Since Balabhadra, ISCOWP president and ISKCON Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture, is back from his travels to Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Hungary, Germany and England, we are now able to report to you some of his experiences. We briefly reported on Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine in the last issue, and because there are so many pictures and much to report for the entire trip, in this January issue we will report on Balabhadra’s visit to Russia along with a brief on winter at the ISCOWP farm. We will report on the rest of his trip in the February e-newsletter and give a full report in the April hard copy ISCOWP News. You will also find links here to albums on Facebook that Balabhadra has posted about his trip.
We thank you for your support last year as many projects were completed along with the maintenance of the cows and farm, hosting of more guests than in previous years and more extensive ISCOWP travels. Some completed projects were:
- 70′ by 94′ 40 year old barn roof completely replaced.
- New 2000′ fence line built to seperate neighbhor’s property from ISCOWP.
- Commercial 6″ gutters on 185′ of unified old and new barns roofs.
- Barn doors built for two entrances to the geriatric barn.
We greatly appreciate your support and there will be more important projects this coming year so if you would like to help just click HERE. Thank you!
We pray this letter finds you well.
(Irene M. Dove)
ISCOWP Co-Managing Director
My first stop in Russia was a group of devotees close to a large town called Rostov. Here there are six families and single devotees living in different parts of a very large village of maybe 1000 local families. I stayed with Venkatta Bhatta and his very gracious wife, Krisangi and their two children. Every morning and evening all the devotees would come to their home and we would have kirtan, class and discussions on cow protection and living close to the land. A great group of devotees. It was a great pleasure and treat to be in their association. When I left, they took me to a local spring, which had been established by a local monk/saint who lived in the forest there several hundred years ago. There was a water problem in the area and this saint lifted his staff/walking stick and stuck it into the ground. When he did this, a spring of water started to flow from the ground and still does to this day. The water has been analyzed to contain 25% silver. Very sweet water…and this spring to this very day is well maintained and many people come and fill their containers for drinking water.
To see more pictures of Rustov in ISCOWP Picasa web album click HERE.
Ershovo is a small village located 5 Km from Kurdjinovo. Ershovo is populated by about 25 families in a sprawling manner. The great majority of these families are locals with about six or seven families being devotees. The devotees are protecting several cows, two oxen and one young Bull. The two oxen and young bull are being trained and have done some work already. The young bull is still too young to do much work but is being given light work to help with his training so when he is able to work he will be fully trained and know how to do the work. These families are very keen to live a simple life close to the land and cows. They are already producing crops and making their own hay for winter feed for their animals. I was very impressed by their determination and eagerness. In Ershovo there is also a small temple with beautiful Gour Nitai Deities by the name of Nitai Gour Natharaja. Every Saturday the devotees from Ershovo and Kurdjinovo gather here for kirtan, class and a wonderful feast of Krsna Prasadam. Simple living….High thinking.
To see more pictures of Ershova on the ISCOWP Facebook page click HERE.
Kurdjinovo and Ershovo are two villages in South Russia about 5 Km apart. Kurdjinovo is a large village of about 300 families of local Russians. There are approximately 25 devotee families and single devotees in this village. The devotees first started to come here about 18 years ago from Moscow. In the summer months there is a great influx of tourist and devotees who also come here to visit and get some relief from the hassles of city life in Moscow The country side is very hilly in parts…almost mountainous…with a good deal of flat land being utilized for agriculture. It is a very pastoral and mode of goodness setting with a big river running between Kurdjinovo and Ershovo containing crystal clear and cold mountain water.
The devotees also have a small preaching center with beautiful Gour Nitai Deiities named Nitai Gourasundar. The devotees very nicely and lovingly care for the temple and Deities. In the temple room are several very beautiful Tulasi plants almost turning their area into a Tulasi forest. Overall, I would say that between Ershovo and Kurdjinovo there are between 60 and 70 devotees.
The bigger ox being lead by Srimati Sundhari is also being trained. He recently had a bad experience with the local vet and remains a bit afraid of people he doesn’t know. With Srimati Sundhari, he did very well and in time with lots of love and sweet attention, he will settle down and be a good worker.
To see more pictures of Kurjenova on the ISCOWP Facebook page click HERE.
From Kudjinovo/Ershovo I traveled by train to Moscow. In Moscow there are three ISKCON temples, I was given the opportunity to speak in each temple about the benefits of cow protection, and the importance of developing rural communities based on the land, cow protection and Krsna Consciousness. Two of the temples are regular temples with a large outside congregation. My classes were well received and the devotees asking many questions after the classes. The third temple is a brahmachary ashram (single men). It was my last morning in Moscow and time was limited. I was able to give a short class with several questions after class before running off to the airport heading for Serbia.
During my stay in Moscow, I was also taken to the home of Vyapaka prabhu and his wonderful wife, Lalita Madhava. They are worshipping wonderful Radha Krsna deities and have a small congregation of 18 families who help with the Deities. These 18 families are mostly young devotees and the two times I visited them we had nice kirtans and class and lively discussions on cow protection and rural community development.
Even though Moscow is a large city, there are still many devotees who are eager to hear about cow protection and rural community development based upon the philosophy of Krsna Consciousness.
Everywhere I went, new friends were made and the seeds of cow protection were planted in the hearts of many. All in all the trip was a huge success on all levels.
Winter at ISCOWP Farm
The cows are all in the barns (red buildings) as there is nothng to eat on the pastures. Occasionally when there is a warm winter day (not happening lately) they will venture out to the banyard below the barns. This winter started right away in the beginning of December and has been consistently cold and snowy since. The cows main activity now is eating the hay in the barn. Usually the winter begins to become a bit warmer in March and the cows are more eager to venture into the barn yard.
The cold snowy winter weather has overwhelmed many farm activities. The cows are are being well taken care of by Maitreya, checked twice a day, fed and watered. They are all doing well and seem happy. Most all other activities are inside with lots of paper work to catch up on as the spring, summer and fall leave little time for such indoor activities. This is also a good time to plan the year ahead as to the priority of projects, what goals to achieve, planning the garden and accessing the year past. We make our plans and Krsna makes His but we feel He appreciates our forethought.