ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards in 2011
Chaitanya Nitai Dasa, Goloka Prema Dasi, and Citralekha Dasi
Doing this service for the last two years in Paris, but preaching wherever they were; the parents joined ISKCON in New Mayapur, France in 1981; both are 57, and their daughter is 32; disciples of Giriraja Swami (Citralekha and Goloka Prema in the picture).
As a family, though the daughter is confined to a wheelchair, they do sankirtana once a week, meeting people on the streets of Paris and bringing some to the preaching center, where they hold a weekly program attended by about twenty, mostly young people. Goloka Prema cooks in advance tasty snacks for everyone, and Chaitanya Nitai speaks to the group. Citralekha plays the mridunga and always touches the guests’ hearts by her purity and delivery of Krishna consciousness. When they joined ISKCON, he did sankirtana and his wife did a BBT service. The family had to leave France to escape Citralekha’s aggressive grandfather, who, being a lawyer, won legal custody of her. They then lived in South Africa, Mauritius, India, New Zealand, and Belgium. They returned to France four years ago and made a substantial donation that helped buy the new house for Sri Sri Radha-Parisishvara.
Category: Prasada distribution
Doing this service for twenty-eight years; joined ISKCON in Belfast, Ireland; age 43; now living in Dublin; disciple of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami (left in the picture).
As a schoolgirl, when she was thirteen, Goloka visited the Belfast temple daily for the latter half of the morning program and for the evening program. On her sixteenth birthday she joined ISKCON. Her first service, even as a newcomer, was to help in the kitchen, and ever since then she’s distributed prasada. She is also a mother and has been a back-up pujari and a sankirtana devotee. For the last fifteen years she’s managed the Govinda’s restaurants in Dublin. Although that is challenging, she does it with an infectious smile. Devotees and guests call her Mrs. Govinda’s. Her other nickname is Mrs. All-nighter, because she does marathons in the kitchen when there are festivals; afterwards, she never takes rest but just keeps going all day.
Gunagrahi Dasa and Rukmini Dasi
Category: Farming and rural development
Doing this service for sixteen years; living near Villa Vrindavan, Italy; age 40+.
Gunagrahi and Rukmini have maintained a family for the last sixteen years by using products from the land and turning them into items sold at specialty markets. While developing this business, they’ve learned many aspects of self-sufficiency: producing grains, honey, vegetables, fruit, soap, and so on. They exemplify how to live using the gifts of nature.
Category: Prasada distribution
Doing this service for fifteen years; lives at the Nama-Hatta center in Leszno, Poland; joined ISKCON in 1988 in Wrocław; age 55; disciple of Gopal Krishna Goswami.
Haricaran organized and runs Food for Life. He raises donations and prepares prasada for both the donors and the usual recipients. After joining ISKCON, he started the Nama-Hatta center in Leszno, which he still manages (he’s on the temple council). He also holds open programs, worships Deities, and gives lectures.
Category: Cow Protection
Doing this service for sixteen years; living now in New Mayapur, France; age 60; joined ISKCON in England; disciple of Lokanatha Swami.
Jaladuta learned to train and work with oxen by helping on the padayatra, or walking pilgrimage, in England. Later, he spent fifteen years in southern France and depended on his ox teams. He’d hire out his own and his oxen’s services to farmers, sometimes cultivating fields, sometimes clearing the land, sometimes giving cart rides at weddings and so on. He undercut the local tractor contractors. Although paid the same as other farm workers, with the oxen, he was a greater asset. Devotees commonly dream about living a simple life and depending on cows and the land, but Jaladuta actually did it and demonstrated that Krishna took care of him.
Category: Prasada distribution
Doing this service at the Festival of India for fifteen years; joined ISKCON in 1990 in Wrocław, Poland; disciple of Indradyumna Swami.
After joining ISKCON, Rasikendra distributed books and helped in the Food for Life project in Wrocław. For the last fifteen years, he has been preparing prasada at the Woodstock Festival, and he manages the restaurant and cooking presentations at the nationwide Festival of India. He ensures that the prasada is good and creates a friendly atmosphere in the restaurant. He trains devotees in the kitchen and takes responsibility for good relations with sanitary services. He also helps prepare prasada at Ratha-yatras and other festivals in Poland. He expertly manages devotees in a personal way. Devoted in performing his services, he is serious when it comes to cleanliness and the quality and presentation of prasada.
Preaching for about ten years; now in Leipzig, Germany; disciple of Kadamba Kanana Swami.
Sadhbuja has always been connected to the preaching in Germany, often in the eastern part, where he’s made wonderful connections among the devotees. Leipzig has a good preaching mood, and its city officials appreciate the devotees. Distributing books and prasadam or doing harinam and congregation preaching, Sadbhuja stays absorbed in the mission of Srila Prabhupada. He visits other cities for their festivals and Nama-Hattas. He cultivates new devotees, develops Vaishnava communities, and contributes to interreligious dialogues and public relations. He is a dedicated preacher and brahmacari. By his following of the orders of his guru and by the way he takes the teachings of Srila Prabhupada as they are, he helps establish Vaisnavism in Germany. This year was a milestone: during the Kirtan Mela, newspapers reported the event, and the mayor of the city of Chemnitz was invited and presented an award for the Hare Krishna festival.
Doing this service since she joined ISKCON, in Paris in 1998; head pujari since 2002; age 57; from Mauritius; disciple of Bhakti Caru Swami (right in the picture).
She started by ironing and cleaning the Deities’ outfits, making Their beds, and taking care of Their jewelry. When she took first and second initiation, she increased her Deity service and became head pujari. For seven years she served in austere conditions in a tiny rented house, where most of the outfits were kept in boxes, one on top of the other, and the foreign pujaris regularly changed.