PREACHING IN USSR 1980-81

In 1980-81 I was living in Calcutta, which at that time was ruled by Jyoti Basu’s communist government. Even our next-door neighbor was the Polish embassy and down the street was the Soviet embassy (the temple was in the diplomatic section of town). Though Calcutta temple was far from Moscow we were part of a team that was using every possible means that we could think of to infiltrate the USSR with Krsna Consciousness.

How? Devotees like Kirtiraja Prabhu, would smuggle phone directories of major cities out of the USSR and send them to Calcutta (not sure if other temples were involved). Then under Adridharana Prabhu’s leadership we would take addresses from the phone directories and put them on envelopes containing a Russian translation of Prabhupada’s introduction to the Bhagavad-gita. Then we would take these many thousands of  “time bombs” and mail them to the USSR from many different Indian cities so that the KGB and their Indian collaborators could not figure out the source. Because India and the USSR were close allies, letters from India would not be scrutinized so closely if at all, but if thousands of letters had suddenly come from a Western country suspicions would be aroused.

Admittedly we were using a scatter-gun approach and had no idea who we were sending them to. The letter could end up at the home of pious person or the head of the KGB, we just didn’t know. Nor did we know if our endeavor was having any effect. read more

Sinhalese Preaching Breakthrough in Sri Lanka

Revolutionary pubic program was organized in Sinhalese area in a town near Kandy in Central Province of Sri Lanka. Just a few years ago, when the civil war between Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Tamils was raging, nobody would imagine that a Hare Krishna program would be held in the heart of Buddhist culture in Kandy.

At the beginning we were little skeptical but later on when more than 500 hundred people joined our nagara-sanirtana all anxiety went away. Finally around 2500 people including devotees from Australia, India, Kuwait, Slovenia, England, Switzerland, and different parts of Sri Lanka participated in the program. The nature’s scenery there was already very beautiful and the chanting of the holy name made it fully perfect.

H.H Bhakti Vikasa Swami was the chief guest. He lectured about the suffering in this material world and the universal path of Krishna consciousness. Maharaja expertly spoke in a manner that every sincere Buddhist could accept his arguments. The lecture was translated into both Tamil and Sinhalese languages. Later Maharaja called on the stage, his “white elephant” disciple Vasudeva Datta das, who addressed the public in Tamil language and captured the hearts of the audience. The program was broadcasted by Shakthi TV- the most prominent satellite channel of Sri Lanka. read more

A new faith is born in Malawi

Please find below an interview in “The Nation” newspaper of Malawi, Central Africa.  It was published on 5 January 2014.  The questions were answered by Radhakanth Prabhu – Congregational Development Officer of ISKCON Blantyre, but the reporter mistook him to be Murari Prabhu – The Chairman of ISKCON Blantyre. 

Krishna Consciousness in South Korea

During His manifest pastimes, Srila Prabhupada did not visit Korea, but reading from His letters in the Vedabase, we can learn that His disciple Trivikrama Swami was trying to obtain a preaching visa while residing in Japan (letter to Trivikrama – Honolulu 9 May, 1976), went there for three weeks and even managed to make a pamphlet in Korean which His Divine Grace greatly appreciated (letter to Trivikrama – Honolulu 15 May, 1976).

We can also see how He encouraged disciples stationing in the eastern part of the world to go there as well (letter to Sudama, 19. Sep 1971 and letter to Cyavana – London 1 August, 1972).

I did not have a chance yet to research into the subject so I don’t know whether a preaching centre was established or not in the early days, but I am sure that many nice devotees kept on going there to do sankirtana. read more

Srila Prabhupada’s mercy on Mad Mick

This is a story which proves that the mercy of Srila Prabhupada flows like the river Ganga, reaching those souls others cannot.

A few years ago, in a small village in County Roscommon, one of the most rural parts of Ireland, there lived a man by the name of Michael Henmore. He never married and at an early life became a hermit.

 He had few possessions except a cow, a horse and cart, and a small house that time had forgot. He lived without running water or electricity. Every few days he would journey to the nearest village to draw water from the well there. He spoke to no one, not even relations. He had an unkempt beard and wore old-style clothes. read more

ISKCON ROCK

This article was written in the 90-is when some devotees in the West were convinced that by been engaged is so called “straight edge” movement ISKCON will profit greatly and influence youth of yesterday. Unfortunately most of the protagonists of that “ISKCON rock wave” era are not in good standing today. But even more amazing is that now, 20+ years later some “smart'” people in India think they had discovered the great avenue for preaching. Good luck. – Editor (ex – Straight edger and a rock musician)

Everyone likes music. Lord Krsna also enjoys nice music performed for His pleasure.  Many of the more opulent Visnu temples in India still retain musicians who perform daily for the Lord. read more

The (ab)use of knowledge

Somebody once asked me. What should be the balance between study and practical activity in Krsna-concsiousness? Coming from the pioneer generation of devotees who were put into active preaching field without training from the first day they arrived at the temple door, I could answer this question only in following manner: Yes, indeed, Srila Prabhupada put us instantly into a preaching position. Most of us, I hope not to offend anybody, were not at all aware what they were really preaching. At least not on the level of vijnana, or realized knowledge. The only thing which every member of this movement in 1972 knew was that he feels unconditional love for Srila Prabhupada. No statement could have been made without reference to His Divine Grace and any action had to be backed up by the reference to His words.

The fascination with Srila Prabhupada’s personality was so great that lecturers even produced quotes from Srila Prabhupada without actually knowing them to be authorized. Srila Prabhupada commented lovingly, but nevertheless critically, that “they always say Prabhupada said, Prabhupada said, but I didn’t say it.”Nevertheless it was unconditional love which often motivated the speaker and the instructor, not academic erudition.

Those who remained on a level of “deep sentimental attachment” towards Srila Prabhupada, got furthest to the point of His departure from this planet and then they went in to the trouble. Those who understood the need to learn fast what was to be learned acquired knowledge while daily facing new challenges within their service. It was this process of learning Srila Prabhupada introduced us to. You learn to swim by jumping into water. read more

Prison Program (Pula, Croatia)

Prison

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 couple of the guards escorted us in along with two ladies who were prison workers monitoring rehabilitation and recovery programs.Everyone was friendly, and because we came early we had a lot of time to talk with them about the prison and the inmates. They told us that the jail houses both inmates who were given court sentences, and those who are awaiting trial. Many come back to prison as it has become their home. During the years they spent inside they become unable to live outside.The ladies said there were about 5,300 people in prisons in Croatia (out of the poplulation of 4.5 million). Candra mentioned to them that in the U.S.A. there are 3 million persons in jail out of poplulation of 300 million which is 1% of the entire poplulation. The ladies were a bit shocked with such big numbers and said “well, 3 million inmates, that’s almost the entire population of Croatia!” read more

Freedom within captivity: Holy Jail

Holy Jail is a touching compilation of the activities of ISKCON Prison Ministries (IPM) by His Holiness Candramauli Maharaja. In over thirty years of operation, the lives of hundreds of inmates have changed due to the practice of Krishna consciousness and the support received by devotees.