On March 25th the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London hosted Radhanath Swami as the keynote speaker for their charity cultural show entitled The Sacred Forest. The event was held at the prestigious Brunei Gallery and attended by over 275 students and guests. Coming at the end of the University term, excitement surrounded the occasion. For many, the evening served as an introduction to the culture and history of Vrindavan through music, dance and drama. The cultural show also served to raise awareness and support for the ‘Hare Krishna’ prasadam distribution team who have become an integral part of the SOAS community over the last seven years.

Before the program, Radhanath Swami was welcomed by the Director of the University, Professor Paul Webley and the chaplain Reverend Stephen Williams. Radhanath Swami spoke with them of the history of Chaitanya Vaishnavism and answered their questions regarding the life and devotional service of his spiritual master Srila Prabhupada.

The event began with a short spoken word drama and a soft kirtan performed by the Kirtan London ensemble. The audience was led through the show with a story adapted from the tale of 24 gurus from the Srimad Bhagavatam, aided by narrations and visuals. This was followed by a short presentation and appreciation of the prasadam distribution team for their tireless service at the university. Croatian devotee Prema Harinama was noted particularly for his contribution.

Carrying on with the spirit of the evening, Radhanath Swami spoke of two types of hunger: of the stomach and of the heart. He recalled teachers who taught him that hunger of the heart is the greatest problem in the world and explained, “One can have wealth, fame, power and prestige, but if they lack inner fulfillment, they will struggle to find real happiness”.

The final act of the night was a combined performance from the Kirtan London ensemble who performed some of the sacred songs of Vrindavan, accompanied by an elegant dancer. The audience then moved outside to enjoy the feast being served. Many of the guests purchased a copy of The Journey Home and queued to speak personally with Radhanath Swami or have their books signed.