he worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Devotees Join in The Great American Meatout
Washington, D.C.—On March 20, ISKCON devotees all over the United States participated in the Great American Meatout, organized by the Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) to inform the public of the benefits of vegetarianism. There were more than five hundred Meatout events across the U.S.
Here in the nation's capital, devotees distributed prasadam (sanctified food offered to Krsna) in a downtown mail and catered a luncheon sponsored by vegetarian congressman Andrew Jacobs of Indiana and attended by two hundred congressmen and aides. The meal was cooked by Visakha-devi dasi and Janesvari-devi dasi. "The guests loved it," said Susan Smith, executive director of FARM, which hosted the luncheon. "Most of them asked for cookbooks."
In San Diego, devotees served twenty-three kinds of prasadam to three thousand people at the Meatout in Balboa Park. The KrishnaFest band chanted Hare Krsna throughout the day. A representative of Animal Advocates said that the devotees' exhibit was the most important one there because it was the most informative.
In Houston, devotees distributed two hundred free lunches of "meatless Texas chili" to office workers and homeless people in front of city hall. The event was reported on local radio and television. The devotees also distributed books and prasadam at the mayor's office.
In Dallas, Yudhisthira dasa appeared on the city's most popular talk show and spoke to twenty thousand Texans about vegetarianism and Krsna consciousness. Kalachandji's Restaurant at the Dallas temple, hosted 250 visitors, who received more than a thousand books and magazines.
Novel Delivers Philosophy of Gita
Dallas, Texas—The Hong Kong branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has published Science of Yoga: The Story of Li Kuang Shi by Tamal Krishna Goswami, a fictional novel about Chinese culture and Krsna consciousness. This is Tamal Krishna Goswami's fourth major book and one of the few novels ever written with themes on Krsna consciousness.
The Story of Li Kuang Shi is set in New York City and reveals the dramatic contrast between the dogma of modern scientific thinking and the ageless spiritual knowledge of the Vedic literature. Li Kuang Shi, a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry, was born in mainland China and is one of the select few to be granted full scholarship to New York's prestigious Columbia University. One day he encounters a devotee of Krsna, and what follows is a confrontation of atheism and religion, of mechanistic science and spirituality, which people of any religious persuasion will be moved by. In the light of the current turmoil in China, The Story of Li Kuang Shi is especially intriguing. The book is being translated into Chinese by Yasomatisuta dasa of ISKCON Hong Kong. For purchasing information, write to Yudhisthira dasa at ISKCON Dallas or call (214) 823-7264 or (214) 823-3078.
Lord Jagannatha's Ratha-yatra chariot rolled through downtown Auckland, New Zealand, as part of the annual Easter Show Opening Parade. Afterwards, Ramai Swami and his Transcendental Rock Band headed up a two-day program at Aotea Square, with prasadam, book distribution, face-painting, video booths, and a boutique.
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ISKCON has lost the association of a valuable devotee, His Holiness Acarya Swami, who died in a car crash in central Spain on May 15.
A disciple of Sripada B. R. Sridhara Maharaja, Acarya Swami had been serving as a preacher of Krsna consciousness outside ISkCON for many years. He joined ISKCON last March at the annual Mayapur festival. Friendly, intelligent learned, and devoted, he quickly became dear to the other ISKCON devotees.
Spanish by birth, he returned to Spain after the festival to help speed the work of the Spanish branch of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. He was killed less than two weeks later.
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Lord Jagannatha rode in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Parade, held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. About half a million people who had gathered to honor the slain civil rights leader saw Lord Jagannatha on His chariot.
As the chariot rolled by the reviewing stand, the emcee announced to the crowd, "Our next entry is from the Atlanta Indian community and the Atlanta Hare Krsna temple. The elaborately decorated wooden chariot celebrates the cultural unity of mankind. The Hare Krsna belief is an ancient world religion which originated in India. The Hare Krsnas have been in America since 1965. That organization distributed food to millions of starving people in India, Africa, and of course to the homeless and needy in the United States. They have quarters close to my neighborhood. They're a good group."
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For the third year in a row, the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade included Lord Jagannatha's Ratha-yatra chariot. A decorated eighteen-wheel flat-bed truck carried an eight-foot-tall figure of Lord Jagannatha, smaller forms of Balarama and Subhadra, and forty devotees. Karatalas, mrdangas, bongos, an amplified keyboard, and exuberant chanting resounded from the float for the benefit of the crowd of 875,000.
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The inauguration of Srila Prabhupada's Padayatra America was held in San Francisco on the last weekend in May. Mukunda Goswami, who opened the San Francisco temple in 1967, led the devotees on a tour of places connected with Srila Prabhupada's activities. Rohini Kumara Swami performed the installation of the Padayatra deities, Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundara and Srila Prabhupada.
The Padayatra began with one hundred devotees walking through San Francisco carrying the Padayatra deities and chanting Hare Krsna. After leaving San Francisco, the Padayatra headed south to Tijuana, Mexico, where the devotees are scheduled to end their California walk in the first week of September.
Padayatra America emphasizes preaching Krsna consciousness by chanting Hare Krsna, distributing Srila Prabhupada's books, and holding festivals. Plans are being made to continue the walk across the United States and then throughout Europe.