Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Stolen River movie- -the urgent plight of the Yamuna

Monday, October 11th, 2021

 The award winning documentary about the urgent plight of the Yamuna River was screened in the Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Haveli.

 Directed by devotee Krisztina Danka PhD, the film focuses on six young people in rural India set out on a journey to find out who is poisoning their sacred river Yamuna, causing many people and animals to fall sick and even die. By the time they arrive at the foothills of the Himalayas, a shocking reality unfolds in front of them: their river has been “stolen” and replaced by an open flow of sewage, causing a major ecological disaster affecting tens of millions.

Can they save the river, people’s lives and their holy land, the very heart of the ancient Indian culture?

Visakha devi dasi spoke powerful opening words, highlighting the sacredness of the Yamuna river in Vaishnavism, and the core of all our ecological problems being greed in the heart. She went on to explain how Krishna Consciousness has a valuable contribution to make in terms of purifying our hearts.

The Screening was followed by a panel discussion with the director, Krisztina Danka, Ranchor Prime and Gita Parihar, and Mantra Choir lead by Jayadev John Richardson.

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For more information: stolenriverfilm.com

To stay connected to further awareness raising events on the Yamuna River’s situation please email stolenriver108@gmail.com

 

 

Stolen River Director Krisztina Danka talking on ITV Gold, an American TV news channel focusing on the South Asian community.

 

Be A Monk Challenge!

Monday, October 11th, 2021

With Lockdown easing and an opportunity arising for more activity within the Manor space, the Manor’s Brahmacari Ashram wasted no time in delivering their famous residential course – Be A Monk Challenge, that allows individuals from the general public to have an opportunity to experience monastic life for seven days.

The several participants who came forward were engaged in a variety of activities. Upon arriving and settling in, they received a tour of the Bhaktivedanta Manor and got a feeling of the mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada in developing a community where Krsna Consciousness can be shared, relished and lived by all.

The program was packed with philosophical discussions, which were interesting seeing that we had a group from all walks of life. They appreciated how the philosophy was accepting of their individual journeys and how Krsna is really the mastermind behind everything that exists.

Jan, one of the participants found it powerful what the morning hours can do, and is now carrying on with the practice of waking up early and doing his meditation before starting the day.

Service to the cows and the farm here at the Bhaktivedanta Manor is taken to heart and the participants got a chance to serve them. Some working with the oxen and others milking the cows for the first time in their lives, found it a unique skill and meditation. One of the participants, Ravi, was touched by the loving mood of the cows that he is inspired to render more service to them.

The participants got a chance to experience Vedic fitness from our trained and qualified practitioner – Sadasiva das, who taught them basic self-defence skills and how to protect others in a safe way when danger arises.

Later on in the week, they got taken out of the Manor into the streets of London where they joined the initiative – Food for All London – and fed hundreds of people with Krsna Prasadam. Ted, one of the participants was actively engaged in this service and expressed how he felt the difference of being in a strong spiritual atmosphere versus the crazy busy streets of London. He commended the devotees for their mood of service and can’t wait to join us again in serving the community.

One of the evenings, they watched the famous Hare Krsna Movie, which highlights the journey Srila Prabhupada went through for us to get such a wonderful opportunity of serving Lord Krsna. Some of them got teary eyed when getting to understand the difficulties Srila Prabhupada went through and felt the need to contribute more of their time and energy in serving devotees.

On the last day, they had their graduation ceremony, a bitter sweet moment for them and for us. They really enjoyed their stay and can’t wait to come back to visit again, and the devotees felt happy getting a chance to serve new inspired individuals in Krsna Consciousness.

For our next Be A Monk Challenge and other residential courses please contact: ashram@krishnatemple.com

Russell Brand’s 12-step recovery group

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

Early October, Russell Brand and members from his 12-step recovery group attended Bhaktivedanta Manor for a full-day retreat.  Visakha dasi and Kripa Moya das introduced the guests to Srila Prabhupada and took them on a full tour of the estate, especially including the temple room and the Bhagavad-gita walk around the lake. Later there were also bullock-cart rides and cow-milking!


 

Bhuta bhavana das opened the sessions of the day with intention setting and led a heart changing japa session.

Radhika Ranjan das led the group through two soul lifting and dance inducing kirtans. 

At the days end, all grateful participants were served delicious prasadam and shared the gift of Srila Prabhupadas books. 

 

“It was a wonderful day, facilitated by gem like devotees, in sublime facilities and the participants were sincere and enthusiastic – who laughed, cried, and smiled inside-out!” declared Sandipan Krishna das, a friend of Russell Brand.  

Russell Brand with Bhuta Bhavana das

The Twelve Steps, originated by Alcoholics Anonymous, is a spiritual foundation for personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism, both for the person using alcohol as well as their friends and family in Al-Anon Family Groups.1

 The 12 steps are also used in recovery programs for addictions other than alcohol.

Many members of 12-step recovery programs2 have found that these steps were not merely a way to overcome addiction, but they became a guide toward a new way of life.

Thanking our crucial volunteers

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

The management of Bhaktivedanta Manor are extremely grateful to everyone who gives up so much of their free-time to volunteer at Bhaktivedanta Manor. Whatever the service, whenever it is, their efforts are crucial to the running of such a huge devotional project. That especially applies to Janmashtami and other large festivals, for without a strong volunteering base, such wonderful events would not be possible.

The Volunteers Care Council (VCC) is headed up by Krsnapurna dasi and her committed team and saying that their efforts are ‘remarkable’ is an understatement!

Krishna Purna dasi

Previously, the annual volunteers Thank You evenings were single events held in an external venue. However, the presence of the new Haveli enabled there to be three separate events on site, which were individually smaller but more personal and interactive.

There was one for those who volunteered to perform vital services throughout the lockdown period, one for the Janmashtami volunteers and the final one for festival team leaders.

Following words of praise and encouragement by Temple President Visakha dasi, there was devotional entertainment such as children’s dramas, workshops, appraisals, kirtan and dance, and always rounding off with a delicious meal!

Other prominent speakers included Sutapa das, Vaishnava das and of course Krsnapurna dasi who worked tirelessly for many years to be the backbone of such a vital aspect of the community. 

Jyoti Joshi is committed and regular volunteer who also helped with the darshan queuing system throughout the pandemic period. She explained:

“I feel through my service it gives me an opportunity to feel closer to Krishna. For me the service of helping to keep the temple open over the pandemic period, so people could have darshan, was really important. Especially when people were losing their loved ones to Covid. Coming to the temple would have provided them some comfort and solace. I wanted to contribute in whatever way I could to facilitate that need. It also provided myself an opportunity to get out a little to meet people during the difficult lockdown months, in a safe way.”

 

Vacancy: Bookkeeper / Accounts Clerk

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Here at Bhaktivedanta Manor we have an exciting and rare opportunity to apply for a bookkeeping role at the temple. Ideally suited for a confident, energetic and intelligent individual wanting to develop and expand their knowledge and experience.

Outline of Service:

To assist the company’s Treasury function, in the accurate and timely processing of all financial transactions.

Key responsibilities include

  • Maintain Purchase Ledger: –
    • Supplier Invoice Approval / Authorisation,
    • Correct Coding & Posting,
    • Supplier Account Reconciliation,
    • Query Resolution,
    • Supplier Payments & Allocation,
  • Reimbursements / Expense Processing,
  • Petty Cash Maintenance & Reconciliation,
  • Support Cashier Function,
  • Maintain Sales Ledger :-
    • Raise Invoices,
    • Correct Coding & Posting,
    • Customer Account Reconciliation,
    • Query Resolution,
    • Customer Payment Allocation,
  • Daily & Weekly Processing of Treasury Income Receipts,
  • Weekly Bank Reconciliations & Postings,
  • Assist Payroll Function,
  • Assist in VAT reconciliation & Filing,
  • Assist in the annual budgetary Process & Reporting,
  • General Treasury Administration,
  • Any other tasks assigned by the Management Account,

Core Competencies:

  • Qualified to AAT Level 2+,
  • At least 2 yrs+ practical accounting experience,
  • Sage 50 Accounts experience essential,
  • Demonstratable knowledge of Microsoft software and in particular Microsoft Excel,
  • High aptitude in numeracy and analytical tasks,
  • Attention to detail,
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to either work solo or in a team,
  • Commitment to meet targets and deadlines,
  • Desirable though not essential, experience of working in the charity sector,
  • Desirable though not essential – Experience and understanding of Vaishnava Hinduism and willing to abide by Vaishnava Hindu practices in the workplace.

Reporting to: Management Accountant

Location: Hare Krishna Temple, Bhaktivedanta Manor, Hilfield Lane, Watford WD25 8EZ

Hours: 35 Hours, Monday to Friday, 0900-17:00

If you are up for the challenge get in touch.

Please send CV with covering letter to: hr@krishnatemple.com

The Holy Names at 125 stations

Friday, October 8th, 2021

 

In observance of 125 years since the birth of Srila Prabhupada on 1st September 1896, devotees from across the South East of England have embarked on an exciting and ambitious adventure: A dedicated team are currently on a ‘chanting marathon’, performing hari namas at 125 train stations and their adjacent areas across the boroughs of the British capital.

By the end of September this year they had already graced the Holy Names at every stop along the Northern Line!

United Nations Climate Change Conference

Friday, October 8th, 2021

This year Glasgow is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference called COP26. The climate change conference brings together world leaders to discuss and reach consensus on the steps countries should take to ensure that we do not surpass the 1.5-degree temperature rise and mitigate the devastating impact of climate change on the planet.

At the beginning of the year Bhaktivedanta Manor was invited by the Government’s COP26 Team to take part in several climate change discussions as part of an interfaith dialogue to help mobilise our communities and temples to take climate action through our daily activities. 

Environmentally conscious devotees Darryl Biggs, Roshni Thakrar and Sheila Chauhan created the COP26 Working Group and stepped forward to represent ISKCON UK at these national discussions. They have presented to COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, on ISKCON UK’s vision to reach net zero sustainable excellence in the areas of food, energy, water, waste management and education. This will be achieved through an upcoming launch of a set of environmental standards – Three Tiers of Environmental Sustainability – which will be compulsory for all ISKCON Temples and properties. The Working Group will also attend COP26 in Glasgow to further build their network and share best practice. 

Sheila Chauhan is an active campaigner on important environmental issues

Sheila Chauhan an Environmentalist in campaigns and policy has been part of the interfaith dialogue on climate change nationally and globally for over a decade she said, “The government has recognised that faith groups are important allies in the fight against climate change because we have linked our call for action as a way of deepening our relationship with Lord Krishna and protecting His energy Mother Earth as service to Him.  At the government discussions we have pointed out that ISKCON as a faith group –  we are local but we have a global reach in the millions.  Many of our communities are in the global south, in countries such as India who are hit hard with the effects of climate change, with warming temperatures and erratic weather patterns driving economic difficulties, food insecurity, and migration. We can all play our part in being aware of our own activities and reducing our carbon footprint so, we use Mother Earth’s resources in a resourceful way!”

In September as part of the Great Big Green Week which was a national effort for the community to take climate action, ISKCON UK’s COP26 Working Group joined forces with other Hindu counterparts such as Hindu Forum of Britain to launch the Environmental Hindu Task Force (HETF). 

 

Eco Bhakti is a dynamic group of like-minded devotees from all over the UK that meet monthly. They work together on environmental projects to raise awareness to protect and conserve the planet. To find out more about the group please contact the Eco Bhakti Team on: ecobhaktiuk@gmail.com

Avanti Foundation acquires Branston Hall

Friday, October 8th, 2021

The Avanti Foundation is pleased to announce its acquisition of Branston Hall, Lincoln, as part of its continued development of well-being and educational resources. The fifty-roomed heritage estate, including a lake and 75 acres of grounds, much of which is arable, will host residential retreats and other events based on Krishna conscious teachings and practice. The aim is to become the country’s leading retreat venue for spiritual nourishment and education and will work in collaboration with and as a natural next step for various projects linked with the Manor, such as School of Bhakti, Kirtan London, Avanti Schools Trust, OMNOM and so on. The purchase has been funded by a most generous donation from Vedanta Resources Limited.

Mr Anil Agarwal, Executive Chairman of Vedanta, said, “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to this ground-breaking initiative. We are convinced that this facility will be a great national resource for promoting well-being and education for all ages.” The facility is currently undergoing refurbishment and will be open for bookings from January 2022. Avanti Foundation are looking for volunteers to help with the refurbishment and also in developing the farming and sustainability aspects of the project.

You can contact Avanti Foundation here if you are interested: https://avanti.org/contact/

Youth Reconnect at the Haveli

Monday, October 4th, 2021

In mid September as the summer drew to a close, 55 of the Manor youth gathered in the Sri Krishna Haveli to meet old friends and new at the aptly named “Reconnect” event. The gathering saw both Manor nursery and Gurukul alumni, and many others who have also been born and raised in the Manor community, get together to engage in energising activities, deep discussion, rocking kirtan and delicious prasadam. This event came about after a longing of the youth to gather more frequently and connect more deeply than has been possible this last 18 months and beyond.

An elated attendee commented “I’ve never been to an event like this at the Manor before, this was so amazing”. This event hopes to be the first in a long line of regular gatherings put together by the Youth Connection Sanga group, namely Namamali Harrison, Trisha Motah, Krsnananda Smith and Kalindi Hammond. The group aims to connect and inspire youth aged 17-30 who have grown up in Krishna Consciousness.

If you would like to know more or get in touch you can contact them at youthconnection.108@gmail.com

Bhakti Vriksha groups gather from across London

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

Bhakti Vriksha groups gather from across north-west London

During the first week of October Bhakti Vriksha groups came together for their first Vyuha event post lockdown, at Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Haveli.

Around 110 devotees attended in person from across north-west London and 40 online to celebrate their members’ journey and appreciate their commitment to Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktivedanta Manor.

Amongst other activities, each group was given 10 minutes to put on a performance which included kirtan, drama, children singing, presentation on essence of Bhagavad Gita and recitation of selected verses from Bhagavad Gita.

One of the highlights of the event was the “Siksha Ceremony” wherein members were awarded certificates based on their progress in Krishna Consciousness. There are 5 Siksha levels within Bhaktivriksha which look after the members’ progress throughout various devotional activities e.g. daily chanting, four regulative principles, regular temple service and reading Srila Prabhupada books.

As part of Siksha ceremony, 140 members were awarded certificates according to their Siksha level by  Visakha Dasi and Sutapa Das.

Vriksha just doesn’t mean tree but it specially means a tree that has fruits and flower,” explained Visakha Dasi. “When we talk about Bhaktivriksha, the fruits and flowers are all of you!”

Sutapa das encouraged the devotees by mentioning “Bhakti-vriksha is not just about learning knowledge but also teaches character and how to be a Vaisnava  in a community. Therefore, by being part of this community, you are getting everything that you need to flourish in Krishna consciousness.”

Bhakti-vriksha (Meaning Tree of Devotion) is a programme designed for the community living outside the temple to facilitate their learning, application and sharing of Krishna consciousness principles in their day-to-day lives.

It has been running in many countries for over 20 years now and has seen many new devotees worldwide progress in their Krishna conscious journey. Bhakti-vriksha has been running within the Manor community since 2017 under the banner known as Bhakti-vriksha (North-West London) zone which takes care of 10 groups .

There are currently 150 members enrolled who are in different stages of their spiritual practice and continue to march forward with full enthusiasm. Over the last 4 years, the programme has grown from strength to strength as the members have stepped up and bravely taken the responsibility to facilitate new groups to welcome new members in the Manor community.

For more information email:

bv@krishnatemple.com