The Singing Janitor
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Hare KrishnaBy Indradyumna Swami

Mahesh leaned over and, to my surprise, began to speak in fluent English. “Sir,” he said, “this is a most auspicious day for me. Somehow by dint of my past pious activities, I have the good fortune to serve a sadhu. Such opportunities are rare.” Then he quoted a verse from the Padma Purana: “My dear goddess, of all types of worship, the worship of Lord Vishnu is the best, and even better than the worship of Lord Vishnu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaisnava.” “What?” I said. “How do you know that verse?” “I study sastra,” he replied softly, still gripping the chair. “You’re a devotee of Krsna?” I asked. “One day,” he said. “One day I hope to become a devotee of the Lord.” “Are you from a family of Vaisnavas?” “No,” he said. “I am an orphan. The devotees of the Lord are my family.” Then he quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita: “The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.”

Book Distribution and follow up
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Hare KrishnaBy Sutapa Das

Puttur is a place 50 km away from Mangalore, Karnataka. 20 years ago, one person (now Bhakta Prashanth at ISKCON Mangalore) from Puttur received one book written by Srila Prabhupada from His Grace Madhava Prabhu of ISKCON Mangalore. He was so inspired by the book and the spiritual guidance given by Madhav prabhu that he started preaching in his small town. Over the years that followed, more than 1000 copies of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As It Is were distributed there. Recently, ISKCON Mangalore Sri Jagannath Mandir organized a Bhagavad Gita contest across more than 15 schools in Puttur, as an effort to attract the school children and their parents towards devotional service. Around 800 students took part in the contest, and the winners were given awards on Feburary 14th 2016.

GBC Confirms ILS & GBC Meetings Go Ahead as Planned
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Hare KrishnaBy the GBC Executive Committee

We are writing to give you a brief official update from Mayapura regarding the upcoming ILS and GBC meetings. Several nights ago there was an incident in Mayapura outside the Conch Building where tempers flared and a scuffle ensued among several dozen devotees. Angry words were exchanged and some began pushing and shoving. One devotee was hit in the head with a stick. There were no serious injuries. However, that such tension has manifest in the Dhama raised concern for many devotees. This incident is related to a few underlying management and community issues that have surfaced over the past few months. The GBC members, most of whom are now in Mayapura, have been meeting with local leaders and other devotees to assess the source of the problems, cool tempers, and consider how to resolve the issues. As might be expected, rumors have circulated, including some rather wild exaggerations and untrue speculations. Some have questioned whether the upcoming meetings will be postponed. The GBC wishes to confirm that the GBC meetings, the ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS), and the Mayapura Festival will go on as scheduled.

NASN January 2016 – North American Sankirtan Newsletter
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Hare KrishnaBy Mayapur Sasi dasa

For the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada this report contains the following North American results of book distribution for the month of January. North American Totals, Monthly Temples, Monthly Weekend Warriors. Monthly Top 100 Individuals, Monthly Top 5, Cumulative Countries, Cumulative Temples, Cumulative Top 100 Individuals, Cumulative Top 5

Artha Event at Singapore
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Hare KrishnaBy Artha Forum

On 17th January, Artha forum organized its 5th event in Singapore held at Tanglin Club on the back of very successful events in 2013 and 2014. The conference titled “Conscious Leader” was attended by over 120 entrepreneurs, industrialists, corporate leaders and professional in yet another successful event by Artha Forum (a Not for Profit initiative dedicated to bringing relevance of Ancient Wisdom in Modern business). Bhakti Charu Swami was invited to be the keynote speaker for the event. Esteem corporate leaders from Singapore shared the dias including Vikram Rao of Crayon Data, Dr. Charles Chow – Founder and MD of East West Group, Subba Vidyanathan – MD and Regional Head of Retail Banking at SCB, Sumita Ambasata – Founder of Flowering Tree Inc. and Gowthaman Ragothaman – COO at Mindshare Asia Pacific & Global Client Lead at WPP. Other eminent business leaders present during the event were Jayesh Parekh Co-Founder of Sony Entertainment Television, Anurag Srivastava of Jungle Ventures, Chandrasekhar Pingali – Managing Director at I Cube Consortium Limited and Sanjiv Aiyar – President PAN IIM Alumni.

Crossing the Border of Impersonalism
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By Abhaya Mudra Dasi

The meanings of personalism and impersonalism may seem clear when the subject is discussed in theory, but in practice these two understandings of eternal existence seem to intertwine and confound the inexperienced spiritual practitioner. The answer lies in how we approach the Supreme Absolute Truth. While espousing the cause of a personal Godhead, neophytes are often seen to behave in a way that reveals longstanding impersonal roots. To understand the highest concept of personalism, let us see how Shrila Prabhupada describes the relationship of Krishna’s foremost devotees, the gopis of Vrindavana, to the Supreme Lord. And then let us consider how these compare with the relationships between materialistic women and men. Understanding this comparison is essential for realizing the difference between the ultimate reality of personalism and the utterly materialistic falsehood of impersonalism.

Special Canadian 50th Anniversary Festival
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Hare KrishnaBy Gokulananda das

It has now become a tradition here at our Montreal temple – for close to 10 years now – to have a yearly festival in honor of Srila Prabhupada, usually held during the first weekend of Sept. For this very popular festival we have hosted many stalwart followers of Srila Prabhupada such as Guru Das, Srutikirti, Yadubhara and Vishaka, Yogeswara, Puskar, Ranjit etc. And – for the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s founding of our ISKCON society – we are also planning an even bigger celebration for 2016. So your presence would be greatly appreciated to share with our whole community your very unique devotional expertise, thus enhancing our sharing of Srila Prabhupada’s glorious legacy. Also this historic event will focus on Srila Prabhupada’s prolonged stay here in Montreal for the entire summer of 1968. And we have already received confirmations to also take part from some of the pioneers of both the San Francisco and London temples – such as Shyamsundar, Guru das and Malati, Significantly they had also received special training from Srila Prabhupada during their visit here in August 1968, which memories they will surely share with us.

Karma and the Mentally Ill
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Hare KrishnaBy Romapada Swami

Karma is only created in the human form of life. But it is said that karma does not act on a child or on grown-up persons with child-like or animal-like intelligence. For example: according to Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 13 verse 1, Srila Prabhupada describes an interesting story of Manduka Muni who was wrongly sentenced to be impaled for an action he did not commit. The story is narrated as follows. Once upon a time the state police caught some thieves who had concealed themselves in the hermitage of Manduka Muni. The police constables wrongly arrested all the thieves and Manduka Muni along with them. The King’s court specifically sentenced the muni to death penalty by being pierced with a lance. When he was just about to be pierced, the news reached the king that the condemned man was not a criminal but a great sage. The king at once stopped the death penalty enactment. The king personally begged the muni’s pardon for the mistake of his men.

Gita Contest Prize Giving Ceremony at ISKCON Nairobi
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Hare KrishnaBy Sri Gauranga Das

On Sunday 14th February 2016, ISKCON Nairobi held its first ever Gita Champions League prize giving ceremony. The Chairman of Hindu Council of Kenya Mr. Nitin Malde graced the occasion and enlivened the audience with his inspiring address. The National Secretary of Hindu Council of Kenya Mr. Kamal Gupta, His Holiness Bhakti Vasudeva Swami a travelling sannyasi, senior members of ISKCON Nairobi – Madhava Das and Rukma Das and Mrs. Mahida headmistress of Nairobi South Nursery, Primary and Seconday School also graced the occasion. The Gita Champions League (GCL) is a competition based on the teachings of the ancient book of knowledge, the Bhagavad Gita. This contest was a fun, inspiring and motivating way to help everyone to absorb themselves in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, enrich and refocus their life in the right manner.

One exciting month of preaching in Kerala
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Hare KrishnaBy Anya Kultyshkina

Kerala is the most materially educated state in India. Almost all local people know English. That is why even those devotees who do not know the local languages of India can go there and preach Krsna consciousness. There is a need to bring Krsna consciousness to this area, because although the people are materially educated, spiritual knowledge is lacking. Because of contact with Europeans, first with Vasco Da Gama in the 15thcentury and later with the British dominion, many Christian churches were established there and I met Christians at every step. It was almost impossible to make them aware of what kind of heavy sin they were committing by killing animals for their food. They consider that God created animals for their enjoyment and their churches fully endorse such philosophy. But even among the Christian people, I met some who were quite intelligent and open to dialogue. They were interested in Bhagavad Gita As It Is and they even were taking the books.

A Scholar and Wonderful Gentleman from the Fijian Paradise – Dr Paul Alban Geraghty
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Hare KrishnaBy Sundar Nitai das

When we approached Paul in his office two weeks earlier to present our humble request for translation of one of Srila Prabhupada’s books, we were anxious and excited, but Paul’s genuine warm personality drove the anxiety away. Our excitement remained. Paul advised us to send our work to him and we sent him the Maha mantra and its explanation. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught that the holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord and that since the Lord is the absolute whole, there is no difference between His holy name and His transcendental form. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration. The Lord further predicted that the chanting of His names will spread in all towns and villages of world.

The Bhumi Puja for the Govardhan Retreat Center
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Hare KrishnaBy Sacinandana Swami

The Govardhana Retreat has been going on since 2000 – the first with only thirty students under the trees surrounding Giriraja (we still remember having to crawl under a barbed wire fence to get to our spot!), the most recent with almost a thousand students, now at a rented ashram. As the number of students has grown, so too has our desire to serve this ever-expanding community of devotees by building our own centre at Govardhana, along with our awareness that we needed our own place to house and host the devotees, and to give them a quiet place to actually retreat from the busy-ness of their lives. For us, the bhumi-puja was a monumental event, like a first mango flower finally blossoming on a tree planted twelve long years earlier. We have been patient. We originally procured land near Govardhana Hill in 2004, and added three more small pieces over the next eight years. Finally, two years ago, we added a large two-and-a-half-bigha plot, making the final size of the plot for the Centre five acres. Finally, we had enough land to allow our centre to be uncramped, unbuilt-up, and to possess the natural and simple ambiance we desired.

Radha Krishna Camp in Brazil: More Than a Retreat
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Hare KrishnaBy Bhagavan Das

Among the activities carried out in the holy atmosphere of Nova Gokula, there was a lot of contact with nature: a visit to the stables, work in the garden and bathing in the river were some opportunities provided for participants for enjoying the simple life, away from the artificiality and pollution in urban environment. Vaikuntha Murti, Secretary for the Youth of ISKCON Brazil and Subhadra’s husband, says: “The visit to the goshala was surprising because many of them had little contact with nature, and although we had gone there just to observe, almost all of them asked to milk a cow and gave their best to achieve it, contrary to my expectations”.

How to find a spiritual connection – TEDxSquareMile
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Hare KrishnaBy Radhanath Swami

In a world shrunken by digital connections are we still nourishing the right connections in our lives and in society? How can we get better connected spiritually ,with ourselves and with each other? Spiritual leader Radhanath Swami addresses these questions in this insightful talk. Radhanath Swami is a world renowned author, philanthropist and community builder. He has been a Bhakti Yoga practitioner and spiritual teacher for more than 40 years. He is the inspiration behind a free mid-day meal for 1.2 million school kids across India and he has been instrumental in founding the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai. He has keynoted at Apple, Starbucks, Google and House of Lords. His work has led to meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Accepting our Lot, Gracefully
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Hare KrishnaBy Praghosa Dasa

“A pure Vaisnava should be very careful to engage in his specific duty without criticizing others. This is the safest position. Otherwise, if one tends to criticize others, he may commit the great offence of criticizing a Vaisnava” In the pastime of Jagai and Madhai, prior to them receiving the mercy of Lord Caitanya, they were glorified as having one good quality. The fact that they kept such bad association meant that they had never come into contact with devotees hence their good quality was that they had never committed vaisnava aparadha. There are so many references in sastra as to the importance of avoiding offending vaisnavas, so as I read the words of Daksa it seemed worthwhile to look a little deeper into why he would offend Narada in this way. On the face of it Daksa was extremely upset because his first 10,000 sons, the Haryasvas, whom he had earmarked to populate the planet with good progeny, were convinced by Narada to by-pass the grhastha asrama. Due to the inherent risks of being side tracked by maya while populating the world, Narada suggested they would be better to simply devote themselves exclusively to the path of renunciation. That was bad enough but then Daksa had another 1,000 sons to do the job his previous sons had been diverted away from but Narada had a different idea and did exactly the same again, convincing Daksa’s latest arrivals to follow in the footsteps of their elder brothers.

Admissions now open for Sri Mayapur International School
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Hare KrishnaBy Gunacuda dasi

Hrimati dasi: As a mother of two alumni students of the SMIS school, I must say that Sri Mayapur international School is an ISKCON school that works. The school gives the students am opportunity to fully develop their own individual skills, while growing up in an Krishna Counscious environment without sacrificing and still enjoying their childhood. After completing their education at SMIS, one of my boys has become a full time Sankirtan Bramachari, while his twin brother is studying medicine at a State University in the USA. I must say that SMIS has brought out the best in my twin boys.