The Hare Krsna movement is among the oldest, biggest, best organised and probably the most active, noticeable, and recognisable ‘new’ religious movement in Slovenia. The ISKCON community in Slovenia mainly consists of the temple in Ljubljana as well as a number of smaller congregational groups throughout the country. I participated intensively in various activities in the temple and visited devotees who lived outside the temple in their own households.
The beginnings of ISKCON in Slovenia go back to the early 1980s, when devotees brought the movement from Croatia. At the beginning, they rented an apartment for their meetings and religious ceremonies in Ljubljana. In 1989 they rented a house and adopted it as their first temple. The movement was officially registered as a religious community in 1983 under the name ‘Society for Krishna Consciousness’. In December 1992 the community moved into a bigger house, where the ‘Hare Krishna Centre’ still exists today. The centre (or temple) has two functions: it enables spiritual education of the adherents living in the community, and it provides cultural and spiritual education for its congregational members and visitors. The temple’s regular activities include a Sunday programme (with spiritual music, a lecture on Krsna consciousness, and vegetarian food), morning and evening lectures on a daily basis, and traditional worshipping (arati). Apart from these activities, the community organizes nama-hattas, regular meetings of congregational members in towns across Slovenia. Their activities also include the translating and selling of books (to date, ten books by the movement’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, have been translated into Slovene). Within the international humanitarian project ‘Food for Life’, the devotees deliver food to the homeless and the poor. They occasionally visit retirement homes, prisons, and residences for the disabled. The community organises a bhakti-yoga summer school and seminars for congregational members and others who are interested. The community also occasionally organises other cultural and spiritual programmes and courses across Slovenia.
The movement gained wide publicity in 1990 with the first ‘Hare Krishna Festival’. There was a similar reaction to the second ‘Hare Krishna Festival’ in 1993, which took place in a sports hall in the centre of Ljubljana, where more than two thousand people attended. Due to such positive reaction to the second festival, as well as frequent lectures by ISKCON spiritual leaders across Slovenia, a number of new adherents moved into the temple. A pop-rock musical group, Transcendence, also emerged. Furthermore, a large prasadam (sanctified food) distribution programme began and the selling of books became extremely successful.
In 1996, Deities of Gaura-Nitai were installed and all the necessary requisites for deity worship were set up in the temple. During this period, marked by new leadership in the temple, many devotees moved out, and the first marriage ceremony was conducted. At that time, the community saw this marriage in an extremely negative light, and the two newly married devotees were practically excommunicated. Also in 1996, a summer camp was organised for the first time and many adherents took part.
The highest recorded number of devotees lived in the temple at the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997. Book distribution was still successful. Many members took part in the summer camp in the Croatian seaside town Pula. Initiations were very common in this period and, for the first time, initiation was conferred to devotees who did not live in the temple. Towards the end of 1997 many members of the community married and moved out of the temple. There was also the first official divorce of a couple married according to the traditional Vedic rules. Quite a few devotees gradually distanced themselves from the temple. Some of them entered the Gaudiya Math: another Vaisnava organisation. Video gallery >>
More information about Devotees of Krsna in Slovenia go to >>
Web site: http://www.harekrisna.net
Tel: 041 203 865 (Bh. Borut Vidmar)
Tel: 031 215 942 (bh. Sašo Vrtovec)
Tel: 051 425 537 (bh. Dejan Burnik)
Tel: 040 889 259 (Mahaprabhu Gaura das)
Tel: 051 670 193 (Radha Bhakti dd)
Tel: 07 4956263, 051 422 856 (Madhava prija)
Slomškov trg 6, 3000 Celje
Tel: 031 780 820 (Kavi Karnapura das)
Sanga Novi Vrindavan
Tel: (01) 7054301, 041 396562 (Išana das)
Tel: 041 466 359 (Madan Mohan das)
ISKCON KRIŠKA VAS
Tel: 031 822 624 (Bhagavat Dharma das)
Tel: 040 223 662 (Bh. Rok Koritnik)
Tel: 040 270 417 (Gargamuni das)