|Vedic Cultural Center in Sammamish, WA.|
Harry Terhanian, affable Redmond resident, is the President of one of 20+ ISKON congregations in the United States. His spiritual name is "Harivilas Das." Harry says ISKON plans to open a Vedic Cultural Center in Bellevue this year and SE Redmond in the next year or two, but only with community acceptance and under city guidelines.
Harry and his pleasant, outgoing wife Elizabeth recently purchased a 9 acre farm on Avondale Court north of the PCC Shopping Center "to become a part of the growing farming culture in Redmond" and practice bhakta yoga. He is negotiating to buy another farm nearby just off the bus line. He plans to use the farm as a “factory” for growing plants and manufacturing herbal pharmaceutical extracts. Signage for the 4th Annual Ananda Mela Festival was constructed in the farm's outbuildings.
Elizabeth said cows and bulls are planned for Harry and Elizabeth's farm which has a Class 2 tributary to Bear Creek and buffers will be required for these large animals. Harry thought the farm will be attractive to bird watchers.
We visited Leon Hussey’s KIS farm to pick up tips on soil nutrition and understand the value of stream buffers. Bear Creek meanders through the Hussey farm with well preserved buffers and excellent salmon watching opportunities in the fall.
Elizabeth recently arrived from Florida where she was running an ISKON farm. "When I see a flower, I see Krishna smiling." she told me. Elizabeth is not a Hindu. She is German-Swiss American. Elizabeth lives in the farm house which also serves as temple. Elizabeth didn’t make the Ananda Mela Festival in Redmond, preferring to attend community farming activities in Hawaii.
Harry was born in America to Armenian Christian Orthodox parents. He’s not Hindu. ISKON sent him to Seattle in l991 from Pennsylvania, when the Seattle temple was on the verge of closing. (Early on in the 60's-80's people were turned off by cultish, chanting, proselytizing actions in the airports and college campuses.) Slowly, he built up the community. But it wasn't until the mid-1990s, as Indian families began joining, that Terhanian saw a "base by which we rebuild our legitimacy." (Seattle Times, 8/2008)
Harry is also the founder of "Northwest SHARE", a Seattle-based human services non-profit. It includes a restaurant providing free vegan food. Free food and food banking is a faith element of the Krishna congregation. They also believe in spreading Kirshna's 'personality' with festivals. Harry was the lead organzier for the 4th Annual Ananda Mela Festival. He runs it every year out of his herbal extract retail store near Blazing Bagels.
By Bob Yoder
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization. ISKCON was formed to spread the practice of bhakti yoga, in which aspirant devotees (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna. ISKCON today is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 centers, including 60 farm communities, some aiming for self-sufficiency, 50 schools and 90 restaurants. In recent decades the movement's most rapid expansions in terms of numbers of membership have been within Eastern Europe and India.
The Hare Krishna mantra can be heard sung by George Harrison in the backing vocals of his song "My Sweet Lord" (1970)."