A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Bangalore: Spiritual Culture Going Strong
Bangalore, the capital of the South Indian state of Karnataka (formerly Mysore), is known for textiles, for a verdure that has made it the nation's "garden city," and for a prodigious spiritual heritage, notably in the realm of dance and music.
Since ISKCON opened a center there in 1977, people have responded warmly. In the metropolitan area alone, more than 350 have become life members, and recently a man in neighboring Gujarat state donated 100 choice acres.
This past July, the devotees gave Bangalore something its first full-scale Festival of the Chariots, or Ratha-yatra. (The festival originated some twenty centuries ago in Puri, Orissa, and it is usually associated with that place.) At any rate, twenty-five thousand people came out to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and taste prasada, "the Lord's mercy," food offered to Krsna.
Keynoting the festival was Mr. Gundu Rao, Karnataka's Minister for Transport and Tourism. Sampatkumara Bhattacharya, the head priest of the Tirupati temple, spoke highly of ISKCON's founder and spiritual preceptor, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The head priest urged Bangalore residents to work with ISKCON and so keep their spiritual culture going at full strength.
For their own part, the devotees are making Srila Prabhupada's Vedic translations and commentaries available in three local languages. With the renewed interest in Krsna consciousness, they recall his words: "Books are the basis."
Food Relief in Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya: ISKCON Food Relief workers are providing meals for thousands. The food is called prasada, "the Lord's mercy," since it is offered to Lord Krsna. An international team of volunteers works from a pavilion adjacent to the local ISKCON center, and each evening people come for steaming bowls of a Kenyan staple: thick, boiled maize and maraguey beans (which are rather surprisingly similar to Boston baked beans). The cost per serving is half a Kenyan shilling, about five cents. Also, each copy of the Swahili edition of back to godhead contains a coupon entitling the bearer to a free meal,
His Holiness Brahmananda Svami, coordinator of ISKCON's African Mission, recently announced plans to open a second food distribution center in the Kenyan port city Mombasa, where a generous donation of land has been received.
The African food distribution program receives backing from ISKCON Food Relief's international headquarters in New York City.
Graphics Awards for Back To Godhead
In its recent DESI competition, Graphics: USA conferred two awards on back to godhead's designer, one for editorial design and the other for a cover. Additional awards went to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust for its 1978 calendar and the cover of a recent book, Teachings of Lord Kapila.
Arts Dean Appreciates Srila Prabhupada's Books
Not long ago. Dr. V. P. Singh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at North India's Benares Hindu University, made this assessment of Srila Prabhupada's books: "The author has shown vast erudition and unparalleled genius in his unique presentation of pure philosophy and transcendental science. I especially appreciate his translation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.After carefully going over the deep and inspiring thoughts of the author, I feel that I have discovered an unequaled body of literature which has both scholastic quality and devotional impact. I can think of no more qualified person than Srila Prabhupada to have given us such a clear picture of the message of the Vedic literature, for he himself is a true follower of that very message. The evidence of Srila Prabhupada's sincerity of purpose is found in his great success in spreading Vedic culture here and abroad. His writings have created such an impact that they now appear in thirty languages in over one hundred countries. I hope that every sincere seeker of truth and higher knowledge will find repose in the books of His Divine Grace."