The Promise of Krsna Fulfilled

by Ken Rose ( from the July 1978 Issue of Brijabasi Spirit)

As I wandered over New Vrindaban’s hills exploring its different farms, observing the devotees working tirelessly and with no lack of enthusiasm for Krsna, Prabhupada and Kirtananda Maharaja. I was continually reminded of Sanjaya’s last words in Bhagavad-gita, “Wherever there is Krsna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality. That is my opinion.” (Bg. 18.78) after a short visit of just two days at New Vrindaban, this is also quickly becoming my opinion.

The original farm, Vrindaban, was all there was to New Vrindaban when I visited the community in 1970. There was just a handful of devotees then working with the limited resources imposed upon them by poverty. But Krsna, true to His word, was even then preparing the victory and bringing near the riches that come to those who walk in His “extraordinary power.” The emerging magnificence of Prabhupada’s Palace is both symbol and proof of the Krsna’s “extraordinary power working in His dedicated servants.

I visited New Vrindaban this spring for the first time in nearly seven years. I was astounded by the community’s physical and spiritual growth. Thousands of the doubts and reservations concerning Krsna Consciousness were sent flying simply by seeing the results of this miraculous growth. What few tenacious doubts remain must soon depart if I stay here very much longer.

The wealth of New Vrindaban is more than tractors and silos and land; the true wealth of this community is intangible, but present all over the farms. The devotees call this feeling Brijabasi Spirit. I cannot define this feeling. I can taste it, but cannot name the flavor. But that it is real and that it seems to arise out of the singularity of this whole community’s intent to serve Krsna and the disciplic succession I do not doubt.

Kirtanananda Swami came to these hills at a time when the old inhabitants were migrating to the cities to find the prosperity which has eluded this region. In spite of the scorn and dire prophecies of failure offered by some of his neighbors, with the help of many devotees he has transformed New Vrindaban into a vital and rapidly expanding community.

My greatest pleasure at New Vrindaban came one morning when I attended morning services with Kirtanananda Maharaja at Nandagram, New Vrindaban Gurukula. During aratrika, I was surrounded by a dozen young brahmacaries. No one was older than ten years age, but the aratrika and kirtan were as inspiring, as full of feeling of Krsna’s presence, as any others I attended led by their parents.

The children all seemed happy and intelligent and especially interested in the stranger with a head-full of hair and a scraggly beard. There was a calming quality of peace, an impalpable but warmly embracing ambience of serenity. As I succumbed to this gentle caressing of my spirit, my heart and my mind were deprived of a few more of those precious defenses that allow me to retain my objectivity. It says somewhere “….and a child shall lead them.” These children are already doing the leading that shall, one day, make them famous.

When I began writing this short testimony, I was determined to remain objective. I am not being very successful. It is difficult to remain aloof when the spirit is overcoming all obstacles to devotion. The only way left to remain objective is to leave.

I have no doubt that there are a great many problems facing the New Vrindaban community. And I am sure that each individual devotee must daily face the hardships of the austere life here with physical weariness and sometimes anxiety. But devotion to Krsna must have a strength not analyzable to a mind committed solely to the narrow confine of a rigorous rationality, because a good percentage of the devotees have been here for more than four years and some as long as ten years. It seems to me that many of these people could leave the community and rejoin middle-class American life and enjoy all of its so-called comforts. But yet here they stay. This devotion to Krsna is something strong yet mysterious.

I have had many encounters with Srila Prabhupada’s devotees over the years and one thing I have noticed is the gradual maturation of those bhaktas. The sometimes insensitive and impatient zeal of the early devotee has been transmuted into the quiet but assured confidence that characterizes the present-day devotee. Of course. I don’t think that I am surrounded by pure devotees—I retain at least a shred of my objectivity. Yet I can feel a purity and a holiness pervading New Vrindaban which is having a powerful effect upon this visitor. It is as though a bit of light has shown in upon my darkness.

If the progress of New Vrindaban over the past few years is indicative of the pattern in the future, then I can see a time when these hills shall all have their temple at the top, devotees will live for miles around, and pilgrims will flock from all over to this little bit of Bharata Varsa growing in the hills of West Virginia.

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

Write a Comment

Take a moment to comment and tell us what you think. Some basic HTML is allowed for formatting.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Click here to login.

Reader Comments

Be the first to leave a comment!