In the last issue we highlighted the need to offer respect to the seven types of mothers mentioned in the Vedic literatures. In this article we will focus on the importance of giving respect to mother cow.
At Hare Krishna Valley we currently have seven older cows and bulls. They have spent most (if not all) of their lives here. They are grazing happily and spending their final years peacefully without fear of being slaughtered by those who protect them. We give them the same respect that we offer to our own parents: that is, we maintain and protect them in a spirit of love.
When Krishna and Balarama were on Earth, They practically displayed the importance of goods of protecting the cow and bull in Their pastimes. Every day They would take the cows into the pastures of Vrndavana and allow them to chew on the soft green grasses, especially on the side of Govardhana Hill. At the end of the day They would bring the cows back to Nandagrama, where Krishna and Balarama would personally milk them by hand. Thus The Lords demonstrated the special significance of displaying affection to the cows and bulls. Srila Prabhupada relentlessly attacked the modern civilization for opening and maintaining animal slaughterhouses. At this point in time, humanity is needlessly slaughtering seven billion animals annually. As all the ancient teachings of the world tell us, those who commit unnecessary violence toward the innocent creatures of the earth will receive the same violent reactions themselves. Srila Prabhupada pointed out that the wholesale slaughter of humanity in wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. can be directly attributed to the organized killing of animals.
At Hare Krishna Valley we receive the benefit of protecting the cows and bulls. Their presence invokes auspiciousness, and we receive the blessing of our presiding Deities Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai for looking after the cows and bulls nicely. Our agricultural manager, Manigriva Prabhu, daily inspects the herd and attends to any requirements they might have. It is said that that all of the 33 million demigods reside in the body of the cow, so simply by engaging in the service to the cows one receives unlimited benefit and the profuse blessings of Sri-Sri Krishna-Balarama.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam we are taught that the cow and bull are the personification of dharma, or religion. The cow is considered our mother because she supplies us with the most valuable of all foods – milk. Srila Prabhupada explains that by drinking warm milk, the finer tissue in the brain is nourished and one then develops the capacity to understand the intricacies of spiritual knowledge. From the cow we also receive pure products such as urine and stool which are considered to be antiseptic. Cow urine and stool are commonly used all over India to purify the house; and when dried, cow stool is a first class fuel for cooking.
The bull is considered to be our father because traditionally he was used to plough the fields and produce vegetables and grains. Srila Prabhupada states that the actual necessities of life are food and shelter. Therefore the bull is our father because he supplies humanity with the most precious commodity – food. Srila Prabhupada also pointed out that if we do not engage the bull in agriculture, people will consider him redundant and begin to eat him. Unfortunately this is what we’re seeing on the earth today.
At Hare Krishna Valley our mission is to work towards engaging the cow and bull in their traditional roles. In order for this to happen, we need like-minded people who are willing to give the time and energy to help us achieve this goal. Or if you would like to receive the benefit of maintaining our cows and bulls, you can help to financially sponsor the upkeep of a member of our herd. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Keshava dasa on 0405-577-453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon.
At this point in time a great deal of emphasis is being placed on the need for humanity to respond to the earth’s environmental crisis.
According to Vedic literatures, mankind has seven mothers: one’s natural mother, the wife of the guru, the wife of a brahmana, the wife of the king, a nurse, a cow, and – last but not least – mother earth. The natural duty of each of these mothers is to nourish and protect their dependents. In reciprocation, each of us is meant to respect and serve their seven mothers.
It is the responsibility of every human being to lower their environmental impact on mother earth. Modern society has developed unsustainable habits in its use of the earth’s natural resources. The pattern that has developed in recent history has been one of expansion as opposed to moderation. In the last hundred years we have witnessed an industrial explosion that has not been properly managed in terms of its impact on the earth’s ecology. Now we are experiencing the results in the form of global warming, rising costs of food and fuel, a global economic crisis, etc.
At Hare Krishna Valley, our motto is ‘natural living, high thinking.’ We are committed to setting an example of a sustainable lifestyle for the rest of the planet.
In the past we have invested in solar energy. One of the buildings on the property is fully solar powered, and our goal is to increase our use of solar energy in the future. We have also recently invested in several new water tanks to harvest the rainwater collected from the roofs. We are recycling our rubbish and aim to gradually reduce our rubbish waste as we become less dependent on the industrial world.
Srila Prabhupada desired that ISKCON’s farms become self-sufficient. In order to become fully self sufficient, we would require a community of around fifty people working in co-operation to fulfill the community needs. This would include growing much of our own food, making our own clothes, building our own buildings and producing our own oils for burning in lanterns. Any excess necessities could be traded with farmers from the local region. We are gradually working in this direction to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s dream.
At Hare Krishna Valley we are using wood as the primary means for heating our houses. In winter, Veda Priya cooks on top of our wood-fired stove. The wood fire simultaneously heats our hot water system, warms our home and provides the heat for our cooking. In this way we save on costly electricity and gas bills, and simultaneously lower our greenhouse gas emissions. And I can honestly say that prasadam tastes better when cooked using natural fuels such as wood or cow dung.
And most importantly, we are close to beginning our bio-dynamic farming. After four years of conditioning the soil to provide enough nutrients to grow vegetables, Manigriva Prabhu is ready to plant many varieties, beginning with broccoli and cauliflower. Srila Prabhupada pointed out that the real necessities of life are food and shelter. If we can provide these things for ourselves, then we have solved the problems of life. We can then use our valuable time to study the Srimad Bhagavatam and chant Hare Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada desired that ISKCON farms provide an example of the rural atmosphere enjoyed by Krishna and Balarama in Vrndavana. At Hare Krishna Valley we are attempting to fulfill this vision. In order to make this project a success, we require the help of many individuals. If you feel inspired to serve Lord Krishna in a rural environment, please contact Keshava das on 0405-577-453, or email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon!
In 2009 Hare Krishna Valley is seeing a lot of activity. We are working hard to finish renovating the two residential buildings that Vedasara, Sudevi and Manigriva, and Veda Priya and I will live in. With the main work almost completed, we can begin to focus on other important projects. This includes renovating the temple building and the second guest ashram to enable us to increase the frequency of retreats.
So far this year we have hosted two successful reteats. As usual Devamrta Maharaja’s retreat attracted a large group of young Indian people, who were treated to seminars on the Vedic perspective of life.
Prahladananda Swami delivered an enlivening presentation of Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda, which was well received by a group of fifteen guests. Between classes everyone relaxed and enjoyed bushwalks. At the end of the day, Maharaja gave a basic Bhagavad-gita lesson to tie together the material and spiritual sides of Vedic philosophy. Then guests and devotees alike enjoyed a melodic kirtana Maharaja led while playing harmonium.
As I write, we are arranging a retreat for the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June. It will be led by Mother Jagattarini and Bhurijana Prabhu. Such sadhana retreats provide perfect opportunities for devotees to improve their ability to hear and chant about Krishna. Since Melbourne’s congregational devotees are always eager to associate with advanced vaisnavas, no doubt by the time you read this, the retreat has changed your life.
Later in 2009 we are planning to hold an all-women’s retreat led by Jagattarini and Lasksmimoni Matajis. It will give the vaisnavis an opportunity to come together for a weekend of Krishna conscious association. Because family life is often very demanding, it is a challenge to stay focused in spiritual life. Retreating to Hare Krishna Valley allows us to absorb ourselves in Krishna consciousness, free from everyday distractions.
In the second half of the year we are planning several outreach retreats for the general public. Over the last ten years, we have received extremely positive responses to such retreats. Our approach is to present Krishna consciousness to people as a complete culture. Srila Prabhupada says that our movement will spread by ’cultural revolution.’ So instead of directly preaching to people about the Absolute Truth, we invite them to stay with us for a few days and experience a lifestyle based on natural living and high thinking. The result is that people become attracted to our peaceful way of life just by example.
Once the renovations are finished, we will install an agricultural grade water filter to purify spring water for use on our crops. Then Manigriva Prabhu will begin to grow vegetables in the market garden. Srila Prabhupada desires that our farms produce enough food to supply the farm communities. Our goal is also to supply vegetables to Melbourne temple, Gopal’s and Crossways. We pray to Prabhupada that we will please him by achieving this goal.
Hare Krishna Valley’s self-contained accommodation facilities continue to be popular. We hosted guests almost every weekend of January, and have been fully booked for every public holiday this year. The Valley is close to some of the State’s most popular tourist destinations, such as the Great Ocean Road and Erskine Falls. While guests enjoy a relaxing holiday, they can relish the spiritual association offered by devotees.
Hare Krishna Valley is an exciting project. We are attempting to realise Srila Prabhupada’s desire that ISKCON develops rural communities to demonstrate natural living and high thinking to others. In order to succeed, we need more devotees to join us in our commitment. So anyone who feels inspired to help develop Hare Krishna Valley into a model spiritual community is most welcome to contact me on 0405-577-453, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you come as a guest, on retreat, or to help, we look forward to meeting you at Hare Krishna Valley soon!
The 6 Goswamis of Vrindavana
Recently we erected a new sign at the front of the property. The sign is attractive and colorful, and promotes Hare Krishna Valley as a positive alternative to modern, materialistic society. Many local people have told us that the sign has invoked their curiosity to visit the farm, as they have always wondered what it is that we do there. So, what do the residents of Hare Krishna Valley do on a daily basis?
As our sign says, Hare Krishna Valley is a Bhakti-yoga ashram. The word ashram in Sanskrit literally means ‘a place of shelter.’ Everyone in this world is looking for shelter. As the old saying goes, ‘There is no place like home.’ Hare Krishna Valley is a place of shelter for those who are looking for respite from the modern, materialistic way of life.
As the ancient Vedic literatures of India – such as the Bhagavad-gita – teach us, our real shelter is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. When we connect to Krishna through the process of bhakti-yoga, our soul feels that is has finally reached the shelter that is has been searching for. The word yoga means to ‘unite’ or ‘connect,’ and bhakti means ‘with devotion.’ At Hare Krishna Valley we therefore connect everything that we do for the pleasure of Krishna in a spirit of devotion.
This means that each day we rise early in the morning and perform sadhana. Sadhana refers to spiritual practices that allow us to develop a higher state of consciousness. Our primary practice is the chanting of the Maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Because the names of Krishna are non-different from Him, by chanting the Maha-mantra we purify our consciousness of material desires, and invoke remembrance of Krishna within our minds. This in turn allows us to remember Krishna while performing our various activities throughout the day.
Another aspect of our daily sadhana is the study of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Srila Prabhupada instructed his followers to read his books every day, in order to develop spiritually strong intelligence. Therefore after purifying our consciousness by chanting, we attend a class on Srimad Bhagavatam, or engage in private reading. This allows us to become fixed in remembering the purpose behind our daily activities, which is to give pleasure to Krishna.
All of these spiritual practices are done for the pleasure of our Deities, Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, who mercifully preside over the farm. By worshiping the Lord in His personal Deity form, we develop the understanding that our lives are meant to bring satisfaction to Krishna. Most people in the world are absorbed in trying to satisfy themselves, but by worshiping the Deity, that selfish propensity is transformed into a selfless service attitude.
We then begin to perform our practical daily activities, which at this point in time includes a great deal of renovation work. Hare Krishna Valley is a 200 acre property with six main buildings, all of which require a lot of maintenance. One of our main objectives in improving the facilities here is so we can host members of our congregation in our newly renovated guest rooms. If you are interested in enjoying the tranquil atmosphere at Hare Krishna Valley, please contact us to arrange for your accommodation.
The other reason for improving the facilities here is so that we can organize more retreats for 2009. We are preparing to host three retreats with Devamrta Swami, and one each with Kadamba Kanana Swami and Bhurijana Prabhu. We are also planning to hold several yoga retreats in conjunction with our Urban Yoga Centre in Swanston Street, as well as several more alternative lifestyle retreats. If you are interested in attending any of these retreats, please book early, as places are limited.
We recently purchased a water filter to purify the spring water at Hare Krishna Valley. The spring water is high in iron and salt, and needs to be filtered so that we can use the water to nourish Bio-dynamic crops that we will plant in 2009. Manigriva Prabhu has been conditioning eight acres of soil here over the last two years with the aim of growing vegetables for use at Melbourne Temple, Crossways, and Gopal’s.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in developing Hare Krishna Valley, in visiting, or in staying for some time, please contact me on 0405-577-453 or .
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Books by Srila Prabhupada
When Srila Prabhupada first registered ISKCON as a legal entity in New York in 1966, he gave seven purposes as its aim. The sixth aim is directly in relation to ISKCON‘s farm communities, and reads as follows: ‘To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.‘ Therefore at Hare Krishna Valley we have chosen as our motto, ‘Natural living, high thinking,‘ based upon Srila Prabhupada‘s vision for our farm communities.
ISKCON‘s first farm was purchased by several of Srila Prabhupada‘s followers in West Virginia in the United States in 1967. Srila Prabhupada named the property ‘New Vrndavana.‘ He wanted the farms of our movement to demonstrate a lifestyle that replicated the rural atmosphere that Krsna and Balarama enjoyed as cowherd boys in Vrndavana. This was an important part of Srila Prabhupada‘s strategy for spreading Krsna consciousness throughout the world: to practically demonstrate a simplified way of life.
If we analyze Srila Prabhupada‘s purpose for our farm communities, the first line states, ‘To bring the members closer together‘ As we all know from personal experience, it is becoming increasingly difficult to successfully bring people together in a cooperative spirit. This is because the Age of Kali – where we currently reside – is known as the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Therefore we require a practical solution to this difficulty. Srila Prabhupada taught us that in order for people to live harmoniously together, it is necessary that they place Krsna in the center of their relationships. At Hare Krishna Valley we are regularly holding kirtana and Srimad Bhagavatam classes in the temple for the pleasure of our presiding Deities Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai. In this way we are able to constantly remind ourselves that we are performing our duties for Krsna‘s pleasure, and we naturally feel close to each other on the spiritual platform.
The next part of our farms purpose reads, ‘for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.‘ As we are currently experiencing, the world has become an extremely complicated place. Life in modern cities is more hectic and stressful than ever before. People‘s lives are becoming less satisfying as they are being forced to live under increasing pressure at an ever-quickening pace.
Hare Krishna Valley, on the other hand, is demonstrating a positive alternative to modern, industrialized life. In the mornings, the devotees at Hare Krishna Valley rise early, chant Hare Krishna, worship the Deity and hear Srimad Bhagavatam in a relaxed fashion, without the pressure of having to rush off to some other engagement. They then engage in their daily activities surrounded by the peaceful, country environment. Srila Prabhupada pointed out that the cities, which are created by man, are in the mode of passion; whereas the country, which is created by Krishna, is in the mode of goodness. Hare Krishna Valley is therefore conducive to practicing Krsna consciousness. We thus encourage other devotees who are interested to practice a simple, Krsna conscious lifestyle in a natural environment to contact us if they are interested in making a change to country life. No doubt this is a challenge, but with appropriate planning, this dream can manifest into a reality.
Srila Prabhupada mentioned that ISKCON‘s farms should develop ‘cottage industries.‘ In other words, the economy of those residing around the farm should be generated from the natural resources provided by the farm. This is now one of the essential focuses of those residing at Hare Krishna Valley. We have developed several strategies to create an income to maintain the resident devotees. These include accommodation for guests, retreats, bio-dynamic farming and a nursery.
If you are interested in investing your time or money for developing this important project, we would be happy to discuss our plans with you. Please feel free to take advantage of our excellent guest facilities at your leisure. We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon.
Please contact Keshava on 0405 577 453 or email@example.com for more details
In the beginning of January, my wife Veda Priya and I moved to the Hare Krishna farm on a permanent basis. Our goal was to establish a bed and breakfast facility and to run a retreat center. Over the last six months we have upgraded the guest facilities to make them more comfortable for our visitors. The bed and breakfast facilities are now ready for people to enjoy, and we warmly welcome all of our members and friends to take advantage of the country atmosphere.
Our facilities include a peaceful Temple room – enjoyed by our Deities Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai – and an extensive Vedic library. Outside there is a children’s playground and a games room. We are surrounded by State Forest, so there are many beautiful bush walks to explore. You can also visit our cows, and enjoy watching native animals like kangaroos and echidnas that live around us.
We have renamed the farm Hare Krishna Valley. We will soon have a new sign at the front of the farm, so that everyone who drives past will know where the Hare Krishnas are. People we meet locally ask us, ‘Do you still have that farm in Bambra?’ And we have been replying, ‘Yes. Things have been a little quiet there for a while, but there is a fresh momentum beginning to manifest!’
Recently Manigriva and his wife Sudevi also moved to Hare Krishna Valley. They are busy renovating their house and looking after their one-year-old daughter Vedasara. Manigriva plans to begin bio-dynamic farming here in the near future. Bio-dynamic farming is a method of farming which works in harmony with nature. It avoids the use of harmful chemicals, thereby protecting the environment. On the eight acres which we have set aside for agriculture we plan to produce enough vegetables to supply the Melbourne Temple, Crossways and Gopals Vegetarian Restaurant.
Since the beginning of the year, we have been holding a regular Sunday feast on the second Sunday of the month. The program begins at 12 noon with a kirtan and spiritual discussion, followed by a sumptuous vegetarian feast. The attendance at the program has continued to grow each month, with the guests enjoying the opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation in a country environment. Children are able to play peacefully while parents attend the spiritual discussion. After feasting, everyone relaxes and enjoys wandering around the farm and forest. Please feel welcome to come and join us some Sunday! Remember to ring us a few days before to confirm numbers so that we can cook enough for everyone!
Srila Prabhupada desired that ISKCON’s rural communities would flourish and become an ideal example of natural living and high thinking to the rest of the world. Modern society is currently too passionate for material pursuits. In order to check this imbalance in the world, Hare Krishna Valley is attempting to demonstrate a positive alternative where people can live a natural life on the land, and pursue spiritual enlightenment in Krishna consciousness. This is a great challenge for the two couples currently residing here, but with the support of our members and friends and Lord Krishna’s blessing, success is guaranteed.
If you would like to become more involved in developing Hare Krishna Valley, then please contact Keshava on 5288 7383 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There are many opportunities for service available for anyone who would like to spend some time in the country uplifting themselves spiritually. If you would like to contribute financially towards improving the facilities here we have many projects for you to choose from, such as cow protection, crop and machinery maintenance, and development of the children’s playground, just to name a few.
We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon!
Hare Krishna Valley was founded in 1987, as a rural community for the members of the Hare Krishna Movement. The beginning years saw the development of a great deal of infrastructure, including residential buildings, a school, ashrama buildings, a bridge, a dairy and a market garden. The goal was to practice a Krishna conscious lifestyle in a peaceful, country environment.
Recently, some fresh momentum has been injected into Hare Krishna Valley. This includes a new project manager Kesava and his wife Veda. They have been further joined by a new agriculture manager Manigriva. This new team is providing fresh inspiration to develop Hare Krishna Valley into a role model eco-community for the rest of the world.
Our motto at Hare Krishna Valley is “natural living, high thinking”. Natural living means that we live a comfortable, uncomplicated life in harmony with nature. By reducing our “wants” to “needs”, we manage to live in a peaceful state of mind. Peace of mind is a prerequisite to true happiness.
All of humanity’s needs can be amply supplied from Mother Nature. At Hare Krishna Valley we aim to develop a self-sufficient farm community in which we gratefully receive our gifts from the earth and in return protect the earth from unnecessary harm. Our projects include an investment in bio-dynamic farming, a humanitarian dairy, protection of wild life, forest regeneration and developing solar energy.
Our resident members live together in a spirit of love and trust. We co-operate together to further the development of the community. Visitors are treated as welcome friends and are encouraged to use their strengths to develop a positive future. Hare Krishna Valley is a spiritual sanctuary, a place where guests can rejuvenate themselves and feel part of a greater family.
Our natural lifestyle allows us to concentrate more freely on high thinking. This means that we are able to afford the time to contemplate the “bigger picture”. Our members live an enlightened existence, with a higher purpose. We dedicate all of our activities for the pleasure of Krishna, the supreme entity. We engage in meditative chanting every day, study the ancient Vedic teachings of India and regularly come together to share realizations of our journey.
We warmly invite all other sincere seekers to join in on the development of Hare Krishna Valley, a positive alternative community.