A Devotee Couple Moves to New Vrindaban- An Interview

Alexander and Radhapriya

Alexander and Radhapriya

Lilasuka (L): So how are things going for you, so far, here in New Vrindaban, Alexander and Radhapriya prabhus? You’ve been here for a few months now.

Alexander (A) & Radhapriya (R):  Well, we like our apt.  There’s easy access to the temple.  Things are good.

L: I heard you went to India recently, Radhapriya. Would you like to tell us about that?

R:  Sure. It was October to December, 2013, and it was my first time to India. I went on Indradyumna Swami’s Kartik parikrama to the Vrindavan area. It was a rigorous, intense schedule, with not a lot of free time.

But I really liked Vrindavan because everyone there knows about Krsna. I have to admit that from everything I had read and heard, I had expected Vrindavan to be a peaceful, serene rural scene.  But I’m afraid it wasn’t like that at all.

It was quite noisy and crowded.  A person gets literally pushed around a lot!  All the temples are full of people, but that’s to be expected since it was Kartik time.  There are cars everywhere, it seems. And the people have this amazing habit of just throwing their trash in piles and setting them on fire.   Plus, it was very hard to find any time alone, with some peace and quiet.

There were other surprises, too. We were staying at the Srila Prabhupada Charity Trust building, where our roof accommodations were very scenic, but the electricity would go off regularly, as well as the water. And there was no hot water at all! Quite austere conditions. I didn’t expect it.

L: Welcome to India! Ha Ha! India has always been a challenge, on the physical level.

R: But it’s transcendental too.  All the men in Vrindavan have sikhas and everyone chants “Hare Krsna!”, “Radhe Radhe!”  The sweetest experience I had was attending the matajis’ kirtans.  Every day, in Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi, groups of very renounced, dedicated women would come and chant together in an intimate atmosphere.  It was the sweetest experience and very powerful.

L: Thank you, Radhapriya.  So, Alexander, what kind of work do you do?

A:  I work full-time, online as a tech support for WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting platform.

L: I see. And how did you two meet?

radha priya and alex3

A: Well, I was a philosophy major at the University of Texas in Austin in 2007, when I used to see Radhapriya on “The Drag” (the main street at U.T.) distributing books.  I used to talk to all sorts of interesting people on The Drag. Radhapriya looked particularly captivating, and aroused my curiosity.  I was taking a photojournalism class, and eventually I ended up doing a photo story on Radhapriya.   When I asked her permission to do that, she replied, “I’ll have to talk to my spiritual master.”  That made me REALLY curious!

(They both laugh.)

A: I just kept following her around.

R: And he’s still following. (They laugh again.)

L:  What made you decide to move to New Vrindaban?

A: Well, I have to admit that ever since I first met devotees, I’ve never been able to fully appreciate kirtans. But when we came to N.V.’s 24 hour kirtan last summer, my heart felt very uplifted and moved.  I also really love the natural setting here. Those are the main things that convinced me to want to live here.

R:  Yes, the beautiful countryside, the variety of people, being part of an established devotee community, all the festivals – these were some of my reasons for wanting to move here. Plus, New Vrindaban is a true place of pilgrimage – a spiritual hub.  It’s one of those go-to places that HAS to be visited.  A person can meet all sorts of new devotees here, and establish relationships.

A: Last summer, when we came, Madri dasi showed us around and took us to see Varsana Swami’s project.  That’s when I realized: This is a holy dhama for real.   It’s a spiritual abode. It is Vrindavan!!  New Vrindaban has that spiritual potency.  There’s a very rich history here. And there are so many treasures to be discovered here – it’s an adventure. Almost like we’re living in Krsna’s lila!  I feel like we’re making spiritual progress here.

L: Radhapriya, I understand that you also work full time. What do you do?

R: I work full-time, online, doing graphics and web design.  I’m also helping Jaya Krsna prabhu by designing a new brochure.  I may also help with some festival posters.  I’d really like to help paint some of the deities and the Jagannatha altar.

L: Radhapriya, how did you become a devotee?

R: I was in a literature class, where I read parts of a version of the Bhagavad Gita and then did a report on “Karma and Dharma”.  But I wanted to read more.  So I went out and discovered Srila Prabhupada’s “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”, with its attractive, colorful cover. I thought to myself, “This must be a good, authoritative version.’

The Gita really resonated with me.  Everything you do will come back to you one way or the other, I learned.  Then I googled the Hare Krsnas and soon signed up for an e-course from the one who eventually became my spiritual master. It is   www.backtohome.com.  I remember when my spiritual master, His Grace Sankarshan das Adhikari, was coming to Delaware & I went to visit him at one Indians’ family’s place. So the first devotee I met was my Guru Maharaj, his wife, & Arya Siddhanta – their driver. They had an enthusiastic kirtan.  Mostly, I remember the gauranga potatoes!  In 2005, I took initiation.  Eventually I moved to Austin to do book distribution. That’s where I met Alexander – and you’ve heard that story.  Coming to New Vrindaban has really helped to revive my spirituality, which wasn’t thriving in Austin.  As a matter of fact, I’ve always been attracted to West Virginia Appalachia and the cows.

A: It really makes me happy to see my wife serving the cows.  Everything about the cow is pure.

R: Yes, even cow urine has antiseptic properties.  I hope to work more with the cows.  Physical labor makes me feel good. I love being outside, connected with nature.

A:  I also feel that a person misses out on the real beauty in the world if they just live in a city.  City life is so disconnected. That’s one main reason why we love New Vrindaban.

R:  Yes. It seems as though a person can either be “stressed out” here in New Vrindaban, or they can choose to take shelter of the land, the cows and the amazing abundant gifts of the land.

L: Thank you both. Hare Krsna.

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Reader Comments

Very sweet.

Type your comment here.Hare Krsna! Thanks Lilasuka devi for a very nice interview. I appreciated reading the story of this couple who happen to be some of our mentees. We just returned from almost 7 weeks in India and it’s refreshing to hear that Bhakta Alexander and Radha-priya are settling in New Vrndavana so nicely. There’s an articles in the latest BTG (March/April 2014) which has a picture of them in it. Keep sharing the good news of devotee relationships and experiences!

I’m glad that these interviews are being read and appreciated. Thanks very much, Krsnanandini prabhu. Alex and Radhapriya seem to really like N.V. We need more like them! Keep sending them here! LOL. Haribol.