A French Revolution?
By Praghosa dasa
A little over 2 years ago the European GBC body at their annual meeting, held that year in New Vrajamandala Spain, decided to make a concerted effort to assist the French Yatra.
As a result of that meeting a group of devotees was formed under the name ‘Renouveau du Yatra Francais’. The members of that committee were/are Sivarama Swami, Hrdaya Caitanya das, Siksastakam das, Gopaswami das, Nitaigaurasundara das, Madhvacarya das, Nitai Saci Suta das, Madhusevita das, Prabhupada vani das, Bhavasindhu das and Praghosa das.
Over the last 2 years that group of devotees have met regularly both in person as well as weekly phone conference calls. As a result of their regular association the following has come to pass:
· The establishment of a downtown preaching centre for over a year that resulted in 3 new full time vaisnavas, book distribution that is at it’s highest in France for many years and regular, almost daily Harinamas
· The establishment of a communication team who have been working hard to improve our opportunities in France by engaging with political leaders, academics, media and other faith traditions
· The establishment of a fundraising team that has resulted in us raising the necessary laksmi to attain a new mortgage free home for Sri Sri Radha Parisisvara. This is the first home that They have owned in Paris for over 20 years. Please view the accompanying photos, bearing in mind that these pictures were taken prior to any renovation work commencing!
· The establishment of a reconstituted French National Council
· As the prime focus has been on Paris, the Renouveau team initiated a fund raiser for New Mayapur which resulted in the New Mayapur project receiving a significant donation
· We have also focused on inviting and facilitating senior devotees to visit France to give their support and association. To date at least 10 devotees who would not usually visit France have graced us with their presence. We are confident this trend will continue
These are the main developments over the last two years and in general the mood of the French yatra has improved considerably. This improvement has been accompanied by a change of President in France. By all accounts Nicolas Sarkozy will preside over a more liberal and devotee friendly administration. He has already initiated a review of organisations who desire the demise of other genuine expressions of spiritual faith that differ from their own.
Srila Prabhupada often commented how France was an important country
“So France is [a] very important country”. RC Mayapur March 1st 1977
Somehow our movement has been more or less on hold there for nearly 2 decades. By Krishna mercy, the desire of the devotees, and the application of intelligence and organisation, maybe the shackles are now beginning to lift…..
Click on a photo below to see the enlarged version