A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Lord Nrsimhadeva Deity Installed in New Vrindaban
New Vrindaban, West Virginia At a recent festival here, devotees installed the Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva and His eternal associate, Prahlada Maharaja. The seven-foot black Deity of Lord Krsna's half-man, half-lion incarnation is the first full-size Deity of Nrsimhadeva installed in the U.S. At the Hare Krsna farm in the Bavarian Forest, West Germany, devotees worship the Society's only other full-size Nrsimhadeva Deity.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures elaborately describe the activities of Lord Nrsimhadeva. When the demoniac Hiranyakasipu continually harassed his five-year-old son, Prahlada, a pure devotee of the Lord, Nrsimhadeva burst from a stone pillar and effortlessly killed the powerful demon. Lord Nrsimhadeva represents death personified for the demons, but the devotees worship Him with love and devotion as their dearmost protector.
Soma dasa, whose many' sculptures adorn the New Vrindaban community, carved the Nrsimha Deity. Working under the guidance of Srila Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada. New Vrindaban's spiritual leader. Soma dasa consulting regularly with Sampat Kumar Bhattacarya, head of the famous Vyenkatesvara temple in Tirupati, India completed the Deity in only three months. The Deity is modeled according to descriptions of Nrsimhadeva given in the Vedic literature.
The installation ceremony lasted three days. with devotees from throughout the U.S. and Canada participating. Australian-born Gaura-kesava dasa, a brahmana priest fully trained in South India, performed the installation.
Pope Receives Gita in India
Ernakulam, Kerala, India During a recent visit to Kerala, India's southern-most state, His Holiness Pope John Paul II received a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Sarvaisvarya dasa, president of the Trivandrum ISKCON temple, presented the Gita to the Pope at a reception attended by many important religious leaders. On receiving the Gita, His Holiness beamed with delight as he read aloud the title. Pleased to see the young, devotees of the Hare Krsna movement among the elder representatives of various religious institutions, the Pope remarked, "These people are young and calm."
The devotees explained the movement's local and worldwide activities, and the Pope expressed his appreciation.
Addressing a large gathering later on his tour, the Pope mentioned that he had received a copy of Bhagavad-gita from the devotees. His expression of appreciation for the Gita received much press coverage in southern India and thus helped to increase mutual respect among local Christians and Hindus.
ISKCON Expands Leadership
Mayapur, West Bengal At the annual meetings of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission (GBC), held here during Lord Caitanya's Quincentennial celebrations, twenty disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada were blessed to accept disciples on behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Before his passing away in 1977, Srila Prabhupada entrusted the responsibility for governing the Hare Krsna movement to the GBC comprising two dozen of his senior disciples. The GBC oversees all aspects of the movement's activities in spreading Krsna consciousness around the world, including overseeing the responsibility of initiating new members into the Society. The devotees who have been authorized to make disciples have faithfully served Srila Prabhupada for many years in different parts of the world. The introduction of the new gurus into the Society this year is an indication that the movement Srila Prabhupada began twenty years ago is a vital force in the world today and it is continuing to grow according to his desire.