Mahaprabhu’s Ecstasy and our Opportunity
By Anasuya dasi
Along with Ratha-yatra, the month of July commemorates Lord Caitanya’s pastime when He, in absolute ecstasy, cleaned the Gundica temple with His associates and well-wishers.
“The entire beautiful body of the Lord was covered with dust and dirt. In this way it became transcendentally beautiful. At times, when cleansing the temple, the Lord shed tears, and in some places He even cleansed with those tears.” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 12.86.)
Shortly after delivering the son of Maharaja Prataparudra, Lord Caitanya began intensely, lovingly, washing Gundica Mandir, located in Sundaracala, approximately two miles northeast of Jagannatha Puri. As the verse above describes, this was no mere act of cleaning, but one of ecstatic, transcendental prema bhakti, of enjoyment derived from pure devotional service that only the Lord Himself can adequately demonstrate.
It is recorded that multitudes of men were bringing water to the temple, and that the water was everywhere, having been thrown on the walls and floors to cleanse them. Amidst this deluge, one brave soul hid and drank the water coming from Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, significantly attaining ecstatic love.
Although New Govardhana mandir is many miles away from Sundaracala, our temple is home to Lord Caitanya Himself, and as such we can also offer our heart and service to the Lord by joyfully cleaning His abode.
Indeed, in the words of our Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, “If we keep the temple clean, then our heart will be cleansed.” (Morning walk, October 2, 1976, Vrindavana.)
We are celebrating Gundica Marjana on Saturday, 6 July at New Govardhana. Ecstatic cleaning activities are being organised in the mood of serving Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Please see back page for details of the schedule.
For a full description of this wonderful pastime, please read Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve.
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
“A person who follows the Ratha-yatra car when the Rathas (Deities) pass in front or from behind, even if born of a lowly family, will surely be elevated to the position of achieving equal opulence with Vishnu.”
“When I was six years old my father gave me a ratha and I was performing the Ratha yatra in my neighborhood. And now in the western world you are worshiping Lord Jagannatha so gorgeously and it pleases me very, very much.”
Letter to Ravindra Svarupa – 10 June 1974
“Make the Ratha-yatra Festival very great success. This will be a great introduction in your city and people will appreciate it and if we can introduce successfully this Ratha-yatra Festival not only in San Francisco but also in New York and also in Montreal, then it will be a great success of my mission in this country.”
Letter to Syamasundara dasa – May 1967
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
40th Installation Anniversary
Sri Radha Govardhanadhari
Saturday, 20 July, 2019 (Adhivasa)
6.30pm | Gaura Arati
7pm | Adhivasa
Sunday 21 July, 2019 (Festival)
3pm | Swing Deities under the Kadamba tree
Devotees are invited to bring flower petals and
a cake for the ‘40 cakes for 40 years’ offering
Annual General Meeting: Australia’s National Council
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
Recently New Govardhana hosted the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ISKCON Australia’s National Council.
The National Council consists of the Executive Council (Devamrita Swami; Ramai Swami; Aniruddha dasa; Ajita dasa; Mathura-Manohara dasa) along with the Australian Temple Presidents, the National Communications Minister (Bhakta dasa) and the Women’s Minister (Krishnarupa devi dasi).
Guests included Vasustrestha dasa; Janardana dasa; Atulya devi dasi (National Child Protection Director); and Vinod Vihari dasa (Principal of the New Govardhana Gurukula).
The three-day meeting was held in the peaceful ambience of the new Goshalla Conference room, with its panoramic views of Krishna’s cows and pastures.
Sincere thanks to Allen Ng who provided tech support and to the devotees who set up the conference room so beautifully. A big thanks to all the cooks, and to those who so graciously served out the delicious prasadam.
A Day at the Salon
By Karunamayi dasi
For a long time, Krishna Kirtana dasa, New Govardhana’s bullock care and training manager, has wanted to get the cows and bullocks’ hooves properly cared for. He has been researching about different facilities that we can have on the farm in order to have a high standard of hoof care.
When a cow has overgrown hooves, it can seriously affect the way they walk, how their joints function and can cause a lot of pain. It is therefore important to stay on top of hoof care because, if neglected, can cause life-long problems.
In May 2019, Krishna Kirtana dasa arranged the ‘hoof man’ to bring his hoof trimming table and off we went. The cows and bullocks walk in, the machine lifts them up and lays them on their side, allowing us to get to their hooves and treat them. This is the most stress-free way to do it… trust me, we tried them all.
Even bullock Shanti can fit into the turning crush machine, and he’s nearly as big as an elephant!
When the cows and bullocks walked out, it was as if they were wearing high heels for the first time. It usually takes them a day or two to adjust to their newly trimmed hooves, but they all look happy and healthy.
Krishna Kirtana is still looking into being able to get a turning crush machine like this one on New Govardhana, so that we can care for the cows ourselves whenever necessary, rather than waiting for a group of cows to need their hooves trimmed and then call someone out.
In Focus: Seona Moss
By Anasuya dasi
Q: How did you first come into contact with ISKCON New Govardhana?
I grew up in Murwillumbah, so I was aware the farm was here, but we first contacted New Govardhana devotees through the website. We were living in the Northern Territory and had been reading a lot of Srila Prabhupada’s books. We really wanted Bella to attend the Gurukula here and have association with other devotee children. We were also looking for devotee association for ourselves.
Q: What attracted you the most?
Originally the Gurukula and the cow protection programme attracted us the most. But since living here,
we have found every aspect of the farm a blessing.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
We were married in Uluru five years ago where we were living at the time and now have two children, Bella, who is four and Noah who is two. We have spent the past five years living and working between the Northern Territory and Tasmania. Two extremes!
Q: What services are you currently engaged in and which areas would you like to be involved in for the future?
I am enjoying being part of the Tulasi team and helping Dhriti dasi with making the sweets for Govindas. Luke works at Govindas in addition to doing airport transfers and helping with random tasks. He is hoping to assist with construction work and the cow protection programme.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to add how very grateful my husband and I are to the devotees for being so welcoming and inspiring us in our devotional practice.
By Aindavi devi dasi
“We all have sparks of bliss in our hearts. When joined together in devotional service those sparks become a fire, culminating in congregational happiness,” says Visnujana dasa, leader of one of New Govardhana’s harinama parties.
He claims, though, he is not the leader. In his view Vasustrestha dasa is the harinama’s backbone and the real dynamo for enthusing and organising Krishna Pad devotees and newcomers to join in the spiritual fun.
Vishnujana is also grateful to Trevor Gore, who through his photographs and videos spreads the glories of the holy name on social media, and to all the devotees who have committed to this service.
“I am also happy that Rasamandali dasi and Premanjali dasi have joined the crew and I hope that more and more younger devotees will follow them,” he explains.
“If you want to share in the bliss, then please come to the top car park [Car Park 2] every Sunday at 10am. We will find a place for you in the car and go together with Lord Caitanya and His associates to deliver the medicine for this age and have fun doing it,” says Vishnujana.
New Govardhana Conference
By Krishnarupa devi dasi & Hladini devi dasi
On 1 June 2019, devotees from various temples in Australia attended a very successful one-day conference at New Govardhana, organised by Hladini devi dasi.
The Community Services Development conference was held in response to the increasing interest from the local devotee population to provide effective personal support for community members.
Presenters at the conference were devotees who are developing Vaishnava community welfare services including mentoring, counselling, mental health support, youth support, widows support, palliative care and caring for the sick, women’s support, and more.
The aim was to not only unite and integrate the various Vaishnava care groups in the New Govardhana district, but also to pioneer a new way forward for ISKCON centres around the world, for future devotee support forums.
Some of the groups represented at the conference are already up and running with their various services, but much more is on the horizon for most of the groups. Many New Govardhana devotees who are currently heading up programs are keen to expand their services by either professionalising their activities or applying for funding from local and regional governments.
Although Srila Prabhupada stressed from the beginning of ISKCON how important it is to care for devotees and to regard each other as family members, it has taken us some time to fully incorporate these maxims into our daily lives. With devotee care committees being set up, and with the Australian Vaishnavi Ministry actively ensuring the safety and holistic health of the women in the yatra, there is now an emphasis on truly caring for each other.
Note: Published articles on the conference can be viewed at Dandavats.com (27 May), ISKCON News (10 June) and Tweed Valley Weekly (13 June, page 30). The conference film should now be uploaded on the internet.
Gurukula ANZAC Hosts
By Ratipriya devi dasi
The senior students of the Bhaktivedanta Gurukula at New Govardhana had the honour of hosting the Murwillumbah ANZAC Commemoration Service on 25 April 2019. The President of the Murwillumbah RSL, Mr Rod Bossink, approached Vinod Bihari dasa, the Principal, asking if the Year 12s at the Gurukula would like to host the Service.
Vinod Bihari agreed, and in consultation with several teachers, Damodara Pandit dasa and students, the presentations were composed.
Kalindi was a thoughtful, attentive and flexible Master of Ceremonies. Karuna and Abhay delivered a very insightful examination of the ANZAC Spirit. Dulali, Surabhi, Radhika and Palika displayed sobriety when laying the wreaths on behalf of all the local organisations.
The response the students received from the presentation was amazing. After Karuna and Abhay finished their speech, the audience of approximately 3000 applauded enthusiastically.
At the conclusion of the Service, when Rod was thanking all the participants, when he recognised our school, again there was a big applause.
When the audience started to disperse, many came and thanked the school principal and the students for their participation, saying that it was the best ANZAC Service they had attended.
The students were wonderful ambassadors for Srila Prabhupada on this day.
Vaishnavi Youth Group
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
Recently we formed a Vaishnavi Youth Group at New Govardhana for girls 16–21 years old, with resident brahmacharini Mandali-Kishori dasi as the team leader. There are some great plans afoot for the group, which include learning specific skills, such as how to make a sari blouse in two hours; business for youth; giving sastra classes; japa workshops; how to make your own natural beauty and cleaning products; and many other great workshops.
Different members of our community will be conducting the various workshops, so if you have any skills that you might like to share with the Vaishnavi Youth Group, please contact me on 0416 17 97 33. We welcome your valuable
Last month, we all met at my house for the inaugural meeting. Along with kirtana, and homemade apple pie, we had some lively discussions about different initiatives the young Vaishnavis want to undertake. The first activity was
cooking evening prasadam for the community on Friday, 14 June.
We plan to meet once a month. Anyone interested in joining the group, please contact me on the number listed above.
By Anasuya dasi
In India in July, the storm clouds are brewing. In Vaishnavism, the rainy season also signifies the beginning of the Chaturmasya vratas, or vows of sacrifice bhakti-yogis willingly offer in the lead up to Kartika.
Chaturmasya literally means ‘four months’ (‘chatur’ means ‘four’ and ‘masya’ means ‘months’). During this time, sannyasis and sages traditionally cease travelling and offer their association in the one place.
You may recall the pastime of Narada Muni in his former birth receiving knowledge and prasada remnants from the great sages that he and his mother diligently served during the monsoons. In his next birth, due to their association, Narada Muni wonderfully attained his transcendental spaceman form, eternally glorifying the Lord across limitless universes (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter Six).
Many devotees also abstain from certain foods during these months with the aim of decreasing sense enjoyment. In the Vaishnava calendar, Shravana, the first Chaturmasya month, begins on 16 July where we fast from spinach or any green leafy vegetable. Bhadra, the second month, starts 15 August and we avoid yoghurt. Ashvina, the third month, begins on 14 September and we fast from milk. Finally, Kartika, the last month, we abstain from taking urad and masur dahl until the 11 November, which is the last day of Chaturmasya.
It is recommended that anyone undergo these austerities, whether you are in the renounced order or not. However, keep in mind that any vrata is designed to decrease enjoyment in order to increase devotion. Indeed, Srila Prabhupada says: “The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimise the quantity of sense gratification” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 4.169), with the aim of igniting more devotion to the Lord of our hearts, Sri Krishna
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Deadline is the 10th of each month.
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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
LAYOUT AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
Urvasi devi dasi and Jhulan dasi
HH Mukunda Goswami, Paul Bailey, Jhulan dasi and Visnujana dasa
FOR ENQUIRIES, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Disappearance
Sri Gadadhara Pandita Disappearance
Sri Sivananda Sena Disappearance
Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami Disappearance
|14||Sun||Break fast 6.38am – 10.07am
Paksa Vardhini Mahadvadasi
|16||Tue||1st Caturmasya begins green leafy vegetable fast
Srila Sanatana Gosvami Disappearance
|26||Fri||The incorporation of ISKCON in New York|
|29||Mon||Break fast 6.32am – 10.06am|