New Vrindaban, West Virginia (Chapter 14)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva Dasa

Part III: New Vrindaban, 1968-1969
Chapter 14

New Vrindaban, West Virginia

When Kirtanananda phones from West Virginia, I tell him that Prabhupada wants Mr. Foster converted to Vaishnavism.

“Impossible,” he replies. “We don’t agree on anything. I’ve just moved out to the back farm for some peace and quiet.”

“What about selling? Is he interested?”

“No, but he still favors five year leases on small parcels.”

“But we require the property!”

“Patience,” he says.

Impatient, I begin looking at real estate in the Poconos, near Wilkes-Barre. Prices, however, are prohibitive. Still, letters from Prabhupada keep pushing the conception of a rural ashram in West Virginia:

“We should always know that Vrindaban is not localized in a particular area, but that whenever Krishna is present, Vrindaban is automatically there. And wherever the holy name of Krishna is chanted, Krishna is present. There is no difference between Krishna and His holy name. So now Krishna is blessing a nice piece of land, resembling Vrindaban, to be a new place of pilgrimage for you Western devotees. So you must try for it.”

Satsvarupa has opened a fourth ISKCON center in Allston, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. From there, Prabhupada writes Kirtanananda, May 23:

“If this piece of land is turned into New Vrindaban, I shall forget to return to Indian Vrindaban. I am getting older and older, so actually if I get a peaceful place, as you describe, the rest of my life will be continued translating Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Goswami literatures, assisted by some of my disciples like you. So anytime you take me to your new hermitage, I shall be very glad to go there.”

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