Our humble Beginning

The greatest reward for a Krishna conscious teacher is to assist a student to reach nourishing, inspired, spiritual depths. Sri Vrindavan-dhama, the holiest of pilgrimage places, is a spiritually sublime learning environment, and so the perfect place for absorption in the insights of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. As Srila Prabhupada once said: “Oh, you can become more Krishna conscious in one day in Vrindavan than in ten years in America.”

So in 2000, Bhurijana Dasa and Sacinandana Swami started holding retreats in Vraja. Our first retreat, with only thirty students, took place under the trees surrounding Giriraja. We still remember crawling under barbed wire to get to our teaching spot! It was all very rustic. But we were totally convinced of our mission – so much so that even Vraja’s forestry department, seeing our eagerness to hear and chant about Krishna in His dearest place, allowed us to sit that close to Giriraja. Reports about the sweetness of hearing and chanting about Krishna in Vraja brought more and more devotees to our retreats. As the number of students has grown, so too has our desire to serve this ever-expanding community of students by building our own center in Vraja. These days, we host about 700 devotees who visit for the annual retreats over a period of two weeks. “Why,” someone asked recently “do you want to build something new when there are already so many buildings in the Vrindavan area?” Of course, ISKCON has a wonderful temple in Vrindavan, with convenient living arrangements at the MVT and the surrounding area. But the town of Vrindavan has become a metropolis, and it is increasingly difficult to find a room or even a rickshaw – and almost impossible to find even a peaceful place to sit. A retreat center away from all this has become necessary. We looked to Govardhan. We envisioned a peaceful location near the hill, and a building with comfortable rooms and an airy hall large enough to accommodate larger groups. We also envisioned quiet gardens and trees under which devotees can sit and chant while receiving darsana of their magnificent host, Sri Giriraja Govardhan himself. Pooling our money, and with the help of a few devotees – and, of course, a large dose of Giriraja’s mercy – we have now purchased a beautiful plot of land that suits all these needs. In 2013, after seven long years of trying to get a building permit, the Mathura Development District agreed to the design of our first phase and construction is set to begin. By Krishna’s arrangement we already have sufficient funds to begin construction. If this project inspires you, please join us in serving Srila Prabhupada and the devotees. “The Lord quickly enters the heart of those who with firm faith continuously hear and chant about His glorious activities.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.8.4)