Several members of the Hindu Forum of Europe (HFE) met with leaders of the Hindu Community of Portugal on 23rd of June 2017 at a hall offered by the City of Lisbon. Mahaprabhu dasa, General Secretary made a presentation of the work of HFE and how it is important for Hindu Communities in different countries in Europe to create platforms to represent them to the government, media and religious leaders.
At present the Hindu Forum of Europe has 10 member organizations from 8 different European Countries. It is helping different countries create umbrella organizations like Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France. The feedback from the Hindu leaders, which included the President and Vice President of the largest Hindu Temple in Portugal and the President of the Shiva temple was very positive and there was a genuine interest in setting up a Hindu Forum of Portugal. They are planning to meet in September or October to see how to go forward with the plan.
On 23rd of June there was a full day of conference and meeting of the Hindu Forum of Europe. There were representatives of UK, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Portugal. In the morning there was a conference on Yoga and Hinduism, in the afternoon there was the Annual General Assembly and they spoke about the upcoming Diwali Event at the European Parliament on 11th of October.
In the evening the conference attendees visited the majestic Radha Krishna Temple run by the Lisbon Gujarati Community.
On the 24th in the morning the guests visited the Swaminarayan Temple and the Shiva Temple. In the afternoon they were taken to the Yoga Conference organized by the Portuguese Yoga Confederation where about 200 persons were waiting to hear several speeches. After a short introduction by Amrta Suryananda Swami the President of the Confederation ISKCON devotees went to the event organized by the Radha Krishna Temple in honor of Prime Minister of India Modi and Prime Minister of Portugal Costa. They had a chance to be in the group of dignitaries that listened to the speech of PM Modi and later had a chance to take a photo with him and the leaders of the Radha Krishna Temple.
After that event they rushed back to the Yoga Conference where everyone was waiting for Mahaprabhu dasa to speak on Yoga and Hinduism. Anuttama dasa and Rukmini dasi also were present at the events and spoke at the Yoga Conference.
On the 25th of June the HFE members participated in a large event organized by the Portuguese Yoga Confederation to celebrate World Yoga Day. Many dignitaries, religious leaders and the Ambassador of India for Portugal participated. There were over 800 people in the large stadium field in their yoga clothes on their yoga mats. On the stage there were kirtans, speeches, demonstrations and a beautiful performance by children.
On the 26th of June, the conference attendees visited the ashram of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation. It was a great experience to spend a few days together and meet so many amazing people and places.
Next year the annual HFE conference and general assembly will be held in Villa Vrindavan, the beautiful ISKCON Temple in the hills of Tuscany, Italy.
Jun 25, 2022
Radhapriya Chawla, ISKCON Toronto Communications