El Paso Community gathered in front room of Krishna Charan Dasa following El Paso’s first Ratha Yatra in October 2021. All Photos courtesy of Krishna Charan Dasa.
Krishna Conscious devotees have been visiting the border cities of El Paso and Juarez to evangelise at numerous yoga facilities for the reason that early Nineteen Seventies, however they now have a everlasting presence within the metropolis due to a flourishing house program run by a devoted grihastha couple Krishna Charan Dasa and his spouse, Jasmine Kim Fong. It’s known as the New Nilachal Bhakti Yoga Community, and it’s the temple house of Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra.
A Not-So-Chance Meeting
In 2010, Krishna Charan (then Alfredo Gutierrez) was launched to Krishna consciousness by a touring preacher who gave a category in El Paso. Gutierrez didn’t know a lot concerning the philosophy on the time however was within the non secular rules introduced within the Bhagavad Gita At It Is. However, he misplaced contact with the devotees, forgot their names, and even forgot what they seemed like. It appeared that there was no solution to reconnect with them once more.
It wasn’t till 2018 that his need to turn out to be a devotee turned to desperation. Still, no common packages or everlasting headquarters in El Paso existed. However, the Hare Krishna devotees visited commonly and hosted lodge packages on the Best Western Hotel and the Hawthorn Suites.
That was when he turned near Caitanya Chandra Prabhu of Dallas, Texas, who inspired him to begin a house program. “On April twenty first, 2019, with 5 folks in attendance, we hosted our first house program,” defined Krishna Charan. As he turned extra concerned in Krishna consciousness, he was decided to seek out out who gave that yoga studio class again in 2010. Fortunately, the devotees he was now in touch with knew who he was on the lookout for and the place to seek out him; it was Jivananda Dasa Vanacari, who lived in Tucson. “I traveled to Arizona to fulfill him and was initiated by His Grace in September 2020.”
Krishna Charan found that he had quite a bit to find out about Krishna consciousness. He didn’t know a lot about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the community of Krishna temples, or who Lord Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra had been. So, with the assistance of Chaitanya Chandra Prabhu, their Lordships got here to El Paso on October 20, 2019. “Their Lordships showered our program with a lot loving devotion that we made fast development, and the El Paso devotees began congregating commonly.”
“I’m very lucky as a result of I open my house to seekers of non secular knowledge and play a small half in Jagannatha’s mission. However, I owe all the things to the senior devotees enthusiastic about our El Paso neighborhood, together with Jivananda Dasa Vanacari, my non secular grasp, who encourages and conjures up us a lot, and the implausible devotees of ISKCON Tucson, who we go to commonly. Also, Chaitanya Chandra Prabhu who is predicated in Dallas, Texas, and is my non secular grasp’s godbrother – is a good inspiration. They care a lot about El Paso and go to us commonly all year long. Because of them, our packages and yearly festivals have been potential,” defined Krishna Charan Prabhu. “Then, what I least anticipated… Jagannatha’s need to have a Ratha Yatra Festival in El Paso.”
El Paso’s Festival of Chariots and different occasions
Over 100 devotees from Dallas, Tucson, Denver, Alachua, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio, Mexico, and lots of extra locations got here to place this competition collectively – an excellent effort requiring collaborative participation to perform such a feat. The small group of El Paso, averaging not less than 20 common folks each Sunday, welcomed all of the mercy and help it obtained via ISKCON devotees nationwide. “We positively wouldn’t have been capable of host the Ratha Yatra competition efficiently if it weren’t for the volunteers who got here to assist us from numerous ISKCON temples across the United States.”
Kesava Priya Prabhu, an Indradyumna Swami disciple who lives in El Paso, generously supplied lodging, journey, and meals to visiting devotees. “Because of his imaginative and prescient and dedication, he sponsored the Ratha Yatra competition in honor of his non secular grasp,” Krishna Charan famous. As a end result, El Paso’s Festival of Chariots attracted over 3,000 El Pasoans in 2021 and over 5,000 in 2022.
Furthermore, due to Kesave Priya, the El Paso devotees hosted a extra intimate competition known as ‘Fiesta del Alma’ (the Festival of the Soul) on Gaura Purnima 2022. They had been blessed to host Indradyumna Swami alongside 300 of his disciples, who got here for the occasion. “Maharaj hadn’t been to the United States for a very long time since COVID-19, and his presence was ever so candy and inspiring,” stated Krishna Charan. “There had been not less than 600 folks in attendance, and Nitai Gaura Chandra, deities of Lord Nitchananda and Lord Caitanya, got here to El Paso to make El Paso their everlasting house alongside Jagannatha, Balarama, and Subhadra.”
“We are praying that the devotees worldwide will proceed to bless our humble house program,” remarked Krishna Charan, “May our pebble-size contribution be pleasing to Guru and Gauranga, to Srila Prabhupada, and to all of the devotees around the globe. Hare Krishna!”
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