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 ISKCON New Talavan Community
Welcome to ISKCON New Talavan Community
Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Temple President: His Grace Yogindra Vandana das Adhikari
31492 Anner Road • Carriere, Mississippi 39426 • 601-213-3586 •

     
 

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  Hurricane disaster in
New Orleans

 

 

Hurricane Photo Gallery

Distributing Prasadam to Hurricane Victims

Awesome Hurricane Video (1.5 MB WMV)

Video2 (5.1 MB WMV)

See Our Hurricane Blog

 

 

A full day after the city thought it had escaped Katrina's full fury, two levees broke and spilled water into the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday, swamping an estimated 80 percent of the bowl-shaped, below-sea-level city, inundating miles and miles of homes and rendering much of New Orleans uninhabitable for weeks or months.

New Orleans temple before hurricane

Presiding Deities of
New Orleans temple

Sri Sri Radha Radha-Kanta

Sri Sri Gaura Nitai

Jagganath, Subhadra and Baladev Deities

Dear Devotees,

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, everyone has experienced the awesome reality of just how fragile our material existence is. Twelve hours of wind, some rain, a few tornadoes and a major city is crippled, a community shattered, and opulent lifestyles destroyed for many, perhaps millions of people. Srila Prabhupada writes:

In the grim clutches of mäyä, the first-class prisoners of this material world wrongly think themselves happy because they are rich, powerful, resourceful and so on. These foolish creatures do not know that they are nothing but play dolls in the hands of material nature and that at any moment material nature’s pitiless intrigues can crush to dust all their plans for godless activities. Such foolish prisoners cannot see that however they improve their position by artificial means, the calamities of repeated birth, death, disease and old age are always beyond the jurisdiction of their control. Foolish as they are, they neglect these major problems of life and busy themselves with false things that cannot help them solve their real problems. They know that they do not want to suffer death or the pangs of disease and old age, but under the influence of the illusory energy, they are grossly negligent and therefore do nothing to solve the problems. This is called mäyä. [Cc. Adi 3.98 Purport]

Our material comfort and convenience remains at the whimsical mercy of Krsna's maha-maya potency, whose "pitiless intrigues" conspire to make every non-devotee's life story an inevitable tragedy. But Krsna protects His devotees, and can turn defeat into victory by His great and causeless mercy. The proof of this is that despite the terrible consequences of the storm, all the devotees in New Talavan and New Orleans made it through the worst disaster in North American history without a single casualty.

This is a tremendous confirmation of our transcendental faith in Krsna consciousness and pure devotional service to the lotus feet of our Guru, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. Despite the horrific impact of the storm on New Orleans and the Farm, we are not only continuing our service, but increasing it! Details follow.

New Orleans Yatra evacuated

Today a team of devotees from Dallas and Houston 'somehow or other' got through the numerous blockades and checkpoints sealing off the flooded city, and rescued all the New Orleans Temple devotees, the Deities and all Their transcendental paraphernalia! They will be relocated to Dallas, where facility will be provided by Nityananda Prabhu and the Dallas Temple for Their extended stay and uninterrupted worship until the normal operation of New Orleans yatra can be restored.

The New Orleans devotees, all disciples of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, are in good health and consciousness. Of course it helps that most of them are from Bengal and Bangladesh, and are veterans of flood survival. Nevertheless their courage and dedication to Their Lordships Sri-Sri Radha-Radhakanta, Sri-Sri Gaur-Nitai and Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra are exemplary, and certain to be rewarded by advancement in devotional service to the Lord.

Massive Food for Life Mobilization

Meanwhile, courageous New Talavan devotees are already venturing into the hardest-hit areas of the Gulf Coast, braving fields of debris, vast stretches of noxious quickmud, and crazed gas-hungry locals to distribute Lord Krsna's mercy in the form of sanctified vegetarian food. Despite reports of people being held up at gunpoint to feed gas-hungry SUVs and pickups, yesterday and today the devotees journeyed to Gulfport and Biloxi to bring hot meals of red beans and rice, chapattis and lemonade to the starving residents.

New Orleans devotee Ramakeli Prabhu, who lost everything in the hurricane, is collecting supplies in Memphis and transporting them to New Talavan, while New Talavan devotee Dvibhuja Prabhu, whose rental property lost its roof in the storm, is devoting full time to prasadam distribution in the Gulf Coast area.

They report a scene of almost total devastation with very little help for the victims. The aged and infirm are hardest hit, often immobilized with no one to help them. The devotees went door-to-door in the affected areas near the coast, bringing back striking tales of devastation and woe.

Meanwhile, Priyavrata Prabhu of Food for Life International and New Talavan GBC Bir Krsna Gosvami are organizing a massive food relief program. Teams of devotees from Washington DC, New Vrndavan and other volunteers are cooperating to bring tons of food, outdoor cooking gear, temporary tent shelters and other needed equipment to New Talavan, which will serve as a base for expanded prasadam distribution throughout the devastated Gulf Coast area.

Just before the storm hit, Krsna provided a state-of-the-art satellite Internet system for the farm. Who knew that it would have to serve as the sole communications link for an entire community, cut off from the rest of the world by this tragic disaster! Just see Krsna's hand and careful planning to protect His devotees in this miraculous occurrence.

To contribute to rebuilding New Talavan, please contact His Holiness Bir Krsna Gosvami. To contribute to, or volunteer for the Gulf Coast Food for Life project, please contact Priyavrata Prabhu. Thank you very much for your kind well wishes, generous donations and prayers.

your servant,

Dasanudas Vanacari

 

A Letter from GBC:

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krsna! Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Nrsimhadeva!

On Monday August 29 ISKCON New Talavan and ISKCON New Orleans were hit by Hurricane Katrina, a devastating Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 MPH. The eye of the storm came ashore near Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, and passed within 10 miles of New Talavan.


On Monday evening (after the hurricane passed) the New Orleans devotees reported that there was no wind damage at the New Orleans temple and residential building although all the trees in the area were down. There was no electricity or phone service. The devotees were all safe and the Deities were being served nicely.

However the next day two of the levees in the city broke and the city began to fill up with water. Most of the city of New Orleans is below sea level and at this time 80 percent of the city is under water. We have not heard from the devotees in New Orleans since the break in the levees. We are praying for their safety. The Mayor has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire city. It is most likely that the water has risen to at least 10 feet around the temple which means that the temple room and kitchen are under water and sustaining extensive damage.

By Krsna's grace and Lord Nrsimhadeva's mercy, everyone at New Talavan is OK. There were no casualties or injuries.

Here are the details about New Talavan: By dawn on Monday the winds were over 60 MPH. The hurricane peaked about 11 AM. There was a short lull and then the winds picked up again in the reverse direction. Many trees are down-up to 50% of trees in some wind-exposed areas. The roads are completely blocked, electricity and phones are down, even cell phones because the towers rely on electricity to function.

We had no significant damage to the Temple and kitchen. There was some slight damage to the men's ashram, temple office and sannyasi quarters. There was heavy wind and rain damage to the Gurukula building, and our workshop building was devastated. One devotee's trailer was destroyed by falling trees, and another devotee's cottage lost part of the roof. There may be other damage in remote parts of the farm that we have not yet seen. Extensive cleanup and repairs will be required before we are back to anything near normal status.

Krsna's cows are fine; as far as we know none were injured by falling trees. They were seen placidly grazing in 120 MPH winds! Cows are something else. We do have a lot of fence damage, however, and will have to manage our herds carefully to keep them on the property and out of danger until the fences are repaired.

We do not expect to have electricity for a few weeks. Roads everywhere are blocked by fallen trees until county bulldozers can get around to clearing them. So no one is going anywhere for awhile. Fortunately, we have plenty of food, gasoline and diesel fuel. Our water system has a propane-powered generator. As soon as we can clear some roads, we will have a diesel generator for the temple and kitchen. The devotee community is pulling together to repair the damage, and we expect that things will turn out well. We are thankful for Krsna's merciful protection.


We are requesting the world-wide community of devotees to assist in repairing the damages sustained at New Talavan/New Orleans. These two temples were established by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

We estimate that the cost of repairs in New Talavan and New Orleans will exceed $100,000. Of course they could be far more depending upon how damaged the New Orleans temple is. In addition the temples will be without any income for the next few months.

We have set up an account for donations to this most important cause. You can send your donations to:

Make Checks out to
ISKCON Disaster Relief Program

—send to—

 ISKCON-disaster relief program
PO Box 897
Hillsborough, NC 27278

Bank Wire Transfer:
ISKCON-Disaster Relief Program
Account#1000035163483
Suntrust Bank
Hillsborough, NC
USA
Bank Routing Number:
061000104

Swift Code: SNTRUS3A

Credit Card Web Payment
Go to: www.paypal.com
Send your donation to: bkgoswami@earthlink.net

Thank you,
Your servant,
Bir Krishna das Goswami

New Talavan surviving the hurricane

...New Talavan is a different situation. Although we have well water, LP cooking gas and some bhoga, supplies such as LP gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, dahl, rice, oats, cash etc. are running low and need to be rationed. There is no phone service, and the electricity will be out for at least two months. If we don't start our own massive cleanup operation, it may be weeks before the local government can clear the county roads. The devotees have already cleared the roads on the farm itself, but we are still cut off from the surrounding area.

Our need and request is to please contact FEMA administrators (601 960-9999) and the Red Cross (800 GET-HELP). Inform them about our community in NW Hancock County, north of Leetown at 31492 Anner Road, We are providing water and meals for locals and 23 devotees on the temple property. If they can supply us with LP gas, rice, oats, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, butter and sugar, gasoline and diesel fuel to run our generator, etc., we can supply meals to many people from the surrounding community...

During the hurricane

The temple building

The temple building

The temple building

A letter from Dasanudas Prabhu

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krsna! Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri Nrsimhadeva!

Yesterday New Talavan and New Orleans were hit by Hurricane Katrina, a devastating Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 MPH. The eye of the storm came ashore near Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, and passed within 10 miles of New Talavan.

By Krsna's grace and Lord Nrsimhadeva's mercy, everyone here at New Talavan is OK. There were no casualties or injuries. However, we have had no contact with New Orleans temple since the storm. The situation in New Orleans is critical: extensive wind damage and flooding, highways into the city are devastated, and many casualties. We advised the New Orleans devotees on Sunday to evacuate to the farm before the storm hit, but they could not be convinced to leave. We are very concerned about the devotees there.

Here are the details: the storm hit yesterday early morning. By dawn the winds were over 60 MPH. The hurricane peaked about 11 AM. There was a short lull and then the winds picked up again in the reverse direction. Many trees are down-up to 50% of trees in some wind-exposed areas. The roads are completely blocked, electricity and phones are down, even cell phones because the towers rely on electricity to function.

We had no significant damage to the Temple and kitchen. There was some slight damage to the men's ashram, temple office and sannyasi quarters. There was heavy wind and rain damage to the Gurukula building, and our workshop building was devastated. One devotee's trailer was destroyed by falling trees, and another devotee's cottage lost part of the roof. There may be other damage in remote parts of the farm that we have not yet seen. Extensive cleanup and repairs will be required before we are back to anything near normal status.

Krsna's cows are fine; as far as we know, only one was slightly injured by falling trees. They were seen placidly grazing in 120 MPH winds! Cows are something else. We do have a lot of fence damage, however, and will have to manage our herds carefully to keep them on the property and out of danger until the fences are repaired.

We do not expect to have electricity for a few weeks. Roads everywhere are blocked by fallen trees until county bulldozers can get around to clearing them. So no one is going anywhere for awhile. Fortunately, we have plenty of food, gasoline and diesel fuel. Our water system has a propane-powered generator. As soon as we can clear some roads, we will have a diesel generator for the temple and kitchen. The devotee community is pulling together to repair the damage, and we expect that things will turn out well. We are thankful for Krsna's merciful protection.

Our only means of communication is via our satellite internet system. All other means of communication and travel are presently down. We can't even get out of our driveway because of huge fallen trees! We will check our email daily and keep the devotional community up to date on our progress. Please especially pray for the well-being of the devotees trapped in New Orleans.

Now we know why Srila Prabhupada wanted self-sufficient farm communities. What happened in New Orleans can happen anywhere.

your servant,
Dasanudas Vanacari

After the hurricane

A tree fell on Rasaraja & Lajja's trailer

Uprooted trees everywhere

The workshop building is destroyed

Hurricane tore the roof from the school building

Uprooted cedar tree near the temple

A letter from Yogindra Vandana Prabhu

Perhaps when civil and governmental authorities find the New Orleans devotees, they will ship them to New Talavan or engage them in cooking and serving meals to the other storm refugees. If anyone reading this has the ability to communicate by phone, please inform the New Orleans emergency authorities that there are at least 15 Hare Krsna devotees, including the devotees hurt in the recent accident, in urgent need of evacuation at 2936 Esplanade Ave., and if possible they need to get to New Talavan in Carriere, Mississippi, where our community can care for them.

New Talavan is a different situation. Although we have well water, LP cooking gas and some bhoga, supplies such as LP gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, dahl, rice, oats, cash etc. are running low and need to be rationed. There is no phone service, and the electricity will be out for at least two months. If we don't start our own massive cleanup operation, it will be months before the local government can clear the county roads. The devotees have already cleared the roads on the farm itself, but we are still cut off from the surrounding area.

Our need and request is to please contact FEMA administrators (601 960-9999) and the Red Cross (800 GET-HELP). Inform them about our community in NW Hancock County, north of Leetown at 31492 Anner Road, We are providing water and meals for locals and 23 devotees on the temple property. If they can supply us with LP gas, rice, oats, beans, corn, canned tomatoes, butter and sugar, gasoline and diesel fuel to run our generator, etc., we can supply meals to many people from the surrounding community.

It is stunning and shocking to have your entire social system stripped down naked. There are some here who have lost their mental equilibrium, perhaps the greatest danger of such a disaster. All of our books distributors and Food for Life collectors worked the New Orleans tourist district, which is under water and will not reopen for months. We cannot even send or receive mail, which was another important source of income. All the banks and ATMs are closed and inoperative.

For the time being, our schedule revolves around the sun coming up and going down. We have altered our sadhana and Deity schedules to accommodate the lack of lighting and water. Mangal-arati will continue to be at 4:30 but we are offering only burfy and milk. Afterwards, the devotees just chant japa. At sunup around 7 AM, the devotees can bathe and dress the Deities. Then we cook and offer breakfast around 10 AM. Then again around 3 PM we can cook and offer about 6 PM, have arati, class and distribute prasadam. The daily temperatures are still in the 90s, so the devotees welcome and relish the cool mornings and evenings.

Please send us your prayers and let's not forget the two seriously injured boys in the ICU in El Paso. Lalita-pranesvara Prabhu is there alone caring for them. His cell phone number is 504 638-4874. Please call him, since we cannot, and inspire him to continue his difficult service.

Although we are down, we are far from out; so with your prayers and blessings we will be back stronger than ever. Hoping this finds y'all relishing the mercy of Guru and Gauranga,

your servant,
Yogindra Vandana das Adhikari