Over 500 devotees and guests had flooded in from all over the US for the biggest public event ISKCON had so far.
This article is part of a series connecting New Vrindaban, ISKCON's first farm community, to the grand visions by Srila Prabhupada.
Launched in 2000, Festival of Inspiration kicked off the “spiritual retreat holiday” template that is so common throughout ISKCON today, and with its packed roster of seminars on a broad range of topics, it remains one of the most popular and unique.
June 21st, 1976 was a normal day at the Pittsburgh International airport until a group of Krishna devotees from New Vrindaban appeared.
For thirty years, a very special Lord Nrsimhadeva Deity has protected the devotees of New Vrindaban and all of North America, and received their love and service. Now, residents of the West Virginia village want to invite people from all over North America to come celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of His installation, and to behold the only full-size Nrsimha Deity on the continent, on His sacred appearance day.
The first Kulimela, held in New Vrindaban, West Virginia in 2006, was an effort by ISKCON’s second generation to move away from party-style gurukuli reunions and explore their identity and what they could accomplish both materially and spiritually. The 10th anniversary of that Mela, which also took place in New Vrindaban from June 15th to 19th this year, took those themes further and showed new levels of maturity and stability amongst the Kuli community, while still being full of joy and celebration.
A two-and-a-half hour musical production of India’s ancient epic the Ramayana entitled “Ramayana: Past in Present” premiered from August 25th to 28th in the Kelley Theater at West Liberty University, West Virginia, USA. Opening on Janmastami night with an auspicious 108 people in the audience, the musical carried students and faculty into a whole new world of culture, adventure and philosophy.
The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, is facing a familiar legal battle over its proposed Rover Pipeline. A Hare Krishna community in West Virginia is challenging the project on religious grounds, saying that the pipeline's planned route could cut through sacred lands. While the religious organization signed leases in 2010 and 2014 to sell the natural gas under its properties, according to its federal lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in Wheeling on Tuesday, those leases do not allow for any surface disturbances and blocks off sacred areas from outside intrusion.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
In his grand vision for New Vrindaban, Srila Prabhupada regularly described cow protection and local agriculture as the “main business” for its residents.
Around 150 devotees are expected to travel in from all over the USA as well as from Europe and other locations for the retreat, which will run Mother’s Day Weekend from May 10th to 12th.
“We’d like devotees in all the city temples in North America and beyond to consider New Vrindaban their country home, a place where they can recuperate and regenerate physically and spiritually,” says ISKCON New Vrindaban communications director Anuradha Dasi.