Radharani, the Emblem of Krishna’s Heart
By Anasuya dasi
Srimati Radharani is Krishna’s greatest devotee. The depth and sweetness of Her devotion is unfathomable. It is like a never-ending ocean of bliss. Learned sages have written volumes about it and sung many songs, laden with beauty and longing, yet we cannot profess to even begin to understand Radharani’s devotion. Even Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, could not understand Radha’s love, and thus He incarnated as a devotee just to experience it.
Yet, there is hope. Our Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, writes that we are to “follow in the footprints of the Goswamis [who] search out Krishna and Radharani” and engage in bhajana like Caitanya Mahaprabhu, feeling vipralambha-seva, “separation of Krishna, just like Radharani and engaging the tongue in the service of the Lord”.
“We must come to the platform where we can genuinely cry for Krishna. Further, it is only through pleasing Srimati Radharani that we can ever hope to delight Krishna because it is She who pleases Him most, for She is Krishna’s internal pleasure potency, which in actuality conducts the entire spiritual world.”
(Srila Prabhupada lecture. SB 29.08.71, London)
Essentially, to be successful in Krishna consciousness, we aspire through guru and Sri Gauranga, to become sincere maidservants of Radharani and Her associates.
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
So everything is there. God is there. His name is there. His address is there. His law is there. Everything is there. But the rascals will not accept it. That is the position. Therefore we have to follow the mahajana. So Bali Maharaja is one of the mahajanas.
How he became mahajana? Because he’s surrendering fully unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this Vamanadeva, incarnation of…kesava dhrta-vamana-rupa.
So the incident is that Bali Maharaja was very powerful, and he conquered the whole universe, even the demigods, all. So Vishnu is always in favor of the demigods because demigods, they are also devotees. The difference between sura and asura… Asura means envious of the demigods. That is called asura. Sura-dvisa. The another name of the asura, “those who are envious of devotees.” That is their only business.
Source: Lecture by Srila Prabhupada, 24 September 1972
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
WWI Bears Gifted to the Gurukula
By Ratipriya devi dasi
Since our senior students conducted the ANZAC Day memorial service in Murwillumbah, the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula has received many phone calls and letters of congratulations from members of the local community, other schools and RSL officials. There were also members of the local community who wished to donate ‘Australia in the Great War’ toy bears, which are dressed in uniforms of World War 1 soldiers. The National Serviceman’s Association sponsors this project.
The primary school was fortunate to be presented with ‘Trooper Jones’, a Light Horse bear, donated by Arthur Weeks and John Bruce. Both Arthur and John have lived close to New Govardhana in past years. The secondary school was presented with ‘Sister O’Meara’, a nurse bear, donated by Paul and Angela Mitchell from Murwillumbah Tyre Service. Each of the bears are named after a person who was actively involved in WW1 and their life stories are presented with each bear.
Those students who have had the privilege of having the bears in their classrooms are very appreciative.
Being honoured in this way is significant for the Gurukula. Such acknowledgment by groups such as the RSL shows a genuine spirit of co-operation between the school and broader community in sharing leadership for the improvement of community life.
Our gratitude goes out to the National Servicemen’s Association and the RSL for their kind offering to the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula.
Goshalla Kitchen Launched
By Ajita dasa
The kitchen, situated in the new building on your right as you enter the farm, has been set up to commercial grades and standards to manufacture the best quality produce for the restaurants, the temple, festivals and any overflow caterings.
The main use of the kitchen is to manufacture all the sweets for Govindas’ restaurants and to daily transform the fresh milk into cream, buttermilk, butter, yoghurt, cheese and ghee. It is also where the Deities’ cooks manufacture those wonderful sweets offered to Krishna early in the morning.
The altar’s cooks are provided with all of the above produce for the offerings cooked three times daily. With further establishment of pasture, fencing and breeding, the dairy will also aim at providing for the devotees’ bulk meals and for individual needs.
The produce is organic and ahimsa. Some Australian dairies advertise a type of ahimsa production, but upon further research it seems that the cows are kept but the bulls are sold to others.
Considering this, it would seem that the New Govardhana dairy is unique in its ahimsa ethics.
Producing butter and ghee is the end result of years of work in all aspects of the dairy program. And, yes, this also includes those of you who kindly sponsor a cow or two. We thank you for your kindness and ongoing support.
You are welcome to visit the kitchen by appointment.
In Focus: Sridham Navadwip dasa and Krishna Bhakti devi dasi
By Anasuya dasi
Krishna Bhakti and Sridham Navadwip are long-term devotees, New Govardhana residents and a great team.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
KB: My name is Krishna Bhakti. I was born in Colombia and my mother met devotees when I was seven. My family are all disciples of His Holiness Jayapataka Maharaja, including my husband and myself. Sridham and I have two children, Dhananjaya and Savitri Rani. Dhananjaya, now 20 years old, went to the gurukula on the farm and Savitri, at 13, is attending high school here as well.
SN: My birthname, Sridas, was given to me by my father Vaisnava dasa (Wally Johnson). It was later changed to Sridham Mayapur, and then I was initiated as Sridham Navadwip dasa. My family moved to New Govardhana in 1978 and was one of the first families here. In the late 1980s, we purchased a five-acre block close to the farm where my mother, Mitravinda devi dasi (Marion Johnson) still lives. I married Krishna Bhakti in 1996, when I was 19 years old. We travelled until the birth of our son and then moved back here in 2001.
Q: Sridham, you have a construction company that employs many devotees.
SN: Yes, we own a company called Das Carpentry and Constructions, which has been running for about five years and employs 15 people. Most of our workers are second- and third-generation devotees, four of whom have completed their apprenticeships with us. We also had the opportunity to donate carpentry labour to help build the new goshalla.
Q: Krishna Bhakti, you recently received brahmana
initiation from His Holiness Jayapataka Swami. Can you tell us about your new services?
KB: Yes, I’m fortunate to have the blessings of my guru maharaja to take brahmana initiation. It hasn’t been easy, but all the stress and studies have been worth it, for as the saying goes, “nothing good comes easy!” Serving the Deities has been amazing. Serving Their Lordships is what keeps me focused and strong in my sadhana, and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity.
Q: Sridham, as a dedicated kirtaneer, please describe the experience of kirtana.
SN: For me, kirtana is like therapy. Growing up in
ISKCON, the one thing that I have always been able to
rely upon is standing in front of Shri Shri Radha-Govardhanadhari and baring my soul. I do this through
kirtana. Kirtana is not just an extra activity that I grudgingly perform, but it is a big part of my sadhana. Kirtana allows me to interact with my Vaishnava peers on another level. We are all very focused when we chant together.
Q. What is your favourite festival?
KB: My favourite festival has to be celebrating the month of Kartika. Offering candles is wonderful, but the best thing about this month is how many spiritual benefits we gain by doing the same spiritual activities that we do
SN: My favourite festival is Ratha-yatra, because it gives me an opportunity to directly serve the Lord.
Q: Krishna Bhakti, what keeps you strong in your devotional practices?
KB: My guru maharaja, chanting japa, Deity seva, sadhana
and the association of temple devotees. Without these things, I truly couldn’t keep focused in my spiritual life. There is too much that can distract one from the goal of spiritual life.
Q: As husband and wife, you work great as a team (including cooking amazing offerings for Radha-Govardhanadhari). Can you give any advice?
SN: Well, we have a very good, strong relationship, which took time to build … believe me! But after a long journey together we have learned our strengths and weaknesses, to communicate and, most importantly, to listen to each other. We have learned to treat each other with respect and remember that it is not all about being right, but about keeping peace and harmony in the relationship.
Q: Any final words?
We are very grateful to the New Govardhana community for accepting us and allowing us to grow in our Krishna consciousness. As far as we are concerned, it is the best, brightest and fullest Vaishnava community on the planet, and we are so happy to be a part of it.
Temple Shop: New Manager & New Ware
By Jenny Mueller
Recently, I had the honour of meeting Jodie Mitchell, who has been living and serving on New Govardhana for eight months. She has been given the wonderful service of managing the popular Temple Shop, which she has taken on very enthusiastically.
Jodie is very grateful for the chance to meet and serve devotees through this service and being able to welcome all the guests and visitors as well, which she does in a warm and openhearted way.
She recently travelled to tropical Vrindavana in India to bring in some great new stock for the shop. Highlights include new books, beautiful tulasi neckbeads, gopi dresses, saris, and adorable toys for the little ones – my favourite is the Gaura Nitai!
The Temple Shop is open from 8.30am to 9.30am every day, and from 6pm until 7pm on the weekends, with longer opening times on Sundays and Festival days. Take a minute to come and check out the latest range.
Revival of Natural Respect
By Shanti Parayana dasa
According to Vedic culture, “protection to the cows, to the women, the brahmanas, the children and old folks is elementary” (SB 1.16.21). In order to implement protection, a modicum of respect must exist.
Now in modern society, with its appeal for equality, basic respect is often absent. Such liberal dealings often mean that any nonsense can be regarded highly as long as one appears intelligent. Nowadays the edict that ‘a fool is revealed when he speaks’ is too subtle for easy discernment.
In contrast, many times I am heartened when witnessing our second generation respecting each other and their elders. Here are a few tributes I would like to offer:
‘Das Constructions’ employs many of our Vaishnava youth and they are a pleasure to have working on the building site.
They are disciplined, co-operative gentlemen. The job is done smoothly and sweetly, free from any irritation.
Dealing with Rasa and Rasa of ‘Little Wing Antiques’ is also a charming affair. They have respect for the traditions of preserving old and rare furniture. This is warmly shared with us.
The students at Bhaktivedanta Gurukula in Mayapur have earned a worthy reputation for reliability, trained effectiveness in temple affairs, studies and mutual respect.
The devotee staff at Govindas restaurant in the area also exhibits personal care and quality service, even under pressure. Quality prasadam and bolstered by their commitment to supporting the New Govardhana farm is a welcome presence.
I see great hope for the future.
Good News from Mayapur
By Mukunda Goswami
After a decade-long struggle with the West Bengal Government (formerly Communist-dominated), some good news is finally underway.
The 700 acres of Sridham Mayapur land, in titles of individuals, is soon to be amalgamated so that ISKCON can officially own all of it. The land is valued at approximately 300 million US dollars. The stamp duty, registration and other transfer fees, totalling about 6 million dollars, is being waived because of ISKCON’s non-profit status.
The ISKCON Mayapur city has been granted CRS status – deemed a “Heritage Site”.This means that certain locations within the Heritage Trust can apply for grants, which could translate into substantial funds for Mayapur. The Bengal Government recently released money for a four-lane highway from Kolkata to Mayapur and has produced a video about Mayapur’s Gaura Purnima festival..
These occurrences are taking place through the efforts of West Bengal’s 64-year-old Chief Minister since 2011, Mamata Banerjee.
100 Days of Love for Cows
By Karunamayi dasi
Each year there is a 100-day project aimed at people expressing their different arts. We decided to jump onto the popular craze, but with a twist on it.
For 100 days we did a drive to increase the amount of sponsored cows we have at New Govardhana and also spread ‘Love for Cows’.
It was a highly successful 100 days. So many people were able to build relationships with the cows through getting to know things about the animals they never knew before.
During these 100 days, 26 cows were sponsored, two bull calves rescued and sponsored and one pregnant cow rescued through this amazing community rallying together to save her. We also saw some relationships blossom.
Nimai, a student in the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula here at New Govardhana, sponsored his beloved Gopal and started to visit and feed him and his friends every day … sometimes twice a day! When Krishna Kirtan dasa noticed his enthusiasm, he invited him to get to know Gopal better by training him.
It was a truly inspiring 100 days for us seeing how much people really do love cows! We have to say a huge thank you to Ayu Morgan for his amazing photography that captured people’s attention and attracted them to the 100 Days of Love for Cows Facebook posts. He voluntarily took the pictures on display at the goshalla, which have come into so much more use then we even originally thought!
Gopati – Sneak Preview
By Karunamayi dasi
Gopati is a clothing label with hand-block printed designs from Jaipur launched late last month. This season’s designs are aimed at woman and children, but we are hoping to branch out to men’s wear as the brand progresses.
Not all devotees can make it to India each year, so we aim at giving them the opportunity to still get affordable but beautiful clothes. By looking good, you can also support the cows because 70 per cent of the profits go to the cows!
By Haridasa Fairbairn, 10 years
Krishna lived as a Prince in an opulent Fort built within the sea named ‘Dwarka’. We have a fort-like structure near the Tulasi House on New Govardhana, where children of all ages can play on. We have lots of fun and we really enjoy the atmosphere among the devotees and hearing the temple kirtana. We imagine many different games and play just like Krishna and the cowherds in Vrindavana.
We also have ideas for the future: we would like to see some walls, doors and windows and perhaps a wooden floor to the Fort.
Other ideas include kayak races on the lake, especially in spring and summer. Krishna likes competition and so do we! Like Krishna, we also enjoy eating – I particularly like samosas. We would like to learn how to cook them and offer them and give them to the competitors.
I like The Conch newsletter. It is a wonderful opportunity to communicate with all the members of our community.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
On behalf of the New Govardhana Community, The Conch welcomes Liliko and Akincina Krishna’s new baby boy Balarama.
Born on Ekadasi, 28 July we all look forward to seeing this new companion for his big sister, Bhavisya Comper.
Long Distance Service
By Urvasi devi dasi
Back in 2011, not long after I moved to New Govardhana to live, His Holiness Mukunda Goswami invited me to join the newly formed team of community members who were about to launch a newsletter called The Conch.
With some graphic design experience from a previous job, I thought this would be a wonderful service with which to engage my creative side. I was already doing full time service, as well as some Deity worship a couple of times a week. My task was to design and lay out the newsletter. I contributed most of the photography (in the early days at least), as well as wrote the ‘Goshalla Goss’ column, ‘Srila Prabhupada Uvaca’, and basically whatever else I could do to help.
I was already designing the temple festival posters – something I had been doing even before moving to the farm – and I also continue to do this service for Their Lordships although I now work full time in Sydney.
Shri Shri Radha Govardhanadhari have kindly allowed me to remain Their servant, whether near or far. Happily I am still involved with the newsletter as is Jhulan dasi, who does the majority of the layout of The Conch, although now in far away South Korea.
Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja
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.
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
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)
Srimati Sita Thakurani (Sri Advaita’s Consort) Appearance
|6||Fri||Radhastami Appearance of Srimati Radharani|
Sri Vamana Dvadasi Appearance of Lord Vamanadeva
Srila Jiva Gosvami Appearance
|12||Thu||Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Appearance|
|13||Fri||Ananta Caturdasi Vrata
Last day of the 2nd Caturmasya
Srila Haridasa Thakura Disappearance
|14||Sati||Sri Visvarupa Mahotsava
3rd Caturmasya begins (milk fast)
Acceptance of Sannyasa by Srila Prabhupada
|21||Sat||Srila Prabhupada’s Arrival in the USA|