In New Vrindaban, West Virginia, ISKCON’s first rural community which Srila Prabhupada earmarked as an example of sustainability to the world, resident devotees are using the pandemic to push themselves closer to their goal of self-sufficiency.
From letters Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciples, we know that he envisioned New Vrindaban as, among other things, a holy place of pilgrimage in North America, where devotees could gather for spiritual education.
The Living Name Retreat is a unique experience focused on reigniting one’s relationship with the Holy Name.
In West Virginia, the first frost can hit in Fall and the last in late Spring, halting the growing season all the way from October to May. But devotees in New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm community have just introduced three high tunnel greenhouses, allowing them to offer locally grown flowers and vegetables to Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra and the temple kitchens all year round.
Srila Prabhupada’s Palace is one of ISKCON’s most impressive achievements. Built by young, inexperienced devotees who trained themselves in construction and artisanal skills, it began in 1973 as a simple residence for Prabhupada.
Devotees began building the Palace themselves back in 1973 as a residence for Srila Prabhupada, when he expressed a desire to retire to New Vrindaban and translate his books. Young and inexperienced, they trained themselves in construction and artisanal skills.
“We’d like devotees in all the city temples in North America and beyond to consider New Vrindaban their country home, a place where they can recuperate and regenerate physically and spiritually,” says ISKCON New Vrindaban communications director Anuradha Dasi.
Around 150 devotees are expected to travel in from all over the USA as well as from Europe and other locations for the retreat, which will run Mother’s Day Weekend from May 10th to 12th.
In his grand vision for New Vrindaban, Srila Prabhupada regularly described cow protection and local agriculture as the “main business” for its residents.
Excitement is ramping up for “MAN-tra,” ISKCON’s first ever Men’s Retreat, to be held in New Vrindaban and headlined by Bhaktimarga Swami, Gaura Vani, and comedian Yadunath Das. The event is subtitled “Being a KC Guy in the 21st Century,” and is gathering hype as the place to be this fall.