Winter activities of the Congregational Department

CD team

From left to right: Venkatachalpati, Venkatash Krsna, Gaurnataraj and Nikunja Rasa.

By Abhay Charan dasa

The Congregational Development department (the CD team) is taking care of members and pilgrims alike this winter with an array of services. From Go Puja and Parikramas, offered by Venkatachalapati dasa, to outreach programs such as daily phone calls by Venkatash Krsna dasa, or gifts of delicious sweets from our Goshala, made by Sri Rupa dasa, the CD team has it covered. Gaurnataraj dasa, the head of the CD team and Nikunja Rasa das have been traveling tirelessly this winter, preaching at Bhakti Vriksha’s nationwide, and have been well received, while Rahul dasa has been away in India purchasing alters.

This winter, the CD team had a goal to increase home visits and outreach programs, emphasizing the chanting of the holy names. More than doubling their efforts from last year, they are exceeding their expectations and the results are great. Registrations and long weekend turnouts have increased and new families are visiting New Vrindaban as well.

“The only thing we can offer them is love and devotion and they are becoming very enlivened to chant the Mahamantra and listen to class. ” says Gaurnataraj, “Lots of people have shown interest in Srila Prabhupada’s books and we have already sold eight sets of the Srimad Bhagavatam this winter.”

NV Congregational development holding sweets

Happy devotees holding sweets made right here in the Dhama.

Lord Chaitanya predicted the holy name will be spread to every town and village in the world and the CD team is helping to fulfill this desire by chanting the holy name wherever they go by giving lectures, singing kirtans and holding japa introduction courses. With visits to over ten states this winter, they are networking Bhakti Vriksha programs nationwide, encouraging its members in spiritual life and helping to awaken their dormant love for Krishna. Those who were not previously chanting, some are committing to chanting every day and those who were already chanting are committing to chant even more attentive rounds.

For Christmas last year, the CD team held a seminar on chanting japa, as well as classes about ‘The Ten Subject Matters of the Srimad Bhagavatam’, over a span of three days. Then, for New Years Eve, Sukhavaha Dasi gave a special program on ‘Giving Up Bad Habits’ which followed by a Bhagavad Gita class, and ended with kirtans lasting into the New Year’s morning.

To offer Lord Damodara the lamplight of their love this upcoming Kartik, the CD team is currently procuring altars to install Radha Krishna deities for members who are serious. They hope to have many altars installed so that they can sing Damodarastakam prayers for the pleasure of Their Lordships.

Gaurnatraj performing yajna

Gaurnataraj preforming a fire sacrifice.

Gaurnataraj says of the team, “our outreach programs are increasing and our team has great camaraderie and harmony amongst each other. Our main goal is to glorify and serve New Vrindaban and we hope that our offering of love and devotion touches the hearts of all those we speak with and that they become inspired to visit and become devotees. We hope to increase this outreach mission in a big way.”

Gaurnataraj is currently doing a series of lectures, ‘The Seven Kandas of the Ramayana’ every Thursday night at 8:30 pm starting March 3 – April 14, leading up to Rama Navami.

People can join in on the Rama Katha, as well as Bhagavad Gita class every Tuesday, via the live feed on his website –

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