By Madhava Smullen
Surendra Singh, an engineer and ISKCON devotee, has distributed Bhagavad-gita As It Is, celebrated Janmastami (Lord Krishna’s appearance day), and practiced Krishna consciousness with fellow scientific expedition team members at the Indian Antarctic research station “Maitri.”
Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, is home to the the South Pole. It is the world’s coldest, driest and windiest continent, and 98% of it is covered with ice. Only scientists and supporting staff live there year round.
Back in November 2016, for ISKCON’s 50th anniversary, Kesihanta Das and Trivikrama Das from the US were the first ISKCON devotees to hold kirtan in Antarctica. They also offered arati to Srila Prabhupada’s murti and distributed Prabhupada’s books in Antarctica for the first time, placing the Bhagavad-gita As It Is in several Antarctic research stations.
Surendra Singh is now the first ISKCON devotee to practice Krishna consciousness on a long-term basis and share it with other residents in Antarctica. A congregation member of the ISKCON center in Sikar, Rajasthan since 2016, he serves under the guidance of the center’s director Lalit Govinda Das, and took shelter from the late Bhakti Charu Swami three years ago. In Sikar, he started an online Bhagavad-gita class for a local girls’ school, and organized an online Janmastami program amongst other outreach efforts.
Surendra has been working for the Indian Antarctic Programme, which conducts scientific expeditions to the Antarctic, since 2016. The Programme is run by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), under the Government of India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Surendra’s first two Antarctic Expeditions, from November 2016 to December 2017, and from November 2018 to December 2019, were at the Bharati research station. During his current and third expedition, which is running from November 2020 until January 2022, he has set up a new atmospheric sciences laboratory at Maitri research station, and is doing various scientific experiments.