A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Bhagavad-gita As It Is for 180 Million
Jakarta, Indonesia Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is was recently published here in Indonesian, the language spoken by 150 million Indonesians and 30 million Malayans. The publication is a triumph for the devotees who have worked diligently to spread Krsna consciousness in Indonesia despite severe opposition from the government. Although Srila Prabhupada's books have been banned here, the devotees have taken great risk to assure that the books are available to the thousands who are eager to hear about Krsna consciousness.
Gaura Mandala Bhumi dasa, the leader of the devotees here, translated the book into Indonesian, supervised its production, set up a press, and oversaw the printing. After the successful publication of the Gita, Gaura Mandala Bhumi was deported.
Children's Padayatra in the Catskill Mountains
Lake Huntington, New York Eighty-five elementary schoolchildren and forty adults recently took part in a historic six-mile padayatra (walking pilgrimage) here. The procession included an ox cart. Deities of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, distribution of prasadam (sanctified food), and exuberant chanting of Krsna's holy names.
ISKCON elementary schoolteacher Krsna Kumari-devi dasi described the event: "Lake Huntington is a small town a post office, a bar, and a gas station. On a normal drive through, you might see one or two residents. Hoping the locals would be out, we began at 10 A.M. Before we'd gone half a mile, we'd seen more neighbors than we knew we had. Even ladies in curlers and bathrobes were running out of their homes, smiling to see us. It was the sound of the kirtana that brought them. The chanting was melodious and fervent.
"As we approached the town, where the houses were close together, a group of the children began running from house to house with Back to Godhead magazines and small bags of prasadam.
No need to ring doorbells today everyone was already at their door or on their porch or lawn. From the lakeside cottages entire families came pouring toward the road. As we turned onto the main street, people were lined up waiting for us.
"On the eastern side of the lake are a couple of senior citizen communities. As we approached. the residents came out caning, wheelchairing, leaning on the arms of the nurses. They waved and smiled. Some of them even cried and hugged us.
"Soon our ranks had swelled with many neighbors who put their children on the ox cart and walked along with us. When we got back to the farm, everyone enjoyed a big feast."
The Lake Huntington padayatra was modeled after ISKCON's Indian padayatra, which has been traveling throughout India for the past two years and will eventually travel to Europe and America.
Govinda's Canteen Opens in Madras
Madras, India-Devotees here recently opened a vegetarian cafeteria on the campus of D. G. Vaishnava College. Mr. P. Haridas, managing trustee of the exclusive Vaisnava college, invited the devotees to take up the management of the cafeteria, which supplies daily meals to the school's two thousand students.
The cafeteria, known as Govinda's Canteen, received a favorable review from the Madras daily newspaper The Hindu: "The place strikes any visitor by its cleanliness…. And what is more, melodious strains pour into the hall from the speakers, as classical music and special bhajans and kirtans on Krishna are played constantly."
The students appreciate the delicious food, which is prepared for and offered to Lord Krsna before being served. The food is not only free of all meat, fish, or eggs, but in accordance with Vaisnava regulations, it also contains no mushrooms, garlic, or onions.
Mr. Haridas, a strict vegetarian and follower of Sri Vallabhacarya, offered ISKCON the cafeteria with a view toward inspiring students in spiritual goals. In a corner of the large hall, the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are available in English and Tamil.