In June 2015, on the first of its kind Yoga day, the world witnessed a magnificent display of Yoga in New Delhi when it saw thousands of yoga practitioners perform yoga, successfully led by none other than India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This attracted and impressed millions, regardless of their personal political stand or religious belief. Two world records were set on that day, “Largest Yoga lesson” & “Most nationalities in Yoga lesson”.
Come August 13, 2015 and ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Founder-Acharya: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada), set two new world records for the Guinness book of records. While the Ayush ministry had participants from 84 countries, ISKCON had an impressive 106 countries devotees on the stage.
This was not all. Representatives from 105 countries set another world record for a choir consisting of the most nationalities, by singing the Bengali song Sri Guru Charana Padma in praise of ISKCON’s founder Srila Prabhupada. To add to this, a group of international devotees put up a spectacular performance, derived from a song (bhajan) written in Bengali language by an American born Indian national, Jayapataka Swami, as the overwhelming crowd at Netaji Indoor stadium Kolkata cheered and danced in ecstasy.
What does all this show? Is ISKCON going after setting worldly records, when, on the other hand, preaching the philosophy that the material world is not a good place to live in? Or, by flaunting its worldwide presence and formidable cultural influence across the six continents, is it trying to say something else? Certainly, having its foundation in the immortal teachings of Lord Krishna, and looking at its vision and mission, set personally by its Fouder-Acharya, A.C. Bhasktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON cannot be specifically looking for a place in the Guinness book although, given an opportunity, it would certainly welcome it knowing the way the world functions. At the same time, it cannot be exclusively working on showcasing its global presence.
Whatever the intention, one thing is clear- ISKCON is doing an unprecedentedly and incredibly remarkable job in terms of spreading India’s ancient Vedic culture around the world. Nowhere in the history of human race do we see a society, started single handedly, changing the face of the world the way ISKCON is doing.
This is in no way an overstatement if we scrutinizingly look into the changes the world is going through, slowly but decisively, in a specific direction after the inception of ISKCON, or the Hare Krishna movement, on this planet. Any sensible person would agree that the way ISKCON is steadily improving the lifestyle of people, regardless of their caste or creed, and regardless of which part of the world they hail from, it deserves much more than just a few records in the Guinness book. Indeed, as it is stated by Srila Prabhupada, the future history will thank ISKCON for saving the world!
One very important point: I do not intend to discredit the contribution of other organisations and government offices in helping the world go in the right direction, whenever it does. Certainly ISKCON is not the only society due to which the world is turning towards spirituality. The difference, however, is that ISKCON being a branch of Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya parampara, its teachings are based on pure devotional service, or Krishna consciousness, and that is the reason behind its resounding success and ability to join people together from all walks of life including different religions. Or else, to get people from 125 countries in one place to chant together and speak one philosophy, without any force, is something that even United Nations hasn’t achieved. It is correctly said that ISKCON is the united nations of the spiritual world.
But it’s not over yet. Being a member of ISKCON for more than a quarter of a century (smile), I feel duty bound to say one more thing about ISKCON. I quote from an article I posted on http://mayapurvoice.com last year.
While appreciating ISKCON’s many noteworthy achievements after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, we have observed for over twenty five years that ISKCON, with its enormous potentials and vast resources, could achieve many more milestones if we focus on Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, his strategies and his vision without any alteration, however well-intended it may be.
It is not our intention to undermine the hard work of anyone but a well-meaning observation calls for both praise and constructive criticism, wherever needed. (Read more at http://mayapurvoice.com/svagatam/financial-security-are-we-joining-the-bandwagon/)
You may wonder why I chose to refer to this article here when, on the other hand, I am glorifying ISKCON’s unarguably laudable contribution to the world. The reason is simple: I strongly believe that a society, or any person for that matter, cannot improve beyond a certain limit unless it carefully hears about its shortcomings and seriously works on it. Being a well-wisher of the society I live in, my intention behind writing the quoted article is to bring to the attention of its top leadership, the rank and file, and the esteemed readers of Mayapur Voice how the world may be looking at ISKCON despite its otherwise glorious service to humanity and the world at large. The present day ISKCON does need to look into, at least, some of its ongoing projects and practices in order to become an exemplary society that its founder envisioned it to be.
In conclusion, for the suffering living entities of our planet today, ISKCON is a gift of God. Setting world records is just a by-product of its ongoing services to humanity. To me it is a simple equation – better ISKCON means more hope for a better world. I would like to know what it is to you. Hare Krishna
Epic 50th Anniversary of Prabhupadas Journey to the U.S. Draws 35,000 People From 125 Countries – ISKCON News
Commemorating Prabhupadas achievements, the flags of 125 countries flew from the ceiling of the cavernous Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata during the main 50th anniversary event on August 13th, the date on which he set sail. The stage, designed to look like the Jaladuta with its portholes, sails and the sea. Early in the morning 100 buses began transporting attendees, and from 8:00am to 1:00pm, the stadium was stuffed with an audience of devotees and friends from various Indian cities and countries around the world. ISKCON News: Epic 50th Anniversary of Prabhupadas Journey to the U.S. Draws 35,000 People From 125 Countries
Devotees from 106 countries practice yoga to mark ISKCON 50th anniversary | Zee News
It was from this city that Prabhupada left India on his historic journey to the West at the age of 69 on August 13, 1965 to preach the message of God Krishna to the world. Devotees from 106 countries practice yoga to mark ISKCON 50th anniversary | Zee News
Malaysia gets a new temple of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna – Mayapur Voice
ISKCON has added one more feather to its image of being a society of people from many different nations, cultures, religions, and languages, who come together and follow a single path – the path of bhakti, or devotional service to Lord Krishna. The Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Kanaiya Temple of Devotion and Understanding in Penang, Malayasia, is the latest offering of the ISKCON to the world. Malaysia gets a new temple of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna – Mayapur Voice