Motors, decided to build a magnificent mansion on the outskirts of Detroit to show off his wealth and good fortune.
We may read a lot of spiritual knowledge, but sometimes the practical application can be ambiguous and unclear. What practices should I perform on a daily basis? How can I change my lifestyle to support my spirituality?
Angkor is the pride of Cambodia, and as a Vaishnava this once city was centered on the temple; where inhabitants lived within the complex and all roads led to the temple, it is easy to feel the roots our Vedic tradition in a place, again, further than India. Angkor’s magic lies in its profound spirituality that has maintanted throughout the centuries.
The annual Festival of Inspiration in the beautiful Appalachian hills of the New Vrindavana community in West Virginia, USA, runs through Mother’s Day weekend and has been inspiring devotees around the world for 13 years.
Festival of India, the transcendental roadshow that has been putting on spiritual fairs across the USA and Canada every summer since 1979, is coming to college campuses in Washington D.C. and Virginia this spring.
To expand ISKCON’s preaching mission Srila Prabhupada created sannyasis. Thus the Ministry for Sannyasa Service has established a website to provide information about potential sannyasis to the ISKCON community and to get feedback in order to help in the candidate's training.
Organizers say the colourful Festival of Chariots on Durban's North Beach over the long weekend drew around 200,000 people to the promenade this weekend. ISKCON's Govinda Swami has told Newswatch the diversity of the crowd was inspiring.
Imagine: You're in year 12, and you find out that the Prime Minister is coming to your school. Not only that, you'll get the chance to speak with her! What do you say to her? Passionate young South Australian, and Animals Australia Unleashed member, Leah knew just what to do — be a voice for the animals.
How many of us wonder why, in spite of vigorous book distribution and innovative outreach we still appear irrelevant in society? What does it mean to be relevant? Have we generally consigned ourselves to just being isolated spiritual people with near impossible Vedic world objectives? Perhaps the Durban festival holds some clues.
Krishna’s opening words of wisdom in he Bhagavad-gita are quite fascinating. Before even discussing the intricacies of God, the soul, the universe, for anyone seeking inner peace and spiritual connection, Krishna explains the absolute necessity of developing unyielding tolerance.
The account @pontifex - the word "pope" in Latin - has tweets in nine languages including English, Spanish, Arabic and Latin. They are snippets of religious instruction rather than insights into the pontiff's daily life.
South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation due to it's diverse ethnic and religious cultures. Sunday, March 31st, at ISKCON Durban's Festival of Chariots held a Rainbow Splash where people threw colors into the air - and on each other - celebrating the theme of the event: 'Culturally Many, Spiritually One.'
Stacey Kramer happened upon a counterintuitive phenomenon. An excruciating struggle with a dreaded disease changed her life for the better! I would have been a skeptic had I not myself come upon this realization through a horrific ordeal.
Do ghosts exist? Yes would be the answer of many people across history and geography. Nearly universal in human experience are reports of people seeing, hearing or perceiving in some other way disembodied, ghostly beings that seem to act in mysterious and frightening ways.
Even well-intentioned teachers are fettered with administrative tasks, required texts, and overcrowded classrooms. Home schooling eliminates those issues. You can determine children's actual educational interests and let them focus on them at their pace.
A new book out this month promises to help readers deepen their spirituality and their relationships by being compassionate to both themselves and others. In Revealing The Heart: The Practice of Compassion, author Sukhavaha Dasi shares the story of her own personal struggles and transformation.
ISKCON is just a few years away from celebrating its 50th anniversary. The worldwide community starts to gear up for a grand celebration and offering of service to ISKCON-founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
They say failures are stepping stones to success. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking how success can be a slipping stone to failure! Swami Prabhupada once commented how he faced two great tests in his life. At one point he was stripped of everything, left penniless, with no fixed abode. Later in life, however, he achieved unimaginable recognition as a powerful spiritual leader.
"When I think of ‘healthcare’, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Who are we caring for?’… If I say, ‘I hurt my finger’…Are you caring for my finger, or are you caring for the owner of the finger?"
A group of intrepid devotee explorers headed out on their 7th annual journey down the sacred Ganga river from April 10th to 24th this year, spreading the Hare Krishna mantra and having a rollicking adventure along the way.
NASA has given a six-month grant to a company developing what could be the world’s first 3-D food printer. And the project’s developer, reports Quartz, an online digital news site, believes the invention could be used to end world hunger.
The Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue, an annual interfaith event held in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. draws twenty participants for two days of discussion, shared vegetarian meals, and an experience of each other’s worship and prayer. For 2013, two papers were presented on “The Name of God.”
A group of devotees from the ISKCON temple in Alachua, Florida have begun to visit and hold programs at Union Correctional Institution in nearby Raiford, Florida. A maximum security prison for over 2,000 male inmates over fifty years old, it also has 320 inmates on death row, making it the third largest death row in the world.
One of the aims of ISKCON's Congregational Development Ministry is to promote the activities of the youth in ISKCON. An interview with Caitanya Cintamani devi dasi, co-ordinator of Mayapur Youth Entertainment Seva.
“The difference between people with scientific beliefs and those with religious beliefs,” says prominent biochemist Rupert Sheldrake, “is that most religious believers are aware that their position is based on faith. People who put their faith in scientific materialism are often unaware that their beliefs are beliefs at all.”
On Saturday, May 18, as Part of “Self Discovery” programs all over the Houston conducted by ISKCON, the Hare Krishna Dham, devotees grand celebrated annual event called “Festival of Love and Trust” (FOLT) at Gauranga Hall.
Last year cancer claimed 7.6 million lives, and now accounts for 13% of all deaths worldwide. The Bhagavad-gita explains that we may be suffering from another type of cancer. It’s a type of cancer that cannot be detected through medical tests, and cannot be treated by conventional means.
At 8:45pm on May 1st, the doors of Rutgers Student Center opened, and over six hundred students poured into the Center’s large multipurpose hall. Their excitement was palpable through the hum of conversation.
As the appearance day of Lord Nrsimha, one of Krishna's main incarnation is approaching, ISKCON's Deity Worship Ministry has interviewed deity-worship expert Jananivas Das about the preparations in Mayapur, West Bengal, India.
This year marks the 22nd Annual Prabhupada Festival at the New Dwaraka temple in Los Angeles, California, USA. The Prabhupada Festival was founded with the purpose of allowing everyone and anyone to come together to hear about and glorify His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada – The Founder-Acharya of ISKCON.
When Hungarian radical right-wingers rallied against a Jewish conference in Budapest in early May, a well-known Protestant pastor hid behind the stage while his wife stepped up to the podium to denounce Jews and Israel.
Geza Vermes, a religious scholar who argued that Jesus as a historical figure could be understood only through the Jewish tradition from which he emerged, and who helped expand that understanding through his widely read English translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, died on May 8 in Oxford, England. He was 88.
If we grasp the full scope of our existence, we can understand the significance of each event that we struggle through. Since most of us lack such vision, we need to develop faith that Lord Krishna arranges everything for our ultimate benefit, even if at present we cannot understand how.
Although ISKCON guru Tamal Krishna Goswami passed away in 2002 at the age of fifty six, his mother Lore Garrick—affectionately known to devotees as “Mother Lore” or to TKG disciples as “Grandma”—outlived him by eleven years. Her life was a fascinating one.
The Rev. Morris G. Henderson wasn’t sure what do with a vacant city block of land behind his Baptist Church in Richmond, VA (USA). The church had purchased the plots, but didn’t have the funding to build a planned family life center. Then, he had a vision.
When dining out, not all secrets are meant to be kept — at least that's partly the intent with the "secret" restaurant trend. Unmarked entrances, unadvertised contact information, and word-of-mouth marketing are typical attributes of this deliberately cryptic experience.
More than twenty scholars and practitioners, ten each from the Islamic and the Vaishnava Hindu traditions, spent a day together at a park-like retreat center just outside of Washington, D.C. on Saturday April 13 for an in depth discussion of “Sacred Aesthetics.”
“Religion is the opium of the masses” is the argument often used by atheists to dismiss religion without addressing the substantial issues it addresses. Though many atheists have used this quote, its most well-known proponent is Karl Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
The library of ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Research Centre (BRC) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India has been acquiring rare and precious Gaudiya Vaishnava works since it opened in June 2009. And this year it added one of its most exciting acquisitions yet to its existing library of 15,000 works.
Abused, unloved, unwanted, neglected children are an image of pain that tugs at the heart of any caring person. And what is modern technology's answer? Birth control. Politicians, scientists, educators, and even religious leaders advise contraception—and its commander in reserve, abortion—as the answer to many social and economic woes.
Good Ayurveda practitioners can determine potential health problems before modern allopathic expensive instruments can, and then do what's necessary to prevent them safely without expensive instruments.
12 countries. 34 days. 40 youth. The first European Bus Tour is happening this summer. Hare Krishna youth now have the opportunity to not only tour the United States and Mexico, but also the European Union.
Established in 1968 in West Virginia, New Vrindaban was ISKCON’s first rural community. In recent times, there has been renewed energy to rebuild New Vrindaban and to turn it into the exemplary self-sufficient, Krishna conscious community that Srila Prabhupada envisioned.
Two men went into the Hare Krishna Temple in Alachua (USA, Florida) while a service was going on Saturday morning and began throwing bleach around the temple, saying it was unclean, according to a report.
The festival, which has already been held in various locations around the US, Russia, Europe and Australasia is intended as a forum for “Kulis” to share their talents and realizations as well as to be educated and inspired.
One of organisers of the event was the Vice president of HSBC Surinder Shandilya who said “it is a privilege to have so many royal representatives and influential leaders in politics, business, arts and academe to celebrate this most important pilgrimage site, Bhaktivedanta Manor”.
More than two months after his resignation, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican to live in a small retrofitted convent. Benedict’s return will present the Vatican with the unprecedented situation of a reigning pope and a retired pope living a short distance from each other.
You’ve heard it before and may be experiencing it now: Parenting an adolescent or older child can be tough. Frequently, older children can shock you with their self-centered, rude, irrational, ungrateful, lazy and defiant behavior.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time for rejuvenation and regeneration. Outdoor nature reflects this as foliage returns and flowers blossom while birds fill the air with their celebratory singing.
Truly a feast for the eyes, the new book comes from the Mediterranean division of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which previously brought us luxury coffee table books like Krishna Art, Darshan, Art of Transcendence, and Prabhupada.
The lap of all auspicious Giriraj, the potency of the merciful dham, and the divine vibrations of Harinam Prabhu, these were the most transcendental fragments of the milieu which housed the International Vaishnavi Retreat this year.
As we enter Ratha Yatra season, ISKCON devotees in Bangladesh are preparing for one of ISKCON’s largest Ratha Yatras anywhere in the world. During the parade in Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka, over 50,000 people are expected to participate as the traditional three colorful chariots.
An ongoing court case on the constitutionality of a yoga program in Encinitas, Calif., USA schools resumed today. Beyond the specific legal issues, this case, along with others that focus on the freedom of and from religion, illustrates the strategic application of the term "religion."
In an elementary school classroom with an American flag draped over one wall, a couple dozen students rose to standing positions. Then they shifted into poses called “volcano part one,” “silent gorilla,” and “rag doll.” Some students may not realize it, but the semiweekly, half-hour course might be gone by the time they return in the fall.
The progress of the main dome and that of the art department’s projects are often the focal points of discussion at the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, India. However, there are several other aspects of construction and planning equally significant to the poignancy of the architectural and landscaping arrangements.
Ginger is one of the most widely consumed spices and herbal medicines in the world. It is most commonly used to treat digestive upsets such as indigestion and heartburn, but is also known to be a potent anti-inflammatory.
Bible stories are hot and Hollywood studios are rushing to cash in. Leading the pack, Viacom is teaming up with Paramount Pictures for a $125 million epic, Noah, starring Russell Crowe. MGM is planning a remake of the 1959 blockbuster Ben Hur, which will place greater emphasis on Jesus.
Asked which school meals were their favorites, students at a public school in the New York borough of Queens don't say chicken fingers or meatballs. Instead, they name rice and kidney beans, black bean quesadillas or tofu with Chinese noodles.
They describe the group as an experiment in musical interfaith dialogue. “Each Hanumen member has his own perspective, and we’re coming together and using music as an opportunity to explore our own faith in connection with others,” Gaura Vani says.
What we inherit from our ancestors is important. What we inherit from ourselves is even more important. What we inherit from God is most important. Let’s take a closer look at these three factors that shape us, factors that we can respectively call heredity, destiny and divinity.
On the 2nd of June 2013 Krishna Rupa Das celebrated his hundredth birthday along with five hundred devotees at Hare Krishna Land in Phoenix, Mauritius. His family, including many of his grandchildren and great grand children, and Mauritian dignitaries were also present for the grand occasion.
The crowd was mixed unexpectedly with both women, and men, from different socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and political beliefs - yet for a single night everyone shared a common cause of ending abuse to women through the lens of women’s roles within religious texts and living traditions.
"Meeting God." Ambitious, maybe even scary title for an interfaith meeting, as this topic can lead to sophisticated philosophical debates, over-opinionated, heated position statements, or even to direct oppositions to one another among representatives of the different religious groups.
After taking a dip in the past couple of decades, distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books has come swinging back in many parts of the world. The often untold story, is the rousing success of Latin America—a book distributor’s dream because of its extremely pious population.
God may be omnipresent — but His priests aren’t. So a holy man in Madison, Wisc., has turned to app development, along with divine guidance, to find a better way to tend to the needs of his 800-family flock.
On June 23, the third annual International Widows’ Day will focus the world’s attention on one of its most rejected and abused groups. In many cities and rural villages in multiple countries, cultural and ancient religious beliefs still inflict extreme discrimination against widows.
Bhaktivedanta Manor is is not just a temple or a place of pilgrimage but also a theological college. One of the most outstanding courses the Manor has been offering over the years is the 6 month Sabbatical.
Sometimes the best solutions are the most simple. This appears to be the case with walking, arguably the simplest form of exercise. Walking is gentle on the body and takes no special equipment to perform, making it also a very accessible way to exercise.
At their annual meeting held on June 10th and 11th in Gita Nagari—ISKCON’s 350-acre farm in Port Royal, Pennsylvania—the Grihasta Vision Team discussed a number of exciting plans and initiatives to help ISKCON marriages and families in the coming year.