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Monday, June 16, 2008

Simple Living, High Thinking #3

For the week of June 9th-June 15th 2008

Hop on the milk crate and join us for another week on enlivening green-thumb seva, live and with dirty hands from New Vrindaban Dham

What we got done
-HG Shanka Prabhu finished up his yearly nectar planting seva in front of the temple by laying down a few rows of vibrant sunflowers.

Shanka in the ecstasy of sunflower planting

-A whole slew of green-thumb devotees had a morning marathon of planting marigolds, zinnias, and a few other fragrant varieties. Within a few weeks, the temple grounds will be overflowing with sensual delights for the eyes, ears, and soul.

Chris perfects his relaxed method of planting

-Up top at the Garden of Seven Gates, everything (except the poor cucumbers) is coming along nicely. We augmented our harvest this year by laying down a few rows of green beans next to our peppers, and we also threw some smaller rows of beans into the ground down below at the Teaching Garden.

-Tapahpunja had a very exciting question for us: "Have you ever broadcasted oats before?!". Whilst some of us have broadcasted TV and radio programs before, never before have we casted oats into the ground as Tapah showed us how to do. This is a new part of this year's planting plan, and we'll have, by the grace of the Lord, a large supply of grain for the temple by the time harvest rolls around.

Tom meets his mortal enemy....the orange fence!!

What we realized
-Some of us have developed a compulsion...something we never thought we would have...a very strong desire to weed!!! Now, even when we take a walk through the forest, our first instinct upon seeing a perfectly natural arrangement of weeds is to grab our shovel and have at them without mercy. This is strange....a wholly unplanned development and side-effect of this wonderful garden seva. Tapah, what have you done to us!?

On a slightly more serious note, engaging in the seva of the land means we are also engaging in the literal gardening of the devotional creeper in our hearts. As St. Benedict said, "to work is to pray." We work to cultivate this Holy Dham, our earnest efforts designed to bring forth the fruits of the earth for Krsna's pleasure, and by doing so, at the very same time, the garden of our heart also grows and prospers.

Lord Caitanya explains the essence much better than I can, as he speaks to Rupa Goswami in the Caitanya-Charitamrta "The living entities all over the universes are enjoying the effects of the respective fruitive results of their own work, life after life. Out of all of them, some may be influenced by the association of pure devotees and thus get the chance to execute devotional service by attainment of taste. This taste is the seed of devotional service, and one who is fortunate enough to have received such a seed is advised to sow it in the core of his heart.

As one cultivates a seed by pouring water to fructify it, the seed of devotional service sown in the heart of the devotee may be cultured by pouring water in the form of hearing and chanting of the holy name and pastimes of the Lord. The creeper of devotional service, so nourished, gradually grows, and the devotee, acting as a gardener, goes on pouring the water of constant hearing and chanting. The creeper of devotional service gradually grows so high that it passes through the entire material universe and enters into the spiritual sky, growing still higher and higher until it reaches the planet
Goloka Vṛndāvana.

The devotee-gardener is in touch with the abode of the Lord even from the material plane by dint of performing devotional service to the Lord simply by hearing and chanting. As a creeper takes shelter of another, stronger tree, similarly the creeper of devotional service, nourished by the devotee, takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord and thus becomes fixed. When the creeper is fixed, then the fruit of the creeper comes into existence, and the gardener who nourished it is able to enjoy this fruit of love, and his life becomes successful."

Please help us out! Your hands, heads, and hearts can help us restore Srila Prabhupada's vision of self-sufficency here at New Vrindaban Dham. We're out shining and even in the rain in the Teaching Garden across the street from the RVC Temple, or up the hill at the Garden of Seven Gates. See HG Tapahpunja Prabhu for all the details.

Click here for more info on the Small Farm Training Center.

Stay tuned for next week's update! Hari Haribol!

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