Pujari Sanga Inspires North American Priests
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.”
ISKCON Govardhan Eco Village Wins Prestigious UN WTO Award in Tourism
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.
“Mata and Me” Clothing Brings Families Together in the Most Adorable Way
ISKCON Govardhan Eco Village (GEV) won a prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Award for India on 18th January in Madrid, leading over 55 countries in the category of ‘Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations’. The UNWTO awards are recognized as one of the world’s most coveted awards in the global tourism sector. The 13th edition of this award saw 139 applications from 55 countries.
Srila Prabhupada Film To Hit Theaters This Summer
From the beginning, Ananda-Lila was enchanted by Indian and Vaishnava clothing, and wanted some for her daughters Jamuna, 10, and Tulasi Priya, 2. But she had never been to India, and it was hard to find something comfortable, attractive and natural. So she began designing her own clothes for her children, to match with hers. Others wanted in too, and a unique new company was born. She called it “Mata and Me”.
Former Hip-Hop Artist Turns No. 1 Book Distributor
An ambitious new ninety-minute documentary film about the life of ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada is set to be released in June this summer, and will be a historic event. It will be released in art theaters in twenty key cities throughout the U.S., beginning with New York City.
ISKCON UK Starts 2017 on an Inspirational Note with the UK Film Premiere of “The Joy of Devotion”
You might not have heard of Jaya Chaitanya Das, the thirty-year-old who’s been the number one book distributor in the U.S. for the past two years. Even if he sold 85,000 of Prabhupada’s books this year alone. That’s because until recently, the young man was living at home with his parents in Orange County, California.
New Book “Avatar Art” Gives Public a Window into the Spiritual World
On Thursday 5th January 2017, ISKCON London and Bhaktivedanta Manor, co-hosted the UK film premiere of The Joy of Devotion at the Camden Centre in central London to a large and enthusiastic turnout of approximately 300 leaders, community members and those who have recently taken an interest in the ISKCON movement, as well as those who participated in the film.
Members of Krishna Farm Boom in Canada Meet to Collaborate
Now, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) has released an art book for the general public, written to provide people with a cultural experience and to attract them to take a closer look at Krishna consciousness through its “windows to the spiritual world.” “Avatar Art: Neo-Vedic Paintings Celebrating Life” includes 104 BBT paintings, some vintage and some newer, with supporting text that takes readers on a tour through Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krishna Book, and the Caitanya-caritamrta.
Departure of Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami
With a sudden boom of new Krishna conscious farm projects in Central Canada, their leaders gathered to discuss how they could collaborate with each other at the first ever Central Canada Farm Conference on December 17th. Canadian GBC Bhaktimarga Swami and farmer Sukhayanti Dasi brought together twenty-six devotees from seven agrarian projects across Southern Ontario and Quebec for the conference, which took place at the King Edward Park Community Centre in Brighton, Ontario.
Elementary Students Produce Inspirational ISKCON 50 Puppet Show
At 3.40 am on the 30th of December Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami left his body and returned to the spiritual realm. Lying in his bed in the Kuala Lumpur temple surrounded by devotees chanting the holy names Maharaja breathed his last. Bhakti Wrajendranandana Swami was born in Malaysia. He went to the UK to study where he joined ISKCON in 1971 in Birmingham. He got initiated in July 1972 from Srila Prabhupada on Trafalgar Square, receiving the name Vrajendra Kumar.
Srila Prabhupada Praised at ISKCON 50 Event in Peruvian Parliament
Elementary and some secondary school students at the Govardhan Academy in Saranagati, B.C., Canada have produced an inspirational and heartfelt puppet show film of how Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON for ISKCON’s 50th anniversary. The forty-minute film premiered at Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati’s disappearance day at the Saranagati temple on December 17th, and was very well received. It is now available to view for free on Youtube, and the children’s stunning dedication, hard work and love for Prabhupada is evident in every frame.
Food for Life Hungary Lights Up the Holidays for Thousands of Under-privileged Families
On December 12th, Peruvian devotee Bhadra Rupa Das was presented with an honorary doctorate by the National University of Education, Peru at the Peruvian Parliament in Lima. But he quickly turned what was set to be an event in his honor into one in praise of Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON, and ISKCON’s 50th anniversary.
Dignitaries Celebrate ISKCON50 at Hungarian Gala
Although the program runs all year long, due to the cold weather and the holidays, the month of December means increased service and dedication for the volunteers of Food for Life Hungary. During the December holiday season, they distributed 10,000 plates of hot meal and 6,000 packages of dry food all across the country.
New Film Aims to Bring World Fame to Bhagavatam
Every year, prominent people take part in ISKCON Hungary’s annual Divali dinner. This year, as usual, government officials, public personalities, sponsors, decision-makers, artists, representatives of other religions, university professors, scientists and others from the fields of politics and media all enjoyed the Hungarian devotees’ hospitality. The main theme of the event was the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of ISKCON.
Visakha Dasi’s Honest New Memoir Brings Mainstream Readers on a Spiritual Journey
“The Time of the Sages,” a documentary film currently in production, will aim to bring the same kind of worldwide recognition to the Srimad-Bhagavatam as is awarded to the Bhagavad-gita. The hour-long film will follow scholar Krishna Kshetra Swami (Dr. Kenneth Valpey), a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, as he interviews fellow academics and visits key places in India relevant to the Bhagavatam.
Conclude ISKCON 50 with an Overlay on Your Facebook Picture
In a sea of inspiring memoirs by ISKCON devotees about Srila Prabhupada and coming to Krishna consciousness, Visakha Dasi’s new book is unique because it’s aimed not internally but at a broad mainstream audience. “The book starts where I started, which was entirely materialistic life, and then goes gradually through the experiences and thoughts that I went through, with the hope that readers will come with me each step of the way,” she says. “Then, even if they don’t agree with my conclusion, they can understand it.”
“We have seen several successful social media campaigns such as Digital India and the Paris solidarity movement after the bombings when people overlaid their profile pictures with a flag,” explained Toshan Nimai Das. “Similarly, we have designed an overlay using the ISKCON 50 logo, which devotees around the world can use on top of their existing profile pictures. This way, we can build more awareness about ISKCON 50 through social media.”