By Kumari Sherreitt
It’s a momentous year for ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) all over the world for it is 50 years since Founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada came to West and started the movement, and especially in its ever-growing community in the UK. ISKCON-London Radha-Krishna temple, was the UK’s first temple, and has just celebrated its 46th anniversary of the Deities Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara’s installation. Although the Deities were first installed at another location, they soon after (in the late 1970’s) moved to the present location at 10 Soho Street, right off the hustle of famous Oxford street, in central London. Special guests of the evening, held in a large hall in central London, were three of the six pioneers of ISKCON in the UK: Gurudas das, Malati devi dasi, and Syamasundarda who spok, a little about the past of ISKCON, a little about the present, and most poignantly, to make a plea for commitment to the youth towards the future of the movement.
By Yasoda devi dasi
The bus drove everyone to the temple area. The teachers had sent me a document of 18 questions prior to the day of the excursion. I answered these as a group, as it is a requirement that the students were to discuss and record the answers for an assignment that they will complete back at school after their visit to us. The questions are quite varied and some of the topics include Hare Krsna key beliefs, sense of identity, lifestyle features, history and the like. It was now time for the midday arati. This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience first hand what they had come here to learn about. I had asked permission from the gurukula, if the secondary students would be present at the arati. Anjali led a very powerful kirtana, with most students assisting with playing instruments. The students from Kadina were dancing enthusiastically.
By Madhavendra Puri dasa
“I have been thinking of Mukunda Goswami constantly and praying for him intensely” said Giriraja Swami. Mukunda Goswami’s brother, Tom Grant (an established jazz musician), also asked for prayers on the night of Maharaja’s first surgery, pulling together thousands of correspondents in prayerful thoughts. Niranjana Swami posted: “Please continue with prayers for Mukunda Goswami and as much as possible have kirtanas for him.” Devotees organised kirtanas in New Govardhana, and Krsna Ksetra Swami organised kirtanas in Radhadesh, Belgium, and there were many more around the globe dedicated to Maharaja. “We pray to Radha Madhava that your operation is successful and you give your association again” said Jayapataka Swami, and Lokanatha Swami organised 1,500 devotees on Vraja-mandala parikrama to pray for Mukunda Goswami’s protection and recovery. Many devotees sent prayers and praise including some very senior leaders. Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Laksmimoni Mataji, Malati Mataji, Radhanath Swami, Ramai Swami, Ravindra Swarupa Prabhu, Sivaram Swami, and many other godbrothers, godsisters and wellwishers all sent heartfelt messages. Maharaja is spending some weeks in Murwillumbah Rehabilitation Ward before being discharged.
By Sutapa das
Every December the entire ISKCON world focuses all attention on distribution of transcendental literature, something we all know was so close to Srila Prabhupada’s heart. He was incredibly eager to hear the figures of how many books were being distributed. Indeed, he said it gave him life. When a new book was printed, Prabhupada felt as though he had conquered an empire. He told one disciple – “the best of me is in my books.” At this special time in ISKCON’s history, Bhaktivedanta Manor would like to make an epic offering to His Divine Grace – no less than 100,000 books distributed this Christmas! Last year we distributed 51,000 books, and that was the most successful marathon for 18 years! So this year’s “100k Effort” is a huge operation that requires everyone’s support! It was Srila Prabhupada who told us to “think big” and aim to “double it”. We hope, pray and sincerely request every single devotee to make a contribution to this momentous effort – be part of history in the making!
By Basu Ghosh Das
After years of struggles of various types, including having to overcome a number of legal hurdles, ISKCON has inaugurated the beginning of a grand project at Jagannath Puri by performing the bhumi puja and installation of Ananta Shesha on the 18 acre ISKCON project land in a grand ceremony that was attended by thousands of devotees who participate in an annual three day Puri Parikrama (circumambulation of Jagannath Puri) organized by Bhakti Purushottam Swami, ISKCON’s Governing Body Commissioner for much of Eastern India, including his native Odhisha (formerly “Orissa”). Seven to eight thousand devotees, mainly from Bengal and Orissa, but also from other parts of India and abroad attended this years Puri Parikrama. Teachers and students of the Bhaktivedanta Academy at Sridham Mayapur performed the bhumi puja rituals. Headed by the Academy Dean Pritivardhana Das, the boys performed homas to satisfy Lord Jagannath. Later on Krishna Chaitanya Das assisted Lokanath Swami in the installation of the Deity of Ananta Shesha, the expansion of Lord Vishnu who is the supporting power holding up the universe, in the ground where the foundation of the Radha Krishna temple will be constructed.
By Romapada Swami
Keeping Krishna in the center doesn’t mean we have no relationships with others; rather, we then have the proper perspective of our spiritual relationship with all beings. In the last several decades, after having made the state secular, carefully keeping any mention of God out of educational institutions and relegating religion to a sort of personal hobby or an unofficial non-governmental Social Welfare agency, there has been no dearth of researches and reform movements and humanitarian efforts targeting the upliftment of others, seeking in various ways to help people. Thousands of good-willed social scientists, educators & psychologists are all trying their very best to come up with improved methods for character education for children, and so on. For all that effort, the world should be becoming increasingly more peaceful, people becoming increasingly courteous and loving and accommodating of each other etc – but any objective and discerning onlooker can see that the trend is in the reverse, with crime, fraud and social unrest on the rise every day; even neighbors think twice to trust each other and so on.
By Manu Shah
How does one balance the material world with the spiritual world? I can only speak for myself. I have to put my spiritual life first. In order for me to do that I have to put in the time, early in the day. I’m always up by 3 or 4 in the morning doing my meditation. My wife and I are up early and we do our japa, our offerings. We try to get centred early in the morning and then everything else comes after that. If I can’t go to the temple, then I watch the arati on the Internet. I take care of the deities in the house, make an offering to the guru, read the scriptures. If I put all those activities in the beginning of the day, then the rest of the day kind of just flows
By Urmila Devi Dasi
National holidays, and even religious festivals such as Christmas, are often occasions for diving into intoxication, illicit sex, and materialistic life in general. If we wish to raise our children to be absorbed only in thoughts of Lord Krishna, how should we treat these secular holidays? One approach is, as far as possible, to ignore them. We can tell our children that although the preparations they see around them—sometimes for weeks before the holiday—are certainly attractive, we are interested only in celebrating the Lord’s glories. Children can be satisfied and happy without getting into mundane festivities, especially if their year is full with one exciting devotional festival after another. Adults often think, however, that because their children will hanker for what glitters all around them, the children must have at least a little of the outside celebration in order not to feel resentful or deprived. Our children should grow up convinced that the happiness of Krishna’s devotees surpasses all the happiness of the material world—even a party.
By Nrsimha Krsna das
We don’t have chance to do public sankirtan here in Turkey yet, however we use every chance to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. Our Srila Prabhupada Marathon started with an exhibition called Natura Festiva. We attended this prestigious Exhibition from 26 to 29 Nov which was held in Istanbul. We had a stand there for 4 days. I must admit that it was the best preaching activity for us in public. The exhibition was opening from 11:00 and lasting till 19:00 every day. We had a 4,50 sqm stand which we decorated with our books and other preaching materials. The best part of this event for our small yatra to see many of our devotees getting different services and involving in direct preaching with Turkish public. In 4 days we sold 63 Srila Prabhupada books, distributed prasadam, got almost 200 e-mails from visitors and thousands of people got darshan of Srila Prabhupada and Hare Krsna Maha Mantra. There was a lot of interest to our stand. Devotees were shining in the exhibition area.
By Samapriya devi dasi
Small children are completely dependent upon their mother’s care, who is always attentive to their every need, in every way, all the time. Many children of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples were obliged to make a great sacrifice when they were very young. These children were asked to give up there mother’s constant loving care, for the benefit of the suffering conditioned souls in the world. Their mother’s were soldiers in Lord Caitanya’s army. Some were book distributors on the front lines of a great war against the material energy. Others were part of the intricate network that fueled, supported, and maintained the desire of Srila Prabhupada, to flood the earth with transcendental knowledge in the form of his books. Srila Prabhpada was the orchestrator of the greatest Brihat Mrdanga ever sounded. It’s tumultuous calls awakened the fortunate, to the opportunity of perfecting their lives.
By Indradyumna Swami
There was a prolonged silence, and I sensed something was wrong. Finally, his voice choked with emotion, he replied, “Mom passed away last night.” I was stunned. “What happened?” I asked. “I talked to Mom only last night!” “I know,” he said. “She had been battling cancer for six months. She didn’t want to tell you.” Collecting myself, I said, “Cancer! Did she say anything at the end?” “Yes, she did,” he replied. “She said, ‘Don’t lament for me! I’m not this body. I’m eternal spirit soul. I’ll never die. I’m going to Krsna!’ With those words on her lips, she passed away.” I couldn’t believe it. My mother, the intellectual who never went to church, who never inquired about God debated His very existence was “going to Krsna!”
By Gregory Recently, I was thinking and reading about Vrindavan. I thought about how it would be to go to Vrindavan. How does it happen? How would I do it? To learn, I checked and researched. I found the ISKCON Vrindavan website. I saw Visit Vrindava…
By Anand caitanya dasa
Every year the Aqua Foundation groups organizes the World Aqua Congress on a specific theme related to environment and invites abstract of papers from speakers all around the country. The IX world Aqua Congress was centered on the theme of reviving traditional water and environment conservation techniques. GEV’s abstract on the paper “Integrated Water Conservation and Protection Schemes for Rural Location” was accepted for the Conference. Following the award ceremony GEV was invited to present that paper to the various delegates present there. The conference was attended by various corporate heads, Government authorities, university professors, NGOs etc. The “Aqua Excellence Awards” are the highest awards given by Aqua Foundation to its members, stakeholders and contributors in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the field of water, environment, energy, earth sciences, atmospheric sciences, planetary sciences, pollution control and sustainability solutions.
ISV CHAD Team: We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all our CHAD members who took up Kartik 2015 CHAD challenge. Now is the time to report your performance.
By Isvara Krishna Dasa The Bhagavad-gita is no doubt a major spiritual treatise and one of the world’s greatest classics. Understanding that a hierarchical concept of reality characterizes the Gita can help us see coherence of the Gita’s message. The …
By Satyaraja Dasa The seventeenth-century mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal formulated a pragmatic argument for justifying belief in God. Which is worth the risk of error, Pascal questioned, belief or non-belief? It is wise, he said, to “wager” o…
By Rasa Purusha Dasa At the junction of two ages, amidst two immense armies arrayed on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, Arjuna scans his foes and becomes confused. When Krishna expounds eternal dharma to enlighten him, Arjuna addresses Krishna as pavitr…
By Urmila devi dasi
Throughout most of the world, religious organizations have primary and secondary schools where students can gain knowledge and experience of their tradition in the context of academic learning. Whereas in some countries nearly all schools are religiously based, it is far more the norm in most nations for various religious denominations to have schools side by side with secular educational institutions. Some countries, such as New Zealand and the Netherlands, offer a wide range of support, including financial, to religious schools. In most nations with secular governments, however, a religious school is a private enterprise that exists primarily due to the dedication of staff and parents.
With the bright lights from the London skyline seeping into the ninth floor room at EY, one of the “big four” international professional services firms, Radhanath Swami gave spoke at their Diwali cultural showcase, “Life Beyond Borders”. As is tradition, he began with the chanting of ancient mantras, which created a mood of serenity. Regardless of background, when the Swami folds his hands, and bursts the pin-drop silence with his elongated “Aum,” you sense that something special is about to happen. Yeohan Kim, an actor with MTV, thought the same: “I heard about the Swami and his incredible story through Russell Brand and he didn’t disappoint. His words were refreshing and were like nuggets of wisdom.”
By Mahatma Das
What follows are the main principles I teach in my marriage workshop entitled Sacred Union, The laws of relationship. Following these principles can help a bad marriage become good, a good marriage become better, and turn around a marriage that seems doomed to fail. I, and many others, have found these principles extremely valuable in creating a good marriage. Please put these principles into practice in your marriage and share them with as many people as possible. These principles are common sense, yet both profound and extremely effective, and they can be successfully used by anyone.
Gunacuda Dasi: We have an immediate vacancy for a suitably qualified teacher for our lovely class of eighteen 9 and 10 year old students.
By Madhava Smullen
“My parents had eight kids, so we didn’t really go out to eat – my mother just cooked constantly to feed us all,” she says. “So being around it all the time, I started cooking myself when I was a little kid. I baked my first brownies at the age of seven.” But with all that good old-fashioned home cooking, Dharmakala never tasted anything quite like the Sunday Feast at the Hare Krishna temple in Ocean City, Maryland, in 1972 – “It was totally out of this world,” she says. And it was this that would lead to her cooking for Lord Krishna, and becoming synonymous with New Vrindaban’s celebrated history of prasadam baking.
By Devaprastha das
Govinda’s is home to a vegetarian cafe, and is the local ISKCON Temple. The presiding Deities are Sri Sri Pancha Tattva. The devotees are well known and liked in the area, and have been in this location for the last 15 years, led by Tarakanath prabhu. The community of devotees is a wonderful, selfless community, and, as well as being generous of heart, also have a great sense of humour and compassion. There are regular well attended programs, Harinamas, prasadam and book distribution going on. It is heartbreaking to think that such a wonderful group of individuals, who give so much, have been prey to such a heartless, selfish and violent act.
By Krishna-kripa das
One day Bhaktimarga Swami and some followers and devotees on the New York City Harinam team chanted from Union Square Park to Tompkins Square Park. There we chanted around the famous Hare Krishna tree. Bhaktimarga Swami and those who walked with him, even part of the way, from Boston to Butler, Pennsylvania, and then finally to Manhattan, shared realizations, and Abhiram Prabhu and I told stories about the supernatural events that take place at the Hare Krishna tree.
By Chandan Yatra Das
The Srimad-Bhagavatam mentions that Lord Balarama visited Kanyakumari in the course of His pilgrimage. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also visited Kanyakumari during His South India tour. In the year 1510, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Kanyakumari. In Vrindavana, in the forest of Bhandiravan, there is a murti of Sridama. When Krishna and Balarama were leaving Vrindavana, Krishna told Sridama that He will be back in few days and Sridama said that he will wait. Under a banyan tree, in the forest of Bhandiravan, Sridama waited for Sri Krishna and for 4500 years he waited. During His visit to Vrindavana Lord Caitanya came to Bhandiravan and He cried out with tears of separation, “Sridama, Sridama… I have come. You have been waiting for so long, I have come, I have come.” Lord Caitanya in the mood of Krishna embraced the deity of Sridama.
By Manu Shah
Back in the 1960s and 1970s Hare Krishna was considered to be a cult. There were a lot of people who thought it was a crazy thing to do — it wasn’t legitimate, it wasn’t authorised, it was another cult like the Moonies. People didn’t understand that it is a very ancient religious tradition, based on ancient scriptures like the Bhagwad Gita. You had to constantly explain that to people. That was the challenge: Trying to differentiate us, Hare Krishnas, from the rest of the crazy things that were going on in the 1960s and 1970s.
By Giriraj Swami
If we are at all aware of how dependent we are on God—for the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and our very ability to eat and drink and breathe, to think and feel and do everything else we do—we will feel grateful and want to reciprocate God’s kindness. We will want to do something for He (or She or They) who has done, and continues to do, so much for us. We often take things for granted until we lose them. I use my right hand to chant on meditation beads, and one morning I found that I had severe arthritic pain in my hand and could no longer use it for chanting. I had taken the use of my hand for granted, but when I lost its use, I resolved to never take my hand for granted and to always use it in the best way in God’s service.
By Kumari Kunti Dasi
November 2015 will be a month remembered in worry and fear for Muslims all over Europe, after the Paris attacks, yet again marked the tensions their religious community faces in Europe and the rest of the world. Just a week before the attacks, from Oct. 26 – Nov 2nd, youth from all over Europe were building a network of peace and connection at the Religions for Peace Interfaith Youth Conference, in San Gandolfo Italy. The outcome of the event was simple and hopeful – friendships and knowledge can break any barriers. ISKCON-London was one of six other religious partners, sending five youth and one facilitator to the training conference entitled “Empowering Youth in Interfaith and Multicultural Peace Action” at the Focolare’s Mariopolis Centre in Castel Gandolfo, Italy.
By Dwaipayan De Hence, although the situation seems to be very gloomy in this dark age of quarrel and hypocrisy, and people in general are ignorant and averse to spirituality, still there is a ray of hope in the form of chanting of the holy names of th…
By Jay Cheshes
Alfred Ford might have been any old corporate road warrior, in his pressed khakis and soft traveling shoes. He had come up from Calcutta, a three-hour drive along dusty roads clogged with mule-drawn carts, arriving in Mayapur, West Bengal, to look in on a big building project rising near a bend in the Ganges River. In his VIP suite, across from the site, he slipped into a loose-fitting kurta and wraparound dhoti, a strand of beads creeping out from under his Indian shirt. A murmur of song began to rise in the distance. He caught the tune, barely moving his lips. “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.” For 40 years Ford has been repeating the mantra just as his guru instructed, 1,728 times daily, counting off under his breath while fingering beads tucked in a cloth bag around his neck.
By Nimai Lila das
Over the past few years, Govardhan Eco Village(GEV) has been making steady attempts to generate positive change waves on the social and environmental front through its multifarious programs and projects. GEV is frequently visited to witness a working model of spiritual ecology demonstrated with its efforts in areas like Organic Farming, Cow Care, Green building, Community living, Integrated waste management, Alternative Energy generation, Education, Rain water conservation, Floriculture and biodiversity projects. Today GEV is an acclaimed ecovillage showcasing a Symbiotic Development Model, wherein it utilizes natures intelligent design where in every system works in harmony with another.
Alicia: Available positions include server and line cook. Server duties include register, light food prep, stocking goods, and maintaining cleanliness.
Prabhupada Prana Das: ISKCON SCOTLAND @ KARUNA BHAVAN are currently looking for volunteers to reside and be trained as brahmacaris (celibate monks).
By Sri Nandanandana dasa These days fewer people are interested in taking up anything that they cannot immediately apply to their lives. The common question is: “What is this going to do for me?” Or “What am I going to get out of this?” So if we canno…
By Vijaya Dasa
Two countries increased the most in October: Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan. Sri Lanka increased by 999%, with 4,111 book points. We haven’t seen a lot of book distribution there, but from now on we’ll probably see more. Just as in Sri Lanka, Ravana was defeated by Lord Ramacandra, similarly, maya will be overcome by Krsna in the form of books whenever people receive and read them. Kazakhstan also increased by 999%, with 3,964 book points. Despite all the difficulties these devotees have faced, they continued distributing books, and Krsna has rewarded them. All glories to their determination! Srila Prabhupada said, “If our books are distributed nationwide, that is the success of our movement.” (Letter dated 14 September 1974)
This year being the 500th anniversary of Sri Chaitanya’s visit to Vrindavan, Radhanath Swami extensively spoke on the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya from His biographies, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat. The talk was translated into eight languages. Following in the tradition of Sri Chaitanya, who emphasized sankirtan – the congregational chanting of the holy names of Sri Krishna, every evening after the talk devotees from many nations held hands and danced in kirtan. Devotees from United States and China, from Russia and Ukraine, from Iran and Saudia Arabia called out the holy names in one voice, for the wellbeing of the entire world. The devotional celebrations ended every night with each devotee offering a lamp to Sri Krishna, with heart-felt devotion.
By Padmapani das
As we entered the Pacific Coliseum, Mahesh Prabhu and I headed for the floor, our saffron bags filled with books, magazines and incense. The crowd was obviously excited as we gradually walked to the front of the stage distributing our spiritual goods along the way. “Hare Krishna” people shouted. Many of George’s fans knew that he had an affinity towards our movement, so they were very friendly and supportive. When the concert began, George appeared on stage wearing a number of badges with spiritual pictures and “om” signs. His neck was adorned with tulasi beads. Mahesh Prabhu pulled out a large hardbound edition of Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book, which had been published with the help of a kind donation by George Harrison himself. When Mahesh got to the front row, he held the Krishna Book high in the air so that George could possibly see it from the stage. As he made his way towards Mahesh, George in fact noticed Srila Prabhupada’s book. His eyes lit up and a large smile beamed across his face as he bowed his head in respect. Since Mahesh was a big fan of the Beatles before joining ISKCON, he was thrilled to have this simple transcendental exchange with one of his old heroes. What an auspicious start to George Harrison’s 1974 tour.
By Purushottam Nitai Dasa
After the Mahabharat war ended, Krishna asked Arjuna to get down from the chariot first. But Arjuna requested Krishna to get down first. Krishna advised Arjuna to do what he is being asked to do. So Arjuna got down first and then Krishna followed. And as soon as Krishna got down, it blew up and burned to ashes. Arjuna was horrified. Krishna explained that the weapons unleashed by Bhisma, Drona and other Kaurava warriors were extremely powerful but because of him the lethal weapons did not harm Arjuna a bit. Arjuna always remained safe in Krishna’s hand. Krishna, the all-powerful and all merciful is our only saviour.
By the GBC
Attendees: Ramai Swami (RS) Gauranga Simha Dasa (GSD) Hari Lila Dasa (HLD) Kaunteya Dasa Romapada Swami (RPS) Ramanipati Dasa (RD) Ganga Dasa (GD) Pancaratna Dasa Japataka Swami (JPS) Krsna Nam Dasa (KND) Sankarshan Nitai Dasa (SND) Tapan Misra dasa Bhakti Purusottama Swami (BPS) Vaikuntha Nitai Dasa (VND) Bhakti Caru Swami (BCS) Gopijana Vallabha dasa (GVD) Gopal Krsna Goswami (GKG) Brajavilas dasa (BVD) Praghosa Dasa (PD) Sri Madhava Gauranga Dasa (MGD) Hrday Caitanya Dasa (HCD) Bhadra Caru Dasa (BCD) Kadamba Kanana Swami (KKS)
By Bhayahari das
ISKCON of DC: This week we discuss a number of essential practices of bhakti yoga, including the care of the sacred plant, Tulsi devi. Srila Prabhupada: I am very glad to learn that Srimati Tulasi-devi has favored you so much. If you actually grow this Tulasi plant, and I am sure you will do it, then you must know it for certain that your devotion for Krsna is testified. I was very much anxious to introduce this worship of Tulasi plant amongst our Society members, but it has not become successful till now, therefore, when I hear that you have got this opportunity, my pleasure does not have any bounds. Tulasi leaf is very, very dear to Visnu. All Visnu-tattva Deities require profusely Tulasi leaves. Lord Visnu likes garland of Tulasi leaves. Tulasi leaves mixed with sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the topmost worship.