ISKCON Vrndavan’s Goshala Vision

Posted by in Devotional Community, Vrindavan

Dvijavara Dāsa (ACBSP) – France: All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Hare Kṛṣṇa,

Dear Prabhu’s my respectful obeissances from your servant Dvijavara Dāsa.

Since days an urge has been building up a pressure to express what is deep inside, due to my attachment to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s vision for Vṛndāvan.

I recall when Śrīla Prabhupāda asked His Godbrother Bon Mahārāja to kindly allow Him to have the property land facing our Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma compound in order to fulfill His desire to establish an exemplary Goshalla in Vṛndāvan.

His request was declined. I was also present in Vrindavan when the Taparia House was donated and witnessed how Śrīla Prabhupāda very enthusiastically saw His vision become reality and established The Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshalla.

First of all He wanted it to develop right in front of Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma, across the street, for Their own pleasure since this area is called Ramaṇa Reti (where Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and the Gopas play with their calves amongst the sand) and also make the western entrance to Śrī Vṛndāvan very auspicious, but was also very pleased to have it on the parikrama path.

Now for somebody it would definitely appear sentimental but I have to speak out for the cows, since for sometimes it was my full time service here in Vṛndāvan.

Every year I come and see more and more that it is becoming an out of sight out of mind Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala Department. Every year I see that the cows have not been allowed full access to the whole Goshala land and are being cramped into a small portion at the back while the rest of their land lies not properly used. Every year I hear plans to develop the Goshala land for teaching or apartments instead of developing the land for the cows and the pleasure of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Now again, was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s vision and desire with so many instructions given to different Gṛhastha disciples unrealistic here in His home, where He out of unlimited mercy brought us and introduced us to Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma pastimes?

Maybe I live in a different dimension that has become obsolete, out of fashion and not at pace with real time.

Do we still believe that the cows, calves and bulls are very dear to their Lordships, that all the demigods reside within them, that the cows are our mothers, that we need their association and their medicinal products with byproducts to perform our duties to gradually come to the mode of goodness, to maintain it in order to later transcend and perfect our lives? Perhaps one day we will respect the vision and desire of our beloved Acharya.

To please him in all the details that he has trained his disciples with very loving care and affection is a must for all his sincere disciples.

After all Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma on the altar are here to stay and their cows are also devotee-members of our movement and a very powerful preaching asset. If individually or collectively someone has a better vision, everyone will appreciate. However, it is every initiated devotee’s right to know and a duty to honour the Acharya’s vision.

All of this on behalf of the cows for whom I would like and could do much more to make them feel part of our preaching movement.

“Out of great affection for the cows of Vraja, Krishna became the lifter of Govardhana. The cows are the citizens of the abode of Krishna, the cowherd boys His friends and the gopīs His associates. His food is butter, yogurt and milk.”

To disrespect in any sense is a form of incivility when extended to cows as well.  No Ugra aspect in society should be allowed to enter Vṛndāvan Dhāma in the name of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Summer 1977:

In retrospection, during the Gurukula construction the Vṛndāvan municipality accepted and decided to honour Śrīla Prabhupāda by titling the CHATTIKARA Road with ” BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI MARG”. With this event the permission to build the BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI GATE was granted.

Śrīla Prabhupāda went to the extent to tell, as referred by late Sree Vishwambar Das Dayal Agarwal, known as Bhagatji, that in the future ISKCON devotees should build a Town Hall for the city of Vṛndāvan and that His bust would preside there.

Bhagatji was his honorary title and a resident of Ramaṇa Reti. A devotee, Bābājī, worshipper of Govardhana Shila, initiated into the Gauḍīya branch, the Char Sampradāya. He was a close friend of Śrīla Prabhupāda, no day went by without him visiting Śrīla Prabhupāda. He donated the land adjacent to the Gurukula, on the eastern side, in the name of his mother. There is where Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted the Dharmashalla built, simple accommodations for pilgrims free of charges.

The Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshalla, a Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Mandira department was established and developed at Taparia House by Guṇārṇava Prabhu under Bhagatji’s personal care and supervision with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal instructions and formulas to follow.

When Guṇārṇava Prabhu became temple president, I Dvijavara Das succeeded him into caring for the Goshalla.

Dhanañjaya Das Prabhu, a senior devotee at the Vṛndāvan yatra was also present during all of that time and a very good friend of Bhagatji. He had started and was directing the Mukkuts and Dresses Deity Service Department at the Taparia House main building. Previous to the establishment of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshalla, Dhanañjaya Prabhu owned his household cow Brijrani, who later joined the Goshalla. She was the best in every sense and remained so for a long time. Also, I remember very clearly the day when Dhanañjaya Prabhu told me: “Dvijavara you are a farmer.” This came to me at a very appropriate time when it was difficult to determine one’s varṇa due to the frequent change of service at the ashrama.

Summer 1979:

Bhagatji negotiated and made the arrangement for the Bagitcha,Garden Land and the Goshalla Land. The temple authorities were Śrī Bhavānanda Das Prabhu as GBC representative and Śrī Guṇārṇava Das Prabhu as Temple President. The purchase was secured. Śrīla Prabhupāda’s vision and request to be become self-sufficient in flowers for the altars and milk for Gurukula, Deities and Devotees was slowly becoming reality.

Bhagatji Prabhu was the Temple General Manager without the title and his opinion was very essential in every temple dealings. He was our most distinguished well-wisher and guidance regarding Śrīla Prabhupāda movement in Ramaṇa Reti Vṛndāvan. He was always smiling with tender loving care to cows and devotees, an effective chastiser when needed. This is how I lovingly remember him.

It is my strong desire that one day all those direct instructions from Śrīla Prabhupāda will become public treasure and inspire everyone towards the desire and vision of our Acharya.

The Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Mandira as established by Śrīla Prabhupāda included the following department:

  • Treasury department
  • Books distribution life membership and preaching department
  • Deity department
  • Goshalla department
  • Gurukula department
  • Guest house and restaurant department
  • Kitchen department
  • Construction and maintenance department
  • Mukkuts and dresses deities service department

It was Śrīla Prabhupāda who eagerly invited the Post office Ramana Reti Branch. Śrīla Prabhupāda also invited the Punjab National Bank branch to have an office at the Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma Guest House.

During the Gurukula construction Śrīla Prabhupāda walked into the kitchen-to-be and showed us how He wanted the kitchen to be arranged. One centralised kitchen for the Deities, for the ashrama, for the Gurukula, for the Restaurant and Prasādam for the guests. He also wanted one common storage room for every department together. He was the perfect manager and he gave us the managerial formulas by which cooperation is assured.

Hare Kṛṣṇa. Dvijavara Dāsa.