Tuesday, December 29, 2020

ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna Temple, Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Weekly Temple Newsletter

Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasundara, and Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama

Hare Krishna! On Thursday we'll have a New Year's Eve fire yajña at 7:00 p.m. outside the temple to bring in 2021 with prayers. Saturday is the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, with a special morning class, and the start of an online 5-day Govardhana Retreat. Mark your calendars for January 6 evening, the next Nectar Talks interview with Vrinda and Visvambhara, two pillars of our Bhaktivedanta Academy. We remind devotees and guests returning from out-of-state holiday travel about our quarantining protocols before visiting the temple. For details, please read on...

Announcements & Events

On New Year's Eve we'll have a fire yajña outside at 7:00 p.m.; everyone can come, chairs will be socially distanced. Let's bring in 2021 with prayers and hope for a great year ahead. Midnight arati will be cancelled. However, you can come for arati throughout the day. The temple room doors will close after the 6:30 p.m. arati.

During the cold winter mornings, the temple room doors will close after Tulasi Puja (so the pujaris can do their services without freezing), and re-open for Greeting of the Deities. There will not be any indoor japa chanting until the weather warms up.

Returning From Travel, Pandemic Protocols: 4-day quarantine with two negative COVID tests (one before commencing travel, the second on the 4th day after returning), or minimum 10 days quarantine without a test (and no symptoms), required for devotees returning from out-of-state holiday or business travel, or for out-of-town visitors, before coming to the temple. Read our detailed guidelines for testing and quarantining here. Please call the temple office if you need more information to understand these protocols. We require social distancing and mask-wearing here at all times, especially in the temple room while chanting.


Thank you to everyone for serving, and for contributing to keep ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna temple thriving even in the midst of a pandemic.


January 6, Nectar Talks Episode 3

Interview With Vrinda & Visvambhara

Mark your calendars to participate in the next Nectar Talks live show featuring two pillars of Bhaktivedanta Academy, Vrinda Dasi and Visvambhara Dasa, on Wednesday, January 6 at 8:00 p.m. EST. They will be interviewed by hosts Namamrita Dasa and Amrita Keli Dasi. Watch it live on ISKCON Alachua's YouTube channel or Facebook page, or join the conversation at Zoom ID # 6706942056.


Career Coaching for Young Professionals

This year has brought unique challenges in many areas of life, including in particular, economic challenges for students and new professionals. With a rapidly changing work ecosystem, it's understandable to find ourselves stuck when preparing to make the next step professionally. "How do I best showcase my talents for a professional setting?" or "Why does this job search feel like throwing my applications into a black hole?" are common questions that come up.

For the next month, Balaram Poddar will be offering free one-on-one coaching sessions to any members of the Alachua community who are working on making the next step in their careers. These sessions will best serve individuals seeking a new role on a chosen career path, focusing on one of the areas below:

1) Resume Writing: Building a keyword-rich narrative that is poised to stand out to hiring teams and land you an interview at your target companies.

2) Job Search Strategy: Developing an action plan for getting the most value out of your time on the job search.

3) Interview Training: Using the MBA and Big Tech playbooks to ensure that you are fully prepared prior to walking into your interviews.

Balaram has a foundation in career development strategy from the University of Florida MBA program. Since then he's spent three years in Product Management and Talent Acquisition at Amazon. He formalized a career coaching practice in 2020, having worked with 50+ business and tech professionals impacted by COVID layoffs this year. The aim of these sessions will be to provide concrete tools to help jumpstart the job search process for any devotees who need it.

If interested, feel free to schedule time for your session directly here.


Introducing Our End-of-Life (EOL) Care Team

End-of-Life Care Team members

The recent loss of devotees in our NRR community has inspired a few of us to revive the End-of-Life (EOL) Care Team under the auspices of Vaishnavas CARE Alachua. It is a service that will be needed more and more as members of our community age and develop terminal illnesses. Our team’s goals are to provide mental, emotional, and spiritual comfort, education, assistance with physical tasks as much as possible, and support for your loved one and their families with dignity and respect in this difficult time.

Our team members include Kirtiraja Dasa, Chaturatma Dasa, Mulaka Devi Dasi, Madhava Dasa, and Madhuryalila Devi Dasi. In pursuance of our goal of education, we intend to offer training seminars to our community in the areas of End-of-Life care, grieving, grief support, and legacy work based on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, the Krsna consciousness philosophy, and current secular research-based practices in this area. We can also help arrange and facilitate virtual and on-site memorial services.

If you live in the Alachua-Gainesville and adjoining areas, and have a need for our services, contact Mulaka Devi Dasi (mulakadd@gmail.com, 352-359-4260) or Madhuryalila Devi Dasi (madhuryaliladd108@gmail.com, 352-317-2329).


Online VIHE Govardhana Retreat 2021

Govardhana Retreat

Due to the current situation in the world, the annual VIHE Retreats will not happen in Govardhana this year BUT we would like to invite you to join the Govardhana Retreat online. The dates are January 2-6, 2021. Please keep time aside to attend. You can find more information at https://vihe.org/retreats/index.html

You may now register by filling out the form here.

The timings are in the form. The schedule will be announced shortly. The retreat is free of charge but it would be great if you could help to cover the organizing costs by donating according to your means. If you have any questions, write to retreats@vihe.org.

This year's speakers and their topics:

H.H. Śacīnandana Svāmī

Life Lessons From the Govardhana Līlā

Invaluable Teachings of Giridhārī Kṛṣṇa for Meeting the Challenges of Life

H.G. Bhūrijana Dāsa

A Beggar's Precious Gifts

Hidden Wealth in Sudāmā's Journey to Dvārakā

H.G. Jagattāriṇī Devī Dāsī

Vraja's Sacred Forests

The Trees Want to Tell their Stories

H.G Mādhavānanda Dāsa

Girirāja - The Ultimate Team Player

Śrī Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-prārthanā-daśakam, Verse 9


Second Canto Bhagavatam Online Course

Srimad-Bhagavatam Online Course

Dhruva Maharaja Dasa and Samapriya Devi Dasi will conduct an online course to study the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, January through June 2021.

At the end of the First Canto, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was cursed to die in seven days. Thus he gave up everything and sat down on the banks of the Ganges River to prepare for his death. At that time, many great sages arrived, and finally, Śukadeva Gosvāmī appeared.

Mahārāja Parīkṣit asked, "You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die. Please let me know what a man should hear, chant, remember and worship, and also what he should not do. Please explain all this to me." (SB 1.19.37-38)

The course picks up in the Second Canto with Śukadeva Gosvāmī's answer to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Participants will study all 10 chapters of this canto from January-June 2021. In those chapters, Śukadeva also refers to the instructions imparted by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā at the dawn of creation, so the course will include a study of Brahma-saṁhitā (Brahmā's account of these same events) during July.

To join go to: https://sadhusangaonline.com/ 


How to manage your virus risk

by David Leonhardt, The New York Times

This is a three-step guide to COVID-19 risk minimization. It’s based on a New York Times survey of 700 epidemiologists and experts.

1. There is one behavior you should try to eliminate, without exception: Spending time in a confined space (outside your household) where anyone is unmasked.

Don’t eat indoors at a restaurant or friend’s house. Don’t have close, unmasked conversations anywhere, even outdoors. If you must fly, try to not to eat or drink on the plane. If you’re going to work, don’t have lunch in the same room as colleagues. Group lunches have led to outbreaks at hospitals and elsewhere.

2. This next set of behaviors is best to minimize if you can’t avoid it: Spending extended time in indoor spaces, even with universal masking. Masks aren’t perfect. If you can work out at home rather than at a gym — or do your job or attend religious services remotely — you’re reducing your risk.

3. Now the better news: Several activities are less risky than some people fear. You don’t need to wear a mask when you go for a walk or a jog. You can take a bike ride without a mask. “I consider keeping six feet distant outdoors more important than wearing a mask,”. “If I had a birthday candle in my hand and you’re too far away to blow it out, I can’t inhale whatever you exhale.”

You can also feel OK about doing many errands. About 90 percent of the epidemiologists in our survey have recently visited a grocery store, a pharmacy or another store. Just wear a mask, stay distant from others and wash your hands afterward.

The big picture: I find it helpful to think about the notion of a personal risk budget. I don’t spend any of my risk budget on supermarket shopping, because grocery delivery works well for my family. But I do take occasional unmasked, distant walks with one or two friends. They help keep me sane as we head into a long, very hard winter.


Prabhupada Disciples Book

If you are a disciple of Srila Prabhupada living in our New Raman Reti community and would like to be included in the commemorative book we are compiling, please contact Sri Devi Dasi - sridevi@alachuatemple.com.


Writers Wanted

We are looking for anyone who likes to write, to submit articles for our newsletter about topics of interest such as What's Happening on the Eco Farm, The Temple Gardens, Who's Who at New Raman Reti (devotee profiles), Who's New at New Raman Reti, etc. Contact mukhyadd@alachuatemple.com if you are interested. 


Trouble Receiving This Newsletter?

You probably have a friend or family member who’s been wondering why they haven’t been receiving these newsletter emails, even though they remember getting them years ago. Chances are it’s been filed into the Periodicals tab of their Gmail account, or, worse, found its way into the Spam folder. Help us help your loved ones recover their newsletter subscriptions. Ask them to:

  1. Check the Promotions or Spam folder for weekly newsletter emails from ISKCON Alachua.
  2. Mark them as “not spam” and move them back to the Inbox.
  3. Add the sender, contact@alachuatemple.com, to the email account’s Contacts, Address Book or safe list.

Signed up with an old email address that’s no longer being used?

Another common reason for not receiving this newsletter is if someone signed up years ago with an old email address they no longer use. In this case, please let us know the old address so we can remove it from our system, and use the link below to re-subscribe with a current email address.

Click here to subscribe with a current email address.

The temple newsletter is emailed weekly, on Tuesday mornings around 6:00 a.m. Keep an eye out for it, and, if need be, rescue it from the Promotions or Spam folder. Remember to add contact@alachuatemple.com as a contact to your email account’s address book.


New Ceiling Fans Needed

old ceiling fans at ISKCON Alachua temple

It's time to replace the fans and light fixtures in our temple room. They are over 20 years old and, at this point, many of them aren't working anymore. You could say they have done their duty. It will cost about $3000 to replace and install ten new ceiling fans, and you can take part in helping us get this done. Click below to give a donation towards this much needed improvement.


Online Sanga Events

Broadcast on ISKCON Alachua's Facebook page and YouTube channel. Zoom login information, when applicable, will be shared on our ISKCON Alachua Devotees Facebook group. All times are in ET (Eastern Time).

Daily Srimad-Bhagavatam Class by various speakers from the temple room, 8:00 - 8:45 AM. See Class Schedule posted below.

Every Thursday, 5:00-6:00 pm, Bhagavad-Gita reading and discussion with H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami.

You'll find recordings of previous live video events at our ISKCON Alachua Temple YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/alachuatemple.

For recordings from the recent Festival of the Holy Name, check here:

FoHN Facebook | FoHN YouTube

Weekly Resilience Drop-In Group: Feeling overwhelmed by challenges, problems, or adversities in your life? The Resilience group is a place that enables you to work through challenges and get back to life stronger and wiser. Sundays 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. via Zoom, facilitated by Rambhoru Dasi ACBSP, a certified Professional Chaplain and Crisis Counselor. Participation is confidential. For Zoom login info, message Rambhoru via WhatsApp: 703-727-5659.


Summary of Pandemic Protocols

In recent months we have been seeing escalating numbers of COVID virus spread. It is the responsibility of every devotee to know the risks, to wear a mask and social distance even within your home if you are getting together with other families. Here are our guidelines for testing and quarantining, if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you yourself or someone in your household tests positive.

The different types of testing are explained here with a simple chart. "Rapid antigen tests are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to molecular (NAAT or RT-PCR) also known as "lab" tests. Your health care provider may order a molecular test if your antigen test shows a negative result but you have symptoms of COVID-19."

Dr. Nila Madhava Dasa of Baltimore yatra recommends everyone keep in their home Zinc and Vitamin D and a pulse oximeter. If you become symptomatic with the COVID virus, take 24 mg Zinc and 10000 IU of Vitamin D right away. If your oxygen saturation is less than 95, you should go to the hospital.

It is really important that all positive cases or symptomatic persons notify anyone they have been in contact with so that they can also get their tests done. Even if you are young and your symptoms are not severe, someone in your family or someone you contact may not be so lucky, and no one wants to be responsible for making others sick.

Alachua temple is one of a handful of temples in North America that remain open with scheduled programs, and devotees from other areas want to come here now. We have restrictions in place for out-of-town visitors, so we request that you refer your friends to call the temple office to understand the protocol for visiting our temple. Please remind people you see at the temple that we require mask-wearing here at all times, especially in the temple room while chanting. People who will not wear a mask are asked to watch our programs through our Youtube live channel.


Procedures to Visit the Temple

Click here to read the details about the various darshan times, restrictions and protocols we are currently observing at the temple, including a video demonstrating the modified Sunday darshan. Here's a brief summary:

Throughout the week, the temple is open only during scheduled arati times, with a maximum capacity of 35 persons standing or sitting on physically distanced X marks. First come, first served. Everyone must wear a face mask in the temple room at all times and maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between non-family members. Wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer before entering the temple room. Don't touch surfaces. Pay your respects (obeisances) while standing, and avoid bowing down on the floor at this time. Click here to read the Basic Rules for visiting the temple.

On Sundays we have a walk-through darshan from 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, where you can come and pay your respects to Their Lordships, receive darshan, and pick up a prasad to-go box on your way out at the exit gate. Please don't socialize and linger on the property. Govinda's Gifts is open from 4:15 PM - 6:30 PM on Sundays, and at other times by appointment. Click here to read the detailed Sunday Darshan Protocol.

On festival days, additional restrictions apply to avoid overcrowding. Usually, the temple remains locked during the day, while aratis and other worship ceremonies are performed only by the pujaris (priests) and a handful of designated kirtan singers, broadcast live on our YouTube and Facebook Live channels. On such days, to safely manage the crowds, we generally only open the temple for walk-through darshan in the late afternoon, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM, similar to Sunday darshan times. Check the temple newsletter for details about upcoming festivals.

The temple closes at 7:00 PM each evening.

If you're feeling sick, stay home and get tested for COVID-19. (Click here for resources on getting tested in English and in Spanish.) If you're feeling sick, or if you've recently returned from international travel, airports, large metropolitan areas or any place with a high concentration of virus spread, please stay away from the temple for 14 days as a precaution. Our guards will ask you questions to this effect at the entrance gate. Thank you for your cooperation.

Temple Lunch: If you would like to get temple lunch prasad, come to the front entrance at 12:30 pm and our guard will place the prasad to-go meal box into your car. Donations accepted.

ISKCON Alachua Hare Krishna Temple, with fountain

Class Schedule & Vaishnava Calendar

Week of December 29, 2020

TUE 29 - Sri Vrindavana Devi Dasi, SB 1.10.23

WED 30 - Adikarta Dasa, SB 1.10.24

THU 31 - Sesa Dasa, SB 1.10.25

FRI 1 - Puskara Dasa, SB 1.10.26

SAT 2 - Pundarika Vidyanidhi Dasa, special class

Disapp. of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

SUN 3 - Mahatma Dasa SF lecture

MON 4 - Narayani Devi Dasi, SB 1.10.27

TUE 5 - Prana Govinda Dasa, SB 1.10.28

Morning class times are 8:00 a.m. EST unless otherwise noted. The Sunday Feast lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. Tune in live to our ISKCON Alachua Facebook page or YouTube channel, where you will also find video recordings of previous classes; listen to audio recordings in our lecture archive.


Departments and Features

Govinda’s Gifts (open Sundays 4:00-6:30 PM)

Morning Sweets Sponsorship

Newsletter Online

Temple Volunteer Services

NRR Community Radio

Website Links:

Child Protection Team Info

Vaishnava Calendar

Temple Prayer Circle

Temple Website

Other Websites & Resources

Bhaktivedanta Academy (BANA)

Child Protection Office

Grihastha Vision Team


Krishna Lunch


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Cow Protection

Vaishnava Calendar Reminder Service

Hare Krishna Social Services:

For information or needs inquiries, email hkssalachua@gmail.com or call Radha Selvester 9 am - 9 pm 352 727 8211. Night time calls for serious emergencies only.


Newsletter Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Mukhya Devi Dasi

Production Assistance: Manorama Dasa

Article submission deadline: 1:00 p.m. Fridays

Send articles and photos to contact@alachuatemple.com. The editors reserve the right to exclude or edit submissions.

Dedicated to our ISKCON Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 

ISKCON Alachua Temple

17306 NW 112th Boulevard 

Alachua, FL 32615


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

... and be happy!

ISKCON trademark


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Questions? Contact us at 1-386-462-2017

Email: contact@alachuatemple.com

Website: www.alachuatemple.com

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