ECO-Vrindaban Offers Appreciation Plaque to Devotees for 40 Years of Service

New Vrindaban Madhava Gosh Vidya Appreciation 2014

Madhava Gosh and Vidya accepting an appreciation plaque.

New Vrindaban Fall Board Meetings 2014:

Madhava Gosh Das and Vidya Dasi Receive Appreciation Plaques for 40 Years of Service

 By Madhava Smullen

 During the ISKCON New Vrindaban and Eco-Vrindaban Fall Board Meetings on the first weekend of November this year, long-time residents Madhava Gosh Das and his wife Vidya Dasi were officially honored for their more than forty years of service to the community’s cows and gardens.

The event took place in the community hall on November 1st after the department head reports. Madhava Gosh, who has been suffering in recent times from a serious decline in health, sat on a sofa at one end with Vidya. Board and community members alike arranged their chairs in a circle facing them to create a more intimate atmosphere.

ECO-V chairman Navin Shyam Das introduced the guests of honor, but acknowledged that there was someone who took care of the cows and gardens way back, “before Madhava Gosh was around.” He then read a detailed and glowing report of food production in the New Vrindaban gardens published in the second ever issue of Brijabasi Spirit magazine in 1974.

“When I read this, I thought, ‘We’re honoring Madhava Gosh, but maybe we should find this Bhakta Mark fellow and honor him!” Navin joked, revealing them to be one and the same. He added, “Then I realized behind both of them was another even greater personality – Vidya Dasi!”

Navin spoke a little about their history. Hailing from a family that has farmed for generations, Madhava Gosh moved to New Vrindaban in 1974 soon after joining ISKCON. He was initiated during Srila Prabhupada’s visit that same year, and went on to serve in New Vrindaban’s garden and plough departments throughout the 1970s.

He continued to put energy into cow protection and food production even in the ‘80s and ‘90s when the community’s emphasis on them decreased. In the early 2000s, he started his own blog, “View From a New Vrindaban Ridge,” providing positive reports on the community’s efforts amidst a negative worldwide perception, and in 2006, he revived the Brijabasi Spirit online.

He has been an ECO-V board member since its launch and has been a major instigator behind recent efforts such as increasing use of New Vrindaban’s own protected dairy, planting fruit and nut trees, increasing ox engagement, establishing a trust for the future care of cows, and planning an eco-village. He also personally enlisted Kacey Orr, ECO-V’s dynamic new garden manager.

Meanwhile Vidya Dasi came to New Vrindaban a year earlier than her husband, in 1973, and has steadily played a key role in the community’s gardens ever since, and in particular its flower gardens — she was one of the early organizers of the Rose Gardens at Prabhupada’s Palace.

New Vrindaban Flower Garden 2014 Vidya

Flowers organized by Vidya dasi in New Vrindaban’s gardens.

In the early days, as one of the first women in the community to have children, she was active in running a nursery program, and now proudly cherishes five grown-up children and three grandchildren. Today, she continues to be a major force behind the flower gardens and festivals like the new Pushpa Abhisheka. She and Madhava Gosh have been married for an exemplary forty years.

After citing their achievements, Navin Shyam presented Madhava Gosh and Vidya with an engraved wooden plaque commemorating their service, to uproarious applause.

Inscribed with the new ECO-V logo, the plaque reads, “The Board of Directors of Eco-Vrindaban hereby presents this plaque to Madhava Gosh Das and Vidya Dasi in recognition of their more than four decades of service to the cows and gardens of New Vrindaban.”

Speaking to the crowd, Vidya said, “I feel really honored and humbled to get this, and I’m going to really appreciate it. I wish my children could have been here, but they’re spread out all over the country. They do know about it though.”

New Vrindaban Cow Protection Hari Chand Amani 2014

hari chand and amani brothers from another mother

With heartfelt sincerity, Madhava Gosh said, “There’s so many that really deserve a plaque. I almost feel that this is unwarranted. I don’t know if I was such a great devotee over all those years… But we tried. We were just trying to do the best we could. Looking back, there’s a bit of lamentation, ‘You could have tried harder. You could have done more.’ I’ll accept this, but I don’t know if I really deserve it.”

“This is not so important for me — I could care less about this kind of stuff,” Gosh concluded, holding up the plaque. “So this is for my grandchildren. It’s something that they can remember me by.”


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