The Vaisnava Acarya Symphony: A United Nations Cultural Project - ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry

The Vaisnava Acarya Symphony: A United Nations Cultural Project

Commissioned by H.H. Jayapataka Swami, Co-Minister for Congregational Development in ISKCON

This article is a description about of one of the services by HH Jayapataka Swami to further Srila Prabhupada’s mission at every possible level around the world.

In 2014, Jayapataka Maharaja conceived the Vaisnava Acarya Symphony, a cultural project to be included in an initiative of the United Nations to be used by its diplomats to promote Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, these achievements focus on areas of critical importance for all humanity and the environment. This was adopted by the heads of state, government and high representatives in September, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. 

The Vaisnava Acarya Symphony project was commissioned as a personal instruction to Bhadra Rupa das (a Peruvian/Danish disciple), who is based in Geneva, Switzerland. This personal instruction consists in composing music for the poems of the Vaisnava Padavali by using their respective ragas (music scales) and tals (rhythmical patterns) that are indicated in each poem. The Vaisnava Acaryas wrote the Vaisnava Padavali and it has more than 300 poems, of which we use several of them to sing in our daily sadhana

In order to achieve the mentioned UN SGDs goals, the following activities among others, were already achieved:

1.-  Publishing of an article by the UN Special magazine (the official magazine of United Nations), written by Bhadra Rupa das that describes the unique spiritual and human treasure from the mentioned Vaisnava poems (with their music) by doing a comparison with the European Western culture and other ancient cultures of the world. The UN Special magazine published this article worldwide, which was addressed to the leaders, presidents, diplomats and politicians from all over the world.

2. – The Vaisnava Acarya Symphony is sponsored by the United Nations and Sony Music; Sony Music will release the following compositions internationally. Currently, musical compositions by Bhadra Rupa das for eight Ashtapadis written by Srila Jayadeva Goswami (with their respective ragas and tals) were rehearsed and recorded collectively in a studio by musicians from the Symphony Orchestra of Geneva during the highest period of the quarantine of the Covid-19 pandemic (March-April). The composition included performances with different types of guitars and bamboo flutes (pan flutes as well) from South-America; using the De La Calle Quena Flute (Bhadra Rupa’s flute invention), singing (male and female voices), cellos, violins, piano, contrabass, acoustic guitar, different kind of Latin percussions and drums. 

Some of these compositions are instrumental songs (inspired by specific Ashtapadis of which their poems will be written in the booklet of this album) and other compositions are sung in Spanish. The Ashtapadis refers to Sanskrit poems of the Gita Govinda, composed by Srila Jayadeva Goswami in the 12th Century (the Pre-Sri Caitanya period) and they described the beauty of Lord Krsna and the love between Lord Krsna and the Gopis. 

There are many ways to serve the Vaisnavas in order to let the world know the unique spiritual treasure from the Vaisnava culture. This Vaisnava Acarya Symphony is one of these projects were the spiritual master expertly engages his or her disciples according to their natures to glorify Srila Prabhupada, the Vaisnavas and ISKCON.


– What other events happened since H.H. Jayapataka Swami created this project?

– What research has been done for this cultural project?

– What is the background and expertise of Bhadra Rupa das who was asked by HH Jayapataka Swami to do this service?

To be continued in the next article…

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