- Namita Purohit
- Life Stages
Srila Prabhupada described his temples as “embassies of the spiritual world”. They stand as an oasis in the midst of this desert-like existence, and when we visit them we get a glimpse into another reality. When Srila Prabhupada incorporated ISKCON his vision was to create an organization that would outreach to the spiritually hungry and simultaneously provide support and encouragement for the practicing devotee.
On August 13, 1965, just a few days before his sixty-ninth birthday, Srila Prabhupada – philosopher, scholar, and saint – set out for America with the mission to spread bhakti -yoga all over the world. Begging passage from a local steamship company, he travelled as the only passenger on-board a small weathered cargo ship named the Jaladuta. In his possession were suitcases, an umbrella, and a supply of dry cereal, about seven dollars’ worth of Indian currency, and several boxes of books. When the ship arrived in New York Harbor 37 days later, Srila Prabhupada was utterly alone. He had come to America knowing no one, with absolutely no visible means of support, and with only the meagre handful of possessions he had carried on-board the ship. His task seemed impossible. Yet he had unshakeable faith in Krishna. Between the years 1965 and 1977, Srila Prabhupada miraculously managed to spread the teachings of Krishna Consciousness to every major city in the world and officially formed ISKCON. The movement currently has over four hundred projects worldwide: temples, vegetarian restaurants, farm communities, schools, spiritual hospitals, student houses and resource centers.
Anyone can take advantage by making an effort to regularly visit these places. It will recharge your spiritual battery.’ Participate in the congregational chanting, hear the classes, attend the special festivals, offer some practical service and most importantly make friends with the local devotees. The temple environment may take some getting used to; there will be new sights and sounds, some of the traditional ceremonies might seem strange, and even the language may be foreign and difficult to follow. Once things have been explained and you get to know other devotees you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and at ease.