Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:
Even as the world comes to terms with the post COVID lifestyle, trying to deal with the social, and economic disruptions, the real impact of this global crisis on the mental, and emotional wellbeing of people is yet to be properly understood. While the fear of a third wave and the uncertainty of the multiple variants coming up, the mounting financial uncertainty has taken a toll on people. Today they are also dealing with anxiety, grief, and pain of losing a family member or friend, isolation, and depression. At such times, while medical science and governments all over the world are fiercely working to combat the spread of the virus, NGOs and other support groups are working closely with the communities to provide food, essentials, and emotional support.
In the same spirit but in a larger manner, ISKCON has also been pitching in, helping provide much more than material and emotional support. Apart from providing food, and support, the organisation is providing hope, and building faith and mental resilience – vital qualities needed for any society to be able to fight and emerge as survivors after a deadly global pandemic.
Speaking about the various initiatives, Sri Narottam Priya Das, Spiritual Guide at ISKCON Bhiwandi, said, “Our revered Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, and the inspiration behind Food for Life initiative, Srila Prabhupada, had stated that no one within ten miles of an ISKCON temple should go hungry. Since then, ISKCON devotees worldwide have been serving people with free, nutritious, and Satvik food at temple premises, mobile van services, and dedicated community relief programs, across cities around the world. Our ‘Food For Life’ is also the world’s largest vegetarian food distribution program, serving millions of meals daily, with projects in over 60 countries. Currently, in the backdrop of the global pandemic, ISKCON has already distributed over 15 Crore free meals across the country in the past 14 months and continues to do so through its various locations. We at ISKCON Bhiwandi are dedicated to doing our bit for the needy. Apart from serving Satvik nutritious meals to the needy, we are also helping people cope with mental stress, and anxiety, through our online courses that are designed in a way that harnesses the age-old wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita. We trust that during these crucial times, it is service to humanity and prayers to almighty that can help us tide over all hurdles.”
The temple’s several online sessions are focused on mental health management through meditations and chanting, based on the Bhagavat Gita, to help people spiritually. These courses are open to all and come at nominal fees, to ensure spiritual help is not restricted to a few people but is made available to the masses! Further, they also conduct specialised, free courses for COVID frontline warriors, special sessions for professionals battling WFH woes and job uncertainty, and students struggling with mental health issues. The courses are designed to enable people to reconnect with themselves and discover peace through meditation and chanting the name of Krishna.
ISKCON BHIWANDI is located in Mansarovar area of Bhiwandi and has been working with local communities and residents, conducting several spiritual, religious, and welfare activities as well as promoting the Vedic way of life. An offshoot of the revered ISKCON Juhu temple, the ISKCON Bhiwandi temple was set up 4 years ago and has been a center of peace and solace for devotees and locals alike, who have been benefiting from the generous activities and initiatives by the temple.
About Narrotam Priya Das
Born as Neel Vasvani, Narottam Priya Das is a former finance professional who left his successful career with Citibank, to become a dedicated ISKCON monk, who has been teaching principles of the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam via workshops, interactive sessions, and weekly classes. Being a professional himself, Narottam Priya Das also conducts special sessions on work-life balance and finding religion in the busy life and offers gives personalized counseling sessions to working professionals and couples.