The sun never sets on ISKCON!
By Mukhya devi dasi
Badrinarayan Prabhu’s Review Of World Wide Iskcon
TOVP (desire of previous acharyas), Srila Prabhupada’s burning focus, one of his unfulfilled missions.
Pune: new Vedic cultural center, classes, guest house, temple, the President of India came to inaugurate the temple, stayed for two and a half hours although he had scheduled a half hour for this engagement. Everything is built to top standards, there are apartment buildings ringing the temple site, which are already filled w/devotee families, Srila Prabhupada said “build a school to attract rich men’s sons.” Their school now has 900 students, 70 teachers and lunch prasad catered by Govinda’s–all devotee curriculum.
Delhi has 27 preaching centers,
Chennai temple is in Golden Beach upscale area; they expected 10k to attend opening, but 25k showed up;
In Kolkata at Srila Prabupada’s birth place, the jackfruit tree is still there, it is now owned by ISKCON, after 45 years of trying to get it.
International Leadership Sanga in Mayapur, where experts from around the world giving seminars on every topic you’ve always wanted to know about.
Brazilian Retreat Center: with a guest house, yoga seminars, ayurveda, advertising in tourist magazines in Europe, In Recife they’ve renamed one of the parks after Srila Prabhupada; In Peru, built their own beautiful temple; RathaYatra in Mexico City, goes right through their version of Central Park; RathaYatra in Panama City, Ratnabhusana prabhu goes down from LA to put it on.
NORTH AMERICA: book distribution is the best in 30 years; Srila Prabhupada said, “The general public is innocent but sorely misled.” At ISKCON Silicon Valley, even the dogs have packs on with books in it distributing them. Motel Gita: the Bhagavad Gitas fly out of the drawers while the bibles have been in there the last 40 years. 190K Gitas distributed to date (in the last 5 years).
Stats: The Gideon bibles: printed in 196 languages, every second 2 a bible goes out with 85M distributed to date.
NYC, 5th Ave RathaYatra going on every year for the past 40 years.
CHICAGO KRISHNA HOUSE: They rented a place next to a college campus, a devotee couple stays there, makes the prasadam, devotees can live there, they have morning and evening program, and they are cultivating first class college students. This program is modeled after the preaching houses in India, and they are making so many devotees.
MUSIC, YOGA, REGIONAL FESTIVALS going on where devotees set up a pandal, serve prasadam, do bhajans, so many young people are there at these festivals waiting for something to do.
KRISHNA HOUSE Gainesville. They are mentioned right in the UF magazine for fundraising because their alumni remember prasadam lunches.
IN the UK the Queen came to opening of Avanti Krsna school, as they were reciting trnad api sunichena, they were translating for her, and describing that these are the qualities we teach and imbibe, and she replied “well wouldn’t that be just grand.”
Years ago while she was having her sculpture done, she was given a Bhagavad Gita to read (the sculptor was a friend of George Harrison, who gave him the book and told him to give it to the Queen while she was sitting still for hours while the artist worked) which she read daily for three hours, and after it was over she asked if she could keep the book.
Their huge barn/goshalla is built to exceedingly high Leeds standards
Their Janmastami festivals are world famous: the Lila Walk displays cut outs of Krsna’s pastimes life sized spread out throughout the area, ; They put cow coin banks from Hong Kong displaying “caring for Krishna’s cows” in homes all over, when you drop in a one pound coin, it moos, so the children are insisting on a donation into the bank all the time; they’ve made a beautiful flower garden in memory of George Harrison; they orchestrated a Diwali program w/the prime minster at #10 downing street, including a big picture of Radha Gokulananda, and the Prime Minister’s wife fell in love with it and asked if she could keep it, and she took it up to the family quarters.
Radhanatha Swami spoke to the Board of Directors of the Bank of England and the heads of the House of Commons; he said that if you look at the nations with the highest GNP, you will find the highest level of distress: divorce, suicide, etc. So, some places are starting a new standard of “gross national happiness”
RUSSIAN RETREAT: over 4k devotees in a huge tent, by the Crimean Sea. Murmansk, above the arctic circle: there is a temple there, the devotees started a prasadam bakery which is supporting the whole temple. (When Srila Prabhupada saw all the people lined up to see Lenin’s tomb, he said “do you know why they are all lined up? To make sure he’s dead”. )
“ I have my plan, you have your plan, Krsna has His plan.” The government demolished the temple in Moscow in 2004: because of all the suffering of these devotees, a man came forward who was so upset by the injustice done to the devotees, he funded the purchase of two buildings for their temple, and they have a magnificent design to build there, in a good prestigious location.
TURKEY, Govinda’s in Istanbul, new Turkish books,
In ITALY they do a Festival of India, they seat 400 inside the tent, complete with a petting cow, they move all week and put it on every weekend.
CHINA, ‘mission possible’, Tamal Krishna Goswami was sent by Srila Prabhupada to China, he went incognito; Gopiparanadana prabhu met with the top Confucian scholar. When he met Gopi, he was so charmed, the man had been a vegetarian living on barley water and tofu, and Gopi fed him gulabs, samosas. He met the head Abbot of a Buddhist monastery who told him they hide in the mountains, w/ 2,000 monks. They invited the devotes up there, the devotees explained the mantra, chanting, and giving this to others, and the monk said “you are doing the real business for the people.”
RathaYatra in Hong Kong in the shopping district side, thousands of people come. The devotees there lead by Satyanarayan das signed the contract for the ASB, thanks to that contact with the Confucian scholar, who convinced the government this was a worthy book and is now printed in Mandarin and Chinese
BANGLADESH, 80% a Muslim country. There are 200 devotees on site in the temple in Dacca. The temple’s only condition is that they cannot be from Muslim families. There are over 1K people at the Sunday feast, they are very respectful. RathaYatra goes down the main street, past the national mosque. In CHITTAGONG, land has been donated on the hill for a future temple .
KIEV. 500-800 people coming to every Sunday feast. Changing bodies website, questionanaire, selling gitas along with reply about next body.
AUSTRALIA: traveling kitchen, GOVINDAS, they set up a pandal tent in back of the kitchen with full sitting area and beautifully decorated. They have raised $1M to date by doing this.
AFRICA two years ago they opened a BBT oficce there, and are now printing in Zulu and another native language; 6 different brahmacari parties are crisscrossing the continent distributing the books. They do programs in universities and colleges, RathaYatra in Soweto now. Botswana which is just above South Africa has a new temple.
Myanmar BURMA: strong Buddhist country, in the city there is a lane just for buddhist monks, there are toll bridges and toll roads, and the monks go through for free, when the devotees want to go on the roads, they just rub their shaved head and get sent free, (The monks can even get on the planes first); Of the 40M in population, 6M of them are Buddhist monks. But there are Vaishnava devotees there, one university student found Srila Prabhupada’s book on the shelf of his father who received it from a friend who’d gone to the US. In the book was a card, fill in this card get a free book, so unlikely as it was, he filled it out, six months later he came home one day and sitting in his kitchen was Bhakti Vikasha Swami, he had received his name from the card, he got a 24 hr. visa, then taught him all about Krsna Consciousness, and from that one day, the whole country opened up. This devotee has translated Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and got them printed. NOTE: Two weeks after they were printed, the whole of Burma opened up when An Sung Souchee was freed.
In Burma there are old temples being donated to the devotees in different cities, and they are doing deity worship with the original deities and in some we add new deities too.