Members of ISKCON Phoenix were invited to the Fifth Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner in downtown Phoenix, Arizona this October. The devotees were allotted a VIP table next to the podium at the event, which was held in Hyaat’s Regency Hotel.
Keynote speaker Jannah Scott greeted the devotees with an enthusiastic “Hare Krishna” and posed for a photograph. This was not Scott’s first encounter with ISKCON – the policy advisor for Governor Janet Napolitano’s Faith and Community Initiatives Office has accepted blessed garlands from Phoenix temple on several previous occasions.
During her keynote address, Scott spoke of “togetherness,” quoting Governor Napolitano’s first inaugural theme that there are many people and many lands, but one Arizona.
Roundtable discussions during the dinner included topics such as “What was your first impression of meeting someone from a different culture and background?” and “What can you do to share the message of love and peace with other faiths?”
ISKCON Phoenix President Bhava das explained that the Hare Krishna movement in America was founded in 1966 and delivers spirituality to all, regardless of their faith. He then offered a prayer before accepting fruits for dinner. Other VIPs also prayed together, including ISKCON Phoenix communications director Prayag Narayan Mishra and David Lujan of the Arizona House of Representatives.
As the dinner came to a close, an audience of two hundred including Dr. CT Wright, Chairman of “McCain for President 2008” and Kelly Paisley, Director of “Obama for President 2008” raised their hands as devotees sang the Hare Krishna mantra. They then listened attentively as the mantra’s meaning was explained: We offer our loving service to the Lord, who is all-attractive, and pray to be engaged as his servant.
The VIPs then accepted Sri Krishna Janmashtami 2008 Souvenirs, including a Proclamation for the festival from Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. 2008 Marks the third year in a row that the governor has issued the proclamation, which reads: “I, Janet Napolitano, Governor of the State of Arizona, do hereby recognize August 23, 2008 as Sri Krishna Janmastami Day, and wish peacefulness and joyful observance of this day by Hindus throughout Arizona and across the world.”