Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 11 October 2009.Phone: 601-749-9460
DescriptionThe rural farm called New Talavan is located in Carrier, MS about 65 miles northeast of New Orleans. This small community cares for cows on over 1,300 acres of land. New Talavan is comprised of the temple complex, a school, an office building, a covered picnic area and several other small buildings. Most of the devotees live within a mile of the temple, enabling them to attend the services to the deities as their schedules permit throughout each day. The farm serves as a refuge for cows, especially those which would otherwise sent for slaughter. The temple has produced wheat, fruit, vegetables and milk, frequently supplying these to the Radha Krishna Temple in New Orleans.
Activities and ScheduleThe early morning service starts at 4:30 a.m.; others take place at 7 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. In past years the temple has supplied vegetables for their own feasts and for those hosted at the Radha Krishna Temple in New Orleans. Special services are held on important days, such as the birthday of the Vaishnava saint Lord Caitanya, which fell on tuesday, March 14, 2006. A sunday feast is held at noon each week. The temple distributes an electronic newsletter once a week.
Katrina UpdateUnlike the New Orleans temple, New Talavan is not vulnerable to flooding or exposure to hurricane-force tidal surges. Nevertheless, Hurricane Katrina felled many trees on the property, and several cows died in the storm. The deities were not removed from the temple, and a generator insured that they could be attended to according to the normal temple routine.
A Typical ServiceDevotees often bring an offering of fruit to the temple, which they enter after removing their shoes. After making a full prostration, they join the male or female section and start singing devotional songs ("kirtan"), an often boisterous concatenation of chanting to the rhythm of a large drum. The temple sanctuary is scented with incense as a priest performs an offering with a tray small flames flickering from wicks in oil. With bells ringing the priests rotates the tray of candles ("arati") before the brightly clothed deities, the central figures in the temple hall. ISCKON temples will invariably have several sets of images at front, including the flute-player Krishna with Radha, his consort. The tray of candles is carried through the congregation where devotees wave their hands through the flames and bless their eyes and heads with a purificatory gesture. The priest then makes food offering to the deities, followed by fanning them with a brilliant peacock feather fan. Simultaneously, an assistant sprinkles the congregation with water and rose petals are distributed. The gift of the food items brought by devotees is the last of the offerings, dedicated solely to Krishna. Devotees are active participants in all this as they respond exuberantly with chanting, clapping and dancing. After the leader and congregation repeat ritual exchanges, all line up to receive a blessing with a heavy bowl. As people bow their heads with eyes closed and palms pressed together, the priest places the bowl on the crown of their heads. They proceed to take a rose petal and touch it to their foreheads. The priest then delivers a discourse on a devotional topic. This may include video footage of a significant ritual, such as a consecration. Then, leaving the temple hall with a full prostration, devotees take part in a communal feast, partaking of the food which has first been offered to the Lord in the ritual. This vegetarian banquet is known as "prasad" and it constitutes an important part of all Hindu temple worship.
HistoryThe temple was founded at the suggestion of ISKCON's founder, His Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In 1974 devotees from the New Orleans temple would travel to the farm to grow vegetables. In time some decided to live at the farm, and it soon became a shelter for cows which might otherwise have faced slaughter. Devotees note with some pride that the temple received its name from Swami Prabhupada himself in 1976.
Prepared by Tim Cahill and Liz McCollum.