A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
India Citizenship for ISKCON Guru
In ftuent Bengali, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami speaks to residents of Mayapur.
Since India won her independence in 1947, a mere 952 foreigners have received citizenship, and of those only a small percentage have been Westerners. But not long ago India’s Home Ministry granted citizenship to American-born Jayapataka Swami.
His Holiness Jayapataka Swami is one of eleven elder devotees chosen by ISKCON’s founder-acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to initiate new disciples. A resident of India since 1972, he is in charge of ISKCON’s projects in East India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. He speaks fluent Bengali and often addresses civic, cultural, and religious gatherings. In addition, Jayapataka Swami supervises ISKCON’s food relief projects on the subcontinent. During last October’s severe flooding in West Bengal, he organized a program that fed twenty thousand people a day. He is also one of the directors of the Sri Gaura-mandala-bhumi Trust, established by Srila Prabhupada to renovate important places of pilgrimage.
When Jayapataka Swami applied for citizenship, more than ten thousand residents of Bengal and Orissa, including members of the leading bar association, petitioned the government on his behalf.
When he is not traveling, Jayapataka Swami resides at ISKCON’s world headquarters, in Mayapur, West Bengal, where he is co-director. At present, he is overseeing the first stages in the construction of a Krsna conscious city that will accommodate fifty thousand.
“Changing Bodies” Photo a Winner
Last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams took a picture of a diorama called “Changing Bodies.” The picture appeared in more than a hundred newspapers throughout America and won numerous awards. Representatives from the National Press Photographers Association and Popular Photography magazine selected it for the 1978 APA (Advertising Photographers Association) International Exhibition of Photography. It also appeared in 1977 In Pictures, the yearbook of the Associated Press.
As millions of Americans have read in their newspapers, the “Changing Bodies” diorama illustrates a verse from the ancient Bhagavad-gita: “As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.”
The diorama is the work of devotee artists at FATE (First American Transcendental Exhibition). It is now on display in the FATE Museum at the Los Angeles Hare Krsna center.