Dear Devotees, Well-wishers and Friends, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. In 2017, ISKCON-London continued its pursuits to serve humanity at large by attempting in many ways to reconnect people with a more spiritual way of life. This lifestyle being offered has such deep and profound benefit for each individual in society and simultaneously benefits the whole of society. Some of the beneficial results available to one and all are peacefulness, care and concern for others, cleanliness, compassion, connectedness, conscientiousness, as well as a general propensity for cooperation. These characteristics develop as a result of our reunion with God. Many of these qualities are missing in society and thus society is plagued by so much crime and degradation. ISKCON-London offers a process for transformation of the heart by which there can be genuine transformation in the world around us. This process of transformation is known as bhaktiyoga and in essence, it is this that we offer freely to everyone regardless of caste, colour, creed, or religion. We consider this the greatest welfare work possible. By teaching people these simple spiritual techniques, we are addressing the crying need of humanity and healing the deepest wounds that are the root cause of so much distress in this world. We hope that you find this report of our activities over the last year informative and inspiring. Thank you. Your servant,
Jai Nitai dasa Temple President and Charity Chairman
CONTENTS Hare Krishna! Welcome to the 2017 Annual Review which provides a summary of our activities and events that took place over the year. For our community members, we hope it brings back beautiful memories of the year and it inspires you to make the most of the things on offer in 2018. And for those reading this who are new to or recently joined ISKCON-London, we hope you enjoy seeing the breadth of wonderful activities that take place here and that you are inspired to continue your journey with us. Happy reading! If you have any feedback on this publication or you would like to get involved with any activities mentioned here, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you. Your servant, Devaki devi dasi Editor
Editor: Devaki devi dasi Designer: Chandra Bellamy Proofreader: Neha Bhatt Official Photographers: David Crick, Harsh Sharma, Radha Govinda dasa and Ravi Goel We would also like to thank everyone who contributed towards content for the 2017 Annual Review.
2 4 5 5 7 11 12 15
ISKCON50 IN LONDON CHILD PROTECTION OFFICE COMMUNICATIONS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TEAM DEITY DEPARTMENT FESTIVALS FOOD FOR LIFE
16 17 20 20 21 23 23 24
26 28 29 33 34
35 The online version of this Annual Review can be found on: www.iskcon.london/annualreview/2017
HARINAMA ISKCON EDUCATIONAL SERVICES LONDON COLLEGE OF VEDIC STUDIES OUTREACH RADHA’S BOUTIQUE RADHA KRISHNA RECORDS RATHAYATRA IN LONDON
RUSSIAN VEDIC SOCIETY SANKIRTAN SPIRITUAL MENTORSHIP SYSTEM TEMPLE REFURBISHMENT VOLUNTEERING
DepartmentAL CONTACTS JAI NITAI DASA
ACUTYA CHARAN DASA
Temple President Charity Chairman Member of Management Board South Regional Coordinator Mentor UK Zonal Supervisor
Food for Life Coordinator
BHAVA BHAKTI DEVI DASI
Temple Administrator Charity Secretary / Trustee Member of Management Board South Regional Secretary Mentorship System Coordinator Mentor
London College of Vedic Studies Coordinator
MURLI MANOHARA DASA
DEVAKI DEVI DASI
Head Pujari Charity Trustee Member of Management Board Chair of New Temple Committee Member of Brahmacari Council Mentor
ISKCON50 Coordinator (London) Head of Community Development Team Volunteers Coordinator
RAM CHARAN DASA
Financial Controller Member of Management Board
Govinda’s Restaurant Manager Kitchen Manager Member of Management Board
Radha’s Boutique Manager
RADHA RAMAN DASA
JAGA MOHINI DEVI DASI
Charity Trustee Mentor
ISKCON Educational Services Ladies Ashram Leader
Radha Krishna Records Manager
KRISHNA KANTA DEVI DASI
Food for Life Coordinator
Russian Vedic Society Coordinator
MAHA NRSINGHA DASA
Child Protection Officer
PRIYA KUNDA DASA
Atma Lounge Manager
MUKUNDA KISHORE DASA
SYAMA GAURI DEVI DASI
Closet Krishna Assistant Manager
Atma Lounge Manager
NAAM SANKIRTAN DASA
UK Rathayatra Coordinator
NANDINI RASIKA DEVI DASI
Closet Krishna Manager
Men’s Ashram Leader
iskcon50 in london
Below are the final events that took place in January and February which wrapped up ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in London. the Joy of Devotion UK Film Premiere
Thursday 5th January, Camden Centre
Saturday 25th February, ISKCON-London
SKCON-London and Bhaktivedanta Manor co-hosted the UK film premiere of “The Joy of Devotion” (www.joyofdevotionfilm.com) at the Camden Centre in central London in January to an enthusiastic turnout of approximately 300 leaders, community members, and those who have recently taken an interest in the ISKCON movement. The special guest was Sivarama Swami. The film was created as an offering to Srila Prabhupada during ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary and highlights the varied and extensive Hare Krishna projects all over the world.
n appreciation sanga was held for the volunteers who took on considerable responsibility for ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in London. It was a sweet and fun evening, which included kirtan, games, talks, appreciations and presentation of gifts, and a feast. It was the final event for the 50th and an important one as it was an opportunity to recognise those who made the Anniversary celebrations in London a success. Thank you to everyone who contributed in some way towards the celebrations.
Read ISKCON News article: http://bit.ly/2EGWFCo Watch highlights from the event: http://bit.ly/2odxOMY
Revisit highlights of ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations in the 2016 Annual Review: www.iskcon.london/annualreview/2016
ISKCON50 in London - Presentation to UK Management Council Sunday 8th January, Niland Conference Centre
n January, Devaki devi dasi, ISKCON50 Coordinator (London), presented a summary of the ISKCON50 events and activities that took place in London over 2015 and 2016 to the UK Management Council (UKMC) and other ISKCON50 centre representatives. The presentation was well-received and attendees were impressed with the range of events and activities that took place in London to honour ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary. It was inspiring to see presentations from other centres across the UK and the breadth of dynamic initiatives taking place.
child protection office We are proud to have an active Child Protection Office at ISKCON-London.
s a branch of the ISKCON Global Child Protection Office (headquartered at Bhaktivedanta Manor), ISKCON-London’s Child Protection Office (CPO) had a relaunch and awareness-raising at ISKCON-London’s 49th Anniversary Gala Event at the Camden Centre.
The CPO’s mission is to protect children of the ISKCON movement from child abuse and neglect. By doing so, they work to strengthen the future of the movement – the children – while providing an example to the world of a spiritual society that practices compassionate caring and protection. They are available for guidance, at the utmost confidentiality, in responding to any child abuse concerns relating to our centres, or to deal with any queries from those who would like to find out more about what the Office does.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email: email@example.com
he Communications Team continued to add value to various Temple Departments in 2017 by providing communications support to their activities. Key Departments that they supported over the year included the Community Development Team, Festivals, Govinda’s Restaurant, and London College of Vedic Studies.
Activities have included: Regular updates on the website, Facebook and Twitter channels. WhatsApp posts to various forums were also heightened. Working with the Community Development Team on monthly eNewsletters which provide a summary of upcoming Temple activities for newcomers and existing community members alike showing the breadth of activities on offer at the Temple. Regular post-event articles on wider ISKCON channels including Dandavats and ISKCON News. Working with the Temple Graphic Designer to standardise branding in areas such as courses, newcomer events, and VIP speaker events. Generating press and media presence, including an interview with Jai Nitai dasa in the TimeOut magazine which will be published in 2018. Increased social media presence of Govinda’s Restaurant on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Working on a newly redesigned Temple website which is scheduled to launch in 2018.
Events activity from the Communications Team included: 6
iSKCON Communications Conference
epresentatives from the team attended the annual ISKCON Communications
Conference which was held in May 2017 in Villa Vrindavan, Italy. The conference hosted devotees serving in communications roles, leaders from Europe and the UK, as well as Anuttama dasa, ISKCON’s Minister of Communications. Several issues that are very relevant to ISKCON today were tackled. The agenda included various presentations and discussions on topics relating to politics, media, Gaudiya Math, religious freedom, and vegetarianism/veganism. Centres also reported on their efforts throughout the past year.
ISKCON UK Annual Communications Conference
SKCON-London and Bhaktivedanta Manor Communications representatives worked together to organise the ISKCON UK Annual Communications Conference which was held in September 2017. The theme for the conference was Social Media. Though temples and devotees have a solid presence on social media, the big question remains, “How effective is that presence?” To examine this question, devotees from across the UK came together at Bhaktivedanta Manor for a weekend of communications training that focused on social media. The two-day workshop was facilitated by award-winning young entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Avelo Roy (Ajita dasa). This was followed-up by ISKCON-London’s Digital Team having a personal session with him hosted at ISKCON-London.
Janmastami VIP Reception
he VIP Reception on Janmastami is an opportunity for the Temple to invite neighbours, interfaith leaders, the broader Hindu community, government officials, and press and media.
Special guests included Trupti Patel, President of Hindu Forum of Britain and A.S. Rajan, Minister from the Office of the High Commission of India. This was a private networking event with Temple leaders and Communications team-members where they discussed opportunities to work together.
48th Anniversary gala Event VIP Reception
pecial guests this year included MP Ruth Cadbury for Brentford and Isleworth, Councillor Kanti Rabadia from Harrow Council, Krish Raval, Director of Faith in Leadership, and Soumendra Mahapatra from the Office of the High Commission of India. The potential to increase communications activity for ISKCON-London is vast and the team encourage anyone with communications experience to get in touch if they would like to assist. Immediate needs in 2018 include an Assistant HTML Developer and Press and Media Officers. If you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Development Team Community care
fter a busy two years in 2015 and 2016 with various Community Development Team (CDT)
members involved in ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, in 2017, there was a focus on plans to develop better care within the community, in particular for the following groups – children, donors, guests, and newcomers. This is in addition to the numerous “business-as-usual” activities that the team coordinate. The team hopes that these community care plans will manifest and lead to an overall better sense of community in 2018 and indeed in the years to come.
he team usually meets once a month. In 2017, the team were fortunate to have special guests
present at a couple of meetings. In April, Tapan Misra dasa from the ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry led an interactive discussion on the critical aspects of community development, how our services have the potential to support community development,
Ministry resources that can be tapped into. In July, team-members had some time with Bhakti Rasamrta Swami to pose questions related to community development and services as part of the team. Maharaja discussed areas to focus on for successful community development.
n 2017, a major accomplishment was developing a Community Newsletter Team, consisting of
four professionals who started working on regular Community
online. The purpose of the newsletters is to raise awareness in the community of what is happening across different Temple Departments and showcase achievements from our community members. The 2017 and future editions can be accessed here: www.iskcon.london/newsletters
Community Development Team
Volunteers Sangas 8
he Volunteers Team organised three Volunteers Sangas over the year. The first one was held in May with Srila Prabhupada disciple, Tribhangananda dasa. In August, there was a two-part seminar, titled “26 Qualities of a Devotee”, with Bhakti Rasamrta Swami. All sessions were well-attended and followed a standard format of kirtans, talk, questions and answers, and prasadam.
“Thank you for arranging the two-day seminar for volunteers with Bhakti Rasamrta Swami. What a fantastic topic and so much to learn from Maharaja. Hope you can organise many more seminars like these that help us reflect on soul purification’’ Champakalata Priya devi dasi
“This session was really inspiring and is a fantastic group, thanks to the guys who made it all possible’’ Closet Krishna volunteer
Annual Patrons Celebration Sunday 9th July, St John’s Church
haval Dattani, one of the core CDT Events team-members, led the planning of the Annual Patrons Celebration. In 2017, instead of the traditional boat party, the event was held at the beautiful St. John’s Church in Marble Arch. ISKCON-London Patrons and their family members were seated in beautifully-decorated round tables and treated to a sumptuous three-course meal – a menu expertly planned by Syamananda dasa and Thiru Dhayalan. Attendees were served mouth-watering appetizers, a main-course meal that included cheese rolls, royal koftas, special rice, and smoothies, followed by delicious desserts. The programme included bhajans and kirtans by Krsangi-Lila devi dasi from Radhadesh, appreciation talks, and drama.
London Mellows Annual Kirtan Weekend Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, ISKCON-London
ondon Mellows has become an addition to the CDT portfolio of annual events for the community. Organised by Gopibhava devi dasi and Kancana-beli devi dasi, the second London Mellows event was well-attended and saw leading kirtaneers from London and the wider UK and the Temple’s community members gathered together to chant the holy names in front of the Deities. The London Mellows team aspire for this annual kirtan weekend to be a key date in the worldwide annual kirtan calendar. If you are inspired by this event, the team welcomes any volunteers to join the team and any donors who would like to sponsor album production and bringing world-renowned kirtaneers for future events. If you would like to get involved, please email email@example.com or sponsor via the following link: www.iskcon.london/donate/londonmellows Read ISKCON News article: http://bit.ly/2F3tabG “It was awesome, such an immersive experience. It’s so beautiful inside the Temple and it’s like being cocooned from the outside world. The stress just falls off you. The kirtan singers are amazing and it’s great to be able to join in without worrying about what you sound like!” Janice, Attendee “What is so inspiring about London Mellows is that so many kirtan artists get to share their God-given talents with a packed audience of chanters and great back-up musicians. It is a dream for chant-leaders and a joy for followers. The leader is able to give their best and, by the grace of the beautiful Deities, your heart strives for purer and sweeter chanting” Jayadev dasa, Kirtaneer
“It was so wonderful to be among the devotees at London Mellows this year! The kindness and sincerity among the organisers and those present meant the ground was fertile for the chanting of the holy name for the pleasure of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara” Radhika Ranjana dasa, Kirtaneer
Annual Volunteers Dinner Saturday 4th November, St John’s Church
SKCON-London Volunteers Coordinators, Dhaval Dattani and Devaki devi dasi, organised the Annual Volunteers Dinner which took place at St. John’s Church in Marble Arch.
“This was truly an inspiring event and we got the chance to get to know volunteers serving in various areas at ISKCON-London. The mood of the event really touched my heart” Volunteer “We felt like it was our own family event and thoroughly enjoyed it” Volunteer
Themed “Ocean of Devotion”, the event included a fun ice-breaker for the volunteers to get to know each other better, a talk by Shyamasundara dasa from his recently-launched book, “Chasing Rhinos with the Swami”, a skit titled “Battle with the Mind” by Syamananda dasa, appreciation talks by the Temple President and the Volunteers Coordinators, and kirtans. As part of the appreciation talks, Charles Renwick who has volunteered at ISKCON-London for the last 29 years, was honoured on the stage. Volunteers were treated to a Mexican prasadam feast devised by Thiru Dhayalan and were gifted ISKCONLondon branded woolie hats.
Community Development Team
ISKCON-London’s 48th Anniversary Gala Event 10
Sunday 26th November, Camden Centre
he 48th Anniversary Gala Event, themed “Blessings”, was managed by Ashika Patel, with core team members consisting of Davide Rocchi, Devaki devi dasi, Dhaval Dattani, Kapila Monet, Krishna Kirtan dasa, and Natasha Menon. In the leadup to and on the day, they were supported by a team of approximately 100 volunteers. Over 500 guests attended the event and were served a traditional Indian prasadam feast on arrival. The programme began with a beautiful live presentation of tracks from Radha Krishna Records’ new Mantra Lounge Volume 2 album. Ananda Monet, Govinda Priya devi dasi, and Jahnavi Harrison (Jahnavi Jivana devi dasi) sang and were supported by a team of professional musicians. The event then continued with an exclusive talk by Mr. Goyal, the gentleman who donated Radha Krishna Deities to Srila Prabhupada who later named Them, Sri Sri RadhaLondonisvara, The Lordships of London. Mondakini devi dasi, Srila Prabhupada disciple, then spoke about her own close association with Srila Prabhupada. As part of the programme, The Bhaktivedanta Players were invited to perform a drama titled “Four Blessings”. The evening ended with children in the community enthusiastically performing Guru Puja and Tribhangananda dasa leading the kirtan. All Srila Prabhupada disciples present were invited to offer flowers to Srila Prabhupada during Guru Puja.
“The evening was truly magical. Capturing the theme of “blessings”, the audience was taken on a journey of giving, receiving and sharing a variety of blessings from the moment they stepped through the door (being greeted by Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara’s padukas) to the very end where everyone was singing and dancing to the holy names (the highest of all blessings). A force of nearly 100 volunteers arrived early morning, many of whom have been working hard for the last few months to make this gala celebration magnificent! Thank you to everyone who gave their time and energy in the service of Their Lordships.” Ashika, Event Manager Read ISKCON News article: http://bit.ly/2Eoisv9 Watch a recording of the event: http://bit.ly/48th-playlist
new year’s eve kirtans Sunday 31st December, ISKCON-London
s a result of suggestions received from community members, Dhaval Dattani organised a New Year’s Eve kirtan evening from 9.00pm to 1.00am for devotees to see in the New Year by chanting and dancing together in front of the Deities. This was an indoor counterpart to the usual New Year’s Eve harinama that takes place. Maha cakes and cookies, made by Vimila devi dasi, were distributed to attendees post-midnight, all leading to an auspicious start to 2018.
ISKCON UK’s 50th Anniversary Towards the end of 2017, discussions began regarding the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Sri Sri RadhaLondonisvara in 2019, which is also ISKCON UK’s 50th Anniversary. In 2018, the CDT Events Team will be working on building a team for the 50th Anniversary. If you are interested in actively being part of this upcoming milestone in ISKCON UK’s history, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
deity department S
rila Prabhupada established in ISKCON the most exquisite standards of deity worship and his desire was for these standards to be maintained. At ISKCON-London, on a daily basis, the endeavours of the Deity Department is to please Their Lordships and Srila Prabhupada by maintaining and excelling high levels of service and devotion. Every day, there are many devotees coming into the Pujari rooms to facilitate Their Lordships worship in various ways. Currently, there are approximately 90 individuals serving in the Department each week.
HIGHLIGHTS OVER THE PAST YEAR INCLUDED: • Several new beautiful outfits being offered to Their Lordships during the festivals. • A visit from Nrsimha Kavaca dasa, ISKCON’s Deity Worship Minister, who spent a couple of weeks at the Temple serving Their Lordships and offering advice to Temple Pujaris. • Pujari Training Seminars for those interested in finding out what service in the Deity Department entails. • Extra garlands and flower offerings for Their Lordships during Jhulan Yatra and the month of Kartik due to kind sponsorships from devotees. • Holding a few Pujari Meetings throughout the year open to all serving in the Department to learn more about deity worship and to discuss and raise any issues.
The Festivals Team continued to smoothly organise the various Vaishnava festivals that take place in the Temple throughout the year for the pleasure of the community.
estivals are a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and render devotional service. ISKCON-London is fortunate to have many volunteers involved in making the festivals a success including the core festival team overseeing the various aspects, the cooks and kitchen helpers preparing wonderful festival feasts, the decorations team working on beautiful decorations, a broadcast team broadcasting the festivals live for the benefit of those who cannot make it to the Temple, as well as a large number of volunteers such as guest greeters, prasadam servers, shoe-rack volunteers, and ushers who make sure things run smoothly on the day.
POST-FESTIVAL SURVEY In 2017, an online Post-Festival Survey was created to gauge feedback from visitors who come to the Temple during festivals. The feedback will be used by the Festivals Team to make improvements where possible.
food for life
he London branch of Food for Life has been feeding hot meals to the homeless for over 20 years, and in 2017 expanded its usual Monday to Thursday offering to include Fridays and Saturdays. Its incredible efforts were officially recognised in December 2017 when the chief organiser of the London-based service, Acyuta Charan dasa (Asish Soni), was honoured with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for voluntary and charitable services to homeless people. The BEM is awarded for “hands-on” service to the local community, either a long-term voluntary or charitable activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration that has made a significant difference. The Food for Life van sets off to Lincolns Inns Field in Holborn and arrives at 7.00pm to greet a queue of hungry people eagerly waiting to be served. They are drawn to the tasty and filling khichari accompanied with cake, salad, and a hot drink. The meals are freshly prepared daily by the kitchen staff at Govinda’s Restaurant. The volunteers distribute the meals with a smile and greet receivers with “Hare Krishna”.
cyuta Charan dasa will be proudly accepting his BEM award in early 2018 at a grand event hosted by a representative of the Queen of England. He shares, “I wasn’t expecting it at all, a few colleagues put me forward for it. This award should really go to all the wonderful volunteers who make Food for Life possible. They sacrifice their precious time to come and distribute to the needy. Each week is a delightful experience. It has been a privilege to be a part of this service for over 10 years.”
ovinda’s Restaurant Manager and Head Chef, Thirumalai Dhayalan,
along with Jai Nitai dasa, were featured in CamdenNewJournal, an online independent London newspaper, in February. Read article: http://bit.ly/2odgRQn
f you are having a celebration and want to treat your guests to the Govinda´s experience, the restaurant can cater for your function. Govinda’s Restaurant takes catering orders from classic Indian cooking to Italian (customised to your taste) and have a large selection of eggless cakes.
“So lovely to visit again for lunch today. A very special occasion and after several decades.Delicious food. I won’t leave it so long next time!” Vanessa
here are now three active social media pages for Govinda’s Restaurant – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – where followers can stay updated on new menu items, special offers etc.
“Following a Google search, we staggered into this place hungry and tired with no idea what it would be like. My daughter and I are both vegans and were delighted with the choices available. I think between us we tried everything, we’ll definitely be back” Anne
ollowing on from the major refurbishments in 2016, the washrooms in the restaurant were refurbished in 2017, providing upgraded facilities for customers.
daily part of the cultural atmosphere of Oxford Street and regularly other iconic places in central London, harinama was as lively and well-attended as ever in 2017, bringing the mood of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement, which originated in Navadwipa, West Bengal, to the streets of London, thus giving the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, smiles, and a pleasant atmosphere to London onlookers.
evotees from ISKCON-London, along with Mahavishnu Swami, led a five-day Padayatra
which started on Monday 17th July, walking 40 miles from Canterbury to Folkestone, following on from the success of the previous year’s Padayatra which was in honour of ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary. The group of devotees led a lively and inspiring
“ The news of the recent atrocities happening
across the country have shaken our world. The Padayatra is a way for us all to come together and show that we stand united against hate and offer prayers for those who have lost their lives.” Jai Nitai dasa, ISKCON-London Temple President
procession which began from Canterbury Cathedral where they were blessed by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral for a safe journey as part of the opening ceremony. This was also attended by Cathedral officials, local dignitaries, members of the Canterbury interfaith group, as well as members of the local Hare Krishna community. The
distribution, philosophy, dance, and a “temple-onwheels” through the Kent countryside, concluding next to the Harbour Fountains in Folkestone on Friday 21st July. Spectators had the opportunity to witness traditional Indian carts being pulled by oxen and bullocks, hear the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and learn more about cow protection and the movement’s philosophy of “high thinking and simple living.”
The Padayatra received a number of press and media coverage.
iskcon educational services
2017 was a very good year for ISKCON Education Services (IES) with 32 school visits to the Temple. 50% of these visits were from schools who had not visited the Temple before. Teachers are increasingly contacting IES directly to book visits, providing an opportunity to build rapport as well as arrange future bookings.
ES’s aims for 2018 are to follow-up with schools who have not visited in the last three years to encourage them to visit again and to maintain a relationship with the current schools who visit yearly. Lots of positive feedback has been received from schools on how enjoyable visits have been. The IES team try to keep visits interesting and interactive, for example by having dramas and devotional dress-up sessions for students. There are also plans to join up with IES at Bhaktivedanta Manor to take school teachers to New Vraja-dhama in Hungary so that they can get a greater glimpse into Krishna Consciousness.
Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) ISKCON-London represents the Hindu faith for schools in Westminster. Over the last 18 months, SACRE has been working on a paper to introduce Hinduism to children in Year One. Currently, it is only introduced to Year Four children. This proposal has now been passed and it is likely that other counties will follow. Westminster will be using IES resources to help teachers plan lessons. Two schools have booked five sessions in 2018 already.
london college of vedic studies London College of Vedic Studies offered a variety of courses in 2017, facilitated by ISKCON-London leaders and visiting guests.
ongoing courses that re-ran in 2017 included: INTRODUCTION TO BHAKTI YOGA BHAKTI SASTRI CARING FOR TULASI MAHARANI ISKCON DISCIPLES COURSE PUJARI TRAINING SEMINAR
Special courses that ran included: AYURVEDA SEMINAR (three-day seminar with visiting Ayurvedic specialist, Tribhanga dasa, with opportunity to have private Ayurvedic consultations) GRIHASTHA ASHRAM: “THE REALITY SHOW” (one-day seminar with Jai Nitai dasa and Bhava Bhakti devi dasi) HOW TO COOPERATE EFFICIENTLY (two-day seminar with visiting guest, Mahatma dasa) IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SADHANA IN THE GRIHASTHA ASHRAM (seminar with Sridama dasa and Kishori devi dasi) RELATIONSHIP SEMINARS (four days of seminars with Partha dasa and Uttama devi dasi from the Grihastha Vision Team) SANKIRTAN INSPIRATION (three-day seminar with Anakadundubhi dasa)
BHAKTI VAIBHAVA CANTO 3 study also took place in 2017, with CANTO 4 to follow in 2018. In 2018, there will be a number of new courses to look forward to.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Website: www.iskcon.london/lcvs | Facebook: www.facebook.com/LondonCVS
nterfaith discussions that Jai Nitai dasa and Bhava Bhakti devi dasi, ISKCON-London’s interfaith representatives, participated in included: An Interfaith Debate at St George’s Hospital in Tooting in February, titled “Why are we here? Is there life after death?” This was arranged by the St George’s Krishna Consciousness Society whose members are all medical students. Jai Nitai dasa was on the panel as the representative for the Hare Krishna movement. Also on the panel were Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Sikh representatives. The Westminster South Interfaith Forum held at the Westminster Synagogue in March. Mark Fields, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, was one of the special guests at this Forum where group discussions were conducted on various topics including Brexit, community cohesion, homelessness and housing, and the use of food banks. In April, Jai Nitai dasa met with Jonathan Hellewell, Special Adviser on Faith to the Prime Minister, Theresa May.
fforts were made by the Communications Team to increase awareness of the range of programmes specifically targeted to newcomers, through rebranding and social media presence.
The following programmes take place on a weekly basis:
Secrets from the East Sundays, 3.30pm - 6.30pm
Wednesday Night Kirtan Wednesdays, 7.00pm - 9.30pm
Bhakti Quest (men only) Wednesdays, 6.30pm - 9.00pm
Ladies Sanga Thursdays, 6.30pm - 9.00pm
Ladies Sanga Ladies Sangas have been well-attended in 2017 with a variety of fun, informative, and interactive sessions. Highlights have included: Bhagavad Gita study sessions. Dinner nights at Healthy Wealthy restaurant in Camden (a restaurant run by two devotees within the community). Dramatic reading on the “Exile of Lord Rama” in honour of Ramanavami. Guest speaker sessions with senior Vaishnavis including Srila Prabhupada disciples, Nartaka Gopal devi dasi and Sarva Mangala devi dasi. Kirtan evenings. Krishna Conscious movie nights.
antra Lounge continued to raise its profile in 2017 as a great outreach event. Its popularity amongst the crowd it attracts has led to the events being weekly instead of fortnightly. The event attracts the best kirtaneers in the UK as well as special visiting guests from across the world.
onthly Open Days took place at the Temple from May to September. These six-hour events gave newcomers an opportunity to get an introduction to Krishna Consciousness philosophy and practices through talks, mantra meditation workshops, and a questions and answers forum. One attendee, Jackie, wrote to the Open Day team: “Just to say thank you. I attended the Open Day today and the atmosphere was incredibly welcoming and uplifting. I very much enjoyed Neera’s singing/mantra meditation taster session and the gentleman’s talk beforehand. Plus all the singing in the main shrine room and outside were fabulous’’
“The mood and level of joy experienced at tonight’s session at Mantra Lounge was indescribable. Some words/phrases that come close to describing the evening are: out-of-thisworld, pure heartfelt joy, love beyond boundaries, peace, freedom, mentally-soothing, self-awakening!…Hare Krishna” Shyam Kishor “Last night was magical. What an amazing evening. Hare Krishna” Shrutti Vyas
radha’s boutique Radha’s Boutique continued to flourish in 2017. Some highlights include: Greater variety of items: New items were introduced throughout the year which have proved very popular and increased sales. Rotating the stock and keeping it fresh has been a major component of the shop’s endeavours.
Better customer service: Focusing on customers’ requests was another major point of 2017. The shop was able to source any item that was requested as a result of building good relationships with suppliers around the world. Increased exposure of the shop: The shop had increased posts on its dedicated Facebook page and other mediums. In 2018, the plans are to build on the success from 2017, looking at further ways in which all customers can be served better and increasing awareness of the shop to reach new customers.
radha krishna records In 2017, Radha Krishna Records was proud to release two albums.
he first release was “Kirtan on the Thames” double CD with live recordings from ISKCON’s 50th Anniversary celebration kirtan on the Dixie Queen boat. The second release was the “Mantra Lounge Volume 2” CD, a beautiful follow-up to the well-received “Mantra Lounge Volume 1”.
Listen to Ananda Monet’s track: youtu.be/oGGuJgVn5PI
As well as CDs which can be purchased at the Radha Krishna Records website – www.radhakrishnarecords. com/shop – or Radha’s Boutique, the majority of the Radha Krishna Records back catalogue is now available digitally on all streaming and downloading services. The digital efforts have reached over 80,000 unique listeners across the globe from Brazil to Russia and everywhere in between.
Both CDs share music from some of the best global kirtaneers and devotee musicians and Radha Krishna Records are proud to support them in these professional offerings. Two singles from Mantra Lounge Volume 2 were nominated for the Soul Traveller Conscious Music Awards. Jahnavi Harrison’s captivating rendition of “Hari Om” came third and Ananda Monet’s gentle song “Om Namo Bhagavate” came fifth.
n 2018, the team will be working hard on the “Mantra Lounge Volume 3” album to offer to Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara on Their 50th Anniversary year in 2019. Progress is also being made to release other kirtan albums such as the “London Mellows” album. As a not-for-profit, Radha Krishna Records depends on the generous support of the community to sponsor albums and songs and to purchase and promote their music. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to help, especially in the areas of design, marketing, sales, and sponsorship.
rathayatra in london
athayatra, or the Festival of Chariots, is a joyous event sharing love of God that has been celebrated for thousands of years in the Indian holy city of Jagannatha Puri, and in the last few decades by Hare Krishna devotees in cities around the world by the inspiration of Srila Prabhupada who was very fond of Rathayatra since his childhood.
Another name for Krishna, Jagannatha, refers to the ecstatic form of the Lord with large eyes and rugged features Who is carried on a gigantic chariot during this festival.
Abhay Charan, young Srila Prabhupada, enlivened his family and friends to stage a miniature Rathayatra in his neighbourhood. Picture is from Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust ÂŠ
ondonâ€™s 49th Rathayatra took place on Sunday 18th June. The procession of the Deities, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra in Their beautifully-decorated chariots, started at noon from Hyde Park and culminated at 2.00pm at Trafalgar Square. Thousands of ISKCON devotees and supporters, members of the Indian community, and onlookers walked and danced in the procession with various kirtan groups leading the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. At Trafalgar Square, there were festival tents, entertainment stages, and a free vegetarian feast for all.
Atma Lounge, Folkestone The official opening of Atma Lounge was on Friday 20th January with the attendance of Philip Carter, the landlord and Former Mayor of Folkestone, Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, and David Monk, Leader of Shepway Council, as well as other dignitaries and guests.
tma Lounge is a registered charity under ISKCON-London. It is managed by Priya Kunda dasa and Syama Gauri devi dasi. The inaugural event included a tour of the Atma Lounge building (a converted shop-front that has now become a yoga and meditation centre and gift shop), an introductory presentation on the Krishna Consciousness philosophy, a mantra music performance, and a feast. Atma Lounge is a unique feature of Folkestone, offering a cultural and spiritual experience from sacred India â€“ a place to relax and dive deeper in spirituality. The centre offers regular courses and events including an Open Day every Sunday that includes mantra meditation, a short philosophical discussion on the Bhagavad Gita, and a hearty vegetarian meal.
n September, ISKCON Canterbury organised an external preaching event with special guest, Mahavishnu Swami, for attendees to hear more about the science of self-realisation, experience the bliss of mantra meditation, honour prasadam, and have the opportunity to ask questions. The event was held in the beautiful and intimate setting of the historic Conquest House Gallery in Canterbury.
Bhakti Yoga Centre, Crawley
n November, a UKMC meeting was held at the Bhakti Yoga Centre in Crawley. UK Governing Body Commissioner (GBC), Praghosa dasa, was the Chairman with representatives from nearly all UK temples and centres. The UKMC unanimously approved a proposal by ISKCON Crawley to purchase the Bhakti Yoga Centre.
Closet Krishna, Rochester
s a centre for alternative therapies, meditation and yoga, as well as a charity shop providing ethnic, spiritual and traditional products, Closet Krishna has continued to be a unique attraction to the local community. It has proven to be a welcome facility in an age where people are looking for answers about the meaning of life and relief from the frustrations of material existence.
Various Srila Prabhupada disciples and senior members of the ISKCON movement have been invited as guest speakers which has been appreciated by the locals. They have included Bhakti Prabhava Swami, Dayananda Swami, Kripamoya dasa, Praghosh dasa, and Tribhangananda dasa.
The programmes that run at Closet Krishna are being well-attended by regulars and there are several newcomers each week who have been inspired to participate after having visited the charity shop or meeting devotees who have gone out on book distribution. The Friday programme is always popular and many attendees have expressed interest in helping at Closet Krishna, including distributing books and introducing friends and family to the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness.
Spiritual Mentorship System
he second-tier Mentorship system is also running nicely at Closet Krishna, with mentees showing an interest in deepening their understanding of Krishna Consciousness, chanting, and following the regulative principles. They are now developing in their services to the ISKCON mission in Rochester and organising new programmes such as a regular Bhagavad Gita study group. In February 2018, there is a planned trip to Mayapur, West Bengal. The increase in ISKCON activities in the South East region, with new centres in Canterbury and Folkestone, has now inspired regular Closet Krishna devotees to want to contribute more to regional activities. Closet Krishna is looking forward to collaborating more with these other centres in 2018.
russian vedic society The Russian Vedic Society celebrated their sixth anniversary in April 2017 with a celebratory event held on Saturday 8th April which had special guest, Angira Muni dasa. THERE WERE ALSO A NUMBER OF EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, INCLUDING: Seminars on “Karma and Reincarnation” and “Five levels of consciousness” for newcomers given by Vrajendra Kumar dasa in March. A seminar on “Life without conflicts” given by Bhakti Rasayana Sagar Swami in May. Organising a book table with books in Russian language at the Rathayatra festival in Reading in July. A meeting of Russian Bhakti Vriksha teammembers with Jayapataka Swami in September. An outreach workshop on “Family and Relationships” and a two-day programme for devotees on “Cooperation and Relationships”, both facilitated by Damodara Vijaya dasa in September. A special Kartik-themed event Damodara Lila play in October.
“Retreat of the Holy Name” with Akshayananda dasa and Rasa Lila devi dasi in November. Pre New Year celebrations in December organised by the Psychology-3000 outreach project team, which included carols, games, kirtan, and prasadam.
The Russian Vedic Society also hold weekly Bhakti Vriksha meetings on most Sundays from 2.00pm at ISKCON-London.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 summary From January to December 2017, ISKCON-London:
ÂŁ Distributed 94,850 books
Achieved 91469.25 book points
Organised 8 Sankirtan Sprints and 3 Marathons
Had over 280 participants
World Sankirtan Newsletter: Number 1 in Europe From January to December, the UK was the leading country in Europe for sankirtan, and amongst all the UK centres, ISKCONLondon came out on top. Thus, ISKCON-London was the Number 1 centre in Europe in 2017. ISKCON-London was also Number 4 amongst medium-sized Temples and Number 19 worldwide.
Amongst all temples Amongst all medium temples in Europe in the world
Amongst all temples in the world
Book distributors from ISKCON-London were also amongst the Top 10 book distributors in Europe.
Naam Sankirtan dasa Rsi Raya Gauranga dasa 10701 book points
8802.25 book points
Weekend Warriors Every Saturday
One Saturday a month
There were Weekend Warriors events where ashram residents and community members went out on book distribution together.
A Monthly Sankirtan Festival was held.
During these events, over 12 different towns in the South East region were visited. To inspire the community to participate, there were Sankirtan seminars and training sessions with Anakadundubhi dasa, Caitanya Candra dasa, and Visvambhara dasa.
report on Srila Prabhupada December Marathon 30
The marathon was named the “Marathon of Consciousness”. Gita Jayanti Programme
n December, a Gita Jayanti programme was organised in Tooting which included a fire yajna with sloka recitation from the Bhagavad Gita. This was organised as part of the Srila Prabhupada December Marathon activities.
Entertaining and Innovative Sankirtan! Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group engaged in a variety of fun ways to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books, including: A bake sale in a primary school selling prasadam cakes, cookies, and popcorn. Each customer was gifted with a book. Attending the Pimlico car boot sale and selling donated goods like bric-a-brac and clothes. In exchange for their purchases, all customers received a book. Fancy dress carol singing, distributing books to many amused people. A five-kilometre Santa Run, and using the money raised to place books in hospitals, prisons, and universities. Going shop-to-shop during the weekdays to distribute books, having developed nice relationships with various shopkeepers over the years. Zumba Sankirtan where the entry fee ensured each attendee received a complimentary gift in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
adha dasi, along with the support of Tribhangananda dasa and others, placed over 12,000 sponsored books in hospices, hospitals, prisons, and schools nationwide.
daily podcasts during the marathon www.sankirtan.net
iskcon-london’s goals and Achievements for the srila prabhupada december marathon ISKCON-London had three goals:
What was achieved: Top 3 Book Distributors in ISKCON-London:
Distribute 40,000 books
Distributed 33,663 books
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
Naam Sankirtana dasa
Have 300 participants
Had 261 participants
Fortunate People Party (Syama Kishore dasa’s book table with various team-members)
It was the second biggest marathon on record in terms of book points.
“ISKCON-London is once again proof that when book distribution is in the centre, everything else will flourish. The sankirtan spirit is truly high and so no wonder that despite any difficulties, this Temple is still emanating the preaching spirit of Srila Prabhupada. Naam Sankirtan Prabhu is a jewellike devotee, his dedication to sankirtan and to preaching is so wonderful to behold. In ISKCONLondon alone, 261 Temple residents and congregational members went out. Such is the power of congregation in this place.’’ Manidhara dasa, Srila Prabhupada disciple
awards at iskcon-london post-marathon festival 31
best book table
BEST CHILD (under 16)
Fortunate People Party
Jai Nitai dasa & Bhava Bhakti devi dasi
BEST girls group
Vamsi Dhari dasa
Jagannatha Sharan dasa, Vrinda Sundari devi dasi & Yamuna Rajani
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
BEST men’S GROUP
BEST mentee group
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
Vrinda Sundari devi dasi
BEST over 60
best south regional centre
BEST srila prabhupada disciple
Nalini devi dasi
BEST temple department
Russian Vedic Society
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
Srila Prabhupada December Marathon national charts: Number 1 Street Sankirtan Individual Category:
Naam Sankirtan dasa
Number 1 Street Sankirtan Team Category:
Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s Mentee Group
Number 2 Street Sankirtan Team Category:
Fortunate People Party
Number 3 Street Sankirtan Team Category:
Rupesvara Nimai dasa and Pramod Bodanam
ISKCON-London came second amongst all Temples nationally.
spiritual mentorship system initiations In 2017, a number of mentees took first or second initiation. FIRST INITIATION:
Spiritual master: Bhakti Charu Swami Anjli Taneja, now known as Anupama Gopika devi dasi Anju Patel, now known as Anuradha Gopi devi dasi Girishkumar Patel, now known as Giridhari Krishna dasa Gita Patel, now known as Gopi Gita devi dasi Hemant Patel, now known as Hemanga Gauranga dasa Kankaj Patel, now known as Krishna Smaranam dasa Prebha Kasanthy Pillay, now known as Prabhavati Priya devi dasi Vanisha Patel, now known as Braja Anandini devi dasi
Spiritual master: Chandramauli Swami Sima Mehta, now known as Syamarani devi dasi
ISKCON-London Mentorship Retreat
Yogesh Mehta, now known as Nilacala Candra dasa
Spiritual master: Jayapataka Swami Rupak Das, now known as Rupesvara Nimai dasa
Spiritual master: Kesava Bharati dasa Goswami Abigail Rocchi, now known as Ragalekha devi dasi Samy Ouzeau, now known as Syama Kishore dasa
Spiritual master: Radhanath Swami Ravi Pareek, now known as Ranchor Krishna dasa Rishi Lal, now known as Radha Govinda dasa Tara Mohinder, now known as Tulasi Sundari devi dasi
SECOND INITIATION: Spiritual master: Bhakti Vikasa Swami Vayu dasa
Spiritual master: Radhanath Swami Naam Sankirtan dasa Nimai Chandra dasa Paramesvara dasa Sacimayi devi dasi
entee Meetings are a focal point of the Spiritual Mentorship System and are conducted twice a month and take place either at the mentorâ€™s home or in the Temple seminar rooms. The format for all the meetings is largely the same i.e. it starts with kirtan, Krishna-katha and discussion, followed by prasadam. However, the delivery of the basic format is unique to each mentorâ€™s nature and presentation style.
he ISKCON-London Mentorship Retreat was held in Wales and attendees travelled by coach to the location. Kadamba Kanana Swami was the special guest and stayed with the group on the beautiful grounds of Plas Glansevin Manor house. The schedule included an early morning programme where the mentees were given the opportunity to offer arati and do kirtans. Syamananda dasa, the official head chef, delivered two interactive drama workshops. Jai Nitai dasa and Bhava Bhakti devi dasi facilitated a japa workshop surgery outlining common pitfalls in trying to chant attentively and regularly. The retreat was fully booked and plans for the 2018 retreat are already underway.
Continuing on from the major refurbishment that took place inside the Temple in 2016, a complete overhaul of the Temple facade was undertaken in June and July 2017.
new look was worked on for months by Anantacarya dasa and Aniko Kolesnikova, with the whole project managed by Syamananda dasa. The work commenced with the installation of the necessary scaffolding on Wednesday 14th June and continued till the end of July. As work commenced, a number of inevitable extra elements arose such as replacing the entire slating on the Temple roof as there was some leaking into the building. This will protect the building for many years to come. The first major work was to repair the huge cracks that had developed due to damage sustained from the construction of a new adjacent building and the rigours of time. Work then proceeded with the installation of wiring for the new cutting-edge LED lighting system, painting, followed by the installation of new ornamented windows on the first floor. New canopies for the Temple Reception and Govindaâ€™s Restaurant were also installed and there was a wonderful finishing touch of new marble cladding on the ground floor.
Temple front: Before
Temple front: After
Roof ledge: Before
Roof ledge: After
Cracks in wall
New LED strips
New Temple front at daytime
New Temple front at night
The renovations in 2016 and 2017 have received much appreciation from devotees.
SKCON-London would like to thank Syamananda dasa for his exceptional services, most notably project managing the two-year-long Temple renovations, as well as all his expert contributions to the Templeâ€™s external events. Although he has now gone back to Radhadesh, Belgium, to carry out services there, he continues to remain linked to the Temple and will support with some external events in 2018.
volunteering “ The faith increases in Krishna Consciousness by our voluntary increase in serving Krishna. Serving Krishna is unlimited and He can accept our unlimited service, and award us unlimited transcendental pleasure in the unlimited service of the Lord. That is the meaning of unlimited.” Srila Prabhupada, Letter, 20th February 1968
“ I really enjoyed serving at ISKCON-London, wonderful devotees and their association is enriching. I will make this my habit to come regularly to the Temple for service” Volunteer “ Their Lordships are very merciful as They are allowing us to be the part of this wonderful volunteers family at ISKCON-London” Volunteer
Membership and Sponsorship Opportunities Would you like to become a regular donor at ISKCON-London and support our various activities and the worship of the Temple Deities? There are a number of different membership options, starting from only £5 a month! MAHA BENEFACTOR: £901 per month
HALF-PATRON: £51 per month
BENEFACTOR: £451 per month
SUBSCRIPTION MEMBER: £25 per month
MAHA PATRON: £251 per month
SUPPORTING MEMBER: £11 per month
PATRON: £108 per month
MEMBER: £5 per month
You can either sign-up online at www.iskcon.london/donate/membership or email email@example.com for a hard copy form. You can also sponsor specific campaigns at the Temple, sponsor the worship of the Deities, or sponsor a feast on a notable day in your life (birthdays, anniversaries etc.). Please visit www.iskcon.london/donate for a full list of options.
“We are so fortunate to be in this human form of life and to have the opportunity and the capacity to serve Krishna, and as there is very little time, we must do as much each day as we possibly can to serve Krishna and to become always engaged in thoughts and activities of Krishna. Maya may try to pull us from Krishna’s service and try to engage us in her service but we must simply persevere and try to do as much as possible for Krishna each day and gradually it will be easier and easier to keep engaged in Krishna Consciousness activities. And pray to Krishna to please keep us always engaged in the service of His lotus feet. Krishna is very kind and He is never ungrateful and will give you more and more opportunity to serve Him. That is His mercy.” Srila Prabhupada, Letter, 12th November 1968
DAILY SCHEDULE ARATI TIMES 04:30 05:00 07:00 08:00 12:30 16:15 19:00 21:00
Mangal arati Tulasi arati Deity greeting Dhoopa arati Raj Bhoga arati Dhoopa arati Sundara arati Sayana arati
These are times when items are offered for the pleasure of the Deities.
04:30 to 05:00 07:00 to 07:30 08:00 to 11:45 12:30 to 13:00 16:15 to 18:30 19:00 to 19:30 21:00 to 21:30
07:30 Srimad Bhagavatam / Caitanya Caritamrta 13:00 Introductory talk * 18:00 Bhagavad Gita *
These are times when the curtains are open and the Deities can be seen.
* Excluding Sundays
LUNCH PROGRAMM E - MONDAY TO SATURDAY 13:00 to 14:00 Introductory talk and lunch. SUNDAY FEAST PROGRAMME 15:30 to 19:30 Includes arati, introductory talk and feast.
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
International Society for Krishna Consciousness Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada ISKCON-LONDON Radha-Krishna Temple 10 Soho Street London W1D 3DL
CONTACT: T: +44 (0)20 7437 3662 E : firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.iskcon.london