October saw some very exciting progress at the Saragrahi community outside of Asheville, North Carolina, culminating in the installation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to join Radha-Madhava on the altar. During this visit, the Saragrahi property itself grew an additional twenty-five acres, making the current property one hundred and five acres with the purchase of another thirty-five in the works.
Within the first twenty-four hours of his arrival, Swami Tripurari lined up the purchase of Saragrahi’s first Jersey cow. Kamala is the first of Saragrahi’s sustainable Jersey herd that will consist of three cows milking at any given time, with the remaining herd able to live out their lives grazing happily on organic pastures. The barn, which will also house the cowherds above it, has been designed and the septic installed, with construction set to begin shortly.
Ananda Ashram, the current center of the project located five minutes from the Saragrahi land, saw a constant flow of short and long-term guests throughout the month. Swami Tripurari lectured regularly at the ashram and at yoga centers and temples around the state. Agnideva joined the group and offered his kirtan expertise for the second half of the month.
On the land, workers cut in and rocked new roads while devotees cleared brush, secured various permits, and continued building the quality of the pastures. Presently, the recently acquired twenty-five acres is in the process of being divided into plots available to community members.
The Sacred Harvest farm was still reaping the bounty of its summer crops and engaging visitors in preserving chilis, roasted peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. The fall crop is growing nicely, as is an initial crop of strawberries to add to an existing local berry business that Sacred Harvest is gradually inheriting.
The month culminated in the much-anticipated installation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Devotees came from as far as Oregon and up and down the East Coast to witness the prana pratistha ceremony. Swami Tripurari had been lecturing on the different meanings of the first verse of Srimad Bhagavatam and culminated in a novel explanation explaining Mahaprabhu as the subject of that verse. Swami also accepted several new students on the occasion: Rasika dasa, Vinode-Bihari dasa, Krsna-nama dasa, and Amala-bhakti dasi received Harinama initiation, while Gaura-Narayana dasa received Harinama and mantra diksa. Goloka dasa received saffron robes signifying his further commitment to monasticism and Agnideva dasa also received saffron, signifying the resolution of his household life and his move into monasticism.
As is often the case, Swami Tripurari was ambivalent to depart with so many exciting endeavors in the works, but after a well-attended final weekend in Hillsborough, Maharaja returned to California. He will visit Portland the weekend of November 17th and Grass Valley near the end of the month. Shortly thereafter Swami will depart for Madhuvan, Costa Rica until the end of February.