November 2011

It is cool but bright and sunny and the auction I was going to go to today I am skipping because there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and still too many things to do in the garden to  that potential bargains will have to go unrealized.

When you plant a landscape you have to plan for all 4 seasons.  Some earn a place by dramatic spring time flowering but others are inconspicuous during the growing season then earn their spot in the winter.

The ornamental grasses fall into this category.  This morning the sun is shining through the dried seed-heads of some ornamental grasses I planted last year that came into their own this year.  The picture doesn’t do it justice,  my camera can’t capture the effect but with the sun behind the seed-heads they look translucent and shiny.  They are glowing. They will hold up all winter so that is a nice visual interest for the snowy days ahead.

I haven’t bundled up my fig  as it can get quite cold before it needs the protection but I did have to get my fragrant native azaleas covered. The deer nibble on the buds and will wipe them out early in the fall so as fast as the leaves drop I have to cover them.

It is a little trouble but the fragrance next spring is so heady that it is well worth the effort.

“Just like you’ll find on the ground, so many flowers and grasses are coming up. How? By the sunrise, the glance of the sun.

“Where there is no sunshine, there the vegetables do not grow. We have got practical experience. Similar… Therefore the field or the earth is not exploding with the vegetation. It is due to the sunshine. Therefore it is coming out. It is the real cause.

“Similarly, accepting that chunk, the total material energy, it is agitated by the glance of Maha-Visnu. Then it explodes and things are coming out. We can accept that in that way, but not that automatically there was explosion. That is not fact.

“Therefore to the foolish person, the power behind the explosion is not visible. Naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah [Bg. 7.25]. Therefore Krsna says that “I am not visible to everyone, they being covered by the curtain of yoga-maya.” Mudhah nabhijanati mam ebhyah param avyayam. Tribhir gunamayir bhavair mohitah.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.12 — Mayapur, April 5, 1975


“And thus I travel, constantly singing the transcendental message of the glories of the Lord, vibrating this instrument called a vina, which is charged with transcendental sound and which was given to me by Lord Krsna.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.6.32 conversation between Narada and Vyasadev

Narada Muni travels anywhere by strumming on his vina, a gourd instrument.

We were recently  in Georgia, US, babysitting  my granddaughter while both her parents were traveling on business.  My son, Madhu, was  at the Special Olympics in Alberta, Canada.  The Johns Creek police department of which he is a member  supports  the Special Olympics and was one of the top fund raisers for it.  He was chosen to represent them there.

He was also chosen as the Johns Creek Officer of the Quarter while we were there.

The day we left we awoke to a covering of snow. It didn’t affect travel as the roads were still warm and it melted as fast as it landed there, but it did serve as a good starting point  contrast for a trip to the South.

We went a couple of days early and on one of them on his recommendation drove up into the foothills of the mountains to visit the Gourd Girls. They are gourd crafters who have a retail store and produce most of the goods sold in it.  (We were traveling and gourds were involved, hence the earlier reference to Narada Muni. :-)  )

They wrote a book called “Gourd Girls” so you can get the whole story there.

If you happen to be in northern Georgia stop and visit The Gourd Place.  It is about two hours north of Atlanta.  We got a few more good ideas on how to use gourds, plus we got to buy some unique gifts for people that weren’t Made In China.

We stopped and got some boiled peanuts at a roadside produce stand and also picked up some local honey and sorghum molasses.  In big cities and the suburbs American culture is usually  fairly homogenous.  Staying in the suburbs you could pretty much be in any suburb anywhere, but when you get out into the country you start to pick up the local flavor.

I was struck by how little land was actually in production, and the huge potential for local agriculture to grow in and replace the fossil fuel intensive food infrastructure we have now with food shipped thousands of miles before being consumed.

Solar energy is a good thing but there is huge potential for energy savings through conservation that can be had that takes little investment.  Like buying locally produced things and food.

While we were there we got to see Mary play in several lacrosse and basketball games as the seasons were overlapping.

That is Mary in the black tights and grey sleeves.

Anyway we got back home everything was okay and we have even gotten some decent weather to work in the garden.

The Brijabasi Spirit now has its own Fan page on Facebook for the convenience of our readers who prefer to have everything there. Gotta keep up with the times.

Brijabasi Spirit on Facebook.

We have an ongoing desire for anyone wanting to write for the Brijabasi Spirit. So much is going on in New Vrindaban and each person has an individual experience of that which we would like you to share.

Professional writing ability not essential and we can help with ideas or light editing if you want. Regular reports from various departments, recipes, synopsis of classes, guests stories, unfolding natural events, festival reportage — these are just a few ideas.

Current residency in New Vrindaban is not a requirement. We have a category called “The Old Days” and anyone can write their memories from a time spent living here or as a visitor. Or recount a story they heard from a current or previous resident. The Holy Dham has no geographical boundaries.

The fact that mistakes were made in New Vrindaban in the past is well documented and widely disseminated — we don’t need to add to that body of work. So we do request that stories and articles be of the category of the swan, positive and enlivening.

We don’t do straight up essays but will do discussions of philosophic nature if they actually happen in New Vrindaban.

We don’t do controversy. The internet is rife with places for weighing in on controversial topics we want the Brijabasi Spirit to be a safe haven.

Please contact Madhava Gosh if you feel moved to contribute.

I look in the turned sod
for an iron bolt that fell
from the plow frame
and find instead an arrowhead
with delicate, chipped edges,
still sharp, not much larger
than a woman’s long fingernail.
Pleased, I put the arrowhead
into my overalls pocket,
knowing that the man who shot
the arrow and lost his work
must have looked for it
much longer than I will
look for that bolt.

“A flash mob is a group of strangers who organize themselves, using electronic media such as cell phones or the Internet, to gather together in a public place, behave in a predetermined manner for a predetermined amount of time, and then quickly disperse. …”

Most commonly associated with dancing.

Here is a religious themed one (little slow in the beginning but after a bit you get the idea):


Here is a more macho one. I love these Polynesians when they do this!


There is sort of an innocent excitement about them, Granted, I imagine there could be darker ones but they are very open to good clean fun.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way that devotees could dovetail the idea of a flash mob, you know, like a bunch of people all show up in a public place and dance a routine to music. Dancing, music, in public. Sure would be nice if devotees could figure out a way to do that. :-)

NADA, India (AP) — Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision fogged by glaucoma, she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where king cobras slithered freely and tigers carried off neighborhood dogs.

  • Sharan Pinto installs a solar panel on the rooftop of a house in Nada, a village near Mangalore, India, on May 25.By Rafiq Maqbool, APSharan Pinto installs a solar panel on the rooftop of a house in Nada, a village near Mangalore, India, on May 25.

By Rafiq Maqbool, AP

But things have changed at Gowda’s home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. Now during the nighttime, she can cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well.

“I can see!” Gowda said, giggling through a 100-watt smile. In her 70 years, this is the first time she has had any kind of electricity.

Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.

With 40 percent of India’s rural households lacking electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps running on subsidized diesel, “there is a huge market and a lot of potential,” said Santosh Kamath, executive director of consulting firm KPMG in India. “Decentralized solar installations are going to take off in a very big way and will probably be larger than the grid-connected segment.”

Next door to the Gowdas, 58-year-old Iramma, who goes by one name, frowned as she watched her neighbors light their home for the first time. At her house, electrical wiring dangles uselessly from the walls.

She said her family would wait for the grid. They’ve already given hundreds of dollars to an enterprising electrician who wired her house and promised service would come. They shouldn’t have to pay even more money for solar panels, she insisted.

But she softened after her 16-year-old son interrupted to complain he was struggling in school because he cannot study at night like his classmates.

“We are very much frustrated,” she said. “The children are very anxious. They ask every day, ‘Why don’t we have power like other people?’ So if the grid doesn’t come in a month, maybe we will get solar, too.”

Despite decades of robust economic growth, there are still at least 300 million Indians — a quarter of the 1.2 billion population — who have no access to electricity at home. Some use cow dung for fuel, but they more commonly rely on kerosene, which commands premium black-market prices when government supplies run out.

Read full article here

(New Mayapur is a devotee community in France)

by Arjuna dasa

Dear Shayamasundara prabhu, finally I’m sending you the AG report from NM. I was working in Paris last month, therefore this delay.

The report will concern mostly the gardens and vegetable production. I will not be so detailed about the goshala and the cows. If needed please write me and I will ask Jaladhuta prabhu for the goshala report.

1) Basically we started to be more focused on the AG project in Summer 2010. The idea is that all the AG departments work together: the Goshala, the Krsna Balaram garden and the grhastas involved ( Kutastha p., Vrshakriti p.,GiriGovardhan p.). I ( Arjuna das) was elected Agriculture minister to supervise the general development.

2) The departments are working independently, in teams, but the planning is done together. We divided the gardens and made a plan for each field. Some of the “big” works are done together with all the teams, like harvesting, potatoes planting etc. The goshala team is also taking care of all the plowing and working the big surfaces with the bulls.

3) The Krsna Balaram team is: Arjuna das, Kaushi p., Vrshakriti p.(flowers) If possible we engage the bhaktas, visitors and temple devotees

Goshala team: Jaladhuta p., RamGopal das, Dvijabara p. ( admin.), using actively one pair of bulls

Grhastas: GiriGovardhan p., roses and flowers, Kuthasta p. cooperating with the KB team, more as a counseller

4)The KB team is taking care of the KB garden (1,5Ha) and daily supply of the vegetables for the temple

The Goshala team take care of all the cows, bulls and goshala. The bulls are almost daily engaged in the farm work, working on big surfaces ( the wheat field 1 Ha, potatoes field ½ Ha, pumpkin field 1/3 Ha…) (Ed, note: Ha = hectare = 2.47 acres)

Vrshakriti p. and GiriGov p. are taking care of all flowers and roses, around 3/4 Ha in total

Some practical info from the year 2011:

a) we constructed a new plastic greenhouse 50×8 meters, half is used for the temple and half for Kutastha p. who financed the greenhouse.

b) in the greenhouse and in the KB gardens we produced more than 1 ton of tomatoes. Around 600 kg was used directly in the temple, from 400 kg was made 150 liters of tomato sauce for the winter

c) we started to use the garden vegetables from the end of May.
From June we were fully supplying the temple kitchens

d) this supply is going on until now and we have for min. 3 weeks more fresh veg. in the gardens. That means 6 months of total vegetable self-sufficiency

e) in total we produced more than 25 kinds of vegetables and grains

f) The next two months we will use the winter stock, which is 150 liters of tomato sauce, 1 tone of potatoes, 200 pieces of pumpkin of different sizes and types, apples, nuts, the winter veg. and leaves from garden, the grains. In total we will have our veg . for 8 months

g) during summer we were cooking for aprox. 30 devotees everyday. We had enough veg. even for the Summer festivals. Last months we are cooking for aprox. 15 devotees every day.

h) the goshala team planted the wheat on 1,5 Ha field. All the work was made with the bulls. We harvested around 1 tone of grains this year. We started to grind our own flour last week.

i) to harvest the grains we bought a big harvesting machine, it is working very well

j) the wheat for next year is already sowed

Other areas:

The forest: We had a great help for last 5 months from Anirudha p. and Craig p., they cut, split and bring from the forest around 150 m3 of dry wood for this year and around 80 m3 of live wood for drying. In total we have 150 m3 of dry wood and 150 m3 of wet wood. The dry wood should be enough for this year. The idea is to continue cutting the wet wood for next years. This system is more economic and practical.

The lake: Last week Nrsimhananda p. with other devotees repaired the dam of the lake. There was a big hole in the dam, therefore the lake was never full. If the repair will be successful next year we will clean the lake.

The Plan:

a) continue with the same surface and number of fields
b) continue renovating and cleaning the KB garden, improving the quality of the soil
c) 20 percent more production, principally of vegetables
d) looking for self-economy and internal economy
e) find better ways to conserve the fruits, veg. and grains during winter and spring
f) engage more devotees in AG work, make the village life part of the devotees spiritual life
g) use the agriculture , gardening and cows protection for preaching.
h) try to accomplish a few bigger projects for the NM community ( the lake, winter green house, wood saw, eco wood buildings..etc)

OK, this is a short report from NM farm community. If you have questions just write me. Feel free to use this report for the Farm ministry and your needs.

All the best
Hare Krishna
y.s. Arjuna das NM 23/10/2011

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