Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON Minnesota Celebrates the Grand Opening of its Minneapolis Bhakti Yoga Center
By ISKCON News   |  Mar 08, 2024

Devotees gather for the Grand Opening Artik.

On February 24-25th, the ISKCON Bhakti Yoga Center in south Minneapolis held its Grand Opening weekend, with hundreds attending programs throughout the two-day celebration. This summer, ISKCON News reported that local devotees would be opening a center in South Minneapolis, a strategic location within two miles of the University of Minnesota (with over 35,000 students). 

The community has been meeting for months in their new facility for Sunday feasts and weekday classes while working tirelessly to prepare the space for February’s Grand Opening. In October, the community joyfully welcomed a set of stunning Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai deities to their altar. “We consistently have 40-50 attendees at our Sunday Kirtan for Peace feast; 10% of our guests are first-time attendees, and half are Westerners,” said Rama Kisora Dasa, a member of ISKCON Minnesota’s Founding Board and its Treasurer, “We also have good attendance for our Wednesday Night Wisdom Bhagavad-gita class.”

The community kicked off the Grand opening weekend on Saturday with its first program at the University of Minnesota in partnership with Hindu YUVA (Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtue and Actions). The local group is one of 73 chapters at universities and high schools across the United States. Hindu YUVA aims to provide a platform to preserve, practice, promote, and protect Hindu Dharma by bringing together Hindu youth on campuses in North America. The special guest for the weekend and Saturday’s speaker was Romapada Swami, who spoke on the topic, “Art of Meditation – Overcoming Negative Emotions.” Prasanna Salasiya, the President of Hindu YUVA at the University of Minnesota, said, “As part of our vision, we are very happy to collaborate with ISKCON Minnesota. Such events not only offer students the means to alleviate mid-semester stress but also present an opportunity to embrace Dharmic perspectives during challenging times, fostering a healthier campus community.” The program was sponsored by Graduate Students Prasanna Salasiya, Akshit Goyal, Shivam Sharma, Shreyas Maitreya, Arav Malik, Shesha Sai Kumar Reddy Sadu, and undergraduate student Aanchal Singhal. Nearly 70 students attended a healthy mix of Indians and Westerners. Ten copies of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is were shared at the event, and the ISKCON Bhakti Yoga Center looks forward to future collaborations with Hindu YUVA, including a monthly Bhagavad-gita discussion group.

The second day of festivities began with 30 members attending the center’s first Mangala Artik and enjoying a sumptuous prasadam breakfast. The Sunday evening program welcomed 200 guests and was led by Romapada Swami, who offered a special Abhishek for the center’s deities and named them “Nimai Nitai” before presenting a class on Lord Chaitanya and His past times, an excellent preparation for the upcoming Gaura Purnima Festival that will be held on March 24th. “It was truly Vaikuntha. Their Lordships were smiling ear to ear,” said Satya Narayan Prasad, an ISKCON Minnesota Founding Board Member. Eighty percent of the guests at the evening program were first-time attendees. “Srila Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement is alive and well in Minnesota, as evidenced by our huge attendance at the grand opening,” said Sauri Dasa, the ISKCON Minnesota Board President.

Other weekend events included a home deity installation of Gaura Nitai at Sauri Dasa’s home and a Srimad Bhagavatam installation at Sentil and Jyothi’s home in nearby Eden Prairie. “The whole weekend was ecstatic, filled with transcendental bliss chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, pure Krishna magic!” said Rama Kisora Dasa.

Organizers wish to express their appreciation to the devotees who sponsored the grand opening event, including the Sri Nimai Nitai garlands and clothing, flowers and decorations, Srila Prabhupada garland, prasadam, and Bhagavad-gita donations.

To follow the inspiring service of Minnesota devotees, visit their website or their Facebook page