Yashodapura Eco Village (YEV) located at Chub Village, Chup Te Traw Commune, Siem Reap, one of the main projects of our NGO Development ISKCON Cambodia, organized a Go Puja (Cow Worship) on Thursday, 30 March 2017. The devotees attended the Go Puja from Hare Krishna center in Siem Reap along with HH RP Bhakti Raghava Swami Maharaja, by some of the villagers who have been involved in the project and also by some of our neighbors. Devotees started from Siem Reap at 9 am and arrived at the Chub village about 10.50 am, a 45 km distance from Siem Reap town. The devotees went by one tuk tuk and three motorbikes. After arriving at the Chub Village the devotees continued for another 3 km inside, and because the road is not suitable for tuk tuk, Maharaja and two other devotees Kumudaksa Prabhu and Bhakta Kadek travelled by bullock cart.
Bhakta Khia our Cambodian devotee, who recently visited Mayapur for 6 months, came with me to YEV earlier at 7 AM. With the help of Sister Teng, one of the family members on the land, Bhakta Khia cooked a sabjee (fried vegetable) and rice. We had also prepared some prasadam from the center in Siem Reap. We served bora (fried bean paste), banana cakes, and sweet green beans mixed with sweet potatos.
About 50-60 people came to the program, including some of the children. Before the Go Puja Maharaja gave a short class about the importance of cows and their connection with Cambodian Culture. Cows have many values for the human society because cows produce 5 famous products called panca gavya; milk, yogurt, ghee, cow dung and cow urine. These products are much needed for the people especially the farmers who use a lot of cow dung for farming and also cow urine. According to some research and the books from Ayurvedic medicine cow urine is a very good medicine for over 100 diseases in the body. Maharaja then mentioned how the bull is also very important for us, just like that day His Holiness came by bullock cart. Maharaja explained that bullock cart is a natural transportation that is most sustainable, and one does not require to spend money on petrol.
And then Maharaja continued to introduce the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra as the best formula for this age to control our mind and helping us to connect with the Supreme Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna and also Lord Buddha. Chanting Hare Krishna mantra can bring us to the level of pure loving devotional service to the Lord, and gradually we will attain the eternal spiritual happiness, which is far beyond the material temporary happiness. Maharaja led everybody to chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, introducing the mantra word by word, then line by line and finally the full mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Most of those attending knew the words “Hare Krishna”, because whenever they meet devotees or receive prasadam we always say “Hare Krishna”. After the lecture, Vishnurata Prabhu sang a short bhajan that was then followed by the Go Puja.
We offered Go Puja to the bulls that brought Maharaja to the farm. The owner of these bulls related a very interesting story of the past during the Cambodian Civil War. He stated that he and his family were saved because of these bulls. The Khmer Rouge soldiers at that time did not kill them because he with his bull helped them to bring rice to the military camp at the Thailand border. That’s why his family respects cows and bulls and they never take beef as the common people do.
While Maharaja performed the Go Puja, we chanted the Go Mantra, OM Sri Surabhyai Namah, followed by singing of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. We then asked everyone to offer jackfruit to the bulls. We cut the jackfruit into small pieces so that even the children could offer it to the bulls.
Everybody was happy with this wonderful ceremony that many of them have never seen before. But all of them know that the King of Cambodia also performs this ceremony for the bulls every year at the beginning of the farming season. It is called “Royal Plowing Ceremony”. After the Go Puja we continued with kirtan and showed our guests how to dance. Initially hesitant, some of the villagers finally joined the dancing with us. It is very amazing for them because usually people in Cambodia dance when they drink alcohol but this time they danced with the holly name of God. Bhakta Khia mentioned that this dancing is not an ordinary dance because this dancing is for the satisfaction of our eternal soul and the Supreme God Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.
At the end we distributed prasadam (sanctified food offered to the Lord), while Vishnurata Prabhu and his wife Induleka Mataji performed some Bhajans. People enjoyed their beautiful voice while eating their prasadam. We distributed prasadam on banana leaves from our land. Some of the guests also brought prasadam to their home for those who could not come. And then at the end we took a group photo although some were already gone but it was still very nice.
Before going back to Siem Reap, Maharaja and few other devotees rode on the bullock cart to see the entire dry land of YEV 35,8 hectares. We saw some of the agriculture land that had been cultivated by the villagers and their temporary cottages where they stay during the harvest season. On the way back we were discussing how to start developing our Raja Marga (two Main Roads; South-North and East-West) that will divide the land into four) and the Ring Road on the inside boundary, all according to the Master Plant and in keeping with Vastu.
Don’t forget to share this Yashodapur Newsletter with your relatives and friends, so that our Cambodian Yatra will receive more mercy from all the devotees and friends around the world.
Thank you very much,
Your servant at Yashodapur Eco Village,