Turkish Marathon Started

We don’t have chance to do public sankirtan here in Turkey yet, however we use every chance to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. Our Srila Prabhupada Marathon started with an exhibition called Natura Festiva. We attended this prestigious Exhibition from 26 to 29 Nov which was held in Istanbul. We had a stand there for 4 days. I must admit that it was the best preaching activity for us in public. The exhibition was opening from 11:00 and lasting till 19:00 every day. We had a 4,50 sqm stand which we decorated with our books and other preaching materials. The best part of this event for our small yatra to see many of our devotees getting different services and involving in direct preaching with Turkish public. In 4 days we sold 63 Srila Prabhupada books, distributed prasadam, got almost 200 e-mails from visitors and thousands of people got darshan of Srila Prabhupada and Hare Krsna Maha Mantra. There was a lot of interest to our stand. Devotees were shining in the exhibition area. Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!

Your servant, Nrsimha Krsna das

ISKCON 50 Plans Ramp Up in the UK, Worldwide. In the UK, an…

ISKCON 50 Plans Ramp Up in the UK, Worldwide.
In the UK, an avalanche of major, inspirational events for ISKCON’s 50th anniversary are being planned throughout the year 2016, including some that will be tied into international efforts by all ISKCON temples. ISKCON 50 reps at the 13 temples across the UK and Ireland have already held several events in 2015 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in the US on the steamship Jaladuta. They included a “Departing India” festival in which a book of Srila Prabhupada’s Markine Bhagavata Dharma poem written abord the Jaladuta was released; a Bhaktivedanta Players production about Prabhupada’s journey; and a kirtan tour of London’s most famous landmarks on open air double-decker buses with hundreds of devotees.
Read the entire article here: http://goo.gl/eegAcC

The Festival of the Holy Name – Thanking our Children

By Samapriya devi dasi

Small children are completely dependent upon their mother’s care, who is always attentive to their every need, in every way, all the time. Many children of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples were obliged to make a great sacrifice when they were very young.

These children were asked to give up there mother’s constant loving care, for the benefit of the suffering conditioned souls in the world. Their mother’s were soldiers in Lord Caitanya’s army. Some were book distributors on the front lines of a great war against the material energy. Others were part of the intricate network that fueled, supported, and maintained the desire of Srila Prabhupada, to flood the earth with transcendental knowledge in the form of his books. Srila Prabhpada was the orchestrator of the greatest Brihat Mrdanga ever sounded. It’s tumultuous calls awakened the fortunate, to the opportunity of perfecting their lives.

These blessed children have now grown up, passing through severe battles of Maya’s attacks. Many of them have been wounded or permanently scarred. But most of them now walk through life with a treasure rarely possessed by anyone else in this world. Through all their years of painfully growing and trying to understand the unique circumstances their births, a deep love and faith in Srila Prabhupada has blossomed.

In Alachua Florida, a remote place far away from the Sri dhama Mayapur, these beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Srila Prabhupada, performed a yajna for the pleasure of the Lord and the welfare of all living entities. Through the strength of Srila Prabhupada’s love, they bonded together to execute a great sacrifice, “The Festival of the Holy Name’’. As the names of Krsna burst forth into song from the enraptured hearts of the devotees the transcendental sound vibration could be heard up to the heavens.

Thank-you to all who conceived of, organized and participated in this great yajna. You demonstrated to the world the glories of the Sankirtan Movement, by absorbing yourselves fully and using the precious gift you were given. You have made you lives successful by taking full shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s love. Thus, you have made our lives successful. Thank-you our darling children. May you continue to perform the Yuga Dharma with determination, taking nourishment from Srila Prahbupada’s transcendental love, of which you are the rightful heirs. For you have made it clear to the world that Srila Prabhupada is always with you.

My Mother’s Transformation

By Indradyumna Swami

I tried my best to help my own mother in spiritual life.

Unfortunately, throughout most of her life she never showed the slightest interest in religion.

I once asked her if she believed in God, and she replied, “Something may be out there.”

Whenever I visited her we would often debate the existence of the soul, life after death, karma, and similar topics.

Throughout the years I continued cultivating that little “something” in her heart by sending her Srila Prabhupada’s books, which invariably ended up in a pile at the back of her garage collecting grease and dust.

A few years ago she telephoned me late one night.

It was an unusual hour to call, and I was surprised to hear from her.

She began the conversation by asking if I would take her to Vrndavana, India.

I was shocked. I thought, “Mother wants to go to Vrndavana, the land of Krsna’s birth! What is this? How does she even know what Vrndavana is?”

But she insisted and wanted to know when we could go. Although intrigued at the prospect of taking my mother to Vrndavana, because it was late (and I was very tired) I told her I’d call her back early the next morning and we could discuss the matter in detail.

I woke up refreshed the next day, and after my shower excitedly dialed her phone number. My brother answered.

I said, “Pete, can I speak to Mom?”

There was a prolonged silence, and I sensed something was wrong.

Finally, his voice choked with emotion, he replied, “Mom passed away last night.”

I was stunned.

“What happened?” I asked. “I talked to Mom only last night!”

“I know,” he said. “She had been battling cancer for six months. She didn’t want to tell you.”

Collecting myself, I said, “Cancer!

Did she say anything at the end?”

“Yes, she did,” he replied. “She said, ‘Don’t lament for me! I’m not this body. I’m eternal spirit soul. I’ll never die. I’m going to Krsna!’ With those words on her lips, she passed away.”

I couldn’t believe it.

My mother, the intellectual who never went to church, who never inquired about God debated His very existence was “going to Krsna!”

I asked my brother, “But how is it possible Mom said those things at death?”

He replied, “When Mom learned she had cancer and was going to die, a strange transformation came over her.

She became restless and unsettled. She began asking about you, wanting to know where you were and what you were doing.

She had an intense desire to meet with you, to speak with you.

But when I suggested calling you she’d always say, ‘No, don’t bother him now. We’ll contact him later.’

“One morning I went out to the garage to empty the garbage, and I found her going through all those books you had sent her during the past twenty-five years.

She looked up at me and asked me to carry them into the house.

That afternoon she carefully dusted them off.

For the last five months she just sat in her rocking chair reading those books.

Sometimes she’d underline a certain passage or quote that had particular relevance or importance to her. She also contacted your tape ministry in London and ordered all your lecture tapes. She’d listen to them on her headphones, rocking back and forth in her armchair, looking at your picture, which she kept on the table nearby.

She must have listened to at least three a day.

“Gradually her condition deteriorated, but she wasn’t afraid.

I think there was something in those books that made her fearless.

Then last night she sensed she was going to die. She told me to call you.

Her last request was that you take her to a place called Vrndavana.”

I put the phone down and cried not out of mundane sentiment or attachment, but in appreciation that my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, had extended his mercy to my mother and delivered her from material existence.

I went home for the memorial service and arranged her estate.

Just before I was leaving to return to Europe, my brother and sister approached me and asked what they should do with her ashes.

Remembering my last conversation with her (that she desired to go to Vrindavan), I smiled and took the ashes with me.

Several weeks later one of my disciples placed them in the sacred waters of the Yamuna River in Vrndavana, India.

I had fulfilled my mother’s last request to me, a request that l pray, will also be on my lips the day I leave this world.

This Alachua Pilgrim

by Gregory

Vrindavan. Recently, I was thinking and reading about Vrindavan. I thought about how it would be to go to Vrindavan. How does it happen? How would I do it?

To learn, I checked and researched. I found the ISKCON Vrindavan website. I saw Visit Vrindavan and Travel Assistance and read.

The information stated, “The most convenient airport for coming to Vrindavan is Delhi.” So, I searched several websites for flights from Jacksonville, Florida to Delhi, India. The flight times varied: 20 hours, 24 hours, 26 hours, 30 hours. All with two stops.

Then, I learned that the distance from Delhi to Vrindavan is about 165 kilometers. Some methods to travel are train, bus, and taxi. The time for the trip is roughly two to three hours. In Vrindavan, some accommodations listed included guest houses, hotels, and apartments.

When I studied a map of Vrindavan, I noticed the area of Raman Reti. On the mathuravisit.com website, I read, “As the name ‘Raman Reti’ (playing in the sand) suggests, Raman Reti is the place located in Gokul, Mathura where Laddu Gopal (childhood name of Krishna) was believed to play with his friends near the bank of the Yamuna during his childhood. The sand-filled place is very relaxing and is used by sages and saints to perform sadhana of Lord Krishna and do tapasya here.”

Also, on the mathura-vrindavan.com website, I read, “It is also said that Krishna and Radharani would meet here every night before going down to Vrindavana to enjoy their pastimes.”

I remember that the ISKCON of Alachua temple name is “New Raman Reti”. On the http://www.alachuatemple.com website in the Welcome to New Raman Reti page, I read, “Disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder/acharya of ISKCON, founded New Raman Reti in 1977. It was named after Raman Reti in Vrindavan, India – a place of white sands where Lord Krishna and His brother Balarama performed Their childhood pastimes.”

Then, on the ISKCON Vrindavan website in Vrindavan Highlights, I read, “According to Srila Prabhupada, if one visits a holy place, he should search out the devotees residing there, take lessons from them and try to apply such instruction in practical life. Krishna is always present with His devotees and by their presence any place can become the place of pilgrimage.”

The full truth of the statement rang out to me.

Yes, going to the Alachua temple for aratis, kirtans, feasts, festivals, service to chop vegetables, wash dishes, or serve prasadam, and more can be a pilgrimage every time.

At a distance of about eight miles from my house, I drive, though I consider a bicycle ride or a walk on a day. Also, from my workplace, which is about four miles. All these options could be pilgrimage, regardless of the distance or the method of getting there. I understand that a pilgrimage is based on purpose, the deliberate intention of traveling to the place, which includes the traveling as well as the time and actions while there.

In addition to the Alachua temple and activities, the pilgrimage includes the people, as Srila Prabhupada noted: their greetings, welcomes, talk, association, and participation for prayer and service together. I am enlivened, rejuvenated, and thankful on every occasion.

One special time is when I arrive during the morning japa period. I park my truck on the side of the dark drive, then walk over toward the lights of the temple. Whether walking and chanting around the outside of the temple along the veranda, or inside the temple circumambulating the tulasi, standing, or sitting, the presence of the devotees chanting and the mix and blend of the devotees’ voices chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare is always fulfilling and inspiring.

In addition to visits to the temple, I realize that traveling to my Bhakti Vriksha group meetings at the home of Ramiya dasa prabhu and Ananta dasi mataji is another special pilgrimage repeated every week. Every week, I turn in their drive, park beside the usual trees, step under the night-blooming jasmine at the porch entrance, remove my shoes, enter through the front door, offer obeisances to the deities, and greet the hosts. More often than weekly, I give thanks for Ramiya dasa prabhu and Ananta dasi mataji, and for all in the group for their association, for the privilege to learn, give, receive, share prasadam, and participate in service to each other, all in service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, our Lord Sri Krishna.

It is a new but familiar pilgrimage every visit that I value and cherish.

While I will keep a notion of the possibility of traveling to Vrindavan some day, I understand that my views about what a pilgrimage is have changed and expanded.

Now, I understand and consider my travels in Alachua as pilgrimage in every sense and nuance of the term. And I consider myself as a pilgrim in Alachua seeking and growing when journeying close to home with familiar places and people. I know pilgrimage in Alachua is essential, the essence of me developing as a devotee to our Lord Sri Krishna.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

The book “Free To Preach” Is finally out! Thanks to…

The book “Free To Preach” Is finally out!
Thanks to all the donations and contributions from many devotees who have so graciously assisted us in our service, “Free to Preach” is finally off the printing press and ready to be delivered to your homes.
This book, by Prema Padmini devi dasi, is a touching and personal account of a grihastha couple spreading Krishna consciousness in a Muslim country in the Middle East. It is destined to both fascinate minds and touch the hearts of hundreds.
“If all can lend their might to fulll Lord Caitanya’s desires, the world will rapidly change and countless souls will get His causeless mercy. That everyone has the potential to become a preacher is such a dynamic idea that it dees my ability to glorify it enough. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura stated, prana ache yara sei hetu pracara, “Whoever has spiritual life and enthusiasm preaches.” How actively devotees preach the message of Lord Caitanya constitutes the practical index of their enthusiasm and life. May Free to Preach serve as an inspiration and practical guide for existing and potential preachers everywhere.”
H.H. Jayapataka Swami (Foreword, Free to Preach)
To purchase this book, please visit our website at http://www.iskconcongregation.com/product/free-to-preach/
For more information, please write to us at cdm@pamho.net