Iskcon Loses 26 2nd Avenue

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By Yadunath das

Did you just experience the same sinking feeling in your heart upon reading this headline that I did upon writing it?

A few months back, I wrote you all asking for monthly financial support to help keep Prabhupada’s 1st western temple up, running and under ISKCON care. My reasoning was that this temple is of global concern and surely the worldwide ISKCON community has a stake in whether or not its bills can be paid.

I may have been wrong.

Since posting my plea (titled “Seeking Matchless Gifts”), only one devotee has stepped forward to make a monthly donation (I thank you again, prabhu). I know when I read a worthy solicitation like this I often think that many others will come save the day, so the small donation that I would be able to give will probably be rendered moot. Please know that that is not the case. And as for the above headline, it is not true.

Yet.

It’s a distinct possibility, though. Once again, I reach out to you—Prabhupada’s disciples, grand-disciples and followers—to save this historic place for the legions of future followers who will marvel at being able to actually visit the exact spot where Prabhupada started his movement; the “small storefront” that they read about in the Prabhupada-Lilamrita; the place where it all began.

A lot of people are talking about HH Mukunda Maharaja’s new book, Miracle on 2nd Avenue. Well, another miracle is needed now, 45 years later—one that preserves a big part of ISKCON’s heritage, and you can be a part of it. Our total expenses are under $2,000 a month. Won’t you please consider becoming a regular monthly sponsor to save 26 2nd Avenue?

Please contact me at yadunath@bhakticenter.org or go to krishnanyc.com/giving.html to create a secure subscription via PayPal. All donations are tax deductible.

Yours in the service of ISKCON,
Yadunath das
Treasurer, 26 2nd Avenue

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Comments • [comment feed]

1 ekendra das

Pranams.

I’m tempted to make a monthly donation but I notice that you only have PayPal subscriptions set up on your site for a minimum of US$31 a month. What if I want to only give $10? I wish you could made that easier for us.

Also do you have any goals and plans in place to turn this center into a financially self-sustainable entity or are you just hoping that you’ll get enough donations to keep it afloat on a long term basis?

I don’t know the specifics there so I can’t be more specific myself, but surely there is a way to generate funds, engage the devotees, and maintain the situation as other preaching centres do around the globe?

Your servant,
Ekendra das

Comment posted by ekendra das on November 1st, 2011
2 Akruranatha

I agree with Ekendra. I want to hear Yadunath’s answer. I understand that 26 2d Avenue is an important historical project, and I understand that devotees can and should make creative use of internet fundraising for the various projects they are involved in.

Still, this article for me had an opposite effect from what was intended. The threat of a closing of the historic temple raised questions rather than spurred me to reach for my checkbook.

I want to know more about the temple finances there before being “guilt tripped” into donating. We always give a donation when we visit, but those of us who do not live in New York have our own local projects as well as other international projects to support.

Does ISKCON own the building at 26 2d Avenue, or is it renting?

I know there are many wonderful devotees there, like Yajna Purusa, and Radha Vallabha. I recently read a great “Wall Street Journal” (I think) article about Rasanath Das, who gave up a lucrative banking career to serve full time at 26 2d Avenue, and who still is in demand as a lecturer in the banking industry promoting spiritual values. I hear through the grapevine that there is a crew of brahmacaris there, and that Ramesvara visits regularly.

So the article makes me want to hear from Yadunatha, explaining what particular problems are being faced by the 26 2d Avenue project that requires this kind of worldwide appeal for contributions. Is there some unique challenge that makes 26 2d Avenue harder to maintain than other temples? Has there been some mistakes in how the temple is being managed?

These are tough times for many temples, but they still manage to get out on harinama and book distribution and keep the doors open.

If the overhead is a mere $2,000 per month, it seems odd that a temple in Manhattan with such a large population at its doorstep — in the number one U.S. city — cannot raise that money locally. What is going on there? Isn’t there a better way to fix the problem in the long run than to appeal for support from elsewhere?

Comment posted by Akruranatha on November 4th, 2011
3 Unregistered

Hare Krishna, Ekendra and Akruranatha prabhus.

Thank you for your posts and inquiries. I apologize for my tardy response. Unfortunately, I am told by our web master that PayPal will not allow us to add “other” to the list of possible donations (without a fee, that is- it might be worth it though; time will tell). In lieu of that, one could click on “one time donation” each month. Or, to have it done automatically so as not to worry about it each month, one could authorize his or her bank to issue a monthly automated check payment, electronic fund transfer or one could simply write a check each month and mail it themselves. Devotees interested in any of these options can write me at yadunath@bhakticenter.org.

Our long term vision for 26 2nd Avenue is to turn it into a proper museum honoring Srila Prabhupada and what he accomplished around the world. We have in mind to return the space to what it originally looked like when Srila Prabhupada was there and to house significant photos, articles and items of relevance. At present we are still renting the space.

Although 2nd Avenue is still being utilized, the space is too small for the Manhattan community at this point. The bulk of the programs happening are at the Bhakti Center, a cultural center meeting with promising success in terms of outreach as well as catering to the needs of the devotees. While some local devotees are supporting 2nd Avenue specifically, financial needs in New York run across not only 2nd Avenue and the Bhakti Center, but also the local bramacari ashram (14 bramacaris), the Brooklyn temple, a temple in Queens and two temples in nearby New Jersey (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens are 3 of the 5 boroughs that comprise New York City).

We wouldn’t ask for financial support to fund any of the many local New York temples. We feel however, that Matchless Gifts is of worldwide concern.

Your servant,
Yadunath das

Comment posted by yadunathdas on November 5th, 2011

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