Vaishnava Tattoo Subculture Grows in North America
Gopal Krishna Goswami Inaugurates Prerana Forum’s Conclave
Today, a new Krishna conscious subculture seems to be growing out of the tattoo scene in North America, particularly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Devotee tattoo artists – or “tattooers” as they’re more commonly known in the biz – are inking incredible devotional art, sharing their Bhagavad-gita based perspective on life with customers, getting together for kirtan, and even chanting at yoga studios. And more and more of them are springing up everywhere.
Houston’s Goswami Academy to Hold Open House This March
The spiritual teacher addressing the 180 members of the audience comprising India’s leading industry professionals, government officials, academicians and journalists, said “spirituality is essential for conscientious leadership”. Quoting from the sacred text, Bhagavad Gita, Gopal Krishna Goswami said “whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps, therefore, it is very important for leaders from any sphere of life to have integrity, compassion and faith.
South African Devotees Walk 650 kms to Raise Funds for Sankirtana Bus
ISKCON Houston’s Goswami Academy, an elementary school from pre-K to fifth grade, is already a success, teaching students from its own large congregation as well as ISKCON children from other states. But now the school, established in 2014, is also hoping to attract students from the broader Houston community to avail of its values-based education.
Ibadan Sankirtan Party Becomes West Africa Book Distribution Marathon Champion
Two South African devotees – brahmachari Narottam Das and his friend Mukharavinda Das, both from ISKCON Sandton – have walked 654 kilometers from Johannesburg to Durban, to raise funds for a new sankirtana bus. Because they are humble, unknown brahmacharis without the pull to draw instant financial support, and their ashrama doesn’t have enough funds to pay for a bus, they decided to get creative to manifest what was important to them.
Days Two and Three of ISKCON GBC, Sannyasi and Guru Sanga
The Nagara Sankirtana party of Ibadan, Nigeria became West Africa’s book distribution marathon champion for 2016. The sankirtan party led by Yadhunath Das has distributed 901 books in December. The Nagara Sankirtan project started off in 2015 with the purpose of reviving the Harinama Sankirtana spirit initially in West Africa, by providing special support and care for book distribution devotees, who are serving and traveling in groups.
New MOSA Exhibition Shows “The Many Colors of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami”
Problems. Complications. Difficulties. We all have them. Usually they occur 365 days a year. Being a leader means dealing with the added responsibility of societal and institutional issues and finding viable solutions as well. But the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. On the second and third days of the GBC, sannyasi and guru sanga, the participants began to untie this Gordian knot.
Day One of the Sanga of ISKCON GBCs, Gurus and Sannyasis
A new solo exhibition opened at the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) in Radhadesh, Belgium on January 28th, during the Radhadesh Mellows kirtan festival, entitled “The Many Colors of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami.” Satsvarupa Maharaja’s bright and colorful works filled MOSA’s two exhibition spaces during Radhadesh Mellows -- which was attended by about a thousand devotees -- and continue to be on display now.
Pleasing Krishna Is Icing on the Cake for Devotee Baker
Most religious organizations fail to survive past four generations. These generations are tasked with challenge of preserving the original teachings of their founder. How each generation successfully navigates issues that arise provide the foundation for the next generation. On February 12th, senior ISKCON leaders comprised of GBCs, sannyasis and gurus assembled in Mayapur to discuss the challenges the organization faces.
Bas-relief Dedicated to Jayananda Thakur Unveiled
With mouth-watering flavors and gorgeously artistic and realistic scenes, Anuradha Dasi’s cakes – made for devotee life events and festivals at Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK – are astonishing, and have to be seen to be believed. Anuradha started learning her craft by helping out temple devotees when she joined the ashram at ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Manor, near London, in 1988. After getting married, she assisted her husband, Manor head pujari Gadadhara Das, who remains her baking partner.
Sri Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama 2017
Last week the construction of the bas-relief dedicated to the first saint of ISKCON Jayananda Thakur has been completed. The artwork is situated near the samadhi of Jayananda, on wall of the Lord Jagannatha temple complex in Mayapur. Three sections of the bas-relief depict scenes from the life of Jayananda, glorifying his outstanding contribution to the development of the mission of Lord Caitanya, and his spiritual master Srila Prabhupada’s love and gratitude to him.
Houston Govinda’s to Receive Grand Opening in March
According to the Bengali Vaishnava tradition walking in Sri Navadvipa Dhama is the greatest opportunity to connect with the Supreme. Parikrama Coordinator Bhaktipurushottama Swami says: “parikrama means to dive all the senses at once in full bhakti practice. It is a complete absorption. Thus the devotees experience full Krishna-consciousness and this sensation conquers the mind. That is the main reason why the acharyas emphasised the performance of Parikrama. It is very important.”
Kirtan Fest 2017 at ISKCON of Houston
The new Govinda’s restaurant at the ISKCON temple complex in Houston, Texas is set to receive a grand opening on March 11th, just before Gaura Purnima, with local TV channels, newspapers and radio stations to get a free meal and tour. Govinda’s already had its “soft opening” back in July 2016, launching with no fanfare or advertising. But according to manager Shyamasundara Das it’s been a success from day one, often packing out the large 130-person capacity space, and drawing a 4.6 rating from 121 reviews on Yelp and a 4.7 rating from 71 Google reviews.
New Vrindaban to Host 2017 ISKCON North America Farm Conference
To kick off the World Holy Name Week, ISKCON of Houston, Texas, USA, has announced the launch of Kirtan Fest 2017 this upcoming Labor Day weekend (Sat-Mon Sept. 2nd - 4th) at ISKCON’s fabulous new state-of-the-art Houston, Texas temple. This inaugural festival will kick off what will be an exciting, on-going flagship event every year.
Sura Das Talks Chaitanya’s Civil Disobedience at Martin Luther King Festival
New Vrindaban is set to host the second annual ISKCON North America Farm Conference from October 13th to 15th this year. The GBC Ministry for Cow Protection and Agriculture, which organized conferences on simple living in four continents last year, is behind the event. The conference, themed “Back to the Basics,” will be facilitated by ECO-Vrindaban and ISKCON New Vrindaban. Representatives from thirty farming efforts all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be invited.
Pujari Sanga Inspires North American Priests
On Saturday January 14th, Sura Das of ISKCON Los Angeles was invited to speak at Culver City’s 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Culver City Hall. Sura serves as the secretary and treasurer of the Interfaith Council of West Los Angeles, and represents ISKCON Los Angeles on the Council. This theme of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration was “Peaceful Warriors for Positive Change.”
World Holy Name Week Celebrates ISKCON 50
Pujaris from all over North America gathered in New Vrindaban, West Virginia in January to gain inspiration, support and training from two events organized by the ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry: the inaugural North American Head Pujari Sanga, followed by the third annual Weekend Pujari Training. First off, twenty-one head pujaris and deity department managers from seventeen temples gathered for the Head Pujari Sanga, from January 3rd to 5th.
Mukunda Goswami Shares Memories On 50th Anniversary of Mantra-Rock Dance
World Holy Name Week celebrated the 50th anniversary of ISKCON this year in style, running for closer to two-and-a-half weeks, from July 28th to August 14th. The celebration, organized by Lokanath Swami, Janananda Goswami, and Ekalavya Das, included several key sacred days throughout its run, including the disappearance days of Sri Raghunandana Thakura and Sri Vamsidasa Babaji. Most notably it included the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON in New York on July 28th, and the 50th anniversary of the first public Harinam Sankirtan in the Western World, on August 14th.
Mayapur Academy Opens Regional Deity Worship School in Villa Vrindavana
On Sunday January 29th in a special program at the New Govardhana Farm in Murwillambah, Australia, Mukunda Goswami shared memories of the Mantra-Rock Dance he helped organize fifty years ago on January 29th 1967. The Mantra-Rock Dance concert was a key event in both ISKCON’s early growth and in the counterculture scene of the time, and commemorating it is an important part of ISKCON’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Sadaputa’s Books Are Back in Print
For the past ten years, the Mayapur Academy – run by the ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry – has offered devotees a four-month intensive training course that equips them with all the knowledge, skills and values they need to serve as pujaris in ISKCON. Many successful graduates have come away from the course with diplomas in archana. But it’s not always easy for devotees to travel so far and be away from their services or homes for four months.
Devotee Artist’s Book on Emotions Connects Powerfully
“Now our PhDs must collaborate and study the 5th Canto to make a model for building the Vedic Planetarium” proved a mandate from Srila Prabhupada that entered deep into the heart of his disciple Sadaputa dasa, in 1976. Having received his PhD in Mathematics from Cornell University just two years prior, he would soon be inducted as one of the founding members of Prabhupada’s Bhaktivedanta Institute. In that capacity, he devoted over 30 years researching Vedic perspectives on cosmology and the natural world.
East Africa's Rising Jewel
Rukmini Priya Poddar’s book 100 Obscure Emotions, about the complicated variety of feelings in the human experience, and her new illustrated advice column series – currently blowing up social media – are deeply resonating with readers. A second-generation devotee who grew up in the ISKCON community in Alachua, Florida, Rukmini received a B.A. in graphic design from the University of Florida, where she learned to work in digital mediums on logo design and marketing.
Bhagavad Gita Distributed to Top US Political Leaders
On 5th January 2016, The ISKCON Dar Es Salaam, centre was opened by Gopal Krishna Goswami. A Yagna and Abhishek were performed to please their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. The ceremonies were performed by Seva Atula Das, Radhadyuti Das and Caitanya Visnu Das. Local devotees had travelled from Nairobi to perform Kirtan at the festivals.
Puerto Rican Eco Farm to Hold Bhakti Yoga Permaculture Retreat
2016 was a significant year for Indian Americans in politics. Five Indian Americans, a record number, were elected to U.S. Congress. To celebrate the milestone, fellow members of Congress, dignitaries and supporters, including ISKCON, gathered at the Indiaspora Gala on January 3rd in Washington, D.C. The bipartisan event highlighted the increasing significance of the Indian-American community in the country’s political landscape. It also welcomed members of the new administration and allowed new and current members to build relationships and strengthen ties.
Atma Lounge - An Eastern Oasis Opens in Folkestone, UK
The eco farm is run by Bhakti yogis. Director Vaishnava Das studied natural building at the California Institute of Earth architecture, while his wife, coordinator Draupadi Dasi, worked as an ecological anthropologist. “I’m very interested in Srila Prabhupada’s vision of long-term sustainability – working with the land, and growing food,” says retreat co-organizer Hita Karina, a second-generation devotee and yoga teacher from Alachua, Florida. “And Vaishnava and Draupadi are not only living that life, but teaching it too.”
In the sleepy seaside town of Folkestone, known for its tourism and harbour trade, is a little oasis for spiritual awakening right on the old High Street called: Atma Lounge. The official opening was on the 20th of January with the attendance Damian Collins and the landlord and Former Mayor of Folkestone Philip Carter, Leader of Shepway Council David Monk as well as other dignitaries and guests. The event included: a tour of the property, a presentation and introduction to the philosophy and organization the center is run by.