New Vrindaban Throwback Thursday

This week’s challenge: There are nine people in this photo. Can you name them all and identify what are they doing?

Extra credit: What year was this photo taken?

What to do: Post your guesses on the “who, what, when, where & why” in the comment section at the New Vrindaban Facebook page.

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Palace

Srila Prabhupada seated on his Vyasasana in his Palace at New Vrindaban.

New Vrindaban Fall Board Meetings 2014:

An Evening with Srila Prabhupada at his Palace

By Madhava Smullen

At 6:00pm on November 1st, New Vrindaban board and community members ended their first packed day of meetings with a true treat – spending the evening with Srila Prabhupada at his Palace of Gold. The event was one in a series of monthly sangams arranged by Kripamaya Das.

As devotees arrived, Palace Restoration Manager Gopisa Das showed them the latest work done, pointing out the renovated lookout tower, the black granite being laid on the steps, and the new drainage system to prevent future water damage.

As they stepped from the brisk cold outside into Srila Prabhupada’s warm temple room, with the ISKCON Founder-Acharya looking out from his vyasasana over the stunning gilded ornamentation, marble flooring and ceiling paintings of Krishna’s pastimes, they felt as if they were entering the spiritual world.

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Palace Chaitanya Mangala 2014

Chaitanya Mangala speaks to the group.

Joint board member Chaitanya Mangala Das set the tone for the evening by reading a 1974 editors’ letter from the 12th issue of Brijabasi Spirit magazine describing a “hectic” week of “all-out service” as New Vrindaban devotees prepared for Prabhupada’s visit, but saying that even more important was developing the proper consciousness to receive such a great personality.

Chaitanya Mangala pointed that this was still applicable today —  as we are outwardly engaged in service, our internal reflection should be to develop qualities of surrender, humility, appreciation and love in order to truly receive Srila Prabhupada.

He then read several stories about the visit itself, including Srila Prabhupada’s arrival at Bahulaban, the Saturday festival with him attended by 400 devotees from around the country, and his tour of his still under-construction Palace.

Chaitanya Mangala also read about Prabhupada’s visit to Daivata Das’ house in Madhuban and pointed out Daivata amongst the devotees gathered. Seeing a devotee featured in a story about Prabhupada sitting right there and smiling at the memory was a wonderful experience for a young devotee like this writer.

His Holiness Varsana Maharaj speaks.

His Holiness Varsana Maharaj speaks.

Varshana Swami spoke next, reminding everyone that this Palace was the first Samadhi built for Srila Prabhupada. He told the story of how when Prabhupada visited this very same temple room while it was under construction, his disciple Bali Mardana asked: “Will this room be lit up by jewels like in the Krishna book?” In reply, Prabhupada, gestured to the devotees building the Palace. “These devotees are my jewels,” he said.

Varshana Swami also recalled the night when news came that Prabhupada passed away, and how the shellshocked devotees all gathered in the only place that made sense: his Palace. Although it was the darkest night of their lives, and they felt like they couldn’t go on, as they cried and chanted together in a mood of separation, they began to feel closer to Prabhupada than they ever had.

“Prabhupada’s ultimate gift is that the highest part of Vaishnava siddhanta is service in separation — which we’re all doing right now,” Varshana Swami concluded.

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Palace Tamohara 2014

Tamohara prabhu shares his insights.

Finally Tamohara Das spoke about Srila Prabhupada’s management style, comparing it to parenting rather than corporate management and citing three specific qualities.

Firstly, like a good parent, he said, Prabhupada was a great communicator. Secondly, he brought the best out of his “children” by expecting the best from them. “Whatever Prabhupada asked us to do, we felt we could do,” Tamohara said.

Lastly, Prabhupada was warm and nurturing, like every good parent. “If we want to have Prabhupada in our lives and hearts, he’s there,” said Tamohara. “He continues to offer that protection years after  his physical departure.”

An endearingly “old school” kirtan lead by Daivata Das in Srila Prabhupada’s classic Hare Krishna tune followed, creating a mood very evocative of the memories that had just been shared. Finally, feeling blissfully closer to Srila Prabhupada and more encouraged in their quest to realize his mission, the devotees sat down together to a delicious prasadam meal.

An attentive crowd inside Prabhupada's Palace.

An attentive crowd inside Prabhupada’s Palace.

 

 

Bhakti Retreat: New Year’s in New Vrindaban Dham

January 1st  – 4th 2015

Spend this New Year’s Eve in the scenic, rolling hills of West Virginia, getting spiritually re-charged.  Listen to enlivening Krsna Katha and Prabhupada Katha.   Attend enlightening devotional workshops/seminars, soothing bhajans, ecstatic kirtans, and enjoy sumptuous, healthy prasad.  Does life get any better than this?

snow temple.cropped

Special guest speakers include:

-Malati Prabhu

– Havi Prabhu

– Gopal Hari prabhu

-Yugal Kisore prabhu

- Many of the older Brijabasis                                     

tree.GN

Festival registration is free, but donations to help cover costs are, of course, welcome during the retreat.

We have limited rooms available- please book your room today!  To book your room, please either call or email the Palace Lodge directly at palacelodge108@gmail.com or 304-843-1600 ext.111

We look forward to seeing and serving you. Hare Krishna.

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New Vrindaban Bahulaban Temple Prabhupada 1976

Srila Prabhupada giving a cookie to Vishnu & Sankirtan in the Bahulaban Temple, New Vrindaban, June 1976

“Your idea to start a nursery school in New Vrindaban is very good proposal and you may immediately try for it by cooperatively consulting amongst yourselves how to do it.” – Srila Prabhupada, February 1972.

Click here to read the rest of the letter at the Brijabasi Spirit website.

ECO-Vrindaban Logo

ECO-Vrindaban On-Site Board Meeting Minutes 11/2/2014

Mission Statement: ECO-Vrindaban promotes a simple, sustainable lifestyle centered on the care and protection of cows, local food production and the loving service of Lord Krishna, as envisioned by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

Participating Members of the ECO-V Board of Directors: Anuttama, Chaitanya Mangala, Krpamaya, Navin Shyam and Ranaka.

1. Radha-Krsna Devi dasi as Advisor

WHEREAS:  The ECO-V Board wishes to cultivate potential future directors in advance of vacancies on our Board.

RESOLVED: The Board appoints Radha-Krsna Devi Dasi as an advisor, with an initial term of one year.

2. ISKCON New Vrindaban (INV) Bahulaban Utility Building Roof & Window Repair

WHEREAS:  The ECO-V Board wishes to increase the allocation for repair of the Bahulaban utility building to be able to install a new roof and gutters.

RESOLVED: The Board votes to increase the allocation to $30K.

3. General Manager Candidates

The ECO-V Board decided to move ahead with hiring Mukunda prabhu. Ranaka and Chaitanya Mangala are delegated to work out details of the contract.

4. Construction of INV Apartment Building

WHEREAS:  The ECO-V Board wishes to invest a significant portion of the proceeds from the Utica Shale gas lease to fund an endowment for the future care of the cows, and simultaneously support the growth of the INV community.

RESOLVED: The Board approves a $550K loan to INV for the construction of a new apartment building and proceeds from the loan will be used to start a cow protection endowment.

New Vrindaban Preschool Reopens

by Lilasuka dasi

The preschool takes shape.

The preschool takes shape.

The academic school in New Vrindaban has gone through many changes throughout the years.   From “Nandagram School” back in the 80’s, to the “New Vrindavan School” in the 90’s, to the current “Gopal’s Garden Home School Co-op”, all ages of kids and teachers have come and gone. Many of the graduates have expressed fond memories of their time spent in those Nandagram classrooms.

These days, a new wave of enthusiasm is hitting New Vrindaban in the form of a preschool! It is a welcome phenomenon that truly happened by surprise. Recently, one of the newest mothers in New Vrindaban was searching for a babysitter for a few days a week. The search didn’t exactly bear fruit, but something even better took place. In talking to several other mothers with young children, the possibility of a preschool came up. The idea was an immediate hit.

Older student Brinda plays with preschoolers.

Older student Brinda plays with preschoolers.

That same weekend, on Nov. 9, 2014, Mother Ruci held a meeting with the four interested mothers. Mother Ruci said, “I was totally surprised at the enthusiasm, energy and commitment coming from these mothers for a preschool. It must be that the time is right for this to happen. I think it’s a great idea and I’m enlivened. We’re ready for the New Vrindaban Home School Co-op to expand.”

The very next morning, all four mothers were down at the school building, working together to clean out the preschool classroom and bring in the paraphernalia provided by Mother Ruci. Lalita Gopi dasi, who cares for another mother’s toddler, Nadia, and who was instrumential in getting the project off the ground, was found enthusiastically sweeping the new classroom and arranging the tables. Sundari dasi said, “I’m very excited about this class for my two year old daughter, Bhumi. Just having this class here will attract more families with young children to New Vrindaban, I’m sure of it.”

The happy face of Nadia

The happy face of Nadia

Bhumi snacking.

Bhumi snacking.

Almost ready.

Almost ready.

Vilasini dasi won’t be able to personally assist in the classroom, as she is going to school for nursing and also working, but she and her husband are very excited for their three year old, Malini, to attend. She confirms, “If they need us to shop for the class, I’d love to do that!”

One young mother, Priti dasi, was born in New Vrindaban back in the early ‘80’s and is a graduate of the school herself. She now has two little children of her own, one of whom will be attending the preschool. Priti said, “When I heard about the possibility of this preschool, I was very excited. My three year old, Rama, is ready for this. I’m really enthusiastic about helping to provide him a situation where he can learn to socialize with other kids his age in a Krsna conscious setting.”

 

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Vrindaban Nath 1976

Srila Prabhupada visits Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Natha at the original New Vrindaban farmhouse, June 1976.

“In Vrindavan there are so many temples, they say 5,000, or in Vrindavan every home, every cottage is a temple. As far as possible, try to develop New Vrindaban on this standard.” – Srila Prabhupada, August 1970.

Click here to read the rest of the letter at the Brijabasi Spirit website.

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