Sri Radha Rani - The Supreme Goddess of Vrindavan
The divine Goddess blessed this
Earth by Her birth on the nuptial day
of Ashtami of Bhadrapad Shukla
Paksh. Sri Radha Rani marks the
existence of Sri Krishna, for she is
his soul. Sri Krishna (to whom the
trinity bows) himself bows to Sri
Radha’s feet where the trinity
resides. Shri Radha’s beauty, power
and aura create the ethics of love.
None of the scriptures consists of
the power to verbalize her beauty,
for it is clear enough that when
beauty of Sri Krishna makes several
hearts leave their boundaries, her
of comfort for our parents, it was a
source of shame for us. We thought the
Hare Krishnas were freaks, fake Indians
aping Indian ways. Not that we wanted
anything to do with real Indians, either.
We wanted to be home watching TV. We
would only grudgingly pile into the car for
the drive, then sulk as we snaked our way
up the Ohio River, through the small
towns of rural Appalachia, and into the

At the commune, we saw white women
wearing the very saris I begged my
mother not to wear to my school
functions. We saw Americans chanting
ecstatically in the same Sanskrit I
deliberately garbled and mumbled under
my breath during my family’s weekly
pujas at home. When my parents tried to
send my brother and me to summer camp
there, we refused. When they considered
renting a cabin by the commune’s lake,
we protested. Our classmates spent
summers inner tubing on the river. Why
couldn’t we do that? Why couldn’t we be
more like them?

My parents must have been both proud
and confused to see these white
Americans modeling themselves after
Indians — dressing in traditional Indian
clothing, adopting Indian customs and
religious practices — even as their own
children were flatly rejecting Indian
culture and desperately trying to assimilate.

This was long before we knew anything
about Swami Bhaktipada’s legal troubles.
By 1990, when he was indicted on federal
racketeering charges stemming from the
murders of two devotees, my family had
stopped going to New Vrindaban. The
South Asian population in our small town
had grown, so perhaps my parents felt
less of a need to find community
elsewhere. New Vrindaban was no longer
new and exciting. The sheen had worn
off. The place was falling into disrepair.

But a few months ago, my parents went
to New Vrindaban again for the first time
in many years. They went because my
cousin was visiting from India and she
wanted to see it. She is a Hare Krishna
devotee. That my cousin, who has lived
her whole life in India, belongs to a Hindu
movement that started in America is
amazing to me. That the Hare Krishna
temple in West Virginia was on her list of
sacred sites is even more so.

My mom said that the commune was now
approaching its former glory. The gardens
are once again tended, verdant. There
were no elephants, but she said she saw a
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Quiz No. 388 Results
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Answer to Quiz #388 - February 24, 2013
1. Where is this located?
2.  Who do the two figures represent?
3. Who founded the place?
Thanks to Dawn Colket for submitting the this quiz.
Comments from Our Readers
I don’t recall the exact search term I used, but it was something like ‘Dancing Statues
Pond,’ which allowed me to find a similar image on Google Images.  Coincidentally,
my brothers and I with our spouses and children were in Moundsville in October of
2009 to celebrate Steve’s daughter’s wedding celebration.  Had I known about the
Palace of Gold at the time, I would have definitely gone for a visit.  Even though we
missed out on the Palace of Gold, we did get to visit the old West Virginia
Penitentiary, supposedly haunted, which at the time was set up as the Dungeon of
Horrors—it was Halloween.
Daniel Jolley
It wasn’t easy for me to find the answer, but I finally entered pond with pagoda and
found a picture that led me to the Palace of Gold.  An interesting place, it would be
nice to see it.
Donna Jolley
The name of the pic was “dancers2”.  That was my first lead.  Googled pics of
dancer statues
  Timmy Fitzpatrick
John and I decided to go back and redo some of our searches on BING (instead of
GOOGLE) and the site popped up right away.... Do you find a difference between
Google and Bing?

Then I saw your email with the hidden clue in the subject line. I was happy to see that
even though it wasn't exactly where I guessed (PA, upstate new York), we were in
the general area. I wonder why it never popped on Google searches.
Marcelle Comeau
Congratulations to Our Winners!

John Pero                Donna Jolley
Daniel Jolley                Timothy Fitzpatrick
Marcelle Comeau
1. New Vrindaban, Moundsville, West Virginia
2. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu
3.  Kirtanananda Swami and Hayagriva Swami,
two early disciples of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
How John Solved the Puzzle
At first I had trouble coming up with the right combination to search
and was literally all over the world until I went back to a basic "two
women statues pond", found pic on a travel site and binged from
West Virginia's Palace of Gold
By Rahul Mehta
October 28, 2011
It was the Taj Mahal of Appalachia,
“Heaven on Earth” in “Almost Heaven
West Virginia,” a sprawling, opulent affair
with lush gardens, a beautiful temple, a
Palace of Gold, accommodations for
hundreds of devotees, statues of Radha
and Krishna, and even, at one point, an

New Vrindaban — named after a holy
town in India — was the largest Hare
Krishna commune in America, and was
opened to the public in 1979. It was led by
Swami Bhaktipada, one of the movements
earliest and most controversial American
disciples, who died Monday. And it was
less than two hours from the West
Virginia town where I grew up.

My family went there often in those first
years, ferrying carloads of Indian friends
and relatives who came to see us (and the
palace) from all around the United States.
Religious Celebrations
J. Gordon Melton
Nityanda Trayodasi is the appearance day
(or birthday) of Sri Nityananda Prabhu (b.c.
1474), the close associate of Chaitanya
Mahaprobhu (1486-1534), a 16th century
Bengalee saint revered for his effect in
reviving bhakti yoga in eastern India.  
Chaitanya is considered to have been a
reincarnation of Krishna. Nityananda was
such a close devotee of Chaitanya that he
has been seen as a reincarnation of
Balarama, Krishna's brother.
Nityananda was born in Ekacakra, a small village in what is now West
Bengal. His birthplace, where a temple has been constructed, remains
a popular pilgrimage site. As a child, he showed an unusual devotion
to deities, and at the age of 13, became a traveling companion of
sannyasin Lakshmipati Tirtha, which allowed him to meet a wide
circle of Krisha devotees. He met Chaitanya in 1506, their first
greeting transforming into an intense spiritual encounter. He later
became an instrument in the revival movement through Bengal and
Orissa that formed around Chaitanya.

Nityananda Trayodasi is celebrated during the waxing moon of the
Palace of Gold
My parents and their friends were part of the first wave of Indians to arrive in America
after the 1965 Immigration Act loosened restrictions on South Asians. This new
immigrant community, just putting down roots, had very few places to worship; there
were hardly any Hindu temples in America. For them, New Vrindaban provided an
opportunity to pray in a proper mandir instead of at a makeshift altar in someone’s

And it was also breathtakingly beautiful. Situated at the very top of a hill (which some
said resembled the foothills of the Himalayas), the palace was replete with stained-glass
windows, crystal chandeliers, marble floors and gold-leaf decorations. Even our family
members from India, who had all heard of the Palace of Gold, wanted to see it. For
many, a trip there was more than a sightseeing excursion: it was a kind of pilgrimage.

But not for me and my brother. We hated those trips. If New Vrindaban was a source
Hindu lunar month of Magha (January-February
on the common era calendar).  Members of the
International Society of Krisha Consciousness
will fast until noon on this day, and their temple
will be open for celebrants who wish to
acknowledge Nityananda. Temples rituals will
focus upon care of the statues of Chaitanya and
Nityananda, song in their praise, and talks on
their virtues.
Sri Radha and Sri Krishna
Mystical supremes
As for me, I no longer feel a distinction between being Indian and being American. I
travel to India frequently with my partner, Robert. We like to visit yoga ashrams in the
Himalayas and, while there, follow a rigid schedule of meditation and spiritual
instruction perhaps not so different from what the Hare Krishnas in New Vrindaban
might follow. Of all the activities, I find myself particularly drawn to chanting. In fact,
“Hare Krishna, Hare Ram” has become one of my favorites.

It makes me smile now to remember how miserable my brother and I were at New
Vrindaban. We might not have even gotten out of the car were it not for one thing: the
gold leaf that covered the palace. We’d heard it was real gold. So we would walk
around staring at the marble floors, hoping we’d glimpse a glimmer, a flake forgotten
somewhere in a corner, something precious we could secret into our pockets and take
back home. We weren’t so different from our parents, then, after all. What the temple
gave them wasn’t much, a day trip, now and then. But at a time when there was so
much about America to make them feel lonely and insignificant, New Vrindaban made
them feel rich.
New Vrindaban
New Vrindaban is an unincorporated town
and ISKCON (Hare Krishna) intentional
community located in Marshall County near
Moundsville, West Virginia. The town
consists of 1,204 acres (4.87 km2) (of
which 0.1 km2 is of water), and several
building complexes, homes, apartment
buildings, and businesses including the Sri
Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra Temple
(RVC Temple) and the Palace of Gold.
New Vrindaban was founded in 1968 by  
Kirtanananda Swami and Hayagriva Swami.
New Vrindaban is named after the Indian
city of Vrindavan. The religious organization, ISKCON New Mathura Vrindaban, was
expelled from ISKCON in 1988, but was readmitted 10 years later.

According to the 2010 US Census, the 6 census blocks that make up New Vrindaban
had a population of 352 and has the West Virginia status of unincorporated town. It is
bordered on the north and northwest by Big Wheeling Creek, on the East by Stull's
Run, and on the southwest by the village of Limestone. The town's water and sewage
utilities are provided by the New Vrindaban Public Service District and following the
Marshall County Commission's road naming project all streets in New Vrindaban have
been fully named. In addition to ISKCON, the town is the location of McCreary
Cemetery, resting place of West Virginia pioneer Lewis Wetzel, various locally owned
business, and other ISKCON affiliated organizations. The chief economy in New
Palace of Gold
Vrindaban are tourism, agriculture, and
cottage industries.

The religious organization, ISKCON New
Mathura Vrindaban, is the largest holder of
land in New Vrindaban with 38% of the land
in the town, agribusiness GEETA Inc. holds
14%, and all other organizations and
individuals own 48% of the land
encompassing New Vrindaban. In addition to
the previously mentioned organizations,
jewellery manufacturer Lone Ones Inc.,
organic commercial bakery World's Best
Cookie, Vaishnava Performing Arts Inc., and
New Vrindaban Boys Choir
Vedic Heritage Trust Inc. have facilities in New Vrindaban.

Originally intended in 1972 to be a residence for A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada (1896–1977), the Founder/Acharya of the International Society for Krishna
Consciousness (ISKCON), the plans evolved after Prabhupada's death in November
1977 for an ornate palace of marble, gold and carved teakwood, which was dedicated
as a memorial shrine on September 2, 1979. Kirtanananda Swami (the leader of the
New Vrindaban Community) and Bhagavatananda das (the community's principal
architect and sculptor) were the two primary forces behind its design and construction.

It reportedly cost $600,000 in materials, and the labor was donated by the devotees.
The unpaid workers were often untrained and learned on the job.

Kirtanananda explained, "In the beginning, we didn't even know how to lay blocks. As
our Krishna consciousness developed, our
building skills developed, then our
creativity developed, and the scope of the
project developed."

The Palace of Gold opened in 1979 to
positive reviews. CBS PM Magazine
reported, "the magnificence of the Palace
of Gold would be hard to exaggerate." Life
magazine called the Palace "a place where
tourists can come and be amazed." The
New York Times proclaimed "Welcome to
Heaven."  The Washington Post called the
New Vrindaban Orchestra
Palace "Almost Heaven." The Courier-Journal of Louisville stated, "It's hard to believe
that Prabhupada's Palace is in West Virginia. In fact, it's hard to believe it's on this

Since the early 1990s lack of sufficient financial resources has caused palace
maintenance to be neglected; nevertheless, 50,000 tourists and Hindu pilgrims
reportedly still visit each year.

As of mid 2011 an ambitious five-year, 4.27 million-dollar restoration effort has been
underway to restore and renew the Palace.
beauty is so mesmerizing that it makes Him loose consciousness.
Then it is practical that a thousand Kamas and Ratis are just soil
particles before her. Sri Radharani is sweeter than her beauty as she
reins the world of love. Hence, one who chants her name before and
along with Sri Krishna, for example- ‘Sri Radhakrishna’, is sure to
reach Sri Krishna’s source full Bhakti. Usually we are told that Sri
Radharani was a Gopi who was most dear to Lord Krishna’s heart,
but it is not true. In the world of Nikunj vrindavan, she is the empress
of the world of Nikunj where Gopis and Sakhis serve her selflessly.
Sri Radharani is the soul of Radhavallabh Sampradaya. The reason
and the inspiration of existence of Radhavallabh Sampradaya is the
transcendental love filled bond of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna. The
supreme existence of Sri Radharani is believed to be the soul of Sri
Krishna Himself. Sri Krishna, the trinity ruler, who himself is said to
be most handsome, charming and unbelievably brave, bows to Shri
Radha’s feet. This describes how magnificently exotic and pristine is
the supreme power of Sri Radha.