ICE EC meeting Mr. Oliver Schuster at the EU Parliament
The ICE EC Team is preparing for the upcoming international ISKCON Communications Conference at Villa Vrindavana, Italy to be held May 27th – 30th, 2023. About 60-70 ISKCON leaders, senior devotees, and devotees engaged in communications service from Europe and other parts of the world are expected to participate.
ISKCON devotees from France traveled to the Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe this past winter to perform Harinam in the streets. For some of the small towns, this was their first-ever exposure to Bhakti Yoga and chanting of the Holy Name.
At the ISKCON Leadership Sanga this year, Haribol Foods was showcased at the plenary session focused on conscious giving back. HARIBOL Foods in perpetuity pledged profits to TOVP “His Divine Grace AC Srila Prabhupada dream project”.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) extends our heartfelt condolences to all of our friends and colleagues in the Roman Catholic Church, who are feeling great loss due to the passing of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict was a great theologian and scholar of the modern Church. Among his many contributions, we are moved by his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, in 2005, where he spoke about God’s limitless love for humanity. This same spirit of love inspires our Gaudiya Vaishnava faith. Pope Benedict was also a trailblazer. After serving the Church selflessly for many decades, he demonstrated his humility and detachment by stepping down from this highest post, to usher in a younger pontiff, Pope Francis. His example of service and renunciation is an important lesson for the world today. The Catholic Church underwent a historic change in 1965, when it adopted Nostra Aetate, an important document of Vatican II. Then known as Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict was a progressive voice of that Council. For ISKCON, 1965 is also exceptional, as it is the same year that Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to the United States to carry the message of Lord Krishna and spread love of God as understood by the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. In 1968, Prabhupada wrote to Pope Paul VI: His Holiness The Pope, Paul VI Vicar of Jesus Christ Your Holiness: Please accept my respectful humble obeisances at Your lotus feet....the special significance of human life is to achieve Love of God as the prime perfection of life....The human society is gradually degrading in the matter of religiosity, and justice; and "might is right'' is gradually taking the place of morality and justice...because Your Holiness is the Head of a great religious sect, I think we should meet together and chalk out a program for cooperation...I shall be very much pleased if Your Holiness will grant me an interview. Thanking you in anticipation for an early reply. Yours in the service of the Lord, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami While Pope Paul VI and Srila Prabhupada were unable to meet, since that time, and during the time of Pope Benedict, ISKCON members have interacted with many leaders of the Catholic Church around the world, and in various interfaith formats, both formally and informally, including with cardinals, bishops, priests, academics, and lay-leaders. In 2008, ISKCON members, including Professor Ravi Gupta, were kindly invited to meet Pope Benedict in Washington, D.C. during his visit to the United States. During a brief exchange, Dr. Gupta informed the Holy Father about the continuing dialogue and friendly interactions between our two faiths and institutions. As stated in Nostra Aetate, "...in Hinduism people explore the divine mystery and express it both in the limitless riches of myth and the accurately defined insights of philosophy. They seek release from the trials of the present life by ascetical practices, profound meditation and recourse to God in confidence and love..." Nostra Aetate further declared, "The Church, therefore, urges its sons and daughters to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, together with their social life and culture." During the time of Pope Benedict, we saw the relationships between followers of ISKCON and the Church grow and blossom. We are grateful for Pope Benedict's support of those endeavors, and appreciative that the Church continues to welcome and encourage dialogue and cooperation in many forums around the world. We are grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for his devotion and his many decades of service. We pray there will be a continued effort to "meet together and chalk out a program for cooperation" in promoting peace, and love of God, throughout the world. On behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Devotees took to the streets of Manila on Christmas day to perform harinam, a traditional form of devotional chanting and singing. This event, which is organized by ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir- Manila Philippines, drew a large crowd of both participants and spectators, as devotees sang and danced their way through the city's main thoroughfares.
The Manu-Samhita states, “The gods are very happy with those families where women are respected. And where women are not respected, there all kinds of sacrifices/charities are futile.” Yet the abuse of women and children is the most pervasive human rights violation in the world, what to speak of spiritual violation? ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada emphasized the importance of protecting women and the vulnerable throughout his teachings. In order to serve this important instruction, this year the ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry joined the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign for 16 days, the ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry shared references from Prabhupada and sastra, panel discussions, video messages from ISKCON leaders, and social media posts with educational information on recognizing and responding to domestic abuse. The campaign ended on December 10, 2022. The ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry extends its gratitude to the devotees who have responded so favourably to this important initiative and to the various organisations who co-sponsored the campaign.
Last week members of ISKCON, took part in the conference on Biological Diversity (COP15) to the United Nations (UN), being held in Montreal, Canada, December 7-19th. The conference goals are to discuss protection planning of the natural world by international governments and interested parties for the next decade.
As the representative for the Hare Krishna Movement and the Vaisnava Hindu Community in Victoria, Bhakta Dasa was again voted in as the Chairperson for the third year of the Faith Community Council of Victoria (FCCV) in Australia. Established in 2010, the Faith Communities Council of Victoria is Victoria’s umbrella multifaith body.