for ISKCON News on Jan. 15, 2011
The Euro GBC is delighted to introduce you to nine devotees who received the second ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards for the year 2010.
Initiated by Bhagavan Dasa
Joined ISKCON in 1978 in Barcelona;
Nominated by Yadunandana Swami and Vedavyasa Prabhu, the Euro-GBC of Spain;
Category: Book distribution (doing this service for 32 years)
Avesarupa has been distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books nonstop ever since a few weeks after he joined ISKCON. He seriously reads Srila Prabhupada’s books and distributes them. During the first ten to fifteen years, he distributed on the street. Since then he’s focused on professionals, libraries, and business people. What it is outstanding is his lifelong commitment to distributing books and collecting for the temples while living as a brahmacari. This is his only service. He is a member of the temple council in Madrid and once was a member of the National Council because of his seniority, but he’s never accepted managerial positions, though they were offered to him. His steady, firm determination and full commitment to book distribution works in several ways: When he goes to meet bosses of companies, he must not be deterred by the security personnel and secretaries or pay close attention to these external obstacles. When asked what he is about, he says “ISKCON projects” in a resolute way, and usually people see his conviction and allow him to meet their boss. If the boss isn’t there, he returns again and again until he can meet him.
Initiated by Srila Prabhupada
Festival of India
Joined ISKCON in1970 in Detroit
Nominated by Trisama Dasa, Secretary of the Polish National Council;
Category: ISKCON festivals (doing this service for twenty years)
Since 1990, His Holiness Indradyumna Swami has organized the traveling Laksmi-Nrsimha tour in Poland, later called the Festival of India. At first the festivals were held in halls, and then they became open-air events. Now several thousand people daily take part in these events. More than forty devotees perform harinama before each festival. Thanks to the Festival of India, ISKCON started cooperating with the Indian Embassy and many well known persons in Poland. For the last fifteen years, Indradyumna Swami has organized Krishna’s Village of Peace at Woodstock, where up to a hundred thousand plates of prasada are distributed. He inspires devotes from various countries to cooperate in spreading Krishna consciousness at these festivals. Lately, he has organized similar events in Australia and Brazil. He reaches every type of person by his preaching. He is highly focused on Srila Prabhupada’s mission and inspires others to take part. A sannyasi since 1979, he has traveled worldwide, and since 1995 he has been writing Diary of a Traveling Monk.
Isvara Krsna Dasa (Istvan Tasi)
Initiated by Sivarama Svami
ISKCON Budapest and Bhaktivedanta College
Joined ISKCON in 1991
Nominated by Gaura Krsna Dasa, rector of Bhaktivedanta College, Budapest;
Category: Preaching in the scientific field (doing this service for twenty years)
Isvara Krsna is Head of the Vedic Science Research Center in Hungary. He manages two Hungarian sites and one English Web site about Vedic Science (kutatokozpont.hu & ertem.hu & vedicscience.eu). He has posted hundreds of videos on You Tube, a few of which have been seen by thousands of viewers. He teaches at Bhaktivedanta College and is studying for a Ph.D. in history at ELTE University. He was a member and later became the leader of ISKCON Communications in Hungary over a period of ten years. He’s written several books and various essays and articles. He informs scientists of the Vedic views on the origin and structure of the material world. He is a scholar and a strict devotee; on many occasions he’s rigorously and intelligently argued for a God-made universe and for the spiritual origin of the living beings. He is known as the co-author of Nature’s IQ, a book selected by USA Book News as one of the Books of the Year in 2009.
Jaya Gaura Dasa
Initiated by Srila Prabhupada
Joined ISKCON in 1971 in Hamburg
Nominated by the NCEC, the National Council of Germany;
Category: Overall ISKCON interest (doing this service for thirty-nine years)
Jaya Gaura has an extraordinarily supportive attitude toward ISKCON, despite all the movement’s difficulties. He supports ISKCON not only by his preaching, bhajans, and kirtans and by being the leader of ISKCON Hamburg and doing successful inter-religious dialogues but also by financially helping other German temples. He also helped clear ISKCON Germany’s debt (IDSAF). He exemplifies a householder who donates money without fear of losing. He is sure that Sri Krishna is maintaining his successful bicycle business.
Initiated by Indradyumna Swami
Festival of India
Joined ISKCON in 1993 in Poland
Nominated by Trisama Dasa, Secretary of the Polish National Council
Category: ISKCON Festivals (doing this service for fifteen years)
Nandini organizes and manages the bookings for the Festival of India, in cooperation with local authorities, the media, and the Indian Embassy. She invites the artists and takes care that the festival’s stage presentations look fresh and modern. She founded and manages the Viva Culture Foundation, which raises funds for the Festival of India, and she finds and prepares the facilities where the devotees and guests stay.
After joining the centre in Katowice during her studies, Nandini began to organize programs. Later she joined the Laksmi-Nrsimha tour and helped manage festivals. Finally, she created a new formula for tour management: the Viva Culture Foundation. She supports other preaching projects in Poland and helps educational projects for devotees. Constantly working on polishing ISKCON’s image, she presents spiritual culture in an understandable, appealing way.
Initiated by Sivarama Swami
ISKCON Eger (Hungary)
Joined ISKCON in 1986
Nominated by Manjari Dasi on behalf of ISKCON Hungary;
Category: literary services (doing this service for 24 years)
Nalini-kanta is one of the devotees who established Krishna consciousness in Hungary. She has been involved in book translation, editing, and publication since she joined. She’s made an invaluable contribution to Hungarian society by being the key figure in editing and publishing all of Srila Prabhupada’s books in Hungarian. She has also translated or edited Sivarama Swami’s Krishna in Vrndavana series and other publications of ISKCON authors. Book production is her full-time service. Part-time, she takes part in book distribution and the pada-yatra. She is also a cook, she gives enlivening classes, and she leads sweet bhajans. Because of her long, unwavering dedication to a service very dear to Srila Prabhupada, she inspires others to read devotional literature.
Bhakta Tim McEvitt and Campakalata Dasi, his wife
He is an aspiring disciple of H.H. Sivarama Swami.
Ages: 39 and 35
ISKCON Govindadvipa (the island temple in Northern Ireland);
Joined ISKCON Dublin around 1993;
Nominated by Kevin and Shelina Boyle at ISKCON Govindadwipa
Categories: Congregational Preaching and Overall ISKCON Interest (doing this for five years)
Tim and Campakalata run retreats, the Lake Isle Retreats, on Govindadvipa Island. The retreats were fully booked this past season. The McEvitts worked through some initial hurdles to this project, which included her being pregnant with Janaki, the bookings being small, and recently having a second child, Abhay. They maintained their services throughout and have introduced many newcomers, some of whom went on to take courses, to regularly chant, or to become vegetarians. Campakalata cooks well and teaches how to cook. Tim also does the accounting for the Govinda’s restaurants in Dublin and is involved in starting a Kirtan Yoga program at the Dublin Kirtan Centre. They maintain a humble, hard-working with their clients and the devotees.
Tim was a brahmacari for almost ten years and did many services with a good mood. When he was the vice-president, he headed both the preaching and festivals departments and the congregational-development team. Campakalata served in various ways in some temples in South and Cental America while living as a brahmacarini for eight years. It’s not easy organizing anything on an island, as it costs more and takes more time and energy simply to get across. They attract good people to the movement and contribute a lot to ISKCON in Northern Ireland.
Initiated by Krishna Ksetra Dasa
ISKCON Simhacalam (the German farm)
Joined ISKCON in 1988
Nominated by the National Council of Germany
Category: Pujari-seva (doing this service for twenty years)
Vedanta-krit joined the German farm project in 1988. From that time to this, he has engaged in service to Lord Nrisimhadeva with few interruptions. Since 2003, together with Arjuniya-gopi Dasi, his wife, he has been leading the Simhacalam project. They took it over when others had plans to sell it, and they reestablished it as a vital place in ISKCON Europe. Its two main festivals, Nrisimhadeva Caturdasi and the New Year’s Eve Sankirtana Festival, are highlights of the year. Vedanta-krit has performed numerous services and been one of the most important devotees in Germany for the last twenty years.