New Vrindaban is managed by two legal entities, namely ISKCON New Vrindaban and ECO-Vrindaban. These two entities are working cooperatively to full Prabhupada’s visions for New Vrindaban as a sacred village known worldwide for cow protection, simple living, Holy Pilgrimage, spiritual education and above all, loving Krishna.
Governing Body Commission (GBC) Members of New Vrindaban
Anuttama das and Tamohara das
ISKCON NV Board Members:
Tamohara das (GBC), Dayavira das (Chair), Jaya Krishna das (Community President), Ananga Manjari dasi, Gopisa das, Ranaka das, Chaitanya Mangala das, Kevala das
ISKCON New Vrindaban Management Team:
GBC: Anuttama Das and Tamohara Das
Community President: Jaya Krishna Das
Accounting & Payroll: Lakshmi Honest Dasi
Communications: Vrindavana Das
Congregational Development: Gauranatraj Das
Constructions: Bhagavan das
Deity Department: Abhinanda Das
Devotee Kitchen: Vasudeva Das
Devotee Relations: Sukhavaha Dasi
Festivals: Vrindavana Das
Govinda’s Restaurant: Vasudeva Das
Palace Lodge Manager: Gaurabhakta Das
Water & Waste Water: Tejomaya Das
Palace of Gold: Vrajadham Das
Land Management: Varsana Swami
ECO VRINDABAN BOARD MEMBERS: Anuttama das (GBC), Nitia Chandra das, Ranaka das, Chaitanya Mangala das, Bhima das (Chair)
ECOV VRINDABAN MANAGEMENT TEAM:
Administrator: Ranaka Das
Cows: Nitia Chandra Das
Milking: Lalita Gopi Dasi & Ananda Vidya Das
Board Members Biographies:
Anuttama Das is the Director of Communications for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He has served as a member of ISKCON’s International Governing Body Commission (GBC) since 1999, and is currently the GBC Chairman and one of the three GBC representatives of New Vrindaban. Anuttama served as President of ISKCON temples in Denver, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., and was founding Board Member of Children of Krishna, an organization created to assist victims of abuse. He was twice Vice President of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), a New York based interfaith organization, and serves on the Board of Religions for Peace USA. He also serves as Trustee of the Bhaktivedanta College, ISKCON’s first accredited College, located in Belgium. Anuttama Das travels extensively teaching seminars on Communications and Leadership both for ISKCON and other non-profits. He is the founder of the Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue in Washington, D.C., now in its 17th year, and was the guest editor of the special 2012 edition of the scholarly Journal of Vaishnava Studies dedicated to the Vaishnava-Christian dialogue. He has appeared on multiple national and international media programs, including Larry King Live, Dateline, PBS and BBC. Anuttama is currently on the ECOV Board in NV. Anuttama and his wife, Rukmini, live in Rockville, Maryland, near their son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Chaitanya Mangala Das
Chaitanya Mangala Das’s parents, Danakeli Das & Sankara Dasi, first became a part of ISKCON in Michigan in 1970. Then, 10 years later, in 1980, they moved to New Vrindaban, where Chaits took first initiation and attended the gurukula until 1988. Throughout that time, he performed many services, including the cow barn, tractor dept, mold shop, construction, heavy equipment, winter wood crew, accounting, and more. Chaits’ mother passed away in NV in 1985. So, along with his four siblings, Makara, Veena, Sesa & Bhima, he had a memorial bench erected for his mom on the Parikram path, situated at the feet of the Gaura Nitai statues.
Then, later on, from 1994 to 2000, Chaits lived in NV again. His oldest son, Airavata, was born there in 1994. He served as assistant pujari for the two Salagram Sila deities, under the tutelage of Amburish and Radhanath Das (now Swami). Chaits was also one of the original “youth” pujaris who daily “played” with Sri Gopal Nathji each morning on the altar, during Greeting of the Deities at the current RVC Temple when He was first installed in 1983. He also regularly worshiped Lord Nrsimhadeva after He was installed in 1986. Chaits has always been a very active guy. In his “free time” he has a long history of doing volunteer service for New Vrindaban, as well as the global devotee community, having organized or helped to organize, about 22 Gurukuli-related Festivals and a few Holy Name Festivals over the years. He continued to visit NV at least once or twice a year, and, in 2010 and 2011 got even more involved by becoming a member of both the ECOV and the INV Boards. Today, Chaitanya Mangala Das currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Kathy and their three children, where he is Financial Controller for an international apparel and fashion company, with an MBA and 15 years of professional and managerial experience. Regarding his fond connections with New Vrindaban, Chaits tells us, “I’m blessed with an opportunity to participate in our ongoing efforts to manifest Srila Prabhupada’s grand vision for New Vrindaban, Along the way, we may fall short and fail at times to live up to all of the ideals. At the same time, I’m confident that as long as we continue to sincerely participate and persevere – through this cooperative process – we become stronger and eventually we do succeed.”
Dayavira Das started reading Bhagavad-gita in 1975, when he had bought a copy at a bookstore at a local mall. Dayavira comments, “I was immediately drawn into the priceless knowledge contained in this classic. It gave birth to a whole spiritual awakening that I never before experienced in this life.” He relates that about six months later he discovered there was a society of devotees in the US. It wasn’t until December 1976 that he was finally able to make his way to a temple, ISKCON Miami. After a short stay he came back to N.C. and then in 1979 he first visited New Vrindaban. He became a full time resident Brijbasi in early 1980 and stayed about ten years, where Dayavira worked on the construction of the Lodge and the Temple before returning to N.C. At one point he became temple president of ISKCON of NC for four years. Dayavira tells us, “I’m currently working on building a new temple here in NC. It will be a LEED project. (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design is a green building certification program that recognizes best -in-class building strategies and practices.)” Dayavira has been on the ISKCON New Vrindaban Board for about three years, and has been the chairman for the last two years.
Gopisa Das joined the Krishna consciousness movement in 1973 in Miami. He was initiated by Srila Prabhupada on Henry St. in N.Y. He was a welder when he joined the movement. While visiting New Vrindaban in 1979, he helped work on metal gates that were ultimately installed in the wall of the Palace of Gold and at the entrance to the Bhagavad-gita Road. Gopisa has a great story connected with this, while helping to install those gates on a late summer day in 1979. It happened to be the day before the big festival for the opening of the Palace. Up in the rear guard tower of the Palace wall was a locked freezer with 40 gallons of New Vrindaban home-made mango blueberry ice cream! As Gopisa was working with the crew near that tower, a couple of industrious members managed to illicitly procure one of the five gallon buckets. After a short time, when some devotees drove by the crew working on the gates on that hot summer evening, they didn’t notice the empty five gallon bucket, but they did wonder, “Why are these devotees wearing their winter coats in the middle of summer?” In 1981, Gopisa moved to New Vrindaban with his wife, Kalindi, where he was put to work on various welding projects, such as the guest lodge, other gates, and, most notably, the current RVC temple building itself. He also ran the brickyard that produced the pavers on New Vrindaban’s road and parking lot. Gopisa Das is currently the Vice-President in charge of Design and Facilities and sits on the INV Board of Directors, the Land Board and the Palace Restoration Committee.
Jaya Krishna Das
The now-not-so-new community president of New Vrindaban, Jaya Krishna Das, officially took up his post on the auspicious day of Gaura Purnima in 2011. The devotees hope he can stay on a lot longer. Originally from Switzerland, Jaya Krishna brings a wealth of both ISKCON and life experience to the table, having worked in business out in the world for twenty-five years before becoming a devotee. In 2003, his life in Europe had brought him to a point where he had decided to quit his job and pursue a spiritual path. Jaya Krishna joined ISKCON, and went on a one-month pilgrimage to India.
After this, he began to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission as administrative director for Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium for seven years. During his service in Belgium he received initiation from H.H. Sacinandana Swami. In addition, Jaya Krishna served as the chair of the GBC succession committee for three years. Then, in 2011, he had a calling to change his service and use his experience at another ISKCON project. New Vrindaban was proposed to him by Anuttama Prabhu, one of our GBC representatives in New Vrindaban. Jaya Krishna felt that it is part of the succession plan to change the cultural environment and experience a new challenge. At the beginning of his service in New Vrindaban, Jaya Krishna expressed that he plans to set up a proper structure and processes for the big operation of the New Vrindaban temple so that there is stability in the future, as well as to heal some of the traces of New Vrindaban’s past. Along with all of this, his aim is to uplift the spiritual atmosphere. He added a number of important festivals to the New Vrindaban calendar and the very attractive Govardhan parikrama, successfully managed the renovation of the temple ashramas, the lodge, and the offices in N.V., thus improving the esthetics of the temple area, making it look more professional, and the guests’ rooms much more inviting. Pilgrims and visitors respond very nicely to the changes. It is Jaya Krishna’s goal in his seven-year plan of transformation to deepen the relationships among the community members and to create a strong community spirit and unity. Jaya Krishna plans to focus on the renovation of the Palace of Gold and the old Vrindaban farmhouse where Srila Prabhupada stayed for one month in 1969 as well as the construction of the first of the seven temples. Jaya Krishna is focusing on how to better implement Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for New Vrindaban, together with Eco Vrindaban, namely through cow protection, self-sufficiency, as well as the development of the place of pilgrimage and offering spiritual education. Jaya Krishna currently sits on the INV Board. Jaya Krishna sees a big potential and foresees a great future for New Vrindaban. He always recounts what Srila Prabhupada had written to the New Vrindaban devotees: “I pray to Krishna every day that this New Vrindaban attempt is more and more successful and ideal for your country.”
Kripamaya Das joined the movement in 1971 at the preaching center in Wilmington Delaware. He was a book distributor until he moved to New Vrindaban in 1979. From that point on he served in the woodshop, Life Membership department and Gorakshya-Seva Dept. He also served as a Bhakta Leader, Festival Coordinator, Fund Raiser, and Lodge Manager. Kripamaya is on the ECOV Board in N.V. He is currently a senior at West Liberty University, majoring in music and theater, and has already orchestrated a staged reading of his musical “Ramayana – Past in Present”. He hopes to integrate these skills in presenting Krishna Consciousness through the performing arts.
Ranaka Das first joined the Krishna Consciousness Movement in Denver in December of 1976. He was initiated by Srila Prabhupada on Janmastami 1977, and currently lives in New Vrindaban with his wife and fourth son, Josh, down by the “big barn” in the Valley Goshalla. Ranaka is a member of both NV’s ECOV Board and the INV Board. Ranaka is a long-time resident of NV, having dedicated his life to Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Candra’s cows and agriculture for 37 years. When asked what he likes to do, Ranaka simply replied, “Chant Hare Krishna and garden.”
Tamohara Das and wife Mantrini Devi Dasi joined the ISKCON Chicago temple in 1972 and were initiated by Srila Prabhupada nine months later. Tamohara Das has been involved in ISKCON leadership for many years. In addition to services of temple president, BBT manager and director of two devotee schools, he also served for several years as the director of the ISKCON Child Protection Office. He has been a GBC member since 2006 and currently serves on the executive committee of the international GBC. His current zonal responsibilities are in the southeast United States, including Alachua, New Vrindavan, Atlanta and other temples.
Tamohara Das (Thomas Pourchot, Ed.D) has a doctorate in educational psychology and has been a faculty member and administrator in several graduate schools and universities, including dean of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. He has many years of experience counseling devotees and regularly conducts seminars in grhastha life, child protection, communication, and leadership training. He and his wife currently reside in Alachua, Florida with their children and grandchildren. Tamohara is currently on the ISKCON Board of NV.
Kevala Das’s parents, Rupanuga Das and Vani Dasi, joined the Krishna Consciousness Movement in Montreal and they moved to New Vrindavan when he was only five years old in 1983, where they’ve lived ever since. Kevala ultimately left NV when he was 18, and has lived in various places, currently living in Philadelphia. Kevala has always enjoyed cooking in the kitchen in NV for the devotees at festival time. He really appreciates the communal spirit to it. “As part of its transformation New Vrindaban is engaging the next generation, which historically hasn’t happened as much as it should have,” says ECOV board member Chaitanya Mangala, himself a second-generation devotee. “So this was a conscious move in that direction.” Becoming a Board member has had a positive effect on the life of Kevala, a 35-year-old software tester for JP Morgan Chase who grew up in New Vrindaban and now lives in Philadelphia. “Growing up here I didn’t participate so much in the community — I was kind of a taker,” he says. “But being part of the Board, I started to feel the community spirit, and to feel like more of a giver. Like I was participating. And I really enjoy it.” Since he has been on the Board, Kevala says he has also received a lot of thoughts and suggestions about New Vrindaban from his peers. “I think it gives a voice to the second generation,” he says. “They feel like they’re getting heard.”
Bhima Das Walker first joined the Krishna Consciousness movement in the Detroit temple in 1980 with his mother, Sankara Dasi, and his 4 siblings. The family came to N.V. shortly after that, and Bhima lived here in the Gurukula until 1987. Ultimately, Bhima served over 13 years with the Air Force as a Rescue Specialist, and has helped organize four Kulimela festivals over the years. He joined the ECOV board of New Vrindaban in Feb. 2014. Bhima pointed out that, by now, most of the “second generation” devotees, like himself, have had experience both inside the movement AND outside. “I’ve done 13 years with the military, all the way from a novice up to a team leader, where I had to get guys out of moving aircraft safely, and get the injured survivors to the hospital. I developed many transferable skills that I can use in my role on the N.V. Board. For example, I gained lots of experience assessing things and then the ability to make important decisions. My way of staying involved to contribute as a volunteer on the board.” Bhima has helped organize several gurukuli festivals, which is fast, intense work. But he feels that working on the board will involve more slow, deliberate, thoughtful planning. This is what attracts him. Bhima is happy that the current NV management provides opportunities for devotees to make money if they are responsible at their work. When you earn money through your own work, you can own things. This trains people to take care of what they have. These are important life lessons. Another benefit of trained, responsible workers says Bhima, is that things in New Vrindaban will be fixed to work properly for the long haul, rather than have things breaking down constantly. Bhima now lives in New Hampshire, attending graduate school for engineering.