A look at the worldwide activities of the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
New Zealand: Spiritual Cure for Addiction
Dr. Fraser McDonald, Medical Superintendent of the Parnell Drug Clinic in Auckland, New Zealand, noted recently that “the combination of our medical care and the spiritual care from the Hare Krsna philosophy has resulted in a very powerful tool indeed for the treatment of drug addiction, and for this we are very grateful.”
As Lord Krsna explains in the Bhagavad-gita, a person can give up bad habits only if he develops a higher, spiritual taste. When he experiences the superior pleasure that comes from within, he can easily give up the inferior pleasure that comes from external sources like drugs.
Said Dr. McDonald, “Medicine as it has been practiced in the West has concentrated far too much on the purely mechanical, physical aspects of medicine and has given … absolutely nothing to the religious or spiritual part of a person’s being…. We at the Drug Clinic have had to look around for people with expertise in a spiritual way of life, so that we could offer this to our recovering drug addicts, and the Hare Krsna people gave us a very warm welcome, offering us facilities for long-term rehabilitation of patients in a spiritually harmonious atmosphere.”
North India: The Budding of A Krsna Conscious State
Recently ISKCON opened a center in the north Indian state of Manipur, at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Manipur has a population of 1.5 million, a total area of 8,800 square miles, and world-renowned scenery (including hillsides covered with tropical fruit trees and waterways filled with lotuses and lilies that blossom after the monsoons).
Actually, Krsna consciousness is nothing new to the citizens of Manipur. The fifty-centuries-old Vedic literatures recount that the royal family are descendants of Arjuna, Lord Krsna’s famous friend and disciple. After all these years, daily life still centers on Lord Krsna. The radio stations regularly broadcast Vedic narrations of Krsna’s activities, and people often come together and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, to the accompaniment of traditional hand cymbals and drums.
Coordinating ISKCON’s new center in Manipur is Svarupa Damodara dasa, Ph.D., an American-educated chemist who is a native of the area. The local people have warmly welcomed him (as well as devotees from Italy, Brazil, and the U.S.), and they have been coming by the thousands to Krsna conscious festivals and seminars.
“This is a very old and aristocratic Krsna conscious kingdom,” wrote His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. “If this kingdom is organized as a Krsna conscious state, this revitalization will be a great success, because for five thousand years this state has maintained its identity. If the spirit of Krsna consciousness is revived here, it will be a wonderful place, renowned throughout the world.”