Message from Balabhadra Prabhu:

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Message from our own ๐–๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง ๐˜๐จ๐ ๐ข - ๐๐ž๐ง๐ง๐ฒ ๐‰ ๐“๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฆ๐š๐ง (๐๐š๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ก๐š๐๐ซ๐š ๐๐ก๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ๐š ๐ƒ๐š๐ฌ๐š) - ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐…๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐€๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง

๐•๐ข๐ž๐ฐ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ฎ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐š๐ง ๐€๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐€๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ/๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ

๐‡๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐Š๐ซ๐ฌ๐ง๐š ๐๐ž๐š๐ซ ๐Œ๐š๐ญ๐š๐ฃ๐ข, ๐๐ซ๐š๐›๐ก๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ,

๐ป๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐ผ ๐‘—๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘ก ๐‘ค๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘๐‘’โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘“ ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘‰๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ ๐น๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘’๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘  ๐ด๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘ฃ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘  ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘Ž.

๐ต๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž ๐ตโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ๐‘Ž ๐‘‘๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘Ž
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I grew up in the South during the 1950s and 60s. Those were troublesome times for the ๐€๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐€๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ. During those times they identified us as Negroes. As an ethnic minority, it was very difficult to understand what our place in the world was. Honestly, there was an element of shame associated with being black.

During the late sixties, I became involved in the "๐‡๐ข๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž" which exposed me to the concept of "๐”๐ง๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž." I was not familiar with this ๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž, ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐ข๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ž ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ/๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž.

My first exposure to this culture was through my association in 1971, with ๐“๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ž๐ง๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ฅ ๐Œ๐ž๐๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ข ๐Œ๐š๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ก ๐˜๐จ๐ ๐ข. I was a performing artist in the Atlanta and surrounding areas and heavily involved with the culture of "Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll."

Eventually around 1972, I came in contact with disciples of ๐‡๐ข๐ฌ ๐ƒ๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐†๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐€.๐‚. ๐๐ก๐š๐ค๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š ๐’๐ฐ๐š๐ฆ๐ข ๐๐ซ๐š๐›๐ก๐ฎ๐ฉ๐š๐๐š, the founder Acharya of the ๐ˆ๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐’๐จ๐œ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐Š๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ง๐š ๐œ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ. They then introduced me was then to the ๐๐ก๐š๐ ๐š๐ฏ๐š๐ ๐†๐ข๐ญ๐š, which is the most well known of all Vedic texts. This holy book is very dear and sacred to all Hindus and Westerners who have adopted these teaching and practices. I became an initiated disciple of ๐๐ก๐š๐ค๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š ๐’๐ฐ๐š๐ฆ๐ข ๐๐ซ๐š๐›๐ก๐ฎ๐ฉ๐š๐๐š in July 1974 during his visit to Chicago for a major Hindu/Vedic festival, Ratha Yatra.

Interestingly, around 1974 I was fortunate to meet one of Swami Prabhupada's very first disciples, ๐‘๐ฎ๐ฉ๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐ ๐š ๐ƒ๐š๐ฌ๐š. He encouraged to join the local ๐€๐ญ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š ๐‡๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐Š๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก๐ง๐š ๐“๐ž๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž and that they would train me as a leader and then I should go back and help the ๐๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ค ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ง๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ. This instruction has constantly inspired me to expose this great ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ/๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž and philosophy to the urban communities.

During the present time of racial tensions in America, I along with other Hindu/Vedic leaders are considering what we can do to impact and help to change this painful and distressful situation.

๐ถ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐ป๐‘–๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘ข/๐‘‰๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘๐‘’๐‘๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘ค๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘ค๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘›๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘ ๐‘๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”, ๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘š๐‘๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘–๐‘›โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘’๐‘ .

๐‘บ๐’ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“ ๐’˜๐’† ๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’‡๐’š ๐’‚๐’” ๐’‚๐’ ๐‘จ๐’‡๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’, ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’– ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’, ๐‘จ๐’”๐’Š๐’‚๐’ ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’, ๐‘พ๐’‰๐’Š๐’•๐’† ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’, ๐’๐’“ ๐’‚๐’ ๐‘จ๐’Ž๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’„๐’๐’๐’๐’“, ๐’˜๐’† ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐’”๐’‘๐’Š๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’–๐’‚๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ๐’” ๐’†๐’’๐’–๐’‚๐’ ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’†๐’š๐’†๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘บ๐’–๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’Ž๐’† ๐‘ณ๐’๐’“๐’….

One thing that I have learned during my several efforts to share Hindu/Vedic principles in the primarily African American community, is that these communities are not looking for a handout. They are desperately in need of help in building up their communities, especially in the areas of affordable housing not just gentrification. Jobs and other meaningful social activities for their youth and young adults are also a major concern along with educational help.

Some years ago I partnered with a young African American community activist who was working in my hometown of East Point Georgia and during that time some local people who knew about my association with the Hindu community, said to me "๐‘€๐‘Ÿ. ๐‘‡๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘˜ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐ป๐‘–๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘ข ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘’๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘  ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘ข๐‘  โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ค ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘‘๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘  ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘ฆ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘‘๐‘œ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”." One reason for this question is that many of the small businesses in their communities are owned by Hindu community members.

I am serving as the ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐…๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐€๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง, an organization focused on preserving and presenting the various aspects of the Hindu/Vedic culture, in a manner suitable for the present environment which is plagued by such issues as racism. This is the first time to my knowledge that they have elected an ๐€๐Ÿ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐€๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐š๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š ๐ฆ๐š๐ฃ๐จ๐ซ ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ ๐›๐š๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ข๐ณ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง. I am honored to serve in this capacity and the support and encouragement have been tremendous.

So I am confident that with the vast resources of our Hindu/Vedic community, we can have a positive and powerful impact on developing our communities of color.

๐๐ž๐ง๐ง๐ฒ ๐‰ ๐“๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฆ๐š๐ง (๐๐š๐ฅ๐š๐›๐ก๐š๐๐ซ๐š ๐๐ก๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ๐š ๐ƒ๐š๐ฌ๐š)

๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐•๐ž๐๐ข๐œ ๐…๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐€๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง

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