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New Vrindaban: An Overview in Honor of Its 50th Anniversary

ISKCON's first farm community is making progress toward achieving its founding goals.

With the successful worldwide celebration of ISKCON’s fiftieth anniversary in 2016, another semicentennial event naturally follows in its wake: commemoration of the founding of New Vrindaban in 1968, two years after ISKCON's founding.

Happiness by Living in Goodness

Srila Prabhupada explains how we can overcome the influence of nature's lower modes.

tada rajas-tamo-bhavah
kama-lobhadayash cha ye
cheta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati

"As soon as irrevocable loving service [to Lord Krishna] is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire, and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy." – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.19

What’s Wrong with Using a Crutch?

Religion is a crutch, they say. So what?

While riding in the elevator at my workplace the other day, I noticed that one of my fellow passengers was supporting himself with a pair of crutches. I asked him why, and he responded that he had broken his leg while skiing. After the interaction, I found myself reflecting on the view that many people have of religion as a crutch. They mean it, of course, as a slight, implying that religion is for the weak, whereas the strong have no need for such artificial support.

Do We Have Free Will?

According to modern biology, we don't. What does the Gita say?


Biology and Free Will

The biological behavior of human beings is currently thought to be due to their genes, which encode proteins, which form functional blocks of neurons and other cell types, which form the brain and other tissues of the human body.1 Free will, or the capacity to make an independent choice, from a biological point of view is therefore an illusion given that behavior is not under the control of the person.

Expanding Our Love

Srila Prabhupada explains how our love can grow to include everyone.

ko griheshu puman saktam
atmanam ajitendriyah
sneha-pashair dridhair baddham
utsaheta vimochitum

"What person too attached to household life due to being unable to control his senses can liberate himself? An attached householder is bound very strongly by ropes of affection for his family [wife, children, and other relatives]." – Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.9

Yashoda Finds and Catches Krishna

Some details about Krishna’s endearing Damodara-lila that you’ve probably never heard before.

Yashoda wiped her hands in the folds of her sari, and, creeping like a detective on the tips of her toes, she followed the path left by her son, step by buttery step.

O great sages! O demigods! O perfected devotees! Meditate upon the ruby glow of the lotus feet of the universal mother as she balances on her soft petal toes!

Elevating Our Emotions

We can protect ourselves from emotional manipulation by learning how to activate and strengthen our higher emotions.

Our heart is capable of both noble and ignoble emotions. How we can cultivate higher emotions and curb lower emotions is demonstrated in the Ramayana through the interactions between the two pairs of inseparable brothers: Rama-Lakshmana, who are together in exile, and Bharata-Satrughna, who are together in Ayodhya. Of course, these brothers are divine and beyond lower emotions.

The Real Religion of the Living Entity

Srila Prabhupada explains the concept of dharma, a word often inaccurately translated as “religion.”

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srijamy aham

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself." – Bhagavad-gita 4.7

Yoga, Bhakti, and the Battlefield of Life

In the struggle to conquer the lower self, bhakti-yogis benefit greatly from the help of others.

If one man conquers in battle
A thousand men,
And if another conquers himself,
The latter is the greatest of conquerors
The Art of War, Sun Tzu

A Heart Touched by Vrindavan

In 1971, a young American photojournalist overcame negative first impressions and found true beauty in Krishna's land.

Chapter Five: Immersion

Two days and two nights on a dirty train and a bumpy, cramped ride on an antediluvian bus brought John and me to Vrindavan. It was past midnight, July 17, 1971. I was twenty-one.

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