In September the leadership design company Two plus You asked us to host members of the Golden Plains Shire Council’s Team Leaders’ Thrive retreat at Hare Krishna Valley.
A Melbourne-based group, Two plus You provides training to develop leadership skills in progressive organisations across the country. The group’s training strategy includes field trips to local organisations. So part of the Shire’s Team Leaders’ two day trip included a stop-over at Hare Krishna Valley.
We met the Team Leaders at the Temple and gave them a brief explanation of the history of Hare Krishna Valley. Then we walked to Shri Govardhana Seva Ashram, the mudbrick eco-house where Veda Priya and I live. We explained the various eco-friendly features of the house and the importance of sharing an example of living in harmony with one’s environment.
The house has been built with a solar-passive design. That means that most of the windows are set into the northern face of the house. During the winter months, while the sun is low in the north, we capitalise on the sun’s rays entering and naturally heating the house. As the sun travels high in the sky – to the south – in summer, it travels directly over the house. The rays don’t enter the windows, so the house naturally remains cool. Needless to say the Shire’s Team Leaders were impressed with our leadership in eco-living.
Then we took our visitors on a tour of our market garden, where Manigriva was preparing the soil to receive our summer crops. The garden is cultivated using bio-organic principles. That means the soil is enriched with cow manure, avoiding the use of harmful chemicals. All the food we grow at Hare Krishna Valley is organic, showing that if we grow locally and in a sustainable way we can meet all of our needs and live peacefully.
We bought everyone back to the Temple for a demonstration of the process of sankirtana, or the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God (Krishna). To my pleasant surprise the whole group enthusiastically chanted and danced around the temple room with me for fifteen minutes. I explained to the Team Leaders that the process of chanting Hare Krishna can lift everyone to the spiritual platform and create genuine peace and harmony in human society. Since our visitors were feeling the benefit of chanting, I suggested they regularly begin their council meetings with chanting and dancing.
Afterwards we demonstrated cooking two of our trademark dishes: halava and cauliflower pakoras. Our visitors were interested to see how we offer meals that we prepare to Krishna. So I took everyone into the Temple and showed them how to offer food. They appreciated the concept that offering what Krishna gives us back to Him before we honour it cultivates a mood of selflessness.
Over lunch we discussed the necessity for leaders to follow a vegetarian diet. In this way they can set an example of showing respect to all of the species of life with whom we share this planet. Overall Golden Plains Shire Team Leaders were deeply moved by their visit to Hare Krishna Valley, and they expressed respect for our commitment to following a pure way of life. You can see photos on the Two plus You Leadership Design Facebook site.
If you are interested in visiting or staying at Hare Krishna Valley yourself, please visit the website at http://www.harekrishnavalley.com.au or contact Keshava Dasa on 0405 577 453 or [email protected] We look forward to seeing you at Hare Krishna Valley soon!