Indian MP Hema Malini of Bollywood fame, supports ISKCON new temple initiative in Naperville, Illinois

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Hema Malini addressing the crowd after she unveiled the signage for the new temple at ISKCON event May 15, 2022, in Naperville, Illinois. Photo by Tarin Butterfield 

Chicago IL: The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) chapter in Naperville, Illinois held a fundraising dinner May 15, 2022 for the construction of its new temple, ISKCON Radha Shyamasundar. More than 500 devotees and supporters gathered at Ashyana Banquet Hall, a press release from Acyuta-Bhava Dasa & Tarin Butterfield said.

“Why build this temple? When Srila Prabhupada founded this institution, he listed seven purposes of ISKCON,” said Temple President Premananda Devi Dasi in her speech. She then reiterated Srila Prabhupada’s fifth stated purpose: “To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.”

What made this year’s fundraising event more memorable, was the presence of Member of Indian Parliament and Bollywood actress, Hema Malini who landed her first film role as a dancer in 1963 and starred in over 200 movies through her career.

Bollywood Legend Hema Malini with ISKCON communications director Anuttama Dasa. Photo: courtesy Asian Media USA
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She became a devotee of Krishna after she was introduced to the holy place of Vrindavan, which she would later serve as a Member of Parliament.

“I was offered some other places, but I refused. I said I am not interested in being a politician or Member of Parliament from anywhere. If it is given to me, Matura, then I am interested because it is Krishna’s place and I am connected to Krishna. I want to serve there, not as a politician, but you have to be politically connected so you are able to do a lot of work with the help of our government,” Hema Malini recounted at the event. In addition, she has also been helping clean up the Ganga and Yamuna rivers apart from supporting many more important projects in the region.

Chicago’s Award-winning Veena artiste and cultural ambassador performing for ISKCON at their fundraiser with Bollywood queen Hema Malini. Photo: courtesy Asian Media USA

Also in attendance was ISKCON communications director Anuttama Dasa and his wife, Rukmini Devi Dasi.

“…This is the purpose of this ISKCON society; to help us. How do I get the envy out of my heart? How do I get the anger out of my heart? How do I get the greed out of my heart? So that I can become a force for change, for the better – and how can we do that as a community?” Anupama Dasa is quoted saying in the press release

The three-story temple to be built will include a commercial kitchen, snack bar, classrooms, a playground, yoga studio, multipurpose hall, gift shop – “and most importantly, Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara” the press release noted. Temple construction is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming winter.

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