Radha-Londonishvara Temple Marks 40th Anniversary
Posted November 14, 2009
Several of the founders and long-term London devotees will help devotees celebrate the historic 40th anniversary of the Sri Sri Radha-Londonishvara Temple. Founding prabhus Yamuna dasi, Shyamasundar das, Gurudas and Malati dasi will be in attendance for the eight days from Saturday November 14 to Sunday November 22. Many other devotees whose lives have revolved around Sri Sri Radha-Londonishvara, like Ranchor prabhu and H.H. Mahavisnu Swami, will also participate.
On the 14th, a open-top bus tour of London will feature kirtan around Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge from 3 p.m. The event, as with many other activities of the eight-day celebration will be webcast live on the Internet.
On the 15th we will start with Adivas ceremony and inauguration of the festival with presentations from stalwarts on longevity in devotional service.
From the 16th to the 20th, pioneers of the UK yatra will give presentations on early days in UK, establishing the temple, meeting with Sriman George Harrison, Rathayatra, Prabhupada in London, Deity history and the 40 years in London.
On Saturday, Nov. 21 we have the Radha Krishna temple 40th anniversary gala dinner, a cultural evening at the historic Troxy Theatre in London with the Gauri-vani kirtan band and many visiting sannyasis like Radhanath Maharaj and Maha-Visnu Swami.
The 22nd, as per the lunar calendar, is the actual appearance day of Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara, and we have full day of festivities, which include Pushya abhisek, ecstatic Harinam and Kirtans with "As Kindred Spirits."
Other highlights include Harinama to historical places visited by Srila Prabhupada and offerings to Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara from Their long-term servants.
Forty years ago, ISKCON made its first mark on the streets of London. The unmistakable sounds of cymbals, saffron and shaven heads charmed and startled Oxford Street in London's West End, reaching the Evening Standard with the headline "Hare Krishna Startles London". Nowadays ISKCON is woven into the fabric of London life, and parades of devotees sharing the Holy Names with shoppers, revelers, business people and international tourists is still very common.
1969 was the year that the late George Harrison of the Beatles produced the chart-topping Hare Krishna Mantra single, and the Hare Krishnas made their first appearance on British television, singing live on Top of the Pops.
Shyamasundar das, who was one of the first Krishna devotees in London and a friend of George Harrison, said: "To many, the Hare Krishnas represented the psychedelic spirit of the sixties, although their philosophy is one of actual abstinence, of non-violence and pure vegetarianism."
Govinda's, one of the first vegetarian restaurants in central London, is still going strong. The first-ever Radha Krishna Deities in ISKCON were in London, and Srila Prabhupada installed Them in Bury Place, the first ISKCON temple in the UK, near the British Museum. In 1979 the temple moved to Soho Street, just off Oxford Street, which is Europe's busiest shopping street.
"As the Member of Parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster, I am looking forward to take part in the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of ISKCON in London," said Mark Field, MP. "The chanting processions of the orange-garbed devotees in Oxford Street have become a welcome and indeed exotic part of the city's multi-cultural landscape. The help that members of the Hare Krishna movement have given to the homeless has been much appreciated, and I hope that they will continue their good work for many years to come."