Tuesday, January 19, 2021

ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna Temple, Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Weekly Temple Newsletter

Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasundara, and Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama

Hare Krishna! Sunday is Ekadasi. The above deity photos are now higher resolution (click to expand, or zoom in). The temple room broadcast camera is temporarily offline, while we replace a power supply. In the meantime, our live broadcast displays slides of daily darshan photos along with the live sound. In this week's newsletter we feature articles about the Krishna CARES program delivering prasad meals to the elderly, vulnerable and to parents of sick children in Gainesville. Also a report on the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, updated information about the Art of Caring for Vaishnavas seminar, with a February 5 registration deadline, and Online Bhakti Shastri Courses starting January 23, and May 29. For details, please read on...


Thank you to the painting crew who recently painted the temple room ceiling. As you can imagine, this is no easy task and requires skill and patience. Manusresta Dasa, Saranga Thakura Dasa, Phanibhusana Dasa, Krishna Balaram Dasa, Rasa Prakash Dasa and Dikpal Dasa, we are so grateful to you for your help!

Reminder: the temple is open only during arati times. We are closed to everyone unless you are doing specific service, from 1:00 pm until 4:15 pm, and after that, only open for darshan. Anyone coming over to hang out or just walk around will be asked to leave the property.

During the cold winter mornings, the temple room doors will close after Tulasi Puja (so the pujaris can do their services without freezing), and re-open for Greeting of the Deities. There will not be any indoor japa chanting until the weather warms up.


Thank you to everyone for serving, and for contributing to keep our ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna temple thriving, even in the midst of this pandemic.


Krishna CARES Delivers Meals to Parents of Sick Children

Excerpted from an article by Madhava Smullen (for ISKCON News)

Sruti Sagar Dasa delivers meals

Krishna CARES, which delivers hot vegetarian meals to the vulnerable, the elderly, and others in need in Gainesville, Florida, delivered sixty meals to the Ronald McDonald House this past Christmas Day.

Parents stay for free at the non-profit family and children’s charity, located near Shands Hospital in Gainesville, while their children go through long-term hospital care.

Krishna CARES is run by residents of Gainesville’s Krishna House. The organization has been delivering 30 meals every Thursday to the Ronald McDonald House, and double that on special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Krishna House residents including President Sruti Sagar Das delivered the special Christmas meals consisting of creamy Gauranga potatoes, quinoa, butternut squash soup, and salad with dressing.

“The managers of the Ronald McDonald House said that the families were really happy to get a nice, fresh, healthy vegetarian meal,” Sruti Sagar says. “They were just happy to feel that there are people willing to care for them, especially during Christmas, which is of course the giving season.”

Krishna CARES’ effort was covered on the local CBS affiliate channel 4 news. “The organization’s president says actually, the pandemic brought out more people willing to give,” stated the news anchor, before cutting to an interview with Sruti Sagar Das.

“Even though there was a moment of crisis, still because of the crisis a lot of people wanted to help out, and a lot of people are open to receiving,” Sruti Sagar told the TV news interviewer. “It really helped us be a bigger part of the community, and we really felt more connected in the past seven or eight months with Gainesville.”

Krishna CARES has been helping people throughout the pandemic, and still delivers meals directly to the homes of some local elderly people and families in need.

Meanwhile the famous Krishna Lunch, which has been serving hot meals to University of Florida students every week since 1971, returned to the campus recently. The program suspended operations when COVID-19 struck in March 2020, focusing instead on Krishna CARES and delivering lunches to healthcare professionals.

Krishna Lunch restarted in September, pausing again throughout the winter break, and returning on January 11th.

“The university is happy to have us there, because it gives the students and everybody a sense of normalcy,” Sruti Sagar says.

Krishna Lunch is served outside on the campus five days a week, Monday to Friday from 11am to 1:30pm, for a $5 suggested donation.  

Read the remainder of this article at ISKCON News.


Temple of the Vedic Planetarium Report

by Ambarisa Dasa

Temple of the Vedic Planetarium

The year 2020 has been one of the most unusual and difficult years in the history of modern civilization worldwide. No doubt, karma is taking its toll and we are seeing this firsthand. Unfortunately, there have also been setbacks to the sankirtan movement and the spreading of Krishna consciousness. And we also cannot bear the loss of one of our great sankirtan commanders, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Maharaja.

The TOVP also suffered great losses both in income from regular donations, as well as over eight months of a complete construction standstill. As a result, we had to reschedule the Grand Opening to 2023 and postpone the installation of the new Prabhupada murti to October, 2021. We pray there will be no further delays, and leave everything in the hands of Lord Sri Krishna.

2021 celebrates the 125th Appearance Anniversary of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our eternal master and savior. As mentioned above, in October we will be installing the new, worshiping-pose murti of Srila Prabhupada in the TOVP. His presence as our watchful guide will inspire our continued endeavors to open the new home of our beloved Mayapur Deities and the most important preaching project in ISKCON in 2023. We have planned an incredible abhisheka ceremony for this purpose and set a goal for a $1 million Guru Dakshina from sponsors of the abhishekas. Click here to find out more.

Also of significance will be the offering of the one-of-a-kind TOVP Book of Devotion to Srila Prabhupada at his installation ceremony. This magnificent publication is being produced by the makers of the world’s largest Bhagavad Gita at ISKCON New Delhi, and contains the names of over 6,000 donors who have completed their pledges by Gaura Purnima, March 28. The deadline was officially extended recently.

While construction is not at the same pace as before, we are gradually getting back on track since resuming work in September, 2020. We encourage one and all to try and make your pledge payments this year, or give again according to your means. And I want to thank those of you who have continued to make their pledge payments and give donations through these challenging times. You can’t imagine how much this has helped us. This kind of sacrifice is most pleasing to the Lord.

Once again, I want to thank all our supporters ranging from ISKCON leadership to congregational members who have encouraged and inspired us in so many ways to continue over the last ten years. It’s been an ecstatic journey together as we work to make this combined offering to Srila Prabhupada. And the culmination in 2023 will be a most historic event, for ISKCON as well as humanity in general. The sankirtan movement will expand by leaps and bounds from that point forward and flood the world with Krishna prema. Hare Krishna!

Your humble servant,

Ambarisa Dasa


Online Bhakti Shastri Course

Join online Bhakti Shastri courses taught by Mayapur Institute, starting from January 23, 2021.


Batch 1: Jan 23, from 7 AM IST / 8 PM Eastern Time, Jan 22

Batch 5: May 29, from 7 PM IST / 8:30 AM ET

Visit www.mayapurinstitute.org to register.

Books: Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Sri Isopanishad, Nectar of Instruction & Nectar of Devotion

Language: English

Class Duration: 2 Hours per Session

Class Schedule: Every Saturday & Sundays (2 Classes per Week)

Total Number of Classes: 70 Sessions

Course Duration: 10 Months

Location: Zoom or any other video-conferencing application

About the Course:

This course comprises an in-depth study of Bhagavad-Gītā, Śrī Īśopanisad, Nectar of Devotion, and Nectar of Instruction. It has been designed for devotees who have been seriously practicing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness for at least a year and have basic sastric knowledge and understanding.

A preliminary self-study guide is available once you have registered, to prepare ahead of each lesson.

Course Requirements:

  • Chanting 16 rounds of Japa daily and following the four regulative principles.
  • You must be recommended by an ISKCON authority who knows you well, certifying that you have been engaged favorably in the preaching mission of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for at least the previous 12 months.
  • The Bhakti Sastri course requires students to have read Bhagavad Gita, Nectar of Devotion, Nectar of Instruction, Ishopanishad, and Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita before commencing the course. We can accept your registration on your assurance that you will have read these books at least once before coming for the course. This is required because the course is interactive and conducted as discussions and other group activities based on the books. So you must have read these books to be able to participate and fully benefit from the course.
  • 18 years or above in age.
  • Course fee of USD $171 (INR 12,501), non-refundable.

Please contact us if you have further questions.

Phone: +91 94746 65658

Email: [email protected]


The Eco Teaching Farm of New Raman Reti

Akuti Devi Dasi reporting

Eco Teaching Farm entrance and gardens

We have been busy at the Eco Teaching Farm the last few years putting the foundational components in place. The cobb entrance, goshala/barn, solar water pump, biogas digester, Vrinda Devi "temple shrine" built using cob and natural techniques, planned gardens and the log cabin are complete. Now comes the daily maintenance and, of course, periodic improvements. We still have a ways to go to reach the goal of facilitating field trips, seminars, festivals, retreats and a variety of craft classes.

The pandemic time has been mostly spent transforming the garden area, which had previously been a dumping and burning arena, into a nice garden park. Please come by and see the progress. We are waiting for permission to complete a pond and decorative pillars for the patio. 

Winter means turmeric time for us; digging up, cleaning, cutting, drying and grinding the turmeric. We go home with yellow hands. This year we will have hundreds of pounds for the temple and for sale. It is totally organic, a gorgeous color and of course great for your health.

Pushpavan Prabhu has been generously giving his time and green thumb to make a bulb garden with thousands of tuberoses. He has added some other surprise fragrant flower bulbs for next year. The deities and their pujaris are in bliss getting to offer them daily, during the long flowering season.

We should be seeing the construction underway this year for a couple of retreat cabins for our outside community followers to stay in. We will advertise it for those wanting to get out of the city and get their hands "dirty" helping and learning along with us, and just being an opportunity to embrace nature and get closer to Krishna. 

For more information about the Eco Teaching Farm, like, follow and share our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ecoteachingfarm, and contact us at [email protected].


Vaccine Ingredients & COVID Resources

hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing

Here are two documents prepared by devotee doctors who work with COVID patients. One document explains how the Pfizer vaccine works and lists its ingredients, showing it doesn't contain mercury and is suitable for vegetarians. The other summarizes, with helpful infographics, best practices to keep our families and temples safe during this pandemic. Take a look at both documents here.


Seminar: The Art of Caring for Vaishnavas

Sangita Devi Dasi - Course Instructor

Sangita Devi Dasi, Course Instructor

The End-of-Life Care Team, under the auspices of Vaishnavas CARE Alachua, will be hosting a weekend seminar on “The Art of Caring for Vaishnavas” by Sangita Devi Dasi, RN, CHPN, Hospice educator, author of “The Final Journey - Complete Hospice Care for the Departing Vaishnavas”. 

Topics covered in this seminar include:

  • Losses related to death, divorce, children moving on, retirement, aging
  • How children grieve at different stages of development
  • How to “hold space”
  • Caregiver anxiety
  • Anticipatory grief for children and adults
  • Communication with kinesics and body language
  • Mourning, grief, and bereavement
  • Signs of dying in the final hours
  • Insufficient grief
  • Emotional and spiritual pain 
  • Stories about Srila Prabhupada providing Holistic Care
  • Communicating with a dying patient and family
  • Finding meaning to your loss 
  • Assisting the grieving family/close friends after the departure of a devotee
  • Stages of loss and grief 
  • And much more...

This course provides you with a basic understanding of how you can assist acutely or chronically ill Vaishnavas, and provide care for a terminally ill person and their family. All participants are welcome to join the seminar. 

The course is a requirement for those interested in assisting devotees through the End-of-Life Care Team.

Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21, 2021, 10am-3pm via Zoom, with built-in break and Q&A session.

Deadline to register and receive course materials prior to the seminar is February 5, 2021.

Course registration includes a 100+ page workbook for a suggested donation of $51. Shipping is via USPS Priority Mail for an additional $8. If you would like a copy of “The Final Journey” 2nd, updated edition, add an extra $10. 

For registrations received after February 5th, we cannot guarantee you will receive the course materials prior to the seminar. Follow the link below to register. If you have any questions, contact Madhuryalila D.D. at [email protected]

Click here to register.


Hare Krishna Community Radio presents:

A Podcast About Time

by Sudharma Devi Dasi

time and changing bodies

Given we have just celebrated the New Year, 2021, we decided its a good time to reflect on time, the passage of time and how to best utilize the precious time we have. You’ll hear from Gargs Allard, Syamala Kishore Dasa, Nitaipriya Dasi (our head pujari), Ananga Manjari Dasi, and of course, Srila Prabhupada, with music from Mangalananda Dasa, Bada Haridasa, and Yamuna Prasada Dasa. 

Nectar Talks 3 - This week our team of Namamrita Dasa and Amrita Keli Dasi interviewed Visvambhara Dasa and Vrinda Dasi. Listen to the recording here.

Can you be a Hare Krishna and a Christian too?

Sraddhanjali Devi Dasi, who is both an initiated disciple of Giriraja Swami and a practicing Christian, talks about the essence and shared understandings of both. Listen here.

Tune in anytime! http://krishna108.airtime.pro/ 

with recordings at https://www.alachuatemple.com/radio/

Krishna conscious music, talks and more. Broadcasting to you from the New Raman Reti community, bringing you devotional sound vibration all day, anytime.


Writers Wanted

We are looking for anyone who likes to write, to submit articles for our newsletter about topics of interest such as What's Happening on the Eco Farm, The Temple Gardens, Who's Who at New Raman Reti (devotee profiles), Who's New at New Raman Reti, etc. Contact [email protected] if you are interested. 


Trouble Receiving This Newsletter?

You probably have a friend or family member who’s been wondering why they haven’t been receiving these newsletter emails, even though they remember getting them years ago. Chances are it’s been filed into the Promotions tab of their Gmail account, or, worse, found its way into the Spam folder. Help us help your loved ones recover their newsletter subscriptions. Ask them to:

  1. Check the Promotions or Spam folder for weekly newsletter emails from ISKCON Alachua.
  2. Mark them as “not spam” and move them back to the Inbox.
  3. Add the sender, [email protected], to the email account’s Contacts, Address Book or safe list.

Signed up with an old email address that’s no longer being used?

Another common reason for not receiving this newsletter is if someone signed up years ago with an old email address they no longer use. In this case, please let us know the old address so we can remove it from our system, and use the link below to re-subscribe with a current email address.

Click here to subscribe with a current email address.

The temple newsletter is emailed weekly, on Tuesday mornings around 6:00 a.m. Keep an eye out for it, and, if need be, rescue it from the Promotions or Spam folder. Remember to add [email protected] as a contact to your email account’s address book.


Online Sanga Events

Broadcast on ISKCON Alachua's Facebook page and YouTube channel. Zoom login information, when applicable, will be shared on our ISKCON Alachua Devotees Facebook group. All times are in ET (Eastern Time).

Daily Srimad-Bhagavatam Class by various speakers from the temple room, 8:00 - 8:45 AM. See Class Schedule posted below.

Every Thursday, 5:00-6:00 pm, Bhagavad-Gita reading and discussion with H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami.

You'll find recordings of previous live video events at our ISKCON Alachua Temple YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/alachuatemple.

Weekly Resilience Drop-In Group: Feeling overwhelmed by challenges, problems, or adversities in your life? The Resilience group is a place that enables you to work through challenges and get back to life stronger and wiser. Sundays 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. via Zoom, facilitated by Rambhoru Dasi ACBSP, a certified Professional Chaplain and Crisis Counselor. Participation is confidential. For Zoom login info, message Rambhoru via WhatsApp: 703-727-5659.


Summary of Pandemic Protocols

In recent months we have been seeing escalating numbers of COVID virus spread. It is the responsibility of every devotee to know the risks, to wear a mask and social distance even within your home if you are getting together with other families. Here are our guidelines for testing and quarantining, if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you yourself or someone in your household tests positive.

The different types of testing are explained here with a simple chart. "Rapid antigen tests are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular (NAAT or RT-PCR) also known as "lab" tests. Your health care provider may order a molecular test if your antigen test shows a negative result but you have symptoms of COVID-19."

Dr. Nila Madhava Dasa of Baltimore yatra recommends everyone keep in their home Zinc and Vitamin D and a pulse oximeter. If you become symptomatic with the COVID virus, take 24 mg Zinc and 10000 IU of Vitamin D right away. If your oxygen saturation is less than 95, you should go to the hospital.

It is really important that all positive cases or symptomatic persons notify anyone they have been in contact with so that they can also get their tests done. Even if you are young and your symptoms are not severe, someone in your family or someone you contact may not be so lucky, and no one wants to be responsible for making others sick.

Alachua temple is one of a handful of temples in North America that remain open with scheduled programs, and devotees from other areas want to come here now. We have restrictions in place for out-of-town visitors, so we request that you refer your friends to call the temple office to understand the protocol for visiting our temple. Please remind people you see at the temple that we require mask-wearing here at all times, especially in the temple room while chanting. People who will not wear a mask are asked to watch our programs through our Youtube live channel.


Procedures to Visit the Temple

Click here to read the details about the various darshan times, restrictions and protocols we are currently observing at the temple, including a video demonstrating the modified Sunday darshan. Here's a brief summary:

Throughout the week, the temple is open only during scheduled arati times, with a maximum capacity of 35 persons standing or sitting on physically distanced X marks. First come, first served. Everyone must wear a face mask in the temple room at all times and maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between non-family members. Wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer before entering the temple room. Don't touch surfaces. Pay your respects (obeisances) while standing, and avoid bowing down on the floor at this time. Click here to read the Basic Rules for visiting the temple.

On Sundays we have a walk-through darshan from 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, where you can come and pay your respects to Their Lordships, receive darshan, and pick up a prasad to-go box on your way out at the exit gate. Please don't socialize and linger on the property. Govinda's Gifts is open from 4:15 PM - 6:30 PM on Sundays, and at other times by appointment. Click here to read the detailed Sunday Darshan Protocol.

On festival days, additional restrictions apply to avoid overcrowding. Usually, the temple remains locked during the day, while aratis and other worship ceremonies are performed only by the pujaris (priests) and a handful of designated kirtan singers, broadcast live on our YouTube and Facebook Live channels. On such days, to safely manage the crowds, we generally only open the temple for walk-through darshan in the late afternoon, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, similar to Sunday darshan times. Check the temple newsletter for details about upcoming festivals.

The temple closes at 7:00 PM each evening.

If you're feeling sick, stay home and get tested for COVID-19. (Click here for resources on getting tested in English and in Spanish.) If you're feeling sick, or if you've recently returned from international travel, airports, large metropolitan areas or any place with a high concentration of virus spread, please stay away from the temple for 10 days as a precaution. Our guards will ask you questions to this effect at the entrance gate. Thank you for your cooperation.

Temple Lunch: If you would like to get temple lunch prasad, come to the front entrance at 12:30 pm and our guard will place the prasad to-go meal box into your car. Donations accepted.

ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna Temple, with fountain

Class Schedule & Vaishnava Calendar

Week of January 19, 2021

TUE 19 - Vegavati Devi Dasi, SB 1.11.7

WED 20 - Nanda Devi Dasi, SB 1.11.8

THU 21 - Narayani Devi Dasi, SB 1.11.9

FRI 22 - Bhadra Dasa, SB 1.11.10

SAT 23 - Sthita-Dhi-Muni Dasa, CC Mad. 18.172-190

SUN 24 - Karnapura Dasa, morning class | Mahatma Dasa, SF lecture


MON 25 - Sridevi Dasi, SB 1.11.11

App. Jagadisha Pandita

TUE 26 - Dharmaraj Dev Dasa, 1.11.12

Morning class times are 8:00 a.m. EST unless otherwise noted. The Sunday Feast lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. Tune in live to our ISKCON Alachua Facebook page or YouTube channel, where you will also find video recordings of previous classes; listen to audio recordings in our lecture archive.


Departments and Features

Govinda’s Gifts (open Sundays 4:00-6:30 PM)

Morning Sweets Sponsorship

Newsletter Online

Temple Volunteer Services

NRR Community Radio

Website Links:

Child Protection Team Info

Vaishnava Calendar

Temple Prayer Circle

Temple Website

Other Websites & Resources

Bhaktivedanta Academy (BANA)

Child Protection Office

Grihastha Vision Team


Krishna Lunch


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Cow Protection

Vaishnava Calendar Reminder Service

Hare Krishna Social Services:

For information or needs inquiries, email [email protected] or call Radha Selvester 9 am - 9 pm 352 727 8211. Night time calls for serious emergencies only.


Newsletter Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Mukhya Devi Dasi

Production Assistance: Manorama Dasa

Article submission deadline: 1:00 p.m. Fridays

Send articles and photos to [email protected] The editors reserve the right to exclude or edit submissions.

Dedicated to our ISKCON Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 

ISKCON Alachua Temple

17306 NW 112th Boulevard 

Alachua, FL 32615


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

... and be happy!

ISKCON trademark


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Questions? Contact us at 1-386-462-2017

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.alachuatemple.com

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