A look at the worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

Demonstrations Spotlight Abuse of Soviet Devotees of Krsna

Recent demonstrations by Hare Krsna devotees in Reykjavik, Vienna, and Stockholm have attracted much media coverage and helped to increase public awareness of the plight of members of the Hare Krsna movement in the Soviet Union. Devotees in the Soviet Union are denied the right to freely practice Krsna consciousness. They are sometimes imprisoned or placed in psychiatric hospitals and administered heavy doses of drugs.

Every Town and Village

In Reykjavik, Janesvara dasa and Parvata Muni dasa staged a seventy-two-hour hunger strike outside the Saga Hotel, where members of the Soviet delegation and Soviet media stayed during the meetings between Premier Gorbachev and President Reagan. Devotees distributed copies of the Russian language edition of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is to the Soviet delegation.

In Vienna, Austrian devotees of Krsna chanted the Hare Krsna mantra and picketed the conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe while peace talks were going on between U.S. Secretary of State, George Schultz, and USSR Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze. Kirtiraja dasa, chairman of the Committee to Free the Soviet Hare Krishnas, gave Shevardnadze a Russian Bhagavad-gita. A photo of the devotees' demonstration appeared in the international edition of Newsweek.

In Stockholm, two hundred fifty devotees marched on the Soviet embassy, carrying signs, banners, torches, and flags. At the gates of the embassy, Mr. S. L. Sharma, president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Denmark, addressed reporters, calling the persecution of the Soviet Hare Krsna devotees "an insult to the Indian population."

Devotee Publishes Book on Vegetarianism

New York City—Bala Books recently announced the publication of Food for the Spirit: Vegetarianism and the World Religions, by Steven Rosen (Satyaraja dasa). The book includes a Preface by Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, an avid proponent of vegetarianism. Mr. Singer writes, "Author Steven Rosen . . . .correctly points out that various philosophers and religious leaders have tried to convince their following that animals are nothing more than machines, put on earth for our pleasure, with no purpose of their own. Mr. Rosen smashes this idea, however, and every reader who is predisposed to the vegetarian ideal will enjoy his logic and reason in doing this."

In Food for the Spirit, Rosen explores the often misunderstood vegetarian teachings of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Rosen argues that although compassion for animals is one of the essential truths of the world's great scriptures, that truth has often been adjusted, maligned, condemned, and erased to suit the whims of political and religious figures.

Food for the Spirit is available at bookstores and health food stores, as well as directly from Bala Books. See "Resources," page 26.