(iskconnews.org) – ISKCON News | New Talavana Building a Spiritual Haven in Rural Mississippi
Festival-goers enjoy the famous hay ride at New Talavana’s 17th Annual Cow Festival.
Nestled in the serene heart of Mississippi, the New Talavana community has embarked on an ambitious endeavor to construct a grand new temple, marking a significant milestone in their spiritual journey. This dynamic community, part of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is well-known for its vibrant culture, devotion to cow protection, and emphasis on sustainable living.
On October 6-8th, 2023, New Talavana celebrated its 17th Annual Cow Festival, a fun, welcoming outreach to the larger Mississippi community that serves as a fundraiser for their cow protection programs. New Talavana cares for fifty cows on their expansive 1,200 acre property.
The New Talavana community, founded over four decades ago, is a poignant reminder of the enduring power of spirituality and sustainable living. The community’s foundation was laid by a group of dedicated individuals inspired by the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharaya of ISKCON. They sought to create a haven that blended spiritual values, eco-consciousness, and a profound connection with the Divine.
Yogindra Vandana Das, the Temple President at New Talavana, shared his thoughts on the community’s remarkable journey in our interview. He spoke with warmth and enthusiasm, reflecting on the community’s growth and their ambitious temple construction project.
“The New Talavana community has come a long way since its inception,” Yogindra Vandana began, “What started as a humble endeavor has evolved into a thriving spiritual oasis for individuals seeking a deeper connection with their faith and a more sustainable way of life.”
The temple construction project, an ambitious undertaking, represents the community’s dedication to Srila Prabhupada’s mission and the broader local community. The new temple, an architectural masterpiece, aims to offer a spiritual haven and a place of worship, attracting devotees and curious visitors.
Yogindra highlighted the broader impact the ISKCON New Talavana community has had on the local area. “Our community contributes significantly to the local economy and eco-system. We emphasize sustainable practices, including cow protection and organic farming. Through the Cow Festival, we not only celebrate our devotion to Lord Krishna but also educate our visitors about the importance of cow protection, organic farming, and sustainable living.”
Cow Fest was a grand spectacle of vibrant cultural performances, interactive workshops, and, of course, the central theme of cow protection. “This year’s Cow Fest was a resounding success,” said Yogindra with a smile. “Hundreds of visitors attended, allowing us to share the Krishna Conscious culture and values with the larger community.” In addition to kirtan, yoga, and food booths, there were activities for the kids like face painting, and hay rides. “We even had Indian village cooking using cow patties as fuel, and guests enjoyed local farm treats like New Talavana’s curd burgers using our local cows milk and farm grown fresh sugar cane juice,” said Anuradha Somershein Das, one of the volunteers.
The event also had traditional dance performances, workshops on organic farming and sustainable living, and various delectable vegetarian cuisines. The star attractions, of course, were the beloved cows – the community’s cherished residents, whom Yogindra Vandana referred to as “our ambassadors of love and sustainability.” Visitors could interact with the cows, learn about their significance in Vedic culture, and even participate in their care.
“Our annual Cow Fest goes beyond festivities; it serves as an educational platform,” Yogindra emphasized. “We want to share the significance of cow protection, which is integral to Vedic culture. Our mission is to help people understand the importance of treating all living beings with kindness and respect.”
As for the future, the New Talavana ISKCON community has ambitious goals. Their new temple construction project, despite its grandeur, is just one step towards fulfilling their vision of creating a spiritual and sustainable haven that radiates peace and love. They aspire to continue their initiatives in cow protection, sustainable living, and spiritual growth.
Yogindra Vandana concluded the interview by saying, “Our ultimate goal is to inspire positive change in the world. We envision a future where the values of compassion, sustainability, and spirituality coexist harmoniously. The New Talavana community is a testament to the enduring power of faith and dedication to these values.”
The ISKCON New Talavana community’s remarkable journey is a testament to the transformative power of spirituality and devotion. Their new temple construction project and the annual Cow Fest exemplify their commitment to creating a space where tradition, culture, and eco-consciousness beautifully converge, leaving a poignant impact on the hearts of all who visit. With an ambitious scope for the future, they continue to work toward a world that cherishes spiritual values and cherishes all living beings.
Those eager to support this significant project and become a part of the legacy that will serve devotees and spiritual seekers for generations are warmly invited to explore their website. There, you will find detailed information on how to get involved and contribute to the cow program and new temple project.