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New Vrindaban Rebuilds, Sees Bright Future Ahead

New Vrindaban Rebuilds, Sees Bright Future Ahead

Originally posted by Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News on 9 May 2013

New Vrindaban Board Members with Srila Prabhupada in his Palace of Gold

Established in 1968 in West Virginia, New Vrindaban was ISKCON’s first rural community.

Over the following years, the pioneer community made a series of  well-documented mistakes in its early attempts, going through some of ISKCON’s  darkest and most difficult times. Resources were affected, but most of all  people—many of whom left the community.

Still, a skeleton crew remained through the toughest times, working through the repercussions and doing their best to correct the errors of the past.

In more recent times, there has been renewed energy to rebuild New Vrindaban and to turn it into the exemplary self-sufficient, Krishna conscious community  that Srila Prabhupada envisioned.

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May 11, 2013 Posted by | Animal Protection, Bhakti, Bhakti Yoga, Brijabasi Spirit, Cow Protection, ECOV, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kirtan, New Vrindaban, Prabhupada, Vaishnava | Leave a comment




Originally posted by Chaitanya Mangala on Brijabasi Spirit 03 April 2013

At the start of 2013 ECOV began asking devotees to share their ideas for projects they’d like to make happen in New Vrindaban. We are repeating this request and reminding everyone that ECOV is open to funding projects in and around New Vrindaban that have a clear community benefit and are consistent with our mission (see below).

Since putting the word out in January, we are pleased to report that we are currently supporting the following programs:

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April 12, 2013 Posted by | Animal Protection, Brijabasi Spirit, ECOV, Education, ISKCON, Krishna, New Vrindaban, Prabhupada, Vaishnava | Leave a comment

KulimeLA 2009: Mela Video Montage Shown at the Ford Theater

A video montage featuring highlights of KM06 – New Vrindaban, KM07 – Alachua, KM07 – Moscow & KM08 – Radhadesh, shown during the KulimeLA 2009 Gala Evening at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. 

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

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 23, 2011 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukula Alumni, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Reunion, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kuli Mela Association - Alachua Chapter, Kulimela, New Raman Reti, New Vrindaban, Prabhupada, Radhadesh, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Youth | 1 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

ISKCON’s 2nd Generation Go Green at French Kuli Mela


The chateau of New Mayapur in France


ISKCON’s 2nd Generation Go Green at French Kuli Mela

An article written by Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News and originally posted on July 9th, 2010.

This August, 350 “Kulis,” or members of ISKCON’s second generation, from France, England, Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium will converge on the rural community of New Mayapur two hours south of Paris, France.

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July 12, 2010 Posted by | Bhajan, Gurukula, Gurukuli, Gurukuli Related Topics @ Other Sites, Gurukuli Reunion, Gurukuli Websites, Hare Krishna, ISKCON Youth, Kirtan, Krishna, Kuli, Kuli Mela, Kuli Mela Association, Kulimela, New Mayapur, New Vrindaban, Prabhupada, Vaishnava, Vaishnava Websites, Vaishnava Youth | 1 Comment

Cathedral Offers Garden to Abuse Victims

For the first time, the Catholic Church has offered a garden that honors victims of clergy abuse.


Below is an article from CNN, posted on October 23, 2008, that describes a garden in Oakland California, USA that the Catholic Church dedicated to honor and remember the victims of clergy abuse.

This is something I’ve heard discussed and considered both by Gurukulis and various ISKCON representatives.

It’s something to think about.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kulimela, New Vrindaban, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

European “Kulis” Unite at Belgium’s Radhadesh Castle


Below is an article written by  and posted at the ISKCON News Weekly website on August 2nd, 2008.

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August 7, 2008 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kuli Mela, Kulimela, New Vrindaban, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a 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.

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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

Kuli Mela: The Tipping Point

Back To Godhead Cover - Kulimela 

 Below is an article written by Madhava Smullen about Kuli Mela that was published in the Back To Godhead magazine in Volume 41, No 3 May/June 2007. 

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June 21, 2007 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kulimela, New Vrindaban, Vaishnava Youth | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To Janmastami, Hrishikesha and the Editors of Vaishnava Websites:

The Sampradaya Sun recently published two articles: “Reply to Bhaktipada or Bhaktifraud?” from Hrisikesha prabhu and “A Reply to Hrishikesha dasa”from Janmastami prabhu. In each of these articles my name was given as an example of a minor who was sexually abused by Kirtanananda prabhu in the mid 1980’s.  I want to point out that this use of my name was done without my knowledge or consent.   


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January 14, 2007 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, New Vrindaban | Leave a comment

In Memory of Nrsmha dasa (Elijah B. Long)

Nrsmha & Daughter

 “Nrsimha was a loving person and I think that everyone who got to know him saw that sparkle in him. He was compassionate and kind. He cared for others deeply. There are many pictures I have of him laughing and having a good time with his gurukula buddies. Not all of his life was miserable because there were many beautiful, sincere moments when he knew that his upbringing in KC, was a special unique experience. He had not resolved how the abuses and neglect fit into the larger picture yet, and he compensated for the inner pain and anger by drugging himself until he was numb, but when he was lucid, he told me that I had given him something that he knew was for his spiritual advancement. He just could not figure out though, if the movement was authentic and good, or if it was damaging to the growth of the individual spirit soul. I think alot of gurukulis and their parents who suffer from past digressions, abuses, and failure of trust within the ISKCON structure, also are probably struggling with this dichotomy. And so if anything can be learned from the tragic death of my son, I think he would want what is not right to be corrected, and for all abusers and power-mongers who are covered by the false illusory energy, to be removed, so as to let what is right and good, develop and flourish.”

This is an article written by Daksi dasi about the death of her son, Nrsmha dasa, that was posted on Chakra April 19th, 2005.   She gives insights into a parent’s perspective on ISKCON’s gurukula system in the late 70’s and early 80’s and her relationship with her son throughout the years.  I include this article because it was written by a parent who sent her child to gurukula and because it discusses the untimely death of a gurukuli who struggled with his past. 

I attended Nrsmha’s memorial service in New Vrindaban July 2005.  I sat with many of his fellow gurukulis, parents, former teachers, and community members.  We cried hard and long.  It is a sad time when we gather to mourn the loss of one of our peers.  These are the times when the term “ISKCON Gurukula Veterans” seems most appropriate.

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October 9, 2006 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, New Vrindaban | 3 Comments

Brijabasi Spirit Revived!

Brijabasi Spirit Vol 6 issue 2    Brijabasi Spirit Magazine Cover 1982

“A brijabasi is a resident of Vrindavan, and it was appropriate that the magazine of New Vrindaban was entitled Brijabasi Spirit. The Brijabasi Spirit first emerged in the early 70’s as a mimeographed 10-12 page newsletter which was stapled together. By 1977 it had become a 20 – 30 page magazine which included black & white photos. The issues catered to the community residents and copies were also sent to North American temples. In 1980 to 1982 the magazine added a color cover, and by 1983 it had evolved into a glossy magazine with a sophisticated layout and colored photos throughout. The articles catered to Hindu and Western visitors, highlighting the community’s planned expansion and various projects. By the late 1980′ s the magazine had returned to a simpler format. In the 1990’s it appeared sporadically until its demise in 1995. By the late 90’s the community produced a one or two page newsletter.”

This is a link to a newly revised online version of the Brijabasi Spirit magazine.  This latest incarnation comes to us through the determination of Madhava Gosh prabhu and a few others.  I am very interested in seeing how this develops.

Madhava Gosh appropriately calls his blogsite “View From a New Vrindaban Ridge.” The black and white photo from the cover of the Brijabasi Spirit magazine is of Bahulaban in the winter of 1979 (left picture, above).  At the time of the photo Bahulaban was the center of the New Vrindaban community (I moved to NV approximately 1 year after that photo was taken).  If you look closely at the upper left hand corner of the picture, through the tree line, you can see the house where Madhava Gosh currently resides and blogs.

The second photo (on the right, above) is a picture of New Vrindaban Brijabasis gathered at Srila Prabhupada’s Palace in 1982.  The resolution of the photo is not that good, so it may be a bit difficult to properly identify people in it.  Amongst others, you’ll find Sankara dasi (my mother, wearing a brown sari, fourth woman from the left, lower row) and myself (teenager wearing a red shirt, fourth from the left, standing in front of Manihara, upper row.)

October 1, 2006 Posted by | Hare Krishna, ISKCON, New Vrindaban | Leave a comment

Kulimela Business Development Conference

Kulimela Logo

Below is my “fifteen minutes of fame” from the Business Development Conference at Kulimela.  I was one of six gurukulis who were part of a panel.  We each gave a short presentation and repsonded to a Q&A session from the audience.  The other gurukulis: Govinda Syer, Samba, Bala, Kapila & Ananda Vardhani.  The keynote speaker was Hare Krishna prabhu.  He gave an inspiring speech that seamlessly incorporated KC philosophy with business principles.  I plan to transcribe some of his address soon.

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September 20, 2006 Posted by | Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kulimela, New Vrindaban | Leave a comment

More Kuli Mela Video Footage!

Bala & Kapila @ Kulimela Business Plenary Session

More raw footage from Kulimela 2006 has been made available at Google Video.

You can watch the unedited video of the “Community and Spiritual Development” and “Business Development” plenary conferences from Kulimela 2006.  Key speakers for the “Community and Spiritual Development” session included: Kapila, Shakuntala, Manu, Vedasara, Vyenkata Bhatta, Romapada Swami, Radhanatha Swami, Malati, Anuttama, Syamasundara, and Bhagavan prabhus. Key speakers for the “Business Development” session included: Hare Krishna prabhu, Govinda Syer, Samba, Ananda Vardhani, Kapila, Bala, and myself.

There were some really good points raised during these discussions.  Sometime in the very near future I plan on doing some transcribing and posting portions on my blog. In the meanwhile, enjoy the video….

September 19, 2006 Posted by | Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Kulimela, New Vrindaban | Leave a comment

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