Great Potential @ New Vrindaban

New Vrindaban Bahulaban Utility Building 2014

New Vrindaban Bahulaban Utility Building – 2014.

New Vrindaban Bahulaban Utility Building 2014

Utility Building roof replacement – 2014.

Ya, I know, it doesn’t look like much now…but it has “Great Potential.”

Great Potential @ New Vrindaban

by Vyasasan das

In some of my previous posts entitled Ox Barn Project and the Eco-Village I have been chronicling some of the positive changes that are beginning to happen here at the New Vrindaban Farm Community in West Virginia. Although there is so much that needs to be done, some of the improvements that are taking place, are beginning to change the atmosphere, and enliven some of its residents and the locals as well. For too long, New Vrindaban was caught in some kind of ‘time warp’ where things were simply neglected and had fallen into a state of disrepair and abandonment. Roofs were leaking, floors were caving in, post and beams were beginning to rot, and the elements of Nature were reclaiming the land once again.

Which was sad to witness, because New Vrindaban has so much history, and so much infrastructure, which was mostly a product of bhakti (devotional service) that it was sad to see it fall into ruin. But as it is in nature after a storm, the sky again clears, and the sun reappears, so it is with New Vrindaban, that there were dark days and the hope is beginning to return, a glimmer at a time. This I attribute to a small circle of devotees who remembered that two of the main purposes of New Vrindaban is agriculture and protecting the cows. And as one famous devotee here pointed out “that cows come in two sexes” and thus the Oxen Project was re-born.

“Agriculture and protecting cows, this is the main business of the residents of Vrindaban, and above all simply loving Krishna.”…..Srila Prabhupada, July 1973.

New Vrindaban Young Bulls 2014

Young bulls in New Vrindaban.

The second of New Vrindaban’s purposes is to create an ideal village, a Vedic or Eco Village. This topic has been openly discussed and greeted with enthusiasm by some of the residents and outside supporters of the plain living concept. The Eco Village is a hot topic at the moment.

“It may be an ideal village where the residents will have plain living and high thinking.” – Srila Prabhupada, June 1968.

Eco-Village concept.

Example of Eco-Village type housing.

I have maintained since the beginning of these discussions, that it is of topmost importance to establish “Cottage Industry” (i.e. small business’s such as a woodworking shop, blacksmith, pottery, candle/soap making, agricultural products etc., just to name a few) to support such a communal ideal.

This is where the Utility Building at New Vrindaban can come into play. It is a monumental building, that at one time housed devotee businesses and many devotee residences. It is well built and surprisingly, it is in very good shape structurally! It has Great Potential!

Some time back I was asked to give an estimate on a new roof as ISKCON New Vrindaban was in a position to put a new roof on half of the building to stop the water damage. It was decided we would ask some local Amish workers to do the roof repair, and they put on a new metal roof on the one half of building.

New Vrindaban Utility Building New Roof 2014.

Utility Building new roof installation – 2014.

New Vrindaban Utility Building New Roof 2014

New roof on the Utility Building!

This was a great decision on behalf of the current administration, because it saved the building. Without immediate attention, the building was sure to decline rapidly as the following pictures will testify. The water damage was becoming so severe that a whole section of floor caved in, and this was sure to lead to more damage if it was not addressed.

New Vrindaban Bahulaban Utility Building Damage 2014 (2)

Example of internal damage.

New Vrindaban Bahulaban Utility Building Damage 2014

Close up of more damage.

With the new roof, in essence saving the building from further decline, it opened up the possibility of reclaiming the building again, for use by members of the community.

The second floor has a woodworking shop, some office type rooms, and 19 residence type rooms down main hallway, plus an area for bathrooms and shower facility. I personally see that it has great potential for either guest housing (retreats, festivals, etc.) or devotee housing.

*Now of course this is just my vision, and ISKCON New Vrindaban Management will have their own ideas on what should be done and where, but for me, I believe that renovation and remodeling old buildings is a better use of the resources, than tearing down structures and building new building from scratch. I like to save buildings and resources…maybe this is my understanding of “reuse reduce recycle.” Or maybe it is just a good practice. Hare Krishna!


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