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Interview: Mahaffey, author of Shana sounds crazy Living in San Francisco in an Edwardian compound he shares with informal cooperative of family, friends and five cats, Shana Mahaffey is a survivor of the Catechism and cat scratch fever. Ms. Mahaffey is a member of the community Sanchez Grotto Annex writer and has had his work published ...

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How Sacred Can Chocolate be?

His Divine Grace Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

His Divine Grace Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a Hindu teacher and the founder of the International Society of Krishna Conciousness, known worldwide as the Hare Krishna Movement. His mission was to spread the word of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism form of Hinduism throughout the world. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was a prominent devotional scholar and founder of dozens of branches of Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic Institutes), he convinced the young Prabhupada to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge in the Western world. Prabhupada became the student of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, becoming his formally initiated disciple eleven years later. At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita and in 1944, without assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine. Recognizing Srila Prabhupada’s philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honored him in 1947 with the title “Bhaktivedanta.” In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, and four years later he adopted the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana).

In 1965, Swami Prabhupada set sail for America, with only eight dollars and a box of books, he was fulfilling the instruction he had received to spread Vedic teachings throughout the Western world. He founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York City in 1966, temples were established in New York and San Francisco, Prabhupada and his disciples travelled throughout America popularizing the movement through street chanting (sankirtana), book distribution and public speeches. Some disciples were then sent to London where they made contacts with The Beatles; George Harrison spent much time with Prabhupada and later produced a record with members of the Radha Krsna Temple. Prabhupadac ontinued to travel the globe, spreading the word and establishing temples throughout the world; by the time of his death in 1977, ISKCON had become a widely known expression of Vaishnavism on an international basis. While some classify it as a new religious movement however its core philosophy is based on scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad-gita, which are over 5,000 years old. The distinctive appearance of the movement is derived from the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition which had it’s origins in India in the 1400s. ISKCON spread the practice of bhakti yoga (devotion to God) in which devotees (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna. ISKCON is now a worldwide confederation of more than four hundred centres, sixty farm communities, fifty schools and ninety restaurants. The movement’s devotees are commonly referred to as Hare Krishnas which comes from the mantra that devotees sing aloud or chant softly with the intention of achieving a state of pure Krishna-consciousness. Srila Prabhupada prescribed four regulative principles in relation to dharma as the basis of spiritual life - No eating of meat, fish or eggs; No illicit sex; No gambling; No intoxication (including alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and other recreational drugs.) Many devotees worship at their local mandir (temple) or in the privacy of their homes. Devotees are actively evangelistic, members try to spread Krishna consciousness, primarily by singing the Hare Krishna mantra in public places and by selling books written by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The movement also sponsors a project called Food for Life which distributes pure vegetarian meals (Prasadam) to those who need/desire them.

About the Author

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt,


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