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Brijabasi Spirit Newsletter
 
May 2016

Dedicated to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

By Abhay Charan das

 
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the very first Kulimela, which was held at New Vrindaban in 2006. What originally started as a simple grassroots event, with just 100 people coming together to chant, has turned into an annual global event.
 
The words “Kuli Mela” literally mean “Celebrate Community!” in Sanskrit and the main theme of the festival will be "Celebrating Family" as well as "Building Community." Activities will include an all day kids' camp, community picnics, seminars, workshops, sports, evening entertainment, fashion shows, as well as kirtans at the Bhajan Kutir followed by the 24 Hour Kirtan. 
 


Originally inspired by the 24 Hour Kirtan in Vrindavan India, led by Aindra das, second generation devotees gathered under the Yajna-shalla at the first Kulimela and chanted 24 hours a day for two days straight. The 24 Hour Kirtan was inaugurated the very next year and has continued to grow every year since.
 
There will be tethered hot air balloon rides that soar one hundred feet in the air on Friday, June 17th. Please note there are a limited number of rides and $20 per person cover the cost of renting the balloon. All are encouraged to book a spot today!
 
There is a special discount for New Vrindaban residents and Village Association members who would like to attend KM16, June 15-19th. From now through June 16th, the $125 registration fee is reduced to $50 by applying the discount code NVVA75 (all caps) at checkout.
 
Register now at  -https://www.tickettailor.com/ch…/view-event/…/43143/chk/b50f
 
All who register before June 16th will get a "welcome kit" that includes an event t-shirt as well while supplies last.
 
With organizers estimating the per person costs to be $150, a major goal of the festival organizers - at least budget wise - is for KuliMela 2016 to break even. As a 100% volunteer, not for profit effort, attendees are humbly invited to join this effort by helping the event break even and contributing the registration cost.

For regular updates, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/kulimela
The event’s main website is at: http://www.kulimela.org/

Festival of Inspiration with
H.H. Jayapataka Swami

By Bhaktin Autumn

Srila Prabhupada disciples come together to share their memories of him.

Since the year 2000, ISKCON New Vrindaban has hosted an annual Festival of Inspiration as an opportunity for devotees to come together, hear from senior devotees, and embrace the process of devotional service within the sanction of the Holy Dham. The Festival of Inspiration takes place in the beginning of May each year on Mother’s Day weekend making for a perfect Mother’s Day destination. This year the festival took place on  May 6 -8th and had around 500 attendees. 


Jayapataka Maharaj shouts Hari Bol! during Saturday evening's presentation.

By the prayers of the devotees, His Holiness Jayapataka Maharaj arrived at last to New Vrindaban Dham after being delayed for more than a year. Many of Maharaj’s disciples and friends gathered to greet him on Friday night, May 6th, to pay respects to their ever well-wisher upon his arrival. Devotees present were blessed on top of the head with Lord Jagannath's toothbrush from Jagannath Puri.


Havi das, Garuda das, Vaisesika das, and Nirakula dasi sit in on a seminar.
 
Joining Jayapataka Maharaj at the festival, guest speakers included, and were not limited to, the following Srila Prabhupada disciples: Urmila devi dasi, public speaker, educator and author who introduced her newest publication, Sri Manah Siksa By Ragunatha Dasa Goswami; Vaisesika das, sankirtan enthusiast, author, and well wisher, introduced his newest publication, Our Family Business; Kalakhanta das, director of Krsna House in Gainesville and author, gave a presentation on ISKCON as it is Now versus Then including topics such as varnashram, views on women in ISKCON, and how to make ISKCON a more effective society. Yogesvara das, a university professor and author, presented his newest book, Swami in a Strange Land  to his audience. 


Bhaktimarga Swami and his troop dance on stage to end the drama, ‘Krsna Is’.
 
The main festival concluded on Sunday with entertainment including a drama performed by Bhaktimarga Swami and his troop called “Krsna Is…”; local New Vrindaban resident Sankirtan das shared his epic storytelling on his Mahabharata Publication; and a satiric, belly-wrenching comedy act was performed by Ekendra das a.k.a Yama Niyama Das Brahmachari. The combined acts made for a full and cathartic conclusion to the festival weekend. After the entertainment, the Sunday love feast and a Mother’s Day cake made by Lakshmanesvara das was served outside.


Jayasri dasi and Vrindavan das help to cut the Mother's Day cake.

For next year’s Festival of Inspiration, organizers plan to revitalize the festival. Some proposed ideas include offering an herb walk seminar, a how-to-do seminar, and a full kids camp. New Vrindaban also aims to make the presentations more interactive for 2017. 


Jayapataka Maharaj arrives at the Palace of Gold to attend the Palace Sangam.

Palace Sangam Program: Jayapataka Maharaj stayed in New Vrindaban for an extra three days after the Festival of Inspiration, mercifully answering any questions for the devotees. He also appeared at a Palace Sangam with Bhaktimarga Swami and Urmila devi dasi on Tuesday, May 10th. The three guests spoke about Srila Prabhupada and interacted with their audience through kirtan and group activities. The event also marked the celebration of Urmila devi dasi’s birthday with cake distributed at the end.  


Urmila devi dasi interacts with her audience.

Brooke Bouchard Gains An Ashram Experience

By Bhaktin Autumn
 

After graduating college just three days before, on Monday, May 16th, 2016 Brooke Bouchard from Chattanooga, Tennessee, left home to New Vrindaban’s Hare Krsna Community for a 2-week ashram life experience. Brooke's devotional life started when she met a devotee named Chaitanya das, past resident of New Vrindaban, while she was going to college in Tennessee. Chaitanya das introduced her to Krsna conscious philosophy, vegetarianism, and devotional chanting while getting to know her. “My life changed dramatically once I met him,” she says. “I am becoming more and more attracted to the process of Krsna Consciousness, and I thought I could gain a little taste of ashram life before diving into my work this summer.”
 
Her service in New Vrindaban started by attending Mangal Arati on Tuesday morning. She continued throughout the weeks by serving out prasadam, cleaning the temple room, organizing the deities' jewelry, transferring maha prasadam offerings and her favorite service, milking the cows.
 
Brooke’s favorite place was the temple room. “Radha Vrindaban Chandra are so beautiful,” she says. “Just being in the temple room with Them gives me a different feeling, as if my heart is being purified, like little pieces of dirt are being chipped away.”
 
Brooke was very happy with her stay in the ashram. She says, “The accommodations were excellent. Devotees welcomed me with open arms and taught me any service I wanted to learn.” 
 
She also felt New Vrindaban’s facilities were very rare. “You have all this land where you can invite so many guests,” she says.  “Please take advantage of it!”  
 
When asked how she liked the prasadam, she exclaimed, “So good, and so much!”   
 
Brooke says, “I can really channel my energies here and I plan to come back as soon as I can. And I will definitely recommend New Vrindaban to others.”
 
Thank you so much Brooke for your wonderful services to Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra!!
 
Srila Prabhupada on New Vrindaban
 
 
"I am always anxious to go and see the Govardhan hills in New Vrindaban and I hope Krishna will fulfill my desire as soon as possible."

- Letter from Los Angeles, CA November 18, 1968
 

New Apartments Grand Opening 

By Abhay Charan das
 
On May 21st, a fire sacrifice was held as devotees chanted Vedic mantras and held kirtan to purify the atmosphere and bring about an auspicious beginning for the opening of the new apartments.
 
The two new apartment buildings, which consist of three apartments each, are located near the New Vrindaban community gardens. Each building includes a one-bedroom studio apartment, in the basement, as well as a two-bedroom on the first floor and a three-bedroom on the second floor.
 


From the energy efficient windows, stainless steel Samsung appliances, Schlage locks and American Standard faucets, to the LED lights, and beautiful solid dark vinyl plank flooring; no expense was spared in making these high quality apartments.
 
Care was put into every step of building these apartments, from the foundation up, and it really shows. In each apartment they used state of the art insulation, sound deadening material, hardy board siding for durability and insulated exterior doors to provide the best thermal barrier possible. Additionally, each apartment comes with its own central heat and air unit, which is safer in the winter than gas and is the industry standard.
 
Outside the buildings, you will find ornate columns and a newly paved gravel road that offers parking for residents and winds its way to the temple. They plan to add Jagannatha chakra’s atop each building and expect to finish construction of the studio apartments soon as well.



 
The new apartments are the first buildings to be erected by ISKCON New Vrindaban since 1990 and are part of a thirty-year plan that will include thirty apartments total as well as twenty townhouses and ten new cabins, which will fulfill a growing need to accommodate first time families moving to the community and those returning to the Dham.
 
Dinamani das, who recently moved to the new apartments with his family said, "The apartments where exquisitely made and I could not be happier with them. Also, when I wake up in the morning and look out my window I have a stunning view of nature and I am reminded of Krishna.”

 

Yajna-shalla Freshly Painted 




In preparation for the Festival of Inspiration, the Krishna House devotees of Gainesville performed many services in New Vrindaban which included painting the Yajna-shalla located outside in front of the temple. Fresh teal blue and a dark red now accent the front courtyards of the Radha Vrindaban Chandra Temple.
 

30th Anniversary of Prahlad Nrsimhadeva Deities Installation Celebration 

By Bhaktin Autumn

Morning darshan of Lord Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaj.

Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Appearance Day, also known as Nrsimha Caturdasi, was celebrated in New Vrindaban May 20-21th, 2016 by New Vrindaban community members and visiting pilgrims. This year’s celebration was especially great due to the 30th year anniversary of the Prahlad Nrsimha deities’ installation celebration.

The Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad deities in New Vrindaban are one of a kind and the only full-sized Nrsimhadeva deities in North America. Every year the deities draw devotees and pilgrims to New Vrindaban to witness Their rare, black granite and white marble forms.

 Fire yajna with Soma das, priests, and Community President, Jaya Krsna das.

On Friday, May 20th, Soma das, who is the original sculptor of Lord Nrsimhadeva, visited New Vrindaban particularly to attend this year's 30th anniversary celebration. He gave special classes about the Nrsimhadeva deities and participated in the fire yajna dedicated to New Vrindaban’s preaching efforts and its overall world influence. Guests observed the fire yajna with great attention as New Vrindaban priests chanted the Nrsimha Kavaca prayers 108 times, offering their prayers and participating in kirtan.

Jaya Krsna das bathes Lord Nrsimhadeva.

During the evening, the annual maha abhishek was performed. Second initiated devotees bathed the deities with different items including perfumes, essential oils, water, honey, yogurt and other combinations. Devotees watched with awe and delight at the rare sight.

Guest speakers and Srila Prabhupada disciples, Urmila devi dasi, Soma das and Srutakirti das, gave classes throughout the celebration which focused on the stories of Lord Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaj. On Friday evening, Urmila devi dasi presented a multimedia class presentation describing the story of Prahlada Maharaj, Hiranyakasipu, and why Lord Nrsimhadeva took his specific, man-lion form to save his devotee.

During Nrsimha Arati, Lord Nrsimhadeva with Prahlad Maharaj (at His side) and Hiranyakasipu (on His lap) were displayed.

After class, devotees and guests participated in the Gaura Arati, anticipating the moment Lord Nrsimhadeva’s curtains would open. The Lord was finally revealed, decorated with paints and flowers, Prahlad Maharaj at His side, and demon Hiranyakasipu on his lap. Everyone crowded in front of the Lord to catch a glimpse of His splendor, to take pictures and to sing Nrsimha Arati.
 
The Friday celebration concluded with a grand feast cooked by Brihat Kirtan das served outside in the Yajna-shalla. The cake was made by Lakshmanesvara dasa and Saturday’s feast was cooked by Sundari devi dasi.

Creating Pathways to Serve Srila Prabhupada

 By Bhaktin Autumn


 
On Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 New Vrindaban Temple President Jaya Krsna das held a meeting in the Community Hall to share his devotee appreciation and to express New Vrindaban's mission statements. The five mission statements are as follows: 

1) To attentively follow the instructions for New Vrindaban given by Srila Prabhupada. 
2) That every devotee in North America and beyond is proud of and honored to be connected to New Vrindaban.  
3) That every visitor experiences a deep and fulfilling pilgrammage to New Vrindaban.
4) That we, the residents of New Vrindaban, take care of each visitor as well as one another, the cows, animals, and Their Lordships.  
5) That we cooperate in our exchanges for the fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada's legacy in the western world.

In addition, Sukhavaha Dasi reminded the attendees about utilizing the new recycling bins outside and inside the temple. "Recycling is about taking care of the environment, being conscious and being clean." Sukhavaha mentions. "We should all endeavor to recycle and reuse as much as possible."

At the end of the meeting, everyone was given a "We Care" t-shirt and button to help always remember New Vrindaban's mission.
West Virginia State Hospitality Seminar

By Bhaktin Autumn
 
 
On Thursday, May 25th, ISKCON New Vrindaban happily hosted the West Virginia Board of Education Hospitality Training Course. This 2-hour training course focused on bringing quality customer service to visiting guests at local businesses. Greater Moundsville Tourism Director, Jesse Mestrovic, coordinated the event and invited other interest groups such as the local tourism board. There were two guest speakers, John Sorrenti and Loren Jordan, who gave helpful tips, facts, and positive perspectives to enhance customer service skills.
 
In the presentation entitled West Virgina Welcome, John Sorrenti encouraged his audience to 'feel good!' by making this affirmation  everyday before going to work.
 
Loren Jordan's presentation entitled The State of the American Traveler, focused on tourist statistics and how to understand the average traveling customer.
 
Jaya Murari DasaA Life of Service
 By Abhay Charan das


Jaya Murari taking initiation from Srila Prabhupada.
 
In the spring of 1975, Jaya Murari Dasa moved to New Vrindaban and offered his business and very life to the service of Srila Prabhupada and the holy dham; he has been an invaluable fixture in the community ever since.
 
His initiation by Srila Prabhupada here in New Vrindaban on July 29th, 1976 was described by Hari Sauri in his book. “After the Deity Greetings, Srila Prabhupada went to the large hall where the marble floor was with many hanging banners, an asana and fire pit and preformed an initiation ceremony. Afterwards, Prabhupada gave class and devotees from many areas attended.
 

Jaya Murari helping with the Palace stairs.
 
Civilization started in New Vrindaban upon Jaya Murari’s arrival”, recalls Sarva Saksi das, whom Jaya Murari mentored to help lay most of the plumbing here in the dham.
 
Jaya Murari truly imbues the mood of the brijbasi spirit and was recently honored for his lifetime of selfless service as many devotees gathered and recalled how transformational his brahminical presence has been for them and for New Vrindaban community. A teary-eyed Gaura Shakti das said of Jaya Murari, “He did tremendous amounts of services for this community and is an unsung hero. He always was and is dedicated to the service to Srila Prabhupada.”
 
When asked what the service award meant to him Jaya Murari replied, “I pray every day to be engaged in Krishna’s service and to go where ever he wants me to. The service has just been so sweet. No need to thank me, I am just so grateful my prayers were reciprocated.”
 
Even in his retirement, his work ethic is unquestionable and inspirational. If you are lucky enough to be on his email list, he sends out daily emails to help keep the community informed of the latest news, events and Prabhupada quotes. In addition, he puts together the community phone book.
 
He is also well known for his photography, having taken many historic pictures here of the dham and of Srila Prabhupada over the years and is a source of inspiration for the New Vrindaban community.
 

Upcoming Events in New Vrindaban!



 
June 15 -             Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi

June 15-17-    Kuli Mela Festival

June 18-19-    24-Hour Kirtan  


June 20-26-    Bhakti Charu Swami Retreat     

June 25 -         First Swan Boat Festival of the Season
 
June 30 -        Yogini Ekadasi
 

Hare Krsna!

May's Brijabasi Spirit Newsletter was published by 
Editor: Vrindavan das
Authors: Bhaktin Autumn and Abhay Charan das

If you have any questions, please email us at iskconnv@gmail.com or call 304-843-1600 ext. 106.