A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Lord Rama Float in Moomba Parade
Melbourne, Australia At the annual Moomba parade held here recently, the Hare Krsna float, entitled "Triumph of Lord Rama," won the Lord Mayor's Award for the most entertaining entry. A crew of Melbourne devotees, led by Bhakta dasa, worked for three months to prepare the float which was based on India's ancient epic Ramayana. The float depicted Lord Rama (portrayed by Melbourne temple president Balarama dasa) and His brother Laksmana (Manu dasa), along with an army of monkey soldiers, battling Ravana, an evil multiheaded king.
As described in the Ramayana, Lord Rama attacked Ravana to free Sita, Rama's devoted wife, whom Ravana had kidnapped and was holding in captivity. At the peak of the battle, Lord Rama killed Ravana by firing an arrow into his heart.
On the float, Ravana his five heads and four arms twisting from side to side roared out in agony over the loudspeakers, an arrow protruding from his chest. On and around the float, Lord Rama and his monkey soldiers fought with Ravana's demonic followers. At the back of the float, two trident-wielding witches tormented Sita (Mohini-devi dasi) as she waited to be rescued by Rama. And while these scenes were being enacted, in front of the float eighty blissful devotees chanted and danced.
The premier of the state of Victoria, Mr. Cain; the mayor of Melbourne, Councilman Trevor Huggard; and 400,000 other spectators applauded as the prize-winning float moved past.
After the parade, devotees distributed ten thousand packets of prasadam (vegetarian food offered to Krsna) and thirty thousand books and magazines on Krsna consciousness to people who came to see the float.
Krsna Consciousness A Popular New Religion In West Africa
Lagos, Nigeria Hare Krsna Food for Life has become very popular in this country, and one of the biggest radio stations in the country invites people to participate whenever the food distribution programs are held. The state police commissioner has given the devotees a special permit and provided police to maintain order at the heavily attended programs. Many individuals and companies have come forward to help sponsor the mass food distribution.
The British Broadcasting Corporation recently ran a documentary on new religious movements in Africa's west coast countries. The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Reverend Dr. Anthony Okogie, appearing on the program with a panel of other religious leaders, expressed his appreciation of the Hare Krsna movement for its "brotherly fellowship." "Sooner or later we shall catch up with them," the bishop said. Summarizing their assessment of the new religions, the panelists stated: "In contrast to groups that sometimes work against the peace and stability of the country, the Hare Krsna movement has something unique to offer."
At the annual general meeting of the Nigeria-Russia Association, devotees distributed more than eighty copies of Srila Prabhupada's Russian Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
Freetown, Sierra Leone Bhaktitirtha Swami, ISKCON's Governing Body Commissioner for West Africa, recently presented a set of thirty of Srila Prabhupada's books to state president J. S. Momoh. Bhaktitirtha Swami and Mr. Momoh discussed at length how to apply the philosophy of Krsna consciousness to state management. Part of their meeting was broadcast on national television. Mr. Momoh is one of several West African heads of state who have received Srila Prabhupada's books from Bhaktitirtha Swami, who regularly corresponds with the presidents of Zambia and Ghana.
Warri, Nigeria Bhaktitirtha Swami recently initiated seventy disciples here and performed a joint wedding for six Hare Krsna couples. The wedding and the festivities that followed were a grand celebration and were covered in several local magazines and newspapers.