By Krishna-mayi devi dasi
Las Vegas, as everyone knows, stands for mega-kali-yuga entertainment: especially gambling, prostitution, intoxication and meat eating in multiple extend. It has even earned the nick-name of “Sin City”. Even in the present economic time of recession in the U.S.A., the city still boasts a visitation of 37 million tourists annually, just down 3 million before hard financial times hit. Millionaires and billionaires from around the world, are attracted to maya’s great playground here, and because of the development of theme park resorts over the last few decades, the city has become a destination vacation for families also.
Despite the huge flow of visitors mesmerized by the flow of visual and sensual delights, there is a more placid side of life in Las Vegas. There are about two million people living in the metropolis, and most of them have nothing to do with “the Strip”, the casinos, and all the other emphasis placed on “Sin City”. They just go on with ordinary lives like you would expect to see anywhere else in the world. And the best kept secret in this secluded desert city of kali’s stronghold is – *ISKCON of Las Vegas*. Yes, Krishna consciousness now has a good establishment in maya’s doorway.
Photo: Surapal Prabhu and Krishna-mayi Mataji in the front of ISKCON Las Vegas temple altar.
Since 2001, my husband Surapal, and myself, Krishna-mayi, both originally Polish Nationals, have resided in this city for the purpose of spreading the sankirtan movement, and we incorporated ISKCON of Las Vegas, Inc. in the year 2002. One devotee who inspired us to come here always says to us, that just the name ISKCON of Las Vegas is astonishing, because Las Vegas stands for sin personified, and ISKCON stands for Vaikuntha or Goloka Vrindavan. So it is the greatest paradox, but transcendental in purpose to establish a Krishna conscious paradise.
Moving progressively to three different locations over the last 10 years, the temple’s newest location is very centrally located and just ten minutes from “the Strip”, and ten minutes from the airport. From our front door one can see the entire skyline of the famed gambling kingdom just a few miles away. It reminds about the mission of turning “Sin City” into “Saints City” as well as inspires to expend the endeavor of spreading Lord Krishna’s glories in this place.
Photo: Sunday love feast at Las Vegas temple.
A Bhagavad Gita study is offered every Saturday and the regular Sunday love feast. We are supporting the temple and preaching projects ourselves from the salaries of own regular jobs, and a website design business called www.Gopalwebdesign.com. Although our efforts seem humble now in the beginning, we have a grand vision for establishing a large spiritual Vedic Cultural Center that tourists can add to their list of things to do and places to see, a beautiful Krishna temple even more attractive that any of the “Maya’s mandirs” – casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Anyone wishing to visit us or learn more about our preaching efforts is invited to visit our website: www.GovindasCenter.com. Also, for a donation, we have a few rooms available for devotees or families visiting the Las Vegas area. And, we are looking for a few good devotees, already situated in the United States, who may like to become a part of this progressive project, as book distributors, cooks, etc. Millionaires are also welcome to contribute to Prabhupada’s vision of changing the world by changing the consciousness of the people in Las Vegas to Krishna consciousness. Because Las Vegas is one of maya’s chief capitals, it would be a good investment with high Krishna conscious returns.
As anyone who visits Las Vegas knows, maya is attractive, but Krishna attracts even maya. A Vedic Cultural project here could help influence the many people from around the world who visit.