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 firstname.lastname@example.org.