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Winners of ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards in 2014

The Euro RGB is thrilled to introduce you to thirteen exemplary Vaishnavas who received  the sixth annual ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards for the year 2014.

Abhimanyu Dasa

Abhimany Dasa

Abhimany Dasa

Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 52

ISKCON Temple (name/place): ISKCON Malaga/Spain

Name of the Spiritual Master: Prahladananda Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 27

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1984 Madrid

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Abhimanyu Dasa has been doing pujari service in Barcelona and Malaga since 1987 without interruption. Even when working to maintain his family, he continued to serve the Deities. His outstanding qualities are his unflinching committment, cleanliness and loyalty to Srila Prabhupada’s misión.

Brief description of his/her other services since joining: Accounting, book distribution and buiding maintenance.

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him for the award?  For the 30th anniversary celebration of the installation of Sri Sri Radha-Govindacandra in New Vrajamandala, Abhimanyu organized and directed an unforgettable abhisakha in the presence of over 200 devotees and guests. Afterwards, many senior vaisnavas commented that they had never before experienced such a spectacular bathing ceremony.-

Dharmaharmya Dasa

Dharmaharmya Dasa

Dharmaharmya Dasa

Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 52

ISKCON Temple (name/place): New Radhakunda, Stockholm, Sweden

Name of the Spiritual Master: initiated by Harikesha Das

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 16

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1985 in Bosnia

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Dharmaharmya Prabhu has done outstanding pujari service since the last 16 years. He is the head-pujari and so much more. He has completely dedicated his life and soul to Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari. Practically, every morning he wakes up the Deities, offers them mangal-sweets, performs the mangal-aratik-ceremony, and bathes and dresses the silas, Chota-Radha-Krishna and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. He always dresses Them very lovingly, with a lot of devotion. Many days during the week he is also performing the lunch and evening programs. As the head-pujari, he has the overall responsibility in the deity-department. Dharmaharmya Prabhu also introduces and trains new devotees in pujari-services, and whenever necessary, he is helping out with other sevas, like pot-washing or cooking. He is an extremely humble and dedicated devotee. His natural humility makes him very dear to all the devotees here in Sweden. Furthermore, his heart is completely absorbed in the Sankirtan-mission and in Srila Prabhupada’s books, and whenever he has time he goes out on book-distribution or on Harinam. He loves to read Srila Prabhupada’s books and gets great inspiration from them. Whenever guests are coming to the temple he takes nicely care for them and gives them Maha-sweets.

Brief description of his other services since joining: Dharmaharmya Prabhu met the devotees in 1985 in Bosnia. Together with his younger brother, Mohatama Misra Prabhu, he started to practice Krishna-Consciousness very sincerely at his home. In the early morning they chanted 16 rounds before going to work, and after work they were distributing books. In 1988 he moved into the temple in Bosnia and went on Sankirtana. It has always been very easy for him to distribute and present Srila Prabhupada’s books to the people because of his humble and gentle nature. In 1991 he moved to Sweden and initially was engaged in construction work for the temple, till he finally in 1998 started his service as a pujari. He lives a very simple life as a brahmachari.

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him for the award?  Dharmaharmya Prabhu is very dedicated to his service and to the Deities. He once said that he will stay at New Radhakunda and worship the Deities as long as They (the Deities) want him to. He is extremely humble, shows an exemplary character, has wonderful devotional qualities and has a great taste for chanting and reading. He is a very loyal, steady, reliable and responsible devotee in Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

Gundica Dasa

Gundica Dasa

Gundica Dasa

Nominated in category: Overall ISKCON contribution

Age: 55

ISKCON Temple (name/place): ISKCON Barcelona/Spain

Name of the Spiritual Master: Giriraja Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 22

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1985 New Vrajamandala

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Gundica Dasa has been in charge of the Barcelona temple for the last 22 years. During this period he was instrumental in acquiring a property in downtown Barcelona and organizing Ratha-yatra every year. His main preaching is through prasadam distribution, both at the temple’s lunch program, catering and cooking courses.

Brief description of his other services since joining: Book distribution, cook and temple commander, interfaith preaching

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  His steadiness and full dedication to his multiple services required for the temple to run smoothly, which include temple administration, devotee care, pujari work, cooking, preaching, cleaning and whatever else may be necessary. Gundicha Prabhu is the personification of “Do the needful”.

Karsna Devi Dasi

Karsna Devi Dasi

http://eurorgb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Karsna.jpg 288w" sizes="(max-width: 120px) 100vw, 120px" /> Karsna Devi Dasi

Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 58

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Prabhupada desh (Italy) 36020 Albettone (VI)

Name of the Spiritual Master: Hridayananda Goswami

Number of years that she has been doing this service: 27

Date and place of her joining ISKCON movement: 1985 in Padova

Description of her services in the nominated category:  she wake up Sri Sri Gaura Nitai five days a week and every day she bath and dress them in the morning and five days a week she dress Them also in the night, when we prepare 108 preparations 40 are done by her. This is going on from 27 years. Now in Prabhupada desh we have not a help pujari and she cleans all paraphernalia, and prepare the plates for the following arati.

Brief description of her other services since joining: her first service was sankirtana, books distributions for two years, she was also head pujari, than for 10 years she organized harinamas.

What is special in her service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  her determination despite her healthy problems, her dedication, her devotion, she is an example for every one of us

Krsna Karuna Devi Dasi

Krishna Karuna Devi Dasi

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Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 43

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Goloka Dhama / Abentheuer

Name of the Spiritual Master: Sacinandana Swami

Number of years that she has been doing this service: 10 years

Date and place of her joining ISKCON movement: 1998 Heidelberg / Germany

Description of her services in the nominated category:  Soon as Krsna Karuna mataji joined she started her affection for deity worship and as soon as she received her initiation hse started serving Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai at Heidelberg for several years constantly. After some years she has felt her affaction for Sri Sri Radha-Madana Mohan at Goloka Dhama where she has been doing service ever since. Even during a period of cancer treatment she served the deities and soon after recovery she has continued her service. She is a pillar of Goloka Dhama, cooking for the deities, the devotees serving prasadam etc.

Brief description of her other services since joining: But not only this, her affection for the conditioned souls is also tremendous because from the beginning she joined the movement she wanted to distribute books. If there was a bit free time she went out and gave out the books and afterwards she happily served the deities. It was not always easy going out on sankirtan but her strong determination always has given her enough strength to go out and look for spiritually inclined souls.
Furthermore if books were not possible, she took up the prasadam seva and distributed during christmas markets and other occations, so that conditions souls can start their spiritual life and go back to Godhead.

What is special in her service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  Her determination, even after suffering cancer, she happily served the deities and the devotees and still serves the deities and the devotees.

Mahachandra Dasa

Mahachandra Dasa

http://eurorgb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mahachandra.jpg 216w" sizes="(max-width: 120px) 100vw, 120px" /> Mahachandra Dasa

Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: around 40

ISKCON Temple (name/place): GOLOKA DHAMA / Abentheuer

Name of the Spiritual Master: Bhaktivaibhava Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 20 years

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: beginning 90s / Germany

Description of his services in the nominated category:  HG Mahachandra Prabhu is outstanding. He has practically never left the association of Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohan. From the time Their Lordship arrived at Goloka Dhama, Mahachandra is with Them and he maintains his seva mood despite so many changes and difficulties. Usually every evening he prepares and offers the sandya-arati bhoga, after this he changes the Lords dress and puts them to bed. Since years he has always prepared the abhisheka ceremonies for special festival dates, so he constandly pleases the Lord.

Brief description of his other services since joining:

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  His steadiness, it is really amazing, that he has gone through many difficulties but still You can be sure that he is there in the evening and serves Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohan.

Nila Madhava Dasa

Nilamadhava Dasa

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Nominated in category: ISKCON Festivals

Age: 53

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Harinam Mandir

Name of the Spiritual Master: Bhaktivaibhava Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 7

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: since 26 years

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Nila Madhava is a main organizer of Ratha Yatra festival in Prague, Czech Republic. By his enthusiasm and selfless endeavor this festival began seven years ago and during the years it become one of the most colorful festival in Prague. His enthusiasm and friendly behavior is very contagious for many other devotees who try to participate with different capacities at this festival. Nila Madhava is able to cooperate with any devotee in the Czech Yatra and by his mercy Ratha Yatra became one of the most important common festivals, where devotees from different centers are cooperating to satisfy Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna.

Brief description of his other services since joining: Nila Madhava was for many years one of the best book distributors in the Czech yatra and later on he become a sankirtan leader. He also enthusiastically participate on any kind of public preaching. Few years ago he opened a new preaching center in Prague called Harinama Mandir where he organizing many different preaching programs for the public as well as kirtans for devotees.

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  Nobody else before him had a courage to organize Ratha Yatra festival. With the help of Indian ambassador He was able to convince Prague municipality to get a main Prague Square for this festival.

Radha Kunda Devi Dasi

Radha-Kunda Devi Dasi

http://eurorgb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Radha-Kunda-Mataji.jpg 274w" sizes="(max-width: 120px) 100vw, 120px" /> Radha-Kunda Devi Dasi

Nominated in category: Caring for devotees

Age: Departed

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Krishna Valley

Name of the Spiritual Master: Sivarama Swami

Number of years that she has been doing this service: 25

Date and place of her joining ISKCON movement: Budapest, 1989

Description of her services in the nominated category:  She was the most wonderful and caring person Krishna Valley devotees ever knew. Her smile could melt even the hardest hearts. She have never thought about herself and was always ready to help others no matter what time and date was that. Even when she was suffering from cancer for years, she never spoke about it. Whenever someone tried to talk to her about her condition she wisely moved the conversation towards how she could help the other person.

She was an exemplary Tulasi pujari until she became sick.

All the devotees in Hungary and even the non-devotees in the village near Krishna Valley remember her as the friend of everyone.

Brief description of her other services since joining: She was a preacher from the beginning. Whatever opportunity she had she used it to get people closer to Krishna.

What is special in her service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award? Her selfless service and care for others humbled every soul she met. There was a strong catholic lady who is the owner of the village small market. She was not at the shop at that time and her husband collapsed. There were many people in the shop but Radha Kunda Mataji was the only one who ran there and took really good care for him until the ambulance came. She saved his life and she was chanting Hare Krishna all the way long. Since then she was called by the owner of the shop and her whole family ‘our guardian angel’. They changed completely and they became favourable to the movement and made many friend in Krishna Valley.

Radharadya Dasa

Radharadya Dasa

Radharadya Dasa

Nominated in category: Caring for devotees

Age: 36

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Krishna Valley

Name of the Spiritual Master: BB Govinda Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 5

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1995, Hungary

Description of his services in the nominated category:  He is the head of the counsellor system in Hungary for 5 years. He has been helpful in many devotees’ personal life and is serving the devotees with great care and attention. His loyalty and principle based mentality is exemplary and with this he creates integrity and inspires others to surrender and also to reach out to others who are in need of help. He and his wife are showing a good example in their family life and in their respected other services also.

Brief description of his other services since joining: Radharadya Prabhu’s service includes: head accountant and financial board member of Krishna Valley, he is a member of the National Leaders’Board. He is doing his services for 14 years continuously.

Radha-Krisna Dasa

Radha-Krisna Dasa

Radha-Krisna Dasa

Nominated in category: Overall ISKCON interest/Overall preaching

Age: 37

ISKCON Temple (name/place): New Vraja Dhama – Hungary

Name of the Spiritual Master: Bhakti Brnga Govinda Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 7

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1994, Namahatta of Pécs – Hungary

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Radha Krishna prabhu joined ISKCON Hungary in 1994 where he joined the Pecs city ashram where he was a dedicated books distributor along side his university studies. He took responsibility for various preaching programs in the city and meeting with city officials and leaders winning many high profile supporters. In 2005 he moved to New Vraja Dhama and became the director of Tourism, and from 2008 President of Eco Valley Foundation and thus toured the world holding seminars and arranging conferences sharing practical examples of New Vraja Dhamas implementation of sustainable lifestyle and Varnashrama principles in practice.

He is presently New Vraja Dhamas Temple Director and has various other responsibilities for example as Euro GBC involved with Varanashram. Recently The present GBC for Hungary, H.H. Sivarama Swami is training Radha Krishna prabhu to take over his GBC responsibilites for the Hungraian Yatra in the future.

Brief description of his other services since joining: As above

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  Radha Krishna prabhu is an exemplary person, his kind disposition and dedication to ISKCON alongside his tireless preaching and expanding, he is a great inspiration to the whole of the Hungarian yatra.

Saumyarupa Devi Dasi

Saumyarupa Devi Dasi

http://eurorgb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Saumya-Rupa-dd.jpg 232w" sizes="(max-width: 120px) 100vw, 120px" /> Saumyarupa Devi Dasi

Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 63

ISKCON Temple (name/place): New Radhakunda, Stockholm, Sweden

Name of the Spiritual Master: A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; 2nd initiation by Bir Krishna Goswami

Number of years that she has been doing this service: 26

Date and place of her joining ISKCON movement: 1975, Schloss Rettershof, Germany

Description of her services in the nominated category:  Saumyarupa mataji has been sewing for the Deities Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari (appr. 1 m), Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Giri-Govardhana at New Radhakunda for the last 26 years! She has been doing this service with great enthusiasm and devotion, and she has also been training other devotees in it. She is very creative and her outfits are never alike. Her exquisite taste makes each outfit look most wonderful, with unique designs, beautifully decorated with pearls, sequences and borders. She puts great attention on fine details and the finishing touch. Every year she is sewing several outfits. She has also regularly been travelling to India together with her husband to buy clothes and jewelry.
Saumyarupa mataji is also dressing the deities 3 days a week, very wonderfully and breathtakingly. Both Radha and Krishna always look very happy and beautiful, and in this way inspire the devotees at New Radhakunda in their devotional services as well as the visiting guests. During all the years of her service she has been very steady and dedicated.

Brief description of her other services since joining: Saumyarupa Mataji joined ISKCON in 1975 in Schloss Rettershof in Germany. After some months she went to Hamburg with her husband and children. There they helped the devotees, like Jaya Gaura Prabhu, to spread Krishna-Consciousness. In 1982 they moved to the newly-purchased Simhachalam farm. They were amongst the pioneers there and she was cooking for both the devotees and the Deities. Together with her husband she was also taking care for the cows. In Simhachalam she started to sew outfits for Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana, which soon became her main service. She was even sewing for the Sankirtan-Devotees and going on Sankirtan herself.
In 1988 she moved to Sweden and settled in New Radhakunda. During the first years she was both sewing outfits for the Deities, as well as cooking for up to 100 devotees. Later she concentrated only on sewing. So she has been sewing the most wonderful outfits during the last 26 years! Moreover, during several years she was receiving students at the temple and giving them an introduction to Krishna-Consciousness, and every Saturday she went out on Harinam.

What is special in her service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  Saumyarupa mataji has been doing this service so steadily for so many years, and I am sure she will continue to do so for many more years to come. Every outfit looks different in the design, colour-combination and decoration. She is very creative and has a strong taste for this service. While sewing she is absorbed in listening to lectures by Srila Prabhupada and Bir Krishna Goswami. She has also an exemplary sadhana, regularly attending mangal-artik and nicely chanting her japa. Saumyarupa mataji is a very steady, responsible and dedicated devotee in Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

Venudhara Dasa

Venudhara Dasa

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Nominated in category: Outstanding pujari seva

Age: 59

ISKCON Temple (name/place): New Vrajamandala/Spain

Name of the Spiritual Master: Hanumat Presaka Swami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 25+

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1983 New Vrajamandala

Description of his services in the nominated category:  Venudhara Dasa has been engaged in Deity worship at New Vrajamandala for more than 25 years. His services include all aspects of pujari seva like waking up the Deities every day, bathing and dressing Them, cooking most of the offerings and offering most of the aratis.

Brief description of his other services since joining: Cow protection, agriculture, book distribution, temple maintenance

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him/her for the award?  Venudhara Prabhu’s outstanding qualitiy is his unconditional dedication to worshipping Their Lordships under any circumstances, no matter how trying or difficult those may be. During the last 25 years, New Vrajamandala has gone through many challenging situations. Countless devotees have been coming and going, but Venudhara was always there.

Yadunandana Swami

Yadunandana Swami

Yadunandana Swami

Nominated in category: Education

Age: 51

ISKCON Temple (name/place): Bhaktivedanta College at Radhadesh, Belgium

Name of the Spiritual Master: Satsvarupa das Gosvami

Number of years that he has been doing this service: 13

Date and place of his joining ISKCON movement: 1976 Barcelona

Description of his services in the nominated category:

Yadunandana Swami served as the principal of Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh Belgium from the time it was launched (in 2002) until the College year 2013-14. Because of his selfless service and friendly cheerful demeanour, he was affectionately dubbed “the active principal of Bhaktivedanta College”. He consistently encouraged students, engaging them in studying at and serving the College project according to their propensity and development. For example, if one was enthusiastic in studying Bhakti shastri and Bhakti vaibhava, he would engage such persons in teaching such transcendental courses. If students took well to the vocational courses (teacher training, conflict resolution, communications, etc.), he would have them assist him in teaching such courses so that eventually they could also teach them. In this way he encouraged students to develop their knowledge, skills, and values, and to use them in practical, much-needed service to Srila Prabhupada’s mission. He demonstrated how education is transformative and facilitated the students having similar transformative experiences. His bhajan, kirtan, and lectures are saturated with the sweetness of his simplicity and profundity in Krishna consciousness.

What is special in his service that inspired you to nominate him for the award?

Yadunandana Swami consistently looks for and finds what is best in a devotee and goes out of his way to facilitate the devotee’s development of his innate qualities and tendencies. He has faith in devotees and engages them in manners they could never have imagined themselves serving. He is naturally sober and genuinely renounced from unnecessary sense gratification, always simple and humble in accepting whatever facilities are available in order to maintain his body and soul together and for carrying on his seva. At the same time his personal dealings remain friendly, respectful, affectionate, and always aligned with Vaishnava etiquette.

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