On Friday, June 10th, 2016 Radhanath Swami was in England to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bhaktivedanta Manor’s long awaited Haveli building. The event was attended by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was hosted by Radhanath Swami along with Sivarama Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Bhakti Caru Swami, Pragosh Das and other ISKCON leaders from the Manor. The ceremony formed part of the Manor’s offerings to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ISKCON. Mr. Cameron congratulated ISKCON on by praising Srila Prabhupada for his creation of a “global mission”.
A reception of over 300 people, including Parliamentary Secretary Under State Shailesh Vara, devotees and patrons, was held in a marquee over the spot where the new Shree Krishna Haveli will be built.
After being shown the Temple Room and deities of Shree Shree Radha Gokulananda, the Prime Minister went on to garland the deity of Srila Prabhupada, stating “if only he had lived to see what the Manor has become; a mock Tudor country house donated by a Beatle, serving as a hub of worship, celebration and selflessness.” (The Bhaktivedanta Manor was donated to ISKCON by George Harrison, of the Beatles.)
The Prime Minister also congratulated ISKCON on its 50th anniversary, joking that he too will celebrate his 50th birthday this year. He went on to say: “I look at what you have done in the past fifty years and I think how much you can achieve in the next fifty. In fact, the next half century begins right now as we begin building the new Krishna Haveli, and I’m delighted to be putting the first tool in the ground.”
Srutidharma Das, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor thanked the Prime Minister for attending, and spoke of the important role of the Haveli and the need to promote the spiritual values of tolerance and kindness. “We at Bhaktivedanta Manor aim to embody these principles at large.”