Click to download this issue of Back to Godhead as PDF file.
Still a novel sight to many, India’s chariot festival, Ratha-yatra, now appears annually in major cities on five continents (story on page 22). The Ratha-yatra parade features three enormous chariots carrying the deities of Lord Jagannatha (whose cheerful face is visible in the lead chariot), Srimati Subhadra-devi, and Lord Balarama. These deity forms have been worshiped for thousands of years at Puri, one of the famous holy cities in India. The nonsectarian character of the festival is apparent in its increasing popularity among people of all nations and religions worldwide. The Ratha-yatra festival affords everyone the chance to participate in a joyous public glorification of the Lord of the Universe, Jagannatha (Krsna)
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the international Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to America in 1965. at age sixty-nine, to fulfill his spiritual master’s request that he teach the science of Krsna consciousness throughout the English -speaking world. In a dozen years he published some seventy volumes of translation and commentary on India’s Vedic literature, and these are now standard in universities worldwide. Meanwhile, traveling almost nonstop, Srila Prabhupada molded his international society into a worldwide confederation of asramas, schools, temples, and farm communities. He passed away in 1977 in India’s Vrndavana, the place most sacred to Lord Krsna. His disciples are carrying forward the movement he started.
BACK TO GODHEAD is the monthly journal of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. When Srila Prabhupada began the Society (in New York City, in 1966), he put into writing the purposes he wanted it to achieve. They are as follows:
1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
2. To propagate a consciousness of Krsna, as it is revealed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krsna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krsna).
4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy names of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krsna.
6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
7. With a view toward achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, books, and other writings.