While its doors remain closed to the public due to COVID-19, the brand new Portland Bhakti Center, located in the hip and trendy Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, has launched and is serving COVID-safe Krishna Friday Feasts to-go for all.
The new center will work cooperatively with the already existing ISKCON Portland temple, located in the Hillsboro suburbs. For its part, the Portland Bhakti Center aims to reach people in the city, including both young newcomers and older devotees who have become disconnected from the Hare Krishna Movement over time and are looking for fresh inspiration.
Keeping longtime devotees inspired and involved is something especially close to the heart of Portland Bhakti Center director Govardhana Das, 46, who found his way back to active devotional service recently after many years.
Joining ISKCON in 1992 in Gainesville, Florida at the age of 18, Govardhana was a full-time temple devotee for many years, doing traveling sankirtan in the U.S. and serving as Lord Nrsimhadeva’s pujari in Germany.
After his first guru left his position in the mid 2000s, he found his faith challenged, but took reinitiation and continued on. Upon becoming a father and moving out of the temple with his family to make an independent living, however, he began to focus on growing his success in business and, he says, “I lost my focus on Krishna consciousness.”
First opening a chain of barbershops, Govardhana soon developed many successful businesses, including several restaurants, a tattoo shop, a motorcycle shop and a bioplastics company.