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RR 1 Box 839 Port Royal, PA 17082
good humor that endeared her to her friends. And she loved to laugh! For various reasons, she had moved, along with her husband Gand i v a , a w a y f ro m Gita-nagari, to upstate NY, practically on the Canadian border, last spring. As their host couple and G o d s i s t e r / G o d b r o t h e r, A nnapur na and Jiva, gradually came to understand that Lalitamrta’s life was indeed drawing to a close, they asked her quite directly: “Where do you want to be?” When she realized the time had come, she said, “I want to be at Gita-nagari.” By the strength of her devotion, everything fell into place: Lalitamrta made it back to the shelter of Radha-Damodar, during the month of Kartikka, and passed her last few days in the shelter of the dhama amidst loving devotees, old friends and former Gita-nagari residents, now drawn from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Florida, Rhode Island, come to pay their last respects; “new” friends from Gitanagari who had warmed to her in recent years.
BY VEGAVATI DD
International Society for Krishna Consciousness Founder Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
On Sunday, November 4, at 10:45 am, Her Grace Lalitamrta-devi dasi left her body, at Gita-nagari dhama, after struggling with cancer for over 5 years. I do not know how to properly glorify Lalitamrta. She stands supremely gloriﬁed by her own good qualities. Having joined ISKCON in Philadelphia, she lived at Gita-nagari for 18 years; still, many who visited over those years don’t know her at all, because she never put herself forward. She was always satisﬁed to stay in the background, serving. To me she personiﬁes this statement Srila Prabhupada made when describing the Vaisnava quality of silence: “Silent worker—not advertising.” A few years ago, at a gathering for ladies, we were asked to think of times in our lives when we were most happy and fulﬁlled, and to draw pictures of ourselves in that setting. Lalitamrta’s drawings showed her distributing books in the airport and at a writing retreat, typing away for her guru maharaja, HH Sastvarupa Maharaja. While at Gita-nagari, she also regularly dressed the gopis, Lalita and Visakha Devis, with a sweet devotional mood. Though shy by nature (her idea of a good party was to get together with two or three close friends), once she knew you she opened up and revealed a depth of understanding and
Though weak, she recognized and greeted devotees as they came in, sometimes saying their names. Smiled as they reminded her of funny times in the past. We took turns leading kirtana, Gita-nagari style. The boys read Krsna book to her, the story of Putana killed. Some devotees couldn’t come, but sent notes, or called, or sent prayers, or gave donations. She left this world peaceful, surrounded by loved ones and in the shelter of Krsna’s holy name. Afterwards, there was kirtana for hours, and three days later, we had a feast in her honor, with more kirtana, and many of her favorite foods.
On Thursday September 20th a few devotees from Gita Nagari farm decided to go to State College to do harinama. We picked that day because it was world holy name day throughout ISKCON. It was a very nice autumn day and we were all very excited to go out on harinama. Mother Taruni, Gopi Gita, Mother Kalki, Mother Manjari Lila, Mother Sudevi, a few guests visiting from New Jersey, and myself gathered our musical instruments. We took some of Srila Prahbhupada’s books and lots of very nice cookies made by Mother Jagannatha, and drove off to State College. We were in two different cars, so when we got there we had some difﬁculty ﬁnding each other. It was just about lunch time, warm and sunny with many people out on lunch break. College students were coming in and out of the campus and lots of people were on the sidewalk eating sandwiches. We thought this is the right time to approach the conditioned souls. We picked a nice place right by the entrance of the campus then we began chanting. Some of us were distributing books, some were passing out cookies and some of us were chanting and playing musical instruments. I thought the people were quite receptive, almost all of them took cookies and some of them took books. We were all happy dancing and chanting on the street. Towards the end, one lady from the local newspaper came and started interviewing Mother Kalki. She asked what we were doing and where we were from. She took many pictures of us chanting and dancing. She also took a book and some cookies. After chanting for about an hour and a half we drove back to Gita Nagari very happy and satisﬁed. When the weather warms up, we would like to go out again and spread Krsna Consciousness by chanting and distributing books and prasadam. Hare Krsna!Your Servant, Vraja
Did you know that that you can now cruise the Krishna Fo o d C h a n n e l ? I t c a n b e f o u n d a t h t t p : / / www.food.krishna.com/. I found it quite by accident when Sudevi dd sent me an inquiry from someone named Antony, who wanted some food photographs from our Govardhan Puja celebration. He said that he helps maintains this site. Priya-darsana dasa maintains the Prasadam Lab. He explains, “The process is simple: You post your recipes at the Prasadam Laboratory forum and I will test the recipes in my kitchen. All recipes will be tested for quality assurance, ease of preparation and deliciousness of taste. The best recipes will be posted here for everyone to try. How about it? Why not check out the site and peruse Kurma’s Blog, Festival recipes, and Ranga’s kitchen, which are some of the offerings.
While on the Vaishnavi retreat at New Vrindaban, Michelle A. and I were discussing various ways to improve some of the conditions at Gita Nagari. While we both agreed that this is a monumental undertaking and not anything that two women could do singlehandedly, we agreed that there are certain small things we can do. The thing we hit upon was the idea to refurbish the rooms at the ashrama, one at a time. That seemed to be a project we would be able to tackle. We envisioned new paint, new mattresses and bedding, some new furniture and cozy chairs for reading. Neither one of us thought that the beginning of our plan would come to fruition so quickly. While attending a IoHU meeting in Harrisburg, I happened to mention that we were endeavoring to do this project and two days later we received a check for $200 from the group to help us. Both Michelle and I were ﬂoored by the kindness that was shown us toward our project. When you next come to Gita Nagari, make sure to check out this newly refurbished room and maybe, if you feel so inclined, make a donation toward the next room, we plan to refurbish. This will be Room #1. It is larger than room 2 and we will need slightly more laksmi for the transformation (there are four beds in the room rather than two as in the ﬁrst one). You can make donations payable to Iskcon Port Royal and note: Room Refurbish on the bottom. Your servant, Ortrun
Room 2 is now the IoHU Room
Recently, when I went to GN to do bookwork for Adopt a Cow, I found that the computer had “kicked the bucket”. What to do? We asked various people, who all advised it would be better to purchase a new/ refurbished machine than to try to ﬁx the old one. Kaulini dd suggested to call Isvari pati as he is an expert computer guy. He wa more than willing to check out eBay for us and ﬁnd some good examples of machines that would be good for AaC. To make a long story short, he not only found a machine for us but then he decided to donate it along with a copy of Quickbooks to AaC so that we will be able to keep the books the way we are supposed to keep them. This will enable us to easily keep track of income/expenses. Many thanks to Isvari pati and his wife Victoria for their generous contribution to Gita Nagari! ys, Ortrun
Death and Birth of a Computer.
Is it Winter Yet? by Kaulini dasi
We're grateful for such a good summer. It was a little dry at times, but overall I think the cows did well and were happy. The milk production of Salauni and Kishori was great. They averaged about 8-9 gallons a day between the two milkings. That was especially nice, as some devotees took advantage, and we had pretty much all our homegrown milk for all the festivals and holidays, and who could ask for milk any better! Now it looks like winter is setting in. Not too too cold yet, but milk production is going down, the grass is barely growing, and yes … lots of mud! We are hoping to get a few projects done before it gets too cold. Some cleaning of the barnyard needs to be done and stones put down so the cows can move around better. The gutters need immediate attention and repair so they drain properly, and a few big sliding doors need to be hung to help keep out that bitter winter wind that blows through the heifer barn. Anyone who wants to help out with some extra funds, that would be much appreciated. Winter is always a challenge on so many levels, yet Krsna always gives His mercy. Again I want to thank each and everyone of you who so loyally and enthusiastically maintain the Adopt A Cow program. We remain forever grateful. The two calves Paurnamasi and Premanjana are growing like anything. Paurnamasi just had her one year birthday. She is a dark black color and her horns are really growing big now. Premanjana is still the baby, but she really holds her own with the other cows. She is a very dark color also, but she is noticeable still by her two white back hooves, that is when they are not covered with mud! She is still very sweet and a loving disposition … most of the time Here's hoping for a Happy Winter
l:Rukmini dd & Narayani dd; r: Kaulini dasi & Narayani dd in the Rose Garden at New Vrindban. Srila Prabhupada says:
Simply we have to desire to please Him, and not desire anything for ourselves. then we become simply instruments for His will. This is the important essence of Krsna consciousness. Letter to Atreya Rsi, October 20, 1973 If one renders even a small amount of sincere devotional service, Krishna becomes obliged to elevate such person; and what to speak of one whose entire life and soul has been dedicated to Krishna’s service. Letter to Harer Nama, November 6, 1969 The governing principle for our activity should be to do what is favorable for pleasing Krishna. Letter to Lalita Kumar, November 27, 1971 Krsna is the root of e ve r y t h i n g. I f H e i s pleased, everyone will be pleased. If you pour water on the root, the water will be distributed all over teh tree. This is the best service to humanity. Letter to Mr. Karsan, December 2, 1976
from the Vaishnavi Retreat
Ram Vi Jay Festival 2007
By Bhaktin Alysia On Saturday, October 20, we celebrated Lord Ramachandra’s victory over the demon Ravana. Preparation began early in the week so that as visitors arrived, a 12-foot Ravana murti, stood in the pasture, intimidating all living entities passing by. Thankfully, His Holiness Varsana Swami arrived in the early afternoon to dispel our fears. Upon his arrival, Mother Kaulini exclaimed, “AHA! We have finally captured you!” With a boyish grin, Maharaja replied, “It is very nice to have been captured.” After kirtan, Varsana Swami gave an amazing lecture, summarizing the Ramayana in its entirety. His intimate knowledge of Lord Rama’s pastimes was so enthralling and enlivening, I questioned whether or not we were still in Mrtaloka. The narration was literally “out of this world” and the devotees appeared to be absorbed in the mediation of lila katha. At the conclusion of Maharaja’s lecture, kirtan started up and we paraded from the temple to the pasture in anticipation of lighting Ravana on fire. Pariksit and Tamal Krishna Prabhus led the sankirtan party up the driveway and out into the field. The cows across the road came close to the fence to watch Varsana Swami as he threw the first spear into Ravana’s ten-headed form. The spear pierced his heart and immediately Ravana went up in flames. To the surprise of the on looking devotees, fireworks began exploding from Ravana’s body. Several fireworks exploded in the crowd and the devotees squealed and giggled in delight. The kirtan was lively and the devotees looked ecstatic. After Ravana was declared annihilated, prasadam was served afterwards. I would guess a nice crowd of 200 devotees waited in line, anxious for the mercy of Sri Sri Radha Damodara. That evening they were dressed in gorgeous blue and gold outfits. Sweet bhajans concluded the evening as the devotees paid their obeisances and hesitantly parted for home with their bellies full and their hearts soft as butter. All glories to the devotees of the devotees of Sri Sri Radha Damodara! Check out the pix: http://gallery.mac.com/ortrung#100068
VIEW PIX OF THE ANNAKUTA FESTIVAL @ HEMANT’S HOUSE
Acarya dasa constructed a faithful replica of Govardhan Hill from Gita Nagari Cow dung and brought the hill to the festivities. He also told the participants about the origin of Govardhan Hill: In the wester n coast of India, in the island of Salmali, lived Dronachala, the king of the mountains. Once a sage by the name of Pulastya Muni, came to him to take his son Giriraja with him to Kashi (Varanasi). After offering some initial resistance, Giriraja, somehow agreed to go with him only on condition that he should not put him down on the earth in between. If he does so, he would stay there forever. When they were flying over the Vraja bhumi, Giriraja increased his weight to the extent that Pulastya had no option but to put him down. Pulastya understood the mischief of Giriraja. He became furious and cursed him that he would decrease by a grain everyday. But then repenting on the curse he gave to Giriraja, he assured him that he would be blessed in the Dvapara Yuga and everybody would start worshipping him since then. Check out the pix: http:// gallery.mac.com/ortrung#100076
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