Change of political heart in Kazakhstan
All nine ISKCON centers in Kazakhstan have successfully re-registered under a new religious law passed by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Under the new law, devotees will be legally allowed to teach and preach Krishna consciousness in what the law calls a "Cult House," meaning a temple, church or mosque or other official place of worship. The new law is more restrictive than past legislation in that it now prohibits any activity outside a religious organization's building viz. public chanting, book distribution, and other public preaching programs.
However B.B.Govinda Swami sees it as a step forward for ISKCON Kazakhstan – "I feel that this is a natural development of growth and maturity in both the administrators of ISKCON in Kazakhstan and the administration of the Kazakh Republic."
In the past, relations between ISKCON and the Kazakh government had been rocky. Much of the land owned by the Krishna community in Almaty Oblast was confiscated and two dozen devotees' homes were demolished in 2006 by the local administration, who claimed the buildings had been modified illegally and that the society had failed to register its land properly. Relations have improved over the past few years, and it is hoped that since ISKCON has been allowed to register all of its communities, its members will now be able to practice their faith undisturbed.
ISKCON continues to grow organically in Kazakhstan, with six hundred initiated devotees and many thousands of congregation members.
High Rank Politicians Participate in Diwali Celebration at Bhaktivedanta Manor
the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP to Bhaktivedanta Manor Diwali's festival; prominent leaders of the Hindu community congregated to meet him. whole catalogue of initiatives in volunteering, aid and social work that are performed by the Hindu community.
Mr Pickles stated: "I am happy to be here at Bhaktivedanta Manor and I am very impressed with the devotion and the service of all the volunteers of this community. They are putting so much back into society in a selfless manner and I am particularly impressed by the helping of the most vulnerable and needy.
"This is my first time at Bhaktivedanta Manor and I have been overwhelmed by the hospitality and received, and I am inspired by the Hindu community working together for the good of all".
Festival of Spirit in Southampton, UK
Around 80 locals got to experience lively musical kirtan, a play and a delicious feast. Many stopped to chat afterwards, and the local Hare Krishna meeting received a membership boost. The monks from the Manor travel down every week for a few days to meet locals and hold a class at the university.
Vaishnava Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Aims for Servant Leadership
In the US elections on November 6th, former Honolulu City Councilwoman and Democratic State Representative Tulsi Gabbard became the first practicing Hindu to be elected to the u.s. House of Representatives. She describes the Bhagavad-gita as being her primary scripture, and follows the path of Bhakti yoga, or loving devotion to God.
"I learned from an early age that true happiness comes from being of service to others and not just living for oneself," she says. Two verses from the Gita in particular came to Tulsi's mind. "That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible," Lord Krishna says in chapter two, text 17. "No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul." And in text 23 he says, "The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind." As she says, "No matter where I go, I have my japa mala-meditation beads-with me, so whenever I have a spare moment I rest my mind and heart in the Holy Names."