A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
ISKCON Artist Displays Paintings at World Conference
Miami Beach, Florida The Cultural Institute For Vedic Arts (CIVA), founded by Yadurani-devi dasi, one of ISKCON's original artists, recently displayed her paintings as part of a meeting of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) at the Fountainbleau Hilton Hotel here. The delegates came from around the world and included members of parliament, government ministers, international religious leaders, and the vice-president of Sri Lanka. The wife of the secretary general of the WCPA told a group of delegates and heads of different Florida Hindu organizations that "Yadurani's art is the most significant art of our times."
"Yadurani's paintings were originally done to illustrate Srila Prabhupada's books, published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Srila Prabhupada knew that art was an important way to interest people in Krsna consciousness, and "Yadurani founded CIVA to enable people to become acquainted with the ancient Vedic cultural tradition through art. As a result of the exhibition at the WCPA convention, Yadurani was invited to speak about Krsna consciousness at the convention itself, as well as at several yoga asramas and the home of the leader of the Florida Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Many of Yadurani's paintings are on display in the spacious lobby of the temple here. known as Govinda's Vaikuntha Building. The hundreds of guests visiting the temple weekly are greatly impressed by the paintings, which help to increase their appreciation for Krsna consciousness.
U.S. Federal Prison Inmates Hear From Krsna's Devotee
Memphis, Tennessee Rupanuga dasa, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada's, recently held a program in the federal prison here. The program was arranged by inmate Stephen Szili with the assistance of the head of the prisons religious programs and one of the wardens. With the approval of the prison chaplain, Stephen holds regular meetings of inmates interested in Krsna consciousness.
Stephen has known about Srila Prabhupada since 1972, but not until two years ago, while in prison, did he decide to become serious about Krsna consciousness. "Now I'm freer and happier than I've ever been," he says. "I've decided to take my failure and make it a pillar of success. By Srila Prabhupada's divine grace I know I'll never return to crime again."
Rupanuga's visit was the first by a devotee to the federal prison and was an encouraging sign that programs on Krsna consciousness can be held at other prisons with the support of the prison staff.
Swedish Museum Hosts Radha-Krsna Temple
Stockholm, Sweden A team of Swedish Hare Krsna devotees headed by Vegavan dasa recently opened an authentic Radha-Krsna temple in the Ethnographic Museum here. The museum announced the temple's grand opening, which was reported on Swedish national radio.
The temple is part of the museum's exhibit on Indian culture and includes daily Deity worship, chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and other devotional songs, and even the traditional Hare Krsna Sunday Feast. About half a million people will visit the museum this year and will have the opportunity to see the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Radharamana and learn something of the essence of India's spiritual heritage.
The European division of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which publishes Srila Prabhupada's books in nineteen languages, recently released a graph showing which of the more than fifty books have been translated from English and published in the various languages. Almost all of the books are available in German, Italian, Swedish, and French. The first seven Cantos of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, as well as several other books, are available in Polish. Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is has been published in sixteen of the nineteen languages, including Russian, Hebrew, South Croatian, and Greek.
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ISKCON's traveling Ratha-yatra/Festival of India recently completed a summer tour with a Festival of India in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Ratha-yatra, an ancient Indian religious and cultural festival, was introduced in the West with the first San Francisco Ratha-yatra in 1967.
This summer the festival crew, headed by Madhuha dasa, began with a Ratha-yatra parade down Boston's streets that culminated in a festival at the famous Commonwealth Park. The crew then moved on to New York for a parade down Fifth Avenue and a festival in Washington Square Park, where Srila Prabhupada first chanted in public after coming to America. The festival then went to Atlantic City, Toronto; Montreal, Boulder, Laguna Beach, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.
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The Indian division of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust recently published Bhagavad-gita As It Is in Malayalam, the language spoken by most of the people of the Indian state of Kerala.
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ISKCON's pada-yatra (walking pilgrimage) is now spending the rainy season in New Delhi, after' having traveled through the Himalayas during the summer. The pada-yatra left Delhi in April and visited the Himalayan shrines of Badrinatha and Kedarnatha. On the return journey the devotees passed through Chandigarh, where they held large programs, and Kuruksetra, where Lord Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-gita five thousand years ago.