“So do something wonderful there in Gainesville. Wonderful means simply you chant loudly and distribute prasadam. That is not very difficult. It is very easy. Simply if you do it enthusiastically and sincerely, then success will be there.” – (Letter from Srila Prabhupada dated June 29, 1971)
Since, receiving this letter over four decades ago, the devotees of ISKCON Gainesville (Florida, USA) have been striving to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. Serving up to 1,200 students a day, five days a week, the Krishna Lunch prasadam distribution program has flourished under Srila Prabhupada’s vision. Krishna Lunch is served on the University of Florida’s main crossroads, the Plaza of the Americas, which is the very place Srila Prabhupada lectured to over 500 students and faculty on his visit to Gainesville in 1971.
As most devotees can attest to, not every town receives its local Hare Krishna community with arms wide open. But through Srila Prabhupada’s plan, Gainesville has proven itself to be incredibly favorable. A quiet college town, Gainesville welcomed the University of Florida (and its 102 students) in 1906.
Today, UF is known as one of the nation’s top universities, enrolling 50,000 students, many of which have heard the Holy Name, associated with devotees, and taken prasadam on the UF campus since 1971. Krishna Lunch is an integral part of the student experience at UF with students being introduced to Krishna Lunch during official campus tours and alumni reminded of Krishna Lunch in alumni magazine.
This relationship between the University of Florida and Krishna Lunch is only growing stronger, as the devotees of ISKCON Gainesville are now teaming up with the University of Florida on the Renovation of the Plaza, the very place Srila Prabhupada lectured forty-three years ago. This campaign solidifies the relationship between UF and the Gainesville devotees and will result in the naming of an entire section of the Plaza after Krishna Lunch.
Of the $250,000 necessary for this naming opportunity, over half has already been raised through private donations from alumni and friends of Krishna Lunch. In addition to this naming opportunity, the Gainesville devotees are reaching out to the devotee community, in hopes of raising $15,000 specifically for the installation of a commemorative plaque, marking the site of Srila Prabhupada’s visit and lecture.
Anyone wishing to help them to solidify Srila Prabhupada’s legacy in Gainesville for years to come by marking this special place of pilgrimage and outreach, please make a donation or to request more information at www.krishnalunch.com/plaza or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KrishnaLunch.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies