Lots of good news this week: the temple will be implementing Phase 2
of the gradual reopening plan, allowing a socially-distanced number
of 44* devotees, including pujaris, residents and visitors, to come
for Mangal Arati and Japa (to be chanted outdoors), Greeting
of the Deities and Guru Puja (you’ll need to sign up in
advance to reserve a spot during that popular time), and the morning Bhagavatam
Class. You can continue to sign up to lead a kirtan with
family members during one of the daily aratis. Sunday Darshan
will continue as it has been, from 4:15-6:30 PM, with the addition of
more people allowed to participate in the kirtan, socially
distanced, for a few minutes each.
*There are now
44 marked "X" spots on the temple room floor, spaced 6′
apart. Nine spots will be reserved for temple residents, pujaris,
kirtan leaders and their family members, and 35 for community members
to sign up for in advance on a day-to-day basis using an online form,
for the busy time slot of Greeting of the Deities and Guru Puja. At
other, less busy times, devotees can come and fill in the gaps, standing
on the marked squares, first-come first served. Wearing of face masks
and staying 6′ apart will continue to be required, with some
exceptions. See details below.
From the Temple President
PHASE 2 OF THE
TEMPLE REOPENING BEGINS!
We will reopen
for mangal arati starting Wednesday, June 10. The temple
room is marked off at 6’ intervals; we will ask everyone attending to
pick a marked spot and stay on it. Wear your mask during arati,
especially during the kirtan. We will still hold off on
passing around the ghee lamp, the offered flower and the maha
water. After arati, for the Nrisimha prayers, sit on your
designated spot or on the bench, keeping 6’ apart from others.
You can chant japa
outside after mangalarati; we are holding off from
letting devotees in the temple room to chant japa at this
Greeting of the Deities and Guru Puja
If you would
like to attend Greeting of the Deities and Guru Puja please sign up
below. List how many from your family will be coming. We
have 35 spots available per day, and this option will close (for that
particular day) once we have reached that number.
REMEMBER WE ARE
ASKING EVERYONE TO OFFER THEIR OBEISANCES STANDING UP NOW.
We are also open
for class now. You can take a seat on a designated spot, or on
the benches 6’ apart from each other. Once class is
under way, after the Jaya Radha Madhava prayers and any communal
call-and-response chanting of the verse is over, you can temporarily
remove your mask, but maintain social distancing!
Sign up to Lead Kirtan
You can still
come over to see the deities during other arati times by
signing up to lead a kirtan below.
You may come
for darshan between 4:15 pm – 6:30 pm on Sundays,
entering the temple room on the ladies’ side door nearest Srila
Prabhupada. Please offer your obeisancesstanding,
not bowing down on the floor. Follow the route delineated with
marked yellow tape and arrows.
The attendant at
the door will allow up to three persons at a time to enter for darshan. You
may stay in the kirtan for a few minutes on one of the
designated spots on the floor. After a few minutes, the attendant at
the exit door will ask you to leave so the next group can come in.
Prasad To-Go: You can pick up
a to-go box of Krishna prasad at the front gate on
your way out: roll down your back window or pop your trunk and the
devotee will put the number of prasad boxes you
request into your car (one per person please).
AT THIS STAGE WE
ARE ASKING EVERYONE TO PAY THEIR OBEISANCES STANDING UP. AS MORE
PEOPLE ENTER THE TEMPLE ROOM, OFFERING DANDAVATS AND BOWING HEADS AND
NOSES TO THE FLOOR WOULD INCREASE THE CHANCES OF CONTAMINATION.
Govinda’s Gifts Now Open on Sundays
is now open on Sundays from 4 pm – 6:30 pm.
Please be wearing
your mask when you come in.
allowed inside at a time. Please no hanging out or socializing
inside the gift shop. THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR
If there’s something
you want that you don’t see, just ask and we will try to get it
MASKS FOR SALE: 100% cotton,
adjustable, breathable, comfortable, reusable and washable $3;
the disposable, single-use masks are $1. EKADASI HING is also in
If you would
like to get temple lunch prasad, come to the front
entrance at 12:30 pm and our guard will place the prasad to-go
meal box into your car. Donations accepted.
basic rules remain in place.
HAND WASHING: Before
coming to the temple, wash your hands with soap and water (for
example, at the outdoor plate-washing sink next to the kitchen.) On
entering the temple room, use hand sanitizer.
PROTOCOL: Your mask protects me, my mask protects
you. We are a community that cares about each other. Everyone
coming to the temple must bring and wear a face mask; If you are
walking alone on the property, working in the garden alone, doing
service outside of the temple room alone where no one else is around,
you do not have to wear the mask. However, keep it on and practice
social distancing whenever you are near, or talking with, other
devotees. Do not lower or remove your mask when speaking with
other devotees. The whole point of wearing the mask is to
minimize the chances of contaminating each other with aerosolized
micro-droplets of our bodily fluids while speaking, singing, coughing
or sneezing in close proximity to others.
MUST be washed with soap and water each day. Remove your mask by
the elastic ear bands (not the front of the mask). Disposable
masks should NOT be washed and reused (washing weakens the fabric and
they become useless).
Wearing masks is
mandatory in Alachua County. If you do not have a face mask, cotton masks are now
available for sale in Govinda’s Gift Shop on Sundays, 4:00 pm – 6:30
pm for $3 (reusable) and $1 (single-use). Children over 2
years old should also wear a mask. This is not optional.
DISTANCING: While staying 6 feet apart isn’t a magic
number, it will reduce the amount of body fluids that escape in a
sneeze or while talking from reaching you. Maintain this
distance when you are near others at the temple.
virus will be with us for many months to come. This is simply a
medical fact. Some amount of spread and infection is inevitable. The
symptoms from this active disease range from making you feel very
uncomfortable to extremely sick to a possible loss of life.
UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS: You must assess your personal risk and
your state of health. We are urging everyone who is vulnerable to
this disease to continue sheltering at home, such as senior
citizens with underlying health conditions, including but
not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure or auto immune diseases.
You can continue to watch the temple programs online at our YouTube
channel as you have been, to greatly lower your risk of infection.
IF YOU ARE
FEELING SICK, STAY HOME: If you, or anyone in your household, is currently, or
has recently been sick with a cough, cold, ‘flu or fever, please stay
home. Do not come to the temple and risk infecting others.
HIGH-RISK AREAS? SELF-QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS AT HOME: If you, or any
members of your immediate household, have recently returned from
locations with high concentrations of community spread of COVID-19
such as large metropolitan areas, airports, New York, New Jersey, New
Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, the Miami area, overseas countries
such as Brazil, and continents such as Europe or Asia, stay at home
for 14 days and do not come to the temple during this time.
CHECK: When coming to the temple, stop at the front gate to
let our guards know why you are entering. They may ask you questions
about your health, whether you have been traveling out of state, and
may ask for your email address and phone number for contact tracing
purposes. From 9 am – 2 pm, Radheshyam Pokhrel will
be out front. At 2 pm, Vishnu Das will come on,
and Gadagraja will continue from 6 pm until the
last pujaris leave for the night.
We want to have more devotees
trained to monitor activities at the temple so that we can feel
secure and follow "the new normal" as it develops. If you
are interested in doing security guard service especially on
weekends, please contact Mukhya D.D. or Tamohara D. via the contact
information a the bottom of this newsletter.
A VERY BIG
THANK-YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTINUES TO TITHE AND SUPPORT THE
TEMPLE. It is incredibly heartening to see how much our
devotees love and appreciate this temple even when they cannot
come here in person.
PS: Calling all community
announcements! If anyone has any milestones to share please let our
community know, so we can honor you and your loved ones. Send
announcements along with a photo, if possible, to our contact email
1) When you drive in, stop at the
Guard Desk. You will be asked a series of questions, such as "Do
you have a cough, cold, fever, or shortness of breath?" You will
also be requested to give us your name and telephone number for
contact tracing purposes (in case anyone later finds out to be
COVID-19 positive we can immediately contact those who attended that
day’s functions so they can get tested.)
2) It is imperative
that you wear a mask when coming to the temple; please bring your
own. (See protocol above for wearing them.)
distancing needs to be maintained. We have put yellow tape markers on
the floor outside the temple room for visitors to stand 6 feet apart,
where we request you to wait in line until the next space becomes
available. Please follow this strictly.
4) You will be
required to use hand sanitizer provided by the greeter before
entering the temple room.
5) There is a yellow tape mark in
front of each altar marking the spot where we request you to offer
standing obeisances. We have now added additional yellow tape X
markers spaced 6′ apart on the temple room floor for more visitors to
stand and participate in the kirtan for a few minutes. Please
limit your time in the temple room for the benefit of other visitors.
If there is no crowd you may stay longer.
THE 4 SAFETY PROTOCOLS:
Wear a mask whenever
you go out and will be among other people.
Keep at least a 6′
distance between yourself and others.
Wash your hands
frequently throughout the day.
Assess your own
health, stay home if you don’t feel well, and keep your immune
Black Lives Matter – Feeling the Pain
dasa, ISKCON Towaco, North American Communications Ministry
Someone posted the following
question on Facebook:
"Why should we, as devotees,
get into this whole debate to begin with? Isn’t it just another
promotion and aggravation of the illusory bodily consciousness? Isn’t
it veering away from our basic philosophy where the very first lesson
is ‘You’re not this body’?"
Here’s what I wrote in reply:
Our existence in this world is
compared numerous times in the Bhagavatam to a dream. Now
within the nightmare, knowing fully well that it is nothing but
phantasmagoria, I feel that we should learn to feel the pain of the
suffering person, to feel the full effect of the particular nightmare
that they are going through.
This is a very
specific flavor of compassion known in Sanskrit as anukampa.
You know, from the famous verse tat te anukampam… Kampa
means tremble, and anu means following. This is a form of
compassion wherein we align our feelings so closely to the person we
are trying to be compassionate to, that we too tremble along with
them – a form of resonance that happens when two strings are tuned to
the same frequency. From this platform, when we give solace, love and
some knowledge through our tears, that compassion pierces the
misgivings of the heart of the recipient. This is the key difference
between sympathy and empathy. In sympathy we understand the other’s
pain, in empathy we FEEL the other’s pain.
The more we
advance in spiritual life we are expected to become para dukha
dukhi… to FEEL the distress of others, not merely UNDERSTAND
their pain. So at least let us make an attempt to first UNDERSTAND
the pain of others (illusory though it may be). The nightmare is very
real, albeit just a nightmare. Let us learn to resonate. Let us make
some attempt to understand each others’ nightmares. Let us at least
get on the same page on the level of the heart.
And here’s a
very moving, informative discussion on this topic on TheLate
Morning Program with Namarasa, featuring guests Vraja-lila Devi
Dasi, Ekavira Das, Jaya Jagannatha Das, and our very own Alachua
youth, Kishor Gopal Das, who pours his heart out in this episode.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRlnKQsUHiw
Online Youth Retreat: Seeking Eternal Shelter
The Sanga Initiative (TSI) will be
offering a 3-day online retreat for youth and young adultsthemed Seeking
Eternal Shelter, July 17-19, 2020, including seminars, sangas,
and enlightening discussions with various guest speakers.
description from their website: "In the midst of all the
personal and collective suffering being experienced throughout the
world right now, there is only one permanent source of refuge:
Krishna. His unlimited mercy is something that is always available to
us if we have put on the correct lens to see it. As we aspire to
become better devotees through experience, we must follow the
examples of those that have experienced the most unbreakable shelter
in the most trying of circumstances. How can we understand their
moods of service? How do we remain unhindered while the reality of
suffering surrounds us at every moment? How do we seek shelter and
gain strength from the greatest of devotees? Join us for our 3-day
online retreat where we will have seminars, sangas, and enlightening
discussions with our amazing guest speakers! Explore how to seek the
eternal shelter (at home, of course) of our acharyas and their
Because of social distancing
requirements, there’s a chance that some of the voting in Florida’s
August primary, and the November general elections may be done by
mail. (Some, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing
health conditions, may prefer to vote from the safety of their
homes.) Click on the infographic below to go to the website where you
can sign up to vote by mail.
Things to do…
We’ve moved our expanding list of
ideas for activities to do while social distancing to the temple
website. New additions this week, the TSI youth retreat, and
information on a series of study guides with curriculum for parents
to teach the Bhagavatam to their children, developed by
Aruddha Devi Dasi. Click here…
Class Schedule & Vaishnava
of June 9, 2020
9 – Chaturatma Das – SB 1.7.5
10 – Phani Bhushan Das – SB 1.7.6
11 – Pushkar Das – SB 1.7.7
12 – Ekadasi Vrata Devi Dasi – SB 1.7.8
13 – Pran Govinda Das – CC Mad. 17.150-156
14 – Karnapur Das morning class | Tamohar Das SF lecture
15 – Narayani Devi Dasi – SB 1.7.9
16 – Nagaraj Das – SB 1.7.10
Morning class times are 8:00 a.m. EST unless otherwise
noted. The Sunday afternoon lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. Tune in live
to our ISKCON Alachua Temple YouTube channel,
or watch recordings of previous classes. You’ll also find past
Alachua temple classes in our lecture archive.