Devotees Welcome Peace Cruise
Natchez, Mississippi For the past twenty-five years, fifty Americans have been traveling to the Soviet Union each summer to join one hundred Russians in a peace cruise down the Volga River. This year fifty Russians joined one hundred Americans on a cruise down the Mississippi River. When the famous paddlewheeler Delta Queen docked here on its way from St. Louis to New Orleans, ISKCON devotees took part in the welcoming ceremonies, presenting the Russian visitors with Russian Krsna books and Bhagavad-gitas.
Rupa Vilasa dasa, former headmaster of the ISKCON's gurukula (school) in Vrndavana, spoke first in a series of "Prayers for Peace" presented by the different religions of the Natchez area and by Russian Orthodox Archbishop Agafangar, a cruise member. Rupa Vilasa read Srila Prabhupada's essay The Peace Formula, which explains how to achieve lasting peace through Krsna consciousness.
During the press conference that followed, Jnanagamya dasa asked reporters from the U.S.S.R., "Why are devotees of Krsna still being held in labor camps and prisons in the Soviet Union?" A reporter fromIzvestia, the second largest paper in the Soviet Union, answered, "The policies of glasnost are the reversal of such previous policies. I hope the devotees will be freed very soon, even while the Peace Cruise is going on. They should not be held, for they have done nothing wrong."
The devotees spoke with several persons from the Soviet Union who expressed concern for the incarcerated devotees. Russian cosmonaut Gorgy Grechko promised to help, but he needed the names of the imprisoned devotees. Jnanagamya dasa phoned Ranganatha dasa, president of ISKCON New Orleans, who went down to meet the cruise when it docked in New Orleans. He delivered a list of the imprisoned devotees' names and locations to a Russian reporter, who promised to give it to the cosmonaut.
Temple Donated to ISKCON in Gujarat
Vallabha Vidyanagar, Gujarat On Janmastami, the anniversary of Lord Krsna's appearance, devotees installed the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari here in the former home of Sri Fulabhai Girdharbhai Patel. A couple of years ago, the 85-year-old Mr. Patel had a dream in which he heard devotees chanting Hare Krsna in his home. A voice told him to donate his house to the Hare Krsna devotees for a temple of Radha-Krsna. At that time Mr. Patel had never heard of ISKCON. Two days later ISKCON devotee Rajasuya dasa came to see Mr. Patel to ask about renting part of his house. Mr. Patel told him enthusiastically, "I don't want to rent you part of the house I want to give you the whole house!"
Before he passed away, Mr. Patel saw the plans for the temple room that would be built in his former house, which has twenty rooms and was at one time used as a hostel.
Vidyanagar is a college town with twenty-five thousand students. Every day about a hundred students visit the temple, which is run by Bhakti Raghava Swami, founder of the Bhaktivedanta Youth Services in Calcutta.
Industrialist Sri K. K. Patel, of the Nirma washing powder group, laid the cornerstone for ISKCON's new project in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which will include a temple, a guesthouse, a community hall, and vegetarian restaurants. Sri R. K. Trivedi, the governor of Gujarat, presided over the function, which was attended by five thousand persons. Fifty thousand attended the Janmastami celebrations at ISKCON's present temple in Ahmedabad.
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Despite a strike of all rail and road transportation in Madhya Pradesh, India, on Janmastami day eighty thousand persons attended the festivities at ISKCON's Hyderabad temple. Among the special guests were the governor of Madhya Pradesh, Kumudben M.Joshi, and the international head of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Ranganathananda.
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The world-famous singer Anup Jalota inaugurated the three-day Janmastami festival at ISKCON's temple in the Punjabhi Bagh section of New Delhi. The festival was televised for one hour on a national network program.