Websites from the ISKCON Universe
ISKCON joined South Africa in honoring the official day of prayer and reflection for former President Nelson Mandela. The Hare Krishna’s gathered outside Nelson Mandela’s home in Houghton, Johannesburg and in true South African style, indeed Madiba style chanted, danced and distributed free vegetarian food to the throngs who had come to celebrate Mr. Mandela.
Transcendental topics of the Lord act like injections when received by the sincere devotee from a person who is perfectly uncontaminated by material tinges. In other words, reception of the messages of Srimad-Bhagavatam from professional men, heard by a karma-kandiya audience, never acts miraculously as stated here.
Film for the 42nd Anniversary of the installation of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Londonisvara. Released in November 2011.
Devotees might be wondering why ISKCON, particularly in South Africa is going to great lengths to acknowledge Madiba. Did he not appeal to many other people of religion besides us? Was he an ally of our cause?
“When we don’t hear about the heroism of the Hero, the holes of our ears might as well be snake holes. When we do not sing about the One Worth Singing About, we might as well have the tongues of frogs. When our head does not bow to the Liberator, it is nothing but a heavy burden, even if it is decorated with a silken crown. When our hands do not serve Hari, they might as well be the hands of a corpse, uselessly decorated with glittering golden bracelets. When we do not look upon the forms of Viṣṇu, our eyes might as well be the eyes of a peacock feather. When our legs do not move us to Hari’s sacred places, our legs might as well be the roots of trees? If we mortals never touch the dust from the feet of blessed devotees, we might as well be dead! If we do not smell the scent of Tulasī from the beautiful feet of Viṣṇu, what is the use of breathing? We might as well be a breathing corpse.”
Sūta was speechless with delight to hear Śaunaka so boldly declare such strong devotional sentiments. “Worst of all,” Śaunaka continued, “If we pronounce Hari’s name but our heart does not melt into emotions like tears and goosebumps, what is the use of our heart? Is it really a heart or is it a chunk of iron?”
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 8 September 2013, Lenasia, South Africa, Sunday Feast Lecture)
We have temples where we can associate of devotees and get new inspiration because after all, this is a movement. Srila Bhakisiddhanta said, “It’s not an addendum in life.” It is not that Krsna consciousness is something we add on. “You know, I really feel that Krsna consciousness takes an important part in my life.” No, if we think like that then it’s an add on. That is not good enough.
Krsna consciousness is our life. There’s nothing else. There’s nothing else. That’s all there is. Therefore Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said, “Krsna consciousness is not an addendum in life.” It is a total revolution. Complete, total change. It is meant to touch every aspect of life and become the priority.
Therefore, I sometimes say that when you look your beloved in the eyes, you can say, “Darling, you are the most important person in my life… after Krsna.”
That is kind of how it is. Everything else comes after Krsna. We can try that and if you can’t make it, if you can’t say that from the heart, then you are in maya (laughter)! Just think about it. So that means we have to gradually cultivate our Krsna consciousness more and more until we get there, to that stage where vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti.
bahūnāḿ janmanām ante
jñānavān māḿ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ (Bhagavad-gita 7.19)
A great soul is very rare, is one who after many, many births comes to that stage where he is says, Vasudeva, Krsna is everything.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 21 November 2012, Cape Town, South Africa, Evening Talk)
One maybe, or may not be, a great philosopher like Uddhava. Uddhava was a great devotee from Dwarka and Uddhava was a disciple of Brihaspati who is the spiritual master of the demigods. Uddhava was very, very learned and he was also a great, loving devotee of Krsna but he had a bit of slant towards learning, so he was always philosophizing. Krnsa sent him to Vrndavan and then he realized that he is not a devotee at all. When Uddhava saw Mother Yasoda, when he saw the gopis, he realized. He tried to preach them, “Do you know that Krsna is the Supreme Lord?”
I mean (laughing), they couldn’t even hear it, “Huh? What are you talking about?”
“Krsna is all pervading.”
“All pervading? No! He’s gone to Mathura! We’re suffering, we’re suffering like anything. Krsna left Vrndavan, you know, he left Vrndavan and you’re telling us that he’s all pervading? When is he coming back? Please, you know, after you’ve finished with all that, that Krsna’s all pervading, do you have any news of Krsna? Tell us something about Krsna. How is he doing? Is he sometimes thinking of this mother?”
Like this, they did not care about jnana (knowledge); they couldn’t care less but Uddhava had a bit of that interest in the opulence of Krsna. So it is interesting. In the beginning, philosophy is very important because it keeps us on the path. Otherwise we go here, we go there, we go everywhere. In this way,yadā te moha-kalilaḿ
When your intelligence has passed out of the dense forest of delusion, you shall become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard. Only Krsna and that stage we want.
A Letter From Srila Prabhupada About New Vrindaban: 7 Temples, Starting a Trust Fund & Earning Income from the Land.
October 27, 1972
My dear Kirtanananda,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated October 19, 1972, and I have noted the contents with care.
Now we are in Radha-Damodara Temple staying, and the programme of speaking morning and evening in the courtyard is going on very nicely. It is the same peaceful atmosphere as your New Vrindaban, and just as in New Vrindaban everyone present is devotee. Actually, everywhere wherever Krishna is being glorified, that is Vrindaban.
Regarding your questions, try to finish the temples in New Vrindaban as quickly as possible using whatever materials you have. Later on they can be improved more and more and eventually they will be the first-class opulent temples in the world.
So far starting a trust fund, yes, that is very good idea, so that the deities may never be neglected. The thing is, there must be continuous income, so if there is income from land that is all right. In Los Angeles we are getting income from rents from two apartment houses because there is always certain income.
As for bathing the deities in milk from time to time, that is not required. The smarta or caste brahmanas, they think if someone inattentively touches deity it becomes impure, so they bathe. But that is not needed by us, only when they are installed.
Regarding the cook-book, that is a nice proposal to divide into two parts. There is no harm if devotees have invented recipes, so long they are strictly vegetarian, no garlic, no onions, like that.
Upon your recommendation I am happy to accept Sudhakari dasi for second initiation. Now you hold a fire yagna, give her copy of gayatri mantra and teach her to count on the finger divisions. You may play the tape of me reciting gayatri mantra into her right ear. The ceremony should be held in the company of devotees only.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
KARTIK 2013 – Worshipping Tulasi – Kripamoya Das
Any member of the family who is above twelve years of age should be initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, and all the members of the household should be engaged in the daily service of the Lord, beginning from morning (4 a.m.) till night (10 p.m.).
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 October 2013, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.2-7)
We should never think that somebody is not a devotee. We should think that everybody is a devotee! The uttama-adhikari sees everyone as a devotee. We should find the devotee in other people. The devotee is there; we should just find it!
We treat someone as not a devotee then they may also say, “Yes, I am not a devotee.” But if we find the devotee; awaken the devotee… There is a devotee in every person!
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, September 2008, South Africa, Ratha Yatra Lecture)
So the tendency to be a little lazy about standards and rules is very strong in all of us and we should never think that that will not happen.
I am a comparative philosophy student trying to understand the Bhagavad-gita. Can you please give specific Gita verses while answering the question?
Please give some details regarding prayers offered by different exalted devotees in srimad bhagavatam, can we choose any particular prayer and recite everyday as part of our sadhana if it is so, how much importance should we give/in what way we should understand the translation of the slokas while we recite as a daily routine.
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Minutes of the Semi Annual Joint Board Meeting Of New Vrindaban
November 10, 2013
Day 3 of 3
ISKCON New Vrindaban (INV) Vision Statement: Founded in 1968, Srila Prabhupada boldly envisions New Vrindaban as a sacred place known worldwide for Cow Protection, Self-Sufficiency, Holy Pilgrimage, Spiritual Education, and, above all, Loving Krishna.
ECO-Vrindaban Mission Statement: ECOV (Earth, Cows, Opportunities & Vrindaban Villages) is dedicated to cow protection, sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and simple living — all centered around loving service to Sri Krishna, as envisioned by the ISKCON New Vrindaban Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
INV Board Members: Dayavira, Chaitanya Mangala, Ranaka, Jaya Krsna, Gopisa, Tamohara
ECOV Board Members: Navin Shyam, Kripamaya, Madhava Gosh, Ranaka, Chaitanya Mangala, Anuttama
GBC: Malati, Tamohara, Anuttama
Recording Secretary: Laxmi Honest
Guests: Keval Patel, Bhima Walker
Chaitanya Mangala gave a report on the ECO-Vrindaban integrated auxiliary transformation. An issue arose when ECOV realized that most of its income would soon come from gas royalties. Unless the organization obtained an integrated auxiliary status, similar to that of a church, the IRS would reclassify it as a private foundation and it would have to pay annual tax to the IRS on royalty and investment income.
The IRS will take approximately one year to process the application. During that time, ECOV may act as though it is approved. While this more accurately represents the relationship of the two entities for IRS purposes, it was also noted that it brings the two entities closer in service. By terms of integrated auxiliary status, INV has the authority to place one director on the ECOV board. That requirement could be met if either Ranaka or Chaitanya Mangala, who are currently on both boards, is officially chosen as the INV representative.
Devotees currently serving with ECOV are:
Anuttama – GBC
Kripamaya – President
Madhava Gosh – Vice President
Navin Shyam – Chairperson
Ranaka – Secretary-Treasurer & Lead Cowherd Man
Chaitanya Mangala – Board Member
Cow Protection Staff are:
Ray Kudurski, Ananda Vidya, Lalita Gopi and Caitanya Bhagavat
Project Managers in 2013:
Nityodita – NV Protected Cow Dairy Initiative
Tapahpunja – Vegetable gardens
Rafael – Fruit trees and bushes, Deity flower garden
Chota Jay Krsna – “Green” Lodge remodeling
ECOV plans to submit its 2013 financial reports to the INV board during the March/April 2014 bi-annual meeting.
In the operations review it was reported that there are 48 cows and 6 are being milked. The milking cows provide cream, butter and ghee daily for the Deities. Hay and potatoes were being grown and harvested all summer. More fruit and nut trees and berries were planted. Deity flowers were grown all summer. Eco friendly housing was built near the Garden of Seven Gates, a greenhouse was renovated and a garden irrigation system was installed.
ECOV provides broad community support.
$70,000 to INV for multiple projects
$45,000 for Dham Seva projects through the purchase of a bulldozer
$15,000 for Small Farm Training Center garden related projects
$12,000 to Gopal’s Garden School
$6,000 to ISCOWP for hay and general farm assistance
A total of $148,000 has been invested in the NV community so far in 2013.
In 2014 ECOV plans to:
Expand the Deity flower garden
Further develop bulk grain storage
Hire a Project Coordinator
Continue building more eco-housing
Plan an eco-village
Plant more fruit and nut trees and berries
Continue to support other efforts that are in line with the ECOV mission.
A report was given regarding gas royalties. The Snyder gas well net mineral acreage footprint has been reduced by about 100 acres. Of the total acres, INV has approximately 23 and ECOV has approximately 257.
The initial royalty checks received for gas income were incorrect. There were some errors in calculation and the amounts were smaller than anticipated. Gopisa has been talking to representatives at Chevron in this regard, but they have been unresponsive thus far.
Devotee care, counseling and spiritual enlivenment, encompassed the next topic. It was suggested that the old clinic building could become a clinic again, with counseling available. It could also service as a gathering place for new members.
Another suggestion was that some festivals should be developed specifically for the local devotees. A question was raised that since New Vrindaban has primarily evolved as a place of pilgrimage and a tourist attraction what can we do to strengthen relationships within the community? It was pointed out that Srila Prabhupada’s appearance and disappearance are festivals that are specific to devotees and could be good for this purpose.
Another suggestion was to figure out ways to get more community members involved in the other festivals.
Anuttama mentioned that in DC there is an annual appreciation dinner which has been very well received and could be incorporated in New Vrindaban.
The Palace Sangams with Srila Prabhupada at his Palace are going well with 20-30 devotees regularly in attendance, but there is still a sense that it is a place for tourists and not so much for the devotees. We have to continue to diligently work to change this mindset.
It was noted that 2016 is the 50th anniversary of ISKCON and 2018 is the 50th anniversary of New Vrindaban and the 20th anniversary of ECOV.
Planning for 2014, as well as the anniversary years, was discussed. There is a long list of desires. It was suggested that we need a list of projects with costs to set priorities. In view of the upcoming anniversaries, renovations at the Srila Prabhupada’s Palace are a top consideration.
Anuttama discussed world-wide plans for the ISKCON anniversary starting in 2015 in India when Srila Prabhupada departed for the US, then in Boston, Butler, New York etc.
This led to more discussion about Srila Prabhupada’s Palace as it should be in the best possible condition for the celebration.
Immediate projects were listed as:
Wrought iron work
Entry path railing
Gopisa will get costs and details on each of these specific areas and share these details with the Palace restoration subcommittee members.
The program opened with kirtan led by Jaya Krsna who then welcomed the devotees and gave a presentation regarding Srila Prabhupada’s vision for New Vrindaban. As part of the presentation he discussed the transformation of New Vrindaban as a spiritual community and noted that some stages are very difficult. He explained that we are currently in one of those stages and we must keep our vision of developing a strong community and maintain our Brijabasi Spirit.
Jaya Krsna then introduced the GBC representatives Anuttama Prabhu, Malati Prabhu and Tamohara Prabhu who have volunteered their time and devotion to assist the boards. This was followed by introductions of the board members and of Keval Patel and Bhima Walker as guests of the boards.
INV Department heads then gave presentations of their activities throughout the past year. These were from the same slide presentations that were discussed in day one of the minutes.
Caitanya Mangala discussed the ECOV integrated Auxiliary plan for the benefit of the gathered devotees. He highlighted the work ECOV does in and around the community.
Anuttama discussed the ISKCON 50th anniversary in 2016 and asked for suggestions on how New Vrindaban would like to celebrate. Nityodita Prabhu suggested creating a data base of people who were here in the early days and also putting together a slide presentation from the old days. Oral histories could be recorded and a discussion of the importance of the movement begun. Other projects suggested were: a book and a documentary of the history, of New Vrindaban, a traveling art exhibit, interface with colleges, and prasadam distribution. As outreach the ideas were put forth of holding a type of cultural festival at Heritage Park or Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling.
It was suggested that we start something in 2015 to coincide with 50 years since Srila Prabhupada left India and traveled to America, which would make the focus more about Srila Prabhupada and then in 2016 it would be about his organization.
Madhavananda Prabhu expressed concerns about Tapahpunja. Jaya Krsna explained the arrangements between Tapahpunja and the INV management.
Jayasri Prabhu asked who would tend the gardens instead of Tapahpunja, and Jaya Krsna explained that going forward ECOV has agreed to manage the gardens.
Lalita Gopi Prabhu asked about Dham Seva and how that project is being served by INV. Jaya Krsna outlined the support that INV has given in the past year and assured her of continued commitment.
A proposal was made for the creation of an advisory committee made up of community members who are not board members. The idea is that this group would regularly meet with Jaya Krsna and discuss issues and concerns. It was generally agreed that something of this nature would be helpful and the details can be worked out for consideration at the December board meetings.