Our Divine Master & Saving Grace
By Krishnarupa devi dasi
(With excerpts from Krishna.com)
This month we are remembering and indeed celebrating the Disappearance Day of ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada! For as Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes:
“He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaisnavas die to live, and living, try
To spread the holy name around!”
Although Srila Prabhupada has entered nitya-lila, or his eternal pastimes with Krishna, for ISKCON, his direct disciples and grand disciples, he lives on in his instructions and in our hearts.
Srila Prabhupada departed from this world on 14 November, 1977, in Vrindavana, India, in his rooms at the Krishna-Balarama temple, surrounded by hundreds of his disciples chanting Hare Krishna.
Up until just moments before his passing, he was dictating commentaries on the tenth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The following quotation is from Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s wonderful biography titled Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita:
“As part of his instruction and example, Srila Prabhupada knew he would have to show people just how to die. He had escaped death a number of times – by Krishna’s grace, by the prayers of his disciples, and by his own pure and powerful will to propagate his movement. But from the signs given to him by Lord Krishna in 1977, Srila Prabhupada began decisively and conclusively ending his mission in the material world. And among his final duties was his giving complete guidelines on how to die. He was perfectly showing how to do that which everyone has to do, but which is the most difficult to do successfully: die.”
We request all the members of the New Govardhana community to write a heartfelt offering to Srila Prabhupada for his Disappearance Day, which will be celebrated on 1 November.
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
Compiled by Urvasi devi dasi
“Spiritual science does not depend on one’s academic education. You’ll be surprised to know that my grand-spiritual master, my spiritual master’s spiritual master, was illiterate. And my spiritual master was the learned, greatest learned scholar of his age. Now, how he became the disciple of an illiterate man? So, but that Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja… His name was Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, my spiritual master’s spiritual master, my grand-spiritual master. So he was illiterate, but when you asked him some question, some intricate question of spiritual significance, he would answer you immediately very nicely. That is realization.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, January 12, 1968)
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
The Mantra Project
By Amrta Radhika dasi
The Mantra Project is a new, monthly program that some members of the New Govardhana community have started in yoga centres around the Gold Coast. This gentle form of outreach is an indirect preaching programme that Mahatma dasa created with the intention of “uplifting the world, one mantra at a time”.
The intention of the workshops is to bring new people to the maha-mantra and for them to learn about sound vibration as a form of healing. We open the programme with kirtana, and then introduce the holy name, japa, with the participants completing the experience with delicious prasadam.
The programme is designed to bring people to the maha-mantra in the form of japa and to encourage them to continue to chant as a daily practice. Our approach is very gentle, so people can feel comfortable and free to be themselves but with mantra mediation added to their daily lives. If after some time they wish to learn more, we will give them books and invite them to a Sunday feast at New Govardhana.
If anyone would like to join us to lead a kirtana, play instruments, invite new people or bring some prasadam along, we are very open to having devotees join us in serving Mahatma prabhu’s programme.
We have a Facebook page – Mantra Project – and also a messenger group, which we use to communicate information about the monthly events. You are welcome to send us a message and ask to join. We look forward to seeing you at the next Mantra Project event.
Mother Cow Dairy News
Krishnarupa devi dasi
A group of devotees in Melbourne have arrived at an amazing initiative, under the guidance of His Holiness Bhakti Rasamrita Swami, to supply ahimsa milk in commercial quantities.
The devotees teamed together in 2016 and located a dairy farmer willing to meet their strict requirements in caring for the cows. Every cow or bullock on the Mother Cow Dairy will always be cared for during their entire life cycle, whether they are producing milk or not.
Mother Cow Dairy is unique not only for how they care for their animals but also in how they process the milk. The cows are secured on a free-range farm where they are always away from force-feeding or other nasty practices of factory farming, including hormone or antibiotic treatments.
The cows at Mother Cow Dairy pasture feed in a park-like setting, and they get to keep and feed their calves freely, just as at New Govardhana.
Long awaited Organic Certification is on its way and soon it will be certified organic, just to add to the benefits.
With the support of Melbourne Mahaprabhu Temple Management, Mother Cow Dairy milk is now being sold in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
For more information, please visit www.mothercowdairy.com.au
In Focus: Alalanatha dasa
By Anasuya dasi
The Conch recently caught up with long-time devotee and member of the New Govardhana community, His Grace Alalanatha dasa.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
AD: I grew up in Western Australia. I was a keen surfer, traveller and spiritual seeker. In 1972, I visited the Sydney temple on my way overseas and began practicing Krishna consciousness. I was fortunate to be initiated by Srila Prabhupada and afterwards I ceased travelling and moved into the temple. I served as a book distributor and fundraiser in Australia, New Zealand and Europe for five years. During the 1980s, I served as temple president of Christchurch temple for eight years and also at New Varshana, Auckland for two years.
Q: You have been a practicing devotee for more than 40 years. What inspires you the most?
AD: There are so many aspects of Krishna consciousness that inspire me, it’s hard to know where to start! I do love reading devotional literature, chanting japa and participating in kirtana. Serving devotees and guests during festivals and the Sunday Feast is also enlivening. I’ve just begun attending some of the hari-nama processions, which are blissful and deliver wonderful realisations.
Q: How is ISKCON different now from when you first joined?
AD: In the 1970s, ISKCON was a pioneering movement where we were all “doing the needful”, as Srila Prabhupada would say. That meant dovetailing our youthful energies into opening new centres and convincing as many people as possible to take up Krishna consciousness. Living conditions were austere and many of us spent years on the road living in sankirtana vans and bathing in cold rivers to save money. Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON is now well established, with nice facilities and is respected worldwide. In the early days, however, there was indeed a special mood of surrender.
Q: What is your favourite pastime or devotional personality?
AD: My favourite devotional personality will always be my spiritual master, ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He opened my eyes with the torchlight of transcendental knowledge. Srila Prabhupada left such a legacy and has had such an enormous impact on the world.
I love studying the lives of our acaryas. Srila Sanatana Gosvami is one of my favourite authors, especially his commentary on Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta. I am enlivened by regularly listening to classes by Gopiparanadhana dasa, and I count His Holiness Indradyumna Swami as one of my dearest and most inspiring Godbrother friends. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gone on world tours with him over the years.
Q: Any tips on how to maintain a healthy balance between practicing Krishna consciousness and maintaining oneself materially?
AD: We do need to make our spiritual life the priority, not the other way around. It certainly helps to find an occupation that we enjoy and are naturally inclined towards. Make your vocation a vacation!
Q: Can you tell us what inspires you to serve at New Govardhana?
AD: I’m inspired to serve here because I know farming projects are dear to Srila Prabhupada. There are also unlimited opportunities at New Govardhana for aspiring devotees to serve Krishna and assist Srila Prabhupada’s mission. I love that the constant stream of guests staying at Krishna Village are given the opportunity to explore and develop their devotion to Krishna. I’m also very inspired to see second and third generation devotees taking on more responsibility.
Q: How can ISKCON improve in the future?
AD: Currently in ISKCON there are many great initiatives for new devotees, such as introductory philosophy classes. I love also seeing our devotees getting a taste for hearing, chanting and associating with one another with the utmost respect. Vaishnava etiquette is so important. I’ve heard it said that “In the beginning they will laugh at you, for a while they may even hate you, but eventually they will love you!”
Well, at least a lot will! We’re feeling the love out there nowadays. The fact that there are so many devotees, temples and prasadam restaurants in our region has resulted in many favourable people. Sharing Krishna consciousness in Northern NSW and along the Gold Coast is such a great benediction.
ISKCON UK’s 50th anniversary
By Karunamayi dasi
The first ISKCON members to enter Britain in 1968 were three young American husband and wife teams, Malati devi and Shyamasundara dasa; Mukunda dasa and Janaki dasi; and Yamuna devi and Garuda dasa.
At first, not having any financial support meant life was a struggle. Yet soon they gained the attention of one of The Beatles, George Harrison, who had encountered the Hare Krishna devotees in America. Together with John and Paul, they recorded a single of the maha-mantra, which reached the ‘Top of the Pops’.
Funds from sales of the record enabled them to rent a building in Bury Place, near the British Museum, and convert it into a temple.
This year, 2019, the UK celebrated 50 years since ISKCON devotees first started preaching there. I was fortunate to be part of this milestone celebration as some members of the youth led the full morning program.
A disciple of ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami gave a class detailing those early days in the UK. The Srila Prabhupada murti in the templeroom was surrounded by Srimad-Bhagavatam sets and a chart showed how many sets had been distributed.
The presiding Deities Radha Gokulananda; Sita Rama, Lakshman, Hanuman; and Gaura Nitai watched over the packed temple room as devotees eagerly listened to the stories about Mukunda Maharaja and the five other devotees who first journeyed to England, the stories of building relationships with The Beatles and how the yatra had progressed since then.
At the end of the class, a video was shown of Mukunda Maharaja and other devotees narrating their experiences from that exciting time in history, along with clips of Srila Prabhupada at The Manor.
A devotee who was raised in the movement then enthusiastically spoke of her gratitude for those devotees and Srila Prabhupada. She presented Srila Prabhupada with an opulent cake, which was followed by offerings of flower petals and a stirring kirtana.
During breakfast, you could feel the inspiration devotees had from the class. The youth went for a walk around the temple grounds and were pointing out different services they could engage in together. It was a very inspiring day, filled with so much love for Srila Prabhupada and his devotees.
Gopastami Youth Festival
By Karunamayi dasi
The youth in the New Govardhana community have come together to organise a Gopastami celebration on New Govardhana farm for Sunday 10 November.
So many fresh and bright ideas have come together to make what we hope will be a stunning and inclusive festival that we can continue to put on annually.
Madhurangi devi dasi will be heading up the decorating team, while Govardhana-Dhari dasa will be head chef for the feast.
They both have such exciting, original ideas that will definitely make this festival a memorable one.
As many have noticed we have been on a pasture-clearing rampage! This year we have been placing a focus on pasture management.
A bulldozer cleared huge amounts of land so that we can grow grass for the cows to graze on. As we are experiencing now, the grass is getting exceptionally low. With each year the drought season has been getting worse, and the cows are struggling.
We will be planting different grasses in these newly cleared areas. Huge areas have also been cleared on the other side of the farm to enable older cows to also have ample amounts of grass all year round.
The hill paddock below the guesthouse has been completely opened up and we were surprised to see just how much land is there. We witnessed what a positive effect the fresh new grasses we planted for the milkers had, and we now want to be able to supply more grass for the other cows too.
Bhaktine Seona has taken on the service of creating different milk products with great success. With the extensive experience as a head chef, she has brought her many skills and offered them as a service to the cows.
Each Sunday Feast she has been successfully raising money for the goshalla with milk, ice cream and cheese sales. The milk keeps increasing and she keeps coming up with new ideas. It’s an exciting project to watch unfold.
ISKCON Farms Afar
By Karunamayi dasi
On my recent trip back to the UK, I had the opportunity to visit the Bhaktivedanta Manor 20-acre farm.
Sanj, who has been on the team for six years, gave me a tour of their pasture. During the excursion, I noticed many similarities to the New Govardhana goshalla and its cow protection programme.
Due to the climate in the UK, in winter all the cows are kept inside an impressively large goshalla and handfed so they have enough space for all of their 62 cows.
Like our herds, they are broken up into different groups: the milking and breeding cows, working bullocks, retired cows, retired bullocks and two small herds with two very feisty bulls. They have enough space to let them all have their own paddocks.
Some of the cows are kept close to or inside the goshalla on weekends so that guests have the opportunity to meet and feed them. These cows have a lot of interaction with people, so they are very calm and peaceful … of course, you have a few cheeky ones here and there, but that’s to be expected!
The milking area is large and clean with windows so that guests can watch the cows without causing distractions. This is much like the intention of New Govardhana’s new milking area. We want to be able to provide guests the experience of seeing a cow giving her milk, but we also want the cows to be peaceful and calm.
Calves are kept close by for the mother to return to after milking, just as we do at New Govardhana. With bhajanas playing softly in the background, a beautiful mood is set for both the cows and those who
The Manor receives hundreds, maybe thousands, of guests in a week, so the goshalla has a small shop with different products for sale. Upstairs, there are two educational facilities where seminars are held to educate people about cow protection and for the team to have their meetings.
They also have a connected kitchen where they make the milk sweets and other treats, like we do in our goshalla here.
We continued our tour through the paddocks, being greeted by each herd of cows as we walked through, until we reached the end of the farm where I was surprised to see they had a Krishna Village-like model.
There were huge, tunnel-shaped greenhouses for growing veggies and flowers organically alongside shipping containers converted into accommodation for the WOOFERS.
Usually the Manor has anywhere up to 25 volunteers throughout the year to help with the gardening and they also spend some time with the devotees.
The temple offers three-month bhakta courses for those who want to delve deeper into Krishna consciousness, which many of the volunteers do. I met some devotees who had come through this program, and they felt inspired.
I was very grateful for this tour as it opened my eyes to what was being done there, and I could appreciate even more how important cow protection is and how we can all learn from each other.
Due to staff shortages, there will be no December issue of The Conch.
We look forward to serving you again in January 2020.
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Krishnarupa devi dasi and Anasuya dasi
LAYOUT AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
Urvasi devi dasi and Jhulan dasi
Trevor Gore and Anasuya dasi
HH Mukunda Goswami, Paul Bailey, Jhulan dasi and Visnujana dasa
FOR ENQUIRIES, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|1||Fri||Srila Prabhupada Disappearance Festival|
|5||Tue||Gopastami, Gosthastami (celebration at New Govardhana
on 10 Nov)
Sri Gadadhara Dasa Gosvami – Disappearance
Sri Srinivasa Acarya – Disappearance
Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji – Disappearance
|9||Sat||Dvadasi break fast 4.49 – 9.17am|
|1`||Mon||Last day of the 4th month of Caturmasya|
|12||Tue||Sri Krsna Rasayatra
Tulasi Saligrama Vivaha (marriage)
|13||Wed||Katyayani Vrata begins|
|24||Sun||Dvadasi break fast 4.43 – 8.18am|