Recently we erected a new sign at the front of the property. The sign is attractive and colorful, and promotes Hare Krishna Valley as a positive alternative to modern, materialistic society. Many local people have told us that the sign has invoked their curiosity to visit the farm, as they have always wondered what it is that we do there. So, what do the residents of Hare Krishna Valley do on a daily basis?
As our sign says, Hare Krishna Valley is a Bhakti-yoga ashram. The word ashram in Sanskrit literally means ‘a place of shelter.’ Everyone in this world is looking for shelter. As the old saying goes, ‘There is no place like home.’ Hare Krishna Valley is a place of shelter for those who are looking for respite from the modern, materialistic way of life.
As the ancient Vedic literatures of India – such as the Bhagavad-gita – teach us, our real shelter is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. When we connect to Krishna through the process of bhakti-yoga, our soul feels that is has finally reached the shelter that is has been searching for. The word yoga means to ‘unite’ or ‘connect,’ and bhakti means ‘with devotion.’ At Hare Krishna Valley we therefore connect everything that we do for the pleasure of Krishna in a spirit of devotion.
This means that each day we rise early in the morning and perform sadhana. Sadhana refers to spiritual practices that allow us to develop a higher state of consciousness. Our primary practice is the chanting of the Maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Because the names of Krishna are non-different from Him, by chanting the Maha-mantra we purify our consciousness of material desires, and invoke remembrance of Krishna within our minds. This in turn allows us to remember Krishna while performing our various activities throughout the day.
Another aspect of our daily sadhana is the study of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Srila Prabhupada instructed his followers to read his books every day, in order to develop spiritually strong intelligence. Therefore after purifying our consciousness by chanting, we attend a class on Srimad Bhagavatam, or engage in private reading. This allows us to become fixed in remembering the purpose behind our daily activities, which is to give pleasure to Krishna.
All of these spiritual practices are done for the pleasure of our Deities, Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, who mercifully preside over the farm. By worshiping the Lord in His personal Deity form, we develop the understanding that our lives are meant to bring satisfaction to Krishna. Most people in the world are absorbed in trying to satisfy themselves, but by worshiping the Deity, that selfish propensity is transformed into a selfless service attitude.
We then begin to perform our practical daily activities, which at this point in time includes a great deal of renovation work. Hare Krishna Valley is a 200 acre property with six main buildings, all of which require a lot of maintenance. One of our main objectives in improving the facilities here is so we can host members of our congregation in our newly renovated guest rooms. If you are interested in enjoying the tranquil atmosphere at Hare Krishna Valley, please contact us to arrange for your accommodation.
The other reason for improving the facilities here is so that we can organize more retreats for 2009. We are preparing to host three retreats with Devamrta Swami, and one each with Kadamba Kanana Swami and Bhurijana Prabhu. We are also planning to hold several yoga retreats in conjunction with our Urban Yoga Centre in Swanston Street, as well as several more alternative lifestyle retreats. If you are interested in attending any of these retreats, please book early, as places are limited.
We recently purchased a water filter to purify the spring water at Hare Krishna Valley. The spring water is high in iron and salt, and needs to be filtered so that we can use the water to nourish Bio-dynamic crops that we will plant in 2009. Manigriva Prabhu has been conditioning eight acres of soil here over the last two years with the aim of growing vegetables for use at Melbourne Temple, Crossways, and Gopal’s.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in developing Hare Krishna Valley, in visiting, or in staying for some time, please contact me on 0405-577-453 or .
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Books by Srila Prabhupada