Founder of ISKCON. His Divine
Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada
Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all. (Bhagavad-gita 2.29)
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Just got back from Australia…   10.09.2010

Diary of a spiritual journey 18

September 17, 2007

My first stop was the Sydney “Festival of India” on September 2nd. as an early Janmastami celebration over the weekend, it attracted 15,000 people, many Indians which are now the number one group of new immigrants in to Australia. It is a sizable festival with various halls and quite a number of tents for Q & A, Spiritual Seekers, Japa Tent, Stage, Prasadam and shops.  members of the local City Council enjoyed the lunch in the company of devotees. It was a substantial program!


Kamsa in action

ISKCON Australia is offering a wide range of facilities. Melbourne has a nice temple, a number of buildings with a courtyard. We have videos of  Prabhupada in his Melbourne quarters  meeting various prominent people. additionally they have a nice restaurant started by Kurma (www.gopalsvegeterian.citysearch.com.au) and a budget-restaurant named Crossways and a loft program upstairs. I was recently there for Janmastami about 8,000 people mostly of  Indian origin visited the temple.

Australia has plenty of other projects a large, lush farm community named New Govardhana in the warmer climate up North  with a  successful school and a large Grhasta  community.  As well as other  projects; a few sleepy farms, New Nanda-grama, & New Gokul and many more temples and restaurants in various cities, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, New Castle.

New Ways to attract New People

Hare Krsna Australia experiments with new  presentations .   Targeting an audience interested in  Yoga,  Meditation, Ayurveda  and Astrology ; Govindas in Sydney is a cultural centre, including a restaurant and a movie theatre, it also offers  meditative mahamantra bhajans in a cultural setting. I just did a program with a group of people from there, they were nice people from a better background, educated and socially established. (www.govindas.com.au)

Govinda Valley  was started as a conference and retreat centre in a rural setting an hour south of Sydney, which is being rented to various yoga and other  groups with an alternative lifestyle. The Hare Krsna devotees are not keeping a temple there or are not walking around their traditional, spiritual robes, to create a more neutral environment for the visitors. They do have  their spiritual morning programs though but a little private. Some new people have moved in and more are considering. So they are in the planning stage to create asrama and better private temple facilities  for resident devotees (www.govindavalley.com.au).

Melbourne  and Brisbane are running a centres  called  “Urban Yoga” and “Atma  Yoga”.  It is the name for  a “loft “ –type of program developed by Devamrita Maharaja , which is a program that  gradually introduces people in a step by step way from where they are to Krsna consciousness. (www.atmayogi.com/?q=node/27)

I think that we can be open to such kind of experiments and judge by the results, if it  brings people to Krsna, then it is  hari seva anakula, favorable for the service of the Lord. As long as these programs are additional to our main activities such as book distribution and hari nama and maintaining temples as public places of worship. There are obviously challenges involved, such programs are meant to bring people who are at a distance from Krsna step by step closer to Him and not to bring people who were once close to Krsna, step by step further away. So as in all indirect programs, we need  good arrangements to offer spiritual support for the full time devotees involved, so they may not become distracted.  So far in most places nice people  are coming, so it seems to warrant to take it all,……. a few steps further.

One day the whole world will be chanting Hare Krsna !

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