The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON)
The ISKCON-Hinduja Glory of India Vedic Cultural Centre, ISKCON's splendid new cultural complex in New Delhi with its temple, guest house, multimedia museum, majestic artwork, and other features opened on April 5, Rama Navami, the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra. Details in our next issue.
ISKCON Calcutta will celebrate its huge Jagannatha Rathayatra festival on June 26.
Rathayatra was celebrated at Kurukshetra in March and at Dwaraka and Chennai (Madras) last January.
ISKCON's large tent camp at the Kumbha Mela broadcast the chanting of Hare Krsna and the message of Krsna consciousness to millions during March and April at Haridwar, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Kumbha Mela, held in four holy places every twelve years, is the largest spiritual gathering on earth.
In Bangalore, 8,000 people daily visit the ISKCON temple, opened last May. On Sundays, the temple draws 20,000.
In Ahmedabad, work has begun on a multimedia museum to be installed at the ISKCON temple complex, which opened in April of last year. The work will take two years to complete. The thirty-five dioramas in the museum will illustrate themes from Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Caitanya-caritamrta.
Two hundred thousand people are expected to visit the Ahmedabad ISKCON temple on Janmastami. One to two thousand people now visit the temple daily, ten thousand on Sundays. Last November, 100,000 people came to celebrate Govardhana Puja, the day Lord Krsna lifted the Govardhana Hill.
Back to Godhead has launched an edition in Marathi, the language of the state of Maharashtra. More than six thousand subscribers signed up in advance. The magazine called Jau Devachiya Gawa is bimonthly, thirty-two pages. It is published by BTG's office in Mumbai.
A Krsna conscious hospital opened in January in the Mira Road area of Mumbai. The hospital Bhaktivedanta Hospital aims to provide holistic health care in a Krsna conscious atmosphere. Though the modern, fully equipped 130-bed hospital is not an ISKCON project, it has been built by the efforts of ISKCON devotees, and devotees make up most of the hospital's staff, medical and nonmedical.
At the hospital, ISKCON devotees in the medical profession work together in Krsna consciousness, joined by other devotees with a wide range of vocations and skills. The hospital also aims to provide free or low-cost medical treatment for ISKCON devotees.
The hospital is independently run by the Sri Chaitanya Seva Trust, of which the chairman is Indian industrialist Hrishikesh A. Mafatlal (Krsnacandra Dasa). The hospital was built with funds contributed by philanthropic Indian industrialists and financiers.
A thousand devotees gathered in Mayapur, West Bengal, at the end of February for ISKCON's annual Gaura-Purnima Festival, commemorating the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapur 512 years ago. The festival included seminars on various Krsna conscious topics and a week-long pilgrimage to holy sites of Lord Caitanya's pastimes.
County police and federal agents have failed to apprehend the arsonists who set fire to a barn last July at ISKCON's New Talavan Farm in Mississippi. The fire destroyed equipment and a Rathayatra cart, causing $150,000 in damage. Donors have contributed $17,000, but much more is needed to feed and care for the farm's cows.
The mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, attended ISKCON's Rathayatra last September on the campus of the University of Michigan. The festival drew devotees from three states and Canada.
A 21-year-old civil lawsuit against ISKCON Boston was settled out of court last November. In 1977 a disgruntled ex-devotee and her mother sued the temple and won a six-figure judgment. That decision was overturned on appeal, but until the recent settlement, two items from the original complaint (essentially about "brainwashing") were still pending.
Celebration: On Janmastami, the Deities at Bhaktivedanta Manor will have presided there for twenty-five years. The Deities, Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda, were installed in 1973 by ISKCON's founder-acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Prince Charles presented an award for architecture to ISKCON's Pada Sevanam Dasa last December at St. James Palace, the prince's official residence. Pada Sevanam is the chief designer of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, to be built at ISKCON's center in Mayapur, West Bengal. After a discussion about the importance of tradition based on theistic principles, the prince said he would like to visit Mayapur.
North London Lord Mayor Keith Toms awarded first prize to the Hare Krsna float at the city's Stanmere Carnival, held last September. He then climbed aboard the float for a lap of honor around the fairground. He also asked devotees to arrange for him to visit Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON's temple outside London.
The government of Ecuador has given a thousand fruit and nut trees to ISKCON's Giridhari Desh Farm near Cuenca. Government-funded agricultural engineers planted the trees as part of the government's attempts to promote agriculture and reforestation. The farm is nestled in a mountain valley near the equator, 2,300 meters (7,544 feet) above sea level.
Back to Godhead associate editor Drutakarma Dasa toured Hungary last November, speaking on his book Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race, co-authored with BTG contributor Sadaputa Dasa. The book, recently translated into Hungarian in an abridged version, challenges Darwinian evolution by presenting numerous archeological finds that contradict the theory. Drutakarma spoke to standing-room-only audiences in civic and university auditoriums all over the country. In each city visited, he was interviewed by newspapers, TV and radio.
ISKCON Johannesburg held nine days of spiritual programs from March 28 through April 5. About 1,000 people attended nightly.
ISKCON Durban will hold its grand annual Rathayatra festival this year on May 1-3.