Prabhupada’s Vision: Our Mission.

Open Invitation to the 5th Service Appreciation Ceremony in New Vrindaban

The INV & ECO-V board members humbly invite you to a service appreciation ceremony.

Honorees: Pitambar & Amburish, Gopalasyapriya & Damodara, & Varsana Swami.

When: Sunday November 13th, 2016

Time:  3:30 PM, immediately following the Sunday Feast

Where: Community Hall, under the Palace Lodge

Please come and celebrate their many years of exceptional service in the development of New Vrindaban.

Amburish Pitambar family New Vrindaban

From left to right: Acarya, Amburish, Ananda, Pitambar & Nitai. New Vrindaban circa 1986.


Gopalasyapriya Damodara New Vrindaban

Damodara & Gopa.


Varsana Swami New Vrindaban ISKCON

Varsana Swami.


New Vrindaban Devotees Serve Prabhupada at His Palace With Renewed Enthusiasm

Written by Madhava Smullen for ISKCON New Vrindaban Communcations.

Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold renovations ISKCON New Vrindaban

Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, recently renovated front steps.

Since its construction, Srila Prabhupada’s Palace has been the heart and soul of the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia. A sacred Smriti Samadhi, it is the greatest memorial to ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya in the Western World.

What’s more, it was beloved by Prabhupada himself, who wanted to retire to it to translate his books, and repeatedly asked when it would be completed.

“When my palace will be ready I shall go there and stay,” he wrote in 1974. “I like very much that place, very calm and quiet.”

So it is inspirational for many that this year has seen renewed energy and attention at Prabhupada’s Palace, as devotees work to again increase the international recognition it receives.

An important step was enlisting a qualified person to facilitate the effort. Enter new Palace Manager Vrajadhama Das from Toronto, who has been a devotee for twenty years and worked as an office manager and sales trainer before joining Prabhupada’s Palace this March.

“Serving Srila Prabhupada nicely is our priority,” he says. “If we’re not doing that, it doesn’t really matter what other improvements we’re making.”

Prabhupada's Palace Staff Members ISKCON New Vrindaban

Palace Staff Members With Srila Prabhupada’s Murti.

To that end, a priority for Vrajadhama was to renovate a room in the Palace for a pujari, Srinama Das, to live in so that he can attend to Srila Prabhupada’s care full-time.

Devotees are also renovating the Palace kitchen, so that Srinama can prepare Prabhupada’s meal offerings onsite rather than transporting them up the hill from the temple.

The next priority is, of course, making sure that the devotees serving Prabhupada are happy.

“One way I try to do that is by recognizing and appreciating the devotees for the hard work that they’ve been doing here for so many years,” Vrajadhama says. “I walk the grounds of the Palace every morning, and stop and talk to everyone to see if they need anything and if they’re satisfied in their service. I also try to make sure that people are engaged in activities that suit their personal abilities, which was Srila Prabhupada’s philosophy of management.”

These efforts have resulted in increased staff enthusiasm and numbers, with four local people and twenty-one devotees engaged in various capacities, up considerably from previous years.

With the staff numerous and active, Prabhupada’s Palace is also seeing increased attendance at several unique programs that utilize its atmosphere of personal association with Srila Prabhupada.

First Friday Kirtan Prabhupada's Palace of Gold ISKCON New Vrindaban

First Friday Kirtan Event October 7th, 2016

One of these is the monthly Prabhupada Sangam, started in Spring 2013 by husband and wife Kripamaya Das and Krsna Bhavi Dasi, both Prabhupada disciples, and maintained today by Vrajadhama and his wife Nityananda Dasi.

“The evening starts off with grand disciples or second generation devotees talking about what Prabhupada means to them,” says Vrajadhama. “We then have Prabhupada disciples speak about their personal experiences with him – both local disciples as well as visiting devotees like Nanda Kumar Prabhu or Srutakirti Prabhu, who had lots of one-on-one time with him. It’s very sweet.”

The Sangams are an attempt to bring Prabhupada’s Palace to life. “I really wanted to bring the New Vrindaban community members back to the Palace,” says Vrajadhama. “To let them know, this is not just a place for tourists, but this is Prabhupada’s home – he’s here, and he wants you to come and visit.”

Each event is filmed and archived on the New Vrindaban YouTube page, and the last one was livestreamed on Facebook, an exciting new step in utilizing modern technology.

Meanwhile, as a way of reaching out to the public Kirtan Experience events are held on the First Friday of every month. Introduced in April this year, they are advertised locally in Wheeling and surrounding areas as a way to “enliven, unite and inspire through transcendental music.”

Between 30 and 50 people usually attend these programs, many of them general public who appreciate the sweet and informal vibe. Devotees from different ISKCON New Vrindaban departments take turns leading each time, starting off with slow bhajans and building until everyone is jumping up and down, spinning in circles, and having an all round great time.

Festival of Colors Prabhupada's Palace of Gold ISKCON New Vrindaban

Festival of Colors September 17th, 2016

Sharing that joy of Krishna consciousness with a much larger public audience was this year’s fifth annual Festival of Colors on September 17th, held on the Palace grounds. Drawing nearly three thousand local people despite rainy weather, it saw families and students chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, dancing, throwing colors and taking tours of Prabhupada’s Palace.

Feedback has been very positive, and weather providing in future years Vrajadhama feels the Festival can again hit previous heights of 4,500 and beyond.

It’s a reasonable expectation: this year, overall tourism at Prabhupada’s Palace already increased from 20,000 annually to approximately 30,000. Vrajadhama attributes this to stronger social media presence, as well as an increasing interest from TV, radio and print media.

“It’s really about getting ourselves out there,” says Vrajadhama. “Because we have so much to offer. People are becoming aware that we’re doing a lot of work here, and that we’re ready to reintroduce ourselves to the world. They’re excited about that, and they want to come and see what we’re up to.”

In addition to Srila Prabhupada, the regular events and Palace tours, there’s a lot to see these days, with many physical improvements being made too.

A new Smoothie Shack opened at the Palace on Memorial Day in May, with devotees repurposing and renovating an unused gazebo. Painting it the Palace Wall’s signature salmon pink, they added four matching bistro-style tables with umbrellas, and began serving fresh fruit smoothies, freshly squeezed organic lemonade, and ice cream.

Smoothie Shack at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold ISKCON New Vrindaban

Smoothie Shack at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold.

In the future, there are plans to add a grill to offer sandwiches and other hot snacks. More benches will also be added in shaded areas to make the Palace grounds more welcoming.

“It’s an added service for guests who’ve come a long way,” Vrajadhama says. “Now they can sit down and look out over our lotus pond with a refreshing Strawberry Bananarama or Mango smoothie, and just take time to absorb the serene atmosphere. This is a place of pilgrimage, so we really want people to slow down, and see Krishna everywhere in the natural beauty of New Vrindaban.”

Meanwhile, Prabhupada’s Palace itself is undergoing a major restoration project, with beautiful new rose and black granite steps, and a new drainage system to protect against water damage. The outer wall is being stabilized with rebar and concrete, and given a new durable stucco finish, a saffron topping with lotus designs, and ornate black window frames in Jaipur-style arches.

As the construction team does this work, Vrajadhama is overseeing painters who have repainted the Palace’s ornate black and gold exterior, its railings, and its chattras, or lookout towers, giving a fresh new appearance.

Next, the Palace roof, which has been leaking and causing internal damage for years, will be stripped and rebuilt, along with a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

Restoration of Prabhupada's Palace Wall ISKCON New Vrindaban

Ongoing Restoration of Prabhupada’s Palace Wall

Whatever work devotees do, Vrajadhama feels, it will be successful as long as they keep Srila Prabhupada in the center and remember that he is always present at his Palace. As he told devotees in 1974, “I am already living here and always will be.”

“And that’s evident to both devotees and guests,” says Vrajadhama. “One woman took the tour this summer after she saw the Palace in a commercial. During the tour, she was listening very intently, really absorbing all the information. Then, when we turned the corner, entered Srila Prabhupada’s study, and saw him behind his desk writing in his murti form, she began to cry. Tears were running down her face, and she was overwhelmed with emotion. The others on the tour felt it too. And at that moment I knew that Srila Prabhupada is here – and that although he might physically appear to be absent, he will always be in his Palace.”

“This,” concludes Vrajadhama, “Is what makes Prabhupada’s Palace such an important place, and why it’s so important for us to continue improving and caring for it. Not only for us, but also for our children, and their children, and for the people of America – to be able to come and experience its gifts far into the future.”

ISKCON New Vrindaban Open Invitation: November 11, 12 & 13, 2016

ISKCON New Vrindaban logo        ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON cows gardens Prabhupada

The board members of ISKCON New Vrindaban & ECO-Vrindaban humbly invite all New Vrindaban residents, neighbors and well-wishers to participate in the upcoming weekend activities.


Friday, November 11th

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Dinner Prasadam with Board Members & GBCs (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

Saturday, November 12th

9:00 am to 10:00 am: Breakfast Prasadam (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

9:45 am to 1:30 pm: ISKCON New Vrindaban & ECO-Vrindaban Department Head Presentations (under the Palace Lodge)

1:30 pm to 2:30 pm: Lunch Prasadam (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

2:30 pm to 5:00 pm: Community Dialog (Join us in a lively discussion about current topics TBD, under the Palace Lodge)

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Dinner Prasadam with Board Members & GBCs (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

Sunday, November 13th

9:00 am to 10:00 am: Breakfast Prasadam (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

10:00 am to 1:00 pm: New Vrindaban Community Tour (various locations TBD, weather permitting)

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm: Sunday Program & Feast (at Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple)

3:30 pm to 5:30 pm: Community Service Appreciations (under the Palace Lodge, details to follow)

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Vision ISKCON

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 09/11/2016

ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 09/11/2016

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 Directors: Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna & Vraja

Participating Manager: Mukunda

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. Bahulaban Barn Community Center Proposal Update

Mukunda continues to communicate with the relevant governmental agencies regarding the various requirements, as well as Prakash Patel, from whom is he awaiting a report. He will begin putting together some rough cost estimates based on the information he already has.

2. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

  • He finished installing double-doors and windows at temple flower garden shed.
  • He began preparing the inside walls of the temple milking goshala for the installation of plywood and vinyl panels.
  • He terminated his participation as the ECO-V representative on the Steering Committee.
  • He submitted his resignation as an ECO-V Manager and announced his plans to return to Florida shortly after the November Joint Board meetings.

The ECO-V team members present expressed their appreciation for Mukunda’s service and contributions over the nearly two years he’s been involved with ECO-Vrindaban and wish well both him and his wife Bhakti-lata Dasi.

3.  Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

  • He has been relocating 19 cows from Bahulaban to Nandagram.
  • He repaired a well pump at Nandagram which had broken.
  • 5,000 flowers were grown and picked for Radhastami.
  • He brought a cow named Rasananda to Radha Kunda for the Radhastami celebration.
  • He oversaw continued harvesting in the gardens.

4. ECO-V & INV Managers’ Meetings Update

These meetings are scheduled to be held every two months. The next meeting will be in approximately two weeks. A few days prior to the meeting, the Managers will compile a list of topics for discussion.

5. ECO-V Staff Meetings Update

Staff meetings are being held on alternating Fridays. Mukunda, Nitaicandra and Ranaka report that the staff has been enjoying and benefiting from the discussions and feel they have been helpful and productive.

6.  Developing ECO-V’s Cow Protection Endowment

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to establish an endowment to continue support for cow protection, both now and into the future.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $3K to be used for legal work with Mrigendra prabhu to establish an endowment.

A subcommittee consisting of Chaitanya Mangala, Ranaka and Jaya Krsna has been tasked to work on this project.

For regular updates, visit the ECO-Vrindaban Facebook Page:

New Vrindaban to Attract Western Visitors With New Yoga Pavilion

Yoga Pavilion in New Vrindaban

By Madhava Smullen

A new Yoga Pavilion currently being built by ISKCON New Vrindaban’s own devotee construction crew, and aiming to be open next year, is expected to draw a large Western audience.

“We have been highly focused on reaching out to Indians living in the USA,” says temple president Jaya Krsna Das. “But Srila Prabhupada came to preach to Westerners, so we want to now make a major concerted effort to reach them too.”

Yoga, of course, is an interest that both Indian and Western people share. According to a 2012 study by Yoga Journal magazine, more than twenty million people practice yoga in the U.S. And of current non-practitioners, 44.5% of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis” – people who are interested in trying yoga.

ISKCON around the world has had major success in connecting with yoga practitioners, who already have an interest in spirituality, Eastern philosophy, and kirtan. Many yoga groups visit temples such as Radhadesh in Belgium, Govardhana Eco-Village in India and more, and a sizeable number of yoga practitioners and teachers have become Krishna devotees, finding Bhakti-yoga to be the natural next step in their practice.

ISKCON New Vrindaban’s new Yoga Pavilion aims to be a big draw to this audience. Set on the waterfront at Kusum Sarovara Lake, it’s the perfect serene setting, with swans gliding by, and views of the stunning emerald Appalachian mountains as well as New Vrindaban’s exotic peacocks and local wildlife.

Yoga pavilion in New Vrindaban

The yoga studio or “Yoga Pavilion” will be a 1,850 square foot space – large enough for fifty people to practice yoga at once. It will be surrounded by three-quarter length sliding glass windows that will let in the light and surrounding nature; have a finished hardwood floor; and be well insulated with electricity and heating so it can be used even in the winter time.

Already, there is a lot of interest from yoga teachers and practitioners around the country, and even from local people who are delighted to hear that yoga will be offered soon near them.


Meanwhile, staff are starting to market by advertising in yoga magazines, spreading the word through contacts at the Astanga Yoga headquarters in Karnataka, South India, and registering as a teacher-training center with the Yoga Alliance.

When it gets underway, the Yoga Pavilion will have several different teachers. First of all, there will be two in-house experienced devotee yoga teachers, who will teach ashtanga yoga classes from a Krishna conscious perspective every day from spring to fall.

“Just like the yoga vacation program at Shivananda yoga, people will come, spend a few days learning yoga, and go,” says one of the teachers, Gaurnatraj Das. “Others will sign up for special study programs like our one-month teacher-training program, which will cover the Bhagavad-gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika. We will also offer yoga classes to our own community residents and congregation as a healthcare option.”

Secondly, ISKCON New Vrindaban will invite other devotee yoga teachers from around the country to hold their own retreats at New Vrindaban, and will assist them.

And thirdly, outside yoga groups will be invited to use New Vrindaban as a destination for their retreats.

While these groups will have their own curriculums, they will naturally be steeped in Krishna consciousness, staying in the holy dhama of New Vrindaban; eating prasadam; and associating with devotees.

Devotees will also work with them to include kirtans and temple programs in their reteats, along with karma-yoga, or service to the Lord.

As well as retreats held by outside groups, ISKCON New Vrindaban will also hold its own three-night retreats regularly with specialized side-subjects such as vegetarian cooking. And once a year, there will be a four to five night gala retreat, with yoga, ayurveda, acupressure, and other types of alternative healing.

With all this, ISKCON New Vrindaban hopes to double its visitors within the next couple of years, and make better use of its lodge and restaurant facilities during spring, fall, winter and weekdays.

“New Vrindaban has so much potential, and this is one big step towards attracting open-minded Western people from all over America, just as Srila Prabhupada wanted,” says Gaurnatraj. “Eventually, we’d love to build a huge retreat center here and see New Vrindaban become a major center for education.”

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Festival to Awaken Sweet Service Mood

Srila Prabhupada Festival New Vrindaban

By Madhava Smullen

ISKCON New Vrindaban is warmly inviting everyone to attend its Srila Prabhupada Festival this September 30th to October 2nd. As an offering of love and appreciation for their service and sacrifices, current and previous New Vrindaban residents, as well as all Prabhupada disciples, will have their lodging and prasadam completely covered for the weekend.

The festival is a revival of the historical Prabhupada Festivals that began in the West Virginia rural community with the opening of Srila Prabhupada’s Palace in 1979, and continued through to the mid 1980s. Lavish affairs, they saw devotees from around the world come together to serve Srila Prabhupada with processions, abishekhas and gift-giving, as well as 24-hour kirtans, dramas, sumptuous feasts, and elaborate fireworks displays.

This year’s festival aims to not only bring back that tradition, but also to reconnect with previous residents who assisted in the gradual development of New Vrindaban; revive a spirit of giving special attention to Srila Prabhupada; and awaken the team spirit and sweet, sincere mood of service that the early devotees had for him.

To do this, much of the festival will be focused on taking participants on parikrama to the tirthas where Prabhupada spent time during his four visits to New Vrindaban, to commemorate those special moments.

Prabhupada ISKCON New Vrindaban Madhuban House Front Yard Darshan June 1976

Prabhupada sitting in the front yard of the Madhuban house for an evening darshan – June 1976

On Friday, the parikrama will go to the Madhuban area of New Vrindaban, where Srila Prabhupada stayed in an old farmhouse during his second visit in September 1972. Upon arriving and sitting down in his room in the farmhouse, he was pleased to be back in New Vrindaban and said, “This Vrindaban, that Vrindavan, no difference.”

While at Madhuban, devotees will have a bonfire kirtan, and watch a video of Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban. Later that evening, they’ll launch lanterns into the night sky and set intentions for their service to him.

On Saturday, they’ll experience mangala arati at Prabhupada’s Palace and take a japa walk to Nandagram, where Srila Prabhupada visited gurukula students and received gurupuja during his last stay in 1976.

They’ll also hike to the original Vrindaban farmhouse, where the community was focused in its early days, and where Prabhupada spent 32 days in May/June 1969. While there, he marveled at the fresh milk from New Vrindaban’s first cow, Kaliya, the local tulip honey, and the sweet water from the well; and told devotees that everything they needed for a happy life and God realization was there.

Prabhupada New Vrindaban 1969 tree Rishikesh, Yadunandan, Ranadhir Kirtanananda, Pradyumna, Taruni, NaraNarayana, Arundhati, Purusottama and Madhu-Mangal.

Srila Prabhupada seated under a tree with his disciples in New Vrindaban – 1969.

He also spent many spring afternoons under a persimmon tree teaching the young devotees of his fledgeling rural community about every element of the simple life, from how to protect and engage cows and bulls to eco-building.

During a special program in a pandal at Vrindaban during the Prabhupada Festival, senior devotees who were actually present back then will recall all these memories and more, tell sweet stories, and show pictures of those days.

Then, taking some downtime, everyone will walk along Big Wheeling Creek, where Prabhupada walked in 1972. There’ll also be a chance for devotees to visit the cows, do yoga, or get a massage at ISKCON New Vrindaban’s devotee care center.

Finally in the evening, there will be a program at Prabhupada’s Palace, which New Vrindaban devotees built as an offering of love to Srila Prabhupada, and which he accepted with love, saying, “These devotees are my jewels.”

Prabhupada at his Palace of Gold ISKCON New Vrindaban

Prabhupada’s Murti at his Palace of Gold.

Afterwards, Prabhupada’s murti will be carried on a Palanquin around the Palace, just as devotees carried his murti in a procession when they installed him in his Palace in 1979. The procession will make its way down to the Kusum Sarovara Lake, where Prabhupada will ride a Swan boat in an ecstatic twist on New Vrindaban’s signature Swan Boat Festival.

On Sunday morning, there will be a class by New Vrindaban pioneer Kuladri Dasa on the front lawn of Ruci Dasi and Sankirtan Dasa’s house. Srila Prabhupada stayed in this house during his last visit in 1976, and in the evenings met with his disciples on the lawn, where he was famously photographed speaking from a grand vyasasana upholstered in bold yellow silk.

Prabhupada ISKCON New Vrindaban Bhagavat Dharma Govindaji Hill Bahulaban 1972

Prabhupada delivering his Bhagavat Dharma discource on Govindaji Hill – 1972

Everyone will then make their way to Govindaji Hill, to recreate the Bhagavat Dharma Discourses Srila Prabhupada gave under a pavilion there, speaking on the Bhagavatam to hundreds of devotees and guests for over a week.

Suhotra Swami recalled the Discourses as “a perfect outline,” going “deeper and deeper into the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam.” And Prabhupada himself described the experience as “truly a wonderful time,” and asked his disciples to “Go on holding Bhagavata Dharma discourses in every city of the world.”

The Bhagavat Dharma experience will be followed by local craft activities such as painting, clay sculpting and woodworking amidst the beautiful nature of New Vrindaban. Then there will be a closing sanga, and finally all the visitors will be seen off with lunch and travel packs.

ISKCON New Vrindaban temple president Jaya Krsna Dasa hopes that the festival will be an ideal way to honor Srila Prabhupada during the 50th anniversary of his ISKCON. He also hopes that next year’s Prabhupada Festival – for it will be an annual event from now on – will be even bigger, building towards New Vrindaban’s own 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018.

Until then? “This year I think we will be inspired by hearing about the adventures of the early residents, about how they dedicated so much of their lives to Srila Prabhupada,” he says. “And all the devotees will be inspired to hear stories about Srila Prabhupada in New Vrindaban, and about the instructions he gave for the community, that are valuable for all farm communities and for all devotees around the world.”

To find out more, or to register for the Srila Prabhupada Festival, please call Gaurnatraj Dasa at 304-312-6539 or email him at

Prabhupada ISKCON New Vrindaban Walk Big Wheeling Creek Shepherd's Bridge 1974

Prabhupada walking with his followers over Big Wheeling Creek on Shepherd’s Bridge – 1972

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 08/27/2016

ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON cows gardens

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 08/27/2016

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 Directors: Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna, Vraja

Participating Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. INV & ECO-V Monthly Joint Manager Meetings Update

The managers from INV and ECO-V intend to meet on a bi-monthly basis. So far, the managers met once in August and report it is already helping to improve communications and coordinated efforts between the two groups.

2. Kulimela 2016 Final Budget Report

Chaitanya Mangala presented the final KM16 budget report. $68,500 was collected and spent. This covered all expenses, except for post festival video editing, which will have to be raised separately by the organizers. ECO-V Board meeting participants commented that it was an important community building event and felt it was a good investment for ECO-V which should continue to offer positive impacts for years to come.

3. Bahulaban Barn Community Center Proposal Update

Mukunda met with Prakash Patel, who agreed to provide ECO-V with his recommendations of what we would need to do in order to utilize the space for “Community Center” purposes. Also, Mukunda met with the Fire Marshall, who provided important safety specifications, including a two-hour fire-rated floor, exit doors that open outward, raising the deck to the level of the door entrance, and fire blocking. Currently, he is waiting on information from the Health Department. Once he has those details, Mukunda expects to have some rough cost estimates within the next month.

4. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

  • Mukunda continued assisting the Steering Committee to prepare for the election of a Village Council.
  • He participated in the Governance Group meetings, brainstormed the creation of a voting process, drafted documents based on these ideas, and refined them based on feedback received.
  • He participated in the selection of the Village Association Liaison: drafted and publicized an ad for the position, provided information to interested parties, conducted interviews, assisted the selected candidate (Sudha Krsna prabhu) in getting started with his new service.
  • He continued organizing ECO-V’s bi-monthly personnel meetings.
  • Sri Tulasi Manjari and Mukunda went to Gita Nagari to represent ECO-Vrindaban at the first North American ISKCON Farm Conference organized by Kalakantha and Parijata.
  • He installed a new double-door at the deity flower garden shed.
  • In the next month, Mukunda plans to install wall paneling inside INV’s milking goshala and get started on the two bull pens that are needed at the ECO-V valley barn.

5. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

  • Ox training is on hold or a few weeks because of the excessive heat and flies at the Nandagram barn. The oxen have been put out in the pasture to relieve their discomfort.
  • Caitanya Bhagavat and Krsna Nama are currently installing a new paddock so that the oxen can be available for daily work and still find shelter in the forest.
  • The gardens are now producing nicely. We are regularly harvesting Swiss chard, mustard, kale, tomatoes, summer squash, basil, okra, peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries.
  • The beets and carrots were lost to rabbits.
  • Two groundhogs, a rabbit, and a raccoon have been live-trapped and relocated
  • Vidya’s garden has produced a few hundred pounds of bitter melon thus far, and well over 20,000 marigolds.
  • We were able to offer over 7,000 flowers for Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day.
  • In July, one WWOOFER came to work in the garden. She had a good experience and plans to return.

Over the next month, Nitaicandra anticipates:

  • Apple and paw paw harvest will begin
  • A fall garden of brassicas will be planted.
  • The oxen will be brought over to the garden for cover crop planting.
  • There will be a second cutting of hay.
  • Potato harvesting will commence in a few weeks. Community members will be invited.

6. ISKCON Cow Protection & Agricultural Ministry Additional Grant Request

Kalakantha dasa, the ISKCON Cow Protection and Agricultural Minister, requested an additional $1K grant to cover expenses he incurred while traveling to the four farm conferences held around the world. Because ECO-V is planning to host the 2017 North American Farm Conference in New Vrindaban, the managers determined it best to reserve any additional grant funds for that purpose.

7. Joint Board and Steering Committee Meeting Review

Earlier this month, the first formal tri-group meeting was held between ECO-V, INV and the Village Association Steering Committee. The Board members felt it was a positive and productive conversation. Some noted that the time of the meeting may need to be adjusted so that more members can participate. The next meeting is scheduled for September.

8. ECO-V Participation in North American ISKCON Farm Conference

Mukunda and Sri Tulasi Manjari participated in this three-day event held at the Gita Nagari Farm. Their presentation on ECO-V’s various projects in New Vrindaban was well received. This conference provided ECO-V with networking and educational opportunities. ECO-V is pleased to announce the next annual ISKCON North American Farm Conference will be held at New Vrindaban in October 2017.

9. November Appreciation T-Shirts and Plaque Budget

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to acknowledge the dedication of certain community members, as well as offer a token of appreciation to the INV and ECO-V staff and volunteers.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $2,000 as a budget for plaques and t-shirts to distribute during the November meeting weekend.

10. ECO-V Website Budget

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to re-establish a web presence for ECO-Vrindaban.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $3,000 to revamp the ECO-V website.

11. Increased Financial Transparency

The Board generally agrees that increased transparency would be beneficial towards building trust and increasing broader community engagement. Towards this goal, the Board discussed regularly posting financial reports on the soon to be revamped ECO-V website.

12. Bhima’s Board Retirement Announcement

Bhima announced his plan to step down from the ECO-V Board after the completion of his three-year term, in January 2017. The other Board Members expressed appreciation for Bhima’s significant contributions, especially that of Board Chair, and he has been requested to remain on as an Advisor for one year following the end of his current term.

For regular updates, visit the ECO-V Facebook Page:

August’s Edition of Brijabasi Spirit

Prabhupada’s Palace Launches Campaign to Support Restoration

By Madhava Smullen

Prabhupada's Palace of Gold Renovation ISKCON New Vrindaban

Renovation of a decorative side dome at the Palace.

Devotees at ISKCON New Vrindaban, West Virginia are in the midst of major renovations on Srila Prabhupada’s Palace. And they’re launching a campaign to help them continue restoring the renowned Smriti Samadhi, or memorial shrine to ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, to its full glory.

The effort is a labor of love, just as it was when devotees first started building the Palace in 1973, intending it as a residence for their guru, who expressed a strong desire to retire there and translate his books.

“Regarding New Vrindaban I was very happy when I was there,” he wrote to them in 1974. “I am expecting very soon to go there and live in my proposed palace at least for some time.”

When Prabhupada passed away in 1977, the Palace – which opened to the public in 1979 – became a monument to his astounding achievements and gifts he gave to the world; a place where he resides in spirit through his instructions; and a major attraction for pilgrims and tourists.

But over the last thirty years, the Palace, which was built by enthusiastic yet inexperienced & young devotees, began to decay. Large parts of the decorative domes, outer wall, railings, and steps crumbled away, and sections of wrought iron rusted irreparably.

More recently, a Palace Restoration Committee was established to take action, and had specialized engineers give their assessment. Fortunately, the core of the building was safe and sturdy, but work had to be done on the exterior quickly.

Prabhupada's Palace of Gold renovation ISKCON New Vrindaban

The Palace of Gold’s completely renovated front steps.

This time, the work is being carried out with the assistance of professionals – both devotees and reputable local companies.

“The new concrete we are pouring has all the attributes that experience and modern technology provide,” says restoration manager Gopisa Das. “So it will significantly outlast what was used previously.”

The first move was installing a new, far more efficient drainage system on the steps leading up to the Palace.

“Water is the biggest contributing factor to deterioration,” Gopisa explains.

Next, the steps themselves were beautifully renovated by recycling the original rose-colored granite and adding new black granite treads with polished front edges. The work is currently about to be completed.

“Those distinctive pink and black colors now look the same as they did thirty-five years ago,” says Gopisa. “And the steps are sturdier and more durable than ever, with two-inch-thick treads rather than just the one inch that was there previously.”

Work on the outer wall – the first impression visitors get of the Palace – came next, and the hope is to complete its restoration this year as an offering to Srila Prabhupada for the 50th anniversary of his ISKCON.

The block wall was stripped, grouted and stabilized with rebar and concrete. As water had been leaking through the top, an attractive new waterproof, saffron-colored topping with lotus designs was installed. And the crumbling window frames were pulled out and replaced with new ornate black frames with Jaipur-style arches.

Prabhupada's Palace block wall restoration ISKCON New Vrindaban

The Palace outer block wall updated with black, Jaipur-style window frames and red wall tops.

Next, beautifully ornate iron window grills will be installed, and the wall’s surface will receive a durable concrete stucco finish.

This will complete the first phase of restoration and exhaust ISKCON New Vrindaban’s current funding for the project. The second phase is repair of the Palace roof, which has been leaking and causing internal damage for years. Gopisa considers this a vital undertaking, and assuming financial support is available, he hopes it will be completed by the end of 2017.

“The entire roof has to be stripped down and rebuilt, along with a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, and the domes need to be properly sealed,” says Gopisa. “That phase will also include rebuilding the crumbled balustrade railing around the Palace roof as well.”

With all this work, Gopisa says, “We are using the very best materials we can afford, to make it as long-lasting as possible, so the next generations won’t be faced with the same challenges we’re facing now.”

Prabhupada murti Palace of Gold ISKCON New Vrindaban

Srila Prabhupada’s murti in his Palace temple room.

To the devotees in New Vrindaban there’s no doubt Prabhupada’s Palace is a sacred gem that must be revitalized. After all, it’s the only monument in the Western hemisphere built specifically to glorify Srila Prabhupada. It was constructed by volunteers who lovingly devoted years of their lives to its development. And it was beloved by Srila Prabhupada, who called its builders his “jewels” and promised, “I am already living here and always will be.”

Indeed, many devotees have commented they still strongly feel his presence there. Even tourists, who have never heard of Srila Prabhupada, are moved and affected. And in recent years, as media coverage of the Palace has once again increased, so have its visitors, with tens of thousands of pilgrims annually appreciating this sacred memorial to our beloved Founder-Acharya.

So please help support the restoration of Prabhupada’s Palace.

To offer your skills in renovation, contact Gopisa Das at

And to support the project financially, please contact Gaurnatraj Das at or phone 304 312 2069.

For more information, please visit:

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 07/24/2016

ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban Cow Garden ECO-V

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 Directors: Anuttama, Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari

Advisors: Radha-Krishna, Vraja

Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

1. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

  • The greenhouse that was outside the new boundaries of the Community Garden has been dismantled and many of the materials have been salvaged.
  • He helped build a fence to better contain the hay at the hay shelter next to the milking goshala.
  • He removed an old, obsolete and unsightly telephone pole next to the Deities’ flower garden.
  • He continues to help organize and chair the Village Association Steering Committee meetings.
  • He is preparing for the first North American ISKCON Farm Conference in Gita Nagari set for mid-August.
  • Mukunda contacted an Architectural/Structural Engineer, the County Health Department and Fire Marshal to understand any relevant fire, health and safety concerns. These meetings are scheduled throughout the next one month.

2. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

  • The main ox team, Hari and Priya, are working well together. Currently, they are pulling a chain and responding to voice commands without a lash. They will be part of the planting in the Community Garden next week by pulling a simple chain link drag to cover the seed.
  • Caitanya Bhagavat has been upgrading the Nandagram fencing.
  • The garden crew picked blueberries from the Bahulaban orchards (8 quarts).
  • Many quarts of mixed berries have been picked from the Community Garden (4 quarts per week).
  • Radish, salad greens, kale and Swiss chard harvest has begun.
  • Tomatoes, squash, and basil will be ready for harvest soon.
  • There have been some challenges with flea beetles, rabbits, and poor soil. Continuing to improve the soil quality by using soil building plants and manure will be an ongoing process.
  • Thus far, Vidya and her team have produced 8,000 marigolds with many more coming. The community garden is at around 2,000 marigolds
  • So far this season, we have had two Wwoofers guests and another will be coming this week.

3. Steering Committee Inclusion

The ECO-V Board is in favor of starting to include the Village Association Steering Committee members in the monthly “Joint Board” meetings between ISKCON New Vrindaban and ECO-Vrindaban. Concurrently, the Board requests the Steering Committee to set a date, within a reasonable time frame, for the vote to elect a New Vrindaban Village Council.


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"May cows stay in front of me; may cows stay behind me; may cows stay on both sides of me. May I always reside in the midst of cows."
Hari Bhakti-vilas 16.252