Posts Tagged ‘George Harrison’


Sunday, November 24th, 2019

This year is a very special one, because it marks the 50th Anniversary of The International Society for Krishna Consciounsess (ISKCON) in the UK. In observance of this, there has already been a variety of special events.

Recently. devotees from across the England were eager to grab themselves a copy of Chasing Rhinos with the Swami volume 2, by Shyamasundar das. As one of the key pioneers for ISKCON in the UK, he was invited to Bhaktivedanta Manor, Glastonbury Town Hall, ISKCON Leicester, ISKCON Birmingham, East London, ISKCON-London and the Krishna Spectacular show in the Hammersmith Apollo to sign and distribute hundreds of copies for eager readers.

Chasing Rhinos with the Swami volume 2 recounts Shyamasunder’s memories of ISKCON’s initial impact and growth in India, supervised by Srila Prabhupada who was assisted by his early disciples from around the world. Volume 2 follows on from volume 1, which narrates Shyamasunder’s first encounter with Srila Prabhupada, the establishment of ISKCON in San Francisco, the very early days of ISKCON in London and his ongoing relationship George Harrison and John Lennon.

For more information:

On November 24th, the UK ISKCON devotees celebrated their 50th Anniversary in grandeaur at the famous Apollo Theater in downtown London. The show brought together performing arts from East and West, theatrical acrobatics, live music and sacred song, immersive mantra choir experience, award-winning dance and incredible 3D visuals.

It will be followed by a week of celebrations at ISKCON London temple (9/10 Soho Street), with kirtan, drama and remembrances of ISKCON UK pioneers Shyamasunder, Malati and Guru das. Please see below posters for more details:

Celebrating Diversity with an Enchanting Evening of Music

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


On Saturday 31 May, the George Harrison  Garden at Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK was brought to life with the enchanting melodies of his music, as a local community choir performed a special concert in celebration of their tenth anniversary.


The Com.unity Choir in the George Harrison Garden

The Hertfordshire based choir, called ‘Com.unity’, was set up in 2004 for local people to participate in, particularly those that may be vulnerable, to come together and sing for pleasure. Most members have no previous singing experience or musical knowledge, and join without auditions or the need to read music.

Priding itself on the diversity of its membership, the choir’s sixty members include wheelchair users, members of all faiths, culture and backgrounds. Their repertoire includes popular upbeat songs, with uplifting, themes such as friendship, unity, hope, courage and peace. Over the past ten years, the choir have performed at a number of high profile events, including the Royal Albert Hall, and for personalities such as Simon Cowell and Sir Roger Moore.


Attended by over a hundred people from the local community, including the Deputy Mayor of Hertsmere Cllr Carey Keates and Dr Harriet Crabtree, Director of the Interfaith Network, the event was a truly inspiring and magical evening for all. The event also served as a moving tribute to the great George Harrison, with his music brought to life by the lush surroundings of the woodland dell, in which the garden honouring his memory was built.

Chel Revens and t

The choir sang a selection of George Harrison’s songs, including ‘It is He –  Jai Sri Krishna’, ‘You are the One’ and of course, ‘My Sweet Lord’ which were specially picked because the lyrics from each song feature in the garden itself, as detailed engravings and structures.

Situated in a small woodland dell on the sixty acres of Temple grounds, the garden is a place set aside for prayer and contemplation, to commemorate the friendship between the Beatle and the Hare Krishna movement. George Harrison played an integral role in establishing Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1973, and last year the Manor recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Srutidharma Das, Temple President of Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple said:

“The Com.unity Choir are a fantastic example of diversity in practice and a true testament of the power of music to unite people – it is very fitting that they have chosen to perform the music of George Harrison, which united the world through his messages of love and faith.

Speaking after the event, Gauri Das said:

‘This was a wonderful event which really captured the hearts and imaginations of everyone present – we were truly honoured to host the local community choir’s tenth anniversary event. The Garden was the perfect setting because the choir brought the songs of George Harrison to life in the most profound and beautiful way.

“George was nonsectarian and his messages were universal. I think he would have been pleased to see a choir that takes pride in its own diversity and who sing out against discrimination, singing his songs.”

Chel Revens, the Com.unity choir’s Musical Director said:

“What a unique and special privilege for the members of the Com.unity Choir to celebrate the Choir’s 10th Anniversary in the George Harrison Memorial Garden, performing 8 George Harrison songs that represent his spiritual journey to Krishna.”


The Bhakti Choir were an excellent support act for the evening. The Choir includes ladies from the Bhaktivedanta Manor community any they specialise in singing devotional pieces, often in Sanskrit language.


The Deputy Mayor of Hertsmere presents flowers to Chel Revens













*Special thanks to Prakash Radhakrishnan whose photos we publish. He arrived early and stayed throughout the entire event as our official photographer!


June 2013 Newsletter

Thursday, July 4th, 2013


The June 2013 edition of the Manor Newsletter is now available below.

Highlights include:

George Harrison Garden officially opened

A lake filled with Magic (Ramanavami festival)

Flowers to Inspire

ISKCON Festivals UK

New Govindas in Nottingham


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George Harrison Garden officially opened

Friday, June 14th, 2013

The George Harrison Memorial Garden was officially opened on Saturday 25th May, with Olivia Harrison and friends, local faith leaders, devotees and television presenters Monty Don and Peter Owen-Jones.

When George passed away on 29th November 2001, the Manor resolved to create a quiet garden in his memory. The shady woodland dell behind the main building was chosen because of George’s fondness for the site.  The Garden is a place set aside for prayer and contemplation to commemorate the friendship between George and the devotees.

The opening began with a sitar recital, played from the centre of the garden. The ambiance from the recital brought calm to the guests facilitating a deeper connection with the garden.


Then from the main decking area spanned by the lyric of George: ‘Awaken and See’, Olivia shared some inspiring words.

“I am grateful to the devotees for honouring George in the form of a garden. A manifestation in the material world of which he would be very proud.”

“George was not a perfectionist, but he did have the ability to see the potential in gardens, and he did see potential in this dell. Admittedly the creation of this garden has stopped and started a few times, but that just reflects life and the stages we go through in our own journeys.

Monty Don, presenter of the BBC’s ‘Gardeners’ World’ series then spoke about being often approached for solutions to the challenges faced in gardening, in answer to which he believed the ultimate solution was ‘love’, you have to love your garden.

“I am delighted and honoured to open the garden that the public will be able to share George’s great love of gardening and deep spirituality.”

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Speaking on the theme of the garden, Gauri das added:

“’There is a deep spirituality in the lyrics of George Harrison, some through metaphor and others more direct. For us it is a tremendous honour that garden is opened on the 40th Anniversary of Bhaktivedanta Manor”.

With the short speeches complete a tour of the garden began. As the guests arrived at each step, the words of the song in which George had expressed the related sentiments, were read by representatives of different faiths.

When the journey was completed Peter Owen Jones, presenter of the BBC documentary series ‘Around the World in Eighty Faiths’, led everyone in a silent meditation. He encourage that those gathered should all ‘stop and listen’ to the garden.

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Yvonne Innes, the garden’s designer, wrote: “Some of the plants George particularly loved were maples, birch, ferns, grasses, and perennials such as Japanese anemones. Here we have tried to echo George’s planting, using drifts of many of the varieties used at Friar Park…We hope that it will show that George had an eye for planning as much as an ear for music and that the dell garden will become a place of meditation as well as inspiration.”

A special thanks to Sripati das, Ranchor Prime and Richard Sneesby, who worked with Gauri das over many years to see the garden to completion.

View the Garden for George leaflet (as a PDF file), which includes a key to the special places around the garden:


Celebrating 40 years

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

40th Anniversary logo

In August 1973 a few hundred devotees celebrated the installation of Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda during the Janmashtami festival at Bhaktivedanta Manor. Over the duration of this year 100,000 pilgrims are expected to visit! Today Bhaktivedanta Manor is a centre of excellence, the heart of a huge devotional community and is internationally renown.

41 years ago the late Beatle George Harrison noticed that the temple in Bury Place near the British Museum was overcrowded. With overwhelming generosity he offered to donate a much larger property ‘somewhere  within easy travelling distance from London’. From May 1972 he worked with some disciples of Srila Prabhupada to find somewhere suitable.

On a snowy January in 1973 Dhananjaya das arrived at a mock Tudor mansion called Piggot’s Manor, in Aldenham which was up for sale. Seeing the tremendous potential, he phoned George and told him he had found exactly what everyone was looking for. George, who was about to leave for the US, gave Dhananjaya das permission to go ahead and that day a hugely significant event took place in ISKCON’s remarkable history.

After the exchange of contracts took place, 25 enthusiastic devotees moved in and renamed the estate Bhaktivedanta  Manor. Almost immediately, at the request of Srila Prabhupada, they turned their attention to the task of preparing to install the deities of Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda in time for Janmashtami.

Srila Prabhupada and his disciples install Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

                         The day of the installation

The deities were already dear to Srila Prabhupada: he had built up a relationship with them during a pandal program in Delhi and later asked his disciples to fly Them to Britain. From May 1972 They were kept in the Bury Place temple and the original intention was that They would be installed in an ISKCON centre in Edinburgh.  However, after the  Manor estate was donated, it became clear that Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda had plans of Their own!

And so it was that on Janmashtami, August 1973, the auspicious day of Their installation at Bhaktivedanta Manor had arrived. In front of ISKCON devotees from across Europe, Hindu community representatives, pop stars and local VIPs, Srila Prabhupada personally installed Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda in the Temple room of Bhaktivedanta Manor. By Prabhupada’s grace a great temple was established with a devotional tradition now spanning 40 years.

Srila Prabhupada performed arati to Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

                    Srila Prabhupada performing arati 

Before we embark on a momentous year of celebrations to mark these 40 years we would like to say that we are  humbled by all the wonderful service that so many devotees have given. Their hard work and dedication to Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda  makes Bhaktivedanta Manor a shining jewel in ISKCON.

There are many devotees to thank and we will be showing our appreciation to them. There are many magnificent events that have happened over the last 40 bumper years, we will be enlivened hearing stories of our early beginnings and the struggles and successes that followed.

Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

                  Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

It will be a great opportunity to remember and appreciate Srila Prabhupada and his wonderful gift of service to Their Lordships.

‘40 years of devotion’ at Bhaktivedanta Manor will begin with a grand Adi Vaas Puja on Sunday 24th March this year – on this day we will be celebrating Gaura Purnima and Holi at our first public festival of the year.


It’s certainly going to be a year to look forward to–  so stay tuned in and watch this space!