New Vrindaban Festival of Inspiration Jayapataka Swami

May 8th – 10th, 2015

The countdown has begun! New Vrindaban’s Festival of Inspiration is only two weeks away, and it’s a big one — the 15th anniversary! Get ready for exciting and inspiring presentations by ISKCON’s best speakers; top-quality entertainment from dramas to stand-up comedy; rip-roaring kirtans; and mouth-watering prasadam, and much more!

So don’t miss this priceless opportunity to have the association of advanced devotees like H.H Jayapataka Swami, H.H. Jayadvaita Swami, H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami, and H. H. Varsana Swami. There will also be many senior devotees including Deena Bandhu dasa, Ravindra Swarup dasa, Dravida dasa, Urmila dasi, Malati dasi, world famous kirtaneer Agnideva das, Havi das, our hometown girl, Karnamrita dasi, ISKCON’S renowned comedian Yadunatha das, and many more. We are also expecting a special visit from Sally and Gopal Aggarwal, the family that sponsored Srila Prabhupada’s travel to America and hosted him in their home.

Good news: there is still accommodation available. You can register today at the Festival of Inspiration website or call us at 304-843-1600 ext. 135.

We look forward to serving you. Hare Krishna.

New Vrindaban Festival of Inspiration 2015

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada Grey House Guruban 1974

Srila Prabhupada sitting on the front lawn of the “grey house” at Guruban – 1974.

Strengthening The Vision:  Prabhupada’s Third Visit to New Vrindaban

 Written by Madhava Smullen. Archival Research by Chaitanya Mangala.

 From July 18th to 23rd 1974, Srila Prabhupada visited New Vrindaban for the third time, to further establish his vision for it as a sacred place known worldwide for five primary things: cow protection, simple-living, holy pilgrimage, spiritual education, and above all, loving Krishna.

In a letter one year earlier, the ISKCON Founder-Acharya had written to encourage the expanding farm community: “Yes! Go on acquiring the surrounding lands, and in this way we will establish a local self-governing village and show all the world a practical example of spiritual life as Krishna Himself exhibited in Vrindaban.”

As his arrival date fast approached, New Vrindaban residents were whipped up in a flurry of activity. Meanwhile a letter from the editors of Brijabasi Spirit magazine reminded them, “Although we are all engaged in preparing the outward appearance of the community for Srila Prabhupada’s arrival, we must even more so develop the proper consciousness to receive such a great personality.”

And so it was that all the New Vrindaban devotees absorbed themselves in a rip-roaring kirtan as they waited outside their Bahulaban farmhouse temple on Thursday July 18th, every passing car eliciting from them a sharp intake of breath. When Prabhupada finally arrived, he was followed by a river of devotees, calling “Jaya Srila Prabhupada!” as he walked regally into the temple, offered his respects to Sri Sri Radha-Vrindabanchandra, and took his seat on his vyasasana.

In the Brijabasi Spirit, devotees describe “sheer spiritual force” permeating the temple room when Prabhupada began leading “Jaya Radha Madhava.” As Lord Krishna Himself states in Srila Prabhupada’s book Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, “A pilgrimage site becomes a holy place because of the presence of the saintly persons there.”

After his short but blissful kirtan, Prabhupada then delivered his arrival address, giving devotees an example of the kind of spiritual education he wanted New Vrindaban to be known for.

“So you are all very lucky in this far remote place, that is New Vrindaban,” he began. He talked about how Bhaktivinode Thakur, who had the idea to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, had been a householder just like the residents of New Vrindaban; and about how they had the chance to provide the essential spiritual education that none of the country’s universities, colleges and schools did.

“I am very happy in this remote village,” he concluded. “You have got… Vrindaban Chandra. Vrindaban Chandra means the full moon light of Vrindavana… So worship the Deity and send missionary men from village to village and preach then gradually this center will be developed… So I thank you very much for your activities here. Hare Krishna.”

With another ecstatic kirtan following him, Prabhupada was then chauffeured to his residential quarters at the “Grey House” in Guruban, which had been renovated from top to bottom by an enthusiastic crew of devotees.

The next day, he toured the Bahulaban barn, to see how his cow protection vision was practically manifesting. He expressed his approval as devotees showed him their Harvestore silo, demonstrated its feeding system, and pointed out the lettering at the top that read “New Vrindaban — Founder and Acharya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.”

Later the same day, Srila Prabhupada visited his under-construction Palace, which was being built for him to reside and translate his books in. He beamed as Kirtanananda showed him where his bedroom, bathroom, Deity room and study would be, tapping the walls with his cane to make sure they were solid.

As Prabhupada inspected the Palace – nothing more than a construction site at the time — Bali Mardan asked if it would be illuminated with jewels on the wall, like Lord Krishna’s Palace in the Krsna book.

Srila Prabhupada looked over at Soma and Gostabihari, two construction workers on the job at the time. They had been toiling hard on a building site that had neither electricity nor running water. “These devotees,” he said, “Are my jewels.”

When Kirtanananda told Prabhupada the Palace would be ready soon and asked him to be patient with them, Prabhupada said, “I already am,” and added, “If you want, I am already living here.”

As he got into his car to leave, he looked up at Soma and Gostabihari through the open window. “So, you are working here?”

“Ghostabihari answered, ‘Yes Srila Prabhupada,” Soma recalls. “And then Prabhupada looked straight at us and said, ‘Thank you very much.’ It made me feel so good that he personally thanked me for working there.”

The next day, Saturday July 20th, about 400 devotees from all over North America including GBCs, sannyasis, travelling book distributors, and ISKCON Press staff gathered for a huge festival. Prabhupada attended guru-puja and gave Bhagavatam class in the morning. During the day there were ecstatic kirtans led by visiting devotees, and a delicious feast “with more preparations than anyone could eat,” according to Brijabasi Spirit.

In the evening, Srila Prabhupada spoke to a rapt audience, concluding his lecture by asking the devotees to all cooperate together “and then everything will go nicely.”

The next day, he initiated thirteen devotees, including Madhava Gosh, Tapanacarya, Advaitacarya, Rasalila, Nirmala, and Meghamala. He also awarded brahmana initiation to six candidates, including Parasara and Kashyapa (who would later become Varshana Swami).

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Initiation Ceremony Bahulaban 1974

Prabhupada presides over an initiation ceremony at Bahulaban.

In his talk, Prabhupada spoke about the simple-living aspect of his vision for New Vrindaban. He called the race for sense gratification unnecessary and praised living peacefully in a little cottage, growing vegetables and food grains, and getting milk from the cows. “We are trying to introduce in this New Vrindaban colony this simple life,” he said.

Later during his stay Prabhupada personally saw the Brijabasis’ efforts at this simple life. In 1973, he had written a letter instructing them how to build small cottages with wooden beams and tile roofs. “This design is especially suitable for grhasthas, who can feel very comfortable there,” he wrote.

Now he visited one of these cottages, dubbed “Prabhupada houses,” that had been built at New Vrindaban. Set in the Madhuban section of the community, it was home to Daivata Das and his wife Parayana Dasi.

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada Madhuban 1974

Prabhupada visits a “Prabhupada House” at Madhuban.

When Prabhupada arrived, he appreciated the gardens where many householders were cultivating vegetables together, as well as the just-harvested vegetables on Daivata’s porch. “I do not want to eat anything unless it is grown here,” he said. “You should not buy, you should grow vegetables.”

He thoroughly inspected the cottage he himself had provided the design for with some interest, tapping the walls with his cane in his endearing way. Inside, he sat on a rocking chair, looking at everything and saying, “You should make thousands of these nice houses.” He then asked Daivata, “You are happy here?”

“Oh yes Srila Prabhupada, very happy. Thank you very much,” Daivata said.

Prabhupada continued chatting and laughing with Daivata for some time, asking about his four-month-old daughter Devahuti and commenting on how active she was. “I am very pleased to see this place,” he said before he left.

Prabhupada’s warm, personal interaction with Daivata was exemplary of all the interactions he had during his visit, with many devotees remembering his care and love in different ways.

Varshana Swami was impressed at how concerned Prabhupada was about making sure there were oxen and men working in the fields. “It really touched me that Prabhupada was attentive to what was being done in the agricultural realm,” he says.

Mahadevi Dasi will never forget the time that Prabhupada was giving out milk sweets to a huge crowd of devotees, and she worried that she wouldn’t get one. “As if he just read my heart, he looked directly at me, pointed his finger and held up the milk sweet that he had just bitten,” she recalls. “And it was passed through the devotees, right to me.”

And Gopalasapriya Dasi recalls how when Srila Prabhupada was talking to a group of devotees outside on a chilly evening, he stopped, looked at her and asked, “Are you alright? Such a thin cloth. Haven’t you got a cloth?” He then told one of the leaders, “You must find out if they have everything they need… the women need to be protected. They will not ask. You must ask them once a month and make sure that they are having everything they need.”

“I remember afterwards a few of the devotees were crying and feeling like he was so observant and concerned and he really does care about all of us,” she says.

For his part, Srila Prabhupada, like a proud parent, was very glad to see his first farm community growing into a wonderful realization of his vision.

“Regarding New Vrindaban I was very happy when I was there,” he wrote a few months after his visit. “Not only myself but all devotees and GBC members all enjoyed the atmosphere of New Vrindaban, especially the cow protection scheme. May Krishna give more facilities to advance the cause of New Vrindaban, and I am expecting very soon to go there and live in my proposed palace at least for some time.”

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada Talavan Talaban 1974

Prabhupada and devotees on an early morning walk along the Talaban lane.

Gopisa’s India Journal, continued…..

Please see the first few installments of Gopisa Prabhu’s timeless and  intriguing India journal on this Brijabasi Spirit at Gopisa’s India Journey Begins

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Vrindavan Day 3

Dearest family,

The trips to the temples and Loi Bazaar have been via bicycle rickshaw. I’d gladly trade some of my girth to the walla to make him stronger and make his portly fare easier to bear. Jaya Krsna takes it all in stride saying that this is their dharma and we are helping them out as they are the poorest of the lot seeing that they can’t afford a motorized rickshaw, but he still beats them up on the price! A ride to Loi Bazaar use to cost 5-7 rupees, now it’s 40 (after bargaining).

Loi Bazaar, a Unique Shopping Experience

Loi Bazaar, a Unique Shopping Experience

We purchased some fruits, the quality is so nice. Also drank fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and sugar cane juice. It’s challenging to keep in mind that these are the residents of Vrindavan and therefore Krsna’s personal friends…but we do our best to remain humble and peaceful. Personal space is not a luxury one can afford in this town. In America people have a real need for physical contact but be assured that such necessities are well funded in this land of intimacy.

While it appears that much of the town is being overrun with capitalism and its maidservant technology, still there are remnants of the spirituality of the past tucked away in secret spaces hidden from the untrained eye. And I failed to mention that the rickshaw wallas don’t have horns for pedestrian traffic, the call out “Radhe-Radhe”. The chanting of Krsna’s holy name is ever present as we traverse this hallowed ground. Every time I pay obeisances, I make a point to take a little dust on my head…vancha calpa tarubyas ca….

rickshaw

Today we will endeavor to gain the audience of Syamasundar, the self manifest diety of Syamananda Pandit. As the story goes, he found an ankle bracelet and would not return it to a disguised Lalitadevi insisting on gaining the association of Srimati Radharani Herself. He was given a temporary spiritual body to accomplish this feat, initiated by Sriji Herself and given a beautiful diety of Krsna that self-manifest for Her pleasure.

This journey has been both humbling and enlightening…I cannot imagine what will come next. There is no way to predict Krsna’s plan…I canonly put one foot in front of the other and trust in Guru and Gauranga that They have my best interest in mind.

Love and Krsna to you all!   g

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Vrindavan Day 4

Dearest family,

Today was rather exceptional…up early (3:00 am), japa finished before breakfast. Had every intention to attend class with Vashiseka but wanted to check on Jaya Krsna as he’s been getting progressively sicker and didn’t get out of bed this morning. Entering the MVT, there’s Dhanudara Maharaja with a group of Iranian matajis and 4 bramacharis heading out to Radha Kunda. Needless to say, I was on my way down the rabbit hole. Though it would take considerable time to write the whole story, sufficient it to say that Maharaja feels he needs to reciprocate for some some small gesture on my part from 40 years ago.

Off we go to Radha Kunda to receive the mercy of Srimati Radharani in Her pure liquid form. Maharaja is careful to set the mood with kirtan on the way there and our first stop is our godbrother, Svarupa Damodara Maharaja’s temple to pray for his mercy. After kirtan in the temple room, two bhajans in his personal quaters and japa in front of his samadhi, we’re ready to go. Onward to Raghunatha das Goswami’s samadhi, Janavidevi’s sitting place with a specially constructed private bathing entrance and finally we offer obeisances on the steps and I get the mercy of Radha Kunda from Maharaja! A nice brahmana offers puja on our behalf and then it’s off to Bhaktisiddhanta’s house for a special treat. A cabinet is opened and out comes His Divine Grace’s cane for benedictions on our heads. These Iranian matajis are VERY enthusiastic chanters and we are all in a special state of grace.

Radha Kunda

Radha Kunda

All told we were gone 6 hours and there was no time for breakfast, yet I did not experience any hunger.

Tomorrow Maharaja has a special place he wants to take Jaya Krsna and me, it’s 15 minutes’ walk and through a gate the he says will take us back to the way Vrindavan was in the past. More on that tomorrow.

I’m still amazed at the animals here. When I describe the monkeys, pigs, cows, dogs, green parrots, etc… It’s not that they are an occasional occurrence here, they are EVERYWHERE! All the dogs are docile as are the cows and pigs. Only the monkeys get a little rambunctious and that’s mostly in the bazaar where they’ve learned to steal glasses to trade for bananas. It’s not surprising to see 20 monkeys, 5 pigs, 4 cows and a half dozen dogs in a single block.

 

Fortunate Vrindavan Monkeys

Fortunate Vrindavan Monkeys

And the driving is a state of perpetual chicken (or cow, dog, pig, monkey…you get my drift) yet all survive and one learns to take it all in stride. One truly must be convinced that they are not the body to adapt. Safety is non-existent, no seat belts, lines in the road, traffic lights, nothing! It’s chaotic symmetry on the highest order.

I found out that there is a swan boat festival here once a year where they flood the courtyard and give Their Lordships a nice ride. This temple is amazing! The deities are the absolute center of attention and the lines of people that stream in every single day for morning and evening darshan is incredible. There are so many fragrant flowers offered that it boggles the mind. The marble floors and walkways are swept two or three times a day and washed at least once. The crew that runs and maintains this facility is large, motivated and efficient. All wear neck beads and respond to a Hari Bol. The restaurants, sweet shops and snack bars are all top quality. They announce their book distribution totals every morning to Their Lordships and it’s typically 1400-1600 books every day! Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental book distribution Ki Jaya!

Enough for today. This took 1 1/2 hours to write…   I know the subject matter is more than a little esoteric and may be a bit much to absorb…..I can only beg for your tolerance and ask that you all bear with me on this rather extraordinary journey.

Love and Krsna to you all!     g

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Vrindavan As It Is

Dearest family,

Today Dhanudara Maharaja took a small group of us to see Vrindavan as it is. There is no describing the experience of passing through a dimensional portal into a world of 5000 years past. We turned off a road and went through a solid black steel gate and into paradise. Lest you think I exaggerate, there are pictures to prove it. What lies beyond is a Vrindavan untouched by the cold finger of “progress”.

This land is in the flood zone and therefore cannot be developed, at least not yet… It is all gardens, neatly arranged in multiple plots divided by 12″ high mounds. Within this remarkable vision of pastoral delight are countless rows of marigolds, roses, banana trees, large bale fruit trees, amala trees, and other strange and exotic varieties of plant life. Kalindi, you would be in ECSTASY! Try to conjure up the ideal rose fragrance….now multiply it tenfold. That’s how fragrant these roses are. Now I know where all those garlands and bushels of flowers come from that are offered to Their Lordships. For one tuned in to the olfactory sensations, this is a veritable gold mine. Yet in this land of Krsna, one instinctively feels, ” Oh, what a nice flower, let me offer it to my beloved Gopinatha”. It’s not that I have any love or realization, it’s just this place…one simply knows from somewhere deep within.

And the residents! Today is Ekadasi, fasting from beans and grains. The streets were buzzing all day with pedestrian traffic of chanting and singing people in blisstacy as they follow the parikram path that surrounds the town. At the temple every morning and evening, these same residents file through with banana leaf plates overflowing with garlands to offer both the Lord and His pure devotee. To see so many people coming through in droves, trying to get the merciful audience of Srila Prabhupada and the presiding deities. Today is Tuesday yet there are so many visitors…yes it’s Ekadasi, but yesterday was the same….I took both still pictures and a video so you can see what I mean. AND, there is 24 hour kirtan, every day, all day and all night. There’s a dozen large oriental rugs covering the floor for these kirtanias. And these rugs must be rolled up every day for the sweepers to clean and wash the floor.

Vrindavan Parikrama

Vrindavan Parikrama

Though Jaya Krsna is still quite sick (and I’m not far behind), we made it to Loi Bazaar to finish our shopping. I got a little incense, a bell for offerings, neck beads, counting beads and some other something or other…….;-) Suffice it to say, the flight home will be challenging. Jaya Krsna and I will have to sit on opposite sides of the plane to keep it from listing.

That’s all for now. We’re off to Govardhana tomorrow to begin the next retreat…or should I say “re-treat”?

Love and Krsna to you all!   g

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Govardhana

Dearest family,

We left Vrindavan today for the Govardhana retreat. I was quite sick last evening and couldn’t sleep, gave up at 3 am and got up for the morning program. Well worth the effort to get one last look at the heartbreakingly beautiful countenances of Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri-Sri Krsna Balarama and the stunning Sri-Sri Radha Syamasundar, Lalita and Vishaka.

Sri Giriraja (the personality of Govardhana hill) is the greatest facilitator of Krsna’s pastimes and is not without a sense of humor. We finally arrived at our destination and my suitcase, which I watched them load, is missing. Apparently an Indian gentleman from Houston mistook mine (which is half again bigger, a lot heavier, a different hrand and doesn’t have a red ribbon on it) for his and it took him almost an hour to figure it out. So there I am with one set of dirty clothes, wet socks (because the drains here are flexible plastic pipe stuck in a hole in the floor which the rats displace when they come top side) and I’m facing the loss of all my clothes and the silver deity paraphernalia I’d just purchased. Can’t say it’s not an adventure!

We went out to a special place near the hill with very old pilu trees that appear to be in a state of frozen perpetual motion. Hard to describe, you’ll just have to see the pictures to understand. These entities are ancient and graceful. They could easily be thousands of years old.

The Pilu Tre

The Pilu Tre

The next 5-6 days will be filled with lectures, philosophy and deep discussions of the answers to God, the universe and everything…..and no, it’s not 42. Just foolin’, but suffice it to say that there is insufficient time or space to explain it. There’s 5 speakers, 4 lectures per day and it’s all taking place next to Govindaji’s garden in an elaborate tent that would rival the sultan tents of Persia AND right next to Govardhana Hill.

Don’t know if I’ll have much to write over the next several days but we’ll see…you’re probably getting overloaded anyway…

Love and Krsna to you all!   g

 

ECO-Vrindaban Logo New Vrindaban ISKCON

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 03/29/2015

Mission Statement: ECO-Vrindaban promotes Simple Living, Cow Protection, Engaging Oxen, Local Agriculture, and above all, Loving Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

Participating Members of the ECO-V Board of Directors: Anuttama (partial attendance), Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, Madhava Gosh and Ranaka.

Participating Advisors: Sri Tulasi Manjari (partial attendance)

Participating Managers: Mukunda

Recording secretary: Jordanna

1. New Vrindaban Village Council

A joint board sub-committee was formed, consisting of Ananga Manjari, Chaitanya Mangala, Jaya Krsna, Keval, Madhava Gosh, Mukunda, and Ranaka,. This group will discuss what next steps they recommend be taken in the formation of a Village Council.

2. INV Grant Request: $75K for Prabhupada’s Palace

INV has requested $75K ($50K for fundraising, $25K to complete current projects) in addition to the $350K that ECO-V has already allocated for Palace restorations.

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to support the on-going restoration efforts of Srila Prabhupada’s Palace.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to an additional $75K for this project. $50K will be specifically used to kick start a fundraising campaign. INV is expected to make sincere fundraising efforts before approaching ECO-V for additional funding from limited available resources.

Additionally, it was expressed by some of the board members that fixing the Palace roof should be made a priority.

3. Update on Mukunda’s Relocation Plans

Mukunda informed the Board he is anticipates arriving in New Vrindaban the third week of April.

4. Garden & Ox Program Managers Search

Ranaka reported he has been announcing the Garden Manager position via word-of-mouth, but thus far, no formal campaign has begun.

Chaitanya Mangala will speak to Madhava Smullen regarding an article advertising the positions for both Garden Manager and Ox Program Manager, which will be posted online and shared locally and internationally.

ECO-Vrindaban Logo New Vrindaban ISKCON

Opportunity:

ECO-Vrindaban is a non-profit organization serving in the New Vrindaban community, located near Wheeling, West Virginia, USA.

ECO-V promotes simple living, cow protection, engaging oxen, local agriculture, and above all, loving Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

We seek an individual with a strong knowledge of gardening, a passion for community and environment, who can handle both the challenges of managing community gardens and maintaining positive relationships with New Vrindaban residents, pilgrims and guests.

Duties:

• Oversee vegetable and flower garden facilities and staff

• Handle department related logistics and budgets

• Serve as an educational resource for local gardeners

• Coordinate garden volunteer activities

• Act as an organizational liaison and representative

All potential candidates must be:

• Excited to develop Srila Prabhupada’s vision for self-sufficient farm communities

• Passionate about environmental and food production issues

• Physically able to handle work in the gardens such as digging, lifting, bending, etc.

• Willing to live in New Vrindaban, WV

The ideal candidate will have:

• A proven track record and expertise in gardening

• Management or leadership experience, preferably with a non-profit

• A regular practice of individual chanting and participation in temple programs

Compensation: This will be a full-time, salaried position subject to a multi-year contract.

Please send cover letter, resume and any other inquiries to Ranaka dasa: dfintel@msn.com

Prabhupada Vision New Vrindaban

Prabhupada’s Palace Rose Garden Springtime Pruning Workshop

By Lilasuka dasi

“I’m really happy to have all these people out here helping us prune Prabhupada’s Palace Roses at this workshop. It’s a big job!” smiles Gopalasyapriya dasi, who has been heading up the Palace Rose Garden crew for about 13 years.

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

The Pruning Crew

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

Hard at Work

Her steady, regular garden workers Purnima dasi, Mukunda dasi, and Srimati dasi are with her at the workshop Sat. April 11 to Monday April 13, 2015 at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold Rose Garden. They were joined by Jeanette, who often works at the Palace Lodge, as well as by three experienced gardeners from the local “Ohio County Master Gardeners” group, including their president, who all came to increase their knowledge of rose pruning and planting, while simultaneously helping the Palace crew.

Paul Zimmerman, the expert rosarian giving the workshop, explains, “This transformation of the Palace Rose Garden from regular chemical usage to a totally sustainable organic rose garden is a two to three year process. They got a great start last year, 2014, following two main steps that I recommended.” Paul’s website is Paul Zimmerman roses

First, Paul had told them to evaluate the roses, keeping careful written scores of each rose group. High points went to the roses that prospered well without their previous chemicals, while low points went to roses which had trouble on the new organic program. He wanted to find out which types of roses would do best with organic gardening.

The second step was to change their usual pruning time. For years, Gopa and her crew have been pruning back the Palace roses in the fall and piling mulch over them to protect them for the winter.

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

A Teaching Moment

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

Gopa is on the left and Paul has long gloves and wide brim gray hat.

“Last year I suggested they try letting them go for the winter and then pruning them back in the spring time instead, like I do on most of my organic, sustainable rose gardens back home,” explains Paul.

That’s why Paul came to the Palace this sunny weekend in April– to see how the new method is working out.

“Roses are like people. They’re all different. We can see by this rose garden that you had a very rough winter! Down in North and South Carolina the spring pruning works great! But your rose garden had special challenges. It’s evident that this particular method of spring pruning may not work with Prabhupada’s Palace roses. But that’s alright. It was a starting point and now we’ll simply adjust the methods to suit Prabhupada’s roses. The harsh snowy and icy conditions of the 2015 WV winter, combined with the winds up here behind Prabhupada’s Palace, what to speak of the constant thawing and freezing that I’ve heard about is forcing us to make the decision to go back to the method of pruning back and mulching in the fall. It will work fine.” Paul asserts.

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

Hardy new roses lined up for planting.

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

Gopa & one of her good helpers, Mukunda.

This second year of the transformation to organic, 2015, is the year to remove the rose plants which got low scores on last year’s evaluation, because these plants just don’t do well with this sustainable program. They will be replaced with hardier plants.  He points out the new rose plants lined up, waiting to be planted during the weekend workshop.

Gopa tells us, “We also have to group all the like roses that are scattered around the garden, digging them up if necessary in order to put them with their matching groups for a more harmonious look.”

As a result of the careful evaluation process they did in 2014, Gopa and her crew found that there were 10 varieties out of the total approximately 55 varieties of roses that did not do well under these organic conditions. So these 10 varieties will be removed from the garden and 150 new, more sustainable plants will be planted as replacements. There are about 800 rose plants altogether at the Palace. Many of the variety of plants around the Palace are started at the Palace greenhouse.

Prabhupada Palace of Gold New Vrindaban ISKCON Rose Garden

Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold greenhouse.

When asked how the workshop is going, Paul smiles. “It’s going great! The sun is out. The gardeners who are here from Wheeling are learning a lot, and the Palace of Gold roses are benefitting from their work. I think the Palace Rose Garden will continue to get better and better.”

 

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