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Bhaktivedanta Manor, London has planned a packed week of events from 13th to 17th July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ISKCON’s incorporation.
The events start on the actual day of incorporation on 13th July with a ‘Day of Gratitude’ that will see 5000 cupcakes being distributed to commuters at key locations in central London to say ‘thank you’. This will be followed by a special ceremony of offerings to Srila Prabhupada in the form of poems and prayers, and an exquisite lunch for disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
Ajay Kumar from Bhaktivedanta Manor, who was the brainchild for the 5000 cup-cake distribution programme says, “This is a simple act of Love through distribution of prasdam, and something that we have been doing right from the beginning of our movement. What more of a thank you can we say to London than giving them our birthday cake?”
On 14th, January, a select interfaith programme will witness Christian representatives coming together with Vaishnava devotees to discuss the importance and relevance of devotion for the spiritual seeker.
Later, Srila Prabhupada Gardens, a specially themed and landscaped section of Bhaktivedanta Manor will inaugurated on 16th July with an abhisheka ceremony of Srila Prabhupada.
This will be followed by the launch of Yogesvara Das’ new book, ‘Swami in a Strange Land’. The book tells the story of the early days of the Hare Krishna Movement and its founder, Srila Prabhupada. It draws from the author’s insider-perspective, interviews, and existing literature to weave together a stirring chronicle of one of the most extraordinary personalities of our time.
The grand finale for the Incorporation Week is on 17th July, when a 50-ised Ratha Yatra will roll through the streets of central London to commemorate the achievements of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON in the last 50 years.
Several senior Prabhupada disciples, temple presidents, community members and congregational leaders are expected to attend the incorporation week events.
“Many senior devotees that have had a history with Bhaktivendanta Manor will attend, making it a reunion of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples,” explained Devaki Dasi, National Coordinator for ISKCON 50 in the UK. “Srila Prabhupada Gardens is themed around five concepts: enquiry, homage, service, wisdom and shelter. These themes represent the relationship between the guru and his disciple based on the Bhagavad-gita.”
Senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada will be present at each of the themed areas of the garden, reciting special words relevant to that section.
“An important part of our celebrations is the Gratitude Tree,” continued Devaki Dasi. “This tree is in the main building of the temple, where devotees collect a hand made leaf, write their note of gratitude to Srila Prabhupada, and place it on the branches of the tree. In Srila Prabhupada’s Quarters, we have kept a basket where devotees can write a poem or prayer of gratitude and place it there. This way, every devotee will have an opportunity to glorify Prabhupada and express their gratitude to him.”
After the incorporation week celebrations, all temples in the UK will be gearing up to celebrate Janamasthmi with their own local 50th anniversary themes.
Gauri Das, Managing Director of Bhaktivedanta Manor, while addressing devotees who were planning the event, concluded by saying, “It is very important to pause and relish this moment of the Incorporation day of ISKCON. We are so busy in our daily lives and rituals that we may forget to pause, acknowledge and show our gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for the gifts he has given us. This is the week to do it.”
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