Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day
By Ambika devi dasi
This year, the Disappearance Day of ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is Sunday, 11 November at 7.25pm.
Although it is a difficult day for his disciples, who suffered immeasurable sadness at his loss, according to Vaishnava philosophy the disappearance of a pure devotee is actually more significant than the appearance.
At the appearance of an exalted mahajana, all future preaching is in seed form. However, by the time the acharya leaves his body, he has already bestowed upon all those connected to him, his grace, mercy, knowledge, realisations and love. He then returns to his nitya-lila, or eternal pastimes with Radha and Krishna in the spiritual world, having performed the greatest service to the Lord.
This topmost service was executed by Srila Prabhupada in the form of bringing Krishna consciousness to the Western world, then returning to India and spreading the science of bhakti-yoga there.
Krishna describes in His Bhagavad-gita, “For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end, he will come back to me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Chapter 18, verses 68 and 69).
In the 11 short years since he first came to the West, Srila Prabhupada achieved so many extraordinary feats. To name a few, he incorporated the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, circumambulated the globe at least 12 times to spread bhakti-yoga, established around 100 temples as well as numerous schools and farms. He also established his Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT). In addition, he wrote and translated scores of books, met with many scholars, scientists and well-known personalities, and “created a revolution in the impious lives of a misdirected civilization” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11).
Always acting as a transparent via medium, he passed on the instructions and teachings of his guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, reminding everyone he met that they are spirit souls, wholly unconnected with the body and mind. Along with teaching that the goal of life is to love Krishna, our eternal Lord, he gave the method to revive that love, that is, through the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and through performing devotional service to Krishna.
All the spiritual opportunities and benefits we now have at our fingertips – beautiful temples where we can worship and serve the Supreme Lord, wonderful farms, schools, prasadam restaurants, transcendental literature, devotee association, and all manner of blessings – are available to us through the superhuman efforts and dedication of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
While engaged with the brahmanas who were too much involved in the performance of Vedic sacrifices, Krishna and Balarama also saw that the cowherd men were preparing a similar sacrifice in order to pacify Indra, the King of Heaven, who is responsible for supplying water.
As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta, a devotee of Krishna has strong and firm faith in the understanding that if he is simply engaged in Krishna consciousness and Krishna’s transcendental loving service, then he is freed from all other obligations. A pure devotee of Lord Krishna doesn’t have to perform any of the ritualistic functions enjoined in the Vedas, nor is he required to worship any demigods.
Being a devotee of Lord Krishna, one is understood to have performed all kinds of Vedic rituals and all kinds of worship to the demigods. One does not develop devotional service for Krishna by performing the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or worshiping the demigods, but it should be understood that one who is engaged fully in the service of the Lord has already fulfilled all Vedic injunctions.
In order to stop all such activities by His devotees, Krishna wanted to firmly establish exclusive devotional service during His presence in Vrindavana. Because He is the omniscient Personality of Godhead, Krishna knew that the cowherd men were preparing for the Indra sacrifice, but as a matter of etiquette He began to inquire with great honor and submission.
Krishna Book Chapter 24: Worshiping Govardhana Hill
By Kisori devi dasi
Kartik runs from 24 October to 23 November this year.
Lord Sri Krishna says, “Of all plants, the sacred Tulasi is most dear to Me, of all months, Kartik is most dear, of all places of pilgrimage, My beloved Dwarka is most dear, and of all days, Ekadashi is most dear.” (Padma Purana, Uttara Khand 112.3).
Kartik or the festival of offering lamps to Lord Krishna, glorifies the pastime of being bound with ropes by Mother Yashoda.
“As Satya-yuga is the best of yugas (ages), as the Vedas are the best among scriptures, as Ganga is best of rivers, so Kartik is the best of months, the most dear to Lord Krishna.” (Skanda Purana)
It is recommended one observe the following foremost activities throughout the month of Kartik:
- Increase quality and quantity of chanting the holy names of the Lord.
- Offer a ghee lamp daily and sing Damodarastakam, meditating on meaning.
- Practice brahmacharya – celibacy.
- Worship of Tulasi Devi.
- Give charity to qualified brahmanas.
- Read or listen to Srimad-Bhagvatam daily.
- Perform extra austerities if possible, eg. a abstaining from sweet or oily foods.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula Historic Graduation
By Kisori devi dasi
For the first time in ISKCON’s history, the High School Certificate (HSC) has been awarded to seven graduates from Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula, here at New Govardhana.
The graduation ceremony, held on 27 September 2018, was a true community affair with the entire school and New Govardhana community invited. Proudly congratulating each graduate as they made their speeches, the school principal Vinod Bihari dasa and many senior devotees and well-wishers came to give their blessings to the graduates.
Another important and touching aspect of the ceremony was the symbolic ‘passing of the baton’ to the next cohort of seniors. The current Year 11 students received blessings and encouragement for their next year of studies.
Husband and wife team, Madhavendra Puri dasa and Syama Sakhi devi dasi are pillars of support for the high school students. They have been positive role models, not only as educators, but also as friends. They are extremely proud of the achievements of their first batch of Year 12 students.
To mark the occasion, a lavish formal dinner was also held lakeside, complete with lush red carpet, a sumptuous three-course meal and live music provided by local kirtaneers.
A large regional newspaper, The Tweed Daily News, reported the graduation in a grand manner with front-page coverage in their publication.
We wish the graduates all success in the next chapter of their lives.
Bir Krishna goswami’s visit –short but sweet
By Kisori devi dasi
His Holiness Bir Krishna Goswami visited Brisbane and New Govardhana early last month.
Well known for his fast-paced walk, which is impossible to keep up with, his schedule was just as fast-paced with a great deal achieved in the four days he spent in these areas.
Maharaja likes to conduct home visits at different devotees’ homes, which he feels is a personal way to encourage people in their Krishna consciousness.
As many as 10–12 home visits a day is a normal part of his schedule when he visits Australia and New Zealand. In addition to this, he gives daily morning Srimad-Bhagavatam class and makes time for individual meetings, as well some daily exercise for his health.
Due to his down-to-earth manner and approachability, many find him very relatable. Two of his most recent books – Realizing Our Empathic Nature Connected to Krishna and You’re Not That Body – have proven extremely popular in helping people understand the Krishna conscious philosophy in practical ways. (His Holiness Bir Krishna Goswami books can be obtained by contacting the author of this article.)
During Maharaja’s visit to New Govardhana, he commented, “This is one of the most inspiring places on the planet that I visit. What a wonderful community you have here! It is like paradise.”
He really liked the climate here too and stated more than once that he would spend more time here on his next visit.
On his visit to New Govardhana, he gave two devotees second initiation. Karunamayi dasi (who looks after the goshalla shop and the milking herd of cows) and Padmalocan dasa (the kitchen coordinator at New Govardhana) received second initiation on 4 October. Nrsimha Kavaca dasa expertly conducted the fire sacrifice.
National Vaishnavi Forum: Nurture, Inspire, Empower
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
New Govardhana is hosting the National Vaishnavi Forum – nurture • inspire • empower later this month at the lakeside marquee. Devotee women from around Australia will be arriving 30 November to celebrate together for a weekend of innovative workshops, presentations and seminars from experienced and interesting devotees, along with inspiring discussions and brainstorming.
This exciting event will kick off on Friday, 30 November at 6pm, in the white marquee down by New Govardhana’s tranquil lake, followed by a full day of presentations and interactive discussions on Saturday, 1 December, starting at 10.30am.
Saturday evening will be the Entertainment Night, so if you want to participate in the fun, make sure you don’t miss this. You may even want to perform! If you do, please contact Ambika devi dasi on: 0434 214 186.
Sunday, 2 December is another jam-packed day, culminating in a tasty pizza feast at Krishna Village. The retreat continues until Monday, 3 December, coming to a close at 1.30pm, when a delicious farewell Ekadasi feast will be served to the attendees.
Well-known senior Srila Prabhupada disciples will be a drawcard for the Retreat. Visaka devi dasi, author and award-winning filmmaker, will be a keynote speaker, as well as author Sitala devi dasi (health allowing). Other Srila Prabhupada disciples and a raft of enlivening Vaishnavis will also be sharing their experiences and wisdom.
Srimad-Bhagavatam classes will be presented by Visaka devi dasi, Jahnava Mata devi dasi from New Zealand, and local devotee Padma devi dasi, who will be speaking on the topic of Mother Bhumi and the Bhumi Gita: Lessons in Self-Identity, Self-Interest and Self-Realisation.
There will be special guided japa sessions in the mornings, led by devotees such as Camari devi dasi from Sydney, Acintya Rupa devi dasi from Melbourne and Ratipriya devi dasi from New Govardhana. Sweet-voiced Vaishnavis will also be leading the morning temple program kirtanas for the three days.
Don’t Miss Out!
If you have not already registered, don’t miss out on this event. Visit the National Vaishnavi Sanga: Australia Facebook page for details on how to register or contact Krishnarupa on 0416 17 97 33 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Please note that registration is essential.
For a detailed schedule, please see the temple noticeboard or go to the National Vaishnavi Sanga: Australia Facebook page.
The Future of Farming
By Syamala Gopa Kishori dasi
From November onwards, Krishna Village will be introducing a new and innovative course called ‘Syntropic Farming’, facilitated by Krishna Village team member Thiago Gimenez Barbosa, a Syntropic Farming pioneer in Australia.
Born in Brazil, Thiago is one of the world’s foremost experts in this field. He travels throughout Australia facilitating workshops and helping farmer’s transition from conventional to regenerative practices using Syntropic Farming principles.
The word ‘Syntropy’ is an agroforestry concept that refers to increasing bio-diversity within the ecosystem. What makes Syntropic Farming unique is that it emulates the growth of the rainforest, one of the planet’s most bio-diverse ecosystems.
According to the principles of Syntropic Farming, we can save massive amounts of water in agriculture. It also eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and considerably reduces financial and labour cost by understanding and respecting nature’s complex system by imitating how the rainforest functions.
This cutting-edge course is truly unique and we expect that it will attract many new visitors to Krishna Village.
New Martial Arts Classes at the Gurukula
By Tilakini McSween
Recently, the Gurukula has begun a comprehensive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) program for adults, adolescents and children.
The instructor, Yadavendra dasa has recently started his own club, Point Break Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in Brunswick Heads. He says that it is due to the years that he spent in the Brisbane Temple ashrama and the guidance of the devotees, that he was able to develop the skills to appreciate and teach this Vedic martial art.
Yadavendra, known also as Rhys Dykes, joined the Brisbane, Graceville ashrama as a bramachari in 1996, where he studied Sanskrit and Ayurveda. After some years, Yadavendra settled in Melbourne where he discovered the academy of one of the world’s highest ranked BJJ instructors, Peter De Been.
As soon as he met his teacher, he began his BJJ journey in earnest, training sometimes six days a week. In 2007, he moved to Rio, Brazil for six months where he furthered his training and went on to compete in the World Masters BJJ Championship, where he won silver in his weight division.
Upon returning to Australia, he fought in many more competitions, became a three-time Australian champion and eventually started his own BJJ school in Brisbane.
Yadavendra also travelled to Sridham Mayapur to train students in BJJ. His senior students, Laxmipati dasa, Balarama dasa and Ramavijaya dasa have now become instructors who continue to teach the next generation in Mayapur.
Yadavendra has begun training students of all ages in BJJ on Wednesday and Friday at the Gurukula Hall.
Opening doors to the Goswamis’ Books
By Dandakaranya dasa
Gopiparandhana dasa was a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, under whose guidance developed a scholarly expertise in Sanskrit. He also served for many years as an editor for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT).
After Srila Prabhupada entered his nitya-lila, Gopiparandhana served on the three-man team that completed the Srimad-Bhagavatam. His other significant literary contributions are the Tattva Sandarbha, Brhad Bhagavatamrita and Krsna-lila-stava. He also established the Srimad-Bhagavata Vidyapitham school in Govardhana to train a new generation of devotional scholars. Under the banner of Giriraja Publishing, they produce high quality translations of the literature of the previous acharyas.
Over the past few years, following in the footsteps of Gopiparandhana, the Giriraja Publishing team has published quality translations of books such as Citra Kavitvani and the Laghu Bhagavatmrta, both by Rupa Goswami. Secular academics have expressed recognition for the high-quality translation of these Vaishnava literatures.
Recently Giriraja Publishing has come under the umbrella of the Australian BBT and is working on some exciting new projects – namely, a direct translation of Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti Rasamrta Sindu, for which Srila Prabhupada wrote his famous summary study Nectar of Devotion.
We hope that by making quality translations available in English, devotees will deepen their appreciation of the Goswamis’ and the previous acharyas’ literature. Such books illustrate the sweetness and depth of their unalloyed devotion to Krishna and serve as an example to us all.
To purchase any of the mentioned books, please contact Dandakaranya dasa or visit the Temple Shop.
Hridayananda Dasa Goswami in Australia
By Syamala Gopa Kishori dasi
His Holiness Hridayananda dasa Goswami has visited Australia for the first time since 1987, much to the appreciation of the devotees and especially his Australian disciples.
The purpose of his long-overdue visit is to continue his writing work in a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Hridayananda dasa Goswami is residing in quiet solitude on the Gold Coast, an environment he feels is the perfect place for a writing retreat.
Hridayananda dasa Goswami is a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and renowned scholar. He helped fulfil his spiritual master’s desire of seeing the Srimad-Bhagavatam completed by translating the 10th, 11th, and 12th Cantos alongside his godbrother Gopiparanadhana dasa.
In 1996, Hridayananda dasa Goswami received his PhD in Sanskrit & Indian Studies from Harvard University. While completing his Harvard education, he set historical precedence with a perfect mark on the Sanskrit comprehensive exam.
At the forefront of contemporary religious dialogue, Hridayananda dasa Goswami is recognised for his unique ability to adapt the wisdom of bhakti-yoga in ways that are attractive for Western audiences.
While in Australia, he is also taking time out of his busy writing schedule for some preaching activities, including temple classes, home programs, as well as outreach events on the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
Recent Bridge Works
By Syamala Gopa Kishori dasi
Last month the bridge to the farm was closed for several mornings and afternoons for repair. The timber bridge, which was built in 1983 by Janmejaya dasa, required maintenance due to the increase in farm traffic and damage from flooding.
Maha Mantra dasa and his team gave it an overhaul by replacing some of the old boards and bolts with the help of neighbours and volunteers.
The bridge is now stronger and less likely to rattle. However, visitors to the farm are still advised to travel very slowly over the bridge.
Building a bridge between two worlds – no small endeavour!
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November 2018 Calendar
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|3||Sat||Govardhana Puja celebrated on this day|
|4||Sun||Ekadasi (suitable for fasting) – Fasting for Rama Ekadasi|
|5||Mon||Dvadasi – Break fast 5.51am – 6:56am|
|8||Thu||Go Puja. Go Krda. Govardhana Puja|
|11||Sun||Srila Prabhupada – Disappearance|
Sri Gadadhara Dasa Gosvami – Disappearance
Sri Dhananjaya Pandita – Disappearance
Sri Srinivasa Acarya – Disappearance
|19||Mon||Ekadasi (suitable for fasting) – Fasting for Utthana Ekadasi
Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji – Disappearance
First day of Bhisma Pancaka
|20||Tue||Dvadasi – Break fast 5.43am – 10.15am|
|22||Thu||Last day of the fourth Caturmasya month|
|23||Fri||Last day of Kartik
Sri Krsna Rasayatra
Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (marriage)
Last day of Bhisma Pancaka