By Ambika Devi dasi
In Treta Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead descended to this world in His full quadruple expansion – as Lord Ramachandra and His divine brothers: Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna.
The Lord’s mission was to protect the brahmanas and sages from the demons who were harassing them at that time. Situated in Shri Lanka, the greatest of all the demons, Ravana, expanded his influence and power even over the demigods.
By superior arrangement, Lord Ramachandra and His chaste wife Sita were sent to reside in the forest, along with Laksmana. There, They killed many demons, and gave shelter to the sages. The powerful Ravana kidnapped beautiful Sita, taking Her to his palace in Lanka.
In order to rescue Her, Lord Ramachandra formed an alliance with Sugriva and his powerful army of monkeys, who had taken birth from demigods in order to carry out the Lord’s desire.
After crossing the ocean to Lanka on huge rocks floating by the power of the holy name of Rama, they waged a full-scale war on Ravana’s army. Despite their lack of sophisticated weapons, Lord Rama’s army defeated the demons in one of the most famous wars in history.
Ravana was killed by Lord Ramachandra, Sita was reunited with Her Lord, the brahmanas and sages were no longer threatened and the monkeys returned to their homes with the blessings of the Lord. Sita, Rama, Laksmana and Hanuman (the most devoted and heroic of the monkeys) triumphantly returned to the city of Ayodhya, where Lord Rama ruled for thousands of years as the ideal king.
During His incarnation He displayed wonderful qualities as a son, a brother, a husband, and as the perfect saintly king. The citizens of Ayodhya were completely happy and satisfied in all respects.
His holy Appearance Day will be celebrated on 26 March and all are invited to take part in the festival in His honour.
(Ref 9th Canto Srimad-Bhagavatam)
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
Today is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, so we must discuss this very thoroughly … Therefore we have to go through guru. Rupa Gosvami is our guru. Narottama dasa Thakura said, rupa-raghunatha-pade, hoibe akuti, kabe hama bujhabo, sri-yugala-piriti.
If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we have to go through guru, guru-parampara system. Otherwise it is not possible. Rupa-raghunatha pade hoibe akuti. Unless we accept this process, unless we submit…
This whole process is submission. Krishna wants this. Sarva-dharman parityajya. So if you want to approach Krishna, you have to become very submissive. And to whom? “Krishna is not here. To whom I shall submit?” No. To His devotee, to His representative. The business is submission. So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared this day for giving mercy to the fallen souls who are so foolish, they cannot take to Krishna consciousness. He is personally teaching how to take to Krishna consciousness. And that is this kirtana.
You have seen the picture in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya that in Prayag He was engaged in chanting, and Rupa Goswami is offering his obeisances. That is the first meeting with Rupa Goswami, and he composed this verse, namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te… [Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 19.53 Lecture]
NY Encounter Goes to Court
By Mukunda Goswami
In December 2017, the ISKCON Global GBC declared the sale of the New York temple building [and the moving of the Deities] to be against GBC law. This was upheld by the King’s County Superior Court (in Brooklyn) on or about 31 January, 2018. In December of 2017, the GBC had removed Ramabhadra dasa as the president of that temple.
The Brooklyn court effectively invalidated the signed sales agreement. However, the judge in the case recommended mediation for a more final development and said she would be present during the mediation process. The current temple management will consider an option to sell air rights to a developer and thus keep the building and Deities intact.
Ramabhadra, long-time president of the Brooklyn ISKCON temple, had signed in 2015 a USD58.8 million contract for the sale of the temple. He was removed and replaced shortly after the sale was noted as a violation of GBC law.
Ramabhadra’s motivation was allegedly to use the money to build a more suitable temple and home for the Deities in the nearby Queens area, a more residential part of New York City and home to a considerably large number of people of Indian origin.
Majestic Farm Tour
By Vanessa Reynolds
The tours at New Govardhana farm started a few months ago as a way of connecting local residents and travelling hearts to the values behind the Hare Krishna faith.
While visiting the temple, cows, guest accommodation and Krishna Village facilities, Bharat Devanani, the tour guide, shared with our group the importance of cows and land. These are two highly valued elements of the Hare Krishna community. It makes sense that agriculture needs to be part of our lives in order to connect with the natural ways of growing our food.
The tour is well worth attending, as I’m sure that you’ll find much more in common with the Hare Krishna community than you realise. This tour was a beautiful reminder that the environment is filled with love and support for sustaining us.
We have heard on the grapevine that members of the broader Murwillumbah community have become aware of the farm tours and many have expressed their interest.
By Vanessa Reynolds
There really is something for everyone at Krishna Village. From yoga classes, to becoming a yoga teacher through training, permaculture design courses, soul retreats, learning Intuitive Balinese massage or taking advantage of the accommodation and massage, this village is full of ways to connect with your heart, nature and community.
Krishna Village is one of those places that you know you’ll return to some day. For me, my first visit was back in 2016, when I participated in the Intuitive Balinese massage training.
And it was amazing! Now, back for my second visit, and at a place in life where I’m immersing myself in setting up a chemical-free flower farm in the Hunter Valley, NSW, I was captivated with the farm’s natural surroundings and permaculture activities.
Sacred Sound Kirtan Retreat
By Manjulali devi dasi
The 2018 Sacred Sound Kirtan Retreat promises to be better than ever! Stellar kirtaneers His Holiness Indradyumna Swami, Bada Haridasa and Sri Prahlada dasa will be leading us in chanting the holy names, with the welcome addition of BB Govinda Swami, Akincana Krishna dasa, and Janardan from Brisbane.
Vaisnavi devi dasi has kindly offered to organise activities for children under four years old, while Dhriti devi dasi will continue with Krishna Kids activities for the over fours. The many fun activities they have planned will keep the children engaged for hours, enabling their parents to participate fully in the retreat.
This festival is a unique opportunity to unite the Australian yatra, providing devotees the occasion to meet other Vaishnavas from as far away as the UK and New Zealand.
Residents on New Govardhana and devotees living off the farm will be hosting many of the guests. Organisers of the Sacred Sound Retreat are also humbly requesting local devotees to volunteer some of their time to make our visitors feel welcome and help in general for a smooth running of the festival. There are many service opportunities available, so please sign up on the website to volunteer.
The 2018 Sacred Sound festival will be dedicated to Venugopal dasa and Braja Vallabhi dasi, two key organisers of past years’ festivals, who have now departed this material world.
Indradyumna Swami inaugurated the Sacred Sound Kirtan Retreat in 2016 to gather all his disciples and kirtana lovers in Australia in the one venue. It is a wonderful and spiritually uplifting opportunity to join together in our love for Krishna’s holy names.
We look forward to sharing kirtana with you!
To sign up for Services:
To sign your child up for Krishna Kids Activities:
New Restaurant in Town
By Deva Gaura Hari dasa
Krishnabhavana dasi and myself have been operating our ‘Dosa Heaven’ market stall on the Gold Coast and Tweed for almost three years. This is our full-time business because we both love to cook and serve prasadam.
Since we began, patrons have been asking if we had a permanent restaurant, so the idea has been in the back of our minds for some time. Moving into a permanent location seemed the next logical step for us as a family, so in 2017 when a local café space was up for rent, we started trying more seriously to establish a restaurant.
Just out of curiosity, we contacted Sunnyside Mall to see what the rents were like on those shops. We found the shopping centre to be very helpful and open to the idea of having a vegetarian restaurant there.
During this period we talked to many devotees and other locals about the venture and overall the response was very positive. We felt encouraged to go ahead and try to establish this restaurant for the pleasure of Krishna and the devotees.
We will expand our menu from just cooking dosas to include other items like pies, salads, pizza, sweets, burgers, nachos and hot chips. We will also include an Asian menu, with preparations such as laksa, fried rice, Singapore noodles, satay sticks and so on.
Our new restaurant will be called ‘Lucid Pure Vegetarian’. It will be located downstairs in the Sunnyside Mall (Coles shopping centre), next to the existing café.
We look forward to be able to serve the devotee community when we open for business in mid-March.
GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE
By Mandakini devi dasi
New Govardhana welcomes new residents Bhakta Simon Baldry and his 15-year-old son Brihaspati.
They are most happy to be here after long cherishing a desire to be a permanent part of our community.
Simon began his spiritual journey at the age of 16 years in Auckland in 1984. His association with New Govardhana commenced in 1986 when a brahmachari friend encouraged him to take up residence here.
He stayed for two years. During that time he learned many farm skills under the guidance of Maha Mantra dasa and Lagudi dasa.
Back in New Zealand, Simon felt like he had never truly left New Govardhana, always longing to be back.
After a month-long visit last year, and with encouragement from friends, Simon made a formal application to take up residence here.
A stone carver and landscape gardener by profession, Simon is presently working with Vijaya Lashand in the vegetable garden.
He will also establish the flower garden and take responsibility for growing flowers for Their Lordships.
“Everyone is amazingly kind here. Someone loaned me a car. Other devotees have donated household goods for our beautiful cabin.Brihaspati is enrolled in Year 10 at the gurukula and he is delighted with his room, as it is exactly as he always dreamed of. My goal is to become successful in growing flowers for the Deities and hopefully satisfying the garland makers.”
Need help with your garden?
Besides Simon’s allocated garden service on the farm, he is hoping to acquire one day’s paid work a week to help with his family maintenance. For enquiries, please contact Simon on 0490 959 635
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
Ill health had affected me in 2016 to 2017, so I decided to investigate some Ayurvedic treatment options while I was in India for a three months’ stay. Encouraged by what I had heard about Bhakti Charu Swami’s ‘Arogya Niketana’ in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh – known as the Tiger State – I arranged for a three-week treatment.
The Deities in ISKCON Ujjain are remarkably beautiful: Narasimhadeva; Gaura Nitai; Radha Madanmohan; Krishna Balarama and Sandipani Muni; and Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. Presiding on magnificent thrones, these Deities are dressed exquisitely, Their clothes created on the premises by the devotee jari experts.
Ujjain is also the site of one of the 12 self-manifested Siva Lingas. The Siva Linga temple is ancient and a popular place of worship for thousands. Nearby runs the Shipra, a holy river where Lord Rama placed the ashes of his father, King Dasaratha. It is also the resting place of Lord Narasimhadeva after He killed Hiranyakasipu. A striking deity of Lord Yamaraja and Chitragupta, his scribe who notates all the activities of the living entities, also preside on the riverbank.
Sandipani Muni’s gurukula is in Ujjain. This is where Lord Krishna and Balarama studied for 64 days. Visiting this peaceful holy site was a privilege.
Mayapur held adventures for me as well as many realisations, particularly in the realm of the temporary nature of this body.
The day before I was due to leave Mayapur to return to Australia, a speeding motorcycle crashed head-on into me on my pushbike. I really thought my time was up. Krishna, however, had other plans for me and I survived with two fractured ribs.
Purification in the dhama is always welcomed, although I hope not to have another accident next time I visit Lord Chaitanya’s holy place!
In Focus: Liliko Comper
By Jhulan dasi
JD: Please tell me a little about yourself.
LC: I was born and grew up in Tokyo. As a student I practised contemporary dance at university and did some courses on photography. I was working at a photo studio before I left Japan. After staying in Melbourne for two years while working and on holiday, I came to New Govardhana three years ago as a volunteer. Shortly after, I married Akincana dasa, who brought me to Krishna consciousness, and we had our daughter, Bhavisya.
JD: How did you find raising a child in Krishna consciousness?
LC: It helps me a lot to be Krishna conscious in many ways. I always try to give her something related to Krishna whenever she needs attention. Now she calls any human-like toys Krishna, even her Barbie doll! That helps me to be Krishna conscious, too. I love going to aratis but after Bhavisya was born I couldn’t go most of the time. So I play arati music at home instead. Bhavisya picked up the music very quickly and sings along. She likes Jagannatha very much. I think babies in general are very attracted to Lord Jagannatha. She likes cows, too, so I take her to see cows sometimes, which gives me peace of mind as well. I feel we are growing together in Krishna consciousness.
JD: Can you tell me about your Bharatnatyam performance at the university program some years ago?
LC: It was a part of a cultural presentation for the Southern Cross university preaching program that Padma and Garuda organised two to three years ago. I was offered to join the Bharatnatyam dancing team with two other devotee girls. I had no experience in Bharatnatyam before, and we only had 10 rehearsals! So I had to pray a lot for empowerment. I had been dancing for many years for myself and it was my first time that I danced for Krishna.
JD: What was your inspiration for your origami decorations for Lord Nityananda’s Appearance Day?
LC: Actually I was very happy when Dhriti mataji offered me that service. After Bhavisya was born I had to stop temple service, but I always wanted to do something for Krishna. Also I was familiar with origami from my cultural background, so it was a perfect service for me. It was a big responsibility and there were a few technical issues, so sometimes I had to stay up until 2am. But while I was making them, it was nice to think about Lord Nityananda and imagining the altar decorated with origami.
TOVP Chakra Installation Ceremony
On 7 February 2018, ISKCON leaders and devotees worldwide converged at Sridhama Mayapur for the historic occasion of the installation of the final two Chakras onto the domes of Sri Sri Radha Madhava/Pancha Tattva and Lord Narasimhadeva atop the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP).
The main Chakra is 20 feet (six metres) in diameter, weighs about two tons and has more than 100 parts, including the Nava Yogendras (flames), which have been gold-plated and attached one by one.
The victory flags for the TOVP domes were hoisted along with the Chakras. This is called Dhwaja Rohan. Each flag on the dome has a different size based on shastric measurements from the Matsya Purana. They are further decorated with auspicious Vedic symbols like the sun and moon.
Representing the achievement of another milestone of success in the completion of the TOVP, the Chakra installation heralded the next phase of construction as we approach its completion and the Grand Opening ceremony in 2022.
The credit for this accomplishment rests with all the devotees who have given their labour, time, talents and funds to make this possible. For that sacrifice, without a doubt Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada will eternally bless them.
The TOVP is truly a temple built by the hands of all the devotees, and the TOVP Team wishes to thank each and every one of them from the bottom of our hearts for whatever they have done to contribute to this project.
Excerpted from tovp.org
By Karunamayi dasi
Many devotees stepped up to offer their services to the cows while the goshalla team experienced illness and injury, but due to so much change the cows became distressed. They needed an experienced person they were accustomed to. A call was made to Alex and, thankfully, the cows got what they needed.
Alex dropped everything, leaving his job and home, returning to New Govardhana to serve the cows. You could sense an instant shift in the mood of the cows, who then resumed their peaceful demeanour under Alex’s care. A huge thank you to Alex for his selfless service to the cows.
New Govardhana’s Cow Protection Program focuses on the long-term protection of cows. We would like to shed some light on some of the practices we do within the program. Some might have heard two cows crying recently as we weaned their calves. Calves are weaned to protect their mothers from injuries, to give the calf independence in the herd and to protect newborn calves.
When the calves are weaned they go over to the bullock goshalla under the brilliant care of Krishna Kirtana dasa. The female calves go away for four to six weeks, then re-join their mothers in the milk herd. The male calves join a new herd.
Bullocks grow a lot faster and larger than the cows. When they engage in a bit of rough and tumble with each other, it’s just fun. However, when they do the same with a cow, it can cause serious injury due to the difference in size and structure. Every decision made in the Cow Protection Program is made with the cows’ best interest in mind.
Venugopal Dasa Departs
By Shyamalika Heffernan
On Sunday, 11 February, 2018, the devotees of New Govardhana were dancing in ecstatic kirtana as the oppressive heat of the day was washed away by a sudden rainstorm. As the chanting intensified, the clouds parted and a magnificent double rainbow arched across the sky, while forks of lightning continued to flicker through the air.
The entire region was suffused with an extraordinary golden glow, provoking awed comments from those who witnessed it from all the surrounding areas. Venugopal dasa had just left his body.
Born into a hard-working Australian family, Venugopal spent his youth seeking the absolute truth. After spontaneously converting to vegetarianism as a teenager, he was fortuitously handed a copy of Back to Godhead magazine by close friend Shane Flew and thereafter dedicated himself to learning more about the philosophy and the pastimes of Krishna.
Even years before he could make real contact with the devotees, he threw himself on the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and completely surrendered.
Once initiated, Venugopal served in various temples around Australia, including as temple president in Cairns and Brisbane. He was instrumental in the early years establishing the community at New Govardhana, and in 1992 organised a padayatra that took in most of eastern Australia.
A talented musician, pujari, leader, and cook, his greatest love was animal protection. Venugopal took on the responsibility for New Govardhana’s Cow Protection Program and the goshalla became a preaching platform. He gave all comers the opportunity to engage in service, allowing guests and devotees the blissful association of the cows at the morning milking.
Everyone who saw his work gained a new perspective on how animals should be treated, and many visitors who passed through said they had become vegetarians after seeing how these cows were cared for.
The fame of this Australian cowherd boy and his efforts spread far and wide, even to Varsana in India. A babaji there desired to send a magnificent gift to Venugopal, and called on Indradyumna Swami to act as his courier.
Maharaja describes this mala:
“I brought him a very special gift from Vrindavana: a beautifully carved tulasi necklace with numerous transcendental items contained in a box attached to it, including the 700 verses of Bhagavad-gita; water from 1,108 kundas in Vrindavana; dust from many holy places in Vrindavawna; the names of many great devotees of the Lord; remnants of clothes from the dresses of Radharani from all the prominent temples in Vrindavana; maha-prasadam from Lord Jagannatha in Puri; clothes from Lord Jagannatha in Puri; the Chatur-slokas of Srimad-Bhagavatam; dust from the forest of Naimisaranya; and prayers in glorification of Srimati Radharani.”
As it became generally known that this beloved senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada was close to leaving his body, more maha and tributes continued to flood in from around the globe. Those who had met Venugopal described the brilliant illumination of his smile, his willingness to listen and engage with anyone on any level, and his dedication to preaching and assisting others in devotional service.
Venugopal passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by chanting, in the presence of the Deities. With kindness and humility he offered an example of how a sincere devotee should prepare to leave, and a legacy that endures in the New Govardhana goshalla and the memories and blessings of so many Vaishnavas.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
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FOR ENQUIRIES, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS
- 11/03/2018 - 12/03/2018
- 15/03/2018 - 17/03/2018
- 22/03/2018 - 24/03/2018
- 28/03/2018 - 29/03/2018
March 2018 Calendar
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|2||Fri||Gaura Purnima – Appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
(Fast until moonrise)
|3||Sat||Festival of Jagannatha Misra|
|10||Sat||Sri Srivasa Pandita – Appearance|
|13||Tue||Ekadasi – Fasting for Papamocani Ekadasi
Sri Govinda Ghosh – Disappearance
|14||Wed||Dvadasi – Break fast 6.46-10.52am|
|22||Thu||Sri Ramanujacarya – Appearance|
|26||Mon||Rama Navami – Appearance of Lord Sri Ramacandra (Fast until sunset)|
|28||Wed||Ekadasi – Trisprsa Mahadvadasi
Fasting for Kamada Ekadasi
|29||Thu||Dvadasi – Break fast 6.54-10.52am
|31||Sat||Sri Balarama Rasayatra
Sri Krsna Vasanta Rasa
Sri Vamsivadana Thakura – Appearance
Sri Syamananda Prabhu – Appearance