In a major international outreach to garner investments in the flagship Smart City programme, the Narendra Modi government has invited ambassadors of all 150 missions in India to a grand investment summit on May 19.
The government would pitch projects worth Rs 50,560 crore across 20 cities, chosen through a competitive process conducted all over India, to be developed as smart cities in the first phase.
According to sources, most countries have confirmed their participation in the summit, which is being held at Taj Mansingh hotel. Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu would inaugurate the summit and invite countries for investment opportunities.
Dharamsala, the hill station in Himachal Pradesh that has lured hundreds of thousands of Westerners since Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama settled here, was on Tuesday again included in the central government’s list of Smart Cities.
Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu announced in New Delhi the 13 winners of the Fast Track Smart Cities competition.
They are Lucknow, Warangal, Dharamsala, Chandigarh, Raipur, New Town Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Panaji, Port Blair, Imphal, Ranchi, Agartala and Faridabad.
Although the Bhakti movement has spread far and wide, not many people know its founder Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – even in India,” says ISKCON’s communications deputy director in India, Yudhistir Govinda Das.
With the Festival of Inspiration in New Delhi this May 28th, he hopes to begin changing that. Supported by the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture, the event will take place at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium near Parliament. It’s expected to draw a full house.
The festival will commemorate the 500thanniversary of Sri Chaitanya visiting Lord Krishna’s home village, Vrindavana. But more than that, it will celebrate the timeless teachings of India – service, compassion and devotion to God – that the 15th century saint and Avatar exemplified and broadcast.
The Talkatora Indoor Stadium – photo by By Subhashish Panigrahi
It will also give people a rich experience of the Bhakti tradition through drama, dance and kirtan to inspire them on the path of devotion. Over 30 devotional artists from 20 countries will perform, and the message of inspiration will be supported in keynote speeches by some of India’s most distinguished political leaders.
With ISKCON Communications and Delhi’s Sri-Sri Radha-Parthasarathi Mandir joining forces to spread the word about the event, many people will get the chance to learn about Lord Chaitanya’s legacy.
“We are organizing a press conference and pre-event media coverage, putting twelve large billboards up around the city, and producing promotional videos for social media and mobile platforms like Viber and WhatsApp,” Yudhistira says. “As a result, we’re expecting more than the venue’s 3,000-plus capacity. So we’ll be setting up hundreds of extra chairs and a big LCD screen outside for those who can’t get into the stadium.”
Devotees in Stockholm, Sweden, are campaigning to save their Hare Krishna Center, which has served the public for 34 years and is the oldest Hindu temple in the city.
Every three years so far, the Center has renewed its lease with its landlord, Familjebostader (Family Residences), a property company that is owned by the Municipality of Stockholm and builds properties for public benefit.
But in December 2014, the company cancelled ISKCON’s rental contract, effective September 2015, with plans to use the building for another purpose.
While this is a legal practice, the law also requires the the company to provide compensation for its renters, so that they can smoothly set up elsewhere. However so far it has agreed to provide only the absolute minimum compensation.
“That would mean we would not be able to relocate and would be forced to close down our activities,” says Tapas Das, who has been temple president since 1999.
The Hare Krishna Center’s first response was to bring the case to the public negotiations office. Because Family Residence’s contractor failed to start work on the set date, the office was able to make them postpone the eviction until September 30th this year.
In the meantime, devotees attempted to come to a settlement with Family Residences for more appropriate compensation, following the company’s own requirements.
University students chant and dance during a visit to learn about Krishna consciousness
“We put together a very comprehensive document including our history, details on what services we offer to society, and testimonies, and presented it to them in December 2015,” says Tapas. “But so far, their lawyer hasn’t responded. Biding time is their tactic.”
The document shows how the Hare Krishna Center is a cultural treasure for the city of Stockholm, bringing diversity and benefit to the public. It is reasonable to claim, devotees say, that a municipal property company has a special responsibility to take this public service into consideration.
Established in 1982, the Hare Krishna Center is located in Fridhemsplan, a busy and very accessible central area of Stockholm. It actually includes two separate buildings: the Center – with a holistic spiritual gift shop – and Govinda’s, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the city.
Jnanagamya Dasa (John J. Partin) is/was my oldest friend. He was an artist and writer of immense creativity, enthusiasm, and talent.Monks in Manhattan started out as a screenplay and went through a number of incarnations as such. In the final year or two before his departure, he turned the screenplay into an entertaining novel about a somewhat fanatical devotee who falls in love with an heiress.
This extraordinary novel is filled with humor, romance, and philosophy. Jnanagamya would not object (if he were still with us) to my saying that this book is bizarre, preachy, original, funny, and strange. It is, by turns, unusual, hysterical, wonderful, and highly entertaining.
Very few novels have been produced by contemporary members of the Hare Krishna devotee community, and certainly none with the ambition, scope, humor, and philosophical depth of this one. Only he would even consider writing what is essentially a Krishna conscious romantic comedy. It is being brought out as an e-novel.
This was the final effort by the eccentric and kind artist/designer/builder/writer before he passed away in Mayapura, India, on February 17, 2015. He is sorely missed by all who loved him and whose lives were touched by him.
View Krishna store
How difficult it was becoming to preach in America among these crazy people! He had written prophetically in his poem the day he had arrived in Boston Harbor, “My dear Lord, I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do with me whatever You like. But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?” What about his scheduled classes? What about David – should he go back and try to talk with the boy? This had been David’s first fit of violence, but there had been other tense moments. David had a habit of leaving the soap on the floor of the shower stall and Prabhupada had asked him not to because it was a hazard. But David wouldn’t listen. Prabhupada had continued to remind him, and one day David had gotten angry and shouted at him. But there was no real enmity. Even today’s incident had not been a matter of personal differences – the boy was a victim.
Prabhupada walked quickly. He had free passage on the Scindia Line. He could go home to Vrindavana. But his spiritual master had ordered him to come here. “By the strong desire of Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura,” he had written while crossing the Atlantic, “the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout the countries of the Western world.” Before nightfall he would have to find some place to stay, a way to keep up the momentum of his preaching. This is what it meant to be working without government sponsorship, without the support of any religious organization, without a patron. It meant being vulnerable and insecure. Prabhupada faced the crisis as a test from Krishna. The instruction of Bhagavad-gita was to depend on Krishna for protection: “In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service be fully conscious of Me … You will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace.”
He decided to phone Carl Yeargens and ask him to help. Hearing the Swami’s voice on the phone – it was an emergency! – Carl at once agreed that Prabhupada could move in with him and his wife, Eva. Their place was close by, on Centre Street, five blocks west of Bowery near Chinatown. Carl would be right over.
View krishna store
If Krishna consciousness was ever to take hold in America, it would have to be without assistance from the Indian government or Indian financiers. Not even a lone Indianbrahmacari would join him. Krishna was revealing His plan to Prabhupada in a different way. With the Singhania-sanction schemes finished and behind him, Prabhupada would turn all his energy toward the young men and women coming to him in his Bowery loft. He wrote to Sumati Morarji:
I am now trying to incorporate one corporation of the local friends and admirers under the name International Society for Krishna Conscious.
View Krishna Store
For the first time ever, two women initiated into the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya have published a popular book that emphasizes the bhakti tenets in two of the world’s most revered yoga texts: theBhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras.
The book illuminates parallels between these two texts in a practical, philosophically rich and entertaining manner, while adhering to the interpretations given to the original Sanskrit texts by ancient yoga tradition itself.
Yoga in the Gita became an Amazon bestseller in its category in the first week. The book emerged from a series of online articles that Krishna Kanta and Braja Sevaki published in a blog of the same name that they started in 2012 under the prompting of Bob Weisenberg, former yoga editor ofElephant Journal, a popular online magazine. The Yoga in the Gita blog generated hundreds of thousands of views due to a grateful readership of primarily yoga teachers, yoga practitioners, bhaktas and bhaktins. It was due to the repeated requests of the blog’s followers that the book was eventually born.
While yoga studios around the world require that their teachers-in-training study theBhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras before becoming officially certified yoga teachers, they often resort to translations of these texts that obscure the valuable bhakti yogainsights originally found in these texts.
View Krishna Store