New Vrindaban’s Varsana Swami speaks on “Prosperity of the Earth Culture”

Prosperity of the Earth Culture

By Varsana Swami

July 2014

Varsana Maharaj

Varsana Maharaj

In healthy families and communities, both male and female are valued equally. A flourishing child’s psyche is guided and protected by the father figure, while the mother figure nurtures growth and development. Without such a stable structure, children perceive a hostile world (lack of feminine nourishment) within an empty universe (lack of masculine direction giving meaning and purpose). Without proper relationship to mother and father, a suffering condition develops which tempts its subjects with intoxication in order to fill the void and dull the pain.

Without loving families and communities, we feel inadequate, lost, with no sense of belonging. Unable to tolerate, we rapidly fill that void with artificial types of happiness. These “quick” fix solutions simply exasperate the distress.

In fact, in current times, we see how everything has to be faster and faster. “Snail” mail is outdated and high speed internet is considered a necessity of life which can answer all of our dilemmas. We live in a society where the price of fixing something exceeds the cost of a new one. Modern consumerism requires petroleum and fuel from the earth, drawing out more of her energy. Although it is simpler for the individual to dump broken items and waste into a landfill, the toxic waste burdens Mother Earth, kills our life support systems, and concurrently pollutes our collective unconscious.

As this mentality expands, it pervades within the realm of our relationships which also become disposable commodities. There is not enough time to cultivate meaningful connections. Accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of technology, parents work harder and longer to earn more money to provide what the global and socially transmitted disease of Affluenza (addiction to modern conveniences and the narcissism that it aggravates) deems as “normal”. There is therefore less time and energy for children.

Laxmi Anjani small 2 rasa priyas

Having strong relationship with both parents offers more than mere emotional stability, it furthers connection to the supreme seed-giving Father of all (Krishna) and the original Mother (Radha), the tender-hearted feminine beloved of the Lord. Organic lifestyle and quality time with parents can help offspring naturally develop faith in God above (dharma) and respect for Mother Earth below. Such healthy individuals propagate the perennial seeds of prosperity, living in communion with God’s plan.

Conversely, the ongoing disintegration of our culture, of our families and communities, and of sustainable infrastructures, has destroyed our natural sense of rejuvenation and regeneration. It has become evident to many that we need to “slow” down and develop a long term scheme that will conserve our natural resources, as well as preserve our relationships. However, Krishna has already created such a system. Maybe it is time to re-examine how to incorporate His gifts.

Understanding our relationships, our place and purpose, facilitates God’s original plan and will to resonate and blossom within us. It is our dharma, our constitutional position, to feel and experience our relationship to the Lord. In the Varnashram system, agrarian lifestyle naturally appreciates and utilizes male and female energies in order to maintain a balance. Honoring Mother Earth, we develop genuine respect for birthing (renewing), nurturing and growth processes. We value our many mothers which include, our human mother, Mother Earth and Mother cow. The Male figure in the Agrarian society is represented by the Bull – the protective and providing father.

New Vrindaban Cows Oxen ISKCON

To re-establish an ox program as a component to a more holistic lifestyle will facilitate a breakthrough in consciousness, piercing the layers of denial of our addictions, confronting our attitudes about the masculine and the feminine, as well as humbling us and preparing our consciousness for the profoundly deeper spiritual significance of what Srila Prabhupada wanted for us at New Vrindavan.

Foremost among Srila Prabhupada’s primary mandates for New Vrindavan was cow protection and agriculture. He emphasized the position of the cow and the bull as the mother and father figures in order to safeguard our consciousness from seeing them as objects of our exploitation.

Cow protection, as set forth by Srila Prabhupada was not merely that the cow and the bull lead a full and natural life, but that they also be jolly, as a member of a family would feel. Cows and bulls are happy to be fed and brushed. While cows like to be milked, the main source of pleasure for the ox has been obscured by the tractor. An ox is a bull who has surrendered his procreative potential, transforming that energy into a submissive and manageable temperament capable of being trained and utilized for agricultural and transportation services. As a father figure he loves to provide for his family of humans by pursuing his occupation in the field which assures a source of income and prosperity to mankind.

From the inception of the New Vrindavan vision until his later visits, Srila Prabhupada showed consistent concern that the bull maintain a solid footing on the soil of the holy dhama and in the agricultural field. He considered the use of tractors as a concession, only to be used in addition to oxen, never as a replacement. When the father figure is unemployed, the family can experience only temporary and artificial prosperity, nothing secure, long lasting or fully satisfying. At some point in time, an unemployed father (the bull), will be seen as a burden to the family.

Cultivating a relationship with Mother Earth by utilizing the Father figure, the bull, brings us together in community spirit. In an agrarian culture, both planting and harvest are festive occasions where everyone comes together in a joyful mood, delighting in preparing an offering of the gifts of Mother Earth, plowed by Father Dharma, back to their source, Sri Krishna. If we as devotees of Krishna cannot employ our father and appreciate his position as provider, how will we ever develop a wholesome love for Krishna, Who so dearly loves both the cows and the bulls?

bull and cow

As a replacement to the sustainable culture of the land, in the Iron Age, in order to produce machines, Mother Earth is exploited for iron ore by industrial enterprises fueled by petroleum. In India, rubber trees are planted to replace the sandal wood forests, meaning that tires are given preference over articles of sacrifice. Every step of the industrial world diminishes the life force of the planet. Chemical fertilizers are used which adversely affect our lives, poisoning both the soil and those who partake of the toxic crop.

Conversely, every step in cow protection and ox power enriches the ecology with renewed life and vitality. Fuel for the ox team is grass which otherwise needs to be mowed. When it becomes food for the ox, it returns to the earth transformed and enhanced as manure, liquid gold. When a tractor dies, some of its parts are recycled, some go to the toxic waste dump; whereas a deceased ox contributes to mrdunga heads, bull horns for the deities, ayurvedic remedies and the rest of his body is composted back to Mother Earth.

Furthermore, tractors, cars, and machines often become an extension of ego and aggravate the false identity we are attempting to overcome. In training and driving an ox team, the animals will never cooperate with the egotistic outbursts of man. They cannot be “controlled” like a machine and so they serve as a mirror reflecting the passionate and stubborn attitudes of ego. Driving an ox team can assist a devotee in learning patience, sensitivity and a cooperative spirit, such a precious service which a tractor cannot offer.

The bull represents power. Whereas technology encourages competition (Power over paradigm), true agriculture necessitates and cultivates cooperative, united efforts (empowerment with others).

In addition, while working a team of oxen, the teamster is never haunted by the scarcity issues which accompany the tractor (how will I pay for the machine, parts and fuel and replace the tractor when it wears out?) By the time an ox team retires, it has already been replicated (reproduced) many times over since about one half of calves born are bulls. In working the land with oxen, every step leads to prosperity, whether that comes in the form of overflowing bounty, the faith that Krishna will always provide enough to go around, or simple lessons in cooperative team spirit.

The full range of spiritual and practical import served by the bull is integral to our Krishna Conscious culture, New Vrindavan’s identity as the very first farming community, as well as a source of insight into the subconscious mind. The bull stands as an emblem of male fecundity or procreative potency which tends to be wild and combative until tamed and disciplined.

The common sight of a bull driving a turnstile reflects the image of Vrishabha, the macrocosmic Vedic bull, who sets the turning of the universe into motion and is the source of Dharma, whose four hooves represent the four pillars of spiritual life: cleanliness, austerity, mercy and truthfulness. At the end of each Yuga, Vrishabha lifts one of his hooves from the ground indicating the loss of yet another pillar.

In Kaliyuga, truthfulness alone stands, and even that is being challenged. While Kali attacks in an attempt to exploit both Dharma, the bull and Bhumi, Mother Earth, Maharaj Pariksit intervenes to re-establish Dharma. Without the bull and the cow – spiritual culture diminishes being left with “no leg to stand on”. Cow protection both ensures and indicates the barometer, the spiritual health of the society. The work of the oxen is represented by the plow which turns under the weeds of the field and opens the furrow where seeds of our sustenance as well as seeds of bhakti are sown and cultivated for the upcoming harvest.

Placing dharma back in the field represents more than a satvic and sustainable way of life, as these are mere consequences, not the actual fruits of the harvest. The root significance is valuing Krishna’s arrangements and Srila Prabhupada’s intent for us, the spiritual foundations for everything else we do. Combining our efforts to include all the essential ingredients offered by Srila Prabhupada, we can assist in re-creating New Vrindavan as a harmonious, interdependent farming community, where sustainability is manifest in both earthly and spiritual ways. The world can then see a true and complete solution to the ominous ecological crisis overshadowing us all.

In attuning our lives with the rhythms of earth culture, we live in harmony with Mother Nature and her laws and in accordance to dharma, Krishna’s design for order in the universe. Honoring archetypal mother and father figures facilitates understanding real meaning and purpose in life while creating a deeper connection to our universal and merciful Mother, Srimati Radharani, and to the message of our Father, Lord Krishna: to chant His holy Names.

The Maha Mantra is likened to the sound of Sri Krishna’s flute song which calls all the lost cows back home. Sri Krishna, by his flute playing and the rope He carries, assures the cows will be home in time for their milking. His big brother, Dauji, by the plow He carries, ensures that the oxen will be properly situated. And Srimati Radharani, Vrishabhanu Nandini, by the Name She cherishes, assures that the archetypal bull, Vrishabha will forever be honored.

Although lost and misguided, we can follow in the footsteps of the cows and the cowherd boys and girls. By chanting Krishna’s Names, attracted by that sacred vibration, we too can return home to Krishna’s heartland.

Srila Prabhupada Shares How He is Always “Thinking of” and “Anxious to See” New Vrindaban – November 1968

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada 1969

Srila Prabhupada with his followers at the original New Vrindaban farmhouse, 1969.

Srila Prabhupada Shares How He is Always “Thinking of” and “Anxious to See” New Vrindaban – November 1968.

From a series of letters written by Srila Prabhupada outlining his vision for New Vrindaban.

Thanks to Vanipedia for the source material.


November 18, 1968

My Dear Kirtanananda,

Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your short note along with Hayagriva’s letter. I am so glad to receive your note because I was a little restless for not receiving your letters since a few days. I have written already to Hayagriva about New Vrndaban how I am thinking of this place. And let us jointly endeavor for fulfilling this purpose. Yes, this climate of California, especially Los Angeles is very nice. I am always anxious to go and see the Govardhan hills in New Vrindaban and I hope Krishna will fulfill my desire as soon as possible.

I hope this meets you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

New Vrindaban Makes Plans to Bring Back Ox Power


Lilasuka dasi (L): Haribol Varsana Maharaj. Can you please give us some background information about why you would want to bring back ox power to New Vrindaban?

Varsana Maharaj (V) : First of all, I base my priorities on Srila Prabhupada’s most emphasized instructions for New Vrindaban, which come under two guidelines:

  1. Agriculture and cow protection
  2. A Place of Pilgrimage

Unfortunately, today, our concept of cow protection has become one-sided – matriarchal – because we’ve forgotten to recognize that cows come in two genders.

This can really be a dangerous platform because to see the cow simply as a provider of milk can lead to a hellish mentality. The cow is NOT primarily a milk machine, that is something just meant for our enjoyment and potentially our exploitation.

Instead, when we see her as mother, we want to protect her and then the nurturing aspect of the cow in the form of milk naturally flows as a healthy consequence.

Srila Prabhupada once asked the devotees on a walk ‘If I say ‘This is my cow, what does it mean? It means that she is my mother and I must protect her, and as a consequence I receive milk, but milk is not the sole purpose of the cow.”

Varsana S in the "old days"

Varsana S in the “old days”

L: I like your statement, “Cows come in two genders.” Such a simple truth.

V: Yes, and the bull is the father, “Dharma”, representing universal law and order.

That’s the other half of the reality. These archetypes of the bull and cow in society are so important. They represent a complete balance in society of the father and mother – bull and cow. These archetypes of bull and cow are crucial in terms of community, as well as cultural & traditional identity.

In traditional agrarian society, the bull provided power, without which the society was not able to function. So, if you use the bull (as the ox) for your source of power, then you will naturally get cows, and then milk will surely flow.

The spiritual analogy is that, just like the bull prepares the soil for seeds, chanting the Holy Name prepares our hearts for the seed of bhakti, of devotion – bhakti lata bija.

The other half of the analogy is that the cow is mother, and Bhumi represents the earth.

Varsana Maharaj more recently

Varsana Maharaj more recently

L: What about tractors? Do they have any place in this culture?

V: It’s fine to use tractors where animal power is not enough, but we need to be sure that the use of the tractor, called the “killer of the bull” by Srila Prabhupada, doesn’t replace the bull or kill our bhakti culture.

When the bull and the cow have their proper roles, THEY protect US, although we call it “cow protection”. It’s reciprocal protection.

We’ve lost sight of the importance of our roots, so we’re implementing the ox program to put things back in order, as dharma, which represents universal order.

It is necessary in society to have healthy relationships complete with father and mother figures, where we are nourished by the male and nurtured by the female.

When there is respect for the father and for the mother, then the children develop into healthy adults to raise healthy children of their own. Then there can be prosperity in terms of Krsna consciousness.

L: You used to work with animal teams here in New Vrindaban, correct, Maharaj?

V: Yes. In the past, everything was done with animal power – oxen, mules, and draft horses. When I was a child, the tractor hadn’t yet completely replaced animal power. We worked mostly with horses back then. When I was only small, about eight years old, tractors were beginning to become popular. At that time, I went door to door on a campaign to warn all the neighboring farmers against the use of tractors.

Eventually, when tractors became very popular, the farmers with their tractors began producing more than ever before. So then the Dept of Agriculture, for certain economic reasons, paid the farmers more money NOT to grow their crops than they would have earned from their harvest, so they stopped growing. This disrupted the economics and eventually the farms went out of production.

This is how the tractor ended small farm agriculture.

Big agri business took over with its use of pesticides, and basically put the small farmer out of business.

The small ox yoke.

The small ox yoke.

L: I’ve heard that Srila Prabhupada said that farm machinery will create unemployment. Can you explain that?

V: Yes. When Srila Prabhupada objected to machines, saying “this will create unemployment” he didn’t mean it in the usual terms of society, where people are out of jobs and can’t make money. However, he meant it more in terms of people coming together for the healthy social dynamics of agriculture. Planting and harvest time are festivities where families and neighbors work together!!!

They used to celebrate because, after harvest, there is a natural impulse to take the new bounty to the altar and offer it to God.

Or even in terms of economics, when your wealth is grains and land, the natural impulse is to take it to the altar in gratitude.

With paper currency and credit cards, the impulse is not always to take it to the altar!

L: Maharaj can you please speak a bit about what else Srila Prabhupada taught regarding a society based on agriculture and the cow and bull?

V: I was amazed from the start that, although Srila Prabhupada didn’t grow up on a farm, he still had such a deep grasp and respect for how that kind of natural society works and how it facilitates spiritual life.

Srila Prabhupada always had a deep concern for how New Vrindaban would utilize the bulls and oxen. He used to acknowledge that if you can’t keep up the production of food with only the animals, then it’s fine to use tractors to make up the difference, but never to replace the oxen.

Further, if society has proper relationship with the bull and the cow, it means we’re in resonance with dharma (universal law and order) and bhumi (earth culture) and that facilitates the message and mercy of Godhead to resonate within us in the form of the Holy Name.

Thus, the ox program is essential to the survival of our spiritual culture. Srila Prabhupada said, “Brahminical culture is impossible without cow protection.”

Working with animals, one has to exhibit some humility, or they generally won’t co-operate! The tractor, on the other hand, can be an extension of the operator’s ego!

L: Do you have enough manpower to do this?

V: Daivata, one of the original pioneers of New Vrindaban, is back!!! He was a teamster in the days. He drove a team and can now be part of the training team.

I would truly like to see the remnants of agriculture as it was before tractors took over rekindled before our generation is gone at least in a small way. No-one may “get it” after that with this modern society so removed from nature.

It takes someone with experience to pull this off. And I’ve received all green lights so far from the management.

L: I noticed some old equipment outside. What is all that?

Varsana M and the large ox yoke.

Varsana M and the large ox yoke.

V: That’s the old bobsled. We’re gathering up any pieces of old equipment and refurbishing them. I have 3 different sizes of ox yokes to accommodate the growing teams.

We’ve put a new deck on the old covered wagon. We also have a bobsled we’re refurbishing with hardened steel runners for longevity.

The old bobsled coming back to life.

The old bobsled coming back to life.

We used to cut the timber, load it on the bobsled, bind it down with chains in big high stacks, then roll it on the flatbed truck, take it to the mill, bring it back and build the barn!

L: Maharaj is there anything else you’d like to say?

V: Dharma has only one leg left – truthfulness – it’s a shaky leg at best, and our campaign is meant to put him back in the field with all four legs firmly on the ground.

I’m not ambitious about anything big. Just something simple, manageable, sustainable, and effective that will rekindle the sense of this lifestyle before it dies with those who lived it.


New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/24/14

New Vrindaban Prabhupada 1969

New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/24/14.

Each week we highlight an earlier era of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

This week’s challenge: In addition to Srila Prabhupada, there are ten recognizable faces in this photo. How many can you identify?

Extra credit: When and where 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.

Technical stuff: We share a photo Thursday and confirm known details Sunday. Let’s keep it light and have a bit of fun!

Special request: If you have a photo showing New Vrindaban devotees in action, share it with us and we’ll use it in a future posting.

New Vrindaban Celebrates 4th Pushpa Abhishek Flower Bathing Ceremony

Quickly becoming a favorite New Vrindaban festival, the Fourth Annual Pushpa Abhishek will be celebrated Sat. July 26, 2014.

Their Lordships, Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra will be showered with thousands of fragrant flower petals of all colors and descriptions in the evening, accompanied by ecstatic Hare Krsna kirtan.

Please join us if you’d like.

Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra getting showered with flower petals.

Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra getting showered with flower petals.


7:00 PM             Artika

7:30 PM             Pushpa Abhishek begins

8:15 PM             Feast

9:15 PM             Swan Boat Festival

If you have any flowers or flower petals you would like to offer to the Lord for the Abhisek, please bring them to the temple room by 9:00 AM. on Saturday morning. We would love your help preparing the petals beginning at 10:00 AM Saturday.

Srila Prabhupada Shares Insights During His First Visit to New Vrindaban – May 1969

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada 1969

Srila Prabhupada with a few of his followers outside the original New Vrindaban farmhouse, 1969.

Srila Prabhupada Shares Insights During His First Visit to New Vrindaban – May 1969.

From a series of letters written by Srila Prabhupada outlining his vision for New Vrindaban.

Thanks to Vanipedia for the source material.


May 25, 1969

My Dear Ananda,

Please accept my blessings. I have learned from Mandali Bhadra and Vrndavanesvari that you have been disturbed in your center by some rascal boys, and now you are living with Mandali Bhadra. So what is your program? Would you like to close the Vancouver center, or are you finding out some better place? I have received one letter from Rupanuga in Buffalo that two boys are going to Toronto to open a center there. Would you like to go there for the time being, or will you try for another place to keep yourself in Vancouver?

At present I am living in New Vrindaban. It is a very nice place, but there is no facility of modern amenities. It is completely aloof from city life, and we have to adopt so many things. In comparison to city life it is very inconvenient. But still the atmosphere here is very pleasant. As of yet I have still received no answer from Annapurna.

I am awaiting your reply to the above points. I hope this will meet you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Transitioning Palace of Gold Rose Garden at New Vrindaban to Sustainability

Paul Zimmerman, an expert rosarian who has been hired by the ECOV Board of New Vrindaban to help switch the Prabhupada’s Palace Rose Garden to an organic, sustainable garden, is keeping a blog on this project.  We published an initial article on the topic on the New Vrindaban website in June of 2014, entitled “Prabhupada’s Palace Rose Garden at New Vrindaban Making the Switch to Sustainability”.

This is an exciting task, and we really appreciate Paul’s guidance on this.
He is working with Gopalasyapriya dasi, who is heading up the project.

The article is copied below and here is the link.

Transitioning a Public Rose Garden To Sustainability

by Paul Zimmerman

It’s one thing to talk about growing roses sustainably in our own personal gardens. There, we only have our own expectations to meet. Most of us who grow roses without chemicals have learned to live with some damage from insects and the occasional smudge of blackspot. We’ve realized roses were held to a standard higher than other plants and by simply viewing our roses the same way we do all our other plants a little damage is no big deal.

But what if it’s a garden open to the public? A well known garden receiving thousands of visitors each season who, because is what they’ve mistakingly been taught, expect perfection from roses. People who will likely spy blackspot from across the garden despite the sea of blooms and mutter “tsk, tsk, they should really take better care of this garden”.

The answer to can you transition a public garden to sustainability is yes, indeed you can. However, it can’t be done in the way I usually tell folks to do it with their home garden, which is to do it cold turkey.

As I’ve always said during the first year of taking a garden off chemicals it will look worse before it looks better. In our own gardens that’s no big deal because we can explain to visitors what’s going on. Plus, if anyone even utters a “tsk, tsk” we can throw them off the property!

Not so with a public garden. It’s under pressure to look good during the transition, there is no way to fully explain what’s going on and throwing people off the property is not good for building up the visitor count! With all that pressure how do you do it?

New Vrindaban Prabhupada Palace of Gold rose trellis

Enter the Palace of Gold Rose Garden located in the New Vrindaban community located in Moundsville, West Virginia. Founded in 1968 by Krishna devotees, the Palace itself was started and built by those same devotees starting in 1972. Remarkably they had little to no training in the skills it takes to build something like this. The results are striking and a testament to perseverance.

The Rose Garden is part of the original design and over the years became an AARS garden. That is All American Rose Selections, which was a testing/marketing program the rose industry used for decades. At present the garden is collection of mostly AARS winners planted in groups of 3 or more.

Over the years the garden was taken care of using traditional chemical rose care methods. Recently, however, those in charge of the garden wish to transition the rose garden to sustainable care – something they feel is more in line with their beliefs. Also, the garden needed a bit of upgrading including adding some new plants, moving around some of what is there and other normal garden chores for a garden every now and then.

Earlier this year they hired me to oversee this work and help the great group of folks who work in the garden daily. It will take several years because it must be done slowly, methodically and with sensitivity towards the gardens purpose, which is to be a beautiful public display garden.

I’ll be blogging about this project from time to time in this space. I hope as you embark on this journey with me and see it can be done, it will give you confidence to do the same in your own garden!

Happy Roseing

New Vrindaban ISKCON Prabhupada Palace rose garden

Palace roses

Jagannath Rathayatra 2014 @ New vrindaban


Parade begins at 11:00 am on McCrearys Ridge Road
One Mile before the Palace of Gold.

New Vrindaban’s Jagannatha Ratha Yatra Coming!

This Sat. July 19, starting at 11:00 AM in front of Rupanuga and Vani’s house, the New Vrindaban Country Ratha Yatra Parade will begin!

Bring your offerings of sweets for Their Lordships by 10:30 AM, to be offered  right at the cart along the route.

And, as They do every year as a special added feature, for those of you fortunate enough to live along the parade route, bring a love offering from your house, and Their Lordships will stop at your door to accept your offering!

Jaya Jagannatha!  Jaya Baladeva!  Jaya Subhadra!

New Vrindaban Jagannatha      New Vrindaban Subhadra


New Vrindaban Balarama    New Vrindaban ratha yatra 2012





New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/17/14

New Vrindaban Throwback Thursday

New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/17/14.

Each week we highlight an earlier era of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

This week’s challenge: There are at least nine recognizable faces in this photo. How many can you identify?

Extra credit: What are they doing and when were they doing it?

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

Technical stuff: We share a photo Thursday and confirm known details Sunday. Let’s keep it light and have a bit of fun!

Special request: If you have a photo showing New Vrindaban devotees in action, share it with us and we’ll use it in a future posting.

New Vrindaban’s Old Log Cabin and the Brick House

The Old Log Cabin  and The Brick House

The New Vrindaban Advocacy Sanga met with Jaya Krsna prabhu on Tues. July 5, 2014.  One of the topics that came up was the recent removal of the old log cabin that used to sit just off the road across from Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of gold.  It was made of massive, thick logs and, at one time, was an attractive remnant from the Limestone area’s past.  Over the years, there have been various additions and subtractions made on the cabin.  Acting on inquiries from residents of the community, who noticed with some surprise that the cabin was being dismantled, the Advocacy Sanga brought up the topic with Jaya Krsna on behalf of the residents.

According to Jaya Krsna, although the log cabin has been taken down, it will be re-used as a temple for Krsna for the devotees living in the area of Yudhisthira’s land.

Jaya Krsna explained, “There are a few reasons why the log cabin has been removed.  First of all (but not necessarily in order of importance) New Vrindaban has been doing a lot of promotion over the last two years to bring back visitors and buses to Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold.  This includes TV spots in Pittsburgh, ads in tourism magazines, as well as distributing flyers to a wider area than we have done in a long time.

 to bring back visitors and buses to Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. This includes TV spots in Pittsburgh, ads in tourism magazines, as well as distributing flyers to a wider area than we have done in a long time. As a result, we have experienced that more buses and tourists are coming. Our Palace parking lot is not big enough to accommodate all the vehicles. At the beginning of the season, two spaces for tour buses have already been realized.

Jaya Krsna went on, “Another reason concerns the history of this cabin. Some people thought that the cabin was a significant historic building, in which case we would not want to remove it, but rather have it certified and marked as such. However, after some research, Varsana Maharaj discovered that the cabin had been a church built in 1810, originally in Limestone, but had been moved two times prior to settling where it was for some years now, across from the Palace. It was not at all connected with the historic Wetzel family, as many people thought – a family who had settled the current area of New Vrindaban back in frontier days. In addition, when Yudhisthira recently approached the Marshall County Historical Society, they showed no interest, nor did they give any historical significance to the cabin.”

According to Jaya Krsna, the third reason for removing the cabin is related to Varsana Maharaj’s Govardhana Hill and Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir project. There have been plans in place for many years to construct this small replica of Vrindavan Dhama in New Vrindaban in the area of Govardhana Hill, a region which includes the log cabin as well as the brick house (Kirtanananda Swami’s old house). Just a couple of years ago, when some professsors from WVU did research work on the topic of holy places of pilgrimage in New Vrindaban, they recommended that, for optimum effectiveness, there should be no buildings obstructing the view or the access between the Palace and Govardhana Hill.


This is a fact which has already been proven at the recent July 4 festival. Visitors were seen leaving their Palace tour, and then walking directly up to the Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha Mandir, which was now clearly visible due to the removal of the cabin.

“Finally,” Jaya Krsna reminded everyone, “the decision about the log cabin was discussed at the April joint Board meetings and then presented to the community during the community dialog that same weekend.

The Brick House

The brick house, still standing next to where the log cabin was situated, originally belonged to non-devotees, but was bought by the community in 1980, and ultimately became Kirtanananda Swami’s residence for some years, with a men’s asrama downstairs. After he left the community in 1994, the brick house was used as living quarters for one family upstairs, and offices for the Palace downstairs. But then, the house remained empty for many years and fell into disrepair. Eventually, there was a new roof put in, and the basement was gutted in order to eliminate the black mold, all in an effort to possibly make the house useful again. However, due to various changes in New Vrindaban at the time, the house was never again used to this date, and is now in even worse shape.

Jaya Krsna says that this house will also soon be taken down and partially re-used, in order to further clear that area for the Govardhana Hill project, which is meant to help fulfill the part of Srila Prabhupada’s vision for New Vrindaban as a place of pilgrimage.


Summer Harvest from the New Vrindaban Gardens


New Vrindaban Garden of Seven Gates

Early July morning picking.


The last few weeks have been VERY busy in the gardens. We have had many new volunteers.  A family from Maryland came to work and camp in the garden.  Currently we have two volunteers from WWOOF (world wide opportunities on organic farms) that have been helping with our abundant harvest of green beans.  The Roots & Shoots 4-H Cloverbud Club came and spent a day touring the gardens and picking flowers.  The kids had a wonderful time and learned all about farming and flowers.

New Vrindaban Garden tour

Ohio County 4-H club Cloverbuds in the garden

The first week of July we planted four varieties of squash.  This is the last big planting until fall.  Our sweet potatoes are looking great and the vines are filling in all the spaces in their beds. Twice a week we harvest herbs and greens for the temple (lettuce, kale, swiss chard, and arugula).  This week brought us our first full sized red tomatoes and bitter melons. Our current pick list also includes red raspberries, peppers, beets, basil, oregano, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, dill, and tons of green beans.  Two of our local contract growers have been also making weekly deliveries or carrots and cilantro.

New Vrindaban Garden Beans

Just a few of the green beans we have been picking this week.

Both the Teaching Garden and the Garden of Seven Gates are bursting with beautiful flowers.  The temple staff has been picking hundreds of marigolds for garlands and a variety of flowers for vases. As we move further into the summer harvest we hope to have more volunteers to continue to provide the community with a bounty of vegetables and flowers.

New Vrindaban Garden Flowers

Fresh cut flowers for the temple and palace.

Srila Prabhupada Has “Many Ideas for New Vrindaban” and Hopes to “Develop Many New Vrindabans” – March 1969

Prabhupada New Vrindaban 1969

Srila Prabhupada at the original New Vrindaban farmhouse, 1969.

Srila Prabhupada “Has Many Ideas for New Vrindaban” and Hopes to “Develop Many New Vrindabans” – March 1969.

From a series of letters written by Srila Prabhupada outlining his vision for New Vrindaban.

Thanks to Vanipedia for the source material.


March 30, 1969

My Dear Satyabhama,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Feb. 22, along with the Deities dress, and it was received by me just yesterday. I think due to my change of address it was delayed. Anyway, everyone here has very much appreciated the beautiful dresses you have sent for the Deity and today we are changing the dress by putting on your dress on the transcendental Body of the Deity.

I think I have replied your former letter also, which I hope you have received by this time, and I am so glad to learn that you are feeling very happy in New Vrindaban. The basic principle of our life in Vrindaban will be cow keeping. If we can keep cows sufficiently and grow our necessary foodstuffs, then we shall show a new way of life to your countrymen . . . completely spiritual life in healthy atmosphere in divine consciousness. And you will have ample opportunity to educate children and write books for them because there is sufficient matter for publishing such books from the Puranas, Mahabharata, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and many other allied literatures. There are thousands of ideal historical events, which if we can put with suitable pictures, it will be a great idea and people will like to have such literature. I have got many ideas for developing the new Vrindaban scheme and if Krishna gives me opportunity I may be able to show something very wonderful in your country. Unfortunately I have no money neither the richer section of your countrymen have taken any serious view of our movement. Otherwise there is more than sufficient money and if one or two men of your country gives a little attention, with this we can develop many New Vrindabans. We are not very much expensive; simply if we get the necessary money, we can play wonderful. Our only hope is books and literature. So we have to start press, and for that purpose, and publish varieties of books and literature for getting some financial help as well as propagating our mission. So as soon as I come to your place I shall give you all nice ideas you have asked for in your letter under reply. And I thank you very much for giving me all these ideas for our future activities. Please convey my blessings to all your God-brothers and God-sisters there, and especially our Syama dasi, I hope she is doing well.

So far keeping Deity in your separate house, I think there is no need for this. Because if you keep Him there, you have to take proper care, with aratis and attention, and thus divert attention from the Deity in the temple, and from chanting and so many other forms of service, like your writing and sewing, etc. So I think it best if everyone centers his attention on the Deity in the temple, and in that way the temple worship will pull on nicely. Of course, if the temple is unapproachable, or too far, or something like that, that is different thing, but if the temple is easily accessible then this is the best program—for all to go there and attend arati and kirtana etc.

No, I do not think you should give Jagannatha to small children because they will not take proper care and make offenses. In this country their parents do not give them proper example of worshiping the Deity with all respects. Just like in my childhood, I was seeing my father bowing down and offering respects to the Deity and I did the same on seeing him. But this is not done here, so it is better to take some care in giving Jagannatha out.

I hope you are all well,

Your ever well-wisher,

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/10/14

New Vrindaban Elephant Festival

New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 07/10/14.

Each week we highlight an earlier era of ISKCON New Vrindaban.

This week’s challenge: There are at least a dozen recognizable faces in this photo. How many can you identify?

Extra credit: What’s the celebration and when was it?

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

Technical stuff: We share a photo Thursday and confirm known details Sunday. Let’s keep it light and have a bit of fun!

Special request: If you have a photo showing New Vrindaban devotees in action, share it with us and we’ll use it in a future posting.

Upcoming New Vrindaban Summer Festivals

Spiritual Fun Coming Up This Summer in New Vrindaban:

Two Festivals and A Seminar:

1.  Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha Yatra/Festival of the Chariots on Sat. July 19, 2014.

New Vrindaban Ratha Yatra ISKCON

New Vrindaban’s Country Style Ratha Yatra

2.  Then, the 4th Annual Pushpa Abhishek on Sat. July 26, 2014.

New Vrindaban ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra Puspanjali flowers

Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra covered with flowers

3.  On Pushpa Abhishek  weekend July 26/27, our esteemed guest His Grace Gauranga prabhu from ISKCON Chowpatty, Mumbai, will give seminars Sat. and Sun., speaking on “Lessons on Vaishnava Relationships” from Gaura Lila .

His Grace Gauranga das

His Grace Gauranga das

Lord Jagannath Snan Yatra @ New vrindaban


On this day, Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra allow Themselves to be bathed by all following the original tradition of worship at Jagannatha Puri. Our devotees as well as hundreds of local people enthusiastically assemble at the Jagannatha temple to perform abhisheka with Ganges water, milk, etc. This bathing goes on for a few hours in the midst of kirtanas glorifying Their Lordships and the chanting of the maha-mantra. Lord Jagannatha’s prasada is also offered to all visitors.

Lord Jagannatha’s pastimes are such that after snana-yatra, Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra become “sick”, and, so, must take “medicines” and “take rest” until they become “rejuvenated” enough to go for Ratha-yatra. When they are “sick”, they are offered bhoga containing medicinal herbs without the usual offerings.

Please click here for more photos


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Hari Bhakti-vilas 16.252