19-Madri-Witness to a Temple

In this episode with Madri devi dasi we hear…

  • How she went from using computers in the 1960s that work by turning handles and programming computers the size of football fields… to eventually writing the history of Sri Sri Radha Giridhari in Auckland
  • The advice that her daughters ignored which led her to Krishna Consciousness
  • What happened to the film footage of Srila Prabhupada in Auckland
  • How she researched and compiled all the information for the book
  • Why books like this are so important
  • Is Microsoft Word good enough to publish a book?
  • Can you publish a book if you can only type with two fingers?
  • How to “put elephants in matchboxes”
  • Her strategy for dealing with overwhelm with big projects.
  • How something she is “not good at” allowed her to being successful
  • How a children’s book inspired the title
  • Who is the witness?
  • Advice for someone who is thinking of writing a book interesting feedback from devotee’s who are present in the early days

Click play to listen to the episode

Links to the book:



What is covered in the book:

The Discovery of Sri Sri Radha Giridhari  in Jaipur.

Background on the different groups they were competing with each other in the early days

Srila Prabhupada’s three visits to Auckland

The early days at New Varshana farm community

Why it took so long for the new Temple to open

Sri Sri Radha Giridhari’s installation in their new temple

In her own words, this is how Madri describes the book…

“This is an Auckland ISKCON history in two parts. [ISKCON – International Society for Krishna Consciousness] The first section tells of the early growth of Krishna consciousness in Auckland and the three visits of Srila Prabhupada. [Srila Prabhupada is the Founder-Acarya of the movement] .In the second section we follow the pioneer devotees as they undergo hardships and austerities in developing a spiritual farming community at New Varshan in Riverhead, while at the same time building a glorious temple for their beloved Deities, Sri Sri Radha Giridhari. “Witness to a Temple” will bring back memories to the older devotees, and will serve as an inspiration to devotees who are new to Krishna consciousness. It is also seen as a very suitable book to distribute to families and friends, demonstrating the lifestyle, ideals and philosophy of Krishna conscious devotees.”

Review from Dharmatma Prabhu (Srila Prabhupada disciple)

Just finished this amazing book by Madri Devi Dasi. A real page turner!

In 1972 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada installed          the first Iskcon Deities in New Zealand, Sri Sri Giridhari, in a small house in Mt. Eden, Auckland, boldly predicting that “In New Zealand we shall very soon have our own temple”.

Madri mataji takes us through the amazing story of the advent of this temple. The struggles, disappointments and eventual triumphs of the young and inexperienced devotees in the quest to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s prediction is heart-warming, harrowing and truly inspiring.

Her attention to detail and many photographs bring to life the many wonderful personalities involved in this great endeavor.


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