ISKCON-London celebrated the 47th Anniversary of the installation of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara on Sunday, 27th November. This special 50th Anniversary year of ISKCON, themed “The Joy of Devotion”, has been filled with many joyous celebrations both in London and worldwide. This particular event was one of the signature events this year. Held at a big theatre-style venue in central London, the cultural program started with a sumptuous prasadam feast followed by a line-up of dance, drama, and speeches, ending with a lively kirtan that got everyone off their seats and dancing!
Srila Prabhupada presiding the festivities
ISKCON-London’s Temple President, Jai Nitai dasa, initiated the magical mood of the event with a recitation of powerful Sanskrit prayers, which was followed by a unique presentation of devotion via dance by the internationally acclaimed Samadhi Dance Company, a Netherlands-based contemporary dance group. They performed the premiere of "Pavan", dedicated to Srila Prabhupada. The performance told how the movement was founded in 1966 by Srila Prabhupada to revive God consciousness in human beings and portrayed the meaning of ‘Hare Krishna’ as the energy of God and how by chanting the holy names of the Lord, a transcendental vibration is created that directly creates a relationship with the friendly, all loving personality of God, Sri Krishna. They later also performed "Atma" a stunning portrayal of the Mahabharata based on the album "Inevitable Time" by Ananda Monet.
This was followed by a musical presentation by the future generation. Voices from the community youth rendered "Yadi Prabhupada Naha Hoite". The song expressed the devotees’ heartfelt appreciation for Srila Prabhupada who distributed unlimited love for God.
“The Future Generation" musical presentation
Looking ahead at the next 50 years of ISKCON, inspiring speeches by the Temple Presidents of the London and Watford centres, highlighted the important principle of cooperation as mentioned by Srila Prabhupada, “Your love for me will be shown in how you cooperate together after I have gone”. ISKCON UK have had tremendous achievements so far including the Food for Life programme, opening of 8 Krishna Avanti schools (Britain's first state-funded Hindu schools) across the UK with the capacity for 7,000 children, a state-of-the-art Goshala, and daily meditation and classes based on Vedic texts to promote overall health and well-being. Much has happened in the last 50 years and there is much to look forward to in the future with members of the ISKCON community, including the next generation, feeling inspired to contribute towards the expansion of the movement.
ISKCON-London Temple President, Jai Nitai dasa along with Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple President, Srutidharma dasa
A light-hearted live drama on the journey of ISKCON through different centuries then followed, directed by Syamananda dasa, one of the bramacharis at the London centre. It portrayed the importance of questioning the deeper meaning of life and approaching learned people for answers. This was followed by Guru Puja – an offering of respects to Srila Prabhupada – and kirtan.
"ISKCON through the Ages" drama
Catering to all, there were fun activities for children, with play dough, colouring, face painting and henna. There were various stalls selling devotional gift items including ISKCON50 branded merchandise, deity Maha and CDs from Radha Krishna Records, ISKCON-London’s very own record label. The Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) team was also present to meet and connect with previous donors and raise awareness and welcome donations towards the building of the TOVP, ISKCON’s headquarters. Copies of HG Rupa Vilas dasa's 'Without Fear' were also available for sale. This book presents memories of Srila Prabhupada during ISKCON's early days in America and was a special book launch for the 50th year. A video booth filmed attendees’ experience of the afternoon and what the next 50 years mean to them. This will be compiled into a short movie and made available on ISKCON-London’s website in the coming weeks.
Shreya Lakhani, one of the event attendees, expressed, “The event was thoroughly entertaining and one to remember for years to come to celebrate Srila Prabhupada’s achievements and the legacy that he leaves behind. It was particularly inspiring to hear about the future plans and see the spirit of togetherness”.
Devaki devi dasi, ISKCON50 Coordinator for London, summarises, “This year has been a wonderful year for ISKCON in London and worldwide. In London, it has been inspiring to see many ISKCON members involved with organising or participating in many activities, events and festivals in honour of the 50th Anniversary of ISKCON. As a result, many community members have felt inspired and honoured to be part of the ISKCON family, feeling a stronger connection with the movement. We have also had many new people taking an interest in finding out more about the practices of Krishna Consciousness and we have facilitated various initiatives such as Open Days and Sunday Feast programmes for them. We have also received significant media attention than ever before. All in all it has been a successful year and now moving on to the 51st year of ISKCON, we hope to build on our successes and keep growing.”[ london ] [ radha-londonishvara ] [ uk ]