Bob (Brahmatirtha) was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1949, completed his B.S. in Chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971, and received his M.S. in Geology from Rutgers University in 1975. After a twenty-year career serving as a geologist and vice-president of a large regional environmental company, he currently works as an environmental consultant to state governments. He has been a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute since the inception in 1976, giving a presentation at their First International Conference on Life Comes from Life in 1977, and working on a multitude of projects with R.L. Thompson (Sadaputa) from 1995 through 2008. He is also a certified court mediator. He now serves as the Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies.
Prishni was born in Born 1950 in Urbana IL. She graduated in 1971 with a double-major BA in Mathematics and Chemistry, from the University of Illinois. She joined Iskcon in 1974. Since 2014 she has been the archivist for the Richard L. Thompson Archives, and she has been the Secretary/Treasurer for Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies since its formation in 2015.
Tomas was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1961. In 1977 began to study Architecture, but in 1979, he entered an ashram in NY to study Bhagavata Vedanta philosophy. Tomas has studied BI issues for decades working with Dr. Thompson. He is our resident autodidact polymath. Tomas is a consciousness explorer, independent researcher, and writer. He is also a “shreditor,” (Video Shooter | Editor | Producer). His current research interests are Consciousness research and how to communicate this topic with everyone.
Michael (Drutakarma) is a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has been involved with Bhaktivedanta Institute since 1984. With Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa), he is coauthor of Forbidden Archeology and is the author of Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory and My Science, My Religion. His work focuses on Vedic perspectives on human origins and antiquity. He has presented papers at meetings of the World Archeological Congress, the European Association of Archaeologists, and the International Congress for the History of Science. He has given invited lectures at the Royal Institution in London, the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, and other scientific institutions, and has lectured at universities around the world.
Krisztina is an academic, filmmaker and a passionate human rights and environmental activist. She possesses a BA/MA in Literature and Linguistics from the University of Debrecen, Hungary, and a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies, specializing in Vaishnava philosophy and aesthetics, from the Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest. To combine her academic knowledge with visual storytelling skills, she also studied at and received professional certificates in screenwriting, producing and documentary filmmaking from New York University and the New York Film Academy. She has taught Vaishnava Literature, Communications and Visual Arts for twenty years at high school and college level in Europe and the United States, while running her own New York-based film company the Karuna Productions. She is the author of two books, many academic and newspaper articles, and the writer-producer-director of over thirty videos and films. Her educational documentaries related to scientific, environmental, humanitarian, religious and minority issues, interfaith dialogue, and Indian spirituality and culture, have won many awards, been broadcast on several television channels and shown in theaters and educational institutions internationally. With her NYU-teacher husband and their daughter they divide their time between Gainesville, Florida, Budapest, Hungary and New York City.
Akhandadhi was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1954 and studied architecture at Bristol University. In 1975 he entered an ashram in the UK to study Vedanta philosophy and took monastic vows. He served as Principal of Bhaktivedanta Manor theological college from 1982-1995. He has served on the Central Religious Advisory Board for the BBC and has been a regular contributor on BBC since 1989. As an original committee member of Inter-faith Network, he served on the working committee producing guidelines on proselytizing and promotion of faith. Since its acquisition in 1996, he has been the director of Buckland Hall, Wales, an open venue for spiritual, philosophical and personal development and training. Currently he is also involved as a trustee of the Hindu Educational Authority, which presently oversees seven Hindu-faith schools and academies in London and Midlands; as a founder-member of the Science and Philosophy Initiative, a multi-disciplinary association exploring the issues of consciousness & physical systems principally in neuroscience, biology & physics as well as the related issues of ethics, applications & technology; and as a member of Faith & AI, a think-tank consultation on the issues of AI in society. His specialized area of interest is the nature of consciousness.
Bhakti Vijnana Goswami was born in Tashkent, former Soviet Union. He took to spiritual life in 1980, during the difficult time of the communist era in the former Soviet Union, when the National Security forces were harassing any type of spiritual practitioner. Despite these obstacles, as a scientist, a Moscow State University graduate and postgraduate student at Institute of Molecular Biology, he decided to experiment with the Hare Krishna mantra, which moved him profoundly. He is a disciple of Radhanath Swami residing primarily in Moscow, Russia, and working tirelessly towards the building of a monumental temple there. He travels widely throughout Russia sharing Krishna Consciousness. Since 1997 he has acted as a member of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission and since 2005 has served as one of the initiating gurus of ISKCON. His zonal responsibilities include Georgia (CIS) and Israel. He serves as co-zonal secretary for Eastern and Western Siberia, Northwest CIS, Ural Region, Moscow, Southern, Central Region, CIS, Golden Ring, Armenia, Far East and also co-GBC for North and South Korea. On July 1, 2010 the Council for Public Awards of the Russian Federation awarded Bhakti Vijnana Goswami a medal “for professional and business reputation” third degree, “for his contribution in strengthening Russian-Indian friendly relations, and for his contribution to the popularization of the spiritual-cultural literary heritage of India.”
Joshua (Yogesvara)earned his MA at Hofstra University, where he taught Hinduism and Holocaust history until his retirement in 2013. His books on war crimes trials and survivor testimony have been published in six languages. He has spoken at the Pentagon, the Judge Advocates College, the New York Public Library Distinguished Author series, and lectures frequently before state bar associations. In 1969, he was initiated as Yogesvara by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and spent 13 years in Krishna temples, serving as director of ISKCON’s European publishing office. His books on spirituality include Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison and Gita Wisdom: An Introduction to India’s Essential Yoga Text. His most recent book is a biography of Srila Prabhupada, titled Swami in a Strange Land: How Krishna Came to the West. Joshua is also a filmmaker whose Holocaust documentaries have aired on PBS, The Disney Channel, and Discovery.
In September 1969, Howard (Goswami) took up the monastic practice of bhakti-yoga in the Berkeley ISKCON center, and in 1970, he was formally initiated into the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. During the next four years, he served as president of bhakti-yoga centers in Gainesville, Florida and Houston, and lectured on university campuses throughout North America. In 1974, Srila Prabhupada asked him to assume responsibility for Latin America and in the next several years, he opened dozens of bhakti-yoga centers in over a dozen countries, and organized the leading publishing house of Indian spiritual literature in Spanish and Portuguese. In the 1980’s, together with a team he formed, he completed Prabhupada’s epic translation and commentary on the Bhāgavata-purāṇa. Howard received his PhD in Sanskrit & Indian Studies in 1996 from Harvard University, and recently published his dissertation in the prestigious Harvard Oriental Series. In the last several years, he published his popular Complete Guide to the Bhagavad-gītā with Literal Translation, and Quest for Justice, an explanation of the epic Mahā-bhārata. He has taught at the Graduate Theological Union and the University of Florida, and has lectured at many dozens of universities In North and South America, Europe, and India. In 2013, he established Krishna West to help facilitate ISKCON’s outreach to Western audiences.
Shaunaka, born in 1961 in Wexford, Ireland, is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), a position he has held since the Centre’s foundation in 1997. Shaunaka maintains the vision and ethos of the Centre on behalf of the Board of Governors, and encourages the Centre’s continued growth and development in all spheres. He has overall responsibility for its fundraising, administration, and communication. He is a lecturer, a broadcaster, and Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University. His interests include education, comparative theology, communication, and leadership. He is a member of The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, convened in 2013 by the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. In 2013 the Indian government appointed him to sit on the International Advisory Council of the Auroville Foundation.
Seth (Sesa) joined ISKCON in 1973 inspired by the political activism of the In God We Trust Party for Purified Leaders, organized by members of ISKCON. He was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1974 while traveling as a member of the initial Bhaktivedanta Book Trust library party. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and later received a degree in political science from the State University of New York, Albany. In 1991 he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law .He served as the temple president of both Washington, DC and Philadelphia PA; as the managing editor of Back to Godhead magazine; and as the North American secretary of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. This capacity for responsibility earned him membership on the GBC, which began in 1994. Sesa Dasa has a portfolio of two ministries: Minister of Educational Development and Minister of Justice (site under construction), under which ISKCON Resolve works. He is regularly teaches ethics at Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium.
One month after graduating from Yale in 1972, Devamrita Swami bought on the street a small book by Srila Prabhupada, and by December he decided to visit the New York ISKCON temple, newly located in Brooklyn. He joined the movement the next year and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in January 1974. After several years traveling throughout the USA distributing the literature that so transformed his life, he teamed up with the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Los Angeles to assist in Srila Prabhupada’s book production as a copy editor and later as chief manager. A few months after Srila Prabhupada’s departure from this world in 1977, he embarked upon his international missionary life and in 1982 officially accepted the renounced order of life, as Devamrita Swami. For over three decades he has traveled extensively on every continent of the world, and as a member of ISKCON’s Governing Body, he has been chosen by his peers to serve as international vice chairman and then chairman. He is author of two Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publications, Searching for Vedic India and Perfect Escape.
Jayadvaita Swami – editor, writer, publisher, and teacher – received initiation from A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1968, at the age of eighteen. Practically the first task assigned to him was to staple booklets. He later went on to typing manuscripts, transcribing Prabhupada’s dictation for books, and then typesetting, proofreading, managing book production, editing, and taking part in the governance of Srila Prabhupada’s publishing house. He served as an editor or assistant editor for nearly all the books Prabhupada published during His lifetime. In 1978 he accepted the order of renounced life, sannyasa. His managerial positions have included: co-founder of the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education, director of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, editor-in-chief of Back to Godhead magazine, and director of the Bhaktivedanta Archives. He served as the senior editor of a three-volume translation and commentary for Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta (2005), and Sri Krishna Lila Stava (2008). He also served as the senior editor for Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Tattva-sandarbha (2013). He is the author of Vanity Karma: Ecclesiastes, the Bhagavad-gita, and the meaning of life (Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 2015), winner of a Benjamin Franklin gold award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. He has lectured extensively at colleges and universities, especially in the United States, and continues to travel widely, teaching about the philosophy and culture of Krishna consciousness.
Kenneth (Krishna Kshetra Swami) met Srila Prabhupada in Paris in the summer of 1972 and was initiated at that time. He served in the mission in Europe for 23 years, based mainly in Germany and including all of eastern Europe, before resuming academic study in 1995. He is now a research fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) and the Dean of Studies at Bhaktivedanta College (Septon, Belgium). He has been engaged in the study and teaching of Indic cultural and religious ideas and practices (including teaching at the University of Florida, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Pula University, Croatia), with an emphasis on comparative-integrative understanding of dharmic traditions and a concern to relate these with contemporary cultures. After completing his DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford with a study of Vaishnava temple liturgical practices and theology (published by Routledge in 2006 as Attending Kṛṣṇa’s Image: Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Mūrti-sevā As Devotional Truth), he presently co-directs (with Prof. Ravi M. Gupta (Radhika Raman Das)) the Bhāgavata Purāṇa Research Project of the OCHS. Together they have published two volumes on the Bhāgavata with Columbia University Press (2013, 2016). Kenneth is also a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (OCAE), and inspired by his interactions therein, he has written Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics (Palgrave Macmillan 2020).
Jonathan has a BA in Philosophy from the University of California and a PhD (DPhil) from Oxford University. His bookHindu Theology and Biology: The Bhagavata Purana and Contemporary Theory (Oxford University Press UK, 2012; OUP India 2020) examines the possibility of dialogue between Hinduism and evolution. Edelmann has written about scientific studies of reincarnation, the theory of karma and samsara, the doctrine of bhakti, and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa commentaries of Jīva Gosvāmin, Śrīdhara Svāmin, and Vaṃśīdhara. His current project looks at a range of philosophical issues like language, being, aesthetics, and ethics in the commentaries of Śrīdhara Svāmin and Jīva Gosvāmin. Edelmann espouses the need for interdisciplinary work between Indian and European religious, philosophical, and scientific traditions.
Natalia Antonova (Nari) - Research and Collaboration
Natalia (Nari) graduated with honors from the Faculty of Theater Directing of the Chelyabinsk State Institute of Culture in 1983, and joined the Institute’s faculty in the Department of Stage Speech that same year. After contacting the Krishna Consciousness movement in 1992, she was initiated by Prabhavishnu Maharaja two years later and served in Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Moscow, and other cities of the Russian Federation. In 2011, she defended her PhD thesis in philosophy, and also served on the faculty of the Ural State University of Physical Culture, and the Russian presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Chelyabinsk branch). Her research interests include philosophy of consciousness, philosophy of science, philosophy of culture and art, Eastern philosophy, and rhetoriс. She is a member of the Russian Bhaktivedanta Institute, Director of the autonomous non-profit organization “Institute of Consciousness” (an organization of Vaishnava scientists), and acts as a teacher and mentor to young devotees.
Christopher G. Beetle (Krishna Kripa) - Research and Collaboration
Christopher (Krishna Kripa) received an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Brown University in 1982, and took initiation from Satsvarupa Goswami in 1983 and 1985, respectively. He assisted Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa) in the production of books and videos on science and Krishna Consciousness for 17 years. He now travels to promote the public congregational chanting of Hare Krishna, teaches classes on Krishna Consciousness, is a Krishna.com Live Help volunteer, proofreads Back to Godhead magazine and other publications. He has been working with the BIHS since its inception in 2015.
Ryan was born in London, United Kingdom, in 1983. He graduated from Imperial College London with a BSc in Biology in 2004. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Parasitology from the University of Glasgow. Between 2005-2009, he worked within the biotechnology industry, covering the fields of immunology and stem cell research. In 2014, he began exploring the teachings of Bhakti-yoga in Gaudiya Vaishnavism. In 2017 he helped to found the Science and Philosophy Initiative – a multi-disciplinary association exploring the questions of consciousness and physical systems, principally in neuroscience, biology and physics. He recently started a career in the STM publishing industry at Springer Nature, working on the systems to help migrate towards a global open access model. His interests lie in people and ideas, and in considering ways to help to bring them together to build harmonious and synergistic relationships.
Richard J Cole (Radha Mohan) - Research and Collaboration
After Richard graduated from Manchester University in 1992, he travelled to India and began studying the books of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Understanding the need to relate ancient Vedic knowledge and culture with the contemporary world and especially empirical science, he also homed in on the works of Richard L. Thompson (Sadaputa). Shortly afterwards, he joined the Bhaktivedanta Manor community near London, one of the most active and progressive temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) outside of India, where he specialises in media, Public Relations, interfaith, drama, and writing scripts based on stories in the Puranas and Itihasas.He has also co-authored two books: The Hare Krishna Movement- Forty Years of Chant and Change (2007)and Hare Krishna in the Modern World (2013). Today Richard is the Communications Officer at Bhaktivedanta Manor and, mainly inspired by Dr. Richard L. Thompson, he specialises in various aspects of Vedic astronomy and cosmography. He has produced a series of videos demonstrating with depth and originality how the Vedic universe compares with modern astronomy.
Mauricio (Murali Gopal) was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1979, graduated from the Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and in Physics in 2003. He earned a black belt in Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Ohio University, has served an internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, completed a postdoc at Columbia University, and has taught Sanskrit at the University of Florida. In 2006, he began exploring the teachings of Bhakti yoga in Gaudiya Vaishnavism and in 2011, he entered the monastic order at The Bhakti Center, located in New York City, where he later became ordained as a monk. As a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies (BIHS) since 2015, he develops courses on Bhakti and Science, including Vedic concepts of cosmography, consciousness, and physics. He has presented at universities and international conferences. Dr. Garrido’s present research includes Puranic cosmology, Vaisnava philosophy, quantum field and information theory, general relativity, consciousness studies, and the philosophy of mind.
Christopher Hayton (Krsna-bhajana) - Research and Collaboration
Christopherwas born in London, England in 1955, and currently shares his time between Alachua and Kidwelly (Wales). He received a First in Zoology from the University of Wales (Cardiff) in 1976. After a four-year career as an archaeologist, he worked as an elementary school teacher. Inspired by Prabhupada’s books and kirtan recordings, he moved to Chaitanya College in 1983, and served as a teacher.. He earned a Masters in Social Work (2005) and PhD in the same field (2014) from Florida State University. From 2011 through 2018 he was a Clinical Social Worker in the field of community mental health and substance abuse treatment. He has been a part-time adjunct Instructor and Course Mentor for FSU College of Social Work since 2008, teaching only online since 2018. His publications are in the field of interdisciplinary comic studies, focused on feminism and anti-racism in the context of social history.
Jasmine was born in London, United Kingdom in 1991. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Surrey after completing her BSc in Veterinary Biosciences and immediately moved to the University of Kent for her research doctorate specialising in drug resistance to oncotherapies, receiving her PhD in December 2019. She became interested in Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in the summer of 2017, and helped to establish the Krishna Consciousness Society at Kent University. She became affiliated with the Science and Philosophy Initiative (SPi) in late 2017 and is currently involved in several projects with both the SPi and BIHS. Jasmine is also working as a Project Support Assistant for EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) project funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, which aims to connect local businesses specialising in Biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, and Digital Creativity with the University of Kent. She enjoys project management and facilitating the transformation of innovative ideas into reality.
Vasyl Semenov (Dvija Govinda) - Research and Collaboration
Vasyl (Dvija Govinda) obtained his PhD degree in Acoustics from the Institute of Hydromechanics of NAS of Ukraine (2004) and a second PhD in Habilitation in Computational Mathematics from the Institute of Cybernetics of NAS of Ukraine (2020). His area of expertise includes development of signal processing algorithms for telecommunications; solution of systems of nonlinear equations; and global maximization of multivariable functions with applications to different problems in machine learning, physics, pattern recognition, acoustics, and biomedical signal processing. Vasyl has been a member of IEEE since 2006. In 2009 he joined ISKCON and was initiated by Indradyumna Swami in 2015. He has taught Vedic Mathematics and other courses in Kiev Krishna Consciousness Academy since 2013. His current interests include investigation of parallels between Vedic cosmology and modern astrophysics.
Shivanand completed his BSc in Actuarial Science at City University in London, and subsequently qualified as a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary. He now works as an actuarial pensions consultant at an international consultancy and is based in England, UK. His current academic interests include Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Religion. He has recently completed a Masters in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from the University of Birmingham and is currently pursuing his doctorate in the Philosophy of Consciousness at the same institution. He serves as a Researcher for the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies.
Ricardo Sousa Silvestre - Research and Collaboration
Ricardo holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Montreal. He has been Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Oxford (UK), Notre Dame (USA), and Québec (Canada). He is the editor of the book Beyond Faith and Rationality: Essays on Logic, Religion and Philosophy (Springer, 2020) as well as the author of several papers in philosophical journals such as Sophia (Springer), the Logic Journal of the IGPL (Oxford University Press), the Journal of Applied Logics (Elsevier/College Publications), and Logica Universalis (Springer), among others. He is also the guest-editor of special issues on “Logic and Philosophy of Religion,” namelythe special issues on the “Concept of God” (2019) and “Formal Approaches to the Ontological Argument” (2018) of the Journal of Applied Logics (College Publications), the special issue on “Logic and Philosophy of Religion” (2017) of Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions (Springer), and the special issue on “Logic and Religion” (2017) of Logica Universalis (Springer). He is one of the idealizers and main organizers of the World Congress on Logic and Religion series. He is presently Associate Professor at Federal University of Campina Grande (Brazil).
Doug was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1977. He has a PhD in Physics from Vanderbilt University, where his research focused on a theoretical framework for the formation and evolution of galaxies in the universe. Doug was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, an award that supported independent research in cutting-edge theoretical physics, as well as education initiatives for underserved communities. During his undergraduate years at the University of Wisconsin, he was a member of the men’s soccer team, which won both the NCAA and Big Ten Championships. He later played soccer professionally in the U.S. and in Chile. These days, Doug is an avid ultramarathon runner, having competed in numerous races from 50 miles up to 250 miles.
Punit Bhalla (Prema Gauranga Das) has been a resident monk at ISKCON’s Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir in Mumbai for the past 20 years. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Pune and following a 4-year stint at India’s largest automobile manufacturing company, he left his career to explore a more fulfilling and purposeful lifestyle, being inspired by the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and guided by His Holiness Radhanath Swami.
Currently, he serves on the Philosophical Vision & Concept team, which is responsible for the implementation of the Vedic Cosmological Chandelier at ISKCON’s flagship project, the Temple of Vedic Planetarium at Sri Dham Mayapur. To this end, he continues his research on a mathematical model of Bhagavata cosmology. Besides actively serving at his resident Temple in various capacities, he also curates tours for worldwide audiences that authentically represent the greater Indian/Vedic culture, giving them an enlivening, enriching, and enlightening experience. He also holds workshops across various corporate sectors and educational institutions that enhance the participants’ understanding of the practical applicability of the Vedic texts in a contemporary context.
JONATHAN BANKS - Managing Director, Editor-in-Chief
Jonathan was born in Boston, MA in 1977. He is a geo-scientist, educator, aspiring bhakta and fledgling karateka. Jonathan has a B.A. and an M.S.T (Master’s of Science Teaching) from the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, as well as a Doctorate in Natural Sciences (Dr. rer nat) from the Freie Universität Berlin in Berlin, Germany. His doctoral work involved field work, laboratory experiments and numerical modeling of the thermodynamics, hydrogeology, and geochemistry of fluid/rock interactions in geothermal systems. He knows a lot about geology and, given half a chance, will talk your ear off about it all day. Jonathan is currently employed as the Director of Geothermal Energy Research at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta; Canada. In 2019, he accepted the service of Director of Operations for the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies in Gainesville, FL. In his spare time, Jonathan likes to chant japa, practice traditional Okinawan martial arts, play Dungeons and Dragons, hike, ski, listen to the Grateful Dead, read books, eat, sleep, and defend against mating.