The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON)
ISKCON Nagpur has moved to a new, larger place, in the heart of the city. Construction of the temple in the 27-room building is scheduled for completion in March.
ISKCON devotees took part in Kerala's Onam float parade last September with a Rathayatra cart bearing Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Subhadra Devi. Popularly known as Kerala's "harvest festival," Onam marks the appearance day of Lord Vamanadeva, Lord Krsna's incarnation as a dwarf brahmana. Among the more than half a million people attending the parade were Kerala's chief minister and his cabinet.
Recent ISKCON Rathayatras: Kurukshetra (September), Chandigarh (November), and Dwaraka (January).
ISKCON's new temple in New Delhi is scheduled to open on the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra (Rama Navami), April 5.
The Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula in Vrndavana is accepting applications for boys ages 5-14 for the 1998-99 school year (starts in July). Contact: Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula, Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg, Vrindavana, Mathura UP, India; tel: +91-565-442-676; fax: +91-565-442-952; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
An eminent Muslim scholar visited ISKCON's center in Juhu, Mumbai, last September for an interfaith dialogue. The scholar, Dr. Shuaib Sayed, from the Islamic Research Foundation, met with Airavata Dasa, head of the department of interfaith communications at ISKCON's center in Mayapur, West Bengal.
ISKCON Honolulu won an award for its float in the Aloha Parade for the ninth straight year. Judges for the nationally televised parade presented devotees with the Board of Directors Award for their Rathayatra cart, elaborately decorated with a wide assortment of tropical plants and flowers.
Readers of The Tucson Weekly voted Govinda's Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, the winner in three categories in the "Best of Tucson" contest: Best Fine Dining, Best Vegan Selections, and Best Lunch Under $5. Devotee-run Govinda's has been open since 1992. It is situated in the Chaitanya Cultural Center, a beautifully landscaped acre of oasis in the middle of the desert.
Devotees at ISKCON's Murari-sevaka farm celebrated, last November, the twentieth anniversary of the installation of their presiding Deities, Sri Nitai-Gauracandra.
Bhaktivedanta Manor, the Hare Krsna temple outside London, hosted an Open Day late last year, with guided tours of the building and its estate. Visitors viewed Vedic sculptures, cooking demonstrations, and traditional and contemporary dance, music, and theater.
The BBC World Service broadcasted a radio play last September about Lord Krsna's advent. The play was performed by devotees from Bhaktivedanta Manor. Potential audience: 35 million listeners.
Rathayatras held in Spain last fall: Madrid, Barcelona, and Torremolinos (Malaga).
A September issue of Time magazine's European edition ran the following letter from Bhakti Vikasa Swami, a frequent contributor to Back to Godhead:
MacDonalds and Coca-cola symbolize a grossly materialistic civilization centered on profit making and mindless enjoyment. That America is foisting this type of anti-culture on other countries is nothing to be proud of. Traditional religious, family and social values are being crushed by the relentless steamroller of Western culture. Aestheticism and finer sentiments are subjugated to lust, violence and endless passion for material things. America, take another look at yourself, lest you go down in history as the most exploitive and intellectually decrepit civilization ever.
(Bhakti Vikasa Swami,Baroda, India)
Devotees held a Rathayatra festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, last September.
ISKCON's Hong Kong center celebrated its tenth anniversary this past November. ISKCON has been present in Hong Kong since the early seventies and at the present location for the past ten years.
Former prime minister David Lange visited ISKCON's New Varshan Farm last summer to see the progress on the new temple devotees are building there. The farm is near Auckland. While prime minister, Mr. Lange had been chief guest at the ground-consecrating ceremony for the temple. In an address following his tour, Mr. Lange told the devotees, "You are part of an international organization which has won great respect from people and has changed people's lives through their devotion in extraordinary ways. I want to thank you for that and for the contribution you make to New Zealand."
The island of Kalimantan (Borneo) is seeing a spreading of Krsna consciousness, with devotees in the cities of Palangkaraya, Pontianak, and Botang. Ratna Puspita Devi Dasi, the first devotee from a Dayak family, has donated land for a temple. The Dayaks are the original inhabitants of Kalimantan.
Bhakti Raghava Swami, from Canada, spent a week last fall teaching Krsna consciousness to the island's eager new devotees. While in Indonesia he also met with the twenty-five or so devotees on the island of Lombok, in Western Lesser Sunda Islands, just east of Bali.
A radio program in Kaduna, Nigeria, aired a message of Krsna consciousness last fall, through a reading from a book by ISKCON leader Bhakti Tirtha Swami, followed by an interview with an ISKCON devotee. The program was broadcast by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, said to beam the most powerful signal in Africa.