The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has published four new books by Srila Prabhupada. The Journey of Self-Discovery and A Second Chance come from his lectures. Message of Godhead was written before he came to the West. AndCivilization and Transcendence comes from an interview by Bhavan's Journal,an Indian periodical.
Forthcoming: Narada-bhakti-sutra, begun by Srila Prabhupada and completed by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami and Gopiparanadhana Dasa.
The Bhaktivedanta Archives has released the final seventeen volumes of its collection of Srila Prabhupada's conversations. The conversations, transcribed from tapes, fill thirty-five volumes. (See Resources on page 57.)
Devotees in Toronto appear on Vision Television Network every Saturday afternoon. VTN has an audience of 80,000.
America's only Hare Krsna radio station has completed seven years of broadcasting and has renewed its license for seven years more. The station is KHQN, in Spanish Fork, Utah.
The New Orleans Rathayatra festival took place February 12, as a feature of the annual Mardi Gras.
Twenty Rathayatra festivals are planned for the Soviet Union this summer. Festivals will take place in the capitals of most of the Soviet republics. Last summer, the festivals enlivened fifteen Soviet cities.
In Moscow, five hundred Soviet devotees brought the festival through busy Gorky Park on a Sunday afternoon.
During the festival in Leningrad, forty devotees were initiated—complete with a Vedic fire sacrifice—in Dvortzovaya Square, where in 1917 the Bolsheviks had gathered for the October Revolution.
Devotees in Moscow have moved in to their first officially rented temple, ten minutes by metro from the center of the city. Moscow now has some one hundred devotees. Twenty-five go out daily to sell Krsna conscious books. On Sundays, seventy devotees go out chanting on the Arbat, the main tourist street of the city.
More than sixty cities now have devotees active. Their main work: distributing Srila Prabhupada's books.
The latest language to have Krsna conscious books: Moldavian. The Moldavian republic lies in the southwestern part of the Soviet Union, adjoining Romania.
Devotees in Bombay celebrated their annual Rathayatra festival on February 16.
ISKCON Chandigarh held its second Rathayatra this past fall. Despite widespread civil unrest, the government lifted curfews just before the festival date and allowed the festival to go on. Thousands of Chandigarh residents attended.
ISKCON has opened a large temple in Silchar, the third biggest city in Assam. The temple is near the heart of the city.
ISKCON Sydney's Food for Life Center served its two-millionth free meal in November. Local dignitaries attended a celebration in King's Cross Park to honor the event.
Devotees have completed their temple at the New Gokula farm in New South Wales. The Deities from the temple in North Sydney moved to the new temple, which opened in early February.
The Adelaide temple has moved to a 24-room Victorian mansion in the suburb of Semaphore. The building has a large garden, space for a restaurant, and rooms for guests.
Devotees in Perth have renovated a large turn-of-the-century house, making it into a temple and asrama. Since 1985, devotees have run a successful restaurant in Perth, on the west coast of Australia.
Sixteen thousand dollars a year has been granted to the ISKCON temple in Canberra for programs to give out prasadam. The grant also provides a new van and twice-weekly use of the Civic Youth Center. At these Youth Center programs, guests enjoy a full Krsna conscious evening of kirtana, videos, philosophy, andprasadam.
The grant was awarded by the government of Australia's capital territory.
Two huge white bullocks led ISKCON's second annual Rathayatra in Coolangatta, Queensland. At the end of the four-mile procession, 2,000 people enjoyed prasadam and a festival at the beach.
A radio station in Christchurch broadcasts Krsna conscious news, music, and discussion for half an hour every Saturday morning.
An ISKCON Life Member has given land in Kuala Lumpur for a temple. Plans call for a four-story building, with meeting rooms, a prasadam hall, agurukula, kitchens, guest rooms, and a library.
ISKCON centers have recently opened in Johore, Bahru, Sitiawan, and Kulim.
The Hare Krsna temple in Johannesburg has moved to a new location, a six-story building downtown.
Students in fourteen South African universities attended recent scientific lectures by Rasaraja Dasa of the Bhaktivedanta Institute. He spoke at schools in Durban, Johannesburg, and Capetown.
A crowd of 200,000 took part in ISKCON's Rathayatra festival in Durban, in the last week of December. Some 100,000 people enjoyed full plates of prasadam.
For more detailed news, ISKCON puts out a monthly news-paper, ISKCON World Review. To subscribe, see page 57. Any news from your town or village? Please let us know!
Here's news from the two places most sacred to Hare Krsna devotees: Mayapur (90 miles north of Calcutta) and Vrndavana (90 miles south of New Delhi).
The developing master plan for the Mayapur city came under review at the annual meeting of ISKCON's Governing Body, in early February. Proposed temple designs were also submitted. More about this in our next issue.
Naresvara Dasa, who has worked for ISKCON's Mayapur project for many years, has been appointed co-director. He joins longtime director Jayapataka Swami. Harikesa Swami is now the director for temple construction.
Mayapur's householder enclave is expanding. Four families have moved into recently completed apartments. Four apartments are being built for householder devotees from northern Europe. And other devotees plan to build houses in the same area, on land near the prasadam pavilion.
The Mayapur project is also building ten low-cost apart-ments for local Mayapur devotees.
The plans are ready for a new kitchen and prasadam hall. Construction is waiting for funds.
New Conveniences for Pilgrims
A permanent structure now offers public toilets and showers for pilgrims. It was built by donations from the Nahata family of Calcutta.
Permission for Press Building
Plans are set for a Bhaktivedanta Book Trust building, to be located on the main road, near the existing bank. The building will house a new offset press. Once the press is installed, the Bengali printing for Srila Prabhupada's books will be done in Mayapur.
Work on Srila Prabhupada's samadhi, where his body is buried, has been slowed by north Indian civil conflicts over Ayodhya.
The construction managers for the Vrndavana samadhi and the memorialsamadhi in Mayapur are now working closely together to share expertise and resources.
A two-month teacher-training course and a one-year bhakti-sastri scriptural course will begin in July. The courses will be sponsored by the Vaisnava Institute for Higher Education. For information, write to Bhurijana Dasa, VIHE, Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula, Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg, Raman Reti, Vrindaban (Dist. Mathura), U.P. 281 124, India.
Enrollment of students at the gurukula has doubled, to seventy. Twenty-seven boys have joined from Nepali brahmana families and five boys from Malaysia. The parents of the Malaysian boys were impressed by gurukula students who toured Malaysia last year.
Two new teachers—Navadvipa Dasa and Vrndavana Vilasini Devi Dasi—have joined the gurukula staff.
Architects have finished the plans for a new guesthouse and apartments, to be built on land owned by the Mayapur-Vrndavana Trust.
Old Bull Dies
Prajapati, ISKCON Vrndavana's original bull, who lived in ISKCON for 20 years, has died. Devotees took the old bull on a funeral procession to the River Yamuna with chanting of Hare Krsna.
ISKCON's guesthouse has become increasingly popular with European visitors. And since December, devotees say, Israeli visitors have been especially numerous.
The Padayatra party, ISKCON's "foot pilgrimage" in India, has now traveled south past Ramesvaram, on the far southeastern coast in Tamil Nadu, near the island nation of Sri Lanka. Ramesvaram is said to be the place where Lord Ramacandra crossed to Lanka on a bridge built by monkeys to battle the demon Ravana.
Continuing south, the party should reach Kanniya Kumari, at the southernmost tip of India, by the first week of April. Then they will start moving north, on India's western coast. They will visit the Adi Kesava temple, where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discovered the ancient hymns of the Brahma-samhita. Then they will enter the state of Kerala.
Their first big stop in Kerala will be Trivandrum, the site of the large, impressive temple of Ananta Padmanabha, Lord Visnu, who reclines on His serpent bed, Sesa Naga. From the navel of this Visnu form of the Lord appears the lotus that is the birthplace of the demigod Brahma, the first created person in the universe.
Traveling Through Lord Caitanya's Abode
In February, a separate Padayatra toured Navadvipa, West Bengal, the area of Lord Caitanya's birth, childhood, and youth. Devotees from several nations took part.
A team of trained oxen now lead the American Padayatra. The oxen, from ISKCON's farm in Alachua, Florida, pull a covered wagon (a small traveling temple) six to ten miles a day. The party, which started from Boston, is scheduled to reach Miami in March.
Padayatra Europe will resume on May 1. Devotees will walk from Glasgow to London. The trip—about one thousand kilometers—will take two and a half months.
Padayatra New Zealand
In January and February, devotees walked two thousand kilometers to visit forty towns and cities on New Zealand's south island. Along with the party, bullocks pulled a wooden-wheeled ox cart bearing forms of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Local district and city councils were cooperative and hospitable, and New Zealand's Ministry of Education arranged for the Padayatra to visit schools along the route.
For more information about Padayatra, write to:
M-119 Greater Kailash 1, New Delhi 100 048, India
(Phone: 641-2349 or 641-2058)
820 Wilbur St., San Diego, CA 92109, U.S.A.
10 Soho Street, London W1, England