Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Developing our Gardens

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022
By Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Head Gardner, Narahari Rupa das:
 
 
Last spring we worked on the burning and composting area to make it more efficient to use, we leveled the area and set new gates to close the area off and keep the public safe.  We reseed the lawn where any mud patches appeared over winter and spread minerals to help with growth. Spring is when we sow seeds  for the flowers that  the deity department use in summer and plant the summer flower beds around the temple. We cut the box hedging in Srila Prabhupadas Garden.
 
 
In summer months trimming and mowing the lawns, grass areas and along the drive become a priority. There are over 20 grass covered areas and over 30 hedges to maintain, to keep the gardens looking inviting. We also check in on the Manor’s bumble bees and makes sure they have the frames they need. We know how important the bees are for our organic farm and flowering gardens!
 

The George Harrison and Prabhupada Gardens needs care all year round, but specifically in the summer we keep them  watered and weeded. We are constantly busy keeping the grounds clear of litter, especially after large numbers of visitors on Sundays or after festivals.  

When autumn and winter come we start driveway maintenance –  removing fallen leaves from the edges of the drive to prevent cars slipping, keeping  the drains on the driveway clear of leaves and mud to prevent flooding. Many of you will have also seen us cutting the hedges along the driveway, this hedge maintenance is important to improve the health of hedge,  as it is home to many animals and birds in spring and summer months. We dig up and store the dahlias for the following year and plant hyacinth bulbs. We also prune any trees in the orchard that need it, and safely remove any dangerous or fallen trees around the property.

 
When it is icy we take care of spreading salt on the driveway, Haveli and around the temple  to keep people safe. We plant winter flowers beds and shape the hedges around the temple.

Last year many volunteers came to help: Raking leaves around the lake and orchard, clearing weeds from paths, planting 1000’s of daffodils bulbs around the car park, spreading wood chips around the plant beds, cleaning coconuts from the lake and children from the Manor School came and planted oak trees in the wooded area which will grow to replace some of the older dead or dangerous trees that are now removed. 

“We are currently working on the Bhagavad Gita walk which leads around the lake. We are putting down approx  20 ton of new stones along the path and spreading wood-chips in the wooded area. That will make it look much nicer but will also make it easier to take the walk once the muddy parts are covered over.

 
We have many projects for this year to continue improving the gardens, such as repairing the fountain in Srila Prabhupada’s garden and the pagoda on the lake. We want to work on improving the appearance of the lake area and the island. Also we will continue to improve the grass growth on the geo-grid.”
 

The passing of a dear cow

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022
On Monday 10th January one of our dear most cows Godavari Passed away
 
A message from the Chief Herdsman of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s New Gokul, Jay Krishna das:
 
“She was our oldest cow here at the Manor’s New Gokul farm. Born on 24th November 1997, she passed away at the very ripe age of 24 years. 
“Godavari was very much  seen as the grandmother of the herd and it was clear to us that she truly cared and looked over the other cows, and bulls, with great affection. All the cows had a respect for her that was very clear to see. Although she was ripe in age, she was a strong character who would look out for those more vulnerable. She was ever so gentle with us all and would take much delight in overseeing  the other cows and bulls getting their fair share of food when someone would come to treat them with various vegetables.
 
“I feel its only right for me to emphasise how regarded and loved Godavari was in the farm. She had many fond-followers who would regularly make a special effort to come to see her and serve her in some way. 
 
“By Lord Krishnas grace, Godavari had a very easy passing. She laid down Sunday 9th Jan 2021 afternoon and was reluctant to stand again. The next day she laid calmly on her side and closed her eyes. At 19:07, she took her last breath in the presence of devotees chanting Hare Krishna after having dust from the Holy Dharmas placed onto her head. A truly auspicious passing!
 
Learn more about New Gokul Farm here. 

Vacancy: Volunteer Administrator

Monday, January 10th, 2022

Here at Bhaktivedanta Manor We are seeking to appoint an inspiring and dedicated candidate for the role of Volunteer Administrator to support the Volunteer Care Council (VCC).

The VCC are responsible for engaging over 1,000 volunteers in different roles and opportunities of volunteer works throughout the year at Bhaktivedanta Manor.

This is an exciting opportunity to work and serve with the VCC team to provide exciting and life changing moments of service.

Key responsibilities include

  • Lead on the development, implementation and evaluation of a volunteer program which generates opportunities and role descriptions based on current operational and program aspirations.
  • Help internal stakeholders to understand the role of volunteers and the contribution they can make to their departments
  • Recommend and implement goals and objectives for the volunteer program reflecting ISKCON’s values.
  • Manage the practicalities of the volunteering program such as policies, procedures, standards, safeguarding and budgets.
  • Provide the appropriate administration to the existing team in regards to recruiting, training, and supervising new volunteers.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date database.
  • Using marketing tools such as social media, e-mails, and volunteer databases to communicate, promote and inspire
  • Keeping new and existing volunteers informed about the organization and the exciting volunteer opportunities.
  • Matching volunteers to opportunities that suit their skill sets, and ensuring they understand their responsibilities and receive the proper training.
  • Keeping schedules and records of volunteers’ work.
  • Preparing codes of conduct and operating procedures to uphold the organization’s values.
  • Investigate best practice in the volunteering and cultural sectors regarding increasing the diversity of volunteers.
  • Develop and manage partnerships with external stakeholders including Universities/volunteering hubs/other ISKCON communities.
  • Develop and maintain links with local community groups and other organizations and businesses in order to recruit volunteers.
  • Raise the profile of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s volunteer programs, acting as an ambassador.
  • Work with Marketing to design a range of marketing materials in accessible formats to promote ISKCON and its volunteer program, including digital methods.
  • Attend volunteer fairs and community events and organize recruitment workshops and talks.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

  • Ensure that volunteer roles, guidelines, procedures, record keeping and evaluation systems are followed and maintained.
  • Ensure that volunteers receive the appropriate level of supervision.
  • Provide data and written reports for internal and external reporting as required.
  • Health and Safety
  • Ensure that all programs, activities and events are developed and conducted in line with Health & Safety and Safeguarding guidelines, conducting any necessary risk assessments as required.

Details of special skills and experience required:

  • Knowledge of current trends, resources and information related to volunteer management;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to deal with a diverse range of people
  • Proven experience of initiating and managing volunteer projects is desirable
  • Experience in volunteering and recruitment is desirable
  • Experienced in managing budgets with good financial awareness
  • Capacity to inspire, influence and motivate others;
  • Ability to deal with information in a confidential manner and respond with sensitivity
  • Good organizational skills and the ability to manage a variety of tasks;
  • Administrative and IT skills, and an ability to maintain records and produce reports

If you are up for the challenge get in touch by 25th January 2022.

Location: Hare Krishna Temple, Bhaktivedanta Manor, Hilfield Lane, Watford WD25 8EZ

Hours: 35 hours per week

Contact: hr@krishnatemple.com

Distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

Every December ISKCON devotees around the world make a special effort to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books as widely as possible, for the spiritual benefit of society.

Highlights of the Manor’s Winter Book Marathon included:

–              A Live to Give Seminar before the Marathon facilitated by Vaisesika das, attended by over 150 devotees.

–              Over 370 devotees took part from the Manor community, including 125 children.

–              Books were distributed in all kinds of ways: door to door, shop to shop, supermarket to supermarket, on the high streets, book tables, to schools, businesses, prisons, care homes, hospitals and libraries.

–              5 sangha groups, including a deaf sangha, four mentee groups and two Bhakti Vriksha groups participated.

–              Sacred Street Party covered five towns

–              The Gita project also placed many books in various organisations.

–              More than 3000 packets of cookie prasadam were distributed.

–              Travelling Sankirtana Party, headed by Sutapa Das, Antaranga Das and Gurushakti Dasi visited over the high streets of 25 towns across the UK.

–              One of the unique features of this Marathon was distribution of Sapatah Rishi pack entitled “Inner Yoga Pack” and “The dharma pack”. This pack included 7 books. Devotees distributed over 850 such packs over the month.

A total of 53,155 of Srila Prabhupada’s books of all sizes were distributed by devotees from the Manor community. Including all ISKCON temples in the UK, the total was 119,785!

Divya Nama das, the head of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s book distribution initiative, wrote:

“Srila Prabhupada we hope that you are pleased with the efforts of devotees who came together this Marathon for one purpose which is to full fill your and Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire to expand the Sankirtan movement unlimitedly.  We would like to thank all the devotees who participated in this month long sankirtan yajna for the pleasure of Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada and specially those devotees who joined in for the first time in this Book Marathon…”

Children’s Gita Day

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

A children’s Gita Jayanti event took place in December on the grounds of the Manor, themed around the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. It was an engaging and educational day, tailor-made for all age groups.

It included outdoor nature trails, quizzes, singing, games and the sharing of understandings in creative ways.

Also Krishna Club members performed on the Haveli stage, Gita competition winners were announced and children from the sankirtan book distribution team recited Sanskrit verses.

The children even received the opportunity to recite and make offerings into a sacred fire yajna, overseen by Vaishnava das.

Children’s Gita Competition

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

The talent of young people from the Manor community was called upon for a competition based around Chapter 10 of Bhagavad Gita. Participants were asked to submit a drawing and / or a speech about the journey of the soul, devotional service or karma.

The competition was divided into three age groups.

“We would like to say a big thank you to all the parents for giving their time and energy for helping, encouraging and supporting your children with this competition,” said Kuncita Locanam Devi Dasi and Nanda-Vraja Dasa. ” All the children did an amazing job with their drawings and speeches and the judges had a really tough time deciding on the winners. All the entries were so inspirational and energising!”

Here are the competition winners in the art categories:

by Abhirut Selhi (13 +)

 

Akshaj Pokkula (8 – 12)

 

Rasika Rani (up to 7)

 

Indira Sharma (Special Consideration for Effort)

Community Glorifies the Song of God

Monday, January 3rd, 2022

On 26th December, Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Shri Krishna Haveli staged its annual Gita Jayanti festival.

Many community devotees of all ages took on leading roles,  including the Sanskrit recitation of the Gita, commentaries, the fire yajna, music and introductions.

In accordance with government COVID regulations, all those who attended were LFT tested and social distancing was facilitated. Meanwhile devotees witnessed the event online via no less than 500 devices.

Over 2000 Bhagavad-gitas were sponsored for the event, which will later be distributed to institutions such as hospitals, libraries and prisons.

An ideal end to the year

Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Devotees of the Bhaktivedanta Manor community rounded off 2021 perfectly by descending on the streets of Watford to share the Holy Names with New Year’s Eve shoppers.  Many of the same crew  went on the join the huge procession in central London to chant amongst the evening revellers.

The Manor’s hari nama procession team go out to local towns every Saturday late morning, early afternoon. To learn more about taking part, email: ananta@krishnatemple.com

There are also devotees who go out to the London boroughs every Thursday. For more information: govindahrid@yahoo.com

Panto has families enthralled

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

During the Christmas season, the Bhaktivedanta Players performed their first pantomime in the Shree Krishna Haveli. Based on the classic tale written by Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol“, the Players’ parody was laced with its own Krishna Conscious ingredients,  and still retained the powerful messages promoting faith, morality and charity. 

Expert musician Jayadev das was an excellent support act. His devotional drumming workshop warmed the audience up very nicely in time for the panto!

It was directed by Jaya Krishna das. It was written by both Radha Mohan das and Jaya Krishna das.  

Mantra Rock & Krishna’s Winter Market

Sunday, December 5th, 2021

In honour of Srila Prabhupada’s 125th birth anniversary, Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Sri Krishna Haveli presented a collaborative event for the devotees, community, congregation and locals with over 1,000 visitors. 

The day started with a robust “Krishna’s Winter Market” with over 30 stalls of all different types.  The devotees, community members, worshippers and friends of the temple who have their own bespoke creations of hand-made jewellery, arts and crafts, vegan soaps, children’s books, ethnic homeware and so much more were showcased.  A Krishna Wish tree inspired worshippers and guests to write a prayer and decorate a bauble and hang it on the tree. 

Delicious mince pies, mouth-watering waffles and ice cream, masala-dosas to stone baked freshly made pizza stalls, candy floss and lots of hot beverages were presented on festive food carts, were served fresh.

One of our congregation members Sneha commented:

“After such a long duration of Covid, it was wonderful to see all the devotees coming together with their talents in an inspiring atmosphere where we purchase, talk and eat together.”

By the afternoon a Mantra Rock 6 hour Kirtan ensued in the main kirtan hall, serving a devotional serenade to the pleasure of the guests.  The Kirtan was inspired by the original Mantra Rock Dance that took place in the San Francisco in 1967.  The original vintage marketing with a contemporary twist was staged in the hall, with a splash of flower power, 1970’s vintage microphones, hanging japa beads, vintage footage of Srila Prabhupada singing and dancing on the big screen, together with a beautiful brass image of Lord Krishna which glistened on the stage.

Kirtan London was headed by Ananda Monet, who gathered together a wonderful group of Kirtaneers who filled up the 6 hour slot with their melodious voices.  Radha Londonisvara, Karunamayi, Keli Kanana, Ananda Monet, Kavi Chandra, Kishori Jaini, Abishek Singh and Radhika Ranjana were the line-up.

The organisers and the devotees at Bhaktivedanta are grateful to contribute this wonderful event in honour of his Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada during the year of his 125th birth anniversary.