Granny Rapper : Prodigal Son

Double take: Granny rapper at home with Krishna

A HARE Krishna village seems a strange place to find a rapping granny, but Mandakini (Mandi) Dasi is no ordinary grandmother.

Mandi joined the Hare Krishna movement in 1973, after many years of searching for the meaning of life.

"I went through the whole plethora of spiritual communities," she said.

"I met the devotees and read the books of our spiritual master.

"It was other-worldly and yet it made so much sense.

"We have many things in common with Christian and other faiths."

Mandakini Dasi in the temple with the deities she cares for.
Mandakini Dasi in the temple with the deities she cares for. Yvonne Gardiner

Mandi talks to me in the peaceful gardens that are part of the Krishna Village, "New Govardhana", a 400-hectare property with orchards, organic vegie gardens, protected cows, horses, streams and swimming holes.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Warning, at Eungella, in the heart of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, the village is a place of retreat and the centre of a community.

Devotees have their own homes and jobs outside the village.

Mandi, aged 78, has a part-time job as an actor, with an agent in Brisbane.

She's also in a rap duo.

"I have a duo with my 59-year-old son called The Granny Rapper and the Prodigal Son," Mandi says.

"We have the most amazing hip hop costumes with bling.

"That's what I do in my spare time.

"For my occupation here at the Krishna community, I am something of an elder.

"We have deities of the Lord, according to shastra (spiritual teachings). The whole meaning of life is explained.

"This is why I chose this movement, so much knowledge of everything.

"We worship the Lord with offerings, incense, dancing and singing.

Madi performs as The Granny Rapper with her son, the Prodigal Son. (YouTube)
Madi performs as The Granny Rapper with her son, the Prodigal Son. (YouTube) YouTube

"I help organise the services. We dress the deities in beautiful clothes.

"I might do two or three services a week - I'm a floating fill-in person."

Krishna Village welcomes visitors, tour groups, and guests who stay in the cabins on site.

Bharat Devanani conducts farm tours around the village, showing visitors the temple, the organic farm, the school, and coaxing them to feed and groom the cows.

Many visitors take part in meditation and yoga retreats.

"A lot of people are interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle," Bharat says.

"I see a lot of women who feel that it's safe and family-friendly here."

Bharat Devanani grooms the resident bull at the Krishna Village.
Bharat Devanani grooms the resident bull at the Krishna Village. Yvonne Gardiner

The village has "zero tolerance" of smoking or drinking alcohol, and devotees are vegetarian.

The delicious food appealed to Bharat when he first encountered the Krishna movement.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been coined the "Kitchen Religion".

Apple founder Steve Jobs said: "I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple."

To visit the Krishna Village at 525 Tyalgum Rd, Eungella, book with Bharat by email devanani74@gmail.com, or call 0490 669 075.

To find out more, go to the website krishnavillage-retreat.com.


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