Last month Nova Gokula of ISKCON Brasil hosted the very first Krishna West International Festival. Hundreds of devotees and friends from all over the world came to take part in classes and seminars, celebrations, and to engage themselves in Srila Prabhupada’s mission. We reached out to those who attended, and asked them to provide us with their thoughts and feelings on the Festival.
Below you can read what they had to say. Photos are included, or you can click here to view the Gallery.
The first Krsna West International Festival took place in a climate of great harmony and cooperation, contrary to some of the expectations that were raised during the planning of it.
The presence of H.D.Goswami was the link that united all the generations of devotees participating, from their spiritual brothers to the younger ones, all curious to know about the Krsna West program or how to be useful in its implementation in Brazil.
I summarize Krsna West in one word: compassion.
The program focuses on “preaching” so that it can efficiently reach each soul within its socio-cultural reality.
Despite being in a state of implementation, thus susceptible to adjustments, the Krsna West movement has already shown its importance and success, since it has reconquered many dissatisfied devotees with various aspects of the ISKCON institution and renewed the enthusiasm of many others, as it reveals a more humane, intelligent and sensible way of giving Krsna consciousness to people in general.
I believe that, at least in the face of the credentials of Krishna West’s proposal, of the current unfocused growth in the West, of the lack of other achievable proposals and of the desire expressed by a considerable portion of devotees dissatisfied with the current model of ISKCON in the West, leaders should give due attention and respect to the Krsna West program, analyzing it objectively.
I support the Krsna West movement, and as far as possible, I try to adjust its principles to my particular way of teaching Krishna Consciousness.
Yamunacarya das Goswami
Hare Krishna! Hello everyone! I hope they are fine. Above all, I thank my dear spiritual Master Hridayananda Goswami and all the sincere devotees who with great effort and genuine spiritual love have given so many souls the opportunity to participate in this beautiful international Krishna West festival in Nova Gokula, opening doors and creating new opportunities for to inspire the hearts of all to contribute through projects and variety of services to the propagation of the Sankirtana movement of Gaura Nitai in the magnanimous mission of Srila Prabhupada in the West and the whole world. It was a wonderful opportunity to re-encounter with good devotees and also meet many new ones, who with great enthusiasm participated in this beautiful event. It was very enriching to learn from the experiences of many devotees who are working hard on various projects for the mission of Srila Prabhupada and also very inspiring to have found space to share personal devotional experiences with other sincere devotees. Everything was very harmonious and pleasant. You could see at all times an interaction of great respect and devotion among all the participants. It was remarkable the effort and sincere dedication in the presentation, organization, reception, attention to the guests and in each one of the varied meetings and activities that were proposed for the festival. Thanks to Krishna West’s broad approach, there was a wide variety of activities that met the needs of everyone at all times, creating an atmosphere of genuine harmony and spiritual joy among the participants. There was space and time appropriate for everyone to be comfortable interacting with Krishna and his devotees according to their desire and personal nature. It was a successful beginning for a successful future of the mission of Krishna West that proposes an important contribution to the mission of Srila Prabhupada. If I had to define this festival in a few words, I would say that it was “A great success of Unity in Diversity to serve Krishna in the West and the whole world through the proposal and freedom that Srila Prabhupada brought to save us by turning our consciousness towards Krishna“ I hope we can have a new and bigger one every year. I will be very happy to participate again. Thanks to all the sincere souls who made this possible!
With best wishes,
My name is Kamadhuk dd and I was at the Krshna West Festival in New Gokula. I felt that the hundreds of people who were there felt completely motivated to continue serving Krshna in their temples or in their homes with great joy, supported by the philosophy in Srila Prabhupada’s books.
I have participated in many festivals in Nova Gokula since 1979 when I lived there, but this was one of the most beautiful festivals I have ever seen. I did not see that because some were not wearing traditional Indian clothing they felt less enthusiastic about singing and dancing, or had stopped tasting the nectar of association with devotees gathered, and UNITED!
All glories to St.Prabhupada!
I was at the KW festival in Nova Gokula with my family.
We saw an excellent environment and positive disposition towards the proposal of a new strategy to spread the message of Srila Prabhupada. We were happy and inspired by this.
The possibility of cultivating the sweetest and most scientific awareness of God while maintaining our local cultural habits is really a step forward.
Many thanks to H.D.Goswami for leading this wonderful project.
Antônio Celso Bicudo (Sri Hari Das)
I would like to give personal testimony with my experience in Krishna Consciousness. I already had a idea of the concept of Krishna West, which I consider to be a natural evolution in the preaching and maintenance of our movement.
My contact with Krishna West at the New Gokula Farm was decisive for me, because I was somewhat detached from the movement. I felt a revival of my inner self. I felt comfortable, strengthened, attending classes of very well prepared devotees, who with great knowledge, inserted the Krishna Consciousness in an updated and profound way.
Thank you, H.D.Goswami, for this mission, even after being faced with so many adversities. Like Srila Prabhupada, who instead of staying in a comfort zone in a bhajan kutir, being discredit and criticized by peers, he still crossed the ocean to give Krishna to the West.
I Haricakra Dasa (HDG), President of Iskcon Recife / Brazil, participated twice in this festival, because I was in Natal, on the arrival of H.D.Goswami where he started his tour in Brazil, and then Sao Paulo where the festival took continental proportions. My impression was of a revolution to instigate the spirit of preaching, to save the innocent souls.
Scientifically and logically H.D.Goswami came to eliminate all sorts of mythologies and beliefs not based in the scriptures and awaken the common sense in devotees, leading us to a platform of analysis of what are details and what are the foundations of Vedic knowledge, all using reverences from Srila Prabhupada, even showing us the true Prabhubada, as opposed to a Prabhupada we created at our convenience.
I feel that everything spoken by H.D.Goswami is of vital importance for a good reflection on our approach and experiences within our ISKCON society.
Many thanks to all for your attention your servant,
I would like to thank you for your intense dedication to the Hare Krsna movement. I was at the Krsna West event in Nova Gokula and I was able to enjoy your presence and enlightening lectures The impression you left me was great and of much enthusiastic,. Your person exudes confidence, kindness, education, good humor, patience, intelligence and spiritual power. I have known the Hare Krsna movement for 10 years, and it has always been detached, because I did not feel adequate. I suffered prejudice from some devotees for being a woman and not wearing a sari. I am not Indian, and I could not understand these prejudices. As if an open mind and heart willing to learn to love God was enough to grow spiritually. I encountered barriers to surrender and advance. I now feel great gratitude to H.D.Goswami, who has left the example of tolerance and love for all, and I see this in his proposed Krishna West project. In times of so many differences in the world, I feel that if we are more intelligent, tolerant, loving , modern and sincere the movement can grow a lot. The world leaves few possibilities to surrender to God, with so many distractions offered by it. tThe spiritual path that welcomes and accepts people who are in search of spiritual knowledge, will grow and flourish with souls who want to serve God. I have enlisted to serve and honor Krishna, Srila Prabhupada, Gurudeva Chandramukha Swami, and all the disciplic succession through Krshina West.
I end this letter with a heart full of hope for a better and more God-conscious world, gratitude, Haribol!
By attending the Krishna West Festival in Nova Gokula I could see how much H.D.Goswami is worried about the current situation of lethargy of our dear ISKCON of Srila Prabhupada, and how much he is committed to using his intelligence and hard work to help Prabhupada’s mission.
I could see how focused he is, and determined to innovate without losing the purity and the essence of Srila Prabhupada’s goals.
Jay Gokula das Adhikari
The I KW Festival in Brazil took place at a fruitful time of yearning for behavioral changes and a better understanding of Krsna consciousness. The central element was the dialogue, that provided an opportunity to introduce, deepen and consolidate knowledge. In this sense many recognized writers have signaled the importance of dialogue for the humanization of social relations. In the Bhagavad Gita too, the encounter between Krishna and Arjuna is an example of how doubts can be decimated in a reflective way, since the conversation between the two perpetuated guidelines for the long walk of humanity with broad and profound explanations that somehow broke old paradigms and presented another understanding about being and their existential relations.
Similarly, this was my perception of the 1st Krsna West Festival in Brazil. In fact we consider a great dialogical encounter between the essence of Vaishnava philosophy and a broader view of our practices and behaviors in the face of the challenge of preaching, of spreading the Vaishnava philosophy in our current society. An important point was that the festival was able to bring together different people, gathered new and old devotees, people with different experiences in Krishna consciousness, people with different degrees of commitment and achievement, curious people, people who are afflicted, people who are happy, sad people, people who are critical and ready to challenge the new, and finally people longing to understand a little more about this conception of Krsna consciousness called Krishna West.
Some aspects were well highlighted in the event as the space of discussion about the role of women as devotees in our society. We know that for a long time we had only a reduced participation in some functions. This brings us to a greater commitment to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, strengthens our self-esteem, also gives us the opportunity to show service, to dialogue and to strengthen the role of women in Srila Prabhupada’s mission side by side with men. In fact, we are not men or women, and this is the biggest challenge, to recognize ourselves as the spirit soul. In a way, this has also been an innovative paradigm presented by the KW perspective, openly discussing old concepts.
I believe that this festival was a moment of great progress in the understanding of Krishna West in Brazil. Of course the festival also showed that much still needs to be discussed so that this perspective is not misunderstood or misinterpreted. The danger of misinterpretation and fundamentalism is all the institutions, and with us it is not any different. However, the lightness of the KW conception presented by Hridayananda das Goswami makes us feel a little more at home, closer to Krsna, bringing more logical and sensible explanations for our daily devotional lives.
The experience of the festival was light, with enlightening lessons, reflective moments, with sounding chants, from classic to pop rock ,with the maha-mantra on meditative walks, japa meditation to the chill of dawn on mangala arotik, the transcendental beauty of Sri Sri Radha-Gokulananda and traditional rituals and tasty food. Listening to Hridayananda das Goswami talking about literature was pure nectar, the conversations with dear friends who have not been in contact for some time…It was pure nectar.
We remain grateful to H.D.Goswami and think that the festival united the essence with the existence, classic and contemporary, and strengthened the commitment Prabhupada’s mission. It instigated us to broaden the view on preaching. He strengthened and brought back to the main agenda the message left by Srila Prabhupada; “Books are the foundation, and preaching is the essence.”
Labanga Dasi (HDG), CGB Brasil 2017
I would like to leave my opinion on Krishna West. For me it is very important that this new look of the Hare Krishna movement, and we can change the way of approach without losing the essence that Srila Prabhupada established, I love Krishna West.
Arundhati Devi Dasi
It was with great satisfaction that I attended the Krsna West Festival in New Gokula!
Everything was very attractive in every way.
Hrdayananda Dasa Goswami was impeccable in relation to the Krishna Consciousness preaching. Throughout the Festival several questions were raised about the practice of Bhakti Yoga within the Krsna West format. And all the questions were answered based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
My relatives and friends who were present found it very interesting how we can apply millennial teachings about loving service to Krishna in the present day in our day-to-day life without the need to change the cultural habits of the family, society and the country where we live.
Narayana Patni dd (Nilza Pandin)
My opinion about the Krishna West Festival in New Gokula was that it was a revival of the hopes of many devotees who had already lost them. The hope of seeing Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON again relevant in the West and the hope of being able to participate effectively in this project.
Your humble servant,
Chaitanya Gosai Das (HDG)
Collaborating in the organization of the 1st Krishna West Festival in Nova Gokula Dhama, Brazil, was a challenging experience, but also extremely motivating! During festival days, for example, I could see how people were involved and immersed in a very strong and benevolent spiritual atmosphere. I, in particular, felt myself in great bliss and fully aware of why I was collaborating with my guru: to collaborate for the growth of Srila Prabhupada’s mission!
After the days of the event, we worked to send the certificates to all of the people who signed up for workshops, seminars and work shops. After sending them, we received emails from the participants and asking for the second Krishna West International Festival!
I have been thinking of Krishna Consciousness for many years. We need to take into account the local culture and circumstances. I am very grateful to our dear H.D.Goswami who during the Festival gave wonderful talks and made a fantastic launch!
Sri Damodara dd (HdG)
The First Krishna West International Festival was simply wonderful.
Thousands of devotees and visitors participated in the event, chant Hare Krishna, savored Sri Krishna Prasada and were able to understand the movement of Krishna consciousness as elaborated by Srila Prabhupada to the West, through chanting as much as possible Krishna’s holy names (the Hare Krishna maha mantra) and, secondly, those who wish to dive into transcendental experience should take shelter in a ISKCON guru, follow the four principles and chant at least sixteen rounds of Maha Mantra Hare Krishna.
During the Festival they had numerous presentations of the Gaudiya-Vaishnava philosophy inspired by the books and teaching of Srila Prabhupada, as well as the celebration of Srila Prabhupada as Acharya-founder and pre-eminent guru of ISKCON.
The proposal of the Krishna Conscious Movement (ISKCON) in the practice of harinama sankirtana for those who did not yet know the process became even clearer and more accessible, and I could see countless devotees who were distant reconnecting in the hope of rescuing their relations with ISKCON.
His Holiness Hridayananda Dasa Goswami made it clear that to participate in Krishna West is to be faithful to the GBC, which means to follow sadhana, the philosophy presented in the books of Srila Prabhupada and the organizational structure of the GBC.
Therefore, I think the First Krishna West International Festival provided a great service to the GBC, and to the mission of Srila Prabhupada!
In 95 I left Nova Gokula for medical treatment and returned to Rio de Janeiro. I lived in pain years, but kept my vows and association, always occupying myself in devotional service, in the temple of Rio and whenever possible in Nova Gokula.
After I started using the internet is that I became aware of your intense desire to save the movement.
It was with great joy that I received the news of the event in Nova Gokula. I counted the days and was really longing for the classes. I helped in the kitchen every day and tried to attend all classes. Everyone was happy and even those who knew nothing, who did not understand yet, left satisfied (testimonials I heard).
It was as if the sun had appeared after a long winter (until the roads, happy weather, emanating cordiality with people of the region, that was captivated), really spring.
Spring in the hearts, which has it as a renewal, of the forces in Prabhupada’s mission. From a movement that can actually save the fallen souls of this age, fulfilling the prophecy of Mahaprabhu.
The 1st International Krishna West Festival was great because almost everyone dressed like gentlemen and ladies as per Srila Prabhupada instructions. People were so comfortable walking around the way we usually do. There were all kinds of lectures encouraging people to improve their Krishna Consciousness without having to pretend to be someone else.
There were devotees from many different countries and the mood was pleasant. I was there with my four granddaughters and one daughter, feeling comfortable, knowing we are part of an International Society for Krishna consciousness.
Our gratitude to the organizers and all glories to the assembled devotees.
Krishna West will certainly help attract more people to the Krishna Consciousness by making bhakti yoga more accessible to Westerners without requiring them to change external and cultural aspects such as clothing and food.
The Brazilian devotees are very enthusiastic to practice devotional service in a more spontaneous way and to preach emphasizing the essential aspects of Bhakti, aiming to make this Movement more relevant within the current society.
Insertion into academic circles is facilitated by this project, showing that Krishna Consciousness is universal and not restricted to India alone.
Daiva Jna das and Sri Yamuna d.d.
Caxias do Sul – RS – Brazil
I am grateful to Hridayananda das Goswami and all the devotees who made the first Krishna West festival in Nova Gokula possible. I am very happy to have been able to participate and personally experience that we can serve together Srila Prabhupada as a spiritual family with true Vaisnava education. There was a climate of true respect, enthusiasm and spiritual introspection, always meditating on the teachings of Sri Krishna and His faithful representative Srila Prabhupada. It was my first experience in attending an event with so many devotees and I am happy that Vrindavan consciousness does not depend on a physical place but on a true meditation in Krishna along with other devotees. It is a great happiness that on this western side of the planet there is a mission like that of Krishna West where hundreds of devotees can congregate to glorify Krishna within their local culture, putting the true values of spiritual education that Krishna teaches us as the center. that we become ladies and gentlemen representing Him within society.
I look forward to the next festival!
Thank you very much!
Happy in your service,
Krishna Ananda dasi
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
My name is Sri Rupa Manjari dd and in 1982 I received diksa initiation from Hridayanada Das Goswami
I participated in the first KW -2017 festival which was a total success! We have received over 1000 guests from different places and many of the devotees were already very excited about their Krishna West projects in their countries of origin.
Everyone was dressed in clean and dignified chaste clothing and the focus has always been on Srila Prabhupada’s instructions presented by H.d.Goswami.
nirvisesa – sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-Tatiane
“You are kindly preching the message of Lord Caitanya and delivering the Western coutries, which are filled with Edith impersonalism in voidism.”
We don’t need to be labeled as Indian.
If you were born in India, it is ok to present yourself in that way, but that is not the norm for becoming a devotee of Krishna. Prabhupada never said that.
That is what Krishna West is bringing us, to be devotees of ISKCON without having to present ourselves as Indians, including food, arts, clothing etc.
Sri Rupa Manjari dd
What I saw in Natal was a preview of the Krishna West Festival.
Even after months of travel and preaching, Hridayananda Das Goswami’s mood and predisposition to rekindle the feeling of preaching and love for chanting of the holy names at the service of Srila Prabhupada was impressive.
He preaches according time, place and circumstance.
He welcomed disciples, sympathizers, in short, everyone.
The definition of loyalty to Srila Prabhupada.
Kadamba dd (HDG)
The First Krishna West Festival unified the devotees, and the atmosphere during the festival was like family, brothers and sisters under one roof. You enthused us with your sincere desire of expanding the preaching for the Srila Prabhupada´s glory and honor.
My loyalty is to you and whatever decision that will be made, I will be at your side always. ISKCON is our big family, it is the family Srila Prabhupada created to give us shelter, to teach us, to reunite us with Krishna at the center. I believe in ISKCON, I believe in the GBC and I believe on you.
Sarvesvara Devi Dasi
I was at the Krishna West Festival in New Gokula along with my 13 year old daughter. The experience was incredible! Several activities occurring simultaneously and with quality. The devotees felt appreciated during the festival.
We had presentations of academic works, book launch, music, dance, dialogues, darshans, and workshops. Nova Gokula also received teachers from the town of Pindamonhangaba’s public school, who came, at the request of the Teaching Board, to participate in the activities as part of their extra-curricular training.
The event was indeed a success, and we look forward to others.
Wishing to serve,
Kalachandji devi dasi HDG
It really was an interactive, educational and inclusive festival, at all levels. Combined with the incredible nature of Nova Gokula, it made it ideal.
I can say that my experience has been extremely positive in every way.
I deeply admired the workshop “A Spiritual Romance” presented by Srila Acaryadeva. I felt the brave Spiritual beauty of Krishna West.
Without a doubt the sincere efforts of Srila Acaryadeva and the support of his faithful devotees, made everything harmoniously possible!
Thank you, my dear Spiritual Father, for providing us with a balanced space, where we can serve, in Krishna Consciousness, in an intelligent, practical way.
His Spiritual Happiness always gives us inspiration and enthusiasm “…
Jaya Srila Acaryadeva!
Marcos Paz, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
My name is Rama Putra das and I am currently acting as one of the directors of ISKCON Nova Gokula, the first community in Brazil idealized by my spiritual master, Hridayananda das Goswami. We were honored to participate in the organization and production of the 1st Krishna West International Festival based in New Gokula.
From the beginning of the planning we decided that the festival would be open to all devotees regardless of opinion or preferences. We formed several work fronts for communication, fundraising for infrastructure and logistics. We evaluated proposals focused on education, art and culture. We received more than 50 proposals with presentations like lectures, work shops and cultural presentations. All were accepted and we set up a structure to distribute all activities in various setups. Those interested had to register and with the collaboration of many teams, all four days of festival predominated sattva guna where union, brotherhood and knowledge of Krishna with intelligent language flowed constantly. One of the most surprising factors of this festival in my opinion was the visit of dozens of senior devotees who had been away for many years and came exclusively to see Hridayananda Das Goswami again. More than a thousand devotees attended and thousands of visitors circulated during the days of the Festival where they felt welcomed with the language of the event, which was accessible and pleasant for all interested in the Krishna consciousness.
On behalf of the administration, I only have much to thank the collaborators and organizers and especially the proponent of this great event, our beloved Hridayananda Das Goswami.