Malaysia – Grand start of our new Temple building


The Temple Model

After years of planning and endeavour by many devotees in Malaysia, the moment everyone had been waiting for, the moment some doubted would ever happen, the moment which felt like Srila Prabhupada’s face lit up, the moment which beckoned the fulfilment of his desires finally dawned.

38 year earlier (almost to the day) on his visit to Malaysia Srila Prabhupada had come in anticipation of settling some land for a temple here. It didn’t fructify. Undaunted Srila Prabhupada expressed his eagerness when meeting with the wife of the leading Indian minister at the time.

As Prabhupada explained the process of Krsna consciousness he quoted many Sanskrit verses. Mrs Sambanthan said: “Yes that is so true. You quote Sanskrit so nicely Swamiji.” After some time Srila Prabhupada said: “So you are appreciating our philosophy very nicely. You must help us spread this Krsna consciousness movement.” She answered: “With your mercy, Swamiji.” Srila Prabhupada said: “Mercy is already there. You simply have to take it.” She answered again: “With your mercy Swamiji.” Then Srila Prabhupada gave an analogy. He said: “If someone is drowning in a well and crying out ‘Help’, and another person hears him and throws down a rope so he can catch it. If the person drowning in the well cries, ‘Help me take the rope’, it is not right. It is up to him to take the rope and be pulled out. The mercy is there. You simply have to take it and become freed from all illusion and lamentation.”

As Prabhupada continued talking he seemed very intent but at the same time acting nonchalant. Then a wonderful thing happened. Prabhupada asked for his white vinyl hand-case, and pulled out a paper and put it in the lady’s hand. He said: “I want a temple like this.” Prabhupada very much wanted this lady to help build a temple here in Malaysia. At the same time by his calm expression he seemed to be restraining his extreme enthusiasm. Continue reading

‘Building Bridges’ Conference Heralds Bold Take on Outreach



Washington, DC – For the more than fifty ISKCON devotees who gathered here to attend the “Building Bridges” conference last month, there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that – judging by comments made by almost all of the conference’s esteemed presenters – the “good old days” of ISKCON’s in-your-face preaching have been officially declared dead. The good news, of course, was that the “good old days” of ISKCON’s in-your-face preaching have been officially declared dead.

ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada. The Building Bridges conference explored how best to serve his mission of sharing Krishna with an increasingly post-modern world. (The deity pictured here is at the home of Anuttama Prabhu and Rukmini Devi, who helped to organize the event.)

“I wonder if we might not just retire the word preach altogether,” suggested participant Rukmini Devi Dasi, an ISKCON devotee since 1968. “It has such a negative connotation these days, and seems so condescending. I think we should just stop using it.”

How did a conference dedicated to outreach end up offering the funeral eulogy for “preaching” as-we-know-it? By challenging participants to re-vision what it means to share Krishna with others in the 21st Century.

“We [in ISKCON] are doing too much navel-gazing these days,” keynote presenter Devamrita Swami playfully complained to the packed temple-room audience during his talk on Sustainability Outreach. “We need to learn how to get back in touch with people in a way that is relevant to where they are at.” Continue reading

February 22-23, Final Days of the GBC Meetings


[Note from ATD: I apologize and take responsibility for the prolonged delay in sending out this final report.]

February 22-23, the last two days of the 2009 GBC meetings, predominantly consisted of final voting and zonal assignments.

Every year, each GBC member’s zonal areas of responsibility are reviewed and ratified for the coming year. It is interesting to note a gradual shift over the years with an increasing number of GBC members preferring to share their zonal duties with one or more “co-GBCs”. This holds true not just for major projects like Mayapur, which has a six-man GBC committee, but even for smaller yatras like Latvia, Bangladesh, and Honduras. Another recent development is a number of non-GBC members holding zonal responsibilities. Continue reading

H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) and You

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What is H1N1 (swine flu)?
H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

Why is this new H1N1 virus sometimes called “swine flu”?
This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus. Continue reading

Congregational Book Distribution: Monthly Sankirtan Festivals


“Monthly Sankirtan Festivals are a great way to engage the entire congregation in book distribution,” says Vaisesika dasa. “At our temple, we combine the festival with a holy day on the Vaisnava calendar. Our meditation during the Monthly Sankritan Festival is that the sankirtan results are our special offering to the Lord.”

Vaisesika dasa is the Temple President of the ISKCON Silicon Valley (ISV) temple as well as the North American Sankirtan Strategist. Over the last five years, he has used ISV as a testing ground for different book distribution strategies. The Monthly Sankirtan Festival has proven so successful that Vaisesika is now training other temples in this strategy. The Monthly Sankirtan Festivals have spread to Boston, Houston, New York City, and Washington, DC. Continue reading

Nothing happens accidentally

Paramahamsa: They say originally there was just a cell, and by adaptation in some circumstances, one kind would live and another would die. So all these varieties adapted to different conditions.

Prabhupada: Who adapted this? Who managed?

Paramahamsa: Well they just… accidentally. Continue reading

Wonderful Pastime of Lord Nrsimhadev


(Photos from

Allow me to tell a true story that happened some 10 years ago in South-Africa. The father and the daughter who experienced this event told this story to my friend, a sannyasi and devotee of Lord Nrsimhadev.
This stories was also found in the newspapers, and several witnesses of this truck-accident after this incident became devotees of Lord Nrsimhadev. This happened to a simple Vaishnav family that lives there. They had a back then 5 years old daughter. This girl was a great `fan’ of Nrsimhadev.” She found Him simply funny, as he looked half lion half man and felt very attracted to Him. She often told her playmates about her favorite God, a lion and the kids always wondered about what of God this could be a lion.

Continue reading

Temple Worship not as important as Sankirtan



My advice to you under the circumstances is that at least for one hour you must all go to have sankirtana outside on the streets or in the park. That is your life and soul, first business. The next business is completing the chanting of 16 rounds every day. The next business is your editing. And if you find extra time then you can attend the temple ceremonies. Otherwise you can stop these activities. But outdoor kirtana, your editing work, and chanting of 16 rounds must be done. Outdoor kirtana must be done, even at the cost of suspending all editorial work. That is your first and foremost business. Temple worship is not so important. If need be, the whole temple can be locked. But the outdoor kirtana cannot be stopped.

(Letter to Rayarama, 17 May 1969) Continue reading