The Latest Word from The Community Planning Team

Wed. Jan. 25, 2012 under the Lodge

We had some special guests at our recent Community Vision and Planning Team presentation on Wed. evening, Jan. 25.  There were three teachers and seven students from  (Morgantown) WV University.

Their Community Design Team , coordinated by Jenny Selin, will be working closely with our Vision and Planning Team to make the Master Plan dream come true. Her husband, Steve Selin, is a professor and an active participant. Jenny will  bring in interested professors and their students, with  individual levels of expertise in community development and conservation, including landscape architects, rural health practitioners, economists, engineers, parks and recreation experts, forestry majors, and public policy analysts.  

The meeting began with Jaya Krsna welcoming everyone, and  introducing the seven team leaders or their substitutes, followed by an overview by Gaura Sakti, who let us know that the plan is due to be completed and presented to the Board of Directors by Gaura Purnima on March 8, 2012.  Gaura read to us the overall Vision for New Vrindavan Community, which is:

“New Vrindavan is an intentional spiritual community centered around the practice of Bhakti Yoga, expressed as the Brijbasi Spirit, emphasizing simple living and high thinking, vegetarianism, agriculture, cow protection, places of pilgrimage and the propagation of the teachings of the founder-acharya of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.”

Gaura mentioned the Master Plan team is following the instructions that Srila Prabhupada gave for New Vrindavan, along with general guidelines.  This process focuses on two parts, namely HOW to prepare a master plan and WHAT to include.

In this regard, there is a good report from Gaura Shakti from Aug. 2011 when he was just beginning to put together the Master Planning concept.  I am quoting from this report below as it clearly covers the HOW and WHAT concept mentioned above, and anyone who is interested can easily refer to the related documents.

“Together we have decided to use Srila Prabhupada’s specific instructions for developing New Vrindavan as our “laws” for planning.  Additionally, we are using a document developed by the state of New Hampshire entitled “How to develop a master plan for your community” as the framework.  This guidebook can be downloaded by any of you at:

“This is a rather extensive document.  I encourage each and every one of you to carefully read and understand it, as this describes in simple language the methods we will employ to develop ours.  As this document was specifically developed for the state of New Hampshire, there are topics and laws that will not apply to us.  Skip these, but get a strong understanding of the process, as this will be our guide.

“Additionally, we will use Srila Prabhupada’s specific statements regarding his visions and desires for his New Vrindavan community.  The Vaishnava website has many letters that Srila Prabhupada wrote about New Vrindavan.  They can be viewed here:

“This is a very nice compilation of 59 pages of quotes by His Divine Grace regarding his New Vrindavan community.  I urge you all to carefully read each of them, and try to gain an understanding of his vision.  This will be our guide for this master plan.” Open Letter from Gaura Sakti das Aug. 13, 2011.”

Then, one by one, each of the seven team leaders presented the one year, three year and ten year plans for their group.  The seven groups and the devotees who spoke, as well as each official team leader, are listed below. If anyone would like details of any of the committees’ goals and visions, please contact these people directly: 

1 AGRICULTURE, COWS AND SELF-RELIANCE presented and headed by Jaya Krsna.    

2 EDUCATION, ARTS AND CULTURE presented by Jayadevi and the team leader is Krpamaya.

3 COMMUNITY DESIGN AND FACILITIES presented and headed by Gopisa.

4 REVEALING THE DHAMA presented by Gaura Sakti and the team leader is Varsana Swami.

5 DEVOTEE CARE AND RELATIONS presented by Gaura Sakti and the team leader is Sukavaha.

6 OUTREACH, PREACHING & PILGRIM CARE presented and headed by Yugal Kisora.

7 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT presented and headed by Jaya Krsna.

After the seven presentations, the WVU students individually introduced themselves and expressed the aspects of our Master Plan in which they are interested.  Their responses were very positive and they all seem eager to participate.  

Finally, the meeting was opened up to questions and a lively yet friendly discussion ensued. Some of the questions that came up were:

Who will prioritize and decide which of our goals are to be met and which ones pushed until a later date? 

Is there an interest in reviving old New Vrindavan?

Will we be developing educational and historical walking trails throughout the community? And, if so, how will we deal with neighbors who may try to cut into our land? 

We’re looking forward to the ongoing improvements and developments according to the Master Plan, and hope everyone will be engaged more and more in meaningful devotional service, Bhakti Yoga, thus fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental vision for New Vrindavan.

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