Several members of the Hindu Forum of Europe met with leaders of the Hindu Community of Portugal on 23nd of June 2017 at a hall offered by the City of Lisbon. Mahaprabhu dasa, General Secretary made a presentation of the work of HFE and how it is important for Hindu Communities in different countries in Europe to create platforms to represent them to the Government, Media, Religious Leaders, etc. At present the Hindu Forum of Europe has 10 member organisations from 8 different European Countries. It is helping different countries create umbrella organisations like Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France. The feedback from the Hindu Leaders which included the President and Vice President of the largest Hindu Temple in Portugal and the President of the Shiva Temple was very positive and there was a genuine interest in setting up a Hindu Forum of Portugal. They are planning to meet in September or October to see how to go forward with the plan.
On 23rd of June we had a full day of Conference and Meeting of the Hindu Forum of Europe. We had representatives of UK, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Portugal. In the morning there was a Conference on Yoga and Hinduism which had a panel of 3 speakers: Amrta Suryananda Maharaja, Radj Bhondoe and Mahaprabhu dasa. There were about 30 persons attending the Conference in the morning. In the afternoon we had the Annual General Assembly and we spoke about the upcoming Diwali Event at the European Parliament on 11th of October and we hear reports from the President Lakshmi Vyas and other members of the Board like Mandakini, Gianluca and Assembly like Parabhakti dasa, Malati dasi and others. The ISKCON Temple of Lisbon organised Lunch Prasadam at the venue which was in the same place as the meeting of the previous day offered by the City of Lisbon. The Portuguese Yoga Confederation who is a member of HFE helped organise the event by getting the venue and taking care of the transportation from the Airport to the Hotel and from the Hotel to the Venue in the city center. In the evening we visited the famous Radha Krishna Temple a majestic Temple run by the Gujarati Community.
On the 24th in the morning we had time to visit the Swaminarayan Temple and the Shiva Temple and do some sightseeing. We had Lunch Prasadam at the Hare Krishna Temple and Restaurant. In the afternoon we were taken to the Yoga Conference organised by the Portuguese Yoga Confederation where about 200 persons were waiting to hear several speeches. After a short introduction by Amrta Suryananda Maharaja, the President of the Hindu Forum Europe Lakshmi and Mahaprabhu went to the event organised by the Radha Krishna Temple in honour of Prime Minister of India Modi and Prime Minister of Portugal Costa.
They had a chance to be in the group of dignitaries that listened to the Speech of PM Modi and later had a chance to take a photo with him and the leaders of the Radha Krishna Temple.
After that event they rushed back to the Yoga Conference where everyone was waiting for Mahaprabhu dasa to speak on Yoga and Hinduism. Anuttama dasa and Rukmini dasi also were present at the events and spoke at the Yoga Conference.
On the 25th of June the HFE of Europe participated in a large event organised by the Portuguese Yoga Confederation to celebrate World Yoga Day. Many dignitaries, religious leaders and the Ambassador of India, Nandini, participated. There were over 800 persons in the large stadium field in their Yoga clothes on their Yoga mats. On The stage there were Kirtans, speeches, demonstrations and a beautiful performance by children. Both Lakshmi Vyas and Mahaprabhu dasa spoke at the event and all the participants of HFE were very happy. In the afternoon we did some sightseeing and visited historical and beautiful places all over Lisbon.
On the 26th of June we visited the amazing Ashram of the Portuguese Yoga Confederation about 45 Minutes from Lisbon and had a delicious lunch with Amrta Suryananda Maharaja and his team of dedicated Yoga followers.
It was a great experience to spend a few days together and meet so many amazing people and places. Next year the Annual Conference and General Assembly will be held in Villa Vrindavan and beautiful ISKCON Temple in the hills of Tuscany near Florence on 5 6 May or 12 13 May.