Introducing: Tattva Darsi – New Sankirtan Website for LA ISKCON
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Hare KrishnaBy Iskcon LA

This project is to present what we do as traveling monks, and a means to keep in touch with the people we meet both online and on the streets! (Universities, festivals, etc.) We have been working on this project for almost five months now. Before it was just an idea of “we should make a website..” But now we are in full swing and have gathered content of our lifestyle and are trying to open it up to the general. Our goal is to share with people the ancient teachings of spiritual India, the Vedas, which according to the Vedas is beyond all material designations. Its a spiritual tradition that has been practiced for thousands and thousands (and thousands) of years by monks, yogis, and spiritual conscious persons all over the world. Anyone can learn the ancient practices of yoga and meditation no matter who you are, or where you come from.

Fifty percent
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Hare KrishnaBy Kavicandra Swami

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what it means to give fifty percent. For most householders their income does not allow them to live and to give 50% to the temple. The Lord definitely says that no one is more dear to Him than one who is always engaged in the preaching work of the Lord’s name and fame all over the world. The scientific discoveries of the material world can also be equally engaged in carrying out His order. He wants the message of the Bhagavad-gita to be preached amongst His devotees. It may not be so done amongst those who have no credit of austerities, charity, education, etc. Therefore, the attempt must go on to convert unwilling men to become His devotees. Lord Caitanya has taught a very simple method in this connection. He has taught the lesson for preaching the transcendental message through singing, dancing and refreshment. As such, fifty percent of our income may be spent for this purpose.

Third Ratha Yatra in Batam, Indonesia
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Hare KrishnaBy Hari Narayana Das

The organizers of the Ratha Yatra committee would like to offer their obeisances to His Holiness Kavicandra Swami and His Holiness Ramai Swami, the GBCs for Indonesia. We are grateful for their support and for constantly guiding us in pushing forward Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Sankirtan movement. We are extremely grateful to His Holiness Subhag Swami Maharaj who has been inspiring us to explore new frontiers in preaching and performing this Jagannath Ratha Yatra in every city in Indonesia for the pleasure of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. We thank His Holiness Atmanivedana Swami for attending this event and inspiring the devotees. We offer our respects to His Grace Samudrasena das the leader of ISKCON Batam for helping to make this festival a success. Last but not least we thank Sesa das and Rasikananada das for their melodious singing which attracted all.

Travel Adventures of a Krishna Monk: Travel Journal from North Florida and Atlanta
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Hare KrishnaBy Krishna-kripa Das

At Krishna House we had an end of the semester party with appreciations of the devotees and some humorous entertainment, and I share some of the parts most striking to me. I was part of our kirtana team at inspiring deity welcoming ceremony in Tallahassee that brought a lot of people together chanting Hare Krishna. “In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila 7.23)

London Bridge Is Falling Down, My Fair Lady
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Hare KrishnaBy Sankirtana Das

Once there was a sage who lived by the banks of the Ganges River. The sage spent much of his time in meditation and he understood the difference between that which is ‘sat’ (eternal) and that which is ‘asat’ (temporary). Now he was destined to live until all the hairs on his body fell off. He is described as a ‘hairy’ sage. And only a single hair fell off during a life time of Brahma (which is millions upon millions of years). So this sage was going to live for an awfully long time. One day he was asked, “Why don’t you build yourself a nice home?” The sage replied, “Why should I bother? I’m only here temporarily.”

Sankirtan festival celebrates successes of the Srila Prabhupada Book Distribution Marathon
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Hare KrishnaBy Zayani Bhatt

Devotees from temples across the UK congregated at Bhaktivedanta Manor on Saturday 9th January to celebrate the success of the Srila Prabhupada Book Distribution Marathon, which ran for a month from 21st November to 25th December 2015. Known as the Sankirtan festival, the event was the culmination of the hard work put in by the UK temples, in sharing Krishna Consciousness in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s books with new audiences. Led by Visvambhara Prabhu, a long term advocate of book distribution, devotees celebrated the numbers of books that various individuals, groups and whole temples had distributed and the donations that had been collected. Those who were within the top 50 for distributing most books were given a small token of appreciation from senior devotees HH Dayanand Maharaj, Kripamoya Prabhu, Dhananjaya Prabhu and Praghosa Prabhu to celebrate their success and hard work, as well as to encourage others to partake in the next marathon at the end of this year. Despite being one of the eldest devotees present, HH Dayanand Maharaj continues to distribute books today, having started in 1984. As he explained; “Book distribution is the best service. It is most enlivening.”

Unending happiness: possible?
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By Urmila Devi Dasi

Can one find happiness in this world? For most of us what we call “happiness” is the temporary mitigation of distress, or sadness. Without sadness, there is practically no meaning to happiness in a material conception of life. First, all that we term “happiness” depends on some sort of prior suffering. We enjoy eating because we feel the pain of hunger; without any hunger or appetite, eating will bring us no pleasure, no matter how tasty and well prepared the food. We find pleasure in sleep due to the distress of fatigue; a child who isn’t tired will be told to “go to bed” as a punishment–not a reward. Sex is pleasurable because of the urgency of lust. Those who wish to increase their sexual pleasure therefore also desire to increase their lust. On the emotional level as well, company is meaningful when we have experienced loneliness. If we examine any type of material pleasure, we will find that the experience is enjoyable only in proportion to the amount of pain it alleviates. If there is no prior pain, the so-called pleasure will be meaningless or even perceived as distress also. On a full stomach, more food is painful, and to a well-rested person time in bed is an irritation. “Happiness” can therefore be defined as the temporary absence or mitigation of pain.

A Second Chance
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Hare KrishnaBy Indradyumna Swami

As a devotee grows older, he becomes more and more aware, by the grace of the Lord, that his life is coming to a close and his time to achieve perfection in Krsna consciousness is running out. Sometimes the signs come in disconcerting ways. A few months ago several of my disciples approached me and asked if I would tell the history of each of the salagram silas on my altar. “Perhaps another day,” I replied. “But Guru Maharaja,” said a woman disciple, “you’re the only one who knows the unique story behind each sila. And you’re getting older … ” She didn’t finish the sentence. There was no need. Old age implies that things are winding down and coming to an end.

Golden Jubilee Celebration: Envisaging Iskcon’s Four Movements
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Hare KrishnaBy Sutapa Das

To commemorate this great event and following on the lines of Sankirtana movement, ISKCON Mangalore celebrated ISKCON’S Golden Jubilee festival in 2 broad realms: Kirtan festival : At Panambur beach, Mangalore on January 3rd, 2016 in midst of mother nature and blessings of many senior Vaishnavas. The program was graced by His Holiness Indradyumna Swami(USA), HG Haripada Prabhuji and his good wife HG Phalini mataji(USA), HG Ekalavya prabhu, HG Patri prabhu(Russia) and many other devotees. Hundreds of devotees and thousands of visitors relished the mesmerizing and sublime chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

The Madhusudana Mystery
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Hare KrishnaBy Satyaraja Dasa

Since we don’t hear of a demon named Madhu in Krishna’s pastimes, why does Arjuna address Krishna as “the killer of Madhu”?Madhusudana. The name always seemed curious to me. Where did it come from? In the Bhagavad-gita, one of our most sacred texts, Krishna is referred to as Madhusudana, or “the killer of the Madhu demon,” no less than five times. And yet, Krishna didn’t kill a demon named Madhu. I looked through the vast storehouse of Krishna’s pastimes over and over again. No Madhu, at least not in the form of a demon. Most commentators, including Srila Prabhupada, tell us that by referring to Krishna in this way, Arjuna, the hero of the Gita, is poetically indicating that Krishna should now slay Arjuna’s doubts, just as He had slain the three-dimensional foe of His past. But, again, where did that slaying take place? When did Krishna kill a demon named Madhu?

ISKCON 50 – Golden Lotus Abhishek in Mayapur
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Hare KrishnaBy Bhakti Purusottama Swami

This year 2016 is a very special year for all of us, Srila Prabhupada’s followers. We are celebrating the 50th anniversary , the silver jubilee of ISKCON this year. Iskcon took birth in 1966 and has just reached the 50th year of its manifestation on the earthly planet. Devotees all over the world are preparing to hold many celebrations for this 50th anniversary of ISKCON. In Mayapur, which has been considered by Srila Prabhupada as a place of worship, ISKCON is going to hold a grand celebration during the 2016 Gour Purnima festival in the presence of thousands of devotees from around the world who will come to worship Lord Gouranga. We have a very special and unique plan to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ISKCON in a great vedic manner. There are several programs which will be the highlights of this year’s Goura Purnima festival. The most important one will be the special abhishek of Lord Gouranga with golden lotuses.

Devotee scholar to contribute for a NAT series: “The Story of God” by Morgan Freeman
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Hare KrishnaBy Whitney Friedlander

Graham M. Schweig, a devotee and professor of religious studies, has been invited to write for the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Television Series entitled, “THE STORY OF GOD.” He will write six “discussion guide” essays covering the perspective of Hinduism (along with four other writers representing the other major traditions) to be posted on the program’s website that will guide the content for the series, a series produced by Morgan Freeman, et. al., a series to air in the U.S. and globally in 171 countries and 45 languages beginning June 2016.

An Evening “Chasing Rhinos” with HG Shyamasundara Prabhu
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Hare KrishnaBy Ravi Talsania

Incredibly inspirational talk by Shyamasundara Prabhu (ACBSP) about taking risks for Krishna. This was as a Pandava Sena event in London. Srila Prabhupada: So far I am concerned I always take risk for Krishna. I came here in your country risking my life. And still although I am physically unfit, I am trying to execute the orders of my Guru Maharaja as far as possible. Now, the sadhu’s qualification is he’s merciful, friendly… So the sadhus, they take the risk of becoming friendly and merciful to the fallen, conditioned souls, and they preach the message of Godhead. Therefore their mercy is required. They are merciful, by nature. By nature, they are merciful.

Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Extraordinary Merit
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Hare KrishnaBy Gour Govinda Swami

During his childhood, Sri Jiva Gosvami only enacted the pastimes of Sri Krsna and Balarama. He did not play any other games. He had very nice deities of Krsna and Balarama. Every day he was decorating them, doing srngara, offering worship, offering bhoga and, with concentrated attention, without even blinking his eyes, he would look at the beautiful form of Krsna and offer dandavat pranama to Him. While he was studying, he was thinking of Sri Sri Gaura and Nitai. Once, at night he saw in a dream that Gaura and Nitai are Sri Krsna and Sri Balarama. The wonderfully merciful Sri Gaura and Nitai gave some dust from their lotus feet to Jiva Gosvami. They gave him their blessings and then disappeared. Then his dream broke and he woke up. Then he thought, “Oh, when shall I leave this material world, cut off this material bondage, and completely be engaged in the service of Sriman Mahaprabhu?”

Installation of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai at Bishor Pasa and Pandal program at Kalmakanda (Netrakona), Bangladesh
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Hare KrishnaBy Jayram Das

The Supreme Lord is sat-cit-ananda, the embodiment of eternity, bliss and knowledge and the devotees also derive the same bliss by dint of their constantly remaining engaged in the service of the Lord. His Holiness Subhag Maharaj visited Bishor Pasa, a village in Netrakona district accessible mostly by riverways or by motorcycles via country roads, four years back where he had inspired family to take practice Krishna Consciousness seriously so that others may also follow their footsteps. The same family, having taken initiation from Maharaj in 2013, now constructed a temple for Gaura Nitai in their courtyard…without expecting the least that Maharaj would come to install the deities. Actually there were no deities at all in the first place and no prior arrangements to receive the devotees. Somehow everything got arranged at the last moment. Jayram Prabhu, the leader at ISKCON Netrakona, had a set of Gaura Nitai Deities meant for somebody else and the same were hijacked to Bishor Pasa.

Service Opportunity – Director of ISKCON International Child Protection Office
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Hare KrishnaBy Tamohara das

This is a very important service that oversees our International efforts to protect children. The Director oversees development and implementation of training and educational programs for our temples and devotees throughout the world. Additional responsibilities include oversight and case management of adjudications within our Society of child abuse allegations. A complete list of service responsibilities is given at the end. The ideal candidate would have some experience in education, counseling, or law relevant to child protection. One must also be effective in managing the office, and have excellent communication skills.

Fearless
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Hare KrishnaBy Devaprastha dasa

What is fear? Where does it come from? How can we learn to live a life without it? Srila Prabhupada taught that the essential cause of fear and anxiety is a lack of understanding of the nature of reality − our attachments and perceived loss which occur in the mind are actually illusory. A person who learns this begins to be free from unnecessary mental anguish. So fearless was Srila Prabhupada that, at age 69, he begged a passage on a steamship to the United States of America. Despite suffering two heart attacks during the journey, he arrived in Boston harbour full of optimism that he would be successful.

Who are the leaders in Iskcon?
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Hare KrishnaBy Kesava Krsna dasa

If we look back at our disciplic succession we will find unlikely leaders and acaryas who may not fit our modern day portrayal of leadership as required by Iskcon. Our largely vaidhi and sadhana based lifestyle would probably not accommodate them. If we take Srila Gaura Kishora Dasa Babaji Maharaja for instance, would he fit in comfortably into one of our temples as a leader? He isn’t just a leader, but an acarya recognizable by those possessed of pure spiritual vision. Yet his penchant for seclusion, constant chanting and avadhuta behavior may not endear him very much to those who see with external vision. In fact, hardly anyone would recognize his true worth, and his apparently unproductive contribution to the temple may result in his sadly being asked to leave the temple.

Cures That Work – Devotee Testimonials
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Hare KrishnaBy Gunagrahi das Goswami

Throughout the years we have all sought natural cures for many of the illnesses we have had. In doing so, at times we have met with great difficulty trying to decipher which of the cures would actually be effective, often spending an undue amount of time in research or experimentation, even failing in the end. With the blessings of HH Prahladananda Swami, ISKCON’s Minister of Health, we are beginning a website called “Cures That Work.” It will consist of personal testimonials from devotees who have been successful in treating their illnesses or others’ effectively with natural remedies. If you or an acquaintance from any walk of life would like to submit an account, we encourage you to do so. Please include as many details as possible. Upon acceptance, your submission will be posted on the site as soon as we are up and running, which we hope will be by the end of January. The testimonials should be in English and include your name and also permission for further contact if you are agreeable to being reached by those who seek more information.

Harinam Sankirtan- Real Environmental Action
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Hare KrishnaBy Kavicandra Swami

Concern for the environment is considered by many to be very high, even spiritual, consciousness. As devotees we may not realize our responsibility for the current problems nor understand what we can do about it. Are we peforming the sankirtan yajna enough? In these days of drought, people can gain relief from scarcity of rain and food by the simple method of the Hare Krsna yajna. Indeed, this can relieve all of human society. At present there are droughts throughout Europe and America, and people are suffering, but if people take this Krsna consciousness movement seriously, if they stop their sinful activities and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, all their problems will be solved without difficulty.

Introducing the Narasimha graphic novel
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Hare KrishnaBy Carucandra Dasa.

Experience the story of Lord Narasimha as you have never seen it before. This 84 page, full-color graphic novel will guide readers on a unique journey through a visually stunning narration of the pastime of Lord Narasimha. See how the story unfolds in this captivating presentation of this timeless classic of good versus evil and poetic justice. This year, Mayapur will host it’s third International Leadership Sanga (ILS) from February 24-March 2, 2016 and ISKCON leaders from around the world will gather to take advantage of each others’ realizations, experiences, etc. For those of you who will be attending the ILS, please consider gauging an interest for this book in your region so that you can bring sufficient copies back to your area. For those who will not be attending, contact your local temple representative to find out if they can bring back copies for you when they return from Mayapur.

Jagannath Ratha Yatra at Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia
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Hare KrishnaBy Hari Narayana Das

Banyuwangi is located in East Java and also known as ‘The Gate of Java’ and the ‘Festive City’. There is always some sort of event taking place, whether it be cultural parades, fashion shows or water sports. The oldest and most popular festival in Banyuwangi is known as ‘Kuwung,’ a public parade conducted by the Government. Visitors across Indonesia gather to participate in this festival. The annual parade took place on the 5th of December 2015. In Banyuwangi there is a small temple presided over by Their Lordships Sri Sri Krsna Balarama. When Subhag Swami Maharaj visited Banyuwangi earlier in 2015, he instructed the devotees to try and organize a Ratha Yatra festival.

Srila Prabhupada & Kaliya, ISKCON’s First Cow
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Hare KrishnaBy Madhava Smullen

There’s no doubt that protecting cows was very close to Srila Prabhupada’s heart. In a series of Back to Godhead magazine articles in the mid 1950s, he was already envisioning a community where residents lived a simple life and protected cows. Soon after registering ISKCON in New York in 1966, he began requesting his disciples to start a rural community, asking them to call it “ISKCON-Nagari or New Vrindaban.” And when Hayagriva Das, Kirtananda Swami and a handful of other devotees began New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm, in 1968 in the hills of West Virginia, he urged them to keep cows and bulls there, and to maintain them comfortably throughout their natural lives as their proverbial mothers and fathers. The cow’s milk could be used to create all kinds of staple foods, and their dung dried and used as fuel, he explained. Bulls could pull plows to till the ground for food grains. Together, they offered the chance of a peaceful, self-sufficient life free from the modern world’s stressful rat race and favorable for advancing in Krishna consciousness.

Into The Mouth Of The Dragon
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Hare KrishnaBy Indradyumna Swami

As part of ISKCON’s 50th year celebrations we are working with devotees in China to bring our festival tour there sometime this year.These are 3 short promotional videos we are showing in China to generate interest in our culture, the festival and the personalities involved. We have already received positive feedback from various groups in the Land of the Red Dragon. May Srila Prabhupada be glorified throughout the 3 worlds!

ISKCON of Silicon Valley December Book Marathon Report
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Hare KrishnaBy Sri Krishna Purusottama Das

It turned out to be another historic event, with ISV devotees distributing thousands of books throughout the Bay area and dispatching them to other parts of North America. Book distribution occurred with much enthusiasm during practically all weekends of this MSF. Books were distributed at several Hari Nama performances in Palo Alto and San Francisco. Books were also distributed at different festivals like Govardhan Puja, Pumpkin festival, Cupertino Diwali mela, Pleasanton Diwali Mela, Green festival and Christmas in the park. Devotees also distributed books at ICC, Store to Store Sankirtan, Door to Door Sankirtan, Corporate Sankirtan, Motel Gita Sankirtan, Weekday Sankirtan and Kids Sankirtan. Special yagna was conducted on the day celebrating the Advent of Bhagavad Gita.