Prabhupada’s Vision: Our Mission.


ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 05/15/2016


ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 05/15/2016

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: Anuttama, Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari.

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna, Radha-Krishna, Vraja

Participating Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. Designate Remaining “Project” Topics to ECO-V Managers

Jamuna Jivani will compile a list of ECO-V’s projects list for everyone to review and the managers can discuss in their regular Thursday meetings.

2. External Grant Request: ISKCON Alachua

The Board indicated it is not currently funding additional external grants. Chaitanya Mangala will respond to Mukhya prabhu’s request and inform her.

3. Kripamaya’s Sabbatical Request

In anticipation of the opening of his upcoming Ramayana musical work, Kripamaya has requested a three-month sabbatical from June to August. The Board has agreed to this request with the stipulation that he be available should an additional Director be necessary to constitute a quorum for a vote.

4. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

Mukunda reported on the previous month’s projects:

  • Working with, and engaging Krsna Nama prabhu part-time in various hands-on projects.
  • Repaired the gates at the flower garden.
  • Repaired some fencing at Nandagram and Bahulaban
  • In the process of providing and taking inventory of the needed equipment to our various service locations.
  • Helped with some of the logistics for Festival of Inspiration and Kuli Mela ‘16.
  • Continuing to act as Chair of the Steering Committee meetings and help with the recent Village Association expansion.

Anticipated projects for the upcoming month:

  • Clean and organize the area outside of the milking goshala
  • Build a fence for Dharma the bull
  • Continue to prepare sites to be used for upcoming festivals

5. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

Nitaicandra reported on the previous month’s projects:

  • Ordered ox yokes (should be ready soon)
  • Planted potatoes with Ranaka and Ray
  • Started summer vegetable and flower seeds indoors about three weeks ago. Caitanya Bhagavat was caring for them.
  • Cows have been moved to Bahulaban. Caitanya Bhagavat is caring for them.
  • Tilled and planted a cover crop in community garden
  • Krsnanama prabhu composted and mulched about 75% of our young trees in Madhuban.
  • Mukunda and Krsnanama prabhus have been helping with the clean-up of the community garden
  • A half dozen or so devotees claimed garden space in the Community Garden
  • Strawberries arrived
  • Vidya and Julie planted out flower starts in the teaching garden and Vidya’s gardens.
  • Meeting held at the Goshala to discuss how to best serve the cows, cow herds and guests. We came up with a plan to improve the overall appearance and ease of use, including moving the dung pile, improving drainage, adding gravel to road and parking area, and painting.

Anticipated projects for the upcoming month:

  • Covering young fruit trees for cicada protection
  • Planting out early seeds
  • Plant strawberries
  • Plant starts (tomatoes, eggplant, okra, peppers, herbs, etc.)
  • Heavy mulching
  • On-going maintenance
  • As soon as the ox yokes arrive, we will kick start the ox program and resume training.

6. Monthly Team ECO-V Meetings

Ranaka, Mukunda and Nitaicandra are establishing monthly meetings for those involved in ECO-V projects with the intention of increasing camaraderie and cooperation between team members.

7. ECO-V’s Involvement in Kulimela 2016

For the upcoming Kulimela Festival, ECO-V plans to:

  • Prepare sites to be used, including moving stones from the stage area, making the sites look presentable, building a fence and removing trees
  • Offer tours of various locations with cows and gardens
  • If possible, offer demos or workshops

8. Upstairs Bahulaban Barn Community Center Proposal Update

The Board has determined that in order to proceed with any plans for usage, first they must investigate possible health code requirements and have an evaluation made by a structural engineer. The Board asked Mukunda and Ranaka to work on those two issues and report their findings.

9. Village Association Liaison  – Service Description & Funding Request

The Board had a brief discussion on the topic, but due to time constraints, agreed to wait until the next meeting for further discussion.

10. Funding for Dump Trailer

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to invest in equipment to support its ongoing farming-related projects.

RESOLVED: The Board approves up to $10,250 for the purchase of a dump trailer.

Brijabasi Spirit Newsletter May 2016


Service Appreciation Reaches New Depths in Fourth Ceremony


By Madhava Smullen

Gaura Saksi expresses his gratitude for Jaya Murari das.

Gaura Shakti das expresses his gratitude for Jaya Murari das.

“People aren’t showing up with prepared speeches just yet,” jokes Chaitanya Mangala, MC of New Vrindaban’s fourth service appreciation ceremony since 2014. “But you can tell that what they’re sharing is much more thought-out.”

His quip illuminates just how much the ceremony has grown to mean to New Vrindaban residents, who are taking to heart Lord Krishna’s assertion, “I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me.”

At each ceremony, people are taking more time to think about and express their appreciations of their fellow devotees. They’re also digging deeper – while previously one or two would become misty-eyed, this spring’s ceremony on April 17th saw at least a dozen devotees deliver such heartfelt tributes that they were choked up with tears and had to pause for a few moments.

Preceding the open appreciations were Chaitanya Mangala’s Powerpoint presentations about each person’s life and service, beginning with Betty Hickey, retired caretaker of the Rose Garden at Prabhupada’s Palace – who was present with her son Glenn.

Betty Hickey

Vraja Johnson awards Betty Hickey her service appreciation plaque on April 17th.

Betty, who comes from a neighboring family of farmers, started at the Bahulaban greenhouse in 1983, moved to the Rose Garden in 1985, and managed it for most of her nearly thirty years of service until her retirement in 2011.

During that time she carefully cultivated it into an award-winning rose garden, named several times between 1988 and 1998 as one of the top 100 gardens in the United States by the American Rose Society.

Constantly making newspaper headlines, the Palace Rose Garden drew rose aficionados to New Vrindaban in droves. Also serving as the tour guide, Betty led them around, dazzling them with her botanical knowledge.

After the presentation, devotees praised Betty’s care, dedication, and kind-heartedness. Those who had worked with her in the Rose Garden over the years were grateful for her gentle, encouraging corrections when things weren’t up to standard, and for making them feel so valuable.

Betty’s late husband Jim Hickey, who passed away in December 2006, was also honored for his service. Jim worked as the head maintenance man at New Vrindaban during the 1980s, and was well-remembered for driving his blue flat-bed pick-up truck up and down the ridge, taking care of many things that needed repairing.

Like all the appreciation recipients throughout the evening, Betty was presented with a plaque by the ISKCON New Vrindaban and Eco-Vrindaban boards, commemorating her and Jim’s contribution.

“I think that it’s not work if it’s good work, and I always enjoyed my work here,” she commented, calling the devotees gathered “some of my best friends.”

Jaya Murari

Jaya Murari 2016 portrait.

Next, Jaya Murari Das was honored for his more than four decades of service. Joining ISKCON in the spring of 1975, he moved to New Vrindaban that November, and received initiation from Srila Prabhupada on July 29th, 1976.

For the early residents, Jaya Murari’s appearance in New Vrindaban was nothing short of heaven-sent. At the time, the backwoods community was extremely austere, with only one faucet, no proper toilets or plumbing, and widespread dysentery from the contaminated water.

Jaya Murari, about ten years older than most of the other devotees and already well into a career as a master plumber, turned up with four truckloads of tools and plumbing materials. He soon built a safe and reliable plumbing infrastructure for the community, which he continued to expand and improve upon over the years until his retirement in the 2000s.

Always a dependable presence, he is also well-known for his photography and for his delicious Sunday pancake breakfasts in the early days.

Although Jaya Murari couldn’t attend the ceremony due to ill-health, the many devotees who rose to share their appreciations were filmed for him. Tears flowed freely as they recalled how completely he had changed the New Vrindaban experience; how he exemplified the gentle brahminical nature Prabhupada described in his books; and how he was a “Prabhupada man” through and through.

Ananga Manjari awards Sukhavaha dasi her service appreciation plaque.

Ananga Manjari awards Sukhavaha dasi her service appreciation plaque.

Next to be honored was devotee care manager Sukhavaha Dasi. After she joined in 1974 and was initiated by Prabhupada in 1975, she began helping the Pittsburgh and New Vrindaban temples with their bookkeeping. She was then put in charge of New Vrindaban’s “red trailer store,” distributing all the supplies devotees needed for their health and services.

In 1976, New Vrindaban installed industrial washing machines, and Sukhavaha headed up the laundry department; while in the 1980s, she spent much of her time on the road, fundraising. During this phase, she had her son Bhagavan, and daughters Sukadevi and Narahari.

More recently, she started ISKCON New Vrindaban’s devotee care program, and will be turning the “Prabhupada House” near the temple into a Wellness Center that will provide many physical, emotional and mental health services.

Offering appreciation, the devotees gathered described her as full of enthusiasm, always there to help, and very dedicated to working on herself. The greatest example of the latter was expressed in a very moving moment when her son Bhagavan, who was present, spoke about his mother. Like a lot of ISKCON parents in the early days, he said, she had focused on her services to the detriment of caring for her children.

“But a decade ago, you called me up one night, and said you wanted to talk about the past, and take responsibility for it,” Bhagavan recalled. “And since then, we’ve worked through many of our issues, and I couldn’t be happier with our relationship today.”

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Bhima Walker awards Sarvasaksi and Viduttama dasi their service appreciation plaque.

Finally, husband and wife Sarvasaksi Das and Viduttama Dasi were honored for their life of service. Joining ISKCON in 1974 as a married couple and moving to New Vrindaban that same year, they were initiated by Srila Prabhupada on Janmastami 1975.

Both did early services connected to the cows, which were a central part of New Vrindaban life at the time, with about 100 cows to 150 people.

Sarva helped milk all the cows by hand and herded them in and out of the Bahulaban pastures daily. Viduttama churned cream into butter for the Deities and devotees, also by hand. Both were photographed and featured in a 1976 Back to Godhead magazine article.

Later, as construction began on Prabhupada’s Palace, Sarva worked with the heavy equipment department. He then spent a decade as a silversmith, casting and making jewelry for a local New Vrindaban business. He is now semi-retired.

Viduttama, meanwhile, did the laundry in the days before washing machines came to New Vrindaban, washing everyone’s clothes by hand, outside, with cold water, rocks and ashes. Next, she worked in the Palace gift shop, where she enjoyed meeting and interacting with guests. She and Sarva also had two children – a son, Sudarshan, and a daughter, Radhastami.

Last year, Viduttama came full circle, as she began working for Govinda’s Groceries gift store and doing laundry for the Palace Lodge — the exact same services she did all those years ago. “And I love it!” she blurted out at the ceremony. “I couldn’t be any happier!”

A whole host of devotees recalled their many fond memories of serving with Sarva and Viduttama, as well as their kindness, devotion, down-to-earth natures and enthusiasm. The outpouring of love moved the couple to tears.

Ekadasi cake made by Lakshmanesvara das.

Ekadasi cake made by Lakshmanesvara das.

According to Srila Prabhupada’s purport in Verse 4 of the Nectar of Instruction, MC Chaitanya Mangala pointed out, these kinds of loving exchanges between devotees were exactly what ISKCON had been established to facilitate.

In conclusion he also quoted a 1972 lecture by Prabhupada in which he said, “In the lower stage, a devotee is concerned with the Deity worship, but he does not take much care of the devotees. But when one is advanced further, he can see Krsna and His devotees also.”

“Clearly, in the early days of ISKCON, we were at that lower stage,” Chaitanya Mangala says. “Now, let’s collectively evolve to the next level, where we worship Krishna in the temple, and also care for the devotees around us.”

That care continued to be shown into the evening, as devotees drank herbal tea, tucked into a celebratory Ekadasi cake made by Laksmanesvara Das, and chatted, furthering the loving connections made throughout the ceremony.

A Facelift for Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold – May/June 2016 Issue BTG Magazine


ECO-Vrindaban Launches an Array of Exciting Efforts for ISKCON’s 50th


By Madhava Smullen

ECO-Vrindaban ISKCON Garden Cows Oxen Prabhupada ISKCON 50

ECO-Vrindaban members Krsna Nama das, Nitai Chandra das, Lila, and Chaitanya Bhagavat das planting this year’s strawberry patch in New Vrindaban’s Community garden.

With ISKCON celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2016, ECO-Vrindaban – New Vrindaban’s self-sufficiency wing – is making many special efforts to honor Srila Prabhupada’s desires for the community.

One of these is to put a special focus on growing grains, which Prabhupada instructed his New Vrindaban disciples to do early on. “These duties are there in New Vrindaban, and we shall have to live there self independently, simply by raising cows, grains, fruits, and flowers,” he wrote in 1969.

“So we researched what grain best suited the local environment, and found that traditionally corn was grown here by Native Americans hundreds of years before European settlers,” says Garden Manager Nitaicandra Das. “It’s also being grown very successfully by locals today.”

To begin with in this first year, Nitaicandra plans to dedicate about five acres to corn production at the Nandagram farm recently acquired by ECO-V. He also aims to grow oats, barley, spelt, wheat, quinoa and amaranth in quarter-acre test plots.

In keeping with Prabhupada’s desires, a large variety of vegetables will be grown too, in the New Vrindaban community gardens. And of course, the Deity Flower Garden crew, headed by Vidya Dasi, will be busy producing tons of flowers for Sri-Sri Radha-Vrindabanchandra.

“Produce. Make the whole field green,” Srila Prabhupada said during a conversation in Vrindavana, India in 1977. “Therefore I am asking so much… ‘Farm, farm, farm, farm.’ That is not my program—Krishna’s program.” He even later added, “Krishna is the Farm Acarya. Baladeva is holding a plow, and Krishna is holding the calf.”

Another 2016 goal of ECO-V’s, that was also a priority for Prabhupada, is to teach its growing herd of oxen to pull carts.

“We now have a state-of the art ox training facility at Nandagram,” explains Nitaicandra, who serves as the ox trainer too. “My goal is to train our oldest ox team, Hari and Priya, to pull a cart and help transport vegetables and tools in the garden this year. By New Vrindaban’s 50th anniversary in 2018, we aim for them to be ready to pull Prabhupada’s murti on a tour of Govardhana Hill.”

ECO-Vrindaban, New Vrindaban, ISKCON, Prabhupada, Cows, Garden

Ananda Vidya das and Lalita Gopi devi dasi serve the cows in a freshly painted goshala

The cow care program is also getting special attention, with Ananda-Vidya, Lalita Gopi and other staff members freshly painting the milking goshala near the temple and insulating it to ensure the cows and their caretakers stay warm. The cows themselves are producing around twenty-six gallons of milk per day, which is made into butter and ghee for the temple and its presiding Deities and residents.

ECO-V Project Manager Mukunda Das, meanwhile, is also busy with offerings to Srila Prabhupada for ISKCON’s 50th. He is renovating and re-purposing New Vrindaban’s former brick factory and milk parlor as facilities for cleaning, canning and storing vegetables and grains.

“We want to improve ECO-V’s capacity to supply ISKCON New Vrindaban with as much of its food supplies, and for as much of the year as possible,” he says.

The facilities are already being used, and will store this year’s harvest beginning in July; although the full conversion will be a multi-year project.

ECO-Vrindaban, ISKCON, Prabhupada, New Vrindaban, Cows, Garden, Simple Living, Chaitanya Mangala

Chaitanya Mangala das reports on the earth-based home built by devotees in Madhuban during the spring INV Board Meetings tour.

Another exciting effort is the restoration of special sites of Prabhupada’s pastimes. One of these is a small, off-the-grid, earth-based home built by devotees in Madhuban from Prabhupada’s own design. Prabhupada visited the home in 1974, appreciating the construction and the simple life of its householder residents. Sitting on a rocking chair, he said, “You should make thousands of these nice houses.”

“It’s in major disrepair right now, so we’ll start by assessing its condition, and preventing further decay,” says Mukunda. “Then we’ll gradually restore it as a sacred historical site, with a picture of Prabhupada on a rocking chair. It will be a place where visitors can spend a moment with him, and see what simple living in New Vrindaban used to be and what it could be again.”

In addition to its own local efforts, ECO-V is taking ISKCON 50 as an opportunity to support simple living throughout ISKCON. It will provide a grant for Kalakantha Das, the ISKCON Minister for Agriculture and Cow Protection, to travel to four farm conferences he has organized this year in South America, Europe, Asia and North America.

ECO-V will also sponsor the registration fees for fifteen devotees to attend the North American conference in Gita Nagari this August, and will send its own representatives to talk about New Vrindaban’s efforts.

These will likely be Nitaicandra and Mukunda, who are thrilled at the opportunities they’ll get this year to connect with Srila Prabhupada, by spending ISKCON’s 50th anniversary serving a project so close to his heart.

New Vrindaban Celebrates 30th Anniversary of USA’s Only Full-Size Nrsimha


New Vrindaban ISKCON Nrsimhadeva 30th Anniversary

By Madhava Smullen

For thirty years, a very special Lord Nrsimhadeva Deity has protected the devotees of New Vrindaban and all of North America, and received their love and service.

Now, residents of the West Virginia village want to invite people from all over North America to come celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of His installation, and to behold the only full-size Nrsimha Deity on the continent, on His sacred appearance day.

Sculpted by artist Soma Das in New Vrindaban and installed in 1986, the ferocious half-man, half-lion Lord with his deep black skin and golden mane stands at a towering seven feet tall next to his boy devotee Prahlad – so the celebration is sure to be an awe-inspiring spectacle.

Although the original installation was on January 6th, this year’s epic three-day anniversary festival will run from Friday May 20th – Nrsimha Chaturdasi – to Sunday May 22nd.

On the first day, all the devotees will bathe the full-size Deities with a variety of liquids including milk, yoghurt and ghee from New Vindaban’s own protected cows. During this maha-abhisekha, one thousand Nrsimha Kavachas will also be knotted together into one huge garland, and offered to the Lord.

Soma Das with Lord Nrsimhadeva, Nrsimha Chaturdasi 2015

Soma Das with Lord Nrsimhadeva, Nrsimha Chaturdasi 2015

On Saturday, the Nrsimha Kavacha mantra will be chanted 108 times during a fire sacrifice to invoke the feral Lord’s protection, and the thousand Kavachas will be distributed to the guests.

And on both days, there will be dramatic retellings of the story of Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad by award-winning storyteller Sankirtan Das; roaring kirtans, special Nrsimha aratis; and delectable feasts – with many of the community devotees bringing offerings from their homes. Sunday, meanwhile, will wrap things up with a Govardhana parikrama and Sunday Feast.

But perhaps one of the biggest treats of the festival will be the Nrsimha Katha on both Friday and Saturday. Senior Prabhupada disciples Urmila Dasi and Srutakirti Das will speak about Lord Nrsimhadeva’s loving pastimes; Soma Das and other early New Vrindaban devotees will share their memories of sculpting and installing the Lord thirty years ago.

Back then, Soma recalls, New Vrindaban devotees had longed to install Nrsimhadeva for protection for many years.

“Then one day, I was walking from Prabhupada’s Palace down to the old temple at Bahulaban,” he says. “I had already finished my japa, and I remembered reading in the Nectar of Devotion that performing service in your mind is as good as performing it in real life. I started to meditate on making a beautiful Nrsimhadeva Deity, and installing Him in a wonderful temple. So when I was asked later if I wanted to sculpt Him, I was over the moon!”

Soma Das finishes the original clay sculpture of Lord Nrsimhadeva in 1985

Soma Das finishes the original clay sculpture of Lord Nrsimhadeva in 1985.

Like most of the pioneering devotees building up New Vrindaban at the time, Soma, then 32, had no professional experience or education in sculpting. Instead, he had learned on the job; his many sculptures, including a giant Gaura-Nitai and bas relief forms of Jaya and Vijaya, already adorned the community.

Beginning work on Lord Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaj in October 1985, he first formed the Lord from clay. While doing so, he consulted the Shilpa Shastra and other Vedic texts, particularly the descriptions of Nrsimha in Prabhupada’s Srimad-Bhagavatam.

He also consulted Sri Vaishnava priest Sampat Kumar Bhattacharya, head of the Tirupati temple authority TTD, who had been personally praised for his expertise by Srila Prabhupada.

It “just so happened” that as Soma was sculpting Lord Nrsimhadeva, the Bhattacharya was visiting nearby Pittsburgh to open a South Indian temple there – the first time a Sri Vaishnava priest had ever done so outside of India.

“He came by, approved my work, and answered all my questions,” Soma says. “Like the whole process, it seemed like divine arrangement. It really felt like Lord Nrsimhadeva wanted to appear in New Vrindaban, and I was just working for Him. It didn’t even feel like I made Him.”

Foreground - Nrsimhadeva cast in granite and West Virginia coal_ background - Prahlad cast in white marble, 1985

Foreground – Nrsimhadeva cast in granite and West Virginia coal. Background – Prahlad cast in white marble, 1985.

The Deity was completed quickly, in only three months. Kumar, Sudhanu and their mold shop crew made plaster molds from Soma’s clay original and poured in epoxy resin mixed with granite dust and ground-up West Virginia coal for the jet black color. Prahlad, meanwhile, was cast out of cultured white marble.

Although the devotees were pensive because there was only one chance for the cast to work, they breathed a sigh of relief and awe when on the fateful day, Kumar opened the molds to reveal the beautiful Deities of the Lord and His devotee.

“I remember we all ran over to see Him come out of the mold,” recalls Madhurya-lila Dasi. “It was amazing.”

Meanwhile, all the different Deity worship departments at New Vrindaban were in marathon mode as the installation date loomed.

Ishani headed up the jewelry workshop with a small core group, including Madhurya-lila, Gopi, and Janaki, and got help from anyone else she could. Her team created pieces by soldering brass or copper jewelry findings together, electroplating, cutting crystals to create jewels, and hammering relief designs by hand – all of it learned through books and on the job.

“We were working from 7 in the morning until probably 10 or 11 at night,” says Madhurya-lila. “And I’m pretty sure all of us pulled at least one all-nighter.”

Lord Nrsimhadeva on His installation day, January 6th 1986

Lord Nrsimhadeva on His installation day, January 6th 1986.

Despite this, Madhurya-lila – who will also create the Lord’s jewelry for the 30th anniversary — says she loved it. “There was a team spirit that I’ve rarely experienced anywhere else in my life. I would go back to that jewelry shop in a heartbeat. There’s no place I’d rather be.”

The result of all this dedicated teamwork was a gorgeous full set of golden jewelry set with red and green jewels for Prahlad and Nrsimhadeva: a large tubular crown, sudarshan chakra, conchshell, earrings, necklaces, arm and ankle bracelets, and tilak and belt. Ishani created the Lord’s eyes as well, along with Kuladri Das.

The Deity Sewing Department, headed by Adhara Dasi and her dedicated crew of women, also worked around the clock in the months leading up to the installation day, creating new outfits for the Lord and His boy devotee. These included a beautiful yellow dhoti and crimson chaddar lined with gold for the Lord, a purple dhoti with violet chaddar for Prahlad, and a velvet backdrop adorned with winding flowered vines.

For the installation on January 6th, 1986 and surrounding three-day festival, hundreds of devotees from all over North America gathered for ecstatic chanting, dancing, feasting, dramas and more – just as they will on the 30th anniversary celebration.

Gaura Keshava Das, a brahamana priest who had been trained in South India by Sampat Kumar amongst others, performed the elaborate installation rituals, including fire sacrifices in the yajnashala outside the temple, and Prana Pratistha.

“This involved touching the heart of the Deity, and inviting the Lord to please expand His heart and reside within the Deity, and accept the worship of the devotees,” Gaura Keshava recalls.

Kumar Das works on an altar in the mold shop

Kumar Das works on an altar in the mold shop.

During this process, four strong devotees carried the 400-pound Lord into the temple room. A blindfold was removed and His eyes were ceremonially opened. He was then installed with much pomp upon a beautiful golden altar and throne cast by Kumar in New Vrindaban.

From then on, Lord Nrsimhadeva was very merciful to all the New Vrindaban devotees, and especially the Prahlad-like children – in the 1980s, the older gurukula boys would perform all His morning aratis, while once a week the women and younger boys and girls would worship Him.

Today, His early servants such as Srimati, Jayasri and Lokadristi continue to worship Him alongside new pujaris like Abhinandana Das.

And now, at this May’s unmissable 30th anniversary celebration, we’ll all get to feel His love and protection, as we hear from those who were there how He appeared all those years ago in New Vrindaban.

New Vrindaban Nrsimhadeva 30th Anniversary ISKCON

 

April Brijabasi Spirit Newsletter


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ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 03/20/2016


ECO-Vrindaban New Vrindaban ISKCON

ECO-Vrindaban Board Meeting Minutes 03/20/2016

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: Anuttama, Bhima, Chaitanya Mangala, Kripamaya, Ranaka and Sri Tulasi Manjari.

Participating Advisors: Jaya Krsna, Radha-Krishna, Vraja

Participating Managers: Mukunda, Nitaicandra

Recording Secretary: Jamuna Jivani

1. Exploring ECO-V’s Future Role

Kripamaya raised some general questions regarding the future role of ECO-V in the continued evolution of the New Vrindaban village. After an initial discussion, the Board members concluded it would be best to discuss these broad range of topics in person and to include more people in the discussion.

2. ECO-V Brochure

Kripamaya expressed an interest in reviving the ECO-V brochure project in time for the 2016 festival season. Some Board members felt that the project should wait until the organization has put more substantial work into its current projects before doing so. Also, to reduce potential confusion with pilgrims to New Vrindaban, INV previously requested ECO-V to hold off promoting itself with a separate brochure. As an interim step, Jaya Krsna proposed including information about ECO-V in a new INV brochure that would highlight some of ECO-V’s activities. Meeting participants appreciated his suggestion and requested Jaya Krsna to move forward with this.

3. New Vrindaban Folklorist

Kripamaya, Radha-Krishna, Jaya Krsna and Chaitanya Mangala formed an ECO-V sub-committee to begin exploring options for this project and will present recommendations when ready.

4. Mukunda’s Monthly Report

Mukunda is currently in Florida finishing up a construction project this week and plans on being back in New Vrindaban by the end of March.

5. Nitaicandra’s Monthly Report

Nitaicandra reported on the previous month’s projects:

  • Recently arrived back in New Vrindaban.
  • Purchased approximately 20,000 heirloom seeds and 1,200 lbs of seed potatoes.
  • No fruit trees will be planted this year in anticipation of the 17 year cicadas.
  • Two calves were born.
  • Moved tractor implements to Nandagram.
  • Vidya hired Kacey to run the Teaching Garden & grow flowers.

6. ISKCON Ministry Grant Request

The ISKCON GBC Minister for Agriculture and Cow Protection, Kalakantha dasa, requested funding for the four upcoming continental farm conferences held in 2016 by the ISKCON Global Ministry and the Sustainable Vaisnava Communities Committee.

WHEREAS: The ECO-V Board wishes to support and encourage self-sufficiency and cow protection throughout ISKCON.

RESOLVED: The Board approves a grant up to $4,620 as follows:

1. $3,000 for the Minister’s travel expenses to participate in the four conferences, and,

2. $1,620 to sponsor the $108 registration fee for 15 attendees at the North American ISKCON Farm Conference to be held at Gita Nagari in August 2016.

For regular updates, visit the ECO-V Facebook page.

Revitalized Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant in New Vrindaban


By Abhay Charan dasa

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(New Vrindaban, West Virginia, March 28th, 2016)- Govinda’s Restaurant, the only vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the Ohio Valley area, officially opened for the season on Friday, March 25th, to the delight of visitors and locals alike, having been closed for the winter. This hidden gem, tucked away in the serene Appalachian foothills, is definitely a must go.

Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant offers a wide range of menu options for its visitors. While authentic Indian cuisines is the specialty, delicious Italian dishes, including lasagna, pasta and pizza are on the menu. For the not so adventurous palate, American dishes such as veggie burgers and a Philly cheesesteak are also included. Healthier menu options like a new salad bar, green juices and smoothie bar will be added this year, as well as a variety of tasty vegan dishes, such as vegan wraps and Daiya cheese pizza.

Weekend Buffet

Weekend Buffet at Govinda’s

Most of the vegetables used in these delicious preparations are literally garden fresh and some produce comes directly from New Vrindaban’s organic garden, while almost all of the milk comes from New Vrindaban’s cruelty-free, protected cow program established in 1967. “We use organic, non-GMO foods as much as we can and try to use only the most natural ingredients possible”, says Vasudeva dasa, the General Manager of the restaurant. Soon, he hopes to produce enough vegetables from the local garden to supply the restaurant year round.

Kitchen Manager, Dina Mani dasa

Kitchen Manager, Dina Mani dasa

Govinda’s recently welcomed new kitchen manager, Dina Mani dasa, who owned two successful restaurants, and brings over 15 years of expertize to the team. He is excited about adding healthier menu options and plans to add to the already robust International menu. Guests will be pleasantly surprised with the affordable menu pricing and selection available. Don’t miss the special buffet offered on weekends priced at just $11.99.

In preparation for the busy year, the restaurant was repainted and renovated with an expanded storage room and kitchen areas, as well as a new dining section that will accommodate more guests. Beautiful new décor was added throughout the restaurant, including paintings, fabrics and elegant lotus lights, that brighten the area.

Renovated Dinning Hall

Renovated Dinning Hall

“I was happy to be greeted by such a cheerful host. I really enjoyed the ambiance and the food was astounding. I hope to get back there soon as this is the only vegetarian restaurant in the area,” says Robert Steltenpool.

From the friendly staff and stunning atmosphere to the amazing gourmet cooking, it is not hard to see why over 20,000 delighted customers visit Govinda’s annually. Govinda’s has been serving delicious international cuisine for over 20 years and is sure to have something for everyone.

Currently, Govinda’s is opened on weekends, Friday – Sunday from 3 pm – 9 pm and beginning May 1st, will be opening from 12 pm – 9 pm every day. The restaurant is conveniently located at 3759 McCrearys Ridge Rd., Moundsville, WV 26041. You can contact us at 304 843-1600 ext.101. https://www.facebook.com/Govindasnv or http://www.palacelodge.com/services.html

Devotee Caregiving


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Mother Siki Mahiti receives a Lifeline button for emergencies.

By New Vrindaban Communications and Devotee Care Team

Caregiving is an integral part of family life and often has the spouse or parent putting his or her needs on the back burner. Many New Vrindaban devotees have played the role of caregivers and have never been recognized for all their efforts.

We would like to acknowledge these devotees, beginning with Mother Vidya, who was Madhava Gosh Prabhu’s caregiver for over ten years while he was in various stages of disease and deterioration. To care for someone over such a long period of time takes great patience and strength of character.

Mother Vidya has also quietly played a role of keeping in touch with devotees who have left New Vrindaban. This has all been done without compensation or acknowledgment. This shows a true caregivers heart of generosity.

Triyadisha devi also spent the last few years giving care to Vidura Prabhu, while his body slowly dwindled away. She was an ever-faithful companion who never crossed him, though it was sometimes challenging to watch him suffer in silence. At the very end, though not tech savvy, she managed to turn on Srila Prabhupada’s voice, and supported her husband to his very last breath being an example of true servitorship.

Another stalwart in caregiving, Manasa Ganga devi actually had a job caring for the disabled and handicapped over 15 years ago. Around the same time, she also cared for Mother Adhara devi, New Vrindaban’s head seamstress, who had a form of dementia – where she forgot everything except Krsna. To this day, Manasa Ganga is still actively and considerately supporting devotees, listening to their concerns and calming their anxieties.

Advaitacarya Prabhu and his wife Madri devi cared for Maha Yoga, who was institutionalized most of his life. Advaita and Madri took it upon themselves to visit Maha Yoga in Pittsburgh, provide special prasadam, and listen to him talk about Krsna until he recently left his body. They considered it their honor and privilege to have his association.

Lalita Gopi devi is a caregiver who goes above and beyond the call of duty. For over ten years she has assisted Pradyumna Prabhu and Rukmavati devi in caring for their children. She has also cooked for Jaya Murari Prabhu and Varsana Maharaja for years until her other duties consumed her time. Recently, as apartment manager, she put her heart and soul into cleaning up all around the apartments for the pleasure of the devotees. Her over-the-top determination shows a heart of compassion.

Other caregivers include, Lila Suka devi, who is always trying to help others. She has spent many hours assisting Lila, along with Jayasri devi and Gopa, by providing meals and transportation. Gopa has spent many hours sitting and listening to Lila. Behind the scenes these devotees offer their time and energy in caring for others.

Over the years, Patrick and Dharmakala devi have served Jaya Murari Prabhu by doing laundry, delivering meals, giving rides to town and calling or visiting him on a regular basis. These kinds of services give a shut-in devotee the sense that they are valuable gems.

Along with the disciples of Varsana Maharaj, Madri devi, Gaura Shakti’s wife, has continually been a support by organizing meals and cooking for Maharaja. Many other devotees have provided a large variety of services to assure proper health care and healing for Maharaj.

Although the majority of caregivers have been women, Gopisha Prabhu has offered heating pads and special oils to help the soar muscles, of many an ailing devotee. He was also a support for both Madhava Gosh and Vidya, especially in the last few years.

Jasoda Gokularani devi has come from Los Angeles offering caregiving to Sikhi Mahiti, Madhava Gosh and Triyadisha. Her experience in this field has proved very helpful in giving proper and respectful care to devotees.

More recently in late January of this year, Sacimata underwent a hip replacement surgery. While at home recuperating, she had a stark realization of what it feels like to be bedridden. In this mood, she researched various support systems in town and worked to connect devotees to the Senior Center as well as requesting Das and Vrsni from Pittsburgh to install a Lifeline for Mother Sikhi Mahiti. Her aim was to help alleviate the various concerns experienced by devotees living alone and needing extra care.

Sacimata thus was inspired to initiate a new Extended Devotee Care Program in order to facilitate the needs of devotees in New Vrindaban. She and her daughter, Nityananda dasi, will be available by telephone and can assist devotees in receiving their proper care. Sacimata hopes that other community members will also be inspired to care for one another. You can reach Sacimata or Nityananda dasi at their home number, 304-845-1199.

There are many other New Vrindaban devotees who have been involved in giving care. If we wrote the whole list, it would probably include almost every devotee. Most of these community members have helped out of the kindness of their hearts. We cannot thank them enough.

Japa Workshop

Japa session at Japa Workshop (April 8-10, 2016)

Over the last two years there has been a real shift in the community’s perspective on devotee care, both individually and collectively. The Prabhupada’s House, used as the New Vrindaban Wellness Center, has been refurbished and is now designed to provide proactive and preventative health care and educational programs. This past weekend world famous caregivers Ekavira prabhu and Vraja Lila devi initiated new beginnings by conducting a japa workshop at the Wellness Center for the spiritual well being of all attendees.

Devotee care is also one of the four main areas of focus for the newly formed Village Association. There is a lot of excitement and energy to bring forth new relationships and to create a truly loving, caring family community.

We are ever grateful to Srila Prabhupada who showed by his example the need to compassionately care for the devotees by being das das anudas.

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