By Ambika devi dasi
In preparation for the holy appearance of the Divine Lord 5000 years ago, there was peace and prosperity in all directions and everything became auspicious. The denizens of heaven were singing and dancing, and sages were showering flowers on Mathura dhama.
At midnight on the eighth day of the waning moon, the effulgent supreme Lord Vishnu appeared. His four arms held His conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower. He appeared dazzling like a blackish cloud, was dressed in yellow silk, wore valuable jewellery and a golden helmet, and was beautified by an abundance of hair on His head.
His fortunate parents, Vasudeva and Devaki, offered prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead before requesting Him to conceal His identity from the wicked King Kamsa.
Requesting His father to take Him to Gokula to exchange Him as Mother Yasoda’s son, Lord Vishnu transformed Himself into two-armed Krishna, assuming the form of a beautiful baby.
Thereby His wonderful childhood pastimes were enabled in Vrindavana, amongst His loving devotees.
The Janmastami celebrations for His appearance at that time were filled with abundant gifts and joyful love.
Continuing this tradition, please come to the festival at New Govardhana or your nearest temple, bearing a gift for Sri Krishna on Saturday, 24 August.
From Krsna Book, Ch 3
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
The first manifestation of the vaibhava feature of Krishna is Shri Balaramaji. Shri Balaramaji and Krishna have different bodily colours, but otherwise Shri Balarama is equal to Krishna in all respects.
Balarama, who has the same original form as Krishna, is Himself a cowherd boy in Vrindavana, and He also considers Himself a member of the ksatriya race in Dvaraka. Thus His colour and dress are different, and He is called a pastime form of Krishna.
Sri Balarama is a vaibhava-prakasa manifestation of Krishna. He is also manifested in the original quadruple expansions of Vasudeva, Sankarsaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. These are prabhava-vilasa expansions with different emotions.
From a lecture, 16 December 1966, New York on Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.174, 187 & 188.
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
Whole World Sunshine, Srila Prabhupada!
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
In Kolkata temple in the mid 1970s, an elderly Bengali gentleman would visit daily and perform whatever service was available to him. He had many endearing qualities, but the most beloved one was at the end of every prema-dhvani prayer, he would enthusiastically shout: “Whole world sunshine Srila Prabhupada!”
This exclamation summarises succinctly the spiritual qualities of ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – he fills the world with the pure light of love of Godhead.
The day after Janmastami, on Sunday, 25 August is the auspicious celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day 123 years ago.
With total dedication, determination and pure devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada spread Krishna consciousness throughout the world in just 11 short years. He created a spiritual revolution, through his books, discourses and personal presence, changing the course of the world.
Please come and celebrate this wonderful event (details on the back page), and also bring a homage to personally offer to Srila Prabhupada. All members of ISKCON owe him a debt we cannot repay!
Thursday Afternoon Specials
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
Thursday afternoon from 3pm to 4pm at New Govardhana’s brahmacharini ashrama has become a special time for gathering around and sharing nectar communally.
Senior Srila Prabhupada disciples alternate Thursdays to have bhajanas with the residents of the ashrama and the Krishna Pad ladies one week, and the other week, a lively Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta reading and discussion.
Post-Natal Support Group
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
Recently a support group to help mothers of newborns has been formed for New Govardhana community members.
Currently there are approximately five ladies who are giving birth during the next few months or so, most of them with other children to care for as well.
The Post-Natal Support Team will offer assistance for two weeks after the baby is born, bringing prasadam, cleaning, child minding and whatever other assistance can be given.
If you are an expectant mother in the New Govardhana community, please reach out to us!
Yoga Hall Update
By Anasuya dasi
Construction for the new yoga hall at Krishna Village is well underway, with the building in its final stages of completion. The construction team has been doing an amazing job over the past months, with the yoga hall appearing fast before our eyes! The new hall will be home to Krishna Village workshops, programs and kirtanas. In addition, there will be massage rooms. Well done to everyone involved, and we all look forward to seeing the finished building.
In Focus: With Srila Prabhupada’s Daughters
By Anasuya dasi
I recently caught up with Srila Prabhupada disciples Ambika devi dasi and Krishnarupa devi dasi, both of whom are very active members of our New Govardhana community.
Q: You are both Srila Prabhupada disciples. Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
AM: I joined the Sydney temple in 1971 and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1972. I came to know of Srila Prabhupada after meeting Baibhabi dasi. She invited me to the temple, where devotees glowingly spoke of his glories all the time.
KR: I joined ISKCON Melbourne in 1972. Srila Prabhupada arrived at the beginning of 1973 to install Radha Ballabha and then travelled on to Sydney temple. Many of us followed him there. That is when
I first met Ambika devi dasi.
Q: How would you describe being in Srila Prabhupada’s presence in three words?
AM: Heart-soothing, blissful, entrancing.
KR: Awe-inspiring, purifying, uplifting. Actually, it is indescribable, but you could say it was like finally being home.
Q: What resonates with you most about Srila Prabhupada’s teachings?
AM: That spiritual life is filled with love and bliss.
KR: His practicality combined with his deep, deep love and intimate knowledge of Krishna.
Q: Do you have a favourite Srila Prabhupada quote or pastime?
AM: “The infinite Lord becomes submissive to the infinitesimal entity due to devotional service.”
KR: One of my favourite memories of Srila Prabhupada was when I was living in Mayapur. From the balcony, he was observing me pick flowers for Radha Madhava. Turning to his servant, he said, “Every flower she picks is one step closer to Krishna.” I try to keep that in mind no matter what my service is – everything we do for Krishna is one step closer to Him.
Q: In your opinion, what do we all need to do to maintain Srila Prabhupada’s mood and teachings?
AM: To maintain Srila Prabhupada’s mood and teachings we need to hear from him extensively, study his books and make his instructions our priority.
KR: First, study his books! Second, read his authorised biography, Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, listen to his lectures and his other recorded material, as well as the memories of his disciples, which are widely available on the Internet.
Q: What advice can you give to those starting out in devotional life?
AM: Remember that Krishna loves us more than we love Him. He wants to have a personal relationship with us. So though we may suffer difficulties on the path to Him, the rewards of remaining in spiritual life are immeasurable and infinite.
KR: Be committed to chanting focused japa and carefully study Srila Prabhupada’s books as a daily routine. Avoid offending devotees and do your best to care for our ISKCON family members.
Q: What has kept you committed to your devotional practice?
AM: Gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for all he gave.
KR: Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy, and my hope to remain at his lotus feet somehow or other, despite my lack of qualification.
Vijaya in the Garden
By Anasuya dasi
Recently The Conch spoke with resident gardener Vijaya Lashand. A former banana grower, Vijaya has been diligently maintaining the temple vegetable garden for almost a decade now, providing fresh produce for the
Deity kitchen as well as the big kitchen.
Amazingly, all produce is organic, with weeds and pests being kept at bay with natural methods such as vinegar, pine oil and weeding by hand. Vijaya’s expertise was gained purely by watching others, and he says he enjoys the flexibility of serving in the temple garden and finds that there is no shortage of equipment or suitable conditions.
“There is plenty of everything here,” he says. “Water, equipment, good soil … everything.”
The current winter crop is yielding an array of vegetables such as cauliflowers, cabbage, silverbeet, broccoli, beetroot, coriander, mint, snow peas, sweet potatoes, kale, celery, turmeric and ginger.
In summer, we can look forward to a bounty of eggplants, capsicums, beans, carrots, zucchinis, snake beans, tomatoes and basil. So next time you relish a particularly good meal here on the farm, take a moment to appreciate the dedication of our local gardener and his helpers.
By Karunamayi dasi
The goshalla at New Govardhana has welcomed many new members to its family this year. It has definitely been a very exciting time for the Cow Protection Program.
As a team, earlier this year we decided to expand our herds to allow us to produce milk for Their Lordships Shri Shri Radha Govardhanadhari and at the same time rescue cows and show what cow protection really means.
Maha Mantra dasa set out researching breeds to make sure we would be welcoming healthy cows suited to this climate. We settled on Illawarra short horns, which are very beautiful reddish cows.
In February we welcomed five cows who had been suffering from the drought: four mothers, two of whom were pregnant, and one male calf.
Come June, two more arrived from a dairy that had them on their list to go to slaughter. One is pregnant and due this month.
We are still waiting for two more to arrive from the same farm, both are also pregnant.
But we have more than just the milking program as part of the goshalla – we also have the bullock-training program headed by Krishna Kirtan dasa. He spotted two beautiful male calves on a beef farm down the road and enquired about them. He set out to find a way to fund buying and saving them.
Karunika devi dasi and her daughters Anukula and Vrindy, owners of ‘Seakaboo’, as a company decided to buy and sponsor them so they could preach cow protection through their business advertising.
The two boys, Hali and Balai (pictured above), came to their new home recently and are settling in amazingly. Since February, we have rescued 11 cows and bullocks with five babies to be born on the farm.
By Shanti Parayana dasa
Developed over the past three years, the systematic sastric studies at New Govardhana have established a personable forum for investigation of the primary, secondary and advanced cornerstones of Vaishnava philosophy, culture and practices.
Students generally graduate from the Krishna Village via the Krishna Pad accommodation, then to the more focused ashrama accommodation. This is done with the support of advanced association, caring guidance from Vasusrestha dasa and Padmalocana dasa in the service departments along with dynamic studies and discussions four evenings a week in the templeroom led by myself. Ultimately, Bhagavad-gita comes alive in this scenario.
Our students get equipped with a spiritual “first-aid kit”, learning how to focus their minds on sadhana and seva, putting into place the foundations of daily life, such as offering food to guru and Krishna, hygiene and hospitality. All the while, they are discovering the priorities of Vedic fundamentals.
Due to the diverse needs of our community, many seekers, even while gathering for prasadam, benefit from a momentary sampling of spiritual life.
Research into Respect for Animals
By Ambika devi dasi
On 19 July 2019, Hladini devi dasi began a Masters of Psychology at the University of New England in Armidale. Her research will aim to collect data on how various groups within broader society perceive similarities between humans and animals, and how such perception may be instrumental in creating a sense of respect and empathy towards animals. Specifically, Hladini will be investigating people’s perception of spiritual, emotional and intellectual similarities between humans and animals.
Hladini’s research is intended to contribute towards her upcoming preaching website that will deliver sastric and other teachings on ideal human-animal relations.
Says Hladini: “Primarily my website will present teachings from the second chapter of Bhagavad-gita, in which Lord Krishna describes the constitution of the spiritual soul as being the same for all living beings, regardless of which species they are currently embodied within.
“The main message in my website will be the need for humans to maintain a spiritual vision of all living beings and thereby to act empathically and with respect towards all. My website will portray examples set by Vaishnavas, sadhus and other saintly personalities who have demonstrated throughout history the ability to maintain such an equal vision of all living beings (BG 5.18).”
Having received a scholarship for her research, Hladini hopes to publish articles and books, as well as deliver seminars as her research progresses. We wish her all success in her new venture!
Radha Govardhandhari 40th Anniversary
Rathayatra at New Govaradhana
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Krishnarupa 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)
Jhulana Yatra begins
|Mon||12||Dvadasi Break fast 6.21am – 10.02am|
|Thu||15||Jhulana Yatra ends
Balarama Purnima (Fasting till noon)
Second month of Caturmasya begins
(Fast from yogurt for one month)
|Fri||16||Srila Prabhupadas departure for the USA|
|Sat||24||Sri Krishna Janmastami: Appearance of Lord Sri Krishna
(Fasting till midnight)
Srila Prabhupada Vyasa Puja (Fasting till noon)
|Wed||28||Break fast 6.06am – 7.06am|