Gopal Lila Das (Gopal Patel) is Director of the Bhumi Project, an environmental effort of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He also co-leads The Sacred Ecology Forum at the Bhakti Center in New York City, and is an advisor to the Climate Action Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
“We have mostly Indian preachers, and noticed that there was a disconnect, due to cultural differences, between them and our Western guests,” says Anuradha Dasi, director of the communications team behind the booklet. “Guests would come into the temple, stay for just a minute, and then turn around and walk out.”
Over four million people around the globe walked out of their schools and workplaces on Friday September 20th to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. The protests were organized by young people led by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. The campaign has seen students walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand their political leaders take urgent action to address climate change.
As water quality improved and pollution levels fell, tiny oceanic life-forms such as algae and zooplankton bounced back, providing a crucial food base for a resurgence in menhaden, a schooling fish favored by whales.
On Sri Balaram Jayanti Mahotsava (the Appearance Day of Lord Balaram), ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (“GBC”) and the Board of Directors of Bharati Center, Inc. (“Brooklyn Temple” or “Temple") won a notable victory in the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.
2019 marks the 50t hanniversary of cow protection in ISKCON, so it’s an excellent time to look at and celebrate that progress. And this year’s North American Farm Conference will take place where it all started – New Vrindaban, West Virginia.
Devotees of Yuga Dharma Sankirtana Ashram are found chanting and distributing books at New York’s Union Square almost every day.
The historic Harinama Sankirtana event drew some 200 devotees, and was used to promote New York Rathayatra and the accompanying Hare Krishna Festival from June 7th to 9th.
Initiates hailed from Houston, Washington D.C., New York, and London, and included prominent kirtaniyas such as Gaura Vani, Jahnavi, Tulasi, Ananta Govinda, and Janaki Priya. All others in the group are also dedicated to regular ISKCON service in their areas.
Presenters at the conference were devotees who are developing Vaishnava community welfare services including mentoring, counseling, mental health support, youth support, widows support, palliative care and caring for the sick, women’s support, social justice and more. The conference was attended by just under 100 devotees.
Many ISKCON devotees around the world are now aware of the conflict and court cases that took place over the past few years regarding managerial authority of the Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir in Brooklyn, New York City.
The New York Times Style Magazine’s first digital cover story, published on February 14th, features Hare Krishna devotees from ISKCON’s Radha-Krishna Temple chanting on the streets of London.
The first topic up for discussion in the afternoon March 7th, was ISKCON’s Radha-Govinda Temple in Brooklyn, NY. The last few years have seen conflict over the managerial authority of the temple, prompted by an earlier proposed sale of the property.
While recognizing cow protection as an important branch of our Krishna Conscious society, training and working with the oxen remains to many an ideal yet to be achieved. The upcoming Ox Training Seminar to be held in New Vraja Dhama, Hungary between April 17thand 24th, will shed more light on this important, yet less practiced side of cow protection.
Nestled in the wooded hilltops of the Appalachian Foothills, New Vrindaban is a favorite destination for thousands of pilgrims every year. Varsana Swami’s new photo book is an invitation to realize and enter its deeper, magical dimensions of Sri Dhama.
If I want to place an intention, I need to focus my attention. But then, where is my heart? Where do I place my affection?
These scrumptious spots are located across 15 states and Washington, D.C., and offer a range of cuisine from American to Indian to Mediterranean.
On October 27, ISKCON New Vrindaban devotees in West Virginia heard of the horrific mass shooting at the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, a 90-minute drive away from their idyllic rural community. Jaya Krishna Das, the Temple President of ISKCON New Vrindaban, wrote a heart-warming condolence letter to the Tree of Life Synagogue and the Jewish community, which was noted by the Intelligencer newspaper of Pennsylvania.
Radha-Govinda Temple in Brooklyn, NY, also known as Bharati Center, has been restored to the control of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, due to arecent decision of the New York State Supreme Court for Kings County.
What Now? is a New Zealand institution. The children’s television program has been running for nearly forty years and is one of the top ten most popular shows in the country.
“New Vrindaban is not your average temple – it’s a very big and complex project, because it has so many departments to take care of,” says search committee chairperson Vrindavan Das. “So instead of having one temple president take care of everything, we are restructuring and creating a management team of three ‘executive directors’ who will work as a team.”
Professional BMX freestyle rider Joris Coulomb always chased adventure. He didn’t realize that one day it would take him to a place of deep meaning where all his questions about life would be answered.
Remarkably, devotees from New Govardhana Farm have set up a Govinda’s prasadam stall there with a theme representing the TOVP itself as the shape of the stall.
On July 31st, Gopal Agarwal, husband of Sally and father of two daughters, Srila Prabhupada’s first sponsor in the West, left his body due to old age afflictions.
What makes this achievement even more unique is that Divya’s Kitchen is the only vegetarian/vegan restaurant on the list.
ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada often said that the sign of a true devotee, and a good representative of the Hare Krishna Movement, is his or her behavior. Yasoda-dulal Das, an executive officer in a mid-size New Jersey insurance company, is doing his best to follow these tenets and represent devotees well at work.
On June 16, organized by the Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies, Murali Gopal Das presented a lively seminar at New York City’s Bhakti Center. Murali Gopal holds a Ph.D. in physics from Ohio University, has served an internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
“Sustainability from the Inside Out”, as the conference was named, was hosted conjointly by Govardhan Eco Village (GEV), Mumbai and the Sacred Ecology Forum at the Bhakti Center on June 10th, to explore the profound connection between the practice of yoga and the sustainability of the Earth and its resources ahead of the International Yoga Day.
To feed 6000 kids every day for a school year of 40 weeks, the charity would produce 1.2 million meals annually.
New Vrindaban, established in the rolling hills of West Virginia in 1968 at the behest of Srila Prabhupada, is a unique place. It’s ISKCON’s very first farm community, and the first cow protection program in the Western World.
Back in February 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake had completely destroyed the temple they had called home since 1986, the 130-year-old Bealy Manor. Even more heartbreakingly, during the quake the devotees’ beloved Deities, Sri Sri Nitai Gaurachandra had fallen and shattered to pieces.
On January 19, 2018, an emergency hearing was held in New York Supreme Court for Kings County on an application for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) enjoining the Bharati Center Board led by Ramabhadra Das (the "Ramabhadra Board") “from interfering with any congregant’s attendance at worship, service and other religious functions in the ISKCON Bharati Center house of worship in Brooklyn, NY.”
The newly-launched Bhaktivedanta Vedic Library, offers audiobooks of ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada’s works for free, to stream or download onto your laptop, smartphone or other electronic device. It also offers helpful introductory video guides on various elements of the process of Krishna consciousness.
Lovers of spiritual inspiration may want to set a weekend aside this summer for the Heart of Yoga retreat, to be offered in New York for the sixth time from June 1st to 3rd. The event grew out of the Bhagavad-gita classes senior Prabhupada disciple Yogesvara Das taught at Jivamukti for ten years.
As the Hare Krishna Society builds a lavish new temple in India, it is struggling to control a faction in the city where the religion was born.
New Vraja Dhama, ISKCON’s 300 acre farm in Hungary, is the largest eco village in Europe. It is situated in a small village in the southernmost part of the country, 2 hours drive from Budapest. It was established in 1993 with the purpose of educating people about the values of self sufficiency, cow protection and a natural, God centered lifestyle.
This November, 2017 the TOVP Tour bringing Lord Nityananda Prabhu's Padukas (Divine Shoes) and Lord Nrsimhadeva's Sitari (Sacred Helmet) from Sridhama Mayapur will be setting foot in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
New Orleans is known for its seafood and meat dishes, but the Good Karma Café – only the city’s second vegan eatery – is giving people a taste for prasadam, and could change hearts in the process.
Dovetailing the fall pumpkin obsession in a Krishna conscious way, devotees drew 300 tourists to New Vrajadhama for their autumn Pumpkin Festival on October 14th. On this day the temple and altar were decorated with beautifully painted pumpkins inscribed with lotus designs and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
On October 4th, a divine form of Sri Caitanya was installed on the altar of the temple at New York's The Bhakti Center. Accompanied by a chorus of voices chanting Vedic mantras and jubilant kirtan, brahmins began the ceremony by establishing the intention in the minds of the community, honoring and seeking the blessings of the seniors present and commencing the rites with the traditional Vedic fire ceremony.
The case began in 2004 in Freeport, New York, when persons from outside Long Island, through deception and subterfuge, took control of the Long Island ISKCON Temple board of trustees. Those persons opposed GBC authority and taught a philosophical system called ritvik, which the GBC declared a deviation from traditional Hare Krishna, or Vaishnava Hindu teachings.
Sixty devotees, from 14 different countries around the world, performed almost daily in many of the prestigious universities on the east coast of the United States. Professors, students, and various dignitaries gave resounding applause devotees' performances which were centered around the pastimes of the Lord recounted in the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Ramayana. Other performances included bhajans, the Sankhya dance company from Mumbai, a talk on the wisdom of Bhagavad Gita and more. Everything was presented in a professional, and most important, devotional way. A video by Ananta Vrindavan.
The event showed how far ISKCON farms have come in networking and working together particularly over the last decade, with conferences now regularly organized in four continents by the GBC Ministry of Agriculture and Cow Protection. Because the ISKCON Farm Conference began in Europe in 2008, however, the 10th anniversary event focused on European farms.
According to many, what makes New York City exciting is the web of microcosms that are so different, still blending harmoniously together. Don't be surprised to find an Eastern monastery in the midst of a tattoo parlor, a funeral home and a gay bar. An observational short film featuring Bhakti Center priest Mike Ceragno, created by Kristina Danka and Violet Benny, produced at the New York Film Academy.
Coming to the U.S. for the first time, Indradyumna Swami’s ‘Discover India’ tour began with a resounding success, performing to a receptive audience of over 500 people at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center in New York on September 10th. The epic show of dance, theater, martial arts and live music has been touring Poland for 28 years under the name Festival of India, putting on forty events every summer and drawing audiences of three to five thousand people each night.
The Krishna devotee community in Moundsville, W.Va., has been giving and taking its share of the earth’s bounty for decades. In recent years it signed leases with two natural gas companies, giving them access to the fuel trapped inside. The lease bonus money has already gone a long way toward restoring New Vrindaban’s campus, which had fallen into disrepair.
New Vraja Dhama is perfect for the main event – devotees on the 660-acre farm have had decades of experience and grow their own vegetables, fruits, and grains. They also care for cows and have their own waste water treatment system and solar panels that cover a large portion of their electricity needs.
A video by Kunjabihari Dasi.
A day on the beautiful New Govardhana farm in NSW, Australia.
The 10th annual 24-Hour Kirtan at New Vrindaban, West Virginia, USA, will be held on June 17th and 18th, 2017, featuring an amazing group of kirtaneers from all over the world! The organizers cordially invite all devotees to join in the continuous congregational chanting of Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra, which is a unique opportunity to become absorbed in the holy name.
The pending sale of ISKCON’s Radha Govinda Mandir has been a matter of interest, concern and even controversy among temple board members, congregational members, devotees and interested persons in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere, especially in light of the GBC Body’s stated opposition to this sale transaction. In order to foster openness, inclusivity and greater awareness of the current state of affairs as well as to dispel confusion and misconceptions, last year’s GBC Executive Committee will host an ISKCON Informational Town Hall Meeting.
One of the first of the retreat-style festivals currently so popular in ISKCON, Festival of Inspiration, launched in New Vrindaban in 2000, has always offered something a little unique. “Whereas previous Festival of Inspirations were a high-speed puzzle of eighteen different short presentations you could choose from, we now plan to offer people an immersive experience that they can dive into and experience together,” says ISKCON New Vrindaban temple president Jaya Krsna Das. “We also want to provide them with practical tips they can implement in their day-to-day lives.”
Around 1,000 devotees, including many youth, from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, the U.S., the U.K., and India are expected to celebrate the New Year with the Holy Name during Kirtan Fest at Brazil’s Nova Gokula Dhama from December 31st to January 3rd. It is the biggest Vaishnava festival in Latin America.
In 1968, Prabhupada was issuing instructions about the community: “The Ashram may be named as "ISKCON-Nagari or New Vrindaban.”
Seven hundred people including animal lovers, environmentalists, alternative medicine enthusiasts and ISKCON devotees are expected to turn out for this year’s Save The Cow Kirtan Mela at New Talavana, Mississippi from October 24th to 26th. The event will raise awareness for New Talavan’s cow protection program – one of the largest in the US – which has cared for a steady 100 cows or more since 1976.
Harinamananda Das and the World Harinama Party inspires passengers on a New York City subway to chant Hare Krishna. September 20, 2014.
ECO-Vrindaban (ECOV), the self-sufficiency wing of ISKCON’s New Vrindaban community in West Virginia, USA, is on the lookout for a general manager to oversee its steadily expanding operations. Today ECOV has a herd of 48 cows, oxen, and calves, in contrast to the 300 it started with at its inception. This may at first seem like a step back, but it’s actually an intentional move towards a far more sustainable model.
As the General Assembly of the United Nations convened in New York, events around the world drew attention to the issue of climate change. In New York City, more than 400,000 people took to the streets in the People's Climate March to make a big statement about the urgency of the issue. Among the marchers were thousands of people representing the full spectrum of faith groups, coming together in the belief that all people are steward's of God's creation.
A video produced by Jaya Deva Das.
“As you can see, the Festival of Colors in Moundsville today was a complete success!” This was the declaration made by Sarafina Brooks, a reporter from the local TV Channel, WTOV 9 who appeared on TV Sat. Sept. 13, 2014 covered from head to toe in green powdered chalk.
The new Shri Swaminarayan Mandir covers 160 acres, and the primary mandir, or temple, on the premises measures 133 ft long and 87 ft wide.
On July 13th, the American Nick Mom TV Channel featured 7 year old Gauri, daughter of Bal Gopal Das and Lalita Sundari Dasi, residents of ISKCON New Dwaraka Dham, Los Angeles. The television show called Take Me To Your Mother was exploring how different children from all walks of life celebrated their birthdays.
During the winter of 2012 to 2013, as the pilgrimage season quietened down and a blanket of snow fell across the rural West Virgnia community, professional devotee foremen, carpenters and electricians flung themselves into five months of hard work to transform the guest facilities.
BBT media has just released new audio books and e-books, including The Nectar of Instruction” by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrita, Part One, by Srila Sanatana Goswami.
In the picturesque Tweed Valley in New South Wales, Australia, ISKCON’s New Govardhana farm began work on the final stage of its five-part self-sufficiency plan in late May of this year. Once the plan is complete, it won’t immediately render the community fully self-sufficient; however it will set the farm on the path towards gradually reaching that goal.
Today, 24 and 12 hour kirtan festivals seem to be spreading all over the world like wildfire. Devotees are gathering to immerse themselves in the Holy Name every year with events like Kirtan Mela in Mayapur, Germany and Australia; in the UK; Italy, Belgium, and several places in the US. But back when the New Vrindaban 24 Hour Kirtan began in West Virginia, it was one of only a small handful of early trendsetters.
This summer will see the Second Global Thinking Conference in London 2014 for emerging future leaders. The conference is convened by Civitatis International.
Nearly 50 years after Srila Prabhupada journeyed from India to America to bring the new teachings of Krishna to a generation of Western burnouts, Hare Krishnas have moved out of the airports, into the streets, and into the cubicle right next to yours.
“Aha! I’ve got a name for our festival!” Citralekha Dasi called to ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das from her office across the hall. And she told him what it was. He grinned. “It’s perfect." The first annual Festival of Inspiration, held in 2001, quickly lived up to its name. It put New Vrindaban, which had recently rejoined ISKCON, back on the map as an important place of pilgrimage for North American devotees.
The Vaishnava tradition is famous for its festivals. And within ISKCON, the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia has become one of the most renowned places to celebrate. As New Vrindaban finds a fresh start and rebuilds itself, festivals have been found to be one of the best ways to inspire and bring together devotees, as well as to develop a mutually appreciative relationship with the local public.
One elderly American lady and two younger ladies wandered into the lobby of Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra temple the afternoon of Thurs. March 13, 2014. “Rhis is my mother, Sally Aggarwal!" a younger one says. "She sponsored Srila Prabhupada on the Jaladuta from India in 1965!” she proudly declared.
The boards of ISKCON New Vrindaban and ECO-Vrindaban, the two landholding entities in New Vrindaban, voted on February 20th and February 23rd, respectively, to sign leases for the Utica Shale, a deep natural gas formation. In 2010, both boards signed similar leases for the Marcellus Shale. As with that decision, this one was fraught with controversy.
It is very common to find people who want to love, care and help in a world where suffering is so prominent. But to motivate those people to become truly qualified to love, care and help, that's where society seems to come up short. (Produced by Bhakti Lounge, Wellington, New Zealand.)
When New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first rural community, was first established in 1968, it became, for many years, a shining example of the best that ISKCON had to offer. After a series of well-documented legal transgressions and spiritual deviations in the 1980s, however, many devotees left. Now New Vrindaban is in the midst of a major transformation.
Archival video clip from 1986: gurukula children from New Govardhana, Australia, taking part in the campaig to free the Russian Hare Krishna devotees from prison and religious persecution.
“On New Year's Eve central London becomes one big party,” says organizer Parasuram Das, who serves prasadam meals to one thousand needy people daily as director of the Food For All charity. “Millions of people take to the streets, and no cars are allowed. The ground is set for the biggest Harinam ever.”
Today, as they did four decades ago, devotees at ISKCON New Vrindaban are embarking on a labor of love. They’re restoring the Palace of Gold, home to Srila Prabhupada. Devotees began building the Palace with their own hands back in 1973 as a simple residence for Srila Prabhupada, who enjoyed the peace and spiritual atmosphere of New Vrindaban during his visits.
"Ring out the false ring in the true." A Happy New Year song released by the former Beatle just prior to New Year's Eve 1974/75.
New Vrindaban, established in 1968 by ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada as his society’s first rural community, is continuing its transition into an exciting new phase. After a series of difficult pioneering attempts in the early years, the community struggled for decades with a dedicated skeleton crew. But since spring 2011, a renewed effort has been made to revitalize New Vrindaban.
The Palace of Gold was constructed during the ‘70s and opened in 1979. Time and weather have taken their toll over the last 35 years and Srila Prabhupada’s “Samadhi in the West” is in need of major renovation work.
The Story of Muni Cari, a devotee who suffered a serious car accident. A short documentary by Leigha Speirs-Hutton, Catherine Moreau-Hammond, Marah Roque and Tom MacGregor.
New Vrindaban, home of Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, will host its second annual Festival of Colors on Saturday, September 14, 2013 (11 am to 7 pm). The Festival of Colors is an exuberant event, full of excitement and many bright colors.
Srila Prabhupada’s vision for New Vrindaban includes four main topics, one of which is holy pilgrimage. New Vrindaban is, of course, an ongoing and very important place of holy pilgrimage for many devotees and guests from all over the world.
Srila Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, his samadhi in the West (in West Virginia, USA), attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Palace was recently elected by CNN travel as one of the eight religious wonders to see in U.S.
ISKCON New Vrindaban, ISKCON's first farm community is looking for devotees to help fulfill Srila Prabhupada's instruction and to serve the many devotees and pilgrims visiting.
New Vrindaban looking for devotees to help with the day-to-day operations as well as with implementation of Srila Prabhupada's instructions through the Master Plan.
The schedule of Festival of Inspiration in New Vrindaban, USA, May 6, 7 & 8th, 2011 has been announced. Among many other topics there will be discussions on the different aspect of family life, devotional practice, there will be music lessons, kirtana and drama performance.
ISKCON New Vrindavan has begun a search for candidates interested in applying for leadership positions in the United States. New Vrindavan, ISKCON’s old community and largest pilgrimage site in North America, is entering a new phase in operations and has opportunities for career services.
Experience the best of nature and spiritualism in New Vrindaban.
New Vrindaban Community will host the tenth annual Festival of Inspiration on May 7 – 9.
Due to a forceful winter, there is a lot of "getting ready" needed before the opening of New Vrindaban's Pilgrimage Season, which kicks off with Festival of Inspiration (May 7,8,9th).