Dr. Ramananda Prasad, the founder of the American/International Gita Society (IGS) was invited in July 2002 to officially inaugurate a Brazilian Head Quarter of IGS and a four day Gita discourse was arranged for the new and old devotees of Krishna in Porto Alegre.
Mr. Maisonave, a well known industrialist of Porto Alegre formally announced the donation of his 88 acres ranch to build a Gita Dham in Porto Alegre. The site is a 20 minutes drive from the city of Porto Alegre on a main highway and near a resort community. We hope to build a temple and a lecture hall with dormitory facilities, a yoga center, a vegetarian restaurant, Gurukula, and an Ayurveda center. Different herbs such as Brahmee Booti (Centella Asiatica) found in the foothills of Himalayas are found at this site.
The Brazilian branch of IGS was established in Porto Alegre in year 2000 under the leadership of Shri Krishna Priya Das and Shri Rama Priya Das, both householders and citizens of Brazil. Shri Krishna Priya Das was attracted to IGS after reading our "beautifully simple and easy to understand" Gita translation and absolutely free, two versions of pocket size Gitas.
They liked our Gita translation so much that Shri Krishna Priya Das requested us to permit him to translate our Gita in Portuguese which he finished last year.
The Portuguese translation is available on our web site, www.gita-society.com.
The 88 acres of ranch land donated by Shri Ramachandra Das (Rodrigo Maisonnave) of Porto Alegre to the International Gita Society of Brazil, a branch of the International Gita Society (IGS) (Also known as the American Gita Society located in Fremont, California) has been earmarked for the first Hindu Center in Brazil. Brazil is about 90 percent of the size of the USA.
It has a population of 173 million. Majority of the population is Catholic (80%) and 10% are Protestants. Hinduism was introduced in Brazil in the 80's and is very insignificant at this time. People are looking for practical solutions to their everyday problems that the traditional religions are unable to provide. Some of the existing centers are not able to properly guide new Hindus due to their leadership and other problems combined with their very conservative and narrow sectarian interpretation of Hinduism.
Our group headed by Krishna Priya Das is working to introduce Yoga and Hinduism principles in Brazil without any sectarian slant. Mr. Luiz Desimon, a businessman and devotee, has printed 5,000 copies of the Gita Chalisa in Portuguese for free distribution.
Most of our Indian swamis and gurus don't go to Brazil due to two reasons: (1) Very few people can understand English. They speak Brazilian Portuguese. This makes it difficult to communicate without the help of an interpreter, that is not easily available. We thank our interpreter, Shanti Priya Devi, for her valuable and very needed help in making this mission a success. The second reason is that Brazil is not a fertile ground for fund raising like USA, UK, and Canada, to build more temples in Vrindavan and other places in India by swamis. We need Hindu centers and temples in Brazil, and other places, not in Vrindavan, the land of thousands temples. We urge those who love our religion and culture to preserve and spread it around the globe, join hands with us and build more orphanage, schools, hospitals, and religious centers where they are needed in India and elsewhere.
sincerely in his service,
Dr. Ramananda Prasad