Half a Million Attend Bombay Janmastami

Juhu, Bombay More than half a million guests attended ISKCON's Janmastami celebrations here. The three-day event commemorating the anniversary of Lord Krsna's appearance also included festivities in honor of Indian Independence Day and Vyasa-puja, the appearance anniversary of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of ISKCON. Dignitaries in attendance included Sri Vilas Sawant, Bombay's minister for urban development, who was so impressed with the temple and the festival that he expressed his desire to help ISKCON start a temple in downtown Bombay. Senior Police Inspector of Juhu Shri Shanbag and Assistant Commissioner of Police Shri Garuda also joined in the celebrations.

The programs included an annual favorite the Children's Sunday Dramatic Workshop, which presented the play Govardhana-puja, a Kathak dance on Krsna's childhood pastimes performed by more than fifty children, and a Manipuri dance on Krsna's stealing butter. More than two hundred children competed on stage in events such as story-telling, drawing, fancy dress, and dance.

Bhakti Kala Kshetra, ISKCON Bombay's institute for the performing arts, packed the auditorium for eight days with a festival of bhajanas that included such guests and performers as Hari Om and Nandini Sharan, Arati Mukherjee, Manhar Udhas, Minoo Purshottam, Purshottam Jalota, Anup Jalota, Anuradha Paudwal, Govindprasad Jaipurwala, Nitin Mukesh, Shekar Kalyan, Vijay and Renu Chaudhary, Sanjay Khan, J. Om Prakash, and others.

During the Vyasa-puja celebrations, more than two thousand life members and friends heard and presented homages to Srila Prabhupada. Bombay Mayor Shri Ramesh Prabhoo, speaking in Marathi, commented that he would like to see the name of Juhu Road changed to Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg in honor, of Srila Prabhupada.

During the three-day festival, the devotees distributed 8,062 of Srila Prabhupada's books.

News Briefs

Calling attention to the plight of imprisoned Soviet Hare Krsna devotees, fifty devotees from the New Varsana farm near Auckland, New Zealand, recently held a demonstration outside a theater where a group of touring Russian dancers were performing. The devotees presented the dancers with flower garlands, as well as sweets from Gopal's restaurant. located' across the street from the theater, and asked them to deliver a petition to Mikhail Gorbhachev requesting freedom for the imprisoned Soviet devotees.

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After spending the month of Karttika in Vrndavana, the ISKCON pada-yatra is moving on to Rajasthan and Gujarat. It plans to reach the place where it began Dvaraka, on the west coast of India by March 1988.

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Work on Srila Prabhupada s samadhi in Vrndavana is progressing steadily. The brick structure is gradually disappearing under marble. The devotees in charge of the construction are struggling to keep the flow of high-quality marble coming in. Says project manager Tosana Krsna. "It's a war, but we're winning."

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Devotees recently opened Gopal's Restaurant in downtown Christchurch, New Zealand. Opening night was a great success attended by national press representatives, leading Christchurch council members, members of the city's legal fraternity, the professor of religious studies at Canterbury University, and the city's top restaurateurs. Christchurch's major daily newspaper, the Press, ran an impressive feature article on the restaurant that included three large color photographs.

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Back to Godhead editor in chief Satsvarupa dasa Goswami recently addressed a conference of the southeastern United States branch of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Satsvarupa Maharaja spoke on the contribution of Vedic literature in the modern age. About five hundred persons attended the conference.