New Vrindaban: 2012 in Review

By Lilasuka dd

For New Vrindaban, 2012 was a year of progress. We like to look back and see how the Lord has made this come about over the last year. We know that He is the doer. We make our proposals, but ultimately, Krsna makes things happen or not. We are grateful for all the blessings He has given us, as well as for all the challenges He has presented to us. We accept that He only gives us the challenges that we can manage.

New Vrindaban saw more people in 2012. For example, we served more guests than in 2011, both at the Lodge and in the restaurant. Our community president also happily declared, “We now have more residents in the temple building, with the new total being 23.” As well several older, former residents are returning to live in New Vrindaban after being away for some time.

Speaking of residents of the holy dhama, our cow herd has expanded, resulting in more pure, New Vrindaban cows’ milk than we’ve had for many years. We now have four new calves, and, as we work our way towards self-sufficiency, the plans to expand the herd are being slowly realized.

We added a couple of new festivals to our events calendar in 2012. For example, New Vrindaban’s very first, well-attended Festival of Colors in Sept. was a success. Many young people and students in general were attracted to this festival, as well as a lot of local people. We believe that such family-friendly festivals are building a lot of relationships with local people. New Vrindaban’s neighbors are giving us much good feedback, as our interactions with them continue to improve.

Another “first” for New Vrindaban was the enlivening Govardhan Parikrama held in November. One guest who attended declared, “This was a very informative parikrama. I love New Vrindaban, and today, I learned things that I never knew before, such as the story of the appearance of Radha Kunda. I learned many new stories about Krsna.”

Our visitors also enjoyed many Saturday night Swan Boat Festivals last spring and summer. In addition, our second annual Puspa Abhishek at the end of July is continuing to increase in popularity.

These were other “firsts” for 2012 as well.

The first of seven small temples is under construction, per Srila Prabhupada’s desire. In addition, we have begun to hold special Friday early morning Srimad Bhagavatam classes based on the subject of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, comments, and vision for New Vrindaban.

New Vrindaban took several important steps towards more sustainable living in 2012.

To this end, solar panels were installed at the winter barn. See New Vrindaban Takes a Step Towards Sustainable Energy in ISKCON News.

There was a production Deity flower garden put in at the Garden of 7 Gates. The vegetable production at the same Garden of 7 Gates increased. Thirty-one deliveries of fresh New Vrindaban organic produce were taken to Wheeling’s soup kitchens and faith based food pantries, making 2012 the sixth consecutive year of such outreach. New Vrindaban’s “Small Farm Training Center” is now conducting cooking classes in low income communities in the nearby towns.

There is preparation work being done at the new ECOV project, “Madhuban Village”. A new road is already begun and there are plans for an ox barn as well as earth shelter housing for people who are interested in an agrarian lifestyle at New Vrindaban. All buildings in the new village will be sustainable, to be made from local materials as much as possible, with water coming from the catchment of rain off of the roofs as well as the development of naturally existing springs on the property. This will be a grid net zero project using solar energy.

We have not been in a position to do a lot of maintenance on our buildings in the last 15 to 20 years. However, in this era, we have begun several exciting renovation projects.
Improvements were made at Govinda’s Restaurant in 2012.
The asramas in the temple were renovated in 2012.
We have started to invest into the water supply.

Over the course of last summer, there were four electric storms leading to power outages. Some of those days were also marked by a shortage of water, and a suddenly leading water tank. As a result, we had to truck water in. This led to over $35,000 in unexpected expenses. Please see this link about the water issue:

We have begun much-needed renovations on the “Welcome” cabin.
We have begun to install an irrigation system in our big “Garden of 7 Gates”.
The outside of the Palace was painted.
The renovation of the Lodge itself has begun.

It is evident that much progress was made this year in New Vrindaban.

One of our major challenges this year has been the sad passing of two active residents of N.V. Nitai das (Eli Drury) and Bhokta das (Robert Bauer). They will be very missed by us.

Finally, we want to thank all of you, the community members, pilgrims and visitors. We also offer our thanks to the Lord for His blessings and guidance in our day-to-day service.

May the year 2013 bring you spiritual happiness, which is the only sustainable happiness. May you also receive the blessings of Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra.

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