The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
President Bush Gets Light of the Bhagavata
Washington, D.C. At the Smithsonian Institute's unveiling of a large scale-model of the White House recently, Jagara dasa, who works for the Smithsonian and helped build the exhibit, presented President George Bush with a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Light of the Bhagavata and a letter from Jagara's twelve-year-old son, Sita-Rama dasa.
In his letter, Sita-Rama introduced himself as a student of the Vaisnava Academy in Alachua, Florida, and said that Light of the Bhagavata"shows, in a simple, beautiful way, a little about the Vedic philosophy we study." He reminded Mr. Bush that as President he had a great responsibility to uphold the high moral standards the United States was founded on.
Sita-Rama encouraged the President to work for world peace and the protection of human rights in other countries. He also spoke out against abortion: "All great religious traditions teach that the soul and the body are different and that they come together at the time of conception. Therefore, the child within the womb has just as much right to live as anyone else."
Sita-Rama invited Mr. Bush to visit the Vaisnava Academy, located on a 127-acre farm. "We have cows and oxen. The students get to milk the cows by hand and work the oxen in the field."
A couple of weeks. after the opening of the exhibit, Sita-Rama received a reply from the President, signed in his own hand: "Thank you for the letter and the book…. It is always good hearing from young people, and I appreciate sharing in the opinions of you and your classmates on important issues…. Your invitation meant a lot, and I'm glad to send you and your fellow students my best wishes for an exciting future."
Sita-Rama says, "It's wonderful that the chief executive of the land has only to go to his bookshelf to have contact with Krsna conscious knowledge."
Israeli Arabs Eager for Prabhupada's Books
Tel Aviv, Israel-Sheik Tarif Amin, spiritual leader for the seventy-five thousand Druze in Israel and respected by the millions of Druze worldwide, recently met with members of ISKCON in Israel. The Sheik expressed great appreciation for ISKCON's activities, especially the distribution of spiritual literature for bringing about a peaceful, God-centered society.
Dhira Govinda dasa presented Sheik Amin with a copy of Bhagavad-gita As It Is in Hebrew. The Sheik was happy to hear that many members of the Druze community are enthusiastically placing sets of Srila Prabhupada's books in their homes and educational institutions.
Elsewhere in Israel, the Muslim population is providing stiff competition to the Druze for being the biggest supporters of book distribution in the country. Since last February, devotees have had great success in selling Srila Prabhupada's books to intellectuals in the Muslim villages. More than forty school and public libraries have taken the set of six Hebrew books, and hundreds of lawyers, doctors, and other leaders of the Muslim community have taken the books.
Leaders of the village of Kabul invited the devotees to give a program on Krsna consciousness to the local residents. More than fifty intellectual, religious, and cultural leaders of the community enjoyed an evening of philosophy, kirtana, and krsna-prasadam.
The devotees in Israel are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Arabic books so that they will be able to distribute transcendental literature to the common people, most of whom are not fluent in Hebrew.