The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Lord Krsna's rasa dance charmed US audiences during a four-month tour by the Manipuri dance troupe Ranganiketan. The troupe performs under the direction of Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Swami, who hails from Manipur, in northeastern India. The tour began at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where the ambassador of India gave an introduction highlighting the devotional culture of Manipur. The troupe then moved on to Canada, Venezuela, Singapore, and then back to India. More than 150,000 people saw the performances.
Students at the University of South Florida (USF) get academic credit when they take a Sanskrit course offered by ISKCON's Danavira Dasa, director of Florida Vedic College. Comments Dr. Nathan Katz, director of South Asian Studies at USF, "The FVC is providing a valuable service to USF students."
The Bhaktivedanta Archives has published a full-size facsimile collection of the issues of Back to Godhead put out by Srila Prabhupada in India. The collection, printed on high-quality glossy paper and hardbound in one deluxe volume, is entitled Back to Godhead, 1944-1960: The Pioneer Years. Full-page photos of Srila Prabhupada appear interspersed between the issues. This volume is to be the first of several to offer documents from the Archives. For information on how to obtain the book, please see page 53.
A major renovation has now been completed at ISKCON's center in Dallas, Texas. Inside, the asrama, offices, and school have been completely redone. Outside, the temple has been remodeled in traditional Indian style.
An ambitious plan for expansion is underway at ISKCON's Houston center. Look for details in a future issue of BTG.
Srila Prabhupada's disciples in Spanish Fork, Utah, have purchased 8-1/2 acres on which to build a Vedic temple. At last year's Rama Vijaya festival in Spanish Fork, more than 4,000 people attended. This year's festival will take place on September 10.
The San Diego branch of the Bhaktivedanta Institute has moved to ISKCON's farm in Alachua, Florida. Now they're right across the cow pasture from BTG. Their new address: P. O. Box 1920, Alachua, FL 32615.
ISKCON leader Bhakti Marga Swami appears across Canada on a monthly TV show, "On the Way to Krishna."
Construction is more than half finished on a large new temple at ISKCON's Gita Nagari farm in Pennsylvania.
Devotees in England are planning to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the installation of Radha and Krsna in London. Srila Prabhupada installed the Radha-Krsna Deities, Sri Sri Radha-London-Isvara, on November 27, 1969. London-Isvara means "the controller of London."
Readers in the UK can now order Back to Godhead in England and have it sent to them directly by a special air-mail service from the USA. For a one-year subscription, send £18.50 to Bhaktivedanta Books Ltd., P. O. Box 324, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1NB, UK.
The war-torn countries of former Yugoslavia relished a taste of Krsna consciousness last year when ISKCON's Gauranga Bhajan Band toured Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. Thousands of people poured into auditoriums for programs of devotional music, classical Indian dance, multi-projector slide shows, a lecture on Krsna consciousness, and a mantra-dance segment in which everyone takes part. Among other places, the show went to Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Belgrade. In Zrenjanin, Serbia, the band and the audience of 4,500 students temporarily had to evacuate the hall when someone tossed in a tear-gas bomb.
Devotees in Heidelberg have opened a restaurant in their temple, in the midst of the city. The opening, in March, drew 150 customers. Devotees also run a catering service outside Heidelberg.
Devotees in Spain have completed publishing all of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavatam volumes in Spanish.
More than 30,000 people visited Radhadesh, ISKCON's center in Septon, Belgium, last year. For $11, visitors receive a tour of the temple, an explanation of the Krsna conscious way of life, and a lunch of Krsna prasadam, food first offered to Lord Krsna.
The government of Hungary has allotted funding for ISKCON, as it does for every other registered religion in Hungary. It has thus reversed its year-old refusal to do so. Last year a member of Parliament introduced a bill that, had it become law, would have denied official status to any religious group existing in Hungary less than one hundred years and having less than ten thousand members. Widely condemned, the bill has essentially died.
Devotees in Hungary have begun a farm community on 345 acres. They plan to build a temple and residences there this year.
A Krsna conscious radio station in Moscow is now broadcasting twenty-four hours a day.
Devotees in St. Petersburg have secured an eight-story building to serve as a new temple. The building, which needs to be totally renovated, offers nearly 39,000 square feet of space. The temple room itself takes up more than 7,000 square feet. The place needs to be big: St. Petersburg has more than 500 devotees.
ISKCON's Food for Life program in Riga, Latvia, now distributes 1,300 plates of prasadam daily.
The first printing of Sri isopanisad in Estonian has sold out. Ten thousand copies.
Finishing work is proceeding in Vrndavana on Srila Prabhupada's samadhi, the memorial where his body is buried. The towers of the building have been completed, and the ceiling is being finished. A new wall is now going up at the front of the site, so that people will once again be able to enter the temple complex through the main gate.
ISKCON's center in Bhayandar, Maharashtra, plans to shift to a new location, four kilometers closer to Bombay. The congregation has outgrown the present place. So the devotees, led by Mr. Maganbhai Kakaria, have purchased a new site on which to build. They plan to start construction by 1996.
Work in Gujarat is progressing on several ISKCON temples. In Baroda the new temple is set to open by Janmastami of 1995. In Surat work is ready to start on a guest house, restaurant, and museum. And work on the temple in Ahmedabad is steadily going on.
ISKCON devotees have won a two-year legal battle for two and a half acres of land next to their temple in Guruvayur, a town of pilgrimage in Kerala. Devotees plan to build a Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center on the land. The center will include a museum and a hall for multimedia Krsna-pastime shows.
Devotees in Andhra Pradesh have started a center in Hanumkonda, near the city of Warangal. An old shrine of Lord Nrsimhadeva was already existing on the site. ISKCON devotees have set up a temporary temple, guesthouse, and other structures. Larger plans are in the works.
ISKCON's center in Bhubaneswar has acquired eleven acres of farmland for protecting cows and growing rice, vegetables, and flowers. Construction in progress at the Bhubaneswar center: a new Govinda's Restaurant.
Land obtained just outside Madras will be the site for a new ISKCON center. Construction is set to begin this year.
The entire BBT edition of Srimad-Bhagavatam is now available in Hindi.
The first canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam has appeared in Manipuri.
ISKCON's GBC Press has published a detailed, two-volume guide to Deity worship. The guide, called Pancaratra Pradipa, is available from sellers of ISKCON books and supplies.
The Bombay members of the League of Devotees have announced that they and members in several other cities have rejoined ISKCON. The League split from ISKCON several years ago.
Three leading ISKCON devotees received approval from ISKCON's governing body to accept sannyasa, the renounced order of life. So Raghubhir Dasa, a longtime leader in South Africa, is now known as Bhakti Caitanya Swami. Radha-Govinda Dasa, from Bihar, is now known as Radha-Govinda Swami. And Birsingha Dasa, a British devotee based in Hong Kong, is now known as Vighna Vinasa Nrsimha Swami.
ISKCON's Festival of the Chariots took to the streets of Christchurch for the first time last February. From the festival stage, City Councilor Gary Moore told the crowd, "When the Hare Krsnas first came to Christchurch, we thought, 'Just ignore them and they will go away.' So we did, and you didn't go. Now we can see the wonderful contribution you make to this city, in so many ways. We thank you and hope that you will continue to hold festivals like this year after year. We are glad you are definitely here to stay."
Sixty to a hundred devotees brought the Festival of India to nearly every town and village in South Island early this year. In most places the devotees met with the mayor or city councilor, planted a tree, and unveiled a memorial plaque for Srila Prabhupada's upcoming Centennial.
Devotees in Nairobi plan to open their new Radha-Krsna temple on Janmastami, Lord Krsna's appearance day, in August. The main hall of the newly constructed temple will fit 1,200 people.
A pious businessman has pledged fifty million Mauritian rupees ($2.8 million) to build an ISKCON temple in the city of Phoenix.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala conferred in his palace last March with Bir Krsna Goswami and three other American devotees. After hearing from Bir Krsna Goswami how chanting Krsna's names could help solve the problems Nepal faces, the prime minister said, "When people like you come and talk to me, I feel I am not alone."
The first stage of ISKCON's new Kathmandu temple project opened in June.
Devotees in Tokyo give out prasadam to the homeless in Shinjuku, the world's largest train station. More than three hundred men and women live in cardboard boxes in the station.
Devotees have opened Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant in downtown Singapore. The restaurant serves Chinese- and Indian-style prasadam.
Ten acres on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur are being developed as the site of a new ISKCON temple.
Devotees in Jakarta plan to open their new Radha-Govinda temple on Janmastami, Lord Krsna's appearance day. Designed by an Indonesian devotee, the temple blends traditional Indian and Indonesian styles.
The first volume of Srimad-Bhagavatam has appeared in Indonesian.
Devotees in Yogyakarta have completed the first permanent building for their gurukula, or children's school. Planned next: an open hall for classes, lectures, and cultural events. A similar hall is nearing completion in Bali.
Devotees have installed Deities of Gaura-Nitai on their farm thirty miles outside San Jose, Costa Rica. The farm has been running for seven years. Devotees from the farm have opened centers in Guatemala, Panama, and Honduras.
General Juan Vargan-Pazos recently received a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is. The general, a vegetarian, is the former commander in chief of Ecuador's armed forces and has twice been a presidential candidate.
Devotees in Guayaquil, Ecuador, have opened a restaurant on the ground floor of their four-storied temple. The temple is in the center of downtown.
A Hare Krsna radio program in Rio de Janeiro called "De Volta ao Supremo" hits the airwaves three hours a week. Translation: "Back to Godhead."
On Radhastami, in September, Padayatra India celebrates its tenth anniversary on the road. Since 1984, the Padayatra has gone on continuously. It has walked more than 35,000 kilometers.
Starting August 26: Leicester Festival, Southal Carnival, Watford Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival. Starting September 10: Hastings to Bournmouth.
Started May 24: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Moldavia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Finland.
In March, thirty devotees walked the hundred or so kilometers from their Nova Vrajadhama farm to the city of Nova Jerusalem, arriving in time for that city's Easter-weekend Passion Play, which draws an audience of fifty thousand.
As the devotees walked with their bullock cart carrying Deities of Gaura-Nitai, they passed out ten thousand plates of prasadam and thirty thousand liters of water, greatly appreciated in the drought-stricken area through which they walked.
The residents of one town invited the devotees into their church. The devotees placed the Deities on the altar, performed arati, and gave a talk on Bhagavad-gita. The local priest joined with his flock in asking questions after the talk.
Encouraged by this Padayatra, the devotees now plan to walk across Brazil—at least three thousand kilometers—for Srila Prabhupada's Centennial, in 1996.
For more information about Padayatra, contact:
62, Sant Nagar, New Delhi 110 065, India
Phone: +91 (011) 646-9633; fax: +91 (011) 647-0742
Padayatra England and Europe
Bhaktivedanta Manor, Letchmore Heath, Watford,
Herts. WD2 8EP, England. Phone: +44 (92) 385-7244