An app for Android smartphones, entitled “Krsna – The Sweet Lord,” is now available on the Google Play Store for free and promises to place the best of what ISKCON has to offer in the palm of your hand.
The app, developed by ISKCON Juhu of Mumbai, received a soft launch for an internal devotee audience on December 14th, when it was unveiled by Radhanath Swami at Mumbai’s Chowpatty temple.
Bollywood actress and Mathura MP Hema Malini then launched it for the general public on February 7th, during the Mumbai ISKCON 50 celebrations, with the aid of a life-size smartphone imprinted with the app’s name.
“Our ISKCON Juhu Facebook page has 3.8 million followers, with around 1.5 million – many of them young people -- engaging weekly and liking our darshan photos of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari,” says Communications Coordinator Parijata Dasi. “So we realized that people are really looking for Krishna, and we wanted to give them more.”
The Krsna app has a variety of different sections to explore. The darshan section features daily photographs of beautiful Deities in ISKCON temples around the world, including Vrindavana, Mayapur, London, Sydney, Chicago, New York, and New Vrindaban. Each photo is shareable and downloadable, while users can “offer” an animated lotus flower to their favorite Deity photo in place of Facebook’s “like” button.
A screenshot of Deity Darshan on the Krsna App's daily feed
The music section includes kirtans by Srila Prabhupada; a selection of prayers like Damodarastakam, Jagannathastakam, and Brahma Samhita; a selection of aratis such as Mangala arati, Tulasi arati, and Nrsimha arati; and an option to pick from a list of all Krishna songs. Users can also make their choice based on a variety of genres, such as meditative, easy listening, and classical. The app has a built-in music player, as well as an option to download the song and play it with your own software.
“When a song is playing, you can also choose to see the lyrics, as well as their meaning, on screen,” Parijata says.
In the philosophy section, users can read the entire Bhagavad-gita As It Is, or listen to an audio version. They can also search the book by by verse or by tags such as ‘Karma,’ ‘Soul,’ and “Happiness.” The app tracks a reader’s progress by marking what chapters or verses they have already read and “bookmarking” their place if they exit and come back.
Srila Prabhupada’s book “Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead” is also available to read in full, with several related sections. In “Krishna Stories,” all the stories of Krishna from both the Krsna book and the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam are gathered in one place. And in “Know Krishna” and “Explore Krishna,” readers can quickly get a basic understanding of topics such as “Where does Krishna live?” “Who are Krishna’s friends?” and “Are Krishna and Vishnu the same?” through very short and simple write-ups with images.
Meanwhile in the prayer section, app users can write their prayers to Lord Krishna, which are then printed out by the app development team at ISKCON Mumbai and offered to the Deities of Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari at the Juhu temple.
Finally, the Krsna app features a news feed that’s a Krishna-ized version of Facebook’s homepage feed. Users with little time to spare can quickly see suggestions of the most popular darshans, a kirtan track of the day, a Bhagavad-gita verse and more.
So far, around 2,000 people have downloaded and are using the app, but ISKCON Mumbai expects that number to skyrocket soon. There are also plans to continue developing the app to make it more engaging and social, and to make it available for the iPhone too.
“It’s just so convenient,” says Parijata. “Other apps offer one thing like darshan or music; but this has everything all in one place. It’s like being able to carry around Prabhupada’s books, darshans of Deities around the world, and all your favorite kirtans in your pocket. It’s such an easy way to connect to the Lord through your phone.”[ app ] [ application ] [ hema-malini ] [ mumbai ]