The renowned International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding by revered spiritual leader A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada with an elaborate black-tie gala in Washington DC late last month. The event brought together scores of religious, academic and political leaders from across the country to celebrate the life of Swami Prabhupada and the influential, global organization his work inspired.
Founded in 1966 in New York, ISKCON boasts more than 600 centers and millions of adherents worldwide who worship the Hindu deity Krishna, a central figure in the Hindu religion. Swami Prabhupada played a major role in introducing the western world to teachings of Krishna by translating major Hindu works, including the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, into English and spreading their message across the United States.
Over 300 guests attended the gala, which took place just blocks away from the White House. Highlighting the interfaith support ISKCON enjoys in the United States since its inception, the guest roster included Catholic and Protestant priests, Jewish rabbis and the new chaplain of Hindu life at Georgetown University, amongst other religious leaders.
Reflecting on the significance of the event, an attendee of the gala, Hrishikesh Hari, observed “At a moment in history influenced by deep internal and external division, the Gala left a deep and healing impression because it united people of all faiths.”
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Gunarnava Sitaram Das for ISKCON Sacramento
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Archbishop Eric Escala, Continuing Anglican Church