A Short History of Prabhupada Village
In April, 1992, a small group of devotees left Spanish Fork, Utah to start a new Hare Krishna community. Madhuha prabhu, the founder of the Prabhupada Village project spent many weeks scouting out a suitable location. And with the financial help of his father secured the property now known as Prabhupada Village.
The first devotees to move to the new property had a vision, one that Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,wanted fulfilled. That vision was for his devotees to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle and to develop varnasrama, where members of society would work according to their natural propensities and serve Krishna or God. Srila Prabhupada also desired that there would be schools in these country communities where the children could be raised and taught in a natural, healthy setting, one that was away from the passions of city life and in one that would easily foster their Krishna consciousness.
The acreage was beautiful. The hills were lush and green, the trees vast and varied. It was very rural: no street lights, no sidewalks, a gravel road with very little traffic, and neighbors’ farm animals speckled on the scenic hills. Snow Creek wound its way through the property and one building – an old horse barn – protruded out of the landscape. This barn was part of the previous Circle M Ranch where decaying fences told of the existence of past horse shows.
Although the barn was very large, there was only one small living space. Families, along with a few more devotees who had come to help, more-or-less camped out, upstairs in the barn, in the Festival of India bus – wherever there was “habitable” space. Construction began and a lot of work had to be done to make the place more livable. It was a time for working hard together as well as a time for developing patience and tolerance. Although there were less than ideal living conditions , everyone continued to chant Hare Krishna and tolerate the situation knowing that eventually things would shape up.
The children’s schooling continued too, amidst the pounding of hammers and cooks trying to manage on an old stove where only two burners worked. There were only 2 children to begin with – Haridas and Jagannath – and there was no money for books - they had only hand-written curriculum. The children were happy and carefree; they could run around in Mother Nature’s playground to their hearts’ content.
Families gradually heard of the new devotional community and its school and began to move to Sandy Ridge. Devotees purchased property from Madhuha and built their homes. From afar one could see these new dwellings dotting the horizon here and there. Eventually the roads in the community were named Prabhupada Rd., Krishna Rd., Rama Rd. and Seeta Dr. and all were placed on the county maps and the village was named ‘Prabhupada Village’.
Everyone helped build the houses and each home was different. One house was built from straw bales, another from cob, and some more conventional, but each had its own “flavor” and most were built with passive solar and heating supplied by wood stoves. In 1993, the Bhaktivedanta Archives moved to the village and little-by-little, the school grew from two children to almost 20. Devotees moved from all over the globe.
At that time morning programs, Sunday feasts and festivals were held in the main living quarters of the barn and later moved to Rucira and Adi Karta’s large home. There the gurukula children put on many dramas and puppet shows in celebration of the different holy days. They went on preaching engagements, helped distribute prasadam (spiritual food) at the weekly dinner program, grew their own gardens, learned bhajans (devotional prayers) and learned to play musical instruments. They studied from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is as well as other Vaisnava literature and engaged in their academic studies.
In 1997, the devotees were asked to take part in the county’s annual gathering, the “Stokes Stomp”, and along with having kirtan in the parade they cooked and sold their now famous pakoras (vegetable fritters) and tomato chutney. There also have been other outreach programs through the years and devotees continue to take part in educational classes in schools and colleges as well as local events and meetings. Bhakti-vriksa groups have sprung up. The Sunday dinner program continues on. And the community has been featured in many newspaper articles, magazines and has been on various television programs.
A major focal point in the community has been the temple and although not yet completely finished, it remains an attractive feature for visitors. Plans were drawn up by Vatsal and ground was broken in 1998; construction soon followed. The temple’s structure was built with polysteel blocks which were so lightweight that even the children were able to help; they worked with them like legos! Practically all of the work to date has been volunteered. Landscaping is underway, and the gardens produce beautiful and fragrant flowers that are offered to Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda in the temple.
In 2005, the temple was opened and the devotees began to hold regular morning programs and Sunday feasts there. Along with regular festivals, different events have taken place there like Hare Krishna Festivals, sustainability festivals and even George Fests! In 2009, the Temple of the Holy Name became an official affiliate of ISKCON, (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and in 2015 offically became a full fledged member of ISKCON.
The most recent progressive development, one that devotees have been hoping and planning for since the early days of the community, was the installation of beautiful deities of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda, appropriately named "Parama-karuna Nitai-Gaurasundar", meaning that these two Lords are extremely merciful and full of spiritual beauty.
All the residents of Prabhupada Village hope to see continued progress of a sustainable community as we mature in a cooperative spirit.
And finally, there is one devotee we are all indebted to. That is Madhuha prabhu, who has been the driving force, inspiration, and an example of selfless service to Srila Prabhupada. Without his many contributions and personal sacrifice, there would be no "Prabhupada Village". Someone would be grazing cattle or growing tobacco on this land instead.