Seeking The Essence

Clearing Life's Webs and Weeds….

KulimeLA 2009: Ananta Vrindavan Performing A Capella at the Ford Theater in Hollywood

Video of Ananta Vrindavan singing an a capella combo of “Je Anilo Prema Dhana” & “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” during the KulimeLA 2009 Gala Evening at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. He dedicated his performance to “the memory of loved ones we’ve lost as a way to invoke their presence in our hearts.”

In the ancient Sanskrit language, “Kuli Mela” is “A Celebration of Community.”

The main theme for KulimeLA 2009 was to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present & Envision the Future.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Gurukuli Reunion, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, was chosen as an ideal location for Kulis to come together to acknowledge their collective history and appreciate the many accomplishments of the pioneer Gurukulis throughout the past two decades.

Dressed in formal and elegant attire, approximately one thousand Vaishnavas gathered to walk the red carpet and participate in an amazing evening that beautifully showcased “A Mosaic of Our Generations.”

CLICK HERE to check out the growing Kuli Mela video and audio selections on Krishna.com.

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to connect our diverse and dynamic global community. We believe that by encouraging each other along our individual paths and by serving together in our shared goals we can make a positive difference in the world.

For more information please visit our KMA Facebook Page.

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June 1, 2011 Posted by | Bhajan, Gurukula, Gurukula Alumni, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Reunion, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, Prabhupada, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

Srila Prabhupada’s Vision For New Vrindaban (in his own words)

Srila Prabhupada’s Vision For New Vrindaban:

Compiled by Chaitanya Mangala Dasa

1. Cow Protection.

2. Sustainable Agriculture.

3. Simple Village Life.

4. A Place of Pilgrimage in the West.

5. A Place of Higher Learning.

6. Above All, a Place for People to Develop Their Love for Krishna.

1. Cow Protection:

“Krishna by His practical example taught us to give all protection to the cows and that should be the main business of New Vrindaban.” Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“Therefore the special feature of New Vrindaban will be cow protection, and by doing so, we shall not be loser.” Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“Therefore, my special request is that you should try to maintain as many cows as possible in your New Vrindaban.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 24 June, 1969

“The cow is so wonderful and valuable in society. But you should also use the bulls by engaging them in tilling the ground. People may call this the primitive way but it is very practical for engaging the bulls – have them work in cart loading, transporting, etc…” Letter to Kirtanananda — 7 January, 1974

“If you give the right protection to the cows, then they will give so much milk, that the ground of New Vrndaban will be muddy with milk.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 31 May, 1975

2. Sustainable Agriculture:

“The whole idea of New Vrindaban is that men who are living there should produce their own food, of which milk is the principal thing.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 31 July, 1969

“So these duties are there in New Vrindaban, and we shall have to live there self independently, simply by raising cows, grains, fruits, and flowers.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 12 January, 1969

“Agriculture and protecting cows, this is the main business of the residents of Vrindavan, and above all simply loving Krsna.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 27 July, 1973

3. Simple Village Life:

“Yukta Vairagya, means that we should simply accept the bare necessities of our material part of life, and try to save time for spiritual advancement. This should be the motto of New Vrindaban.” Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“It may be an ideal village where the residents will have plain living and high thinking.” Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“New Vrindaban does not require to be modernized because Krishna’s Vrindaban is transcendental village.” Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“Go on acquiring the surrounding lands and in this way we will establish a local self-governing village and show all the world a practical example of spiritual life as Krishna Himself exhibited in Vrindaban.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 27 July, 1973

4. A Place of Pilgrimage in the West:

“I understand the spot is very beautiful, and the hills may be renamed as New Govardhana. And if there are lakes, they can be renamed as Syamakunda and Radhakunda.”  Letter to Hayagriva — 14 June, 1968

“New Vrindaban should be taken up very seriously because actually I want to develop a replica of Old Vrindaban. I have got ambition to construct there 7 temples as follows: 1. Radha Madan Mohan, 2. Radha Govinda, 3. Radha Gopinatha, 4. Radha Damodara, 5. Radha Raman, 6. Radha Gokulananda, 7. Radha Syamasundara.” Letter to Hayagriva — 18 November, 1968

“So you have now taken charge of the sunrise of New Vrindaban. Our program is there for constructing seven temples.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 12 January, 1969

“Now I am hopeful that our New Vrindaban will be an exact replica of Vrindaban in India.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 18 February, 1970

“Therefore, I may once more request you to try your best to construct New Vrindaban an exact duplicate of Vrindaban, and that will give me the highest pleasure.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 18 February, 1970

5. A Place of Higher Learning:

“One Rupanuga Vidyapitha—that is a school for educating brahmanas and Vaisnavas.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 12 January, 1969

“You remark that in New Vrindaban the capacity is lacking for taking care of the children. If you can organize a higher level school of theology under your care, I shall very much appreciate it.” Letter to Rupanuga — 24 July, 1969

“Another important thing is our theistic school in New Vrindaban.” Letter to Hayagriva — 9 March, 1970

“Regarding using New Vrindaban land for building for the older Gurukula boys it is a very good idea.” Letter to Bali-mardana — 13 April, 1974

6. Above All, a Place for People to Develop Their Love for Krishna: 

“Agriculture and protecting cows, this is the main business of the residents of Vrindavan, and above all simply loving Krsna. Letter to Kirtanananda — 27 July, 1973

“The cows, the trees, the cowherd men and gopis, their chief engagement was loving Krsna, and in New Vrindaban we want to create this atmosphere and thereby show the whole world how practical and sublime our movement is.” Letter to Kirtanananda — 27 July, 1973


May 23, 2011 Posted by | As It Is, Education, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, Krishna, New Vrindaban, Philosophy, Prabhupada, Uncategorized, Vaishnava | Leave a comment

KulimeLA 2009: Goura Riggan Performs at the Ford Theater in Hollywood

Goura Riggan performs a Kathak dance during the KulimeLA 2009 Gala Evening at the Ford Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

In the ancient Sanskrit language, “Kuli Mela” is “A Celebration of Community.”

The main theme for KulimeLA 2009 was to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present & Envision the Future.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Gurukuli Reunion, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, was chosen as an ideal location for Kulis to come together to acknowledge their collective history and appreciate the many accomplishments of the pioneer Gurukulis throughout the past two decades.

Dressed in formal and elegant attire, approximately one thousand Vaishnavas gathered to walk the red carpet and participate in an amazing evening that beautifully showcased “A Mosaic of Our Generations.”

CLICK HERE to check out the growing Kuli Mela video and audio selections on Krishna.com.

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to connect our diverse and dynamic global community. We believe that by encouraging each other along our individual paths and by serving together in our shared goals we can make a positive difference in the world.

For more information please visit our KMA Facebook Page.

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukula Alumni, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Reunion, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

KulimeLA 2009: Chaitanya-Nitai Performing at the Ford Theater in Hollywood

A newly released video of Chaitanya-Nitai performing her original song during the KulimeLA 2009 Gala Evening at the Ford Theater in Hollywood, CA. She dedicated her song to the Pioneer Kulis “who paved the way.” 

In the ancient Sanskrit language, “Kuli Mela” is “A Celebration of Community.”

The main theme for KulimeLA 2009 was to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present & Envision the Future.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Gurukuli Reunion, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, nestled in the Hollywood Hills, was chosen as an ideal location for Kulis to come together to acknowledge their collective history and appreciate the many accomplishments of the pioneer Gurukulis throughout the past two decades.

Dressed in formal and elegant attire, approximately one thousand Vaishnavas gathered to walk the red carpet and participate in an amazing evening that beautifully showcased “A Mosaic of Our Generations.”

CLICK HERE to check out the growing Kuli Mela video and audio selections on Krishna.com.

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to connect our diverse and dynamic global community. We believe that by encouraging each other along our individual paths and by serving together in our shared goals we can make a positive difference in the world.

For more information please visit our KMA Facebook Page.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | As Kindred Spirits, Bhajan, Bhajan Kutir, Gaura Vani, Gurukula, Gurukula Alumni, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Reunion, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, Mayapuris, Prabhupada, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Websites, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

Kuli Mela 2010 – New Mayapur, France

The Organizing Team for Kuli Mela 2010 – New Mayapur France is happy to officially announce the dates and place for this second European reunion, after the first successful gathering which took place in Radhadesh, Belgium in 2008.

This Kuli Mela will start on Wednesday, the 4th of August, arrival day, through Monday, the 9th of August 2010, departure day. The event shall take place in the special surroundings of New Mayapur, France, a community set around a historic castle on a site spreading over 80 hectares. In this place that Srila Prabhupada destined to self sufficiency and simple living, it seemed obvious to choose these values as symbols. Which is why the theme of the event will be: Ecology!

This gathering invites a great number of Gurukulis and Vaishnavas of all generations to a 6 day festival where seminars, workshops and conferences will be held to encourage encounters and reunions as well as discover the links that bring us together and share our experiences in an atmosphere of inspiration…

An “Open House” day in the spirit of the festival “L’Inde dans l’Indre” will be held on Sunday 8th August for neighbouring people to discover our movement in positive and summery circumstances in which they will attend the shows, walk around the “mini market,” and listen to bhajans and kirtans in the temple.

The achievement of this special event requires subsequent funds for the rental of the circus and other canvas tents for the shows and activities, shower and “dry toilet” settings to receive participants on the campsite arranged for the occasion, the rental of a sound system, as well as, of course, cooking up memorable feasts for all!

So we are appealing to your generosity to help the successful outcome of this project, by asking for a financial participation of your own choice. We thank you in advance.

Jai Shree Radhe!

The Organizing Team for Kulimela 2010 – New Mayapur France

General email: contact@francekulimela.com

Main website: http://www.francekulimela.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=ts&gid=155469836766

LET’S BE THE CHANGE WE WANT IN THE WORLD!
JAI SHREE SHREE RADHA GOVINDA MADHAVA!

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Bhajan, Gurukula, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Related Topics @ Other Sites, Gurukuli Websites, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, New Mayapur, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Websites, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

KulimeLA 2009: Bhajan Kutir – Volume 1 CD now available on cdbaby, iTunes and Amazon!

KulimeLA 2009: Bhajan Kutir – Volume 1 CD is now available on cdbabyiTunes and Amazon!

Heartfelt Kirtans lead by Kishori Mohan, Gaura Mani, Ananta Vrindavan, Vijay Krsna & Rasika Dasi. Click on the links above to hear previews of all the tracks and to purchase a copy today!

In ancient Sanskrit, Kirtan is the sacred, joyful, and spontaneous congregational singing and dancing for the glorification of the Divine. “Kuli” refers to a member of a “Community.” “Mela” means “Festive Gathering.” Combined, “Kuli Mela” tranforms into “A Celebration of Community.” These Kirtans were recorded live in the KulimeLA 2009 Bhajan Kutir at the New Dwarka Temple in Los Angeles California.

The Kuli Mela Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving an international community by supporting and encouraging its members to come together as friends in service, association and empowerment. All proceeds from the sale of this album go directly to Kuli Mela Association and help facilitate future gatherings and recordings. Please support KMA by purchasing this album!

March 6, 2010 Posted by | Bhajan, Bhajan Kutir, Gurukula, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Related Topics @ Other Sites, Gurukuli Reunion, Gurukuli Websites, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, Prabhupada, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Websites, Vaishnava Youth | 1 Comment

Global Kirtan for the Yamuna River

Already we have 35+ locations around the globe commited to participate. Our goal is to have 50+!

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Bhajan, Hare Krishna, India, Kirtan, Kuli Mela Association, Vaishnava | Leave a comment

Invitation to the DVD Premier of “The Rose of Vidarbha” Play (Originally performed at KulimeLA 2009)

Rose-of-Vidarbha-DVD-Flyer-11-14-09

Continue reading

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Related Topics @ Other Sites, Gurukuli Websites, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kulimela, Vaishnava Websites, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

Global Kirtan – Presented by Kuli Mela Association

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, Kulimela, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

As Kindred Spirits Bring Pop-Flavored Kirtan to the Masses

 

Below is an article written by  and posted at the ISKCON News Weekly website on June 21st, 2008.

Gaura Vani and I performed together in the early 1990s in a rock band called “Temple of the Mind.” His musical ability has sweetened and matured over the years. Please give him a listen.

 

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, Kulimela, Vaishnava Youth | 1 Comment

ISKCON School Alumni Takes Own Life at Thirty-Six

    

Below is an article written by Madhava Smullen and published at the ISKCON News Weekly website on July 12th, 2008.

Continue reading

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, New Vrindaban, Vaishnava Youth | 2 Comments

The Passing of a Vaishnava Family Member

It is with much sadness that I inform you of the passing of Gokulananda dasa (Kevin Michael Simmons), a member of the Gurukuli Community. 
On Friday, June 20th 2008 Gokulananda died by suicide in Marina Del Rey, CA USA.
The news of his departure was conveyed to his family and Gurukuli peers by his long-time girlfriend, Michelle LeMay.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate and honor his life on Sunday, June 29th at Michelle’s place in Marina Del Rey.
Gokulananda was 36 years old. He attended gurukula in New Vrindaban, WV and Mayapura, India. He had been living in Los Angeles for the past 5 1/2 years.
His mother is Mahidhara dasi, his sister Jayanti dasi and brother Nanda Kishore dasa.
Please join in remembering Gokulananda’s bright spirit, wishing condolences to his family and friends, and offering him sincere prayers of peace and love on his journey.
For more information, please “contact me” through the link at the upper right hand corner of this blog.

 

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, New Vrindaban, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

The Brahmana & The Prostitute

The Brahmana and the Prostitute

Once, in a peaceful village, there lived a scholarly brahmana (priest). Opposite his home, there lived a prostitute.

As a daily observance, the brahmana would sit in his doorway and recite the Gita. Meanwhile, across the street, the prostitute would tend to her business.

As the years passed, the brahmana grew ever more disturbed by the prostitute. “Just see how lowly she is.” he would think to himself and continue with his recitation.

It so happened that both the brahmana and the prostitute died at the same time. To the brahmana’s surprise, the Vishnuduttas (the Lord of Heaven’s messengers) came to deliver the prostitute while the Yamadutas (the Lord of Death’s messengers) came for him. “What is this?” he protested. “There must be some mistake!”

Both the Yamaduttas and the Visnuduttas replied, “My dear brahmana, there is no mistake. While you were busy meditating on the lowly activities of the prostitute, she listened to you recite the Gita and prayed that she could one day elevate herself to your position. In this way the prostitute achieved liberation while you only degraded yourself.”

August 11, 2007 Posted by | As It Is, Hare Krishna, India, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Children of the Ashram

Raghu, his mother & daughter 1996

“It reminds me somewhat of this Twilight Zone episode. Sirens and the radio warned of an imminent nuclear attack by the Soviets. Only one household had built a bomb shelter. The rest of the neighbors wanted in but are locked out. They finally decide to beat the cellar door down and kill the owner. The owner is just about to start shooting them in self defense. Timely, the radio announces it was a false alarm. Everyone is simply left to apologize to each other with no hard feelings. Some situations can make everyone go crazy. That is when the exemplary come to shine.”

Below is an article titled, “Children of the Ashram” written by Raghunatha anudasa.  As best I can tell it was written some time in the early to mid 90’s.  The article recounts some of his experiences as a student in ISKCON’s gurukula system in the 70’s and early 80’s.  It is generally accepted that the students in his age group received some of the worst treatment in the ashrams. I think he does a decent job of delivering a first hand account highlighting aspects of the gurukula experience that negatively impacted the students. 

His newsletter, ISKCON Youth Veterans, published in 1990, was the first public forum to give gurukula alumni a voice. Raghunatha also helped to organize the first gurukula reunion in Los Angeles in 1990.  Currently in his early forties, Raghu is considered one of the gurukuli elders. During a recent trip to New York City I was able to spend an evening with him and his family.  He lives in Battery Park, is still an active writer and invests in NY real estate. 

This article ties in with my previous posting “Who Set the Standards?”  The gurukula teachers mentioned by Raghu are pretty much the same ones involved in the room conversation with Srila Prabhupada. This narration illuminates how discussions with Srila Prabhupada were translated into action by the gurukula authorities.  (For clarification, Raghunatha is not the unnamed boy referred to in the room conversation between the gurukula teachers and Srila Prabhupada.)

NOTE: Please be aware that the article contains some intense details and descriptions.

  Continue reading

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Education, Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON | 2 Comments

Pathways To Bliss

Pathways to Bliss Joseph Campbell    

“When people get excited about the Orient and begin putting on turbans and saris, what they’ve gotten caught in is the folk aspect of the wisdom that they need.  You’ve got to find the wisdom, not the clothing of it. Through those trappings, the myths of other cultures, you can come to a wisdom that you’ve then got to translate into your own.” Joseph Campbell, from the introduction to Pathways to Bliss.

“Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind….When one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane. Srila Prabhupada, from the introduction to On Chanting Hare Krishna.

September 17, 2006 Posted by | Hare Krishna, India, ISKCON, Philosophy, Prabhupada | Leave a comment

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