How has everything started


Srila Prabhupada wished there should be a farm community connected with every city temple. Temples are meant to be the preaching basis for book distribution and a training of new devotees in cities. Farm communities are meant to be the living basis which enables to lead a simple life in association of devotees and to be maximally independent from modern-day society and its values. That perfectly complements the preaching of the temple, because at such a farm community people can see with their own eyes, how to live according to what they read in Srila Prabhupada's books. 

The idea of a farm has been there since we started to develop the preaching centre in Brno in 2010. We hoped that Krishna would make it possible for us to gain some land. Anyway we were so busy with developing the new centre at the time that the farm remained just a dream. From time to time we bolstered that dream by looking into some advertisements offering farmland around Brno for which we still didn't have money and devotees who could start the farming out. Our activities were focused on book distribution and harinams at that time. 

In 2012 during one of our sankirtan travellings, we visited Rukmini Ramana Prabhu with his wife Laksmi Devi near Louny where they just began to develop homestead and growing vegetables with desire to lead a Krishna conscious life in the countryside. We were very happy to see how they are doing well in the respect of agriculture and how they are shining with enthusiasm. Obviously the distance between our centre and this place didn't allow any deeper cooperation so we were staying in touch occasionally. Then Rukmini Ramana Prabhu moved to Moravia under the influence of various circumstances. Besides he could supply us with his vegetables, at the time we started to discuss the desire of Srila Prabhupada to establish varnasrama communities based on the principle of simple living and high thinking in Krishna consciousness. We were dreaming about getting some farm and realizing this idea together. Although still without money but with a farmer already we were looking into advertisements of various farmsteads again. Naturally we couldn't imagine that it really would come true.

After some time Rukmini Ramana Prabhu got inheritance from his grandmother, which enabled us to search for the estate more seriously. We discovered New Gokula in September of 2015 after a half of year searching and visiting various places. We immediately liked the place and in a few days we began work there. Before a year that was just a dream which we couldn't believe to come true. But now we stood there, looking around and couldn't admit that it really happened. 

Our idea about the farm was from the beginning very plain and incomplete. We had a general idea that devotees will grow vegetables, grains and live simple lives there. And we will drive to the farm from the temple to get some fresh air and to take something from a harvest so we don't have to eat food from supermarkets…

As we studied instructions of Srila Prabhupada more and were listening to various lectures, we realized that a far far more demanding task is ahead of us. Srila Prabhupada had a much more courageous vision and he wanted his followers to fulfill it. He didn't want just farms for growing crops, some agribusinesses however he wanted whole varnasrama communities. He wanted these communities to be gradually independent from modern-day society and live a very simple yet noble life. He wanted to establish varnasrama dharma beginning with the society of devotees and continuing up to the whole world. He prophesied that these farm communities which are the foundation of varnasrama society will attract thousands and millions of people. So this vision of Srila Prabhupada became also the vision of ours. It must be this way. Even if any of us can't understand how this inconceivable plan would be fulfilled it is our duty at least to try it. And we need to start somewhere. 

A huge share in making our decision to try fulfill this mission has His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami who for many years in his lectures and books points out to the necessity to take the instruction of Srila Prabhupada about establishing varnasrama, very seriously. It's for sure that ISKCON did amazing service for the world by preaching and book distribution but varnasrama dharma and living off land without modern technologies are not amongst the most discussed themes at our movement. Maharaja's words awaken enthusiasm in us to follow the varnasrama vision of Srila Prabhupada. According to advice of the Maharaj we also invited Savyasaci Prabhu to Czech Republic. He studies varnasrama dharma and establishing self-sufficient communities for years and has many practical experiences. We discussed Prabhupada's instructions on varnasrama and farm communities profoundly during his visit. Savyasaci Prabhu really helped us to understand various aspects of self-sufficient varnasrama communities and also gave us practical tips for our project.

It is clear that for fulfilling the ideal of a self-sufficient community one farm is not enough but a whole village where devotees are growing their food, taking care of cows, making their clothes and developing traditional crafts and technologies. Self-sufficiency means a life in the community where all are identifying themselves with a common vision. This vision must be based on the vision and the desire of our founder-acharya. Srila Prabhupada had two main plans for devotees. They should preach to masses of people in cities or leave the city and live in the countryside depending on land. He said: “Book distribution and farms, these are our solid programs. They can change the whole world. The whole foundation of animal civilization can be destroyed. If I have hope for still living I want to organize farms and make it perfect. Simple living and high thinking.” (Tamal Krishna Goswami's Diary, 9th August) 

One of common mistakes when devotees are moving to the countryside is that they take the city with themselves. They want to live in the countryside and at the same time to keep the comfort of the city as various gadgets, devices and amenities. However the transition to the countryside should aim at giving up all these “unnecessary necessities”. That will gradually mean life without electricity, tractors, phones and harmful internet. During a conversation with His Holiness Danavir Maharaj on Nama Hatta Camp, he emphasized this fact as one of the main reasons why so many ISKCON farms were unsuccessful. Naturally there will be a lot of compromises because the transition can't be immediate. Alongside we want to preach about this way of life to others so for this some modern-day method will be used also. Major motivation behind the whole concept of varnasrama is to enable those devotees who are not directly engaged in preaching to live in an environment favourable for spiritual advancement. That means to create such an environment where it is more simple to practice spiritual life fully with a big amount of hearing and chanting. It means to live in association of devotees and be independent from values of modern-day society. At last but not least it means to create an environment where our children can grow up and be safe from materialistic mentality. Those children will become leaders of our movement and they deserve the topmost care and education in gurukula. This is very difficult to manage without the background of a functioning varnasrama community.

All these words sound very bold. We are aware that our effort to fulfil this mission is just a small step but at the same time a big leap into the unknown. Anyway we are fully convicted that Krishna will appreciate this effort. And as Srila Prabhupada stated: “We are not always successful in our attempts in preaching work but such failures are not certainly ludicrous. In the Absolute field both success and failures are glorious. Even Lord Nityananda pretended to be a failure to convert Jagai and Madhai in the first attempt, rather he was personally injured in such attempt but that was certainly not ludicrous. The whole thing was transcendental and it was glorious for all the parties concerned.” (Letter to: Mangalaniloy Brahmacari, New York, 16 July, 1966)

It is a risk that we did for sure. We are just a few enthusiastic devotees, practically we have no funds, although the project develops and seems to be on the right way. To go through danger for Krishna gives juice to our spiritual life. All big things must start somewhere so we pray toward all devotees that our effort can be successful. And we pray also for that more and more devotees all over the world serisously struggle after establishing self-sufficient communities with Krishna in their centre.