The fifth day of the Annual General Meeting of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission focused on celebrating the 50th anniversary of ISKCON’s incorporation in 2016.
Pancaratna Dasa, a member of the 50th Anniversary International Steering Committee, presented an elaborate report on the progress made so far along with the list of events being planned. As this year also marks the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s departure to the West, devotees in Kolkata and Mayapur have been working on organizing ‘Srila Prabhupada’s Legacy Night’ in a stadium in Kolkata along with a mega Padayatra from Mayapur to Kolkata.
Similar preparations have begun in Cochin, the South Indian city where Srila Prabhupada picked up the boxes containing Srimad Bhagavatam. The Zonal Secretary for the region, Bhakti Vinoda Swami, would be organizing a cultural festival involving the eminent personalities of Kerela who would participate in the launch of Malayalam translation of Srimad Bhagavatam. A few days later, an ecology conference is being organized by ISKCON at the reputed Indian Institute of Management (IIM). The conference would see ISKCON devotees along with politicians, scientists and businessmen addressing the concept of ‘Simple Living, High Thinking’.
Celebrations will continue to follow Prabhupada’s path when devotees in Boston – who have always commemorated the ISKCON Founder’s arrival at Commonwealth Pier – will organize their biggest event yet on September 17th, in honor of the day when he arrived at age 69 with just $7 and a box of books. A special VIP event will be held at the historic Fanniel Hall, as well as a tour boat ride for several hundred people in the Boston Harbor to commemorate Prabhupada’s arrival.
On the same day, Yadubara Dasa, one of ISKCON’s well-known film makers, would be releasing his new film – Acharya: The Life And Legacy of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The much anticipated 90 minute HD quality film uses archival videos, interviews, locations shoots and re-enactments, and it will depict the incredible story of Srila Prabhupada’s mission to re-spiritualize humanity. The film will be offered to major US networks such as Showtime, Discovery, the History Channel and PBS, as well as other networks worldwide.
Meanwhile, ISKCON’s Ministry of Communications plans to bring out a 50th anniversary special edition magazine that would offer the readers with information on ISKCON and its activities over the last fifty years.
Bhakta Dasa, Director of ISKCON Communications in Australia, who is heading this project, introduced his team of writers, proofreaders, photographers and layout artists, many of whom are highly respected professionals in their fields. He then presented the GBC members with mock designs of the magazine along with a list of topics, drawing applause from the members who acknowledged the need to have such a resourceful material, which could be shared with guests, devotees and even at outreach event.
The magazine would be printed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and has so far received pre-orders for more than 150,000 copies.
Celebrations in 2016 include Hare Krishna festivals in Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi, each of which is expected to be attended by nearly 15,000 people. Temple openings dedicated to the 50th anniversary are being planned in Jaipur and New Delhi. ISKCON communities in Pune and Kanpur known for their active youth programs would hold mega-youth festivals and smaller events in various colleges in their surroundings.
In Australia, temples inaugurations are being planned in Sydney and Brisbane along with a special 50th anniversary bus tour that would travel around the country presenting dramas and exhibitions. Major park festivals would be held in several parts of Australia to help reach out to the people.
Cities in the United States including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington DC, have presented their plans for holding different events as per the audiences including major festivals in their temples.
Anuttama Dasa, whose GBC zone covers cities on the US East Coast, informed the GBC body of an academic conference that would hosted by a Ivy League university which would see reputed academicians and historians coming together to discuss and recognize ISKCON’s contributions to the society in the last fifty years
The other major area of focus would be the large-scale prasadam distribution that would take place around the world through the Hare Krishna Food for Life program.
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