Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Inside the Brahmachari Ashram Experience at ISKCON New Raman Reti
By Kulavati Krishnapriya Devi Dasi, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Jul 05, 2024
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Some of the brahmacharis serving in the kitchen with New Raman Reti community members.

In response to increasing interest in Krishna consciousness and the challenges of accommodating newcomers, ISKCON’s New Raman Reti Temple in Alachua has established a dedicated residential program for men. The new eight-bedroom facility offers structured guidance, education, and a nurturing environment for spiritual growth. 

Temple President Mukhya Devi Dasi said, “For years, we fielded calls from people who wanted to learn about Krishna consciousness by living at the temple and following the spiritual program. We would try taking new people and giving them a place in our men’s ashram, but practically every time, the effort failed. New people need a lot of guidance, education, and encouragement, a dedicated program just for them. We didn’t have that and realized we couldn’t be effective without it.”

However, with the onset of the pandemic, the volume of inquiries surged, prompting Mukhya Devi Dasi to explore the possibility of establishing a dedicated facility and finding devotees who could dedicate themselves to the program. Pran Govinda Das, a longtime member of the Alachua devotee community and a sannyasa candidate, stepped forward to lead this initiative. 

Mukhya Devi Dasi said, “We contracted with a builder to construct an eight-bedroom house with a nice kitchen and front room for holding classes. Set at the back of our property between a forested area and open fields, it is a sublime setting perfect for sadhana and study.”

Images of the new Alachua Bhakta Ashram.

She continued, “We opened the doors, and Krishna sent the bhaktas. We have hosted many nice devotees since then. Some are still here, and some have returned to their jobs with a grounding in Krishna Consciousness that will take them through their lives. One has been initiated, and some are aspiring for initiation.”

Regular activities in the ashram include a morning program and participation in weekly and occasional events. The program’s personalized approach enables each participant to progress at their own pace within a supportive and transformative environment.

Bhakta Jacob, one of the ashram residents, shared, “The Alachua Bhakta Ashram is perfect for developing bhakti for Krishna. My devotion grows each day under the guidance of Pran Govinda Das. We are stationed at a peaceful farm location with 127 acres of land and cows, so we can meditate on Krishna without many distractions from city life, and it uplifts our consciousness.”

He continued, “Staying a month at the ashram was an amazing experience. The devotees here are loving and kind-hearted. Even though we have a strict schedule of rising early in the day, taking a cold shower, and doing Mangal Arati at 4:30 a.m., it’s all worth it for service to Radha Krishna and getting the spiritual energies emanating from Him.”

Scenes of Brahmacharis offering service to the larger community; standing on porch of new Ashram.

Bhakta Bodi Wartenberg spoke of the different sevas (services) that ashram residents participate in,  “They are all enjoyable, from doing the dishes in the kitchen to working on the eco-farm. This Ashram experience has humbled me, and I will bring these lessons into everyday life. I have learned that we are not the enjoyers; Krishna is the enjoyer. Serving God and His devotees will bring transcendental pleasures and purify one’s existence. A huge thanks to all the devotees here at ISKCON Alachua, to Srila Prabhupada, and Bhagavān Sri Krishna Himself.”

To apply for the Ashram Experience, you can request the application form via email or contact the Temple office at 386-462-2017. The program is available as a 3-month, 6-month, or one-year experience.

To learn more about the ashram experience at New Raman Reti, click here. To follow the ongoing service at New Raman Reiti Temple, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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