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JAI NITAI DASA Temple President Charity Chairman Member of Management Board South Regional Coordinator UK Zonal Supervisor Mentor

BHAVA BHAKTI DEVI DASI Temple Administrator Charity Secretary / Trustee Member of Management Board South Regional Secretary Mentorship System Coordinator Mentor

JAGA MOHINI DEVI DASI ISKCON Educational Services Ladies Ashram Leader Member of Management Board Mentor

MURLI MANOHARA DASA Head Pujari Charity Trustee Member of Management Board Member of Brahmacari Council Mentor

RAM CHARAN DASA Financial Controller

THIRUPATI GAURANGA DASA Govinda’s Restaurant Manager Kitchen Manager Member of Management Board

RADHA RAMAN DASA Charity Trustee Mentor

ACUTYA CHARAN DASA Food for Life Coordinator

ADI GOPI DEVI DASI Radha’s Boutique Manager

DAYAL MORA DASA Outreach Coordinator Men’s Ashram Leader

DEBASMITA FRANCIS London College of Vedic Studies Coordinator

DEVAKI DEVI DASI Community Development Coordinator Volunteers Coordinator

DOYAL CAITANYA DASA Festivals Coordinator Volunteers Coordinator

KAPILA MONET Radha Krishna Records Manager

KRISHNA KANTA DEVI DASI Food for Life Coordinator

LAURYNAS MIKALAUSKAS Head of IT Data Protection Lead

MAIRIS UÅ ACKIS Temple Commander

MANJARI GOPIKA DEVI DASI Russian Vedic Society Coordinator


NATASHA MENON Communications Secretary

PRITESH PANDYA Child Protection Officer

PRIYA KUNDA DASA Atma Lounge Manager


TITIKSU DASA UK Rathayatra Coordinator




Table of CONTENTS 5

Temple President’s Activities


Community Development Team


Deity Department




Food For Life


Govinda’s Restaurant




London College of Vedic Studies




Russian Vedic Society




Spiritual Mentorship System



Graphic Designer: Chandra Bellamy Editorial Team: Devaki devi dasi Padmanabha Nityananda dasa Neha Bhatt Pictures: David Crick, Harsh Sharma, Jagannath Sharan dasa We also thank other members of the community for their pictures.

For any comments or queries on this publication, please email newsletter@iskcon.london 4




community development team Krishna Club completed its first year and celebrated with a “graduation� ceremony on Sunday 15th December for the children who attended the weekly sessions. Temple President, Jai Nitai dasa, did kirtan with the children as well as presenting certificates to all the children and gifts which included Krishna Book (theme of next year’s sessions) and a notebook. Parents were present at the event and there was a feast afterwards for both the parents and children. Many parents brought in offerings such as cakes, cookies, and savouries. Thank you to the devotees who served as teachers and teaching assistants during the year: Devaki devi dasi, Gayathri, Indu, Jennal, Panchali, and Vrinda Sundari devi dasi. Thank you also to Pritesh, Child Protection Officer, for his support and guidance.

To enquire about your child attending Krishna Club in 2020, please email krishnaclub@iskcon.london 8

deity department Golden Anniversary Adivasa Ceremony Saturday 23rd November

The Deity Department organised an Adivasa ceremony which was performed to invoke auspiciousness for the upcoming Golden Anniversary festivities.


Deity Department

Golden Anniversary Special Darshans During the 50th Golden Anniversary Week, from 24th November to 2nd December, the Deity Department created nine days of incredible darshans, each relating to a particular theme of the day.


On the first day of the festival, a signature event called ‘Krishna Spectacular’ was held at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith in celebration of 50 years of Hare Krishna culture in the UK. The Temple altar was decorated in a special theatrical theme to mark the occasion, which included theatre curtains and red carpet. Their Lordships even had Their own golden, handmade Krishna Spectacular tickets!


Deity Department


A dedication to the labour of love by Srila Prabhupada and his ardent desire to establish Krishna consciousness in London and open a temple to fulfil the desire of the previous acharyas, the pioneers who made it happen, and the devotees who have grown the Krishna consciousness movement in the UK over the last 50 years. Their Lordships were offered a gorgeous new outfit, which is a painted flower outfit, painted by an artist in New Vraja Dhama, Hungary. Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara were beautifully bordered within a heart frame made entirely with baby roses, and other floral hearts also decorated the altar.


Deity Department


A celebration of the appearance of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi in London, London’s first Rathayatra in July 1969, Srila Prabhupada’s attendance in the 1973 Rathayatra which he described as a “gorgeous Rathayatra festival in London” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya-Lila 13.19) and a day dedicated to Lord Jagannatha’s glories and pastimes. Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi’s altar was decorated as a colourful Rath cart, and the rest of the altar was decorated with traditional Rath decorations and hangings, sourced from Pipili, a town in the Puri district in the Indian state of Odisha, famous for designing handicrafts.


Deity Department


This festival was dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes and arrival in London on 11th September 1969 – how his disciples met Srila Prabhupada at the airport, his time at Tittenhurst, meeting with the Beatles, the public lectures he gave, the media attention he received, and the efforts he and his disciples made in getting the building in Bury Place ready for the opening of the Radha-Krishna Temple. The altar set the mood of the festival, decorated with special photographs of Srila Prabhupada in London. There was also an offering of over 50 cakes on the altar in honour of the 50th Anniversary.


Deity Department


The appearance of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara has a very sweet story behind it. They are unique in that They seemingly appeared by Their own will less than two weeks before the temple opening, manifested by Srila Prabhupada’s strong desire for Radha-Krishna Deities in London. An elegant new outfit was offered to Their Lordships on this day. Devotees were captivated by seeing Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara on Their royal throne with cushions even embroidered with Their names. A beautiful darshan reminding us that They are indeed the real Lord and Lady of London!


Deity Department

london is vrindavana Friday 29th November

By Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, he turned London into a spiritual abode by installing Their Most Beautiful Lordships, Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, who he said are Radha and Krishna Themselves who have appeared in London. The meditation of the day was that if our minds are simply focused on Them and Their service, then we are in Vrindavana, wherever we may be physically situated. In line with the Vrindavana theme, Their Lordships were offered a gorgeous flower outfit and flower ornaments, with the altar expertly transformed into Vrindavana forest.


Deity Department


This day was the start of the 2019 Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon which took place from Saturday 30th November to Tuesday 24th December. The darshan certainly inspired the devotees going out to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. Many books were carefully handmade and magnificently flying around the altar. Sides of the altar were also elegantly designed as a bookcase. Nice touches were seen throughout the altar such as Srila Prabhupada’s typewriter with flying excerpts from his books.


Deity Department


As well as Their Lordships wearing Their famous holy name outfit, the altar was decorated with handpainted holy name ribbons and musical instruments, providing a perfect darshan for a day filled with chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.


Deity Department


The finale of the Golden Anniversary Week! Celebrated on Odana Sashti, as per the Gaudiya Vaishnava calendar, on this day 50 years ago Srila Prabhupada installed Their Most Beautiful Lordships Sri Sri RadhaLondonisvara. Their Lordships wore three beautiful new outfits on this 50th Anniversary day. The Mangal arati darshan saw Their Lordships wearing a new night outfit offered the night before, a day outfit, and another night outfit offered during Shayan arati. Two new backdrops – a London backdrop behind Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara and a London Rathayatra backdrop behind Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi – handpainted by an artist in Budapest, Hungary, mesmerised devotees across the world. The altar was also a beautifully decorated “extension” of the scene in the backdrops with flower beds, fountains, pillars, street lights, and trees, decorated with flower arrangements. A glorious Pushpa Abhishek of Their Lordships was a beautiful sight for the eyes in the evening.


Deity Department

Three new night outfits were gifted to Their Lordships during the Golden Anniversary Two of the outfits were gifted by members of the community and the third one (offered on Sunday 1st December) was gifted by Bhaktivedanta Manor and stitched by their seamstresses.

Saturday 30th November


Monday 2nd December

Sunday 1st December

Deity Department

Saturday 14th December 2019 On 14th December 1969, Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara were installed by Srila Prabhupada and the RadhaKrishna Temple was opened. Below is an excerpt from Mukunda Goswami, one of the pioneers of ISKCON in the UK. Sunday the 14th of December dawned sunny but bitterly cold. ...

We had sent out hundreds of fancy invitation cards to everyone we knew, hoping that we would get a crowd. The temple room was finished in the nick of time. The walls were freshly varnished and adorned with paintings of Krishna; a thick maroon carpet stretched from wall to wall. A separate deity room had been built at one end of the room, divided from the main hall by a low balustrade and heavy blue drapes, and the temple’s impressive curved ceiling looked like the hull of a boat turned upside down. When Prabhupada finally stood in the sparkling temple room he said to me, “ You should install a brass plaque at the door that says ‘This temple was built by the hard labor of effort of Shyamasundar Das Adhikari.’” By noon, the temple was full of guests, most of them dressed up in suits and dresses or in their best saris. A BBC TV team arrived to film the occasion, and there was barely enough room in the temple for them to set up their cameras. ... The deities were positioned on a low platform just outside the altar room. Prabhupada sat before them, surrounded by bowls of bathing substances: milk, yogurt, golden liquid ghee and rosescented water. “Thank you all for attending this most auspicious occasion,” Srila Prabhupada said in his short opening address. “This is most wonderful day for all of London, because Krishna is today appearing in this city. These deities will be called Radha-Londonisvara, meaning ‘the controller of London.’ ” 20

He performed the installation ceremony by pouring ladles-full of the liquids over the deities. The milk, ghee and honey cascaded down their curved bodies, collecting momentarily in the ridges of their eyes and the folds of their carved clothing. Prabhupada then carefully bathed them in water, rubbing the milky film from their bodies with his hand. He dried them with soft green towels and requested that they be taken behind the blue curtains and into the altar room. Then he lit a small pile of wood that was stacked on a mound of soil in front of him, and ladling ghee over the sacrificial fire, he chanted prayers and invocations. Then Yamuna, Gurudas, Tamal Krishna and I moved the deities behind the curtain and onto their marble plinth. Behind the closed curtain, the four of us began to prepare the deities and the altar for the first official presentation of RadhaLondonisvara. Then Prabhupada joined us, having finished the fire ceremony, and directed Yamuna how to dress the deities in their new clothes. ... A cheer rose from inside, and I quickly

went back inside. From the back of the room I saw that the curtains had parted and Yamuna was twirling three smoking incense sticks the way Prabhupada had shown us in the f irst months we had known him. The arati ceremony progressed while Prabhupada stood with folded palms before his Lords. As the kirtan dipped and soared, he turned his face toward the crowd, and I could see by his broad smile that his spiritual master’s dream for a London temple was now fulf illed. Mukunda Goswami Excerpted from “Miracle on Second Avenue”

festivals The Glorious 50th Anniversary of Sri-Sri Radha-Londonisvara Feature article by Jonathan Bearman


othing could more illustrate the blossoming of ISKCON in the heart of the UK than the recent 50th anniversary festival to mark the installation by Srila Prabhupada of the Radha-Krishna Deities known as Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara in central London, the Deities who also have a historical significance in that They are the first large Radha-Krishna Deities in ISKCON. A truly memorable event, London has never seen the Hare Krishna movement like this before. Running for nine days from Sunday 24th November to Monday 2nd December, the festival showcased exceptional displays of performance arts and visual arts, poetry readings and kirtans, maha harinamas and an opentop bus harinama, historical accounts of RadhaLondonisvara and offerings of wisdom from some of its founders half a century ago – and, throughout it all, a series of dazzling, themed darshans by Their Lordships Themselves, the Lords of London. From the launch of the festival at the legendry Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith on Sunday 24th November, for what was described as the “Krishna Spectacular’, it was evident something special was going on. It was as if the 64 arts and crafts listed in the Brahma Samhita for Goloka Vrindavan had descended among us – arts and crafts learned by Sri Krishna himself from his preceptor, Sandipani, in Mathura, and therefore held precious by the Supreme Personality. In 1969, Srila Prabhupada told his early disciples that Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara would bring us close to Vrindavan – and the anniversary festival was witness to this continuing manifestation. The Apollo stage allowed scale for the full-rein of the performance arts, while the 3000-seat auditorium gave the rare opportunity for substantial audience participation, most apparent with the rousing rendition of Londonisvara from Jayadev dasa and his mantra


choir. Yet while Jayadev brought the audience to their feet in typical barn-storming style, Jahnavi Harrison in a more gentle way touched hearts with mellifluous, soul-penetrating tonality, and Bali Rico charmed with pulsating lyricism, this time free from the mrdangas of the Mayapuris. Fifty years after George Harrison produced Govinda with the first London disciples at Apple Studios in London’s Saint John’s Wood, relying on the unforgettable voice of Yamuna devi dasi, the Apollo show made it clear Krishna consciousness has lost none of its ability to move people by a powerful vocal offering. The large stage also accommodated a significant dance repertoire that was undeveloped in early years of ISKCON. The Apollo event revealed how Krishna consciousness was finding expression in modern and contemporary dance with the display and tribute to Krishna by the Samadhi Dance Company and the

Festivals impressive use of dance, including acrobatics, by the Natya Nectar Dance Company, to illustrate the journey of the jiva through the karmic entanglements and sensory delusions of the material world until the embodied soul finds refuge at the lotus feet of Krishna. Accounting for the largest section of the Apollo show, Natya Nectar’s performance left the audience gasping with its imaginative trapeze work, acrobatic use of a large wheel to portray the revolving captivity of the jiva in the world, and trance-like turning historically associated with sufism and the dervishes, but used by Natya Nectar in glorification of Krishna.

And yet slotted within these memorable performances were two quieter interludes. One saw the entry of three of the original founders of ISKCON in the UK – Shyamasundar dasa, Gurudas dasa and Malati devi dasi. All had travelled from the US to be pioneers in London at the request of Srila Prabhupada in 1968, and had now travelled back from the US as special


guests of the 50th anniversary in London. With humility learned while serving Srila Prabhupada, they retold in simple terms how the Hare Krishna London story began and how they secured the presiding Deities of the London temple, named as Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara by Srila Prabhupada, and from which so much has now followed, to the extent that the Hare Krishna presence they founded in London all those years ago has become five decades later a recognised perennial feature of London-life. In another quiet interlude, His Holiness Radhanath Swami, a senior member of ISKCON’s governing body, spoke about the necessary antidote to the delusions of the material world, the chanting of the name of Krishna. With a lifetime of devotion and 40 years of experience of spiritual traditions in India, he distilled his wisdom into a simple message for the audience, explaining why the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is critical to all in this material world who will listen: that it brings about purification in the heart and, like the polishing of a mirror, allows the embodied soul to ever-more reflect God and find love for God. Following the Apollo show, the festival moved its centre of gravity to the Radha-Krishna Temple off Oxford Street where the development of Krishna consciousness in London could be explored in more depth. There, for the next eight days, the festival progressed with daily themes, beginning with the founding of a temple in London. Entitled “A Labour of Love: How it All Began”, the theme on Monday 25th November (Day 2) was a focus on how the original pioneers worked selflessly in unfamiliar conditions to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s desire for a temple with presiding Deities in London, and how in this undertaking they depended on the invaluable help of Beatles-member George Harrison. And the story of how those Deities arrived at the temple was, as part of this day’s theme, revisited by the first pioneers

Festivals present at the time and now reunited: foremost among the memories were how Tamal Krishna Goswami and Shyamasundar dasa abetted Srila Prabhupada in taking-off with the gift of the Radha-Krishna Deities from the house of a hesitating Mr. Goyal in Stratford, East London; and how They were installed at the first temple in Bury Place, Bloomsbury; and how also, before that, Shyamasundar dasa carved the Deities of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi on instructions from Srila Prabhupada from wood salvaged from a dockyard on the Thames. Over fifty years, it has all become the stuff of ISKCON legend.

of events, a collection of poems, prose and prayers had been gathered from devotees as an offering to Their Lordships and selective works from the resulting “Offerings of Love for Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara: Poems and Prayers for Fifty Years” compilation were read out during the days of the festival. Prominent among them were works by the original and early members including Shyamsundar dasa, who looking back could declare: Oh, Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, how beautiful You have become, more beautiful than anything possible, and how perfect Your reign from this Soho palace. The first day of the festival at the Radha-Krishna Temple also saw devotees gather for a maha harinama, perhaps the largest ever in London. It was to be succeeded by maha harinamas on each day of the festival, with the maha harinama on Tuesday combined with a Rathayatra procession and then outings to notable London sights and public attractions, among them Leicester Square and Carnaby Street.

It was therefore a blessing that Shyamasundar dasa, Gurudas dasa and Malati devi dasi were present for the 50th anniversary, and that other early followers of ISKCON made their way from around the world. Joining the three pioneers on the Monday to talk about their ‘Labour of Love’ were Radhanath Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabupada since 1973, and another early member of ISKCON in London, Ranchor dasa. Radhanath Swami spoke of the humble service spirit that had been learned from Srila Prabhupada, while Ranchor, who helped with the Radha-Krishna Temple building, told in poetic form of how his journey of service to Krishna began by taking refuge like many others at the feet of Radha-Krishna in London. Thus: Encircling the city of my days and nights, Welcoming its lost souls to bask in Your golden gaze, I sat through a night of mysteries at Your feet.


Poems in fact became a major offering to Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara throughout the festival. Ahead

Such is now the accepted presence of Hare Krishna in London that there was little hostile reaction; in fact, members of the public cheered and some joined in. Likewise, with the Saturday open-top bus harinama around the capital. If anything, the imaginative bus harinama, using the iconic red routemaster buses, with jubilant musicians and chanters aboard, will have further embedded the Hare Krishna phenomena in the London scene, while creating a carnival atmosphere in the depth of winter.

Festivals same reason, he therefore accepted the hospitality of Beatles’ frontman John Lennon at Tittenhurst Park, although he was anxious to move to London to join his devotees who were building the Radha-Krishna Temple at Bury Place. As ever, he wanted to be close to the devotees who had committed their lives to serving Krishna – and to the site of the first RadhaKrishna Temple. Highlights of the day’s festival was a unique darshan on the altar of pictures of Srila Prabhupada in London, a London memories class of Srila Prabhupada by Dhananjaya dasa, one of Srila Prabhupada’s early disciples in the UK, and a magnificent offering of 50 (in fact, 57) cakes by the community, no one cake the same, on the Temple altar.

Day 3 of the festival was devoted to the advent of the London Rathayatra, the annual chariot procession of the Deities Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, the central point of London. Although the first devotees began the yatra in the summer of 1969, it took them time to develop the knowhow to manually manoeuvre chariots with seven-foot wheels in the London streets. Eventually, though, the competence and construction skills were cultivated and in 1973 Srila Prabhupada blessed the wishes of the London devotees with his first attendance at the London Rathayatra. More than forty years on, it has now become a huge yearly event attracting large crowds and requiring the provision of prasadam on an unprecedented scale in Trafalgar Square. The arrival in London of Srila Prabhupada set the theme for Day 4. When he landed at Heathrow on 11 September 1969, Srila Prabhupada was suddenly at the centre of publicity due to the favourable circumstances created by the release of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra by his devotees on the Beatles’ Apple Records label that summer. Around 40 reporters awaited him after he stepped off the plane, wanting to get a sight of what was described by the news media as the Beatles’ Guru. At the time, the Beatles were a huge, unparalleled music phenomenon with a mass youth following. Prabhupada accepted this sudden celebrity status caused by association with Beatles because it helped establish Krishna consciousness; and if the Beatles took up the Maha Mantra it would introduce Krishna to millions of young people. For the 24

On Day 5 of the festival, attention turned to the ceremonial installation of the Deities of Radha and Krishna at the Bury Place Temple by Srila Prabhupada and this was followed the next day by the theme of ‘London is Vrindavan’. These themes were drawn from Srila Prabhupada’s revelation to his devotees that with the installation of the Deities those who came into Their presence and meditated and focused on Them would be enclosed within spiritual Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada, by installing Radha-Krishna Deities, made London into a spiritual abode where Their Lordships would mercifully rule. He was well-aware that it would take time for the spiritual abode to manifest around Them, but with the installation he was sowing the seeds of something much bigger; in fact, to use a different metaphor, he had set in motion a kind of synergy between the Deities and a place called London, a mutually reinforcing bond that has grown to this day. Knowing this, Srila Prabhupada called Them Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, the Lords of London.

Festivals Their Lordships appeared perfectly against a painted panaroma of London, Their kingdom. And every day, They appeared sumptuously and exquisitely dressed. Golden Anniversary Week organiser, Devaki devi dasi, says

Throughout all the days of the festival at the RadhaKrishna Temple, it was the visual appearance of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara that was truly awesome, spell-binding. You simply ran out of superlatives to describe Them: They radiated, glistened, mesmerised, dazzled, looked stunning and glorious, just beautiful. They were of course Srila Prabhupada’s favourites and he maintained that They had appeared in London by Their own will as part of Their causeless mercy. To take darshan of Them these nine days was to be like Arjuna brought into the presence of the Lord’s grace (pusti), splendour (sri), fame (kirti), invincible potency (maya) and miraculous powers in his venture into the spiritual realm (as reported in the Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.89.57). Each day, the Deities gave all those who visited the temple and of course the thousands who witnessed online, beautiful new themed darshans to match the themes of the festival and this allowed a precious opportunity for devotees to offer innovative, crafted service to Them. In fact, it was an occasion to apply more of the arts and crafts and qualities of Vrindavan, as listed in the Brahma Samhita and Srimad Bhagavatam, such as painting, flower arranging, carpentry and, indeed, the art of making delicious food as prasadam. The darshans included the Deities appearing majestically on the red carpet on the day of Krishna Spectacular, being enclosed within a rose-filled heart, and enthroned as the King and Queen of London. Lord Jagannatha, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra Devi looked delightful on Their Rath cart on the Rathayatra-themed day. Darshans on two of the days were dedicated to honouring Srila Prabhupada’s time in London and celebrating the start of the 2019 Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon with a display of Srila Prabhupada’s books throughout the altar. On the penultimate day of the festival, the Holy Names were streaming from above Their Lordships. Finally, and most suitably, 25

“Certainly a major highlight for devotees during the Golden Anniversary Week was the beautiful darshans – nine days in a row, starting from the day of Krishna Spectacular, we had nine special darshans, all based on the theme of the day, to deepen our meditation on an aspect of ISKCONLondon’s history. My inspiration behind this was my spiritual master, HH Sivarama Swami, and the gorgeous and splendid festival darshans that take place in New Vraja Dhama in Hungary, under his inspiration and leadership. Every time you go there, you get excited by deity greetings and what the altar will look like, what the Deities will wear, etc. and then when the curtains open you are in complete joy. I was determined that we “pull out all the stops” for the darshans during this most-wonderful 50th Anniversary for the pleasure of Sri Sri RadhaLondonisvara, Srila Prabhupada, the senior devotees who would be present, and of course, our community. It was a challenge to organise and took months of planning and preparation as well as it being an intense marathon during the festival week making and putting up the decorations on the altar as well as taking down old ones each day, but everything was possible due to Their Lordships’ blessings, the empowerment and support given by our Temple President, Jai Nitai dasa, and Head Pujari, Murli Manohara dasa, the diverse and wonderful abilities and team spirit of the devotees who assisted, as well as our Golden Anniversary sponsors. During these nine days, everyone was talking about the darshans and excited what the next day’s darshan would be like. It was quite wonderful to see how the darshans really captured devotees’ hearts and made them more connected to Their Lordships. It was an experience of a lifetime, one that I will always treasure.”

Festivals From Day 7 of the festival, Saturday, to its conclusion on Monday 2nd December, the actual anniversary date of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara’s installation, the festival wound-up to an experiential climax. Day 7 was a celebration of the sankirtan mission undertaken in London by devotees in the early years and it related how they managed in the different conditions to keep faith in the sankirtan mission as inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Bengal. Following on, Day 8 was devoted to the theme of chanting the Holy Names and the early success achieved by devotees through cooperation with the Beatles and George Harrison to establish awareness of Hare Krishna in the UK. The apotheosis of the festival, its highpoint, came on Day 9 and was sublime. Towards the close, Jayadev dasa returned to a packed Temple Room to lead the singing of the temple anthem, Radha-Londonisvara, to be followed by the finalé of an unprecedented – for London – pushpa abhishek for the Deities, in which They were showered by two tonnes of rose petals that flooded the entire altar. Then when the Deities released the petals as blessings back to the devotees, the devotees joyously showered each other with handfuls of petals; and at the end, the temple was left two inches deep in petals, and roses were strewn in a trail down Oxford Street, London’s most material street. After the petals were cleared up from the Temple Room, many stayed on relishing the lovely kirtan and eagerly awaiting the final darshan of the Deities in a new night outfit.

At the end of all this, what is to be said? First of all, as well as the actual events, what was inspiring was the humble spirit of service involved and offered by large numbers of devotees working in cooperation; secondly, the festival has given us a milestone to judge the progress of the Hare Krishna movement in the UK. Perhaps less obvious than the firm evidence of attendance at the festival is the likelihood these events have a certain soft power and generate a wider hinterland that becomes fertile territory for the future. Fifty years on Krishna is no longer alien to the British and eyebrows are no longer raised at the subject in the political Establishment or armed forces. Of course, there is huge service lying ahead, but thanks to the early pioneers, the groundwork has been done, and for that, there must be enormous gratitude to Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, the Lords of London. Watch the classes and kirtans: https://bit.ly/goldenanniversaryweek-playlist Watch a special film, produced by Bhaktavatara dasa, celebrating 50 years of the Hare Krishna’s in London, which was also shown as part of the celebrations: http://bit.ly/50yearsofservice

Thank you! The Golden Anniversary Week organising team would like to express our deep appreciation to all the pioneers, Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and senior devotees present at the Golden Anniversary Week. It was a magnificent nine days of festivities, greatly enhanced by your presence. The Temple Room was packed each day, morning, afternoon, and evening, with the community of ISKCON-London feeling very grateful and privileged to hear from seniors on special remembrances and stories from ISKCON-London’s history. A special thank you also to all of the donors and volunteers who helped make the festivities possible. Thank you for your dedication in this once-in-alifetime service opportunity. And thank you to all the devotees who attended to make this a great community celebration.



Golden Anniversary Celebrations Krishna Spectacular, Sunday 24th November



Festivities at ISKCON-London, Monday 25th November to Monday 2nd December





Gita Jayanti – Advent of Bhagavad Gita Saturday 7th December



food for life

he drafting of a new standards/protocol document for Food For Life has almost been completed. Once the document has been approved, it will be shared with existing and new volunteers in the new year, to ensure the entire team adheres to the standards set out in the document. A new electric food van is also due to arrive in January 2020. On Thursday 21st November, Shyamasundar dasa spoke about the topic ‘Chasing Rhinos for Krishna’, in other words, how to dream big for Krishna’s service and in particular how to convert that vision and dream into a reality. Everyone that attended the talk were given an opportunity to purchase the first and second volume of his book entitled ‘Chasing Rhinos With The Swami’ and get their books signed by him.


govinda’s restaurant ovinda’s Restaurant manager, Thirupati Gauranga dasa, was awarded second place in the Food Entrepreneur of the Year category at the London Asian Business Awards 2019!

Govinda’s Restaurant Manager, Thirupati Gauranga dasa, with the award 31

harinama Tribhuvanatha dasa Remembrance Maha Harinama November 2019



50th Anniversary Bus Harinama & Maha Harinama on Saturday 30th November





New Year’s Eve 2019 Maha Harinama


london college of vedic studies In November, the following courses took place: (please note there were no courses in December due to the Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon) The 10-week ‘Kartals and Mridanga Lessons’ course for the children of the Krishna Club, facilitated by Krishna Chaitanya Parmar, was concluded.

The third ‘ISKCON Disciples Course’ of this year took place, taught by resident monk Dayal Mora dasa.

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outreach I

n November, the outreach department was busy preparing for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the installation of Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara, in particular organising an ecstatic harinama party twice a day during the Golden Anniversary Week nine days of festivities. During that week, the team also organised a special Wisdom Wednesdays at the Swiss Church with well-known kirtaneer, Jayadeva dasa, as the guest of honour, who seamlessly transported the unsuspecting crowd to another world with his world-famous “Mantra ChoirÂť experience. Earlier in the month, on 8th November, Wisdom Wednesdays hosted another special guest, Mahatma dasa. Weekly outreach programmes such as Fortunate Fridays and Secrets from the East have been running on a regular basis. In addition, Dayal Mora dasa has been giving talks on Thursday evenings at the Krishna Consciousness Society (KC SOC) at SOAS University. As a result of our outreach, some of the people we have been cultivating joined us for Monday Prema Lounge. Dayal Mora dasa has also kept running regular morning classes for the devotees, while Syama Govinda dasa has been going out on harinama every day. December is the month of the Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon. Despite the increased effort put on book distribution, the weekly programmes did not stop. This resulted in a higher number of newcomers joining weekly programmes such as Wisdom Wednesdays, Fortunate Fridays, and Secrets from the East. A total of fifteen newcomers took part in the Wisdom Wednesdays programme for their first time over the three sessions held in December. For the book marathon, the team organised two book tables, The Fortunate People Party were situated in Bond Street and The Wisdom Warriors were situated in Camden Town. Both book tables were there to facilitate book distributors of all calibres; from the seasoned pro to newcomers who are willing to experience book distribution for the first time. This is something the team want to implement as a regular activity, having witnessed how much fun and inspiring book distribution can be for those who try it for the first time.


International Society for Krishna Consciousness Founder Acharya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

SPECIAL GUESTS HH Candramauli Swami HH Prahladananda Swami HH Bhakti Rasayana Sagar Swami HG Jai Nitai dasa and HG Bhava Bhakti devi dasi HG Navadvip Chandra dasa For more information, please contact Mahaprabhu dasa Phone: 07903 931586 Email: mahaprabhu.das85@gmail.com

South East Regional Retreat Easter Bank Holiday Weekend 11th – 13th April 2020


ISKCON South London 42 Enmore Road South Norwood SE25 5NG

Minimum requested donation to cover costs

Adults: £20* Under 16s: £15* Under 5s : Free*

* Minimum Donation increases by £5 in March and £10 in April

russian vedic society


n November, the Russian Vedic Society (RVS), with the help of Srila Prabhupada disciple, Mondakini devi dasi, invited Valmiki dasa from Russia, a well-known preacher and harinama tour leader, who they were trying to invite to London for many years. Valmiki dasa gave an outreach seminar on “How to balance material and spiritual life while living in a big city”. The RVS also organised a weekend retreat in Brighton with Valmiki dasa and Mondakini devi dasi, where they continued to explore deeper into the topic of balance in life and also had an ecstatic harinama in Brighton. On New Year’s Eve, the RVS gathered at Dmitry and Renate’s home for a New Year’s programme. Before midnight, everyone then gathered at ISKCON-London to start the new year in an auspicious way by chanting the holy names of the Lord together.



The Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon took place from Saturday 30th November to Tuesday 24th December.





Post-Marathon Festival Saturday 28th December



spiritual mentorship system

he following devotees from the Mentorship System were initiated by Radhanath Swami in November 2019, at a large initiation ceremony that took place at Bhaktivedanta Manor. Other senior devotees also present at the ceremony were UK GBC Praghosa dasa and Malati devi dasi.


Doyal Caitanya dasa - formerly Dhaval Dattani who is in Prema Vilasani devi dasi - formerly Pushpa Rajani who is in Jai Nitai dasa’s men’s group. Satya Narayan dasa and Madhvi devi dasi’s older devotees group.


Candra Caitanya dasa in Satya Narayan dasa and Madhvi devi dasi’s older devotees group. 44

Prana Sakhi devi dasi in Jai Nitai dasa and Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s grihasta group.

Radha Govinda dasa in Jai Nitai dasa’s men’s group.

Spiritual Mentorship System

Interview with bhava bhakti devi dasi In the Srila Prabhupada Book Marathon, we saw Bhava Bhakti devi dasi’s mentee group take part in innovative ways to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. Here we catch up with Bhava Bhakti devi dasi to learn about these activities.

Question: Hare Krishna! Once again, your mentee

group was active in the December Marathon in some interesting ways. What inspires you to do this? Answer: Hare Krishna! Well as far as the activity of distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books is concerned, this is definitely a sacred act that is very close to my heart. We owe a huge debt to our founder-acarya and the one way we can try to repay it, in a way that pleases him, is through the distribution of his books. Unfortunately, I am not able to stand for hours on end in one place trying to stop someone and then get them to take a book… so, I started to think of fun and indirect ways to do this. In this way the activity of Sankirtan becomes fun and not scary which it can be if you are too timid and shy to stand by a book table or on the street alone and speak to strangers. Q: Too shy and timid? But you and your group dress up in public as penguins, fat Santa’s and even a banana? A: Hahahaha! Yes, that’s true! But we are having fun together and the outfits help to hide us too! Ok so we are not that shy but definitely it is a completely different experience to be together in a group and dress up and just have fun. This happiness vibe then spreads to the other person and they smile, laugh, maybe even pity us, hahaha and are open to take a book as we are just fun cool people, see what I mean? We just want to pass on the books (for a donation of course!) as it is the books that will do all the hard work. We just dress up and have a giggle, these books are beyond this material world, that is a fact, and we are so honoured and humbled to be allowed to be part of this transcendental postal system between Lord Krishna and his conditioned parts and parcels. In this respect you have to be reading these books regularly too otherwise you won’t have the conviction to distribute them. 45

Q: That’s so nice - thank you! So, what were the different ways you distributed these books? A: Well, we went shop-to-shop, fancy dress pub-topub, fancy dress carol singing, cake sales in schools, car boot sales, to name a few activities. Q: Do you find it hard to convince ladies in your group to attend? A: Sometimes as this activity is not for everyone clearly and I can only try to inspire but can’t force! Actually I try to but they don’t listen, hahahahah! Also, most people are working and so they are available after work and at the weekends only. We plan the activities at least one month in advance in our mentee meetings so everyone gets a say in what we are going to do.They are a good bunch of devotees and in the end, everyone does their bit. We are a team and everyone’s efforts count towards a common goal. Q: Well thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing your activities this year. A: Thank you and yes watch out for us! We have lots more ideas up our (penguin) sleeves!

volunteering Thank you to our Golden Anniversary Volunteers! A special thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to assist with Krishna Spectacular and the Golden Anniversary Week festivities at ISKCON-London. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara on the occasion of Their Golden Anniversary. Many volunteers assisted in the weeks and months in the lead-up to the celebrations. Volunteers were involved in a variety of services, including but not limited to: • Administration • Altar decorations • Art work, carpentry, painting etc. for the altar darshans • Bus harinama • Communications and marketing • Cooking and baking • Daily harinamas • Dramas • Editing services • Garland-making and floral arrangements • Festival coordination and logistics • Finance and sponsorship • Kirtan scheduling • Photography • “Poems and Prayers to Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara” book • Sewing • Special 50th Anniversary editions of Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1 • Srila Prabhupada Vyasasana and Temple Room decorations • Videography • VIP care 46





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 PROGRAMME (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.


ISKCON-LONDON Radha-Krishna Temple 10 Soho Street London W1D 3DL


CONTACT: T: +44 (0)20 7437 3662 E : info@iskcon.london W: www.iskcon.london

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International Society for Krishna Consciousness Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

Profile for ISKCON-London

November to December 2019 ISKCON-London Community Newsletter  

November to December 2019 ISKCON-London Community Newsletter