We are pleased to introduce you to fourteen devotees receiving the first ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards (IEEA). To encourage exemplary devotees, IEEA will be announced annually. Winners will be chosen after nominations are considered at a European Leaders Meeting. This year the winners are:
Bhava Bhakti Devi Dasi in the category of Voluntary Services ISKCON London Spiritual Master: Radhanath Swami Number of years doing this service: 6 Description of this service: Bhava Bhakti voluntarily serves as the temple administrator. She looks after all non-financial concerns, such as, recruitment, induction, disciplinary procedures, devotee records, resignations and exit interviews, asset insurance, vehicle insurance and tax, paperwork and record keeping. Brief description of her other services: Bhava Bhakti is the coordinator of the Counsellor System. She ensures that all counselling is regularly reported, and she prepares the agenda and keeps the minutes at Counsellor Board meetings. She is also in charge of the ladies’ ashram. Something special about her service: She has taken all this responsibility in spite of having a fulltime job. She is friendly, hard-working, reliable, caring, jolly, enthusiastic, meticulous and determined, and chants twenty rounds a day in one go.
Bhakta Eshwar Kesso in the category of Caring for Devotees ISKCON Dublin Number of years doing this service: 4 Description of this service: Bhakta Eshwar looks after the devotees’ health, fitness and wellbeing, as he is a retired surgeon. He took up exceptional responsibility (in terms of time, care, and financial contributions) to open the ISKCON Dublin temple. It opened on April 5, 2009, and without his financial help, it would not be open. His tireless enthusiasm, despite his advanced age, continues to inspire devotees in Dublin. He also transportation and moral support. Brief description of his other services: He does community development, prasada distribution, book distribution, congregational outreach, diplomatic/media relations, and helps facilitate Rathayatra.
Jai Nitai Dasa in the categories of Management and Congregational Preaching ISKCON London Spiritual Master: Radhanath Swami Description of these services: He joined ISKCON London in 1999 and is now the Temple President, so he oversaw the fortieth anniversary celebration in November 2009. He oversees all aspects of the temple by managing the Temple Leaders Council. He counsels a number of devotees. He attends evening programs at the homes of congregational members. Under his management, congregational members have taken financial and managerial responsibility for festivals in the temple. His sadhana is strong. He is convinced of the importance of book distribution and takes part in marathons. He is on the University Preaching team, linked to the youth group ISKCON Pandava Sena. He gives classes and seminars throughout the London area. Brief description of his other services: While he was the Vice President, he was in charge of sankirtana and temple festivals. He has headed the preaching department and congregational development team. Something special about his service: Jai Nitai empowers people to serve according to their skills and abilities. He took on huge responsibilities while young (materially and spiritually) and still thrives, leading by example.
Jiva Pati Dasa in the category of Pujari Service Bhaktivedanta Manor Spiritual Master: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Number of years doing this service: 32 Description of this service: Jiva Pati came to Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1977 and has been a fulltime pujari since. He has been rising by 3 a.m. daily (unless ill) to wake the Deities and perform services related to Their bathing and dressing. His life has been simple, dedicated, and sublime. He is a fine example of surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord. Something special about his service: In 1996, Jiva Pati was taken to a hospital. Because he had hardly left the temple for many years, he was surprised to see the hospital’s automatic doors opening for him as he approached them. He joked: “These doors must think I’m somebody special. I think they’ve got the wrong guy.”
Krsna Viddhi Dasa in the category of Harinama ISKCON London Spiritual Master: Krsna Ksetra Prabhu Description of this service: Krsna Viddhi joined ISKCON London in 1996. He leads a daily harinama procession on Oxford Street twice a day, regardless of whether devotees join him or not. Brief description of his other services: He used to manage the lunch program at the temple. He did this for more than five years before dedicating himself to harinama. Something special about his service: His genuine taste for the holy names is evident in his bright face and humble demeanour. He holds no position yet his practical example of finding satisfaction in chanting the holy names inspires many others to chant.
Lalita Govinda Dasa in the category of Padayatra ISKCON Slovenia Spiritual Master: Radhanath Swami Number of years doing this service: 9 Description of this service: Lalita Govinda is the founder and main engine behind the annual Padayatra in Slovenia. It is called an Ecocaravan and is basicaly a moving temple on the roads with full-on activities: harinam, book and prasadam distribution, and some Deity worship. Forty to fifty devotees (some from other countries) take part for two or three weeks each summer. To organize such a project, one has to be empowered. The services include aquiring all the papers and documents for government offices, the police, and local authorities; arranging free accomodation; dealing with financial considerations, publicity; caring for an ox, ox cart, and Deities; managing traffic safety; and above all inspiring people and building the teamwork of the devotees. The project is improving annually and written strategic planning has been done for the last three years. In 2009, 4500 brochures, 2900 books, and 15000 prasadam cookies were distributed in 16 days. Find out more at http://www.harekrisna.net/ekokaravana/index.php Something special about his service: His dedication and determination to serve in full surrender, humility and sacrifice is contagious. He is fully capable, dependent on Krsna, and empowered to inspire devotees to go along.
Mangalananda Dasa in the category of Book Distribution Spiritual Master: Bhakti Bhusana Swami Number of years doing this service: 30 Description of this service: He distributes books and has been inspiring the whole German yatra to do so for many years. The German sankirtana scores are a testimony to this. Even in difficult times for the German yatra, his loyalty to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada’s mission of book distribution remained strong. Despite there being a leadership crisis in Germany for almost ten years ago, book distribution in Germany and Austria never ceased. We can thank Mangalananda for every book that has been distributed and every book distributor who has been trained.
Murli Manohara Dasa in the category of Pujari Service ISKCON London Spiritual Master: Sivarama Swami Description of this service: Murli Manohara exemplifies how a brahminical Vaishnava should act. He is peaceful, learned, and patient. He always seeks ways to glorify Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara and dedicates his life to Them. He is not married. He balances the demanding task of heading of the men’s ashram, and devotees know that he will always draw from the sastras in his dealings and be fair to all.
Parasurama Dasa in the categories of Festivals and Food for All Bhaktivedanta Manor and London’s King’s Cross Preaching Centre Spiritual Master: Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami Description of these services: In Dublin, in 1982, he joined ISKCON. For him, a typical festival day is taking a cart to a carnival and cooking and distributing prasada. On Saturday nights he leads the harinama in central London. The Food for All progam in London distributes to both the poor and college students. He cooks enough prasadam for the London Rathayatra to feed fifteen thousand. In recent years, he took a Rathayatra cart to nine festivals in eleven days in three countries: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Parivadi Dasa in the categories of Administration / Communication / Book distribution ISKCON Abentheuer (Goloka Dhama) Number of years doing this service: 18 Description of these services: He is the backbone of the German yatra. He is the link between ISKCON and the German government. He has upheld book distibution in the leadership vacuum during the past decade. Without his loyalty to Srila Prabhupada’s movement, there would not be an ISKCON presence in Germany now. His services made it possible for Dina Sarana Dasi to assume a leading role in the Euro-GBC and GBC in reviving the German-Austrian yatra.
Rupa Manjari Devi Dasi in the categories of Book distribution and Prison Ministry ISKCON Radhadesh Spiritual Master: Lokanath Swami Description of these services: She collects books for prisoners in the Benelux and visits prisons with the books. She also takes care of some prisoners. She gives guided tours in Radhadesh and has set up Smart Boxes there for guests. She preaches in Spain, takes part in the morning programs and festivals at Radhadesh, and always lends a respectful ear to all. Her unconditional bhakti and way of life helps devotees, visitors, and prisoners.
Sridhama Dasa in the category of Book distribution Bhaktivedanta Manor Spiritual Master: Sivarama Swami Description of this service: He has been distributing books since he joined ISKCON. Even while performing other services, he has always remained attached to book distribution. He goes out regularly and steadily throughout the year and during every marathon. In recent years, he has been distributing books in the Far East for part of each year. He is humble and has never been married.
Titiksu Dasa in the category of Festivals ISKCON London Description of this service: He oversees the Rathayatra carts and gets them to the UK and European festivals by truck. He raises funds and organises permits and the volunteers. He built two extra carts for the London Rathayatra in 2004, refurbished the oldest cart in 2008. He has encouraged many devotees to serve on the Rathayatra team. He is steady in his service and leads by example. Titiksu, year after year, demonstrates humility to the devotees and Srila Prabhupada. He serves without distraction, and his only motive is to help spread Krishna consciousness. His service is consistently excellent.
Vimala Devi Dasi in the category of Pujari Service ISKCON London Spiritual Master: Bhakti-Swarupa Damodar Maharaja Number of years doing this service: 25 Description of this service: She serves as a pujari and has trained many devotees. During the day she works at a local hospital as a nurse. In between shifts, she does pujari services every day: waking the Deities or putting Them to rest (sometimes both) and cooking lunch on weekends. On festival days, she cooks 108 preparations for the Deities. And she is always friendly and gracious and determined to serve. She engages others in service and has been serving for a long time.