Splash (bucket hits the ground in shock)
That sweet smell, barn-lila, dripping noses and udders
Metal cranes wrought-iron
Dropping into vats of gold
He said “7 temples…seven hills”
We could finish it as soon as tomorrow!
Honeybees buzzing in devotion
So all the deer appreciate
Locked away, hellish winter
But the warden smells of sandal-wood

Nowadays, the inmates have computers
Paved roads and cell-phones
Some of the flavor is new, yet to be aged
But the broken bones are never in vain
The saffron dust still sits in the musty corners
I pray to the Lord, just one more step forward

Harden my heart, and soften it at the same time

“There’s still 6 to go…”

by Bhakta-Chris

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Hare Krishna. I’m kind of a crude dude, and mostly the finer expressions and more subtle arts (like poetry) just go right over my head. So, if possible, could bc maybe send me an elaboration on his poem? Some of it I sort of ‘get’, but the last line confused me. And now I’m not sure I did get it after all.

“6 to go”?

You know the phrase “7 temples on 7 hills” refers to Srila Prabhupada describing the essence of what a new Vrindavan would portray. And as of equal importance as simple living-high thinking is the establishment of replicas of the seven major Gosvami temples of Gokula Vrindavana in India.

Prabhupada wanted New Vrindavana to be a place to celebrate Krishna’s pastimes. This also then implies the manifestation of His most Personal assets which are displayed and elaborated on within His pastimes in Vrindavana and with It’s residents of all kinds. And since we don’t have even one of the Gosvami temples evenly remotely begun, why “6 to go”?

In essence as far as what a broad history will perhaps one day record, certainly a major timeline transition will be the community before the 7 temples and the community after the establishment of those temples.

Certainly, the merciful arrival of Sri Sri Radha Vrindavana Chandra sent by Srila Prabhupada Himself, and the manifestation of Prabhupada’s Palace mark the proper auspicious beginning of the preparation for all other spiritual and transcendental manifestation Prabhupada’s grace and mercy envisioned for New Vrindavana.

But the current RVC temple is no Gokula replica and was indeed only originally intended to be a temporary home for RVC when it was built. And the one cornerstone attempt made in the community towards a Govindaji temple was dug up and transferred to become the hopeful cornerstone of what was meant to be the first attempt at a massive South Indian Style temple that you would more likely find in Tirupati rather than Gokula.

So in an historical context, we are STILL trying to get the ‘good old days’ down right in order to become the servants and tools to the transcendental manifestation we are called upon for by this aspect of Srila Prabhupada’s mission.

The tendency to glance back at the earliest days of this first part of our communal history as if it is the only or truest expression of surrender is simply romanticizing the past and making it seem like that level is unobtainable for contemporary devotees.

We have a long long way to go yet, but I am sure the seed Prabhupada planted here will be fruitful if we can keep hanging on, sincerely trying our best, and hoping against hope for the guidance and protection of Radha Vrindavana Chandra.

I would have a much more stimulated response to a poem that could elicit my eagerness to continue and improve myself for this work of a new Vrindavana, than for a poem that at first reading seems to just imply we’ve got it down period.

It is interesting you would use the word “essence” to describe the “7 temples on 7 hills”.

What is the essence of that instruction? First, a bit of history, Srila Prabhupada’s original instruction was to build the 7 replicas at the Vrindaban farm. The famous “7 temples on 7 hills” was actually a suggestion made by Kirtanananda, which SP approved.

Which shows that SP wasn’t attached to any particular idea, but was open to variations on the essential suggestion.

You made some thought provoking statements — at least it got me thinking 🙂

I wonder if the important part of the instructions is the “replica” or was that meant as a way to save some design time?

I wonder what we are supposed to replicate? The architecture or the spirit?

I have to say that if after all this time, if we still haven’t even made anything that counts towards that suggestion is tedious beyond words for me, and is very discouraging.

I prefer to see the temple and the Palace as two of the seven and would challenge Chris from the other side — 5 more to go, not 6.

SP also said that there are 7 major temples in Vrindaban and thousands of small ones. So I take the “7” as a minimum, not a maximum.

For me, the next temple to manifest should be restoring Bahulaban temple, where SP actually gave classes and attended arotik. I think his presence made that temple a place of pilgrimage, even though it has been abandoned.

If we get that fixed up, I am calling it “4 more to go” 🙂

Then, once we do get the 7, we can keep going and make sure we do end up with at least 7 that ARE architectural replicas.

Please grant me this so I have some enthusiasm to go forward.

Let’s remember, for a lot of devotees, NOW will be their good old days.

Yeah, Kirtanananda seemed to have a bit of a historical Romanesque sense to his understanding of 7 temples. And of course Prabhupada never ever has impacted me as particularly fanatical about variables.

Further, do you seriously feel that at present we have replicated much of either, the architecture, or the spirit of Vrindavana? Or that we are even stablely headed in that direction? A lack doesn’t seem depressing to me, but stimulates determination, hope and application, and striving to know in truth what IS. It tells me we CAN do better and
reach to the goal.

It is not a matter of ‘counting’ our progress but doing it. Much of it must be internal within each devotee as a conscious choice of free will in lifestyle, out of which is the only truly developable bhakti.

That is much much harder to evaluate. And the basic sincerity of most devotees combined with the inconceivable mercy of Radha Vrindavana Chandra, and the eternal seed of Srila Prabhupada is the root of the hope.

The point about Bhahulavana I found surprisingly sentimental for you after your previous statements. Prabhupada LIVED, translated and also gave classes at both Madhuvan temple and Vrindavana Farm: one is literally non-existent, and the other is falling apart in chunks as badly
or worse overall as Bhahulavana, and is even more inaccessible. That marker stone intended for Vrindavana Farm has been sitting by the present temple mailboxes for years now.

It is also interesting to note that there is nearly as many who feel Bhahulavan should be razed to the ground and started over as there are who feel so fondly for the property. They feel rather than trying to hang on to the decrepit past form which was the setting for so many
atrocities in the name of spirituality, and who’s original buildings were built by cow killers, a fresh start would bring an unprecedented vitality to the site, and make it a living breathing temple again rather than the broken down masoleum it has been now for decades no matter how many times it’s been tried to be revived as is.

Most certainly, 7 is a minimum. But the particular seven dedicated to the presiding Deities of the main Gosvamis of our disciplic line (which include the predominating Deities who’s blessings are directly responsible for the progression of bhakti and the specific flavor of
Braja Bhakti) also most certainly hold the right of pre-eminence for us. These seem to my mind to be the specific first temples refered to. All others are certainly most welcome, and more variable. Vrindavana is often described as having 5.000 temples so there would be no reason to limit it to 7.

Vrindaban and Madhuban are great places for temples. I think Bahulaban needs attention first, is all.

It is sentimental to try preserve the temple Srila Prabhupada was actually in so others can see what he saw, granted.

Economically it may be cheaper to raze and rebuild, but it wouldn’t be the same. that has already happened at Madhuban, except without the rebuild part.

Here is an interesting idea that might be considered:

St Bernard Abbey and Ave Maria Grotto