(Assisted by Bhakta Piyush Mehta and Bhaktin Madhavi Mehta, her parents)
A total of 15 devotees visited Nandagrama Vedic Village last week. Nandagrama is located about ninety-one kilometers away from Baroda near the Sardar Sarovar dam in Kevadia Colony. It is a beautiful and scenic village away from the hustle and bustle of the city with its unpleasant noise and air pollution due to traffic and industrialization.
The road trip was a long and tiring drive, but now, looking back, it was well worth the time and trouble. When we arrived, a beautiful little calf came to greet us. The calf attracted our eyes and hearts, and it appeared to enjoy all the attention he received from everyone in our traveling party.
We were warmly greeted by the happy devotees of Nandagrama, and there was a pleasing Vaishnava exchange of offering obeisances and respect to each other.
We were then guided to the small but inviting temple room, which was beautifully painted and decorated by the loving hands of the devotees. Our darshan experience was made especially sweet because of the cozy atmosphere–it felt like a home temple. Small temples have such unique charm! We had darshan of Their Lordships Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Shalagrama, and Srila Prabhupada. The Deities were beautifully dressed and decorated with fresh flower garlands and appeared to be very happy, residing in the midst of Their loving devotees surrounded by beautiful cottages and vegetable gardens on every side. It almost felt like we were back in Mayapur!
There we observed the small children studying under the guidance and supervision of Savyasachi Prabhu’s father just on the other side of the partition. We were then served a delicious and sattvik breakfast consisting of khichadi and buttermilk, prepared with pure organic grains, all produced and harvested by the devotees themselves. The small gurukula boys diligently and enthusiastically made necessary arrangements for serving us prasadam. They were guided very nicely by a senior prabhuji who was in charge of overlooking the guest and hospitality department.
After breakfast, we were taken by HG Chaitanya Chandra Prabhu to HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaja’s cottage which is just a five-minute walk from the Grhastha cottages. The narrow pathway leading up to it is beautifully surrounded by green fields and varieties of trees.
We enjoyed very enlivening and sublime association with HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaj and everyone was in bliss afterward. We were relieved and very happy to see and hear that Maharaja’s health is better.
On returning to the main temple area we were served a scrumptious lunch which consisted of two sabjis, chapatis, mung dal and jeera rice. Everyone was completely satisfied. The small children once again served nicely and even carried away our leaf plates. The attention to detail and the service attitude of the children was commendable.
After lunch, we were taken on a tour of the cloth mill. There we saw in great detail how cloth is made. We were astonished to see a small boy efficiently working on making a dhoti. What seemed like a complex machine was handled with much ease and expertise by him. It was amazing to see how the young boys were learning, being trained and engaged at the same time in different skills and working on their personal effectiveness in all aspects of life. All the boys we saw looked happy and were busily occupied with their various activities.
The ashram was neat and clean and various signboards with Srila Prabhupada’s quotes beautified the atmosphere. It was our good fortune and pleasure to meet Vagisha Mahashai from Mayapur Gurukul as well as the residents who all seemed very content and busily engaged in their household duties. Some matajis were cooking, some were cutting vegetables, some were looking after their children, some were sewing on sewing machines, some were cleaning their houses while some were doing laundry. All the residents happily shared the common goal of simple living and high thinking, utilizing their extra time for furthering their Krishna consciousness.
Thereafter HG Savyasachi Prabhu gave a brief talk, describing the intended function of the project as well as various other features and goals of the Nandagram Farm. The Vedic Village Project is headed by HG Nartaka Gauranga Prabhu and Savyasachi Prabhu under the guidance and instructions of HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaj. Maharaj is tirelessly endeavoring to establish Varnashrama communities all over India to showcase the ideal functioning of society wherein everyone can lead a self-sufficient, pure, clean, hygienic, peaceful and happy Krishna conscious life as opposed to city life which is full of anxieties, pressure, consumerism and the stress that comes with it.
It is a unique and one-of-a-kind project in that it is entirely functioning off-grid. The sole purpose of the devotees at Nandagram is to please their spiritual master HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami, thereby simultaneously pleasing our Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, under whose guidance and instructions the entire project is running very smoothly with a full-fledged Gurukula in place. Grains are being successfully produced. Cows and bulls are happily grazing and engaged in working in the fields. Having darshan of the presiding Deities, Srila Prabhupada, HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami and the most beautiful Nandagrama Village was a sight for sore eyes. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Nartaka Gauranga Prabhu, Savyasachi Prabhu and all the other devotees of Nandagram Village for their generous hospitality and the warm welcome accorded to us.
Madhavi devi dasi
Krishna Chaitanya das
Braja Kishor das