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50 Years Of The Hare Krishna Movement – One Man’s Journey To A Million Hearts

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Celebrations are being held across the world today (Thursday 17th September 2015) to commemorate the end of an epic journey from India to the USA made by a 69 year old man, who would go onto establish the global phenomenon known as the Hare Krishna movement.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, travelled alone on a cargo ship from Kolkata, India to Boston, USA in 1965, determined to spread the message of peace to West.

In the UK, Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in Boston will be celebrated by Bhaktivedanta Manor and ISKCON London, who are hosting a day of special educational talks and kirtan to commemorate this epic journey. In Boston, thousands will gather at the Commonwealth Pier where Srila Prabhupada disembarked the ship, to mark a full day of remembrance, contemplation and celebration.

On Saturday 19th September, the day Srila Prabhupada reached New York, celebrations will continue at Bhaktivendanta Manor with a special film screening about his journey. In addition, ISKCON London will transform three London tour buses into a stage for hundreds of people of all ages to take part in a Hare Krishna music marathon across central London.

Vibrantly decorated, the three open top buses will feature live music and renditions of the famous Hare Krishna mantra. The buses will depart from Trafalgar Square and travel past some of London’s most famous landmarks, including the House of Commons, the London Eye and the lights of Piccadilly Circus.

Last month, landmark celebrations to commemorate Srila Prabhupada setting off on his voyage from Kolkata attracted over 35,000 people, including representatives of 125 countries and many prominent politicians and VIPs.

The trip undertaken by Srila Prabhupada in 1965 was treacherous; the elderly monk suffered two heart attacks on the journey. He arrived in the USA with a set of books, a change of clothes and seven dollars in his pocket, not knowing anyone. From Boston he travelled to New York, where he lived in The Bowery, one of the most deprived and dangerous areas in the city, and was robbed and attacked.

However it was in New York that he sat under a tree in Tompkins Square Garden, and chanted the famous Hare Krishna mantra – which inspired an entire generation, reaching millions, and so creating a global phenomenon.

Many of the most famous artists of the day, including The Beatles, met Srila Prabhupada and became inspired by the philosophy he spoke about. George Harrison helped to establish the Hare Krishna movement in the UK, by gifting Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford to the devotees.

Srila Prabhupada was a scholar, philosopher and spiritual leader. Over a period of twelve years, he achieved a phenomenal amount, singlehandedly writing and translating over eighty books, setting up over 100 temples, ashrams, schools and farm communities, and bringing the Hare Krishna mantra to millions of people around the world.

Today, there are over five hundred ISKCON temples globally, and his teachings and texts are studied in universities and schools worldwide and translated into 85 languages.
Mina Sharma
ISKCON UK National Head of Media and Communications
ISKCON 50 UK Media Coordinator
T: 07919 933 824

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