As it outgrows its current facilities, the Mayapur Institute is beginning to build a new campus on ten acres at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal. Manager Anantashesh Das says that the new campus for the Institute – which trains ISKCON devotees in the systematic study of Srila Prabhupada’s books – will be located fifteen minutes from Mayapur’s main ISKCON campus, in a serene and beautiful spot.
As a part of Incorporation Day celebrations, the Bhaktivedanta Manor hosted esteemed members of various religious organisations for a discussion about devotion (bhakti) in Vaishnavism and Christianity. On July 14th, individuals from BAPS Swaminarayan, the Interfaith Network UK, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and various churches from around the region, gathered at Srila Prabhupada theatre to hear guest speakers Rev Kumar Rajagopalan, from the London Baptist Association and Saunaka Rsi Das from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.
Over fifty years ago in September 1965, an elderly Indian monk stepped off the piers of New York harbour wearing orange Indian robes and sporting a dignified vaishnava tilak mark on his forehead. He was carrying just seven dollars, a few sets of clothes and two trunk-loads of books. The aristocratic looking monk was A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who had been sent by his spiritual master from India to preach the message of the Bhagavad-gita to the western world.
During its ISKCON 50 festivities this month, Indonesia added some rich local culture to proceedings as its over 5,000 devotees focused on uniting together to serve Srila Prabhupada.Celebrations included a brahmachari sankirtan party touring with a Prabhupada murti through the thirty-two ISKCON temples, centers and Namahattas on the island nation; and a youth camp bringing together youth from across the island of Bali. The highlight, however, was the International Leadership Sanga (ILS) and the Bhakti Festival and Rathayatra from July 5th through 10th.
On a joint initiative themed “Day of Gratitude”, ISKCON-London and the Bhaktivedanta Manor distributeed 5,000 cupcakes to commuters at key locations in central London on July 13th.The grand finale of the month-long celebration will be the Kirtan on the Thames Boat Event on 31st July. This National Signature Event will be a day of chanting, dancing and feasting on a cruise around the famous landmarks of London.
Among their many plans for ISKCON’s 50th anniversary, ISKCON Mumbai’s four temples – Juhu, Mira Road, Khargar and Chowpatty – have launched a website that allows devotees to submit their written offerings to Srila Prabhupada in the shape of e-cards. With the project they aim to collect 108,000 e-card offerings from devotees worldwide, which would shatter the previous Guiness World Record of 65,000 e-cards submitted.
The concluding day of the ILS started with a presentation on the position of Srila Prabhupada by Akrura Das. Bhaktivaibhava Swami encouraged temples to ensure that Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa puja celebrations were celebrated with the importance they deserved. Gauranga Das from ISKCON Chowpathy and Govardhan Eco Village described several training courses designed to ‘lead ISKCON with tradition and intelligence’.
I was invited to travel to Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, very far from the Kenyan coast on the Indian Ocean. Kisumu was from all the accounts I had heard a pretty disagreeable place. In the early years, I had read in advance of my journey, that apart from the endemic sleeping sickness, bilharzia, malaria and the nasty malarial complication known as "blackwater fever", the climate was sweltering and municipal hygiene primitive.
The 2008 Mayapur GBC annual meeting ratified as official ISKCON policy the presence of multiple ISKCON centres in the same city. Conceived in New Vrindavan, June 2007, at the special GBC meeting for strategic planning, the “urban proliferation proposal” earned unanimous support from the brainstorming GBCs, hungry for greater ISKCON effectiveness.