Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!
Bhaktivedanta Manor’s eNewsletter- – Feb 2016 Edition
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 / Published in Newsletters / 1,570 views
Reducing Climate Change
After the history-making climate change talks in Paris in December, ISKCON is looking to increasing it's part in addressing climate change. During the talks, French president Francois Hollande met with the leaders of twenty faith-based groups at Elysee Palace, where they presented him with 1.8 million signatures supporting a fair climate change agreement.
The leaders included ISKCON devotee Gopal-Lila das, who was there representing the multi-faith environmental organisation GreenFaith. ISKCON is signed up to the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change put together by the Bhumi Project at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, both of which count devotees amongst their staff.
A major contribution of ISKCON to the environment is its promotion of vegetarianism. “Going vegetarian is one of the quickest and best things an individual can do to reduce their carbon emissions,” explained Gopal-Lila das to those he met in Paris.
National Communications Day
The special guest at this years National Communications Day was Rev George Pitcher, a journalist, public relations pioneer and Anglican Priest. From personal experience of dealing with the media, he explained that expressing honesty and humility are far more productive than speaking dogma. Devotees from across the UK descended on the Manor that day. Mina Sharma, the Head of ISKCON National Communications, coordinated media training workshops, focusing on both traditional and social media. Devaki dasi, the UK National Coordinator of ISKCON 50 emphasised the significance of this year’s celebrations and encouraged everyone to do more within their communities.
Interfaith Week at local Church
Rev Robert Fletcher of St. John the Baptist Church hosted the children of the Manor School during Interfaith Week .He took them on a tour of the church and explained many of the key features of the building both historically and religiously.
Accelerate your Service to Krishna!
In observance of ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary this year, all devotees are invited to “accelerate their service to Krishna”, take this unique opportunity and make a personal contribution to the celebrations.
Getting involved is as simple as….
* Carrying through an idea that's been on the back-burner
* Something that you have always wanted to launch, but never got round to it.
* Something you may already be doing, but it can be re-launched or enhanced
For any publications, events, initiatives and projects this year, don't forget to….
Rukmini Ramana das retires after 30 years of service
After serving in the Manor’s Treasury for nearly 30 years, Rukmini Ramana das has is now retiring from his daily duties. He received initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1977, and whether at the Manor or Caitanya College in Worcestershire, he excelled in all the services he took on: book distribution, Temple Commander and various types of administration. “Rukmini Ramana prabhu was very devoted to Srila Prabhupada and his mission” explained fellow Treasurer Nabaswati dasi. “He was philosophically very sound and one of the most equipoised and steady devotees I know.” We wish him the very best for the future.
Remembering a friendship with George Harrison
The George Harrison Evening had a very special guest who shared a variety of fond memories. Gurudas was amongst the small group of pioneer devotees who became close friends with George Harrison and his Beatles bandmate John Lennon. When George produced "The Radha Krishna Temple”, an album of devotional music released in 1971, Gurudas played and sang with the other devotees. Dhananjaya das, who recommended to George Harrison the purchase of the Manor, was also present.
Touching many hearts:
January 1956 – December 2015
Acaryavan das came from a Berber family residing in the mountains of northeast Morocco, near the Algerian border. He first came to know of ISKCON and devotees after tasting some mangal-arati sweets, and eventually joined the temple in Paris during the 80’s. He quickly developed a reputation for his culinary talent – particularly in the art of cooking authentic, homemade Moroccan couscous. He quickly developed very close, lasting friendships and relationships during his devotional life. To his family, he remained a dear father, son, brother, uncle, cousin and nephew.
In gratitude to his homeland, he shared the non-sectarian teachings of Krishna consciousness in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Building the Vedic Social Structure
His Holiness Sivarama Swami has begun a long-term project to build a template for social structure in the ISKCON farm community in Hungary, based on the ancient varnasrama system.During a two part seminar on the subject delivered at the Manor, Maharaja described in no uncertain terms about how Srila Prabhupada had wanted the development of varnasrama, the backbone of a practical society that complements the process of devotional service.
ISKCON Leicester Renovation
To mark the 50th anniversary, ISKCON Leicester have started some long awaited renovation work in their new building. The renovation will include creating accommodation for 16 devotees on the second floor, while on the first floor a functional hall, offices, a small kitchen and classrooms. The work will be completed by May 2016. Bhaktivedanta Manor are keenly supporting this renovation and working closely with the local ISKCON Leicester team. Pranabandhu das, Rameshvar das and Prashun Popat have made many visits to Leicester to ensure that all parts of the renovation, including the appointment of contractors and design is all in place. The total project cost of the two floors is £350,000 and Bhaktivedanta Manor are making a donation of £180,000 towards this cost and encouraging the additional fund raising.
Pradyumna das, President of ISKCON Leicester said, 'I'm very grateful to the Manor team not only for their generosity in gifting a significant donation towards the renovation, but the guidance of the senior team has proved to be invaluable.' Celebrations are planned for the opening of the upper floors once the renovation is complete.
The Marathon Miracle The annual Book Marathon is always a very special time, but last December was extraordinary! In celebration of the 50th Anniversary since the incorporation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the aim of the Manor devotees was to distribute 100,000 of Srila Prabhupada’s book in just one month! After a tremendous effort by more than 350 devotees of all types, 131,340 books were distributed across the UK, the largest Marathon score outside of India and the most successful in over 20 years!
The incredible efforts of many devotees, the miraculous stories of books being distributed, and the feeling of being intimately under Srila Prabhupada’s direct shelter and care, remind us of the all-auspicious nature of distributing his books to the public. Record numbers were involved: over fifteen sanga teams, the Pandava Sena youth group, Sivarama Swami’s team, Manor School alumni, travelling ashram teams, fulltime householder distributors, and many more. This effort was a very much united community-wide achievement. The National Sankirtan festival was held at the Manor in early January, organised by Vishvambhara das the National Coordinator for Sankirtana. Special guests included Sivarama Swami, Praghosa das, Dayananda Swami and Dhananjaya das . Four of the top five individual street distributors were from the Manor. Second place nationally was Ananda Caitanya das, third was Bhakta Ganesh, fourth Janakinath das and fifth place and the top lady distributor was Guru Shakti dasi. The winners of the Team contact’ category was once again the Manor’s Bhakti Vriksha group!
On a visit to Sheffield, Kripamoya das presented Reverend Dr. John Vincent with a copy of his The Guru & Disciple Book. The Ashram Community Trust is a Christian organisation in Sheffield, Yorkshire which was founded in 1965. The group runs welfare, educational, and health food projects in the city. Its founder, the Reverend Dr. John Vincent, former head of the Methodist Church, has made a lifetime study of the theology of discipleship according to the Bible.
50 hours of Service
Offer 50 hours of service this year to mark ISKCON turning 50! The joy of devotion can be experienced in a variety of different services to Lord Krishna. Any service performed starting from now till the end of November, can be part of your bouquet of 50 hours of devotional service’.
Any type of activity that contributes towards Srila Prabhupada’s mission in one form or another will be counted. Various exciting service opportunities will be set up for you around the Manor estate. You can come in groups with friends and family or individually and truly experience the joy of devotion!
50 new frontiers for the Holy Name
The Manor's weekend Harinama team has taken ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary to heart. The team aims to perform harinama street processions in no less than 50 towns that have never experienced it before!
"It is an exciting project,” Ananta Purusottama das explained, “We started last September during the Holy Name week. So far we have already covered 32 new frontiers! Every Saturday we meet at 11am in the Manor's main car park. The last Saturday of each month up to the summer we will leave at 10am to set off on a longer expedition. Come and join us and experience the joy of harinam!"
Soul Expressions is a monthly event which makes devotional music accessible to everyone and especially aimed at those unfamiliar with Krishna consciousness.
Over 70 newcomers attended a special winter party organised by the Krishna Wisdom team. Jayadev das and the Kirtan Scotland group headed by Prabhupada Prana das took part and it was an experience most visitors said they will never forget! The most recent event was attended by over 55 people, If you know anyone whom you would like to be introduced to kirtan, contact Radha Govinda das at
Every year Bhaktivendanta Manor invests a fund of £10,000 to assist other ISKCON projects.
The projects supported this year are:
Hare Krishna Festivals UK: They hold indoor festivals across UK, as well as Rathayatra festivals and harinamas. Mission Africa: Enabling senior preachers to visit and assist ISKCON's centres in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo. Mayapur TV: Developing the current Mayapur TV studio to better enable live broadcasts from ISKCON temples around the world. The Joy of Devotion:A film which will tell the story of ISKCON to the world in 35 minutes. The Mayapur Academy: Sponsoring students to be trained in deity worship. Gratitude: A local initiative run by Japa Yajna das and Shantasya dasi, cooks lunch for at least 30 people every week. People come from a variety of different backgrounds, including poor and special needs.
Srutidharma das and Gauri das represented ISKCON at a premier screening of Awake: The life of Yogananda’ at the House of Lords, organised by the Self-Realisation Fellowship. The documentary is an unconventional biography about the Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. The event was led by Lord Popat and special guest was Brother Vishwananda.
ys Radha Mohan das Bhaktivedanta Manor Communications Secretary