ISKCON Sannyasi Bhakti Caru Swami met with the CSVGC (Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this November 14.
The NGO (Non-governmental organization) had expressed an interest in meeting him during their annual Week of Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, from October 20 – 24th. But Bhakti Caru was unable to attend due to health complications of godbrother Jayapataka Swami.
Nevertheless, CSVGC member Sharon Hamilton-Getz, also known as Saranagati Dasi, organized an informal meeting three weeks later, held at the DC-1 office building on UN Plaza. Three other NGOs – the Sacred and Transcendental Arts Working Group, the Institute of International Social Development, and the Institute for the Development of Education, Arts and Leisure – all joined to make the meeting possible.
A small group of ten NGO representatives and colleagues attended, including Georgina Galanis and Brazil’s Danilo Parmegiani, director of the Legion of Good Will.
The event opened with a chant lead by kirtan performer Kamaniya to set the mood, after which Bhakti Caru Swami spoke about Krishna consciousness.
The current problems of the world are created by our selfishness, anger, and greedy desire to possess more and more, he said. But while we think we own everything, when we pass from this world, we cannot take anything with us. That is because everything is owned by the one Supreme Being, who is the father of us all, whether we call him God, Allah or Krishna. If we realized this we would see that we are all brothers and sisters, and we would treat each other as family. Leaders steeped in this kind of consciousness would do a far better job at solving the world’s problems.
Bhakti Caru went on to explain that we will feel joy when we come back to our inherent relationship with God and stop trying to forget him. He concluded by describing the uplifting power of chanting God’s names, a simple practice that can be executed daily. “Whatever little I can do, I will,” he finished, urging, “This is not a time to be complacent – it is a time to respiritualize our world.”
All the attendees asked questions, and some were deeply affected by Bhakti Caru’s speech. “This appearance allowed God’s power and divinity to blossom once again at the United Nations,” said Georgina Galanis. “It was a reminder of the ‘e pluribus blossoms within’ that we all can nurture, individually and globally.”
Bhakti Charu Swami, however, deflected any praise. “Whatever I was speaking was nothing but a plain and simple representation of my spiritual master, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,” he said.
The meeting opened up many future opportunities for spreading Krishna consciousness. The NGOs who attended look forward to a return visit from Bhakti Caru and hope to interact through an e-group focused on UN Staff, missions, NGOs and individuals in the workplace interested in spiritual wisdom and knowledge.
One attendee pledged to arrange a presentation for the Bhakti Caru-produced video epic on Srila Prabhupada’s life, “Abhay Charan.” Others have already sent proposals for further events and conferences.
Bhakti Caru Swami says the event has opened up some interesting relationships. “When leaving the UN building, we bumped into the president of a group involved with the Middle East peace program,” he recalls. “She and her husband, who is involved with UN military program for peace, came to an evening class I gave in New Jersey and spent one hour with me after the lecture. They have also since expressed their desire to invite me to have a dialogue with some Muslim leaders about peace in the Middle East.”