Brrrr: With temperatures in the single digits, it is taking a good bit of effort to keep everyone warm - Our Sri Sri Radha Damodar, the devotees, the cows, guests.
Boiler Update: An update on the boiler is that we have the new boiler purchased yet were on hold regarding the installation waiting on some parts and the availability of the contractor to professionally install the wood boiler. We are making progress as the contractor is on site today. So let’s see how we make out here.
Temple President's Forum: I missed attending the North American Temple President’s Forum this year due to commitments here at the farm. However, I made special arrangements for Sikhi Mahiti Prabhu, Temple President of ISKCON Philadelphia, to represent Gita Nagari. It is enlivening how the movement is growing in NA despite our various challenges.
Celebration: We are excited to celebrate the Divine Appearance of Lord Nityananda Prabhu this Sunday, February 1st - please join in
By Satyaraja Dasa
Building a community where life centers on Lord Krishna's teachings in the Bhagavad-gita.
In a 1956 issue of Back to Godhead magazine (Volume 3, Part 6), Srila Prabhupada wrote what is tantamount to a mission statement for a Krishna conscious farm community. Here's an excerpt from the article titled "How to Broadcast the Teachings of Bhagwat Geeta":
Geeta Nagari will therefore be the main preaching centre of the Supreme Authority of Sree Krishna the Personality of Godhead. . . . It shall be proclaimed from that place that Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Absolute Enjoyer of all benefits derived from all kinds of works, sacrifice, cultivation of knowledge, that He is the Absolute Proprietor of all the material and spiritual worlds, that He is the unalloyed friend and philosopher of all living entities, namely the gods or the rulers, the general people, the beasts and the birds, the reptiles, plants and trees and all other animals residing in every nook and corner of the great universes. When such knowledge will be fostered from the vantage of the Geeta Nagari, at that time only real peace and prosperity will usher in the world so anxiously awaited by the people of the world.
Throughout the article, Prabhupada outlines the general principles of what would become his International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He gives special attention to helping people live spiritually and close to nature and the land. On the second point, he refers to the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he mentions several times in the article.
Planning, planning, planing - that is pretty much what is going on right now, in addition to our daily services of Deity Worship, Serving the Cows, Cooking, Cleaning and Maintaining the facility. We are behind in our planning actually (we usually have this bedded down by November of the previous year), so hence the focussed effort now.
Our plans are set according to the following facets of our “Gita Nagari Strategic Model/Framework”:
- Cows / Oxen
- Economic Model / Prosperity
- Public Relations
- Research and Development
- Governance and Compliance
Here is a graphic representation:
Core / central to Gita Nagari’s existence, purpose and therefore vision are:
- Sri Sri Radha Damodara / Deities
- Cows / oxen
- Economic Model/Prosperity
A further essential element and activity is OUTREACH
Elements which FACILITATE the achievement of the CORE and OUTREACH are:
- Public Relations
- Research & Development
- Governance & Compliance
And are therefore called FACILITATORS
We will share those plans in the coming weeks.
We have also compiled a “Vision Statement” (in 2013) based on our understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s Conception of Gita Nagari, 1956 and are revisiting that too - here is what we came up with:
And of course, a Mission Statement on how will we aspire or strive for this:
In order to achieve our Vision, we will:
- offer each resident the opportunity to realize their full potential by engaging their everything, wealth and intelligence, daily in the activities of GN, thereby experiencing fulfillment
- cultivate spiritual knowledge and offer quality and focused training on personal character, sustainable agriculture, cow protection and ox power, spiritual standards and practices, and other general and civic services
- offer each resident a holistic and natural lifestyle encompassing care for the body, mind and soul
- protect the cow and bull/oxen and engage them meaningfully
- derive the full wealth of the land through sustainable agricultural practices, thereby offering the freshest and most wholesome food to our residents and stakeholders, and the community at large
- reach out to society and invite them to experience the natural lifestyle and to participate in holistic growth and development activities on-site
So as you can see, there is a lot to work through, understand, apply and execute on :)!
We look forward to sharing with you and welcome your input.
Please join us in celebrating Nityananda Trayodasi
(fast till noon)
Sunday February 1, 2015
4-4:15pm Arati and Kirtan
4:15-5pm Abisheka of deities
5-5:40pm Class- Yasoda Mayi dd
5:45Pm Feast and fellowship
Birthday: We had an enlivening time at Mayapurcandra Prabhu’s Dad’s Appearance Day celebration. It was great to meet family and friends and update them with our farm happenings and plans for 2015.
Boiler: The icy weather continues. This has held up the boiler installation. We still plan to have that completed by this weekend.
Cows: Much of my time in the winter is ensuring that the cows are warm and well fed, that is, their barn is cleaned out and freshly bedded and their feeders are well topped up. When they are content, we all are too:).
Crops: We are in the midst of much planning. We had a productive meeting on our vegetable crop planning for this coming growing season. Our goal is to grow for our own consumption here, and if there is surplus, we will take that to market, to our nearby City Temple Projects. Meetings on our Dairy Program continue. And Retreat conversations are well underway with the respective Organizing Teams.
Communication: We are also working on a more interactive communication board at the temple - it is still work in progress. Our goal is to keep you all updated and involved.
Yoga: We are loving our weekly Yoga Classes by Mother Jhulan Yatra - even I attend and am so much better off :).
Kirtan: And Kirtan every Friday evenings are super sweet.
Next: I have yet to share some highlights of last year and the plans for the year ahead - I will do that soon.
Gita Nagari in Winter
Photographs by Erik Mc Gregor