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

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Six Spiritual Stocking Stuffers
By Vyenkata Bhatta Dasa   |  Dec 17, 2007

Image: Ville Miettinen

The Holiday Season is in full swing, and from Miami to Milan to Mumbai that can only mean one thing: it’s time to shop! For devotees of Krishna, the Holidays provide a wonderful opportunity to give Krishna conscious gifts to co-workers, friends, and family.

Of course, sharing your faith along with spreading good cheer can be like walking through a minefield; come on too strong, and your pushiness may land you up on Santa’s naughty list. Fortunately, our devotional gift-giving experts at ISKCON News have selected six spiritual stocking stuffers sure to please even the biggest Scrooge in your life. So, before you take that gift-wrapped Fifth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam to the office Christmas party, click through our helpful list … and leave the Santa Claus stuff to us.




1. “Jingle Smells”… For those who’s noses have had enough of  imitation peppermint, pinecone, gingerbread, and mistletoe this Christmas, there is hope; the vast collection of incense available on will be a breath of fresh air.  Made from pure ingredients, and beautifully packaged, this incense is perfect for turning any place into a meditative space.  Whether you go with traditional choices like sandalwood or Nag Champa, or take your cue from the Three Wise Men and go with the Frankincense and Myrrh, these scents will gently transport their owners to another realm.  Buy a bunch of different packs and create your own sampler, or combine with a smoking pillar incense burner or hand-painted Rajasthani incense holder for a more substantial gift. 


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2. “Deck the Halls”… Pick a card, any card.  With the spiritually chic Wisdom Deck series, produced by Mandala Publishing, whichever you pick is bound to be a winner.  The beautifully made decks share essential Krishna conscious truths in bite-sized servings – and let charming artwork and breath-taking photographs do most of the talking.  Your friends can use the double-sided cards to explore spiritual concepts or tack their favorites on their cubicle walls for a daily meditation.   A wide variety of themes allow you to choose the deck that best suits the recipient – from Palmistry and Vedic Astrology to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita and the Dharma Deck. Compact and classy, the decks prove that good things do come in small packages.


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3. “Its Beginning to Cook a Lot Like Christmas”… Okay, so over the years giving fruitcakes on Christmas has gotten a bad rep.   But that’s probably just because nobody’s had a good egg-free recipe.  Whether you want to rescue the fruitcake’s public image, or just bake up a good batch of cookies, you can’t go wrong giving some home made prasadam this time of year.  Use time-tested Hare Krishna recipes, create new ones, or modify a family favorite – just don’t forget the secret ingredients: offer it with love and devotion to the Lord first. And while you are at it, why not equip your friends and family the chance to make some karma-free cuisine of their own?  Hare Krishna super-chef and ISKCON News contributor Kurma Dasa has a slew of titles to choose from – Quick Vegetarian Dishes and Vegetarian World Food are favorites – and even offers some of his most popular recipes as decks of cards (we know you just can’t enough of those decks).  Kurma’s cookbooks are full of variety, easy to follow, and a much gentler introduction to vegetarianism than that PETA brochure you gave to Grandma last year.  What were you thinking?

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4.  “Tee’s the Season”… If the words “Hare Krishna fashion statement” bring to mind bright orange polyester and mismatched socks, it is time to get with the times.  And with the great line of subtle and stylish Krishna conscious t-shirts available from, even your trendsetter fashionista friends will be happy to sport the new Hare Krishna look.  Especially popular is the best-selling Circular Mantra T-shirt, featuring an original design of the Hare Krishna mahamantra in Sanskrit shaped into a never-ending circle.  The simple and sophisticated design makes a statement and has an appeal that goes beyond the devotee community.  The design is also available in a comfortable formfitting version especially suited for yoga students.  And for the younger (and younger at heart) there are the Lil’ Krishna and Lil’ Hanumanji designs – playful depictions of divinity that melt the hearts of kids and hipsters alike. 

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5. “(Hidden) Glory Be to God on High”… Imagine a coffee table book that could convey the allure of spiritual India to your cousin Floyd.  Now imagine that book shrunk down to the size of a paperback novel, jam-packed with intelligently written explanations of Krishna consciousness and some of the most beautiful design elements and Krishna art on the planet, and – oh did we forget to mention? – a price tag of under ten dollars.  Written by Steven Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa), one of the Hare Krishna movement’s most prolific writers and independent scholars, the book is called Hidden Glory of IndiaAs far as we’re considered, though, it might as well be called The World’s Most Concise and Articulate Summary of Every Aspect of Krishna Conscious Culture You Have Ever Wanted to Explain to Someone, With Pictures

Each of the book’s succinct chapters – covering such topics as “Idols and Deities” “Women” “The Vedas” or “Yoga” – spans one to two pages, and is embellished with Indian-inspired artwork and design motifs.  But Hidden Glory’s biggest strength is the writing: intelligent without being pedantic, comprehensive without being overwhelming, persuasive without being preachy. Until you can find a cheap enough airfare to send Floyd backpacking through India, Hidden Glory may be your Holiday ticket. 

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6. “—and a Happy New Year”… The 2008 Gods and Goddesses Wall Calendar features an all-star cast that is divinely inspired – literally.  Stunning portraits of Lord Krishna, powerful demigods, and elegant goddesses all grace the pages of this high-quality product.  The artwork is rendered by master artists B.G. Sharma, the world’s foremost living painted of Indian miniatures, and Indra Sharma, one of modern India’s most popular and accomplished calendar artists.  Although the theme is unapologetically religious, the fact that the calendar evokes the mood of art galleries more than temples makes it totally give-able to a broader audience (as opposed to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust’s Art Calendar, for instance, which seems targeted for an in-house Hare Krishna audience).  So whether the Gods and Goddesses Wall Calendar is revered on the altar as religious icon, or simply hung up to add some Eastern color to a dorm room, this gift will continue to give joy and blessings throughout the year.

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Image: Creative Commons

Still need help?  Both Mandala Publishing and the store have tons of selections to choose from and prices that won’t bring down your Holiday spirits. 

Of course, as much as it seems like a cliché this time of year, the truth is that when it comes to gift-giving it is the thought that truly counts.   The best presents are sometimes the simplest—a heart-felt prayer, words of encouragement, genuine efforts to appreciate others and maintain friendships despite apparent differences—and they do come in one size fits all. 



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