By Aindavi devi dasi
Radhasthami is a day when we meditate upon the deepest mystery of the Vedic scriptures. The Absolute Truth is one but that one truth, Krishna, is eternally manifested in both a male and female aspect for the purpose of exchanging love. And just as Krishna is the source of all incarnations, His eternal pleasure potency, hladini shakti – Srimati Radharani – is the source of all consorts and all goddesses of fortune.
Srimati Radharani is the transformation of Krishna’s supreme love and is the personification of all spiritual love. All love of God in every living entity’s heart is part and parcel of Sri Radha’s love. And Radha’s love is so powerful that it overpowers the all-powerful, Krishna.
To understand the nature of Sri Radha we must understand the nature of love or prema: It is a relationship that is based on selfless unconditional service … Love is the nature of the soul in its relationship with Krishna, and that is the mood of the gopis – to give Krsna pleasure. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains that the soul is the eternal servant of Krishna, this is that inherent nature. This is what it means to serve on the spiritual platform.
All our acharyas reveal that the purity and intimacy of the love of the gopis is unparalled even in the spiritual world, because they have not even a tinge of desire for their own purposes. For them everything is absolutely and constantly dedicated to Krishna’s happiness. And Krishna’s only pleasure is giving happiness to His devotees. Likewise His devotees’ only happiness is giving pleasure to Krishna. They have completely spiritual bodies because they have absolutely no false egos and no selfishness. They are the topmost, the highest, most intimate transcendentalists.
All the gopis are expansions of Sri Radha. She is the complete unlimited reservoir of all love, and Krishna is the complete object of all love. The pastimes of Radha and Krishna are the purest form of spiritual revelation. But what is most important to understand is the spirit of the selfless service of Sri Radha and the gopis.
We are celebrating the Appearance Day of Srimati Radharani on 17 September.
Source: Excerpted from dandavats.com
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the star known as Rohini was predominant. This star is considered to be very auspicious and is under the direct supervision of Brahma. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Krsna’s birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.
At that time, in all directions—east, west, south, north, everywhere—there was an atmosphere of peace and prosperity. There were auspicious stars visible in the sky, and on the surface in all towns and villages and pasturing grounds and within the minds of everyone there were signs of good fortune. The rivers were flowing full of waters, and lakes were beautifully decorated with lotus flowers. The forests were full with beautiful birds and peacocks. All the birds within the forests began to sing with sweet voices, and the peacocks began to dance along with their consorts. The wind blew very pleasantly, carrying the aroma of different flowers, and the sensation of bodily touch was very pleasing. At home, the brahmanas, who were accustomed to offering sacrifices in the fire, found their homes very pleasant for offerings.
Srila Prabhupada: Saviour of the World
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
More than 500 years ago, Lord Sri Krishna appeared as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa, a village in West Bengal. The purpose of His appearance was to inaugurate the sankirtana movement, declaring that the chanting of His holy names would spread to every town and village around the globe. Mahaprabhu also predicted that His commander-in-chief, His senapati bhakta, would appear to accomplish this mission.
On 1 September 1896, the day after Janmastami, Srila Prabhupada appeared to fulfil this prophecy.
Srila Prabhupada took birth in a little house in the then remote Tollygunge suburb of Calcutta, at 63A Tollygunge Road. His father, Gour Mohan De, and his mother, Rajani, named him Abhay Charan (one who is fearless – having taken shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna).
An astrologer prepared the horoscope for the baby and revealed: “When this child reaches the age of seventy, he will cross the ocean, become a great teacher of religion and establish 108 Krishna temples.”
On the order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada embarked at an advanced age (69 years old) to bring Krishna consciousness to the Western world. After extreme struggles in the dismal Bowery of New York, his International Society for Krishna Consciousness burgeoned to soon become an international household name.
Srila Prabhupada personally guided, inspired and instructed thousands of disciples in the glories of the holy name of the Lord all around the world. He met with global leaders and dignitaries wherever he travelled, wrote thousands of letters and initiated thousands of disciples.
Yet, wherever he was, he would rise in the very early hours of the morning and devote his full attention to translating and composing commentaries on the most sacred texts of the Vedas. Books were Srila Prabhupada’s main business. He encouraged his disciples to study them exhaustively as well as distribute them everywhere with enthusiasm and dedication.
Join with us here at New Govardhana to celebrate and honour Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day on 4 September.
Gurukula Celebrates Inaugural Year 12 Graduation in September
By Hari Prana devi dasi
We are very excited at the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula School to celebrate the graduation of our first class of Year 12 High School students who will be completing their Secondary studies achieving the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC).
This is a wonderful accomplishment for our students and the entire school. We are extremely proud of the inspiring endeavours of our graduates and delighted that we are able to offer a holistic, Krishna conscious educational experience from Pre K to Year 12.
Our school’s mission is to foster the spiritual, intellectual and emotional development of our students. Centred in the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, and supported by contemporary and evidence-based teaching methods, we strive to assist students to reach their full potential.
We cordially invite all members of the community to celebrate this historically significant event on Thursday, 27 September with a graduation ceremony and fire yajna at the temple. It will be a joyous day of celebrations for all!
The program starts at 11am with speeches, gift giving and video presentations. The yajna will be held at 12.10 pm, followed by the Grand Graduation Feast.
Please come along to honour this special occasion in the history of our movement, and to give your blessings to our graduates as they enter the New Govardhana community as active and capable young adults.
A family that eats together, stays together
By Radha Priya devi dasi
The Sunday feasts at New Govardhana are pretty epic, and like many events here they are a family affair. Our feasts are cooked by families and friends, and shared by families and friends from the surrounding community.
Sunday feasts – in the early days called ‘Sunday Love Feasts’ – were a very important and successful element in Srila Prabhupada’s strategy to present Krishna consciousness to the greater public.
Last month we celebrated the 39th installation anniversary of Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari with the most extraordinary Sunday feast cooked by awesome duo team Saki Charan dasa and Rupa Durr. Thirty-nine cakes in honour of the 39th year, fit to rival any top French patisserie, were a highlight of the feast.
Cooking the Sunday feast is a special opportunity to serve the Lord and His devotees. It goes without saying it can also become a highly stressful, hair-raising exercise!
I was fortunate to have cooked a few feasts at New Govardhana since moving to this wonderful community.
Somehow, I’m the kind of cook who doesn’t just feel satisfied with making the basics. I must learn to curb my enthusiasm and stay focused in the kitchen to avoid increasing the Treasurer’s blood pressure …
An important element of the Sunday feast is organising the roster for it. Vasusrestha dasa takes on the challenging task of finding and encouraging the Sunday feast cooks. Last but not least there is Padmalochan dasa, who does all the grocery shopping for the event.
Cooking the feast is just part of the whole equation: a big thank you goes to George and Kool, who wash all the pots and clean the kitchen after the feast.
The servers and their organisers are also a critical part of our wonderful Sunday program. There is the dedicated team Shyam dasa and family who ensure that the serving of the feast goes seamlessly. A big thanks is also due to all the volunteers who serve the long lines enthusiastic Sunday participants.
As you can see, it’s a team effort and a family affair.
We have a huge crowd of visitors from all walks of life, from far and near, who come enthusiastically to participate.
Srila Prabhupada is most certainly very happy to witness the continuing success of his Sunday Love Feast phenomenon.
By Karunamayi dasi
The Cow Protection Program is always an exciting team to be a part of as there is always something happening. Recently we received a beautiful new member of the family, Vallabhi. Vallabhi is a 12-year-old, full Gir cow bought from the same farm as our beloved Aja the bull.
This gentle cow was generously sponsored by Ranganath dasa from Brisbane in celebration of his son Vamana dasa’s marriage to Hitashi devi. The cow was named after Braja Vallabhi dasi, Hitashi’s first cousin, who left her body in Vrindavana last year.
Vallabhi is settling in under the diligent care of Krishna Kirtan dasa who has created a close bond with her. And what is the most exciting part of this? Vallabhi is pregnant! Everyone is very excited to soon welcome another new member of our beloved cow family.
A big shout out goes to all the hard-working cowherds dedicating their time to protecting the cows. The cows have been attracting many new potential cowherds recently, which is very promising.
Currently we have Krishna Kirtan working the bullocks, Gita Govinda devi dasi caring for the old and retired cows, Tim, Malcolm, Mani Bhanda dasa and myself caring for the milkers.
We also welcome Dinanatha dasa from Perth onto the team during his holiday here with his family.
Dance Divine with a Deva Das
By Mohini Murti dasi
For more than a decade, ISKCON New Govardhana has regularly supported the highest level of professional exponents of the Indian classical dance community in an effort to provide progressive reputable tuition in the art form. This platform has been celebrated as a prominent part of the Vaishnava tradition over aeons.
ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada supported and encouraged dramatic expression as yet another accessible process for cultivating, absorbing and sharing his siddhanta and teachings.
With support from the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula and Monica Sawan Singh (Melbourne), New Govardhana recently hosted Odissi dance doyen Vishnu Tattva dasa (GKG), founder director of Odissi Vilas/ Sri Krishnasraya Dance Company nestled in San Francisco Bay, US.
Attendees of the master class were absorbed in a four-day intensive dance immersion learning specially selected items of composed slokas from Srimad-Bhagavatam, as well as the renowned Jayadeva Goswami classic Srita Kamala.
This dance maestro – lauded as a performance artist specialising in solo expressional items or abhinaya – has been instrumental in inspiring and lifting the careers of some of the most influential contemporary internationally acclaimed dancers of our times.
As India’s most celebrated veteran male Odissi dancer, Vishnu Tattva (also known as Vilas Lakpati) is extolled for having replicated and developed the works of his formidable dance guru Padma Shri Kelucharan Mahopatra, native of Gujarat.
Vishnu Tattva explained that his introduction to dance was at the ISKCON Rasabihari Temple at Juhu, Mumbai, after several years living there as a brahmachari.
“I inquired about a dance tuition pamphlet I saw at the reception desk in the Life Membership office. I was told that it was about Odissi dance, and would I like come to a class? I did, and soon after my initial introduction to the style I boarded a train to Bhubaneswar [Orissa] to study with Padmashri Kelucharan Mahopatra of Orissa.”
We look forward to showcasing these new outstanding items at a festival event very soon … stay tuned!
In Focus: Bhaktine Hyesun
By Jhulan dasi
This month The Conch interviews Bhaktine Hyesun
J: Please tell us about yourself and what brought you to Krishna consciousness?
H: I was born in Korea and my mother was a Buddhist. I often went to a Buddhist temple with her, so I was familiar with a temple atmosphere. My mother was a singer in traditional Korean music, so I was trained in singing from an early age. I decided to continue studying music at university, but I became disappointed with the music industry. I was frustrated to see that connections and money were more important to success as a musician than sincerity and heart. I felt some emptiness in my own heart and decided to go to Thailand to discover myself. There I met a devotee and was given a Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
J: Tell us about your service at New Govardhana.
H: I have a variety of services: I clean Their Lordships’ paraphernalia, cook breakfast, make garlands, do kirtana at Krishna Village, assist with cooking for the Deities, work in the Temple Shop, make sweets for the Bhagavad-gita class and the goshalla shop and make ghee wicks for the aratis. I feel especially purified when I make garlands, as it requires me to surrender – and I also like to see the Lord wearing beautiful garlands. I am happy and peaceful when I cook. It also makes me think of Krishna more easily.
J: You made a very beautiful pot for the Panihati festival, can you tell us about the process?
H: I was going to paint a scene of Vrindavana, but I wanted to have Radha Govardhanadhari on there too. It took almost two months to finish both. When I was painting Radha Govardhanadhari, I felt Krishna was talking to me each time.
J: Is there anything else you would like to add?
H: I appreciate each member of the New Govardhana family for being patient and kind to me, although I often make mistakes. I hope to stay in New Govardhana so that I can continue serving Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari, Srila Prabhupada and the devotees as much as I can.
By Suvarna Rupa dasi
Banana harvesting is an arduous affair and one that New Govardhana resident Akincana Krishna dasa has been engaged in for the past few years. Not many people actually know the amount of effort that goes into producing the small but much appreciated yield of bananas we get each week.
With the help of a handful of hardworking devotees such as Jiv Jago and other brahmacharis, Akincana maintains around 300 banana trees outside the Krishna Pad ashrama.
The grass must be vigilantly kept short around the trees, otherwise disease can spread. Inspectors come to make sure it is below a certain height. Akincana keeps the crops very well maintained so that each plant can grow nicely without the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides that are common practice for the majority of other banana farms in the area.
Thank you, Akincana prabhu, for your dedicated service.
Sexual Harassment Prevention Seminar
On Saturday, 29 September at 9.30am, Krishnarupa devi dasi, ISKCON Australia’s Women’s Minister, will be facilitating an interactive workshop on the prevention of sexual harassment in ISKCON.
The seminar will be held in one of the front classrooms at the gurukula. It is mandatory for all ISKCON leaders and managers to attend, as per ISKCON’s National Council resolution. However, all devotees – male and female – are highly encouraged to come, but no children under 16 years of age.
If you have any questions, please contact her on 0416 179 733.
In Focus: Giridhari-priya dasa & Shamala Gopa Kishori devi dasi
Interviewed by Kisori devi dasi
Q: Please tell us what brings you here to New Govardhana?
A: New Govardhana has been almost like our second home for a number of years. We would visit from Melbourne for the major festivals. We love the community here. We have two sons, Sridhar Krsna (four years) and Haridas Thakur (one year). In our hearts, we knew that raising our children in this environment would provide a great Krishna conscious upbringing for them. So we finally made the move to join this yatra in July.
Q: So the plans are to stay?
A: Yes, most definitely! We have work on the Gold Coast, so we decided to stay near Burleigh for the time being so that we could be halfway between Surfer’s Paradise and New Govardhana. Sridhar is attending Pre-K at the gurukula, but then he begins full time we plan to move closer to Murwillumbah.
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourselves.
A: In Melbourne, for four years we operated a prasadam restaurant (launched in July, 2014) called ‘Radhey Kitchen & Chai Bar’ in popular Fitzroy. Interestingly, our first son was born two weeks’ early on the same day we opened the restaurant! The night before opening day we had a large kirtana event to seek the blessings of the Vaishnavas for our new service. We came home from the program, ecstatic and excited about the following day and little Sridhar just couldn’t wait to join in the fun! Radhey Chai Bar was our family business and our full time service.
In 2016, we opened a kirtana and yoga space upstairs called ‘Desire Tree Yoga’, where we held daily yoga classes and occasional kirtana nights. Both the restaurant and the kirtana yoga room are still operating and are now under the management of ISKCON Melbourne.
Q: I understand you both attended the same university. Did you meet there?
A: I was completing an Honours degree in International Politics at La Trobe University in 2005, and my husband had moved to Melbourne from Singapore in 2004 to complete an Honours degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, also at La Trobe University. Ironically, we never met at uni and only crossed paths in the Melbourne ISKCON temple shop where I was doing service!
Q: How do you see yourselves contributing to New Govardhana?
A: We feel very fortunate to be a part of the New Govardhana community where we hope to engage our natures in Krishna’s service. We would love the opportunity to serve the cows, the Deities and the devotees.
By Tim Sawyer
The Bhakti Sastri course here at New Govardhana, taught by senior devotee Shanti Parayan dasa, started in November 2017 and is still going strong with an average of 8–10 students per class.
With all the residents of Krishna Pad attending each class and ladies from the brahmacharini ashrama, it is a very interactive and educational class.
After studying the Bhagavad-gita, we have now started on The Nectar of Instruction. The Bhagavad-gita was very thoroughly examined, with students learning about the three modes of material nature and the importance and significance of bhakti (devotional service).
Along with the slokas, it was a very demanding course but very rewarding to now have the knowledge of the Vedas instilled in us from such a prestigious teacher.
The Nectar of Instruction is also proving to be a very highly interactive and informative class. After this, we will study Sri Isopanisad and the Nectar of Devotion.
Happy studying, fellow bhaktas!
Dakshina: Giving in Love
By Ganga devi dasi
The practice of dakshina (donations) has a great significance. As we give back a small portion of what’s given to us, we acknowledge Krishna is the source of everything (aham sarvasya prabhavo) and everything comes from Him.
Janmastami is one of the most auspicious occasions to render service to Krishna. At New Govardhana, on Janmastami, we have the kalash sponsorship program, which has proven to be a popular method of fundraising for the Deity department, as well as a relishable service offering of love to Radha Govardhanadhari.
A kalash is a metal pot with a large base and small mouth. It is an auspicious object used in ceremonial rites and as a decorative motif.
Donors can sponsor a kalash for the maha abhishek (bathing) of Lord Krishna. The kalashas, along with maha sweets and maha gifts, will be given to the donors after the bathing of the Lord. We have kalashas available in diamond, gold, silver and bronze levels with gift packs.
There may be some kalashas still left to sponsor this Janmastami, or, if not, it is never too late to offer your heartfelt donation in some other way.
Krishna’s Birthday 2018
Kalash Sponsorship: It’s not too late!
By Vaisnavi devi dasi
The kalash sponsorship program for Janmastami 2018 at New Govardhana is shaping up to be even better than last year.
This is a team effort to raise funds for the ongoing improved service to our Lordships Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari. Kalashas are beautifully decorated vessels or pitchers used for bathing their Lordships.
On Janmastami, the Deities will be bathed with these donor kalashas, so patrons will be the recipients of so much mercy!
Once used in the bathing, the kalashas will then be cleansed and a separate container of caranamrita from the bathing will be placed inside to later share with your family members.
Devotees who have participated in the sponsorship program will be able to use the kalashas in their home Deity worship (for bathing) or placed on their altars as decorations.
Here’s a snapshot of the program:
This is a special opportunity to offer some service to the Deities on Krishna’s birthday. Sponsorships are available in the following levels:
Diamond Level (5 available) $1,208
includes Krishna Arjuna chariot, 22–24ct gold-plated kalash, Radha-Govardhanadhari framed photo, Deity maha chaddar or crown, New Govardhana Vaishnava Calendar, New Govardhana Deity fridge magnets, maha neckbeads, counter beads, maha sweets offered on Janmastami day.
Gold Level (10 available) $801
22–24ct gold-plated kalash, Radha Govardhanadhari framed photo, Deity maha chaddar or crown, New Govardhana Vaishnava Calendar, New Govardhana Deity fridge magnets, maha neckbeads, counter beads, maha sweets offered on Janmastami day (Krishna’s birthday).
Silver Level (12 available) $501
22–24ct silver-plated kalash, Deity maha paraphernalia, New Govardhana Vaishnava Calendar, New Govardhana Deity fridge magnets, maha neck beads, counter beads, maha sweets offered on Janmastami day (Krishna’s birthday).
Bronze Level (8 available) $351
Ceramic-finish kalash, Deity maha paraphernalia, New Govardhana Vaishnava Calendar, New Govardhana Deity fridge magnets, maha neckbeads, counter beads, maha sweets offered on Janmastami day.
Gift Packs (20 available) $201
New Govardhana Vaishnava Calendar, New Govardhana Deity fridge magnets, maha neckbeads, counter beads, maha sweets offered on Krishna’s birthday.
Behind the Scenes
- Ganga devi dasi has organised posters and goodies for gift packs that include Deity photo magnets, maha counter beads, gift bags and so on.
- This year we decided to get some unique memorabilia as a reminder of Janmastami at New Govardhana. A contact for India from Radha-Giridhari Temple in New Zealand, along with my husband Caranaravinda dasa and myself, explored available kalashas when we visited India at the beginning of the year.
- We ordered custom-made kalashas with photos of Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari and the New Govardhana ISKCON logo on the reverse side.
- We also purchased mini chariots (Krishna and Arjuna) for our top, diamond level sponsorship.
- Many devotees will be contributing towards the maha sweets pack, which will be in the gift packs. Some of the devotees who are already contributing towards this are Garuda dasa, Jhulan dasi, young Tara and Gopal, Suvarna dasi and Amrita dasi, Caranaravinda dasa, Hyesun, Sananda devi dasi, Vijay dasa and Kiran devi dasi.
- Manjula Rati devi dasi and Kana are working on making more maha neckbeads and counter beads for the gift packs.
- A beautiful Vaishnava Calendar was designed by Jhulan.
39th Anniversary of the installation of Radha Govardhanadhari Deities
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 10th 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, Suvarna Rupa 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
September 2018 Calendar
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|3||Mon||Sri Krishna Janmastami – Appearance of Lord Sri Krishna (Fasting until midnight)|
|4||Tue||Srila Prabhupada – Appearance (Fasting until noon)|
|6||Thu||Ekadasi (suitable for fasting) – Fasting for Annada Ekadasi|
|7||Fri||Dvadasi – Break fast 5.54am – 9.47am|
|14||Fri||Srimati Sita Thakurani (Sri Advaita’s consort) – Appearance|
|17||Mon||Radhastami – Appearance of Srimati Radharani (Fasting until noon)|
|21||Fri||Ekadasi (suitable for fasting) – Unmilani Mahadvadasi
Fasting for Parsva Ekadasi (Fast today for Vamanadeva)
|22||Sat||Dvadasi – Break fast 5.36am – 8.12am
Sri Vamana Dvadasi – Appearance of Lord Vamanadeva
(Fasting is done yesterday)
Srila Jiva Gosvami – Appearance
|23||Sun||Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura – Appearance|
|24||Mon||Srila Haridasa Thakura – Disappearance
Last day of the second Caturmasya month
|25||Tue||Third month of Caturmasya begins (milk fast for one month)|