The Monks of the Manor

The Monks of the Manor

By Ananta Gopal Das | Head Pujari (Priest) at Bhaktivedanta Manor

Bhaktivedanta Manor, a Hare Krishna temple, is very much known for hosting big festivals that attract hundreds and thousands of people who take part in the celebrations and worship of the presiding deities, Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda.

Although the Manor is very famous for the festivals, not all are aware that many sadhus (holy people) reside in the temple.

On the first floor of the temple building, under the direct shelter of Radha Gokulananda, thirty monks live and perform daily services.

Some of those monks are young and energetic who moved in a couple of months ago, and some are in their sixties, having stayed at the temple for more than thirty years.

Monks are on a strict regime throughout the day. They wake up before 4am, and for the first 4.5 hours, they focus on mantra meditation, deity worship, singing devotional songs and hearing and reciting scriptures.

Around 10 am, after breakfast, the monks will start carrying out services that are allocated to them by their service authorities. Some of the monks are going out for preaching and the distribution of knowledge, whilst others stay at the temple to perform deity worship and maintenance of the temple.

According to their nature and skills, monks are engaged accordingly to ensure that they are satisfied and able to offer the best possible service to the temple and community.

At 7 pm, the majority of the monks will finish up with their services and again take up sadhana (spiritual practice). Some monks prefer to take part in the evening temple class and devotional singing, whilst others prefer to immerse themselves in private study of scriptures in the ashram.

In this way monks are engaged throughout the day in sadhana and service, keeping their minds always focused on their beloved Lords Sri Radha Gokulananda.

It is the association with saintly devotees that makes the holy place special, and pilgrimage to the temple complete.

Srila Prabhupada would often say that we should not simply go to the Holy Dham (Holy Place) to take bath in the holy rivers, but our aim should be to hear from the sadhus.

Krishna is controlled by his pure devotees. Only by the blessings of the devotees can we get mercy from Krishna, and only by the mercy of Krishna are we able to associate with devotees.

I bow down again and again to the lotus feet of those devotees who have dedicated their whole lives to serving the Divine Couple.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 9.4.68 – “The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.”