(Dandavats.com) – By Krishna Dasi
There is a very, very special dhama located in central Spain about 100 kilometers east of Madrid, Spain’s capital city.
It is geographically right outside the little town of Brihuega, near Guadalajara the nearest city. It is a small farm community, complete with flower and vegetable gardens, a couple of small greenhouses, a beautiful goshala right across the road from the temple, and then a larger goshalla down the road. They have approximately 12 cows and 2 bulls. The five cows that are kept in the goshalla close to the temple are definitely pampered and adored. They provide the milk for the milksweets and curd used in the daily Deity offerings. The farm is about 300 hectares in size and has roughly about 40 devotees living on and close to the land. But the most wonderful residents of New Vraja Mandala are Their Lordships, Sri-Sri Radha-Govinda Chandra, Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, and a most beautiful golden, Laksmi-Nrshingha sitting atop Ananta Sesa. Of course, we can’t forget Giri-Govardhana and also a stunning Garuda atop a pillar gazing in adoration of Their Lordships on the altar.
Although it is a struggling farm community, it is rich in both spirit and in devotional service. The Deities are always dressed in the most exquisite outfits bedecked with hand-sewn jewels and embroidery. Many of the outfits are sewn by the devotees, and some are made in India, but all are intricately designed and sewn with true Krishna Prem. All the flower garlands used in the warm seasons are from the garden, where they grow many different types of marigolds, nastursiums, zinnias, roses, and big smiling sunflowers. The altar vases are also made up from these flowers.
They have begun the Bhaktivedanta College for Vedic studies there, by the grace of Yadunandana Swami and is now in it’s second year. This is helping to bring new devotees to the farm, where they study and also participate in all the temple acivities and perform devotional service. There is talk of adding some English classes to make the studies more available to devotees that don’t speak Spanish. And I think that will help boost the number of residents nicely.