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The ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry along with its co-ministers hosted the First International Bhakti-vriksha Convention, "Moving to the future with Bhakti-vriksha".

On the 18th and 19th of August, 2012, 200 devotees from over 14 countries gathered at Srila Prabhupada's Samadhi and took part in the Convention, in Sri Dham Mayapur.

For the past 15 years, Bhakti-vriksha has been a great preaching tool for many temples and congregation, bringing thousands of new devotees. On this occasion, leaders from different yatras worked together to plan the future of Bhakti-vriksha.

There were presentation from various leaders and group discussions turning this event into a successful program.

Some of the devotees who led the convention included H.H Jayapataka Swami, Kaunteya Prabhu, Vijay Venugopal Prabhu, Prema Padmini mataji, Ashraya Gauranga Prabhu, Venu Krishna Prabhu, Caitanya Avatari Prabhu, Manohara Shyam Prabhu, Ravindra Nitai Prabhu and more.

Since this program was a great success, the planning of the 2013 convention is already in place!

To learn about Bhakti-vriksha or any other congregational development methods we promote, please log onto www.iskconcongregation.com

On behalf of the ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry,

Your servant Madhavi Kirti devi dasi

Thank you for your continuous support.

On behalf of the ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry,

Ys Sevini dd

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We warmly invite you to the beautiful forest on the mountain Fruska Gora ( gorangacamp.com ). With a decade-long tradition and a service-oriented attitude, we are trying to give you an unforgettable devotional and friendly experience. To see some promotional photos and videos available.

This year Goranga Camp will be from 6th till 15th of July 2012. Guests include H.H. Sacinandana Maharaja, H.H. Jayapataka Maharaja H.H. Prahladananda Maharaja, H.H. Bir Krishna Maharaja, H.H. Kadamba Kanana Maharaja and H.H. Bhaktivaibhava Maharaja, as well as Krsna Ksetra prabhu. The whole camp will be in the mood of sweet Sri Vrindavana Dham. You can read more about it in the letter of Sacinandana Maharaja bellow.

Besides different seminars and classes, we will have a rich cultural program. That means: 12-hour kirtan, forest Ratha Yatra, nama yajna, initiations, theatre performances, forest walks… If you miss something during the day, everything will be shown at Frushka Goranga TV in the evening.

Sacinandana Maharaja writes: "Srila Prabhupada once said that Vrindavan is not a point on the map, but a state of consciousness. So it is actually possible to re-create the highly inspiring atmosphere of Vrindavan everywhere, as it has been done throughout the history of Vaishnavism. Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Rupa Goswami, for example, had re-created Radhakund and Syamakund in Ramakeli, while they were still living in Bengal, and so did Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakur in Sridham Mayapur, where you can find up to this day a replica of Govardhan Hill and other sacred places of Vrindavan.

"There is a quotation from Vrindavan Mahimamrita which tells us how any contact, such as hearing about Vrindavan or meditating about Vrindavan, will carry anyone to Vrindavan in the spiritual world. If one lives in the earthly Vrindavan, touches it, sees it, travels to it, meditates upon it, bows down to offer respects to it, sings or hears about its glorious qualities, carries its dust on his head, or has any relationship with it, then this purifying earthly Vrindavan will carry him to the supreme abode of Vrindavan in the spiritual world.

"The purpose of our summer camp is to create an atmosphere which is as close to the Vrindavan atmosphere as possible. When you enter the camp, you will leave the material world and go into the spiritual world. Many surprises — such as Aindra-style bhajans and kirtans, lila-katha about various enchanting pastimes of the Lord, cultural evening programs which will transport us into the rich culture of Brajbhakti, a traditional drama about sadhus whose hearts are overflooded with appreciation for Vrindavan, Yamuna Evening, 12-hour Vrindavan immersion kirtans — will give us that unique Vrindavan experience.

"Our sincere hope is to give all of you this experience, which will give pleasure to your hearts and will help you to remain in happy Krishna consciousness for a long time afterwards. Kindly tell your friends about this unique opportunity and give us the pleasure of your association."

The Bhakti Vriksha Convention will be held in Mayapur in August.

Varnasrama College Introductory Course
by Bharat Chandra das
Posted April 20, 2012

The prestigious Mayapur Institute (MI) at Sridham Mayapur will for the first time be running the 'Introductory Course' of Varnasrama College in collaboration with ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry (India).

This is directly in line with Srila Prabhupada's ardent desire and instruction to establish Varnasrama college courses everywhere wherever we have got our center.

"The varnasrama college has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our center, a varnasrama college should be established to train four divisions: one class, brahmana; one class, ksatriya; one class, vaisya; and one class, sudra. But everyone will be elevated to the spiritual platform by the spiritual activities which we have prescribed. ...So everywhere, in each center, this system should be introduced, and there must be practical application of the varnasrama. At the same time, this program of devotional service. Then it will go on very nicely."

- Srila Prabhupada, Morning Walk, Vrndavana 12 March 1974

This joint program shall offer the students a unique opportunity in a convenient way to attend both three month Bhakti Sastri course and one month Introductory certificate course of Varnasrama college which is split into two fortnightly sections before and after Bhakti Sastri.

The courses offerred will be four in number:

(1) Qualities for Civilized Human Beings (30 qualities from S.B)
(2) Basic Sanskrit (pronounciation of prayers, alphabetes and basic rules)
(3) Growing your own food (composting, preparing, sowing and harvesting)
(4) Traditional cow care(philosophy of cow protection, milking & healthcare)

Courses (1) and (2) will begin 15 days BEFORE Bhakti Sastri and courses (3) and (4) will be conducted AFTER Bhakti Sastri courses.

The seats are limited and preference will be given based on the interest of the student. Preference will also be given to those applying first.

Students will require to fill up an application form to apply for the course. Application will then be processed and student notified. For application form as well as other details of the course, kindly write to: Bharat.Chandra.BRS@pamho.net OR manu.idvm@gmail.com

Also look for the MI website: www.mayapurinstitute.org for more updates.

Visit: Click Here www.sahyadriksetra.com

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Bhakti Writers Community is hosting their first annual writing competition, and will accept poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions. $500 worth of prizes. All winning entries will be published. Submission fee is $10 per entry. Entries are due by 12:00 noon Eastern Standard time on Friday, November 23, 2012. For more information and online submission guidelines, visit www.bhaktiwriters.com.

Jaya Sri Radhe and I will soon embark on our 17th annual adventure bus tour with youth all around the continent. We hope you can join us for this bus tour to Ratha-yatra festivals, temples, national parks, rivers, mountains, beaches and glaciers across North America. From June 28 through July 27, more than 50 devotees will travel in two buses on an adventure across the USA and Canada, participating in dhama seva, temple makeovers, Harinamas and japa workshops.

The tour is organized by volunteers for ISKCON Youth Ministry to inspire youth in Krishna consciousness. All ages are welcome to apply. H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami will be travelling on the tour and engaging aspiring actors in a rendition of the story of Dhruva Maharaja, to be performed at theatres across the continent. Anapayini devi dasi and her Bhakti Dance Academy will also travel with us.

This summer's itinerary includes Alachua, Florida; Prabhupada Village, North Carolina; Harrisburg Ratha-yatra, Pennsylvania; Potomac temple, Maryland; Washington, DC Ratha-yatra; New York City, pilgrimage to 26 - 2nd Avenue, Tompkins Square Park, Bhakti Centre and ISKCON Brooklyn Radha-Govinda Mandir; and Montréal Ratha-yatra.

There will be camping and canoeing at Gatineau National Park; Krishna-conscious cultural programs at theatres in Hamilton, Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon; Toronto Ratha-yatra; swimming among water lilies and wild blueberries at Serpent River; Thunder Bay Festival of India, at the northernmost tip of Lake Superior in Ontario (we sometimes see the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, on the drive to Thunder Bay.)

Other highlights include Calgary Ratha-yatra; Edmonton temple; hiking and whitewater rafting in the Rocky Mountains' Glacier National Park; soaking in natural hot springs; Spanish Fork temple, Utah; canyoneering near Arches National Park, Utah; horseback riding with a Navajo guide at Navajo Nation, Arizona; Dallas temple, Texas; and New Talavan temple, Mississippi.

Some testimonials:

"I would like to come on the bus tour because of how linked it makes me feel to my spiritual life. Going for the first time, I didn't know what to expect, and it definitely surprised me. I never in my life felt the connection to Krishna like I did on the bus tour; I say that sincerely. What I came back with from the previous year was beyond words. I would like to go again to grow from where I left off, because that's what the experience on the bus tour was for me: to grow." — Jayanti, Florida

"It was the most wonderful experience of my life. There are no words to express those specials moments with wonderful devotees." — Narahari, Brazil

"The bus tour changed my life forever. It's as simple as that. Three tours later, not a day goes by that I don't feel something in my life touched by the wealth of experiences, personal growth and spiritual inspiration that I experienced during those summers. Honestly, I don't think there are many things that could be better to do with your summer. I will definitely never forget my time on Garuda II (big bird). Ah... writing about it makes me miss it so much." — Jahnavi Harrison, England

"I was on the bus tour for the first half of the summer, and I have to say that my only concern was: why hadn't I gone before?! It was such an amazing and special experience getting to bond with other devotees that I thought I already knew. I made so many close friends, and we all got a chance to inspire each other. Being a part of the stage performance was one thing that I absolutely loved. Getting to spread Krsna consciousness to so many people who otherwise would have had no clue is such a wonderful privilege that the tour gave me that summer. I was overwhelmed by the response that we got everywhere that we went. We brought a constant party with us and I loved getting to do kirtan any time of the day or night with all the people that I love." — Acyuta Gopi, New York

"Having not been raised around devotees, it was really nice to connect with others my age who had grown up in similar situations. There was no explaining, watering down of beliefs or having to ask if the food was vegetarian. It was a simply refreshing experience on that level and I swear the people I met I had already known from another lifetime and we got to finally see each other again. Thank you for making these happen every year. You bring people together. We are one big family, and we get the opportunity to associate this way." — Radha Prema, Montréal

Be inspired on the youth festival bus tour 2012. Sign up now. For more information, including cost, tour schedule, photos, videos and application forms, see the website: www.krishna.com/bustour

Please also help us spread the word. Here's a link to the bus tour promotional poster, which you can print and post at your local temple or distribute to anyone you think may be interested to attend. http://media.krishna.com/temp/bus-tour-flier.pdf