By Mani Bandha dasa
Although Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, who was to become one of the exalted Six Goswamis of Vrindavana, was born into great wealth and opulence, he was at heart a renunciate and simply desired to achieve Lord Chaitanya’s mercy.
Once Raghunatha Dasa met Lord Nityananda on the bank of the river Ganges, Lord Nityananda personally came towards Raghunatha Dasa and placed His feet on Raghunatha’s head. Lord Nityananda said, “Because you have been captured by Me, as a thief you must be punished. You are a wealthy man’s son. So you must feed chipped rice and yoghurt to all My associates.”
Raghunatha Dasa became very happy and immediately prepared rice mixed with yoghurt, sugar and bananas in one pot and rice mixed with condensed milk, camphor, ghee and sugar in another. He then gave a clay pot of each preparation to Lord Nityananda and all His associates.
Soon the word spread, and many people from various towns and villages came to participate in this wonderful feast conducted by Lord Nityananda Himself.
Lord Nityananda was so happy with this feast that in His mind He called for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Dancing together they happily shared the special rice prasadam.
Next morning Raghunatha Dasa approached Lord Nityananda and touching His feet offered humble prayers. Lord Nityananda said, “Very soon you will go to Jagannatha Puri and you will be one of the most intimate, confidential and personal associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.” When Raghunatha Dasa heard this, he was filled with happiness.
The ‘Panihati Cida-Dahi Utsava’ or Chipped Rice and Yoghurt festival of Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami will be celebrated on the 1st July.
Source: Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila Ch 6.43–100
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
After collecting these books, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannatha Puri. At that time, the bathing ceremony of Jagannatha was taking place, and He saw it.
When Jagannatha was absent from the temple, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who could not see Him, felt separation and left Jagannatha Puri to go to a place known as Alalanatha.
Alalanatha is also known as Brahmagiri. This place is about fourteen miles from Jagannatha Puri and is also on the beach. There is a temple of Jagannatha there. At the present moment a police station and post office are situated there because so many people come to see the temple.
The word anavasara is used when Sri Jagannathaji cannot be seen in the temple. After the bathing ceremony (snana-yatra), Lord Jagannatha apparently becomes sick. He is therefore removed to His private apartment, where no one can see Him. Actually, during this period renovations are made on the body of the Jagannatha Deity. This is called nava-yauvana. During the Ratha-yatra ceremony, Lord Jagannatha once again comes before the public. Thus for fifteen days after the bathing ceremony, Lord Jagannatha is not visible to any visitors.
CC Madhya-lila 1.122
New Mayapur, France
By Ajita dasa
As is the case with most ISKCON farms, New Mayapur has been tested by the usual lack of resources and succession. Incidentally, New Mayapur, situated in central France, 350km south of Paris, is the last place where Srila Prabhupada’s quarters are kept intact in the European continent.
Being somewhat similar to New Govardhana in its history, in 2013 the France GBC requested that I help with the New Mayapur project. I started travelling there two or three times a year, for three to four weeks at a time.
His Holiness Janananda Maharaja also took on New Mayapur and Paris as his portfolio. Maharaja’s sincerity, dedication and hard work are already bearing fruit in Paris.
The current focus on New Mayapur is to create something like the Krishna Village we have at New Govardhana. Last summer there was a buzzing hive of volunteers helping and also enquiring about Krishna. Two of these volunteers remained throughout the
the snowy winter. One of them is seriously considering taking up Krishna consciousness. Krishna Gana dasa kindly agreed to again spare some time out of his busy schedule in Australia to do more travelling – just a tad further this time – to New Mayapur.
The New Mayapur management team secured a stall at a five-day festival in Bourges, 140km west of the project. This was the first testing ground for the famous Australian kofta arriving in the ‘land of fries’. The menu remained exactly the same as the catering menu Australians here love so much – the French dove into the nectar rather than turning up their noses!
Although devotees have done catering in France in the past, this was the first application of the Australian model. We pray to Lord Balarama, who is the prominent Deity on the altar at New Mayapur, that His French part and parcels become as addicted to koftas as the Australian counterparts are.
a family serves jagannatha
By Sri Dham Nabadwip dasa
Around 2008, I had just finished my carpentry apprenticeship. Noticing the chariot was in disrepair, I decided to use my skills in service to repair it. Krishna Gana dasa, who had newly moved to New Govardhana, stitched a canopy the following year, completing the new look.
Next, Ajita dasa arranged the Lords to be taken to Woodford folk festival where the chariot, carrying the Deities, is paraded around the festival site every evening for a few days.
Our service, as a family, is to be present for the Ratha-yatra festivals that use New Govardhana’s chariot in order to assemble it with all its components, after which it is ready to be decorated by local devotees. At the end, I oversee and help the dismantling and storage of the chariot, ready for transporting back to New Govardhana.
We are often the first to arrive and the last to leave! Savitri Rani, my daughter, and Krishna Bhakti devi dasi, my wife, help local devotees decorate the cart, while Dhananjaya, my son, rides on the chariot in order to remove and then replace the dome and flag at overhanging low obstacles. Krishna Bhakti, a professional Odissi dancer, also offers dance items to the Lord at some Ratha-yatra festivals.
My service also includes guiding the chariot while it is moving, as it is usually very difficult for the driver to see. We feel greatly honoured to be able to render these services to Lords Jagannatha, Baladeva and Lady Subhadra, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offences I have committed to the Vaishnavas while executing my service.
Love Krishna, love His cows
By Leela Smaranam dasa & Radha Priya devi dasi
New Govardhana held a gala fundraising event on Saturday, 12 May, for the purpose of building the new goshalla. Hard work and dedication was put into creating this epic event, a fusion of Hollywood meets Vrindavana!
There was a motivated team of community members in attendance including His Holiness Mukunda Goswami, who gave a powerful speech on the importance of cow protection and the current state of affairs in the world regarding cows.
The evening kicked off with a beautiful Odissi dance piece performed by Sanatani. Throughout the night there were educational, informative and motivational speeches. Ajita dasa spoke on the role of cows and how they are crucial to promoting ecological sustainability. Krishna Kirtan dasa eloquently explained his strong values and relationship with the cows, emphasising the vision that ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had for New Govardhana.
Dandakaranya dasa represented the Deity department, speaking about the service of the cows to Their Lordships. Henrike Schreer, on behalf of Krishna Village, gave an impassioned presentation on the value the cows represent to the Krishna Village as a whole and how the cows have provided guests life-changing experiences.
Phalgun dasa, speaking about the gurukula, gave an inspirational and moving talk on the educational impact the cows have on the youth and future generations of the Hare Krishna movement.
Dhriti Gopi devi dasi, with her outstanding creative decorating skills, put together a space worthy of any red carpet event. Karunamayi devi dasi with her grand vision, her attention to the smallest details paired with her focus and passionate belief in caring for our cows, organised the evening with determination, commitment, grace and finesse.
MC Damodara dasa professionally and gallantly tied the event together, not only encouraging but also inspiring and motivating the invited guests to donate generously (cracking the $150,000 mark in pledges). The sweet sounds of the holy name, led by Janardan Kewin from Brisbane, filled the spacious pandal throughout the evening.
We were extremely touched by the excellent service of the New Govardhana youth who attended the guests so professionally. Great appreciation also goes to Garuda dasa and Krishna Gana dasa for cooking a delicious three-course meal befitting such a gala event. Thanks to Radha Madhava dasa and Malcolm Knights on sound and technology, the evening ran without a glitch.
Due to the generosity of the guests and all the hard work of the organisers, we are that much closer to completing the new goshalla. The cows brought us together for the evening as we shared a common interest to protect and enhance their lives. Once again this proves that the cows are at the core of our community. After all, what would New Govardhana be without the cows?
By Suvarna Rupa dasi
As of Saturday, 12 May, the weekly interactive Bhagavad-gita classes held in the temple changed from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Padma devi dasi, the organiser of the classes, recognised that the change would be more convenient for a number of devotees. These classes are about going deeper into this foundational text in an inclusive and dynamic way with the use of PowerPoint presentations. The class concludes with some sweet prasadam snacks made by resident devotees.
Please come and share the joy of studying Srila Prabhupada’s books in the association of devotees.
Class runs from 5pm–6pm every Saturday.
For inquiries, please contact Padma on 0488 403 803
In Focus: Sanatani Rombola
By Jhulan dasi
1. Please share your story about growing up in Krishna consciousness.
SR: I was born and grew up in Italy until I was nine years old. Our family used to visit India every year. My father was given the opportunity to take care of the ISKCON temple in Puri, so we decided to move there. Back in the 90s, there wasn’t any road access to the farm where I lived. I was going to school in town and learning dancing there too. I often stayed at my dance teacher’s house, and ended up living with her large family for four years. [Sanatani speaks Oriya and Hindi fluently.]
2. How did you come across Odissi dance?
SR: I was learning Indian dance in Italy and I wanted to continue after I moved to India. So my dad found my teacher. In 2006 I became more serious about dance. After I returned to Europe at age 21, I was invited to perform at various Ratha-yatras.I realised that I had something that I wanted to share and give back some of my good fortune that I had in Puri. Soon I met my dance guru Srimati Sujata Mohapatra. Since then, I have danced full time. Dance is my sadhana and my connection to God. It has saved me many times from difficulties in my life, and helped ground me.
3. What is your connection to New Govardhana farm?
SR: I was looking for a community with a school for my daughter, and a place where I could teach dance. I thought New Govardhana would be the best place.
4. Could you tell us about your recent successful performance in Sydney?
SR: I performed at the Madhuram Academy of Performing Arts in April. An annual dance festival is held in Sydney, where four different kinds of Indian traditional dance are performed. They select one local performer for each year and my dance guru gave me blessings to perform as the local Odissi dancer. I performed solo for one hour, and the response was amazing.
In an interview with SBS after the performance, I got to talk about my life story in Krishna consciousness – the temple, Jagannatha Puri, and Krishna – to people who haven’t heard about such things before. I feel very fortunate to dance, and use my dance to share what I learned and experienced in Jagannatha Puri.
I would like to ask the community to bless me to stay here in New Govardhana. My dream is to have a dance school with cultural activities where I can teach and spread this wonderful culture.
Sanatani’s Dance Reviews
Aruna Iyengar (Sydney based Dance):
Sanatani’s Odissi the epitome of grace.
Srinivasan Iyer (Audience):
Sanatini Rombola opened with Odissi and left a picture of ‘OM’
Sanatani demonstrated a strong grip of laya while exhibiting nritta.
Sanatani established her command of body and rhythm exceptionally. Sanatani performed the pallavi jathis to near perfection.
By Karunamayi dasi
Over the past three months, New Govardhana has been hosting a Holistic management course at the guesthouse. The course runs over four months, with two sessions each month.
Damodara Govinda dasa, myself and eight other participants from other farms around Australia are attending the course. Holistic Management is a process of decision-making and planning that gives people the insights and management tools needed to understand nature. This results in better, more informed decisions that balance key social, environmental, and financial considerations.
The New Govardhana devotees aim to use this management style to improve the environment for the cows in a way that will benefit all areas of the farm.
For those interested in learning more, the facilitator aims to do a one-hour seminar on holistic management when he is next here.
Please contact me for more details on 0455 227 446
Serving the Lord
By Dandakaranya dasa
The year 2018 marks the 39th year since the installation of New Govardhana’s majestic Deities Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari. Over the past four decades, many devotees have had the special opportunity to render a wide variety of services to the Deities. Services range from daily dressings and aratis, cooking one of five bhoga (food) offerings prepared daily for Their Lordships, flower-garland making, paraphernalia cleaning, designing new outfits, participating in abhiseka (bathing) ceremonies and colourful swing festivals, singing bhajanas and kirtanas (and much more).
The good news is that there’s always room for more devotees who would like to offer some time to the Deity department. Currently there are around 40 pujaris, aged from their early 20s right up to their 70s, who Caranaravinda dasa (the head pujari), expertly engages in Deity seva. New Govardhana is also very fortunate to have Nrismha Kavaca dasa, the ISKCON Minister for Deity Worship, available to offer guidance and training in the art of Deity worship.
A Very Special Month
16 May – 13 June
by Padma devi dasi
Once upon a time, an extra month entered the Vaishnava calendar. Initially, everyone considered this month to be inauspicious, as there were no special festival days or rare occasions during the month. Neither did the month have a name of her own. People called the month “Mala-masa” (stool-month), considering her to be untouchable.
This made the month very sad. She approached Lord Vishnu, saying that she wanted to end her life, as no one cared for her. She was unprotected, constantly blasphemed and unappreciated by all, feeling only the harsh rays of the scorn of the world. Taking pity on the abused month, Lord Vishnu told her, “Come with Me to Goloka Vrindavana, the abode of Lord Krishna. He will deliver you from all miseries.”
Upon hearing of the pitiable state of the abused month, Lord Krishna said to Lord Vishnu, “You have done the right thing in bringing this poor unprotected month to Me. From now on, this extra month will be just like Me in quality, fame, opulence, realisation, potency and success, and in giving benediction to devotees. She will have my own name ‘Purushottama’ month and will be the most auspicious month of all, even more auspicious than the month of Kartik.”
Purushottama month comes into our calendar only once every two to three years. Any service, prayers, austerities, sacrifices, charity, vows, pilgrimages or offerings performed during this month will bring immense benefit to the practitioner.
A big warm welcome to this auspicious Purushottama month on behalf of all New Govardhana residents! Although we have only two more weeks remaining of Purushottama month by the time you read this, we encourage one and all to honour this special month.
Source: Padma Purana (iskcondesiretree.com)
Mukunda Goswami: Thoughts on Ratha-yatra
By Suvarna Rupa dasi
In light of the recent Ratha-yatra in Brisbane CBD, we wanted to hear from His Holiness Mukunda Goswami about the deeper meaning and significance of the festival. Maharaja explained how from very humble beginnings this festival has become one of the core aspects of ISKCON.
“I was at the very first Ratha-yatra, which took place on the back of a flatbed truck. An impromptu tent was made where the Deities were kept. I was in the cabin of the truck and I got very tired. So about half way through the parade I went back and took rest,” said Maharaja, jokingly.
In a sense Ratha-yatra is now the most important aspect of the Hare Krishna movement in the world because it’s very festive. It draws as many or even more people than other festivals. It takes place outside the temple on usually a very busy boulevard. In New York, for example, it is on Fifth Avenue, which is the street of major parades and only a few organisations are allowed to use it. Even though it started out very modestly in about 1967, it’s become quite a major event in big cities all over the world.
The internal meaning of Ratha-yatra relates to when the most intimate followers of Krishna, the gopis, are bringing Him back from Dvaraka to Vrindavana. So it is actually symbolic of the gopis trying to get Krishna to be a part of their bucolic existence.”
The Six Goswamis Lecture Series
By Kisori devi dasi
On 5 May, Subhangi devi dasi, gave her first formal class at the Gold Coast Bhakti Centre in what is to be the first in a series of lectures on the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana.
Subhangi is planning to deliver one class per month as a PowerPoint presentation with images and accompanying bhajanas.
Inspired by her love for Vrindavana and respect for the predecessor Vaishnava saints, her goal is to give credit and recognition to the Goswamis for their contribution. Feeling that there might be a potential lack, Subhangi wants to broaden the knowledge of devotees about the Vaishnava legacy, their examples and their literatures.
“The Goswamis researched and imparted all the transcendental knowledge, which otherwise would not have been accessible to us. They are our direct link to Lord Chaitanya. This is actually our history – who the Goswamis were, what their message was and what temples they established,’’ explains Subhangi.
In doing the research for the classes, she found it very interesting how humble the Goswamis were and what their practices included. ‘’For example, they used to say the names of other saintly devotees and pay obeisances to each personality as part of their morning sadhana. They used to chant hundreds of rounds between 2am and 7am. Just phenomenal.‘’
Subhangi might be bringing these lectures to New Govardhana in the future.
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
The Conch newsletter will no longer be delivered by hand to members of our community. Instead, the newsletter will be available in a receptacle fixed on the wall outside the temple room.
Please be sure to take your copy, but only one newsletter per family.
By the first or second day of each month, look for the latest edition as you enter the temple to take darshana of our beautiful presiding Deities.
The editorial panel of The Conch welcomes contributions by members of the ISKCON community. It is your newsletter, so please pitch a story to us. We would love to hear from you! You can contact me on 0416 179 733 with your article idea.
The Conch is your community newsletter, and we invite you to submit articles for publication. Articles should be 300 words or less and supplied in MS Word via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographs must be in JPG format. Please provide the name of the author and the photographer. Anonymous submissions will not be published.
Deadline is the 12th of each month.
Occasionally a submission could be held over to a later edition. All submissions will be edited, proofread and may be rejected without notice.
Krishnarupa devi dasi (ACBSP), Manjulali devi dasi, Kisori devi dasi and Jhulan dasi
LAYOUT AND GRAPHIC DESIGN:
Urvasi devi dasi and Jhulan devi dasi.
DIGITAL CONCH TEAM:
HH Mukunda Goswami, Paul Bailey, Jhulan devi dasi and Visnujana dasa
FOR ENQUIRIES, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS
Please join us each Ekadasi for Srimad-Bhagavatam class given
by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
These classes will feature subtitles.
Darshan arati 7:00am
June 2018 Calendar
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|10||Sun||Ekadasi – Fasting for Parama Ekadasi|
|11||Mon||Dvadasi – Break fast 6.34am – 10.02am|
|23||Sat||Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana – Disappearance
Srimati Gangamata Gosvamini – Appearance
|24||Sun||Ekadasi – Fasting for Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi
(Total fast, even from water, if you have broken Ekadasi)
|25||Mon||Dvadasi – Break fast 6.38am – 9:26am|
|26||Tue||Panihati Cida Dahi Utsava|
Sri Mukunda Datta – Disappearance
Sri Sridhara Pandita – Disappearance
|29||Fri||Sri Syamananda Prabhu – Disappearance|
Harinama Sankirtana ki jaya!
Daily at various locations
Contact Garuda dasa for details
Northern NSW & Gold Coast
Visnujana dasa 0498 141 021