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Bhakti-Janani – Enlivening our Devotion

Sunday, January 17th, 2021

A fortnightly program (every Ekadashi)  for one and all!

 

 

Over the past year, life has become filled with unexpected challenges. These challenges have come from all directions and affected our bodies, minds and lives in so many ways. When challenges come they test our wit, resilience, adaptability and beliefs. Some we are able to tackle and some we end up surrendering to. 2020 has definitely impacted our world. But there is always a silver lining to every cloud.

The scriptures say that a devotee always finds opportunities to connect with Krishna in every situation. With this in mind, Bhaktivedanta Manor is launching a new initiative called Bhakti-Janani – ‘Enlivening our devotion’.

Bhakti Janani seeks that silver lining in all circumstances.  Whether it be challenging or enlivening situations, we welcome you to send in your prayers for every scenario.  These can range from:

  • Remembering the departed
  • Seeking health and recovery
  • Celebrating an occasion like career achievements, birthdays, anniversaries, other landmark events
  • And of course general well-being

In the next approaching Ekadeshi (Putrada Ekadasi – Sunday 24th January), Bhakti Janani devotees will gather virtually and

  • Extol the Glories of Ekadashi
  • Perform sacred fire sacrifices
  • Chant Krishna’s holy names for the growth, protection and in honour of your cause and your loved ones.

This is a wonderful opportunity to receive incredible spiritual benedictions, protection and support from Krishna’s holy names for whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Please fill in the Prayer form giving details of your prayers

Submit Your Prayer

 

Winter Meditations for Comfort

Monday, November 16th, 2020

On this page we are sharing a series short videos to help and inspire us in our spiritual lives. Please watch, listen and enjoy!

“Controlling the restless mind”

In 6.34 Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna explains that “…the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it… is more difficult than controlling the wind”.
Arjuna speaks for us all when he describes the troublesome mind. However the easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting “Hare Krishna,” the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is that one must engage one’s mind fully in Krishna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.

“The Formula for Peace”

This informative piece explains that the formula for peace and prosperity in a nation is to realise everything is for God and by God. A land can be unified by knowing and living according to that principle, irrespective of nationality, race, gender and any other material designation.

“Prasad – Spiritualised Food”

This presentation, both beautiful and informative, explains that ‘prasad’ is the Lord’s mercy and something completely different from ordinary food. When foodstuffs are offered to the Lord according to specific standards and procedure, along with with devotion, it becomes spiritualised. That prasad has a huge purifying effect on all those who consume it

“The Potency of Worshipping the Deity – The Lord we can perceive”

This very beautiful video explains that the standard of Deity worship established by Srila Prabhupada means that They are not mundane statues, but non-different from the omnipresent Lord.

 

“Srila Prabhupada and Little Saraswati”

This delightful video explores the high regard that Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had for ‘Little Sarawati”, the little daughter of his pioneering disciples Malati dasi and Shyamasundr das. Indeed,, Prabhupada loved and encouraged everyone in Krishna consciousness, including parents as well as their children.

“Transcendent Treasures”

This video  is especially relevant for the month of December because it is a time when devotees make a special effort to distribute the books of Srila Prabhupada- – including his translations and elaborate commentary of ancient classical literatures such as the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam (as well as many others).  Also note that Gita Jayanti falls on Friday 25th December this year – – marking the day when the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken over 5000 years ago. On this day devotees recite all 700 verses of the Gita, ‘the Song of God’.

 

“Krishna, the All-Attractive Supreme Person”

This is a beautiful video which explains that the qualification of God must include one who is the most wealthy, famous, intelligent, beautiful…and that is Krishna.

“A genuine representative of God”

Some of the images of Srila Prabhupada in this video were taken in and around Bhaktivedanta Manor.

 

Visit the temple

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Dear Devotees, 

We so much look forward to welcoming you back to your temple, Bhaktivedanta Manor, and hope you will appreciate the steps we’ve taken to safeguard the health of our guests and residents. To establish a robust system to enable you to have darshan in a safe environment, we’ve completed a thorough risk assessment and consulted with specific service sectors including external auditors. In line with this expertise and government guidance, we’re pleased to open Bhaktivedanta Manor. 

Please note that at present you can:

  • Take Darshan and offer prayers in the temple room. 
  • Get a takeaway from Radharanis Cafe.

As the threat of the virus subsides and when we receive further government advice, we’ll be opening more temple facilities.

Book a ticket (tickets are released on a weekly basis)

To limit the number of individuals on site at any one time, we’re implementing a ticketing system. Please book a free ticket at: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/individual-worship-at-bhaktivedanta-manor-tickets-108659345026

If you need help with booking or are having issues or queries, contact us at darshan@krishnatemple.com or phone / Whatsapp: 07579 776 925 between 10am and 1pm.

KINDLY NOTE: YOU MUST HAVE A TICKET & A MASK TO ENTER THE TEMPLE. 

What to expect on arrival

In line with our risk assessment and COVID plan, you and your travelling party will need to:

  1. Show your valid ticket – WITHOUT A VALID TICKET FOR ALL OF YOUR TRAVELLING PARTY YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ENTRY.
    Visitors are to arrive 10 minutes prior to their allocated slot so that checks. can be carried out.
  2. Have your individual temperatures checked with a simple non-touch reader. If anyone in your party exceeds the normal temperature of >37.8c degrees, your party WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ACCESS. If you do not have symptoms and history of contact, you will then proceed to the car park.
  3. For everyone’s safety, please strictly follow the instructions of the car parking team and the darshan queue team at all times. Once parked, please go to the darshan queue where you will be asked to sanitise your hands. We recommend that everyone wears a face mask throughout their visit.
  4. Volunteers will guide you through the darshan queue. At this time we ask that you:
    1. maintain social distancing i.e. a 2 meter gap – the markings on the floor will help you maintain the distance (families can stand together)
    2. do not speak to others who have come / are leaving darshan
    3. in line with government guidance, please refrain from singing 
    4. we ask that you do not pay your obeisances / dandavats to the Deities; rather, fold your hands in respect to Them. Please also avoid touching any surfaces
  5. On your exit, you’ll be offered prasadam and will have an opportunity to donate to the temple. Please do this and then return to your car. Where required access to toilets will be made available.
  6. Finally, please stay within the barrier system and do not attempt to visit other parts of the temple or speak to the residents.

COVID19 checklist

Please complete this checklist every time you visit the temple.

  • If you answer YES to any of the questions then please stay at home
  • If you answer NO to all the questions then please visit the temple.

Today or in the last 14 days…

Do you have/have you had a fever (>37.8c)? Yes / No

Do you have/have you had any of the following new symptoms: cough, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, aches and pains, flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea? Yes / No

Have you tested POSITIVE for COVID19? Yes / No

Has anyone in your household or your contacts had (or does anyone currently have) new : fever, cough, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, aches and pains, flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea? Yes / No

Has anyone in your household or your contacts been tested positive for COVID19? Yes / No

www.krishnatemple.com/donate

Other notes:

YOU SHOULD ACCESS OUR FRONT GATE VIA THE A41 AND SANDY LANE. PLEASE AVOID DRIVING THROUGH THE LOCAL VILLAGES AND NOTE THAT THERE IS NO ACCESS TO OUR SITE THAT WAY

 

Sri Krishna Haveli Complete

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

We are happy to say that we have now successfully completed our purpose-built hall, the Sri Krishna Haveli, which will take the pressure off the main Grade II listed Manor building to provide a spacious environment that will allow you to fully appreciate your spiritual experience at Bhaktivedanta Manor. It is of course wonderful, much-awaited news, but like with many big projects there were some hurdles, heartache, and not to mention the pandemic, along the way.

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This is how it all came about…

If you have ever been to Bhaktivedanta Manor on a Sunday evening, I am sure you can relate to the frustration of trying to find a place for your shoes. And even more frustrating is trying to locate them on your way out! What to speak of queuing behind a crowd of hundreds of other people trying to squeeze into the temple room, many times feeling like it’s rush hour on a packed underground train, only to find that you can’t get in because there is a guest speaker visiting, with another couple of hundred devotees eagerly occupying every corner of floor space.

In 2007 the temple wrote to the local council requesting to build a small village or church style hall. The council responded by asking for the temple’s development requirements for the next 15 years. A complete needs assessment was carried out by Cottrell and Vermeulen in 2010, and an additional independent assessment was completed by Rasamandala Das, who consulted with various teams and the community at Bhaktivedanta Manor to establish that in the event of having extra facility, what they would use it for.

The various activities were put in order of priority based on how many times they had been raised and the attention that had been focused on them. These consultations moved forward to become a public brief and the planning application was put forward in December 2014. The most difficult task was balancing the needs of the temple and the local community. Ensuring that our facilities will be for housing the current needs of the temple and not to increase activities, planning was granted on 21st April 2016. This was the year ISKCON celebrated 50 years since its establishment.

After receiving more than 6 tenders from various contractors, the construction company Vascroft was chosen to proceed with building. A grand ground-breaking ceremony was held with guest of honour, David Cameron, the then UK prime minister.

Why Sri Krishna Haveli?

Havelis are traditional buildings that can be found in many places in India. The idea of a Haveli was inspired by Havelis of Keshi Ghat and Radha Raman temple, Radha Shyamasundar temple and Sri Radha Damodar temple. All these temples are ornate buildings which have Rajasthani post-medieval architecture, which was drawn from a variety of sources from Persia to India. They were generally built from stone and sandstone, with ornate windows and a little courtyard in the middle to keep it cool in the summer. In time, these Havelis became temples, devotional buildings that were very prominent around Vraj, Rajasthan and various other places.

Sri Krishna Haveli was designed so that it wold sit well between the rustic goshala and not overshadow Bhaktivedanta Manor, the mock Tudor mansion. To complement the local area and respect the culture of the locality, oak, timber, tile and traditional red brick with stone paving were chosen as typical of the area of Hertfordshire and wider England. The design was chosen to respect the past and to look to the future, representing authentic construction of today, with sustaining features and characters. Bespoke line patterns based upon Rajasthani and formal English patterns were created by Kishori Radha Dasi to maintain a devotional culture. Mouldings were carved in teak in India and sent to the UK to be further developed. You will see this in the inner ceilings of the veranda walk-way.

What’s going on at the Haveli?

You will be welcomed by a beautiful chakra garden with the heart chakra at the entrance. The heart is central to the Bhakti tradition as everything comes together in the heart.
There will be lively kirtans, classes by visiting speakers, weddings and other functions in the Kirtan hall which is a formal and high-quality room with beautiful wood panelling, a stage and lighting. To the rear there are dressing rooms for stage performers and brides and grooms to be.

The Seva hall is conveniently situated beside a fully equipped bespoke kitchen for easy access to serve prasad to all our guests. This hall can also be subdivided into three sections and can be used for clubs, yoga and childrens activities.

The upstairs learning area is called Bhakti Vidyalaya with two areas for teaching: the Atma Vidya and Paramatma Vidya rooms. Bhakti is the means through which the tiny soul and great soul come into each other’s company, through which revelation of divinity takes place. These rooms will be used primarily to host visiting schools that come to learn about Hinduism and the Bhakti Tradition. They will also be used by the School of Bhakti.

Outside there is an exciting space for children in the Haveli playground. This play area was designed with ideas from the children in the Gurukula School and Krishna Club. It is centred around Krishna’s childhood pastimes with the Aghasura and Bakasura demons and Kaliya the serpent. Made from old trees, it is an area where the children play and engage just like Krishna did with His friends. The playground serves as a safe space for children to play and creatively engage, focusing on the pastimes of Lord Krishna.

Farewell to the soldiers

Early in 2018, at the beginning of construction, His Grace Srutidharma das, then temple president at Bhaktivedanta Manor, was diagnosed with cancer. Serving the community for more than forty years, a stalwart leader and servant of all, he inspired and worked unwaveringly with others to turn this ‘from dream to reality’ as an offering to Srila Prabhupada and the community. He sadly passed away on 10th March 2020. We also lost Rameshwar das, shortly afterwards, who worked tirelessly to raise funds for this project.

A visit from the PM

As part of his election campaign in December 2019 Boris Johnson, inspired by the community activities at Bhaktivedanta Manor, visited the Sri Krishna Haveli. He was accompanied by Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, and Priti Patel, Home Secretary, as well as the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss and other MP’s. During Mr Johnson’s visit he placed a garland around Srila Prabhupada and received blessings from Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda.

Opening Delayed

A three-day Haveli opening was planned and ready, when unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, cautions were put in place for the imminent government lockdown. All departments were set and raring to go to begin use of the new facilities, but the Lord had other plans. Many members of the community fell ill with the virus and we sadly said farewell to a few more dear devotees.

During this pandemic, the builders continued to work on the Haveli and completed June 2020.

Finances

The projected cost of the Haveli was initially £9.6 million and with design changes, price increases and additions, the final cost of the project is £10.65 million.

As the builders were on site we instructed them to complete ancillary projects, which have been in a state of disrepair and required to be done. The design & installation of the new children’s playground, resurfacing of both cark parks, with installation of E-charging points and new lighting. The ladies ashrama has also been renovated and its roof replaced. The temple building now has a beautiful paved path around it, for the pleasure of the Vaishnavas, who can now do parikrama safely, without stepping into potholes and puddles. The Manor school, Gift shop and the Bakery also needed to be relocated, so that they could continue to provide their services.

To make sure construction did not stop the temple raised a bank loan of £5 million. Most of the funds have been raised in the form of pledges, and the devotees are working very hard, encouraging donors to fulfill their pledges of support.

Thank You

This project has been the largest single project, since the time of George Harrison donating Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1973. Over the last 40 years we have seen incredible changes; through many trials and tribulations, the devotees have continued to remain focused on their duty and getting on with what needs to get done.

Despite the challenges of a world that is constantly changing, the devotion and determination of Krishna’s devotee will definitely ensure a bright future. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad gita:

yatra yogesvarah Krishna yatra partho dhanur dhara
tatra srir vijayo bhutir dhruva nitir matir mama

Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.

Our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to you all for your unfailing support, which has made Bhaktivedanta Manor, an oasis of spiritual culture in the UK. Your sacrifices and seva for Sri Krishna, remain to your eternal credit. Hare Krishna.