The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
More than thirty interfaith leaders in northern Texas convened at the Hare Krsna temple in Dallas last October for a two-hour dialogue with Tamal Krishna Goswami, of ISKCON's governing body.
ISKCON New York will hold "Srila Prabhupada's Original Family Reunion" May 20-21. Organizers are inviting the original devotees from 26 Second Avenue and later temples in New York. Anyone whose life has been touched by Srila Prabhupada is welcome to attend.
A member of the extremist Islamic group Fuqra was convicted in October of conspiracy in the 1984 firebombing of the Denver Hare Krsna temple.
The yoga teacher in whose asrama Srila Prabhupada stayed upon first arriving in New York has passed away. The teacher, Dr. Ramamurti Mishra, died in September.
Devotees in Sarajevo continue to pass out prasadam in hospitals, even though to do so they must bicycle around the city at the risk of being shot by snipers. The devotees urgently need money for supplies to keep the program going. Donations can be wired to this account: Margot Sassan, 11000 Beograd, 1760216573, Bayerishe Und Wehsel Bank, Blz: 74320307 for Sarajevo.
The President of India met with ISKCON governing body commissioner Gopala Krsna Goswami to learn of ISKCON's New Delhi project, now under construction. The President, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, received a large framed drawing of the project and a full set of Srila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatams. He promised to visit the project when it is completed in 1996.
ISKCON volunteers distributed 250,000 rupees worth of goods in Maharashtra after the earthquakes last September. Devotees from Bombay and Secunderabad were among the first relief workers to reach the area.
Devotees from around the world will attend ISKCON's annual gathering in India in March and April. They will spend two weeks in Mayapur, West Bengal, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then move on for a week in Vrndavana, the birthplace of Lord Sri Krsna. Just before the gathering, ISKCON's governing body holds its annual meeting, in Mayapur.
Former President Zail Singh spoke last November at ISKCON's Chariot Festival in New Delhi. He praised Srila Prabhupada's contributions to the world, and the work ISKCON is doing today.
Devotees gathered at ISKCON's New Govardhan Farm in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, for three days of festivals and reunions at the end of December: Rathayatra, Srila Prabhupada Family Festival, and the Gurukula Students Reunion.
F. W. De Klerk and Nelson Mandela sent messages of good will for ISKCON's sixth annual Festival of Chariots, held in mid-December in Durban. So too did Mangosuthu Buthelezi, president of the Inkatha Freedom Party. The Mayor of Durban inaugurated the five-day festival, thousands attended, and devotees served 100,000 plates of prasadam.
South African President F. W. De Klerk met ISKCON leader Indradyumna Swami at a meeting of Indian business and cultural leaders at Durban city hall. "Real peace and harmony will be achieved," Indradyumna Swami told the president, "when all of us black, white, colored, and Indian realize what we have in common: that is, that we are all spiritual souls, eternal servants of God." The president agreed.
Squatters in six shantytowns surrounding Johannesburg took part in day-long "Festivals for Peace" sponsored by ISKCON during the Christmas season. The festivals, held in rotation at the six places, featured chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and distribution of Krsna-prasadam.
The Hare Krsna bakery in Rosario, Argentina, supplies forty shops with varied prasadam pastries. The bakery, called Jagannatha Prasadam, has been open two years.
Srila Prabhupada's Centennial 1996
The ISKCON Foundation has launched the Bhaktivedanta Centennial Reading Program to encourage reading of Srila Prabhupada's books. The Foundation will award certificates of completion for reading Sri Isopanisad, The Nectar of Instruction, The Nectar of Devotion, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, each canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and each lila of the Caitanya-caritamrta. For more information, write to the Bhaktivedanta Centennial Reading Program, c/o ISKCON Foundation, P.O. Box 1119, Alachua, FL 32615, USA; or call Rupanuga Dasa at (904) 462-2997.
Devotees are organizing an exhibit on Prabhupada they plan to set up in thirty-five shopping centers in major cities.
300,000 Srila Prabhupada-lilamrtas have been printed. Each month ISKCON Heidelberg is holding a festival dedicated to Prabhupada. Some of the goals set by the Centennial committee: to build a temple, to increase book distribution, to develop a large congregation, to set up an academic forum, and to get the government to recognize the Hare Krsna movement as a genuine religion.
A continuous four-year Padayatra is underway to promote the Centennial.
Temples have selected Pancaratna Dasa as chairman of the Centennial Working Committee and are supporting a central office. The committee is planning a Hare Krsna festival to travel throughout India in 1996.
In December, temples organized their congregations to compete in a marathon for distributing Srila Prabhupada-lilamrtas.
The following projects have been proposed: setting up a "Prabhupada room" in each temple, organizing a national pilgrimage to Mayapur in 1996, and translating into Italian all ITV (ISKCON Television) videos on Srila Prabhupada.
Devotees have begun a bimonthly newsletter to keep people informed about Centennial events, are preparing a book on Prabhupada's visit to Malaysia, and are translating Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta into Tamil, the language of most Indians in Malaysia.
Celebrations began in June with the installation of a deity of Prabhupada to travel with the Padayatra, which is scheduled to travel throughout both of the country's islands by 1996. Devotees will also plant a hundred memorial trees around the country.
In the midst of war, devotees are translating Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta into local languages.
The Centennial committee drafted a twenty-point national plan that includes major festivals, a postage stamp, a book on Srila Prabhupada in South Africa, and an all-Africa conference by the Bhaktivedanta Institute.