After 40 Years, ISKCON Baltimore Expands to 12,000 Sq Ft Temple
ISKCON To Participate in Historic Washington D.C. Climate March
Last week’s Sunday Feast kirtan was an emotional experience for ISKCON Baltimore devotees, who shed tears even as they danced and chanted ecstatically together. The rip-roaring session was their last Sunday kirtan in their old temple, a 2,500 square-foot house where the main worship room can only hold around 35 people. The 110-year-old building at 200 Bloomsbury Avene in Catonsville was becoming dilapidated, and the congregation – now nearly 300 devotees – couldn’t even fit in for morning programs.
15,000 Youth Get Euphoric at Xpressions 2017
ISKCON of Washington D.C. and ISKCON Communications are supporting the massive People’s Climate March in the U.S. capital this Saturday April 29th, and will be sending devotees to attend. The march will be held on the 100th day of the new Trump administration in protest of the parts of his agenda which organizers say are disastrous to the environment. Devotees attending, of course, are not supporting one political party or another but are there to support Mother Earth.
Books by Radhanath Swami and Vrinda Sheth Win Independent Publishing Awards
The 8th of April, 2017, marked the day when over 15,000 youths from across the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, got the chance to get inspired by spiritual wisdom in a grand event entitled as ‘Xpressions 2017’ in ISKCON Kanpur. Emphasizing on ‘De-addiction’ and ‘Value Empowerment’ within youth, ‘Xpressions 2017’ was an effort by a team of ISKCON devotees to bring the youth closer to their roots, re-introducing them to the rich cultural heritage they have inherited, focusing on the need for a positive approach to life, believing in themselves and working hard.
Govardana Academy Students Win Prize in Sustainability Contest
Two ISKCON authors have won in their categories at the Independent Book Publishers Benjamin Franklin Awards this year, which received nearly 1,400 entries published during the 2016 calendar year. Over 150 librarians, booksellers, and design and editorial experts judged the books submitted. Radhanath Swami’s “The Journey Within: Exploring the Path of Bhakti, A Contemporary Guide to Yoga’s Ancient Wisdom” won the gold medal in the Body, Mind & Spirit category.
ISKCON Serves Alongside Sri Vaishnavas to Celebrate Ramanujacharya’s 1,000th Appearance Day
Govardhana Academy, located at the Saranagati Farm Community in British Columbia (BC), Canada, recently participated in their third year of the BC Green Games - a province wide competition to promote sustainability in schools. One of the biggest challenges of farming at Saranagati is their short growing season. With a self-heated greenhouse, they intend to grow food year-round. Using money from a previous grant award, the materials were purchased and the students and their community teamed up to bring the design to reality.
Auckland Devotees Celebrate Radha Giridhari's 45th Anniversary With Huge Harinama in City Center
ISKCON devotees are serving alongside Sri Vaishnavas to celebrate Ramanujacharya in the lead-up to his 1,000th appearance day (Sahasrabdi) on May 1st. A great saint in the Sri Vaishnava tradition, Ramanuja lived between 1017 and 1137. He was a revolutionary who preached that all are equal before the Lord. His teachings were referenced by many Gaudiya acharyas, including Srila Prabhupada in his Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
ISKCON Melbourne Represented at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
Over the Easter Weekend from Friday April 14th to Sunday April 16th, hundreds of devotees at ISKCON Auckland celebrated the 45th anniversary of their Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari, with love and great pomp. The celebrations included a massive and stunningly colorful Harinama on Queen Street in the center of Auckland.
GBC College – Graduation Ceremony
The devotees of ISKCON Melbourne were asked to participate in this year’s 2017, 5 days Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show at the wonderful Melbourne Exhibition Centre. A team of devotees came up with the concept of presenting Radha and Krishna in the groves of Vrindavan with their Gopi and Gopa friends. The title of their display was “SPIRITUAL VISION”. The organizers don’t usually select religious organizations as entrants but because the Hare Krishna Movement is known for their use of beautiful flower arrangement they made an exemption.
BBT Attends American College and Library Conference
At the recent GBC Meetings in Sridham Mayapur, the ISKCON Governing Body (GBC) College was pleased to present 32 graduates from the GBC College to the assembly of GBC members. As Rupanuga Das (President of the GBC College) called out the names of the graduates, Romapada Swami handed them their graduation certificates, Bhakti Charu Swami gave them a pavitra (in the colours of the GBC College and offered to Lord Nrsimhadev) and Gopal Bhatta DAs gave them a GBC College bag.
Get Ready for Australia’s Biggest Kirtan Retreat
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust was present at the American College and Research Library Conference in Baltimore, Maryland from March 22nd to 25th this year, with its own booth. Representing the BBT was Jaya Chaitanya Das, 30, a former hip-hop artist who has been ISKCON’s number one book distributor in the U.S. for the past two years, and is always working hard on inventive new strategies.
Historic Sydney ISKCON 50 Show Released on Youtube, DVD
Just as Europe has Radhadesh Mellows in Belgium, Asia has the Mayapur Kirtan Mela in India, and North America has the Sadhu Sanga Retreat in North Carolina, organizers hope to make Sacred Sound the major kirtan festival for Australia and New Zealand, where devotees can dive deep into the nectar of the Holy Name and recharge their spiritual batteries. Around six to eight hundred devotees from New Zealand, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and along the east coast of Australia are expected over the four-day weekend for this year’s festival.
Bhaktivedanta Manor Hosts Dignitaries at Ramanavami Festival
“Transcendental Journey: Hare Krishna Celebrates 50 Years,” an historic variety stage production put on by Australian devotees for ISKCON 50, is now available on Youtube and for pre-order on DVD. The film is a nearly two-hour presentation that cuts together the best bits from the show’s matinee and evening performances at the famous Sydney Opera House on August 20th, 2016. Professionally shot with ten cameras and edited by technical director Deva Gaura Hari Das, the film seamlessly blends live acts and narrative slideshow segments.
5,000 People Gather to Honor Ramanjua Acharya
It was fitting that on the hottest day of the year so far Bhaktivedanta Manor celebrated Ramanavami, the birthday of Lord Ram, who was born in the sun dynasty, several millennia ago. This year, the auspicious festival was celebrated on Sunday 9th April and the Manor played host to a number of dignitaries, including first citizen, Counsellor Peter Rutledge, the Mayor of Hertsmere. Most of the luminaries had visited the temple on numerous occasions beforehand as Counsellor Victor Eni of Harrow said, “I love coming here and seeing how much the community has progressed since I was last here.”
Devotees Invited to Refresh and Renew at Reimagined Festival of Inspiration
The ancient city of Madurai visited by pilgrims year-round witnessed a rather unique event on the 26th of March, 2017. More than 5,000 people from different walks of life gathered together in one of Madurai’s biggest outdoor auditoriums, Gandhi Mandapam, eager to celebrate the 1,000th Anniversary of a Stalwart Saint, Acharya and Guru, Srimad Ramanuja Acharya. ISKCON Madurai, under the inspiration of Jayapataka Swami and leadership of Balaram Govinda Das and Shanka Dari Das Temple President of ISKCON Madurai, organized the grand event.
International Vaishnavi Teenage Girls' Mela at Rajapur
One of the first of the retreat-style festivals currently so popular in ISKCON, Festival of Inspiration, launched in New Vrindaban in 2000, has always offered something a little unique. “Whereas previous Festival of Inspirations were a high-speed puzzle of eighteen different short presentations you could choose from, we now plan to offer people an immersive experience that they can dive into and experience together,” says ISKCON New Vrindaban temple president Jaya Krsna Das. “We also want to provide them with practical tips they can implement in their day-to-day lives.”
10 Great Places to Celebrate the Hindu Festival of Holi
Devaki Dasi in conjunction with the Institute for Spiritual Culture organized an International Girls' Mela at the Jagannath Temple in Rajapur, just outside of Mayapur, at the end of February. The event was for girls between 13 and 20 years of age, coming from different parts of the world, many of them living permanently in Sri Dham Mayapur. Devaki conducted a seminar entitled "Fascinating Womanhood In Spiritual Culture".
2nd Sannyasa Candidate Training Seminar Held in Mayapur
If you’ve started to notice clouds of color every spring, it’s not your imagination. The Hindu festival of Holi (pronounced “holy”), which involves throwing brightly colored powders, is spreading around the globe, says Ravi M. Gupta, a religion professor at Utah State University. “It’s well known now. I don’t need to tell my students what Holi is. It has spawned this whole industry of colorfests and charity color runs.”
Durban Distributes 5,310 Biscuits to Celebrate Gaura Purnima
The number of sannyasis grows from year to year in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, to well over 100; and those who take the vows of this final ashram of renunciation are, since recently, receiving formal training over and above what they receive individually in the course of their devotional lives and through the guidance of their sannyasa mentors. In pursuit of this aim of formal training, on February 18 – 22 we held a Sannyasa Candidate Training Seminar in Sridham Mayapur.
Japa Retreat 2017 at ISKCON Houston
The 531st appearance anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the inspiration for devotees from the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple in Durban, South Africa to bake, pack and distribute 5,310 biscuits. The goal of the biscuit distribution was to help spread Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy to everyone and anyone.
Kirtan Vancouver Focuses on Non-Sectarian Outreach
Last weekend (March 3-5), 150 devotees from Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City and New Orleans had a joyful and spiritual Japa Retreat (Chanting of Holy Names) with Romapada Swami and Bada Hari Das at Greater Houston area, ISKCON Houston. This Japa Retreat is an annual event and for this year the theme of the Japa Retreat was "Taking Shelter of Holy Name – Saranagati."
Brhad Bhagavatamrta Is Back in Print
EnChant is Kirtan Vancouver’s “bread and butter,” a kirtan, short talk, and prasadam at a yoga studio every second Saturday that attracts an impressive fifty to seventy people of all ages each time – some from different yoga paths, but many completely new to Eastern spirituality. Once advertised through Facebook, meetup.com, and physical posters, EnChant is now the most well-known kirtan event in the city, and is spread just by positive word-of-mouth.
'Our Family Business' Available as E-book
A decade old best seller Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta went out of print for a while, and now with a positive initiative from Touchstone Media the book is back. Sanatana Gosvami’s magnum opus of the devotional journey back to the Supreme Almighty, impeccably presented by Gopiparanadhana Das, had received very positive responses from the Vaisnava community worldwide.
TOVP Superstructure Complete, Detail Work Begins
Vaisesika Das' super-successful book about the art of transcendental book distribution, Our Family Business, is now available as an e-book in all flavors, for all devices. In this very readable book, Vaisesika Dasa discusses ISKCON-devotees we should join the “family business” of distributing transcendental knowledge through the written word, as well as how book distribution benefits distributors, the devotional community, and all those who receive one of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
Ratha Yatra in Puerto Rico
After a very productive year in 2016, the team working on ISKCON’s upcoming flagship temple – the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) – have reported that the superstructure of the 520,000 square foot building has been completed. In addition, plastering and brickwork of the whole building has been finished, as well as external concreting of the three domes, including the 370-foot-high main dome.
On a balmy day in the bustling tourist city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, traffic came to almost a standstill as “Harmony of the Seas”, the largest cruise ship in the world, pulled into the harbor. Locals and visitors alike flocked to the port district to observe the impressive dimensions of the ship. Hundreds of cruisers stepped off the ship to explore the Boricua shore. Unbeknownst to the gathering crowds, they were about to witness a joyous procession of singing and dancing starring their lordships, Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra.