The conception of the Bhagavat Commune began in 1995, when i was in Vrndavana studying the Bhakti-sastri course. My intention was to return to America the following year and, during that auspicious centennial year of our founder-acarya, open a preaching center where sastric study and cultural development were the focus.
In 1996 my godbrother Brhad-bhanu Prabhu invited me to co-run his preaching center in Long Branch, New Jersey but unfortunately the project, although quite successful, was short-lived.
Since i didn’t have any money to buy or rent any type of facility on my own, i figured that i would need to get a good job in order to fund my dream and for some reason that plan involved saving up for, attending, and paying off loans for college. Somehow i subscribed to the “if you wanna make money, you gotta spend money” philosophy, which left me far in the red.
When i finally got back to zero on the financial front, divine intervention sent me back to India to study the Bhakti-vaibhava course, which was inspiring, enlivening, and eye-opening. From studying Srimad Bhagavatam on the holy dham, i was able to (finally) understand that all of my efforts to make money to save up for a preaching project were imperfect because i was under the impression that “i” was doing the work... i was depending on my own actions. It was then that i understood that i needed to adjust my mentality and step out of the driver’s seat to allow Sri Krsna to take the reins for this one.
After that eureka moment, and passing through various obstacles and tests of sincerity, we were able to purchase our first property in 2009. By this time our idea of a preaching center focusing on sastric study evolved into more of a self-sufficient community focusing on sastric study because while studying sastra in any environment is good, being able to more easily apply the teachings in a sattvic atmosphere is quite a bit better.
In the winter of 2009, i spent four months on the property after an intimate ground-breaking ceremony and began to clear areas for our potential building sites before returning to India for a few months.
In 2010, we held a small festival for Govardhana Puja where seventeen devotees spent that brisk weekend surrounded by beautiful nature and Vaisnava sanga.
Due to our desire to accommodate more devotees and increase our farmable land, we sold our first property at the end of 2011 in order to purchase a house on 180 acres closer to a major city. At that property we had two festivals each with about 40 attendees including special guests like HH Dhanurdhara Swami, HG Adikarta Prabhu, Mother Saudamani and Mother Malati.
By the beginning of 2013, another major shift in direction occurred causing us to sell the second property and re-evaluate our priorities.
Although the next step in the Bhagavat Commune’s evolution was unclear for some time, i never gave up hope for this project and i awaited some divine intervention.
In July 2015, i was able to get the original 60 acre property back and the new plan is to hold retreats and workshops during the spring and summer months while continuing my services in India with the Bhaktivedanta Academy and the Mayapur Institute during the winter and autumn months.
Something as important as this is worth any amount of endeavor. No matter the amount of reverses or hardships... no matter how great the adversity... no matter how many obstacles are thrown in my way... let my mind and heart be constantly focused on serving Sri Hari in whatever capacity that i am able.
- carucandra dasa