On the 50th anniversary of ISKCON, the Hungarian devotees make increased efforts to attract more and more people to special events. This year New Vraja Dhama (NVD) is introducing several such popular festivals, like the Henna Festival, Festival of Flowers, Karela and Pumpkin festival etc. One of these popular events is the first grazing of the cows.
Cow protection is central to Vaishnavism, and this is very much in the focus at New Vraja Dhama, which is known as Krishna Valley to the general public in Hungary.
To spread awareness of the importance of cows and their well-being for a peaceful and prosperous society, the devotees at New Vraja Dham organise a special festival every spring to celebrate the first grazing of the cows after a cold winter.
Happy cows in Krishna Valley
The festival, held on 16 April 2016, had some very special guests this year.
Organised by Mrs. Kavita Chhabra, wife of the Indian ambassador in Budapest, a group of the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Hungary came to see NVD. The visit was a first ever of its kind, although a long succession of Indian ambassadors have come to NVD as if regulars.
Apart from the Indian ambassador and his wife, who were co-hosting the program, the countries represented were:
The visitors touring Krishna valley
The Indian ambassador and his wife were kind enough to arrive half an hour earlier and received the guests with us. She was very enthusiastic to show her friends a piece of Indian culture in a country so far from geographical India.
As it is only natural in a Vedic setting, the guests were asked to come to the Goshala (cow stable) first where they were greeted by Radha Krsna das, zonal supervisor. He introduced the Eco-valley Foundation, which is a research centre and educational institution to spread knowledge pertaining to sustainable economy and lifestyle. From there we walked to the nearby hill of Nandagram, which offers an excellent view of the Goshala and the pastures. The illustrious group viewed the first grazing of the cows with amazement as the cows behaved like schoolchildren, being eager to go to the fresh green pastures after a long winter in the barn. They were running, jumping, rolling in the fresh grass.
This bucolic sight was at the same time amusing and moving, because it highlighted how happy those cows are in the realm of New Vraja Dham’s presiding Deities, Radhe-Syama, where their well-being is guaranteed for their whole lifetime.
From there the group went to the organic garden to get an explanation of sustainable farming, then went on to the temple to have darshan of Sri Sri Radhe Syama. It is remarkable that, although the group was from various religious backgrounds, everyone appreciated the beautiful setting, the beauty of the Deities and the wonderful decoration of the altar.
The guests in one of the green houses
A lunch followed at the newly opened Radhe Resort, an aspiring 4 star hotel, which had just been inaugurated the day before. It was a funny sight to look at the row of big cruiser cars with special diplomatic number plates on them.
The prasadam was prepared by one of the best cooks in the Hungarian Yatra, Tulasi das, to the usual high standards. After the delicious lunch, the guests left with ecstatic thanks for the wonderful experience.
Here are some of the enthusiastic comments by the guests:
„All that we had seen was wonderful and if the whole world were to follow this lifestyle, there would be no scarcity of food and no conflicts among nations.”
„I want to become a vegetarian if such wonderful food is available.”
Diplomat cars in front of the Radhe Resort
A journalist from regional paper made an interview with the Indian ambassador who poured praise on the devotees for „walking the talk” and appreciated the high standards at the temple and the farm alike.
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