Mercy Bound: Lord Caitanya’s Infinite Love
By Anasuya dasi
Our movement is propelled by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His transcendental kindness, krpa, is like a tree, heavy-laden with the bursting fruits of spiritual knowledge, sweet and non-discriminatory. Indeed, Mahaprabhu’s storehouse of love of Godhead is for everyone. Lord Caitanya’s infinite love is like a nectarean oil, warmly easing our resistant hearts and minds into action as we chant, serve and try to understand. In history, He appears before us as the Lord, either in personality or in sound, yet He is more merciful than even Lord Krishna Himself because He accepts us, the most fallen, worse than even Jagai and Madhai. Thus, we are definitively bound by His transcendental mercy and eternally indebted.
Lord Caitanya who, “by His super-excellent beauty” Srila Prabhupada writes, “subdues all the people of the age” (see C.C. Adi-Lila 3.52), can make one happy with just a glance. Although the Lord of endless universes, with the ability to protect or destroy at will, Lord Caitanya came in the most beneficent mood of Srimati Radharani, She who embodies the highest loving devotion. And, because He is God, whilst relishing and trying to understand this love, Lord Caitanya taught how to be a devotee and, most magnanimously, left behind a magnificent plethora of acaryas similarly well-versed in the art of Krishna consciousness. So, before we chant the Lord’s names, we call on Lord Caitanya and His associates and ask for their benediction to chant with love the Holy Names of Lord Hari, for who are we to chant the names of God in this age, without the mercy of the Lord Himself?
Srila Prabhupada Uvaca
Compiled by Bhadra Yamuna dasi
Sri Madhavendra Puri, also known as Sri Madhava Puri, belonged to the disciplic succession from Madhvachcarya and was a greatly celebrated sannyasi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the third disciplic descendant from Sri Madhavendra Puri. The process of worship in the disciplic succession of Madhvacharya was full of ritualistic ceremonies, with hardly a sign of love of Godhead. Sri Madhavendra Puri was the first person in that disciplic succession to exhibit the symptoms of love of Godhead and the first to write a poem beginning with the words ayi dina -dayardra natha, “O supremely merciful Personality of Godhead.” In that poem is the seed of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cultivation of love of Godhead.
Reference from: Sri Caitanya- Caritamrta Adi 9.10
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
Bhakti Yoga Retreat
By Bhadra Yamuna dasi
This retreat came into fruition when Damodara Govinda dasa, the Krishna Village’s general manager became inspired by his interactions with guests and how positively affected they were by their stay at the farm. His goal was to offer this experience in a condensed form.
This uplifting retreat – for both guests and facilitators – spanned over seven days and hosted eight guests with a range of experiences such as: kirtana, philosophy, gardening, conscious cooking, cow time, personal development, and more. From the start, the whole group bonded beautifully, developing a strong level of trust and were able to create a safe and comfortable environment to open up to each other.
At the end, everyone received a gift bag with some of Srila Prabhupada’s books and links to sharing resources as well as keeping in touch through their own Whatsapp group. The group left feeling fulfilled with a genuine interest in bhakti yoga and with a strong connection to japa and kirtana meditation.Another aspect of encouraging children to participate in temple programmes has been led by Devagaurahari dasa and Krishnabhavana devi dasi. Every Friday morning they bring delicious sweets they have made and serve them to the children who have attended the morning prayers. As parents of a large family and also business owners, it is a highly commendable service.
Srila Prabhupada also encouraged those who first joined him by himself preparing sumptuous feasts for his young disciples and distributing abundant prasadam.
I would like to thank all the devotees mentioned here and to those members of our community who are creating opportunities to fan the inclinations and natural exuberance of the younger members of our society. This way they feel a part of the temple and community and have the scope to explore the possibilities of leading a Krishna-centred life and to reach out to others.
If you have any ideas or would like to participate in implementing activities, and fanning the talents of our wonderful children you are very welcome to contact me on 0470 684 705 or when you see me at the temple.
News from Korea
By Jhulan dasi
About two years ago at New Govardhana, I met Govinda Vallabha dasi, who was visiting from Mayapur. She told me of her plan to visit Korea, so we shared our ideas and exchanged contacts.
When Govinda Vallabha made it to Korea, we held a yoga and meditation class in my hometown Jeju. But soon we realised it was not easy to do on our own. As I was thinking about the next steps, I was surprised to learn that Krishna consciousness had been steadily building up in Korea.
Patanjali Muni dasa, a Korean devotee who currently resides at Bhaktivedanta Manor in London, has been at the centre of this growth. Despite long distances and heavy responsibilities as a kitchen manager in the Manor, he has actively served Korea ISKCON since 2005.
As a representative director of ISKCON Korea, amongst other activities he has been fundraising, teaching Korean yoga students, organising the annual ratha-yatra festival, translating Bhagavad-gita, attending debates on a regular external panel, looking after general affairs in the temple, and communicating with the public. In 2019, he travelled from the UK to Korea five times!
Last year was special for ISKCON Korea, with an October 2019 opening of the beautifully renovated temple in Pochen, a grand plan conceived by Patanjali Muni, Sanjay Yadav, the temple president and Sunil Dewnani, the vice-president. And Govinda Vallabha was there to perform an Odissi dance!
Various guests were invited: His Holiness Bhakti Purushottama Swami, locals, members of the Indian community, Christians, Buddhist monks, even Korean police officers. After this ceremony, Korean ISKCON gained attention from the public and was interviewed in six news magazines to date.
The cost of such renovations, of course, was very high, and unfortunately a group of sponsors who had promised to provide funding changed their minds. So I am appealing to all my friends in New Govardhana and Australia for their prayers for the Korean temple. If it is possible, please help with a financial contribution towards the required funds.
If you would like to assist ISKCON Korea by way of any donation, small or large, please send your PayPal contribution to: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Job Well Done
By Krishnarupa dasi
The Conch team expresses its sincere thanks to Urvasi dasi and Jhulan dasi for their many years of hard work and sacrifice in designing our community newsletter.
Although living far away from New Govardhana – Urvasi in Sydney and Jhulan in South Korea, and both working full time, they still made the huge effort to continue in their respective design services.
We welcome our new designer, Ramprasad dasa, who is experienced in the field and who also designed the award-winning ISKCON 50th Anniversary Magazine.
In Focus with Glenn and Kate Harrison
by Dandakaranya das
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you both come to practice bhakti yoga?
Glenn: We were both born in Melbourne. I was raised by a butcher and an atheist… and also by my doting Mum. I’d read pseudo spiritual books and practiced forms of silent meditation when I met Dhruva dasa on the street one day while working. He deftly explained the difference between the Bhagavad-gita he was holding and the one I had been reading, encouraging me to take it. Later that week I received The Higher Taste, the Quest for Enlightenment, The Science of Self-Realisation, Easy Journey to Other Planets and Great Vegetarian Dishes from Rupa-Raghunatha dasa. I visited the glorious Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandira and regularly attended the evening preaching centre – ‘The Loft’, in the city. I was convinced to join the bramhacari ashrama in 2003.
Kate: I grew up on the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula with my parents and younger brother. I had a keen interest in yoga, natural medicine and philosophy when I was a teenager, which led me to move to the city where I first studied Philosophy and then Naturopathy. One day at Uni whilst walking with a friend a young man stopped us – “Excuse me, do you study here?” and handed me a Bhagavad-gita As it is, explaining that he was a Hare Krishna monk. I started going to Crossways for lunch and The Loft in the evenings before joining the bramacarini ashrama at the Melbourne temple. That monk and I married in 2010. This year is our 10 year anniversary.
Your family recently relocated to the Murwillumbah area after both being native Melbournians, what made you decide to make the move North?
Glenn: We moved here in July last year to join the thriving community of New Govardhana where our Melbourne friends had migrated years ago. We also wanted to give our two sons; Indra Deva and Kanu Rama, a Krsna conscious education by attending the Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula.
What kinds of services have you been involved in on your spiritual journey and are there any services you’d like to do one day?
Glenn: I began by serving at, and later managing Crossways restaurant before becoming a full time book distributor myself.
Kate: After moving into the Melbourne ashram my main services were at The Loft, which had since morphed into ‘Urban Yoga’. I also distributed prasadam at Crossways & Gopal’s Restaurants and loved going on harinama.
Glenn: I’m really attracted to the deity worship here, I’ve been fortunate enough to help out on festival days and hope to be qualified for more deity service in the future. It’s also been a pleasure to join the harinama parties since relocating and I hope to attend regularly.
Kate: I’ve always liked being involved in outreach programs, and would love to get back to regular harinamas. When my youngest is older I want to be more involved at the gurukula.
What inspires you most in Krsna Consciousness?
Glenn: I love rockin’ kirtana, going on harinama sankirtana, reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, listening to lectures, devouring Krsna prasad, I’ve got a massive sweet tooth. Spending time with my friends discussing Krsna is right up there for me. It’s been fantastic to make some new acquaintances… please come and say hi.
Kate: I get my inspiration from kirtana and reading Prabhupada’s books, plus from my Guru Maharaja – Kadamba Kanana Swami, who always manages to uplift me with his kirtana and classes.
How do you maintain your ashram?
Glenn: I offer my skills as a Remedial massage therapist, Reflexologist, and Aromatherapist.
Kate: I’m a Naturopath, a Herbalist and a Doula. We have some interesting things in the pipeline, stay tuned. Thanks everyone.
Australian Youth Bus Tour Report
By Vraja Kumari dasi
Youth from five different locations across Australia and New Zealand descended upon New Govardhana this January for the Australian Youth Bus Tour. We had a 2-week adventure exploring the East coast, living in ashramas, hitting the beach, putting on drama productions and leading some rocking kirtanas.
One of the highlights of the tour was spending a Friday night on the Gold Coast doing a blissful 3 hour harinama with Harinam Ruci! Being chased by a herd full of hungry cows at New Gokul farm while distributing feed was also an experience to remember. Everyone on the tour became close friends, as you do when you share 10 hour bus rides, some truly terrible jokes, frustrating yet addictive riddles and spontaneous bus kirtanas.
We are so appreciative of all the temples and restaurants that made the tour possible by providing facilities and meals free of charge. Thank you for supporting the next generation!
Stories from the Goshalla
by Mandali-Kishori dasi
Three and a half years ago Karunamayi came here to stay for one week. But she fell in love with the cows and couldn’t leave! In her time here Karunamayi has thrived in a variety of services. Cow protection, deity worship, kirtanas, cooking, and most recently becoming more involved in preaching at Krishna Village. In particular, her dedication to improving the cow protection program has been exemplary. We hope that we can continue to be inspired by her enthusiasm for caring for Krishna’s cows at New Govardhana. She has not only formed loving relationships with the cows, goats, and chickens on this farm but also with countless devotees and guests – she will be greatly missed by all. Thank you Karunamayi for your loving service to Radha Govardhandhari!
When did you start serving in the goshalla?
I started serving with the goshalla in August 2016 on my first week on the farm.
What attracted you the most?
Madhuri adi–lila has just been born and she was disabled, so I started to help out with her because I was inspired by the care shown to all animals in any condition.
How long have you been serving there?
It’s been three and a half years nearly.
Highlights have been when we have had the opportunity to help cows going through sickness and injury. It had been something I had wanted the opportunity to help with for many years but never had the opportunity until coming to the farm. Being a part of the healing process for the sick cows was so beautiful. The relationships you can build from it with the cows is so heart-warming So many highlights!! Moving the cows out of flood waters and watching the babies jump through the water to higher ground in the floods two years ago. Being a part of the team caring for Madhuri Adi-Lila during her surgeries. Three Govardhana Puja parades with Abhai the beautiful bullock. Every cow cuddle…
What will you carry with you…impressions etc.
Something I will carry with me is seeing how the community comes together to protect the cows. In fact the whole world! When we needed to raise money for operations, feed during drought and rescuing cows, we had people, whether devotees or not, from all over the world donating. But also the personal support I have received in my service to the cows is what has allowed me to keep serving the cows so long. I appreciate so much this community and how it has helped me through these three and a half years.
The devotees and all the cows…and all the goats etc.. will miss you. Any words for all of us?
The hardest part is definitely leaving the goats (because I can’t just ‘FaceTime’ them to say hi). Please everyone visit them and love them and send me pics!!
I’d like to ask everyone to continue showing the incredible support you have shown me and to the rest of the cowherds. An incredible team has formed in the last year to protect and serve the cows and I know your support means as much to them as it does to me
I have been asked to be a part of a team preparing a course on cow protection at The Manor as requested by the GBC. London has many exciting preaching projects that I hope to get involved in especially kirtanas. I want to add this in as an extra note please: I am so grateful to Urvasi dasi for allowing me to start serving the cows with her and then Krishna Kirtana dasa for taking me under his wing and teaching me so much about cows and bullocks. Gita Govinda dasi showed me the importance of caring for cows at all stages of their life and how dedicated we should be. I am eternally grateful for the time I spent with Venugopal dasa, every second I spent with him was beautiful and taught me so much. Through the mercy of Gomata I’ve had the greatest association.
Kirtana brings the rain
by Mandakini dasi
First there was a drought over most of Australia. Livestock and wildlife as well as rural properties were severely suffering.
Water levels in most catchment dams were down and restrictions on water use were enforced by most councils.
As if this was not enough, there came the bushfires destroying homes and killing wildlife.
For the most part of the last three months of 2019, the skies above appeared to be smoggy Delhi rather than the usual clear blue. Or sometimes even worse, like hell, with red haze all around.
The bushfires were a real ongoing threat with many located close to New Govardhan and surrounding areas.
New Govardhan temple organized a week-long kirtana to bring the rain to help with the drought and bushfire situation.
The Bhagavad-gita teaches that from sacrifice comes rain and getting together and singing the Holy Names of the Lord -sankirtana yajna- is the best and the recommended sacrifice in
this age of Kaliyuga.
The scriptures state chanting together is the most powerful way of attracting the Lord’s attention.
From the 6th to the 12th of January, there was kirtana in the temple room for eight hours the first six days and a 12 hour kirtan on the last day.
Old and young, expert and neophyte, all devotees joined together to sing and beseech the Lord for rain and healing where it was needed. It was easy to see how sankirtan is the common platform in this age of Kali and also that by directly watering the root of the tree, that is, connecting to the Lord in kirtana, He listens and then perfectly sends the energy where it’s needed.
The rains started that week of January with a really dramatic downpour then settling into daily showers, has more than replenished catchment dams and doused the fires. The Lord kindly heard our prayers. Harinama sankirtana yajna ki jai!
Diving Deep with Sacred Sound
By Alyona Potapova
Every year Sacred Sound Kirtan Retreat, the most ecstatic kirtana party of the year, grows bigger and better, bringing thousands of people to New Govardhana. Year 2020 brings a new exciting format that ensures that the festival grows deeper.
Each festival day will be divided into three sessions. Each session will be three hours and include two hours of kirtana and a one hour talk.
CHANT MORE is the theme of the talks and they will allow us to dive deep into the depths of chanting the Holy Name. Diving with us are respected teachers and kirtaneers such as Indradyumna Swami, BB Govinda Swami, Sri Prahlada dasa, Badahari dasa, Sitala dasi and others.
The festival is children friendly – the Krishna Kids activity area will be back this year with physical activities, art and crafts, quiet time and healthy snacks within a safe and conscious environment.
If you’d like to have fun behind the scenes you can also volunteer at – https://signup.zone/sacred-sound-2020
So, mark Friday 10th April through to Monday 13th April in your calendar and book accommodation now to not miss out.
By Krishnarupa dasi
Last month, the Australian Vaishnavi Ministry launched a quarterly digital newsletter titled the ‘Vaishnavi Voice’. It has now been distributed via each temple’s database in the country to update all the devotees about the latest Vaishnavi initiatives. Vaishnavis, if you have an article you would like to submit for the next issue, please send to Krishnarupa dasi at email@example.com. We hope you enjoyed reading the launch issue!
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.
H.H. Mukunda Goswami
Krishnarupa devi dasi, Dandakaranya dasa, Anasuya dasi and Bhadra Yamuna dasi
LAYOUT AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
ONLINE TEAM (Digital Conch)
H.H. Mukunda Goswami, Paul Bailey and Visnujana dasa
FOR ENQUIRIES, COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS
(from Vaishnava calendar www.vaisnavacalendar.com)
|Fri||6||Fasting for Amalaki vrata Ekadasi|
|Sat||7||Break fast 6:42am to 10:52am
Sri Madhavendra Puri – Disappearance
|Tue||10||Gaura Purnima: Fasting until moon rise|
|Wed||11||Festival of Jagannatha Misra|
|Tue||17||Sri Srivasa Pandita – Appearance|
|Fri||20||Fasting for Papamocani Ekadasi|
|Sat||21||Break fast 6:50 am to 10:52 am
Sri Govinda Ghosh – Disappearance
|Sun||29||Sri Ramanujacarya – Appearance|