Meet the team

The Core Team

Jivadoya dasa
Jivadoya dasa joined the Hare Krishna Movement in 1996 in Prague, Czech Republic. Soon after, in 1997, he came to Bhaktivedanta Manor to serve here. He was a member of the Sankirtan Book Distribution department for seven years, and also participated in various outreach programmes such as ‘Meet the Monks’, University Outreach and Congregational Development. Jivadoya dasa is a Bhakti-Shastri graduate, and holds ISKCON certification in Teacher Training, Communications Skills and Mediation Skills. Since 2006 he has been serving at Bhaktivedanta Manor’s College of Vedic Studies as a teacher of the Bhakti Shastri Course.

Sanjaya Madhava dasa
Sanjaya Madhava dasa embraced Krishna Consciousness in 2009. Since the beginning of 2013, he has been diligently serving in Srila Praphupada’s Rooms here at Bhaktivedanta Manor. He is also part of the Deity Service team which means he is actively engaged in the important festivals of the Vaishnava Calendar. Having successfully completed the Bhakti Shastri degree with flying colours, he is now acting as one of the core Bhakti Shastri teachers.

Paresh Mistry
Having completed the Bhakti Shastri course in 2009, Paresh soon after joined the Bhakti Shastri administration team. He also served in the capacity of a teacher in the Krishna Club for 4 years. Being an IT analyst he uses his skills and knowledge to ensure the course is run to a high professional level. He is currently enjoying studying the Bhakti Vaibhava course at the Manor.

Hiten Kalyanji
Hiten has been an active member of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s congregation for over 15 years and completed the Bhakti Shastri course in 2009. Straight after his Bhakti Shastri graduation, Hiten joined the course’s administration team and has been playing a significant part in the development of the course ever since. He works for Santander UK as a Bank Manager and has been in the sector for over 7 years.

Sanjay Bhanderi
Sanjay Bhanderi had been coming occasionally to the temple on festival days for many years. On one such visit he decided he would like to do some service for Janmashtami and volunteered to serve in the kitchen. During this time he saw a poster advertising the Bhakti Shastri course, and he decided to enrol in 2009. The course had a big impact on his life and thus he joined the administration team at the College of Vedic Studies to assist with the Bhakti Shastri course after graduating in 2010. Sanjay also serves with the Back to Godhead team at festivals promoting and distributing the magazine to the festival guests. Sanjay is currently midway through the Bhakti Vaibhava course. Outside of his temple services Sanjay is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant.


Other Supporting teachers

Rupa-vilasa dasa
Rupa-vilasa dasa (Robert MacNaughton) was born in Colorado, USA, in 1945. From an early age he was attracted to Eastern philosophy. By the grace of Srila Prabhupada and the Vaisnavas, he received initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1972. He is a well-known lecturer in ISKCON and has written a series of books called Lives of the Vaisnava Acaryas. He currently lives in the UK with his family.

Urmila devi dasi
Urmila devi dasi (Dr. Edith Best) received initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1973. She is a member of the Sastric Advisory Council to ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) and has been an associate editor of Back to Godhead magazine since 1990. She has taught the entire Bhakti Shastri course over 15 times. In the vanaprastha-asrama since 1996, Urmila travels worldwide teaching scripture as well as practical courses in education and organization. She has a PhD in educational leadership. Her publications include “The Great Mantra for Mystic Meditation”, numerous articles on a myriad of topics, and “Dr. Best Learn to Read”, an 83 book literacy program with technology enabling the story books to speak in 25 languages at the touch of a special “pen”.

Gauri dasa
Gauri dasa has been a member of ISKCON for thirty years. He has served both in the UK and India. At present he is the Managing Director at Bhaktivedanta Manor and Executive Secretary to ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC). As an avid student of Gaudiya Vaisnava theology and practice he shares both his knowledge and experience of the teachings with relevance to our contemporary lives. Since its inception he has served as the spiritual commissioner of the Hindu Forum or Britain and is known for his selfless commitment to the broader Hindu community and philanthropic work. Over the last decade he has led campaigns for the religious recognition of Hindus in Russia, Kazakhstan and Hungary.

Sutapa dasa
Sutapa dasa is a resident monk at ISKCON UK’s headquarters, Bhaktivedanta Manor. Although he grew up in the suburbs of London, he was always attracted to the concept of ‘simple living high thinking’, keenly seeking a more profound meaning to life. After graduating from UCL in 2002 with a BSc degree in Information Management, he decided to take up a monastic life of exploration into the ancient Vedic teachings. Sutapa has lectured at universities across the UK, including UCL, Cambridge, Kings College, LSE and SOAS, and also acts as an active advisor to the community’s youth groups. Over the last fifteen years, Sutapa has undertaken a serious study of ancient Sanskrit texts, particularly the Bhagavad-gita, and has a passion to share the spiritual tools, worldviews, and lifestyles that these books have to offer.