The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Krsna's Cafe Gains Soviet Public's Interest
Leningrad, U.S.S.R.—Cafe Sankirtana, the Soviet Union's first Hare Krsna vegetarian restaurant has established itself in this culturally progressive city. A broad clientele of students, artists, scientists, philosophers, and other professionals are attracted to the atmosphere of the restaurant. The devotees dress in dhotis and saris, and they chant devotional songs every evening. Paintings of Krsna decorate the walls.
Keeping its prices low to accommodate the most customers, Cafe Sankirtana offers a prasadam menu of rice, dal, sweet balls, halava, barfi, sabji, lassi and turmeric cookies. The cafe is open seven days a week and has become very popular with the intelligentsia. The cafe serves more than a hundred people a day, and many customers donate services and food. Guests express their appreciation by buying Srila Prabhupada's books, writing favorably in the guest book, and lingering in the transcendental atmosphere to discuss spiritual philosophy.
The cafe had to overcome some obstacles in the beginning, as when the government sent Health Department inspectors to close it down. But neither they nor the fire department could find any real faults. They did, however, manage to enjoy prasadam and the purifying environment of the restaurant, leaving cheerfully and favorably impressed. The cafe has also drawn the attention of Leningrad's TV station, which recently broadcast a positive program about the successes of Lord Caitanya's first Soviet restaurant.
Armenian Devotees Offer Food Relief to Quake Victims
Armenia, U.S.S.R.—Reaching out to quake victims here, Hare Krsna devotees successfully organized massive food relief programs. In Yerevan, the state's capital, they established a bakery, producing varieties of bread and traditional Indian sweets to send to stricken cities such as Leninakan and Kirovakan.
Daily cooking fresh bread, kicchari (rice-and-vegetable stew), and more than three hundred liters of hot soup, the devotees touched the shattered lives of thousands of survivors, bringing them spiritual and material solace from the havoc of the catastrophe. A van and a truck were donated, and the Leninakan authorities provided ISKCON with a cafeteria building located in the center of town.
For two months the devotees served residents, Soviet and foreign relief workers, police, military personnel, and even the local prosecutor. All the devotees and team members wore badges exclaiming "Hare Krsna," and most of them wore dhotis or saris, despite the relentless cold. Many recipients responded enthusiastically by accepting books on Krsna consciousness in Armenian, Russian, and English.
The last Soviet Hare Krsna prisoner of conscience to be released from a labor camp, Agvan Arutunyan, gained freedom just in time to come to the aid of his fellow Armenians.
New Radha-Krsna Temple for Italy
Milan, Italy—Devotees recently purchased property for a temple complex here. Located in the Milan region near.Bergamo city, the temple compound comprises two large buildings and several smaller ones. The temple room easily accommodates three hundred guests, and twoprasadam halls seat a hundred guests each. Besides ample office space for the Italian Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and the temple management, there are two spacious kitchens and thirty-five residential rooms.
According to temple president Madhusevita dasa, in the near future the devotees expect to install Deities of Radha-Krsna next to Gaura-Nitai, who are already being worshiped here. The devotees are also planning to begin publishing a monthly Italian Back to Godhead to increase their already exceptional book distribution.
The Hare Krsna Pro-Life Committee participated in an anti-abortion demonstration on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. The demonstration was held in front of San Diego's Twenty-Four-Hour Pain Treatment Building which houses an abortion clinic. Eight devotees carried banners reading "Abortion is Bad Karma," "Roe v. Wade Did Not Repeal the Law of Karma," and "The Fetus is a Person with a Right to Life."
The devotees, whose presence pleased the protest's organizers and drew media attention, chanted the holy names and distributed leaflets propounding the Vedic conclusions. Krsna-kumari-devi dasi was interviewed by the Reader, San Diego's most popular weekly newspaper. The interview resulted in a half-page article, with subsequent dialogues in the paper's Letters to the Editor section that helped define ISKCON's position on the controversy.
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Thirteen million British TV viewers will get a chance to see "Cooking with Kurma," the thirteen-part series on Vedic vegetarian cooking produced by ISKCON Television (ITV). The series will be aired on London Weekend TV and broadcast throughout the London area. Other TV networks, including South Africa's first cable network, are also purchasing broadcasting rights for the show.
"Our intention was to make Srila Prabhupada's recipes available to everyone through the video medium and create interest in Vedic culture and philosophy," says Nrsimhananda dasa of ITV, who is looking forward to marketing the video in the United States.