Are We Bound or Free?

A multifaceted look at the question of our free will.

A controversy arose during a Sunday discussion at ISKCON's Saranagati Village, in British Columbia, Canada. Some devotees quoted a famous Bhagavad-gita verse (3.27) where Krishna says, “The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of nature [goodness, passion, and ignorance].”

Worlds of Magic, Worlds of Truth

Might our fascination with the fantastic creations of writers, artists, and filmmakers suggest something about reality?

Extra-terrestrial and mythical creatures have invaded our world, along with gods and superheroes, gnomes and fairies, dwarves and elves, hobbits and wizards, hippogriffs and dragons, centaurs and Cyclopes. These are the creations of imaginative geniuses – filmmakers, writers, and artists – who are pouring out more gripping and fascinating blockbusters than ever before. Some of their ideas stem from mythology, legends, and folklore that have intrigued man for thousands of years.

A Riverbed of Desire

A film on the plight of the Yamuna River fulfills a dancer?s wish to portray the goddess Yamuna Devi.

A dream vision: The curtains open slowly as if hesitating to reveal the concealed beauty of a moonlit forest. The gentle rays of the moon softly illuminate the leaves. The refreshing sound of splashing water from a scintillating waterfall combines with a soft, mournful drone that seems to shape the foggy mist dancing over the waterfall’s lake. A gentle breeze makes the moon quiver in the river’s palmlike ripples.

ISKCON Vladivostok: Where Krishna Reigns in Russia’s Far East

When the USSR gave up its communist regime, the Krishna consciousness movement opened centers across Russia, including one in this remote city.

The city of Vladivostok (“Ruler of the East”) is situated in the far east of Russia, a few hundred kilometers north of China. The region was long under Chinese rule, but Russia acquired it through the Treaty of Beijing in 1860. In time Russians migrated from the western part of the country, and it is now an important port serving the eastern region of Russia.

Meditating on the Damodarashtaka

A prayer sung daily during the sacred month of Karttika highlights Lord Krishna’s submission to the love of His pure devotees.

Prayer is the universal language by which the human heart communes with the divine heart. Poetry is an artistic means for verbalizing the heart’s deep emotions. Singing is a popular method to express one’s emotions.

Villa Vrindavan: Krishna's Home in Tuscany

In the hills outside Florence, Italy – a country famous for its Renaissance art – Lord Krishna's devotees are sprucing up His temple with their own devotional artistry.

Villa Vrindavan, in Italy, almost looks too old to have a future, but the humble devotees there are confident it will. ISKCON’s oldest building probably, the villa is four centuries old. Naturally, not everything works. A sunken semicircular fountain does not spout. The front roof nobly displays a stopped clock; the bell over it no longer chimes times.

The Dual Stories of Krishna’s Birth

If Krishna never leaves Vrindavan, as spiritual authorities tell us, how could He be born in Mathura?

Last year on Janmashtami, the celebration of Krishna’s appearance in this world, numerous Indian newspapers and magazines reminded readers that two years earlier they had celebrated the 5,125th anniversary of Krishna’s birth.

Srila Prabhupada's Legacy Lives On

A look at the history and current status of some of Prabhupada's initiatives for spreading Krishna consciousness.

"It's an astonishing story. If someone told you a story like this, you wouldn't believe it. Here's this person, he's seventy years old, he's going to a country where he's never been before, he doesn't know anybody there, he has no money, has no contacts. He has none of the things, you would say, that make for success. He's going to recruit people not on any systematic basis, but just picking up whomever he comes across and he's going to give them responsibility for organizing a worldwide movement.

A Facelift for Prabhupada's Palace of Gold

Built in the 1970s, the monument in the hills of West Virginia is getting some much-needed restorative attention.

(Archival research by Chaitanya Mangala Dasa)

In the summer of 1965 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada left India with a specific mission: his teacher, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, had bestowed upon him the loving task of bringing the profound spiritual wisdom of Krishna consciousness to the Western world.

Not Your Everyday God

By learning about Krishna, people can expand their idea of what it means to be God.

God. Perhaps no word in the English language is laden with more emotional baggage. For some it conjures reveries of gratitude and adoration. For many others it evokes anger, fear, or doubt. In either case, the conceptions that flood the mind of the average person – at least in the Judeo-Christian West – are almost all mistaken.

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