Acharyas

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was named Kedarnath Datta by his father, was born on 2nd September 1838 in Biranagara (Ulagrama) in the district of Nadia. He was the seventh son of Raja Krsnananda Datta, a great devotee of Lord Nityananda.He would be known as 'daitya-kulera prahlada' (Prahlada in the family of demons). This was because Vaishnavism was not very much respected in his family; on his mother's side, there was no respect for Vaishnavism at all. His childhood was spent at the mansion of his maternal grandfather Mustauphi Mahasaya, in Biranagara. His environment at this time was very opulent. He got his elementary education at the primary school started by his grandmother. Later he attended an English school in Krishnanagara, started by the King of Nadia; he left that school...

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada

               Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaj (1874 – 1937), was a preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism throughout India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He was born as Bimal Prasad Dutta in the seaside pilgrimage town of Jagannath Puri, Orissa, India. His father was the Vaishnava scholar Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the first to present the teachings of Chaitanya Vaishnavism to the English speaking world. He received both Western and traditional Indian education and gradually established himself as a leading intellectual among the bhadralok (Western-educated and often Hindu Bengali residents of colonial Calcutta), earning the title Siddhānta Sarasvatī ("the pinnacle of wisdom").               In 1918, Bimal Prasad Dutta accepted the renounced order of spiritual...

His Holiness Jayapataka Swami

Jayapataka Swami was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. His scholastic achievements led to an offer of a full scholarship by Brown University after his completion of high school. As a new student at Brown, Jayapataka Swami heard a guest lecturer speak on the life of Buddha. This inspired in him the desire to search for his spiritual teacher. Having lost all interest in his studies, Jayapataka Swami deemed India to be the best destination to find this teacher. Before departing he came across a group of Hare Krishna devotees and became interested in sharing their practices. Shortly thereafter he visited the San Francisco ISKCON center where he helped to build a cart for the now world famous Ratha Yatra Festival. He joined ISKCON’s San Francisco center on Ratha Yatraday then...

Articles

Human Life

Among all the species of life, human life is the best because it affords us the higher intelligence with which to make spiritual progress. In plant or animal bodies, our consciousness is too undeveloped. With the higher awareness of human life comes greater responsibility. Animal life comprises only four activities: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Human beings are no better than animals if they spend their lives in similar pursuits and don't try for self-realization. When we observe the vast numbers of plants and animals in this world, we can understand just how rare a human birth is. That should inspire us to make the best use of our short time in these bodies by diligently following the authorized spiritual practices of Bhakti yoga, which can lead to...

Human Intelligence

Everyone is thinking “I am American, I am Indian, I am European, I am Australian”, “I am Rich, I am Poor, I am this, I am that” – bodily concept. We have to cleanse this bodily conception of life that “I am not this body”. “Aham Brahmasmi” I am spirit soul. In the Bhagavad Gita it is said: “Janma-mrtyu- jara-vyadhi - dukha-dosanudarsanam” We are trying to be happy fighting with unhappiness, but we do not know our real unhappiness are that we have to die, we have to take birth again, we have to become diseased and we have to accept old age. This is intelligence that I am trying to solve all the problems of life by advancement of civilization, education, scientific knowledge and so many other things. That’s all right, but what is the solution of these four miserable conditions? “BIRTH”,...

The Mantra that changed my life

Discovering Spiritual Knowledge It all began with meeting a young lady, who is an astrologer. She prepared my natal map and gave some recommendations as far as what I should and should not do. First of all, she recommended to switch to a vegetarian diet. The reason for that is because I was born on Caturdasi. It is a must for people who are born on this day to be engaged in spiritual practice. Otherwise, consequences can be really harsh. I became interested. Actually, I had always been interested in spiritual living. The astrologer and I had a long conversation and I would have loved to talk more, but I had to leave for Milan, so time was limited. That is why I asked her if she could recommend any books. She told me about Radhanath Swami’s “Journey Back Home” book and also about “AGHORA,...

Last Week in ISKCON

Mahotsaha distributed Saptarishi set in Miami

Prabhupada Marathon Results for North America

North America are always first to come out with book scores and now we can see how our American devotees did during the marathon (here). Altogether over two hundred thousand books were distributed, which is a 14% drop compared to the previous year. Covid restrictions must have played a role – when devotees are out in the streets in full force, like in pre-pandemic days, they are unstoppable and “phone distribution” of Covid era cannot catch up. Nevertheless, thanks to a mind blowing Bhadra Purnima marathon back in August, total book distribution for last year increased by 12%. This is remarkable, considering how big was a contraction in the first half of the year – by over 60% in May. Totals for the year were helped by the first three months, before the lockdown, when book scores increased by double digit figures, and the period of September-November, which saw significant increases as lockdowns eased. And then there was Bhadra Purnima, which was almost equal to Prabhupada Marathon results. Among the temples, ISKCON Silicon Valley won Prabhupada Marathon, and it was also first for the hole year, selling more than double number of books of Los Angeles temple in the second place. The battle for public relations, however, was easily won by devotees from New York Yuga Dharma ashram who post regular updates with pictures and personal stories. During the pandemic they “emigrated” to warmer climate and their marathon scores appears to be posted from Atlanta, which was in the third place. In the picture is Mahotsaha Prabhu selling a “Saptarishi” set on a field trip to Miami. We should also mention Krishna West communities, which started reporting book distribution scores this year. During the marathon, however, they were largely absent with KW Orlando selling twelve books and completing NA table in the last place. We should also mention Toronto – it was in the fourth place and it looks like formidable opponent from Canada in the report dominated by the Americans temples.

Normal News

Everything still continues to be colored by Covid but now and then we have news that look totally normal. It’s January and it means street preaching season in the southern hemisphere. Just look at this picture collage, automatically created by Facebook, of a harinama in Pottsville in Australia. Look at the colors, look at the energy – don’t we wish that we ourselves could have a joyous and colorful Ratha Yatra here? Maybe later this year, but with the second lockdown in force in Thailand we can’t be too hopeful. We can look at how they did it in South Africa in 2017 in this ten minute video compilation of their Ratha Yatra performances. Bucking pandemic trend is this video from Sri Lanka with their update on a temple construction. We mentioned this upcoming temple a while ago and it’s nice to see that there is progress there. Or a new book on Puranic history, The Big Bang and the Sages, being published. At first it looks like it’s not saying anything new – convergence of Vedic timeline for the history of the universe with modern science is one of the first things devotees hear about in ISKCON, but what makes this book remarkable is that its finding were published in a respectable peer-reviewed science journal. One professor from Columbia University wrote the following in his review: “The evidence for Superhuman communication appears persuasive, and raises important questions about our understanding of human history. This book is sure to attract a lot of interest in ancient Indian texts.” What are these “Superhuman communications” he refers to in the book? Our interest is piqued. Check out the details were here.
Pre-pandemic line at Gopala Madhava restaurant in Sao Paolo

Vegetarian Brazil

A while ago we mentioned how New York Times used a picture of a devotee family illustrating their story about rise of vegetarianism in Brazil. ISKCONnews site has researched this subject at depth and published a big feature article here. Today’s ekadasi, so beware of clicking on a link which contains pictures of delicious prasadam and welcoming restaurants. In the title they mention that Brazil is the world’s biggest exporter of beef, and yet 14% of Brazilians now describe themselves as vegetarian. This means that there are plenty of potential customers for devotee restaurants there. In the picture, from pre-pandemic days, you can see people lining up to get inside Gopala Madhava restaurant in Sao Paolo. I was opened in 1995 but there are plenty of other Hare Krishna restaurants selling prasadam there, with the names like Gulab Hari and Govardhana Hari, or Samosaria Hare, or Lanchonete Jagannatha. Brazilian devotees have farm communities and Nova Gokula is a home to not one or two but FOUR vegetarian restaurants. Some are openly Hare Krishna, others are ostensibly vegan. Some serve traditional ISKCON fare, other sell traditional Brazilian dishes instead. Prasadam distribution is not selling food however, and so wherever there are Hare Krishna restaurants there are also associated Food For Life projects. Pre-pandemic devotees served thousands of free prasadam plates per week. One way or another, but Hare Krishna temples with vegetarian food have become a part of Brazilian society, not something taboo or even something exotic. University students are actually looking for this kind of experience.

Bhagavad Gita Quotes

The Bhagavad-gita is universally renowned as the jewel of India’s spiritual wisdom. Spoken by Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His intimate disciple Arjuna, the Gita’s seven hundred concise verses provide a definitive guide to the science of self realization. No other philosophical or religious work reveals, in such a lucid and profound way, the nature of consciousness, the self, the universe and the Supreme.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is uniquely qualified to present this English translation and commentary on Bhagavad-gita. He is the world’s foremost Vedic scholar and teacher, and he is also the current representative of an unbroken chain of fully self-realized spiritual masters beginning with Lord Krishna Himself. Thus, unlike other editions of the Gita, this one is presented as it is–without the slightest taint of adulteration or personal motivation. This edition is certain to stimulate and enlighten with its ancient yet thoroughly timely message.

The Bhagavad-gita is universally renowned as the jewel of India’s spiritual wisdom. Spoken by Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead to His intimate disciple Arjuna, the Gita’s seven hundred concise verses provide a definitive guide to the science of self realization. No other philosophical or religious work reveals, in such a lucid and profound way, the nature of consciousness, the self, the universe and the Supreme.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is uniquely qualified to present this English translation and commentary on Bhagavad-gita. He is the world’s foremost Vedic scholar and teacher, and he is also the current representative of an unbroken chain of fully self-realized spiritual masters beginning with Lord Krishna Himself. Thus, unlike other editions of the Gita, this one is presented as it is–without the slightest taint of adulteration or personal motivation. This edition is certain to stimulate and enlighten with its ancient yet thoroughly timely message.

Prayers of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna

Prayers of Lord Siva

Prayers of Lord Siva

Lord Siva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish...

read more
Prayers of Lord Brahma

Prayers of Lord Brahma

My dear Lord Krishna, You are the one Supreme Soul, the primeval Supreme Personality, the Absolute Truth — self-manifested, endless and beginning less. You are eternal and infallible, perfect and complete, without any rival and free from all material designations....

read more

Prayers of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna

Prayers of Lord Siva

Prayers of Lord Siva

Lord Siva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish...

read more
Prayers of Lord Brahma

Prayers of Lord Brahma

My dear Lord Krishna, You are the one Supreme Soul, the primeval Supreme Personality, the Absolute Truth — self-manifested, endless and beginning less. You are eternal and infallible, perfect and complete, without any rival and free from all material designations....

read more

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