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New Altar Offering for Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara
By Bhakta Shiv
After more than 18 months of planning, the much anticipated moment arrived on Sunday 22 August when a breathtaking new altar was finally unveiled and officially offered to Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara to commemorate Their 40th anniversary.
It was a moment that held the devoted congregation of ISKCON’s London Radha Krishna Temple completely spellbound, as the crescendo that led up to the unveiling suddenly became hushed and a temple overflowing with devotees drew a collective breath of utter captivation.
The event attracted devotees from far and wide, all converging on the intimately close walls of London’s crest jewel to celebrate this most auspicious occasion with a day of unparalleled festivity. As the little gateway to Goloka Vrindavan slowly became inundated with devotees, a mood of bristling excitement gradually grew ever more ecstatic and a reverberating kirtan built up momentum in the temple room. The final unveiling far surpassed everyone’s expectations as evidenced by the stunned silence that ensued. As the overwhelmed congregation came to their senses enough to begin offering heartfelt devotional prayers, they were enraptured by the unrivalled beauty of Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara, Sri Jagannatha, Sri Baladeva, Srimati Subadra, Sri Giri Govardhana and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. ISKCON’s first large deities appeared supremely satisfied, enjoying Their opulent new home as They glanced lovingly down among Their devoted followers with Their sweetly enchanting smiles.
Although originally envisioned in January 2009 as a canopy for Their Lordships Sri Jagannatha, Sri Baladeva and Srimati Subadra, the project grew into a mammoth undertaking, blossoming in the hearts of the devotees involved into a wonderful vision of often daunting proportions. Championed by the immensely gifted Anantacarya prabhu and embraced completely by head pujari Murli Manohara dasa, it is now clear that the project was blessed by the personal supervision of Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara. The complexities of the job seemed at times insurmountable as the devotees faced untold challenges, ranging from technical construction problems to logistical manoeuvrability. Indeed, the canopy construction itself had to be personally overseen by Anantacarya prabhu in India before being shipped to London. The physical construction of the extremely intricate design specifications prepared by Anantacarya demanded the most meticulous care and attention, engaging highly skilled craftsmen in India for almost 3 months of intense labour. With astounding devotional sentiments, Anantacarya poured his very heart and soul into the project, considering every centimetre of space available in a cramped and humble temple room. Supported by his entire family, the project overcame countless hurdles as they worked feverishly to meet agreed deadlines. For Anantacarya, this was literally a dream come true. While Murli Manohara dasa was placing small Radha Krishna deities on the newly constructed altar, the long forgotten dream suddenly flashed into Anantacarya’s memory. In the dream, he was standing in front of the temple altar, but Radha Londonisvara were nowhere to be seen. However, Murli Manohara dasa appeared on the scene, and placed small Radha and Krishna on the empty altar. Then from behind on his right hand side, Radha Londonisvara came to take Their place on the new altar. Little did Anantacarya know at the time, that dream would become reality many years later.
Murli Manohara spent night and day within the temple room during the entirety of the installation, ready at a moment’s notice to serve Their Lordships in any eventuality. As head pujari, he personally oversaw the project, dreaming of the day that he could see Their Lordships glorified ever more with an altar befitting Their beauty. His guidance and sacrifice were invaluable assets in realising the selfless desires of all the devotees involved.
The final transfer of the deities from Their temporary altar to Their new home was a sweet and memorable pastime that left many devotees in tears. It was a delicate and touching experience for all who witnessed the loving exchanges between Radha and Krishna as Krishna first went to Their new dwelling to prepare for the arrival of His beloved. All the deities soon settled into Their new home amidst tears of jubilation and love. At the heart of the proceedings, our dear devoted temple president Jai Nitai prabhu was consumed with emotion. By his mercy, this enormous project was now complete.
The final revelation was an exquisitely crafted altar, infused with the devotional service of a dedicated team of devotees and designed to better glorify Their Lordships. The altar appears even more opulent being beautified by carefully laid marble of pristine quality. The offering was accompanied by the sweet, melodious singing of the names of Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara and beautiful prayers. Many devotees were completely overcome by the mystical atmosphere, and cloaked by the dim lighting everywhere except the altar, many moistened eyes glistened from the twinkling lights descending like blessings from the jewels decorating Their Lordships. As the evening came to a close in tumultuous ecstasy, the all merciful names of Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara resounded through the night in waves of mercy to purify all of London.
Pictures to go with this article can be accessed via the following website:
By Bhakta Shiv
After more than 18 months of planning, the much anticipated moment arrived on Sunday 22 August when a breathtaking new altar was finally unveiled and officially offered to Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara to commemorate Their 40th anniversary
Report by: Sandeep Kumar Maheshwary
August, 2010 -- Food for Life Global in partnership with affiliates in Pakistan and India are mobilizing teams to provide meals to survivors of the recent floods in Pakistan.
According to FFL coordinator, Sandeep Kumar Maheshwary, most of the public have been collecting clothes, dry food, water, and medicine for the affected areas. They are then transporting the donations to local community groups or the Army who have set up relief camps.
Maheshwary suggests that the most practical type of meal should be dry, like Dhal Chawal, or spicy rice, etc, however, the kind of meals served by FFL Pakistan Relief Teams will largely depend on the financial support Food for Life Global recieves. "Food for Life is famous for providing hot, tasty nutritious meals at such times and the Pakistan food relief will be no exception," explains global director, Paul Turner.
The Food for Life Pakistan Relief Team will focus on poor, minority groups who have lost their homes.
Areas of focus will include: Sindh: Hyderabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Gambt, Shikarpur, Larkana, Rato, Dero, Mirpur. Punjab: Kand kut, Kambr, Karmpur, Gunspur, Gutki, Khan Garr, Khan Pur Mehr, Sultan Kut, Sehdad Kut
Food for Life Pakistan Relief Team will also try to collaborate with other NGOs, namely, the Swami Narayan Welfare Temple and Trust and the Pakistan Hindu Council.
The teams will be led by Ram Yagya who is a full time volunteer with the Food for Life project and ISKCON Karachi.
tomado de: http://ymlp.com/zCeDSo
By Food for Life Global
Food for Life Global in partnership with affiliates in Pakistan and India are mobilizing teams to provide meals to survivors of the recent floods in Pakistan
Remembrances of Lives Past
Dustin Leader for The New York Times
By LISA MILLER
Published: August 27, 2010
IN one of his past lives, Dr. Paul DeBell believes, he was a caveman. The gray-haired Cornell-trained psychiatrist has a gentle, serious manner, and his appearance, together with the generic shrink décor of his office — leather couch, granite-topped coffee table — makes this pronouncement seem particularly jarring.
In that earlier incarnation, “I was going along, going along, going along, and I got eaten,” said Dr. DeBell, who has a private practice on the Upper East Side where he specializes in hypnotizing those hoping to retrieve memories of past lives. Dr. DeBell likes to reflect on how previous lives can alter one’s sense of self. He, for example, is more than a psychiatrist in 21st-century Manhattan; he believes he is an eternal soul who also inhabited the body of a Tibetan monk and a conscientious German who refused to betray his Jewish neighbors in the Holocaust.
Belief in reincarnation, he said, “allows you to experience history as yours. It gives you a different sense of what it means to be human.”
Peter Bostock, a retired language teacher from Winnipeg, Manitoba, says that in the early 1880s he managed a large estate — possibly Chatsworth — in Derbyshire, England.
In a twist that would make Jane Austen blush, he thinks he was in love with the soul of his current wife, Jo-Anne, then embodied as a cook in the estate’s kitchen. Married to someone else, Mr. Bostock could not act on his feelings.
He says he and his wife share the kind “of attraction and recognition that a soul makes when it encounters the familiar.” In that spirit, the couple traveled last month to Rhinebeck, N.Y., where they and more than 200 others paid $355 each to attend a weekend seminar run by one of America’s pre-eminent proselytizers on the subject of reincarnation, Dr. Brian Weiss.
On this second, sweltering day of the seminar, Dr. Weiss, a 65-year-old Florida resident with a hawk-like visage and placid blue eyes, was wearing a polo shirt the color of robins’ eggs. He took a break from teaching and, over a healthy lunch, reflected on the rise of interest in the West in reincarnation. Like Dr. DeBell, he is a psychiatrist with an Ivy League pedigree (Columbia University and Yale Medical School).
Dr. Weiss was censured by the medical establishment in 1988 after he published “Many Lives, Many Masters.” In it he details his work with a patient he calls Catherine, who, under hypnosis, the book says, remembered multiple past lives, relieving her of paralyzing phobias. It has sold more than a million copies.
Now, Dr. Weiss said: “Doctors are e-mailing me. They’re not so concerned with their reputations and careers. We can talk about this openly. And it’s not just psychiatrists, but surgeons and architects.”
According to data released last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of Americans now believe in reincarnation. (Women are more likely to believe than men; Democrats more likely than Republicans.) Julia Roberts recently told Elle magazine that though she was raised Christian, she had become “very Hindu.” Ms. Roberts believes that in her past life she was a “peasant revolutionary,” and said that when her daughter sits in a certain way she knows “there’s someone there I didn’t get the benefit of knowing ... It’s an honor for me to continue to shepherd that.”
At Cannes in May, a Thai film about reincarnation, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” won the highest prize. In it, an old man on his deathbed sees the dead as vividly as the living, and his past life as an ox is as clear as his present one.
In religious terms, the human narrative — birth, life, death and rebirth — has for millennia been relatively straightforward in the West. You were born. You lived. You died. After a judgment you went to heaven (or hell) forever and ever. Eternity was the end: no appeals allowed.
But nearly a billion Hindus and a half-billion Buddhists — not to mention the ancient Greeks, certain Jews and a few Christians — have for thousands of years believed something entirely different. Theirs is, as the theologians say, a cyclical view. You are born. You live. You die. And because nobody’s perfect, your soul is born again — not in another location or sphere, and not in any metaphorical sense, but right here on earth.
Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, Columbia University’s first Hindu chaplain, called it “a re-do,” like a test you get to take over. After an unspecified number of tries, the eternal soul finally achieves perfection. Only then, in what Hindus call moksha (or release), does the soul go to live with God.
SPIRITUALLY minded Americans have had a love affair with Eastern religion at least since the Beatles traveled to India in 1968, but for more than a generation, reincarnation remained a fringe or even shameful belief.
By Urmila Dasi
Great NY Times article on reincarnation and it looks like one of our devotees is there quoted and in a pic!
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Impressions: Woodstock 2010
By Abhaya Mudra Dasi
Did we choose the Polish (Przystanek) Woodstock festival this year, or were we magnetically drawn to this biggest rock gathering in Europe? Last year some 450,000 mostly young enthusiasts were in attendance. Our computers became covered with a thick layer of dust from the passing parade. The experience was surreal. The movement of the crowds created a mental image reminding me of the dust generated by the rhythmical pace of Shri Krishna’s millions of cows.
Dust covers the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord and His associates. Moving under the cover of the dust cloud, Shri Krishna escalates the feelings of his mother, father and other loving residents of Vrindavan who are waiting for Him to come back from the pasturing grounds. Moving closer and closer to the village, at last the veil of dust reveals Shri Krishna’s beautiful smile.
One year ago Patita Pavan das Adhikary and I had the opportunity to meet with some of Woodstock’s misguided participants competing with one another for the most bizarre appearance. Exactly like a herd of cows, these living entities had been safely guided to Krishna’s Village of Peace. Their ultimate liberation from the pangs of the material existence became sure as they took prasadam and listened to the sound of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. But Indradyumna Maharaj knows the necessity of giving them shastric guidance and the sadhu-sangha of devotees. Krishna’s Village is also a place of active preaching. Prahlad Narasimha Prabhu is the permanent astrologer of the tour as we attended as guest guides.
As Shrila Prabhupada used to say about astrology, “If you know there will be rain, then you take an umbrella.” Jyotish can protect us on the road of karma and facilitate our rendering of service to the Supreme Lord. Past karma cannot be undone but it can be changed by the way we react to it. That is precisely how future karma is created.
But the biggest value of astrology is in combining suitable pairs of devotees for marriage. As Srila Prabhupada once observed, “Man is good, because he is part and parcel of God. Woman is also good as part and parcel of God. But when they unite, they become bad.” Men and the women are both humans but they have different propensities and habits. When the backgrounds collide the two genders have certain expectations of one another and they may become unrealistic in their approach and behavior. When a man and a woman enter into a marriage that is not based on the tradition of Vedic astrology, most of the time the results are disastrous.
* * *
After a short bus trip of 36 hours across six countries, we arrived at the ZOB station in Berlin where we were met by Shri Nanda Kumar das and his wife Karuna Manjari. We were also greeted with nice weather that promised success for the festival. Seated in the van were Lakshmi Nrisimha and Chaturatma who had both just flown in from America. Krishna’s Village of Peace at Woodstock was just an hour away from the ZOB, across the Odra River. Along the way, Lakshmi Nrisimha Prabhu narrated stories about his early days on the Radha-Damodar bus party in America. That legendary model of preaching, the traveling festival, serves as an inspiration for the 400 devotees who participate in the Polish Woodstock and the Festival of India along the Baltic Sea. While the Radha-Damodar bus party had the preaching power of brahmacharis, the festival of India is creating a social tradition by stressing the element of beauty, one of Krishna’s six opulences.
The genius of Indradyumna Swami and his associates like Nandini devi dasi and her husband Jayatam Prabhu have generated many practical ideas applied to the specifics and requirements of Poland. Most of the devotees on the tour are from Russia, a country which has the best ballet dancers and circus acrobats. Polish people love to see beautiful dancers and ladies dressed in gorgeous saris on harinam. According to niti shastra and the Laws of Manu, “Where women are respected, there the gods delight; and where they are not, there all works and efforts come to naught.” It is especially endearing to see how young men and women work together to ensure the success of the Baltic Sea tour. The proper interaction between of the two genders on the tour has already been synchronized well by wise direction. This year our astrology tent would be situated almost behind the real action so that we could interact more with the devotees. Our role in the midst of this festivity of devotion would be to guide devotees making a line between material circumstances and devotional desires and further facilitate their spiritual development.
But there happened to be one slow and moody day. It began to rain. It was not often that a day on the tour has to be called off. One little girl from the crowd was still dancing under the lights created by the falling droplets of water from the sky while the wet stage was sitting open and abandoned. The little dancer did not know that she has been noticed and could have been celebrated for her enthusiasm if only the show had continued to the end. But she was happy with the rain. I did identify with that girl, because on that day we did not have a tent. The next day I witnessed how hundreds of kids received saris and sweets on stage, chanting the names of Gopal. Those gifts were so valuable and the whole festival so thrilling for them that they will remember the festival for the rest of their lives. Future devotees are planted and watered on the festival by the thousands, all at great dedication and expense. No one knows how big preaching requires big funding and organization like Indradyumna Maharaja.
The regime at the base is according to the capacity of human endeavor. Sadhana is strictly followed while at the same time devotees keep up their health with necessary attention to rest and wholesome prasadam. Just as a youngster requires careful supervision, so Indradyumna Maharaja often refers to the festival as being his baby. All devotees work in perfect synchronization. Some work diligently in the kitchen preparing delightful offerings for the beautiful deities and the devotees or as personal servants of Maharaja like Mahavan das and Amritananda. Others, like Varshana Rani devi dasi are in every act on stage and off stage; or like Dina Dayal das, a sword fighting expert, There are many such great performers who can only be compared to world famous movie stars. Yet, none of the devotees are after worldly fame. For example, there are three Russian devotees who have dropped out of famous ballet companies and have mastered Bharat natayam dance to preach through their art. The feeling on the tour is that each devotee has caught the attention of Shri Krishna.
The Festival of India is now expanding to other parts of the world. This constant celebration of delicious prasadam, melodious chanting and skillful dancing benefits everyone. The tour even pays the traveling expenses for a few devotees from different parts of the world to participate and gain experience in their own service. Netranjali devi dasi shared with us that Indradyumna Maharaja wanted to show her a place where every word is a song and every step is a dance, and thereby inspire her own service as a pujari in the temple of Puerto Rico.
* * *
Woodstock and the tour on the Baltic Sea have grown into one inseparable entity for the devotees. Many in Poland even believe that the Hare Krishna movement organizes the Woodstock event. The Catholic Church especially feels the pressure coming from the powerful preaching of HH Indradyumna Maharaja and his devotee army. This year many Catholic priests have changed their tactics. They are friendly and many of them are seen wearing white cloth. From afar they look like devotees. The Catholics even try to gather groups of people singing in the same formation like harinam. As Shri Krishna declares in the Bhagavad Gita, “Whatever a great man does others will follow.” Adding to the profundity of this statement, this year the followers of Narayan Maharaj erected a tiny tent called Radha’s Village of Peace.
Devotees organized every day for the three days of the festival, an eye and mind catching Radha Yatra going throughout the fields of Woodstock. Many intoxicated and excited kids danced along the cart of the Universal Lord. They have been caught in the net of devotional service just like fish swimming in the sea of illusions. Throughout the day the sound of the Hare Krishna mahamantra emanated from several different places. The different melodies overlapped each other and made the sound even more pleasant. It was non-different from the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when devotees had many sankirtan leaders in the same party. They would form different circles and the different formations would each have a particular number of mridangas and karatals for accompaniment.
cari sampradaye haila cabbisa gayana
There were altogether four parties of kirtana performers, comprising twenty-four chanters. In each party there were also two mridanga players, making an additional eight persons. (CC Madhya 13.33)
The kirtaniyas at Woodstock sometimes would carry the chanting in the main tent till the late hours of the night. Crowds walking here and there would be attracted to the village of real bliss as the chanting continues in an ecstatic mood. Devotees stay close-by in the big tent and rejoice. But the late hours outside the designated area were scary. Thousands of drunks and half-dressed people, who have lost real individuality bump into each other. The noise and punk rock music coming from the main stage echoes to every corner of the festival and resembles the crescendos of hell. And the darkness threatens to engulf any person who dares to step into those unknown territories of strange behavior and accidental happenings.
We had to walk back through corpses of empty beer bottles because our residence was about half a kilometer away. By the mercy of Krishna, our host Mukesh Patani, who has been placed in this country far from his native India, enjoys three days in a year of proximity to his vaishnav culture. Thousands of motorcycles are parked along the way back to our residence and people sleep in little tents, showering in the morning under open public taps. The array of portable toilets just adds to the atmosphere of filth. Why do devotees have to go to such places? Why go and preach in hell? It is amazing how hell and Vaikunta exist side by side at the Polish Woodstock festival. Only by the inconceivable mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead these two very distant places meet as the darkness of hell is transformed into spiritual rasa.
* * *
Going back on the bus after two weeks of bliss, the return trip seemed to take forever. One afterthought kept lingering in my mind while tasting the delicious prasadam offered for the trip by Radhika Kripa matajee. Devotees should have these festivals sometimes solely for themselves. They should gather together and perform kirtan for long periods, even longer than during the Janmastami or Gaura Purnima festivals. Even in the best of kirtans, bliss doesn’t spill out immediately. A 24/7 kirtan performed in a camp of devotees eventually will not be contained and will powerfully spill onto the streets. Even an experienced actor has to perform in closed doors before appearing before the public. And Shri Krishna is the greatest actor. Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan party was first conducted in an intimate atmosphere in the house of Shrivasa Pandit. Eventually, many outsiders became curious and wanted to join. The house could not contain the party which moved onto the streets and went wild. Devotees were seen lifting trees and floating in the air like balloons. This ecstasy left hundreds of villages innundated by the madness of chanting:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
It is possible to recreate this power of chanting even today. The Woodstock festival expresses the titillating desire and offers promise that there are glorious days to come for the Hare Krishna Movement.
By Abhaya Mudra Dasi
Did we choose the Polish (Przystanek) Woodstock festival this year, or were we magnetically drawn to this biggest rock gathering in Europe? Last year some 450,000 mostly young enthusiasts were in attendance. Our computers became covered with a thick layer of dust from the passing parade. The experience was surreal...
Vanamali Das: Food for Life projects. If we can get a confirmation that there is a team willing and able to head up a prasadam relief project to help survivors of the floods, Food for Life Global will initiate a fundraising campaign through our social network. We will also solicit for volunteer help as needed
Your servants at Bhaktivedanta College: We are pleased to announce Bhaktivedanta College's first term courses for the academic year 2010/11
Vrndavanlila dd (Dr Vrinda Baxi): With the blessings of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga, tenth issue of Varnasrama Newsletter: THE EIGHT PETALS for Trivikrama Mas is available
Ila devi dasi MVS: By popular demand the second Mayapur Street Harinama CD will soon be released. With 7 new tunes, some never heard before in any other part of the world, it promises to be an inspirational masterpiece that will get even the reluctant solitary japa chanter out of the forest and into the jumping crowds on harinam!
nvcommunications: On Wednesday, September 1, millions of people around the world will observe the ancient Vedic festival called Krishna Janmastami.
Radharaman das: I Introduce myself as a devotee and life member and doing seva by car rental from Delhi Temple I have started web-site WWW. avancetravels. com for Iskcon devotee and other visitors to India, helping them to avoid Tour hassles and cumbersome Planning and for Relaxation to rejuvenate your energy
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