The Conch - The Community Newsletter for ISKCON New Govardhana

JUN 2019

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Cover: Photography and Lord Balarama dressed by Premavati devi dasi

Panihati Festival

By Kisori devi dasi

Panihati Chida-dahi Mahotsav is also known as the Chipped Rice Festival, a yearly celebration of the pastimes of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Lord Nityananda Prabhu, which took place on the banks of the Ganges at Panihati.

The festival celebrates the Lord’s merciful reciprocation with His devotees by arranging, through Nityananda Prabhu and Raghunatha dasa, to provide an ecstatic feast of yogurt and chipped rice.

Sitting on a rock, the brilliantly effulgent Lord Nityananda was surrounded by devotees. Raghunatha dasa offered his obeisances by falling prostrate at a distance, and the servant of Nityananda Prabhu said, “There is Raghunatha dasa, offering You obeisances.”

Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, “You are a thief. Now you have come to see Me. Come here, come here. Today I shall punish you!”

The Lord forcibly caught him and placed His lotus feet upon his head. Lord Nityananda was by nature very merciful and funny. He spoke to Raghunatha dasa as follows: “You are just like a thief, for instead of coming near, you stay away at a distant place. Now that I have captured you, I shall punish you. Make a festival and feed all My associates yogurt and chipped rice.”

Hearing this, Raghunatha dasa was greatly pleased. He immediately sent his own men to the village to purchase chipped rice, yogurt, milk, sugar, bananas and other eatables and placed them all around. As soon as everyone heard that a festival was going to be held, all began to arrive … Seeing the crowd increasing, Raghunatha dasa arranged to get more eatables from other villages. He also brought 200–400 large, round earthen pots and seven especially large earthen pots, and in these pots a brahmana began soaking chipped rice for the satisfaction of Lord Nityananda.

Chipped rice was soaked in hot milk in each of the large pots. Then half the rice was mixed with yogurt, sugar and bananas. The other half was mixed with condensed milk and a special type of banana known as canpa-kala. Then sugar, clarified butter and camphor were added.

The brahmana brought before Him the seven huge pots. Everyone was offered two earthen pots.

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Antya-lila, Chapter 6.35–100

Srila Prabhupada Uvaca

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.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

Please join us each Ekadasi for Srimad-Bhagavatam class given by ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

These classes will feature subtitles.

Darshan arati 7:00am
Class 7.30am

Housekeeping at New Govardhana

By Ajita dasa

Currently the temple is managing approximately half of the guest accommodation and Krishna Village the rest.

We have found over the years that this system creates confusion and somehow minimises guests opportunities to take part in the various programs offered at New Govardhana.

It is also challenging for some guests to physically find their accommodation and understand the accessibility attached to the package they just purchased, which may include a farm tour, yoga, temple access, free prasadam at the temple or at the village and so on.

After much thought and discussion, it was concluded that the guesthouses on New Govardhana and Krishna Village would become one to make it more guest friendly.

Therefore, as of this month, the Krishna Village website, administration and staff will manage all the various types of accommodation on New Govardhana.

The new booking software will present a unified guest accommodation face with one entity, one website, one set of prices, and one set of activities associated with both the temple and Krishna Village.

This merger is meant to facilitate our guests with easier access to a broader choice of accommodation from camping to air-conditioned self-contained units and everything in between.

An aerial shot of some of the environmentally friendly cabin
accommodations nestled in peaceful bushland.

The Krishna Village cleaning team will implement a higher standard of cleanliness for all the rooms and cabins, with cleaning scheduled after check out and before check in.

The new administration building currently being designed and engineered will host, among other facilities, a reception area that will provide all our guests with a first class reception experience.

We also hope to provide more job opportunities for our local devotees, as well as a better experience for our visitors.

Concrete Poured and Trusses Erected

By Anasuya dasi | Photos by Anasuya dasi

Krishna Village is going through a major overhaul, with a spacious, purpose-built yoga hall to facilitate the many yoga students who flock to the popular classes and teacher training courses.

Goshalla Goss

By Karunamayi dasi

Recently you may have seen a 100-day ‘Love for Cows’ project on Facebook (We Love Cows@WeLoveCowsAustralia), set up for the New Govardhana goshalla.

This is a major drive to increase sponsorship of Radha Govardhanadhari’s cows. The project was originally began on my personal Facebook page and then, due to significant interest, former New Govardhana resident Lalita-Gopika devi dasi offered to set up a new Facebook page to increase the page’s audience.

In less than a month, eight cows were sponsored, and each day viewers are showing more interest. Now over half of New Govardhana’s cows are sponsored. The point of cow sponsorship is not only to enable people to create a personal relationship with one cow, but to also contribute towards the whole cow protection programme.

Please ‘Like’ the new page and invite your friends to do the same so we can carry on spreading love for the cows.

New Govardhana cows are showered with love and affection by residents and visitors alike.

Grand Opening

By Padmalochan dasa

A second Govindas Restaurant, located at 72 Griffith Street, Coolangatta, opened on 16 May with fanfare. With seating for 70, including outdoor dining, the restaurant will be managed by Nitai Chandra dasa with the help of his brother Rupa Durr.

The menu consists of the same mouth-watering prasadam as the one at Burleigh Heads. The repast no doubt will prove to be as powerfully attractive in Coolangatta also.

Devotees here at New Govardhana and Govindas Burleigh Heads went the extra mile to launch the new project – with plenty of hard work and a few hurdles along the way to overcome.

After just a couple of days advertising for staff, there was a massive line up to be employed at the new Govindas restaurant. In fact, 150 applications were received! The new restaurant will provide 20 more jobs and will bring the total number of Govindas employees to 50.

The new Govindas restaurant located at 72 Griffith Street, Coolangatta.

Brisbane Ratha-yatra 2019

In Focus: Prabhupada dasa and Rajni devi dasi

By Venudhara devi dasi

Prabhupada dasa and his wife, Rajni devi dasi, at New Govardhana.

Prabhupada dasa and his wife, Rajni devi dasi, moved to London in the early 1960s to study: Rajni in Education and Prabhupada dasa to do Law. They first came in contact with Srila Prabhupada in 1969.

Prabhupada dasa recalls, “At first I was not so keen, as so many people from India had come in pursuit of disciples and money. I soon realised that Srila Prabhupada was a proper sannyasi, representing Krishna, and he had a plan founded in Krishna.”

Later, he was called to render important service. “As a lawyer, I was approached by Mukunda dasa (now Goswami) in 1971, to speak with Prabhupada, who explained, ‘As you are from a Vaishnava family and a brahmana, I would like you to do whatever you can do in Krishna’s service in the UK, as we want to have a very strong presence here.’ ”

Over the next two decades, Prabhupada dasa was involved in major ISKCON struggles: saving Bury Place, the purchase of the Soho Street Temple, and helping to secure Bhaktivedanta Manor, George Harrison’s gift to ISKCON.

In the early 1980s, ISKCON was targeted in an anti-cult campaign, fueled by uninformed speculation and rumour. Prabhupada dasa helped Mukunda Goswami to persuade ITV, London’s most popular TV station, to investigate ISKCON objectively. When the prime time TV show aired, it revised public perception of ISKCON from suspicion to respect for its ancient traditions.

Of course, behind every powerful man is a powerful woman. “My wife,” says Prabhupada dasa, “has always been the moral strength of the family and its binding force was our children.”

Rajni explains, “Every evening after school, we would worship, cook and make offerings together. We wanted our girls to take the best of Western life, particularly in education, but to not get lost in it.” Prabhupada nods, adding, “Much of our success comes from our shared values. ISKCON was our ‘anchor’ and our home was an extension of the temple.”

Their shared hope for ISKCON’s future is that, as long as we keep Srila Prabhupada in the centre, the movement will continue to grow and expand: “It is something that is unstoppable,” concludes Rajni.

News on the Nursery

By Paul Farnsworth

The Jharikhanda Nursery, located just past the old goshalla, was set up some time ago, but was in need of a fresh breath of life.

Vasustrestha dasa had originally asked me to help out in the temple garden because of my horticultural experience (I have a landscaping business in Brisbane).

To be part of a productive community was something I had been searching for. When Ajita and Mahamantra prabhus offered me the nursery space to develop, it was like another prayer had been answered. I felt like the next doorway of my journey had opened, so I jumped on board. Now I spend most of my time on the farm and head back to Brisbane only when I need to.

Apart from buying in the potting soil, the farm has been able supply all the timber we needed for the infrastructure. Materials left over from other projects have made up the rest of the requirements.

Having an onsite nursery benefits the farm in a number of ways: there’s obviously a financial benefit to being able to provide plants for the various landscaping projects on the community at a very minimal cost.

With the consideration of native flora and fauna being a subject very close to my heart, we can also focus on growing many native species endemic to the area that will benefit the regeneration of the natural environment in terms of flora. This
in turn will impact the fauna in a positive way.

We have already used the plants on the school carpark project and there are currently many more in propagation getting ready to brighten up the temple gardens. Around 50 plants have also been used in the school by Shannon and his landscaping team.

In regards to Krishna consciousness, I feel that plants are everything. They are involved in every level of sustaining life, whether it be for food, for shelter or for the regeneration of oxygen. For me the best meditation is the sound of the wind in the trees and the sounds of the life forms that inhabit them.

It would be my hope that in the future we could run some workshops out of the nursery to help people not just look at the plants around them, but to really ‘see’ them.

Paul Farnsworth down at the Jharikandha Nursery with some of the plants that will be used around the farm.

Govindas on the Move

By Tom Adams

New Govardhana resident Krsna Gana is well-known for his enthusiasm for prasadam distribution. Ten years ago, he began catering for Govindas and since then has been travelling all over Australia successfully serving prasadam, especially kofta balls. Indeed, in his own words, “everywhere we go, everyone loves kofta balls”.

A testament to their teamwork and dedication, Govinda’s catering team regularly serves crowds of up to 90,000 people at festivals such as Adelaide’s W.O.M.A.D and Canberra’s National Folk Festival. A small alternative festival held in McKay even fought for Govindas to continue catering there.

“They really love us there,” Krsna Gana says, “and they fought for us to be there.”

Impressively, Govindas has been catering at some of these festivals for more than 14 years.

Govinda’s catering team happily serving up a transcendental kofta storm at Canberra’s National Folk Festival last month:
(from L-R: Hamish, Sean, Nitai, Krsna Gana dasa, Jack and Sundar Nitai dasa)

The next upcoming catering event for Govindas will be a folk festival and an environmental day in Townsville. The crew will be leaving New Govardhana on the 23 May and, as usual, expect large crowds.

“Some of the longest queues we’ve had are in Townsville because entry is free to the Environmental Day,” Krsna Gana explains, adding that he was invited last year to speak on stage about Krishna consciousness.

Let’s all get around Krsna Gana and the crew and give them lots of love and support!

Flower Famine Alert: Flower donations are urgently needed!

By Anasuya dasi

As winter approaches, New Govardhana is struck once again with a flower famine.

Your flora donations are desperately needed.

Please bag all flowers and place them in the cool room or give to a Deity department member.

Fragrant flowers like roses, jasmine, lavender and marigolds are of course best, but right now we will take anything!

Thanking you in advance. Let’s make Sri Radha Govardhandhari smile!

What is Krishna Village?

By Aindavi devi dasi

Have you ever wondered what actually happens in Krishna Village? Recently I found out directly from New Govardhana’s director himself, Ajita dasa. He explained Krishna Village’s relationship with the burgeoning curiosity about spirituality and ecological accountability in society.

In a nutshell, Krishna Village creates a rare, safe and empowered space for the curious to get in touch with spiritual life and grow. It presents diverse opportunities to explore, conceptually and experientially, the basic elements of spiritual life through a selection of courses and activities. These courses cover basic concepts such as ethics, the law of karma, spiritual etiquette, kirtana, yoga, bhakti-yoga, ecological agriculture, and so on that the guests can elect
to do.

Essentially, it equips the curious with the fundamentals to understand penetratingly the spiritual community that constitutes New Govardhana and then opens the door for those still more curious to step through and get a taste of spiritual life in a supported way.

It has proved so popular that the residences for the bridging programme between Krishna Village and a more committed spiritual practice, Krishna Pad (located in the old brahmacharinis quarters), are constantly packed.

To make our Village guests even more comfortable, management will soon be relocating all its big machinery that is currently housed at Krishna Village to an area just behind Jharikhanda Forest Nursery, past the old goshalla.

Students gather in one of the many valuable courses available at Krishna Village.

Marriage of Suvarna Rupa devi dasi and Suratanath dasa

Last month, Suvarna Rupa devi dasi and Suratanath dasa were married before Sri Sri Radha Govardhanadhari in a beautiful ceremony attended by many family members and devotees.

Vivid Sydney 2019

After 2 hours of night time harinam at Circular Quay and returning back to the bus, devotees still couldn’t curb their ecstasy. Special thanks to Pratapana prabhu and Jaya Sri mataji for organising Harinama parties during Sydney’s Vivid Festival.


The Conch is your community newsletter, and we invite you to submit articles for publication.

Articles should be 200 words or less and supplied in MS Word via email to

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, Jhulan dasi, Aindavi devi dasi, Syamala Gopa Kishori devi dasi and Anasuya dasi

Urvasi devi dasi and Jhulan dasi

Trevor Gore

HH Mukunda Goswami, Paul Bailey, Jhulan dasi and Visnujana dasa




(from Vaishnava calendar

13 Thu Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi
(Total fast, even from water, if you have broken Ekadasi)
14 Fri Break fast 6.36am – 10.03am
(Daylight saving not considered)
15 Sat Srimati Sita Devi (consort of Lord Sri Rama) – Appearance Day
Srimati Jahnava Devi – Appearance Day
15 Wed Panihati Cida Dahi Utsava
17 Mon Snana Yatra
29 Sat Yogini Ekadasi
30 Sun Break fast 06:39 – 10:06
(Daylight saving not considered)

Harinama Sankirtana ki jaya!

Weekly at various locations

Contact Garuda dasa for details
0423 170 267

Sunday Mornings

Northern NSW & Gold Coast
Visnujana dasa 0498 141 021

© 2019 The Conch copyright of New Govardhana