Wednesday, 7 March 2012

"Nandagram" cynosure of all eyes at ILS

Those who attended ILS (ISKCON Leadership Sangha) could never miss it! It
was right in the middle, large and beautiful! Birds of the same feather
(people interested in cultural presentation of Krisna Conscious living) also
flocked there! It brought color to the whole program and the aroma of rich
culture of Bhagavat dharma and Varnasrama dharma. "Nandagram" set up right
in the middle was indeed cynosure of all eyes at ILS!
"Our philosophy is that you produce your food anywhere. You stay, and keep
cows, take milk, produce vegetables, food grains, and chant Hare Krsna.
That's all. This is our philosophy. Make your life successful. By becoming
Krsna conscious, you become free from all these troubles of material
condition. This is our education. Don't be after these motorcars,
television, and all nonsense things, sporting, wine, women. Don't be after
these. Simply eat sufficiently, keep your health nicely, chant Hare Krsna,
realize Krsna, and go back to home. This is our philosophy."
- May 24, 1974, Rome
"Nandagram" was an expression of this practical vision of Srila Prabhupada
and acharyas. The very purpose of Nandagram was to infect all with this
vision of Srila Prabhupada. The seminars and workshops conducted at
Nandagram pulled in the crowd much more closer to this goal. His Grace
Yogesh Chandra Prabhu partnered with Bhakta Bhavsar Prabhu, both from Mumbai
demostrated how disasters can strike anywhere and how one has to be prepared
for it. We have seen devotees' life in danger when fire breaks out in
temples or communities and it is very important to be armed with such
knowledge and practice. Yogesh Chandra Prabhu is also heading up the
Ksatriya department as Director, for the ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry
established in India. The department is on its way to establish two
training facilities in Mumbai called- Parasuram Martial Arts training and
another one called- Chanakya Academy (for training one in competitive exams
such as IAS, IPS, etc).
A team of 12 devotees lead by His Grace Harikirtan Prabhu and His Grace Ram
Laxman Prabhu travelled from remote village in Southern Andhra Pradesh to
display two wonderful dramas called - "Healthier devotees, happier devotees-
offering pure bhoga to the Lord", and another drama called -"Make Vrindavan
Two seminars conducted by Village Initiative Committee were: "Building
Sustainable Communities" by H.G.Gokul Prabhu and another seminar called -
"Village Culture" by H.G.Dhanesvara Prabhu. Gokul Prabhu and his good wife
Her Grace Vilas Manjari Mataji made a wonderful demonstration of how to make
threads from wool using a simple peddled charkha. Devotees who visited
Nanadagram were amazed and tried their hand in learning this.
"Prabhupada: That is my desire. Don't waste time for bodily comforts. You
have got this body. You have to eat something. You have to cover yourself.
So produce your own food and produce your own cloth. Don't waste time for
luxury, and chant Hare Krsna. This is success of life. In this way organize
as far as possible, either in Ceylon or in Czechoslovakia, wherever... Save
time. Chant Hare Krsna. Don't be allured by the machine civilization."
- Vrindavana, Oct 8,1977
Dhanesvara Prabhu who has spent many years of research into studying
economics and acclaimed author of "Spiritual Economics" conducted the
seminar on "Village Culture" drawing the leadership crowd's attention
towards the seriousness of alternative lifestyle we are supposed to
Prabhupada: ...somebody may go there and learn from Bharadvaja how to make
dolls and prepare it here. One room. There are so many big, big rooms.
Madhavananda: Yes, I was thinking.
Prabhupada: Make diorama. People will come to see.
Madhavananda: They like those things very much.
- June 14, 1976, Detroit
The dioramas at Nandagram was another major attraction! The cultural
presentation of the Daiva Varnasrama through models displaying different
occupations were very attractive. Models also displayed ladies engaged in
various ways in a village.
Another major attraction were stalls displayed. Devotees from ew Govardhana
(Australia), Sahyadri Sri Krishna Balaram Ksetra (Hebri), Govardhan Eco
Village from Mumbai, New Simhacalam from Germany, Mayapur Goshala, and an
NGO called Apidokraft put up their stalls at Nandagram.
It is indeed important to mention something about this interesting NGO
called Apidokraft. This insititution works with underpriveleged women in
rural areas and gives them training, education and also markets the
handicraft items, especially jute products to the outside world. We
happenned to contact them and told about this worldwide meet of ISKCON
leaders. They readily agreed to sponsor a jute file bag to all the 400
participants. Each jute file bag carried a quotation from Srila
Prabhupada's letter reading:
"If these farms become successful then the whole world will be enveloped by
Krsna consciousness"
- Letter to Hari Sauri, Aug 10, 1977
The full quote reads as below:
"This is the next aspect of Krsna consciousness which I wish to push
forward. If I am able to travel again, then I shall visit the farms and make
them perfect. On these farms we can demonstrate the full varnasrama system.
If these farms become successful then the whole world will be enveloped by
Krsna consciousness."

We would like to thank all devotees especially His Grace Gopala Bhatta
Prabhu, Her Grace Laxmimoni mataji, Kaisori mataji and Her Grace Anuradha
mataji from SPT who helped us to pull this show and I must say for
tolerating us. Madhava Hari Prabhu and Naru Gopal Prabhu who helped us deal
with so many challenging situation while bringing this up. The workers who
built it for us. The ladies who laboriously gave a coating of cow dung and
mud to the bamboo walls, the painters who painted very very attractively on
the mud walls, the clay model artist who made the wonderful dioramas,
Chaitanya bhavan devotees who lent the flower pots and many others.
All along Manu Prakash Prabhu who is going to be intiated soon by His
Holiness Jayapatak Swami very soon pulled the whole thing along. He was the
main person behind the scene to enthusiastically and with great
determination make it happen.
Without laksmi things wouldn't happenned ofcourse. Yogesh Chandra Prabhu
gave half of the whole donation! without this generosity this would only
remain a dream. All devotees from the Village Initiative Commitee (His
Holiness Bhakti Raghava Maharaj, Sriman Gokul Prabhu and Vilas Manjari
Mataji, Sriman Balabhadra Prabhu, Sriman Dhanesvara Prabhu, Sriman Samba
Prabhu, Sriman Scott Prabhu, Sriman Radha Krishna Prabhu, Sriman Gaura Krsna
Prabhu, Sriman Goloka Chandra Prabhu, Sriman Gour Gopal Prabhua and
Vrindavanlila Mataji) enthusiastically participated and make it happen
sending in their laksmi contributions and taking part in the meetings and in
various ways to make this a successfull presentation. Apart from Village
Initiative Commitee, devotees such as Harikirtan Prabhu and team from Andhra
Pradesh, Prabhu Nityananda from Mayapur contributed in many ways.
Last but not the least, without GBC's blessings this would never take place.
Many GBC members walked in and spent very good amount of time amidst hectic
schedule in meetings. We were very encouraged and felt dragged in to serve
Srila Prabhupada more and more.
Thank you Srila Prabhupada! Hare Krishna!

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