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Our Roots

India embraces one of the earliest civilizations in the world, providing a unique contribution to the cultural heritage of the world in terms of fine arts, literature, architecture, sciences, religion and philosophy. India is a land of diverse religious heritage of which Vaishnavism represents individual monotheism. Devotees of Vishnu, Rama and Krishna are called Vaishnavas.

According to the Vaishnava teachings, the only one way to attain lasting happiness is to awaken and develop our lost affectionate relationship with God. This spiritual process is called the yoga of divine love (bhakti-yoga). Practising it, we can gradually become open-hearted, selfless and faithful. We can read about this in the Vaishnavas’ sacred book, the Bhagavad Gíta. At the end of the spiritual process, pure love for God evolves in our hearts, and this is what we call perfection of life.
Vaishnava temples and holy places can be found all over India. As Vaishnavism is one of the strongest branches of Hinduism; it has millions of followers.

Hinduism in the Western World

Treasures of Hindu philosophy and culture first appeared in Europe during the British colonization of India. There was great influence on some German philosophers, American transcendentalists and Tolstoy, which helped to spread these thoughts throughout Europe, and at the end of the last century they appeared in Hungary as well.

Vaishnavism in Western Countries

In 1966, an elderly Vaishnava monk, Bhaktivedanta Swami, arrived in America. Inspired by his spiritual master, he spread Vaishnava philosophy throughout the western world. Bhaktivedanta Swami, also known as Srila Prabhupad to his followers was a highly-educated, charismatic person with a good sense of humour. Over the course of 11 years, until his departure from this world in 1977, he achieved monumental feats. He translated and published a great number of Vedic scriptures and gave numerous lectures. He initiated thousands of disciples, who established temples, farms and spiritual communities in almost every country in the world. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Srila Prabhupad, Vaishnavism started expanding into western societies.

Vaishnavism in Hungary

In 1972 our Guru met Bhaktivedanta Swami’s disciples in Stockholm. This meeting had a great impact on him, so in Paris in 1973, he became Bhaktivedanta Swami’s disciple. He was given the task by his Master to preach in the socialist countries behind the Iron Curtain. It was a difficult and risky mission at that time because disseminating prohibited literature and idealistic philosophy was a great hazard. His adventurous travels were known far and wide to his contemporaries. In spite of his high stature, his homeland, Hungary, remained a place of great importance to him. From 1976, he regularly visited Hungary.

The first Hungarian Vaishnavas organized their spirtual activities under his guidance. In 1979, together with some of the members of the new Vaishnava community, he purchased some farmland near Szeged. Their goal was to establish a spiritual centre where people could live in harmony with nature and practise their faith freely. The small community developed nicely, and over the years it has been expanding. Thousands of people have visited the centre, experiencing the special atmosphere of the place, including the ancient wisdom of timeless philosophy, the exotic smell of incense-sticks, Indian vegetarian cuisine and heart-warming hospitality.

In 1985, our Master entered into the renounced order of life and he received the name Bhakti_Abhay_Narayan_Swami. He accepted many disciples up until his departure from this world in 1993. He translated into Hungarian and published Bhagavad Gíta and many other Vaishnava scriptures. He also launched the publication of two periodicals. Kagylókürt is a cultural magazine which is distributed all over Hungary and, the other one, Gangesz, represents Vaishnava philosophy. Both periodicals are still being published. In his final years, Narayan Swami taught Vaishnava philosophy and Sanskrit at the University in Pécs.
Today centres operate in many towns, where Vaishnavas and their friends can meet. The most important event of our community was the building of the Vaishnava Hindu Temple in Nandafalva. Vaishnavism has been present in Hungary for 25 years and in a humble way it continues to spread all over the country.

Vaishnava Hindu Temple on the Hungarian Plain

The temple is situated five km from Balástya, and its unique style combines traditional Hungarian and Vaishnava architectural elements, symbolising the existence of two geographically distinct cultures living together in harmony.
A small Vaishnava community has been living in this rural area of the Hungarian Plain for about 20 years. The core of the community comprises 8 families. Each family is virtually self-sufficient, maintaining a house and a garden of their own. The homesteads are situated one or two km from each other. Weekdays are full of work but at the weekends and on holidays the community gets together. The Hindu worship, similar to the Christian service, consists of singing and preaching with the Vaishnava Brahmanas wearing traditional Indian robes.

Although the temple has been operating for several years, some of the internal works and external decorations are not yet completed. Our plan is to create a park around the temple with plants matching the landscape. We also intend to renovate the old community house and build new guest quarters. Our intention is to launch Vaishnava Open University and summer camps dealing with topics like naturalistic lifestyle, yoga and environmental protection.

There are only a few Hindu temples in Europe, therefore we hope that our Vaishnava temple in Balástya will be able to contribute to the cultural value and attraction of the area through its architectural values and events.

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