Spiritual Community…

At the Sunday Feast we held this week at Hare Krishna Valley, we had an attendance of around 120 guests, which made for a lot of work but also for a great deal of satisfaction in seeing so many people engaged in spiritual activity together.

Sunday Feast

Our cows escaped temporarily from our south eastern boundary, so Manigriva and the Woofers cleared around the old fence line and then put in a new fence.

Clearing Fence

We also took our Woofers on a bush walk to Erskine falls, which did not have very much water in it at this time of year.

Erskine Waterfalls

The Krishna Monk…

Last week I traveled through Torquay on the way back to the farm to drop off posters for our upcoming hall event. We will give a public presentation called “How to find Inner Peace in the Modern World”, and also include some chanting and then serve a delicious vegetarian feast. The hall is booked for Wednesday, February 26th.

poster_for_Krishna_monk3

To coincide with the hall programme, we have launched a new website www.thekrishnamonk.com. On this website I will run a daily blog, and also give news of upcoming events.

RathYatra2014

On the weekend we attended the St. Kilda Festival, where the Hare Krishna Movement set up a Village of Peace to entertain the crowd, and also performed our annual Festival of the Chariot.

Mulching Of Farm

Meanwhile, back at Hare Krishna Valley, Manigriva continued with the slashing of the long grass around the property, and making some serious progress.

We look forward to speaking to you again next week.
Until then, I remain yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada.

Keshava Dasa.

Tranquil Retreats…

We had to cancel the retreat we had planned last weekend at Hare Krishna Valley due to the hot weather. A number of families with their children were booked to attend the retreat, but they began to pull out on the Friday due to the forecast.

Yoga

The weekend before we held an Ayurveda and Yoga retreat with Prahladananda Swami which was attended by a nice group of guests who said that they were deeply moved by their time spent at Hare Krishna Valley.

Calf

This is a picture of our new bull calf, Giridhari, who was donated to us by the farmer that we bought our other three cows off. The farmer gave him to us because he understood that Giridhari would be protected, as we do not slaughter our animals, but allow them to live their full lives peacefully.

We look forward to speaking to you again next week.
Until then, I remain yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada.

Keshava Dasa.

Hare Krishna Valley Report Gaura Purnima 2014 – Rasanandini Dasi

As we get ready to print FOLK news early in December, the Valley devotees are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first three Brahman cows. These beautiful cows will be bred back to the original Gir strain. This new milking herd will grow to include forty members. You can read more about our Care For Cows Program on page 15.

Kesava and Manigriva are also planning a Holi – Festival of Colours – celebration for the northern Temple lawns on Sunday April the 27th. They have won the approval of the Surf Coast Shire Council, and Manigriva – in expectation of a large attendance – has already chisel-plowed an area of additional carparking. The devotees hope the Festival will become a yearly event.
While we will celebrate Holi in the mild Victorian Autumn, according to the purnimanta calculation of the lunar year Holi (Phalguni Purnima) is the last day of the Vedic year. Traditionally Holi heralds the beginning both of the New Year and (vasanta-mahotsava) of Spring.

The Festival of Colours is celebrated with special importance in Northern India because solemnises the love of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna. The spraying of coloured powder recalls the loving sports between Lord Krishna and His topmost devotees. It is a festival that breathes an atmosphere of fun. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace – throwing dry colours on friends and foe alike – and their worries to the wind.

At Hare Krishna Valley the Festival of Colours will include a Vedic Village that includes a sound-stage featuring Sri Prahlada & Band, prasadam distribution and body-painting. The Festival of Colours at the Valley is shaping up to be an exciting, fun-filled day. Be sure to watch out for more details in January when special VIPs will be confirmed.
In October the devotees catered at the Birregurra Weekend Festival and hosted the wedding of Bhaktin Sonia. Manigriva and our WWOOFers have begun summer vegetable plantings and are preparing for the fire season with their first round of mulching Spring grasses.

To get advance notice of upcoming events (we are planning retreats for February-March) keep an eye on the Valley’s new-look blog at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au. Or check the Melbourne Temple noticeboards and its website at harekrishnamelbourne.com.au. At the Valley website you can get a glimpse of the farm or book accommodation. If you are interested in staying for a few days or helping to develop Hare Krishna Valley, you can also contact Kesava Dasa on 0405-577-453 or keshava.tkg@pamho.net.

Hare Krishna Valley Report Diwali 2013 – Rasanandini Dasi

It’s a sign of the times. July was the hottest on record. The almond tree at Giriraja Govardhana Ashram bloomed in early August. Normally it wouldn’t flower until September, but because of global warming Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth) is changing.

Australia’s Climate Change Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery explains, “Victoria forms part of Australia’s southern fringe. Lying between the deserts to the northwest, and oceans to the south, it has seen dramatic shifts of climate in the geologically recent past. Now, because of the volume of coal, oil, and gas humans are burning, the state’s climate is changing again (climatecommission.gov.au).” Out of respect for Bhumi Devi’s service to Krishna, we are living simply to reduce climate change and encourage everyone to do likewise.

June saw Manigriva and crew taking advantage of good weather to improve fencing. They worked hard to establish a number of new fences and fix old ones. Paddocks are being prepared to house new cows the devotees plan to purchase. Manigriva and Dayal Nitai also worked on winter crops of beetroot and lettuce.

Christian Jenkins and his family, who live at the front of Hare Krishna Valley, purchased two young Alpacas. They will forage on the Jenkins’ block as pets and are slowly getting used to their new family. Christian’s wife Jacqui is learning how to harvest and use the Alpaca’s super-warm fleece.

Manigriva and Tarini Rupa demonstrated vegetarian cooking to the Valley’s Winchelsea neighbours at the town’s Community House. In response many said they were considering adopting a vegetarian diet.

In July Hare Krishna Valley devotees erected new signs – painted in Melbourne by Arun and Tania – to improve visitors’ entry to the Temple complex. They also sowed oats into the farm’s six acres of agricultural land: a green manure crop to improve soil quality. Dayal Nitai tended nursery shrubs that will be on-sold to Melbourne landscaping companies.

To get advance notice of upcoming retreats – like world-famous chef Kurma’s recent visit in September – keep an eye on the Valley’s blog at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au/blog. Or check the Melbourne Temple noticeboards and its website at harekrishnamelbourne.com.au. At the Valley’s website you can get a glimpse of the farm or book accommodation. If you are interested in staying for a few days or helping to develop Hare Krishna Valley, you can also contact Keshava dasa on 0405-577-453 or keshava.tkg@pamho.net.

Hare Krishna Valley Report Janmastami 2013 – Rasanandini Dasi

Hare Krishna Valley hosts a series of retreats over autumn and winter. This year they included retreats on Vegetarian Cooking; Vedic Astrology; Japa, Kirtan and Krishna-katha (with Bhurijan Prabhu and Jagattarini Mataji); Student Retreats with Devamrita Maharaja; Bhakti Yoga (with Melbourne University Bhakti Yoga Club) and a Sri Vaishnava Retreat (with devotees from the Shiva Ashram).

To get advance notice of upcoming retreats, keep an eye on the Valley’s blog at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au/blog, or the Temple noticeboards and its website at http://www.iskcon.net.au.

WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) from countries as diverse as Colombia, Japan, Holland and France regularly work at the Valley. They all enjoy a genuine taste of Krishna Conscious culture during their stay and contribute to the maintenance of the farm project. Afterwards some are fortunate enough to visit the Temple or even join us in the ashrams.

In May devotees from Melbourne helped with the farm’s bi-annual wood chop. They harvested the 30 tonnes of wood that keep Valley residents and guests warm over winter.

The devotees continue to maintain and upgrade the buildings and farm facilities for the pleasure of visitors. The ashrams are often rented out as bed and breakfast accommodation. In the Temple area the water tanks are being cleaned and filters attached. The tanks themselves are being decorated with Krishna conscious street art. A new sound system has been installed in the Temple room. You can also listen live via your smartphone to Melbourne classes using Serverroom (http://serverroom.us/radio/283984).

Hare Krishna Valley continues to attract substantial interest in its monthly Sunday feast program (hosting around 60 guests) and Geelong-based Bhakti Vriksha group.

This autumn Manigriva’s market garden harvest featured sweet and juicy vine-ripened tomatoes (yum), pumpkins, yellow squash, potatoes, chard and delicious herbs like basil and coriander. The organic market garden means that the farm in almost self-sufficient in its vegetable needs, and moreover generates a profit from selling excess produce.

To get a glimpse of the farm or to book accommodation, visit the Valley website at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au. If you are interested in staying for a few days or helping to develop Hare Krishna Valley, you can also contact Keshava dasa on 0405-577-453 or keshava.tkg@pamho.net.

Hare Krishna Valley Report Gaura Purnima 2013

Things have been busy at Hare Krishna Valley. Besides our regular Sunday Feast Program, well attended by guests from the local area, in January we catered at the Tranquillity Fair in Ocean Grove. There we distributed over two hundred plates of our delicious vegetarian prasadam to festival-goers. In October Hare Krishna Valley devotees also catered at the Birregurra Annual Festival. Person after person told us that they wait all year to taste one of our cauliflower pakoras! People become very attached to Hare Krishna food after enjoying prasadam at the Festival year after year.

We continue to conduct home programmes, including some in Ocean Grove. These programs attract our hosts’ friends and neighbours to Krishna conscious culture.

A number of volunteers from the WWoofer program stayed with us over spring and summer. Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWoofer) is a great way to work and travel Australia. Volunteers receive free accommodation and meals in return for around four hours’ work per day. Around 1,900 farms in Australia participate. Our WWoofers have been a great help with painting and gardening around the farm. Meanwhile Manigriva is harvesting our summer crops, both for farm use and for sale to organic vegie suppliers.

Unfortunately Madhu Mangala, our last surviving bull, passed away in January. This leaves the farm comunity with one cow, one goat, two dogs, together with lots of kangaroos and parrots!

On a positive note, our friendly electrician Heath installed new LED lighting in the Temple building. The new lights are eco-friendly and create a softer mood within the Temple room. Practically every weekend last year Christian Jenkins worked to complete his house in the residential subdivision. He planned to move in by January. The new residents will give a major boost to our community as Christian and his family lend their talents to developing the farm project.

In October we completed our half-yearly wood chop. A group of kind devotee friends from Melbourne came down to the farm to help us to cut thirty five tonnes of wood. The freshly-cut wood will dry over the next twelve months for use in a future winter. That month we also hosted a Bhakti Yoga Ayurveda Retreat, attended by an enthusiastic group of participants from Melbourne and Geelong. Four participants had attended one or more of our retreats in the past few years. In February Prahladananda Swami will host an Ayurveda and Yoga Retreat.

To get a glimpse of the Valley, read the blog, or to book accommodation, visit the Valley website at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au. If you are interested in staying for a few days or helping to make Hare Krishna Valley a success, you can also contact Keshava dasa on 0405-577-453 or keshava.tkg@pamho.net.

Hare Krishna Valley Report Diwali 2012

Over winter the devotees at Hare Krishna Valley busily continued to develop ISKCON’s farm project. The micro-community hosted a series of well-received Retreats, with special guests including Devamrita Maharaja, Bhurijana Prabhu and Mother Jagattarini. World-famous vegetarian chef Kurma Dasa’s retreats included cooking lessons, yoga, meditative chanting, bush walking and feasting. One appreciative participant writes:
“I especially enjoyed – along with the warmth and hospitality – the openness and sharing about your beliefs, Krishna and being invited to join the singing. The retreat exceeded my expectations. I simply was looking forward to learning to use spices to prepare more nutritious food. I learnt to think about how nutrition really nourishes us deeply – and in sharing it – our soul.

Driving home my friend remarked that although we did eat generous amounts of food – a bit beyond our normal consumption because its new, flavoursome and we helped cook it – it was a good thing to not come away from the retreat thinking eating vegetarian leaves you hungry (a common misconception amongst meat-eaters justifying their reliance on animal products). It was quite a delight to go home with a sample of the food, a real boon for the hungry family at home, keen to see what we’d been learning.

From a woman who lives a very highly-scheduled rush and hurry life in the city, I offer you my heartfelt appreciation for some time to retreat and relax into feeling more human; some time for sharing, some time for singing. Namaste, Milica.”

So we can understand that a small taste of Krishna-conscious culture can transform the minds and hearts of our visitors. Each month the Valley devotees attract between fifty and seventy guests to their Sunday Feast program. In addition they continue to host regular Bhakti Vriksha meetings in Geelong.

Tour groups also continue to enjoy visiting the Valley. Over winter they included a group from the Golden Plains Shire Council and another from a Melbourne-based Indian Youth Group. The groups enjoyed tours of the Temple, Manigriva’s biodynamic farm and Keshava and Veda’s eco-house.

The Valley devotees have nicely renovated Balarama Ashrama and installed attractive wooden floors in the Temple complex’s prasadam and activity rooms.

On the residential sub-division adjacent to the farm, Christian and Jacqui Jenkins hope to move their family into their owner-built house within the next four months. Christian owns the award-winning landscaping business Christian Jenkins Design.

To get a glimpse of the Valley, read the blog, or to book accommodation, visit the Valley website at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au. If you are interested in staying for a few days or helping to make Hare Krishna Valley a success, you can also contact Keshava dasa on 0405-577-453 or keshava.tkg@pamho.net.