About a week before Gita Jayanti, one devotee in Bombay went out to distribute Srimad Bhagavad Gita.At one place, he knocked the door but no one replied. He did not give up and again knocked the door, still it was unanswered. With firm determination to distribute Bhagavad Gita, he again knocked with a much greater force.
Valtura Prison Camp
The next day, October 11, we went to a prison in Valtura a town nearby Pula. This place was the open-type where mostly offenders with traffic accidents were held. There were no walls,guards or bars, just a few houses in a farm-like environment.
On October 10th,ISKCON had it’s first program in Pula Prison. Eight devotees were present.HH Candramauli Swami gave the lecture. A very special person was also with us, Candra Prabhu from the U.S., who is employed in Oregon state jail as a counsellor, and also volunteers as a religious counselor. Mother Saci Mata did the translating, Divya Prabhanda Prabhu played harmonium and lead kirtan, Namacarya Prabhu played mridanga.Organizers of the program and also the karatal players were Nadia Nimai Prabhu and his wife Mother Malati Mala.And me, with the special task of writing a report on the event.
We arrived one hour early,the guards were a bit surprised, but they let us in after after the normal rountine check.Inside we were led into a wide, long hall where the program was to be held. The old jail building dated back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire period.
A Muslim boy visited us yesterday and said he was doing a study on comparative religion. He said that he was reading Zakir Naik’s writings. He started to ask us some questions.
Muslim student: Our respected Dr. Zakir Naik says there is no such thing as the Hindu religion. It’s supposed to be called varnasrama dharma. Or the followers could be called Vedantists, followers of the Vedas.
David: Hi. Where do you come from?
Gopal Das: Hare Krishna. I come from Italy.
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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), established the Governing Body Commission (GBC) to be the ultimate managing authority for the society. In ISKCON’s Direction of Management written on July 28, 1970, Srila Prabhupada states:
As we have increased our volume of activities, now I think a Governing Body Commission (hereinafter referred to as the GBC) should be established. I am getting old, 75 years old, therefore at any time I may be out of the scene, therefore I think it is necessary to give instruction to my disciples how they shall manage the whole institution. They are already managing individual centers represented by one president, one secretary and one treasurer, and in my opinion they are doing nice. But we want still more improvement in the standard of temple management, propaganda for Krishna consciousness, distribution of books and literatures, opening of new centers and educating devotees to the right standard.
The Hare Krishna movement is the popular name for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Founded in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON carries on in the modern world a great ancient tradition rooted in the Bhagavad-Gita , the teachings Lord Krishna spoke five thousand years ago. The Gita and the other Vedic scriptures declare Krishna to be the original person, God Himself, who appears periodically in this world to liberate all living beings.
Only five hundred years ago, Krishna descended as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach the most sublime and effective means of meditation for the present day: the chanting of the names of God, especially as found in the Hare Krishna mantra.