New ISKCON Property Purchased in California

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By Akruranath Das

ISKCON of Silicon Valley has recently purchased a property in Mountain View, California, which will serve as the new home of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Sri Radha-Madana Mohan, and Sri Sri Laksmi-Nrsimhadeva, and as the principal meeting place and base of operations for the ISV community.

ISV has pioneered congregational book distribution and is rated among the top temples in North America. With no full time distributers, ISV’s book scores remain high due to the sincerity of householders (weekend warriors). ISV has an enthusiastic grhastha congregation with many activities for children and a variety of outreach programs including college outreach, corporate outreach, monthly Harinama Sankirtan, Motel Gita book distribution, Bhakti Shastri classes, Bhakti Life programs, and thrice-weekly regular temple feast programs with live internet broadcasts (www.virtuualtemple.org), as well as special observance of all Vaisnava holidays and festivals. ISV also participates with ISKCON Berkeley in organizing the annual Ratha Yatra festival in San Francisco.

The new property is located at 1965 Latham Street, Mountain View, CA 94040, near the intersection of El Camino Real and Renstorff Avenue.  
It has a great central location in the heart of Silicon Valley, very close to companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc and not far from Stanford University.  The building is charming and well constructed. It was built in1985 as an office building, and renovated by its most recent owner in 2006 to be used as a Gnostic Christian sanctuary and shrine of Mary Magdalene, and the sellers were pleased that a feminine Deity, Srimati Radharani, would continue to be worshiped on site. It is over 4,900 sq. ft on a 1/4 acre lot. The parking lot accommodates 17 cars, and there is additional street parking available in the neighborhood. There are two beautiful mature pepper trees in the parking area which provide shade and a pleasant fragrance. The peaceful but conveniently-located neighborhood has many apartments available for rent as well as nice single family residences.

The ISV congregation is very excited about the new property.  We have been looking for a property for years, but with prices high and inventory low, nothing suitable could be found in ISV’s price range.  Members of the congregation spontaneously donated a combined total of approximately $350,000 in the final weeks before closing on the sale. However, additional fundraising is continuing in order to complete the necessary renovations and pay off the mortgage. ISV will be installing a commercial kitchen in the building and conducting other extensive remodeling and repairs.  We expect all the work to be done in time for the Deities to move in by October 2012.

Although the new temple will not officially open until then, ISV observed two programs at the property in June. On Saturday, June 9th, our regular Saturday program was convened at the new location, with class given by His Holiness Bhakti Visrambha Madhava Maharaj and an ecstatic kirtan led by His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu.  On Sunday, June 10, a memorial service was held for ISKCON supporter - Purusottama-Bhai Patel, with addresses given by His Holiness Giriraja Swami and His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu. (Please see attached photos)

We invite all devotees worldwide to help our Ananda Vardhana new temple project, increasing bliss throughout the Bay Area, by connecting to http://isvnewtemple.com/ and donate for this new ISKCON temple.
If you need more information, please contact isvnewtemple@gmail.com 

We would keep you all updated with the progress of our new Home base and thanks for your support for us.

Your servants
Ananda Vardhana Team at ISV

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1 Akruranatha

The photo of Madhava Maharaja giving class was taken early in the program, before most of the devotees arrived. There was a much bigger turnout on June 9th, and again on June 10th, but unfortunately we did not get good photos to share. (Bummer)

The new building is really excellent and in an excellent location.

It has no kitchen and therefore a big (and expensive) remodeling project is under way. Our congregation has already generously donated, but we are going to have to raise some additional money now to get the renovations done to code. Hopefully some new donors or family and friends of the congregation will come forward to support this important project.

There are many Hindu temples in the Bay Area but ISV is really unique in terms of its excellent kirtan, Deity worship and outreach programs with clear explanations of Krishna bhakti.

When it is done it will be fabulous. For many years ISV has operated out of a very small, rented building. On Sundays and holidays the room is packed and the neighbors complain of parking shortage. Plus, we have been spending a lot in rent. At least now we will be building equity with our mortgage payments. But somehow we are going to have to raise another couple hundred thousand dollars for completing the kitchen and other renovations.

Yesterday was Ratha Yatra in San Francisco, put on by the Berkeley temple with much support from the ISV devotees. It was very nice. The weather was breezy but sunny, and there was a good turnout.

At the question and answer booth I heard this exchange:

Lady: Do Hindus treat women as second-class citizens the way Muslim groups do?

Jayadvaita Swami: I do not know much about what Hindus do.

Lady: But isn’t this a Hindu festival?

Jayadvaita Swami: No, it is a Krishna festival. It is for everyone. Krishna is God of everyone, not just a “Hindu God” as they sometimes say.

Me: But your booths talk a lot about India, a “Festival of India”.

Jayadvaita Swami: That is because our scriptures come from India, but actually the message is universal. Krishna is God of everyone. Everyone should chant Hare Krishna.

Lady: Okay…

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 23rd, 2012
2 Babhru

This is wonderful news. Vaisesika prabhu is a wonderful example for all. Congratulations to him and all the devotees of the Silcon Valley sangha.

Comment posted by Babhru on July 25th, 2012
3 Unregistered

Lady: Do Hindus treat women as second-class citizens the way Muslim groups do?

Jayadvaita Swami: I do not know much about what Hindus do.

The Swami’s answer to the Lady’s question is diplomatic but disingenuous (not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does).

Every devotee knows that the answer to this question is– yes, by and large Hindus treat women as second class citizens

The question then is–Are women in Iskcon being treated as second class citizens?

The answer (I hope)–Not at Iskcon in Silicon Valley

Congratulations to Iskcon of Silicon Valley–a new beginning!

brahma dasa

Comment posted by brahma dasa on July 26th, 2012
4 Akruranatha

Yes, Brahma. I see what you mean. I don’t even know why I spoke of the Q&A booth here in this thread except that I was still feeling enthusiastic about Ratha Yatra I had just attended.

I spend my Ratha Yatras in SF and L.A. mostly in and around the Q&A tent. I was personally thrilled with the way that conversation went, even if it was a little disingenuous for Maharaja to say he didn’t know much about Hinduism.

To be fair, the context was that I had just told the lady I didn’t know much about Islam, and then I passed the mike to Maharaja who had just showed up, so he may have been “riffing” off that statement of mine.

I had been hunkering down for a possibly long and uncomfortable discussion about gender and sociology and the Vedic approach and how it has been applied, for good or ill, within “Hinduism” and within ISKCON.

Maharaja’s diplomatic approach just magically diffused the whole situation. Moreover, Srila Prabhupada did often on occasion distinguish “Hinduism” from Krishna consciousness (and Srila Prabhupada could also be diplomatic in his preaching, too, as you know).

The lady might have followed up by asking about specific questions about gender roles in ISKCON, but she didn’t. Maharaja’s comments took her thoughts in a different direction and she was interested to hear that Krishna consciousness is something more universal and sublime than just Hinduism or Indian culture.

There kind of is an art to responding in these Q&A booths, and in my experience Jayadvaita Swami is one of the grandmasters of the art.

Remember, it is not just a private conversation but also part of a festival in which Krishna consciousness is being presented to the public. I think there is some scope for diplomacy, and there are also times when the concerns of a questioner have to be taken very seriously and respectfully (as Jayadvaita Maharaja did when Bhakti Lila dasi asked him about the editing controversy), and there is kind of an art to judging what the situation calls for.

If you are coming to L.A. Ratha Yatra I hope you can come over to the Q&A booth at least for a little while and hang out with me, listening to the preaching of our godbrothers. I do not think I have seen you face-to-face since you and Lilashakti showed me your gracious hospitality when I visited your B&B in Booneville. It is hard to believe but that was something like 4 or 5 years ago.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on July 27th, 2012
5 Unregistered

Akruranatha Prabhu,

What I’m hearing from you here is that you were enlivened by how cleverly the Swami sidestepped an embarrassing question at the Q and A booth at SF Rathayatra.

The problem I have with this is the lady or anyone else who heard the Swami’s reply could within minutes know that he was being disingenuous.

She could go to Krishna.com and learn “ISKCON is a branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism.”

Or she could go to Iskcon.org and read “Krsna consciousness is the Heart of Hinduism.”

Or she could go to Tovp.org and hear that Iskcon is “building the largest Hindu temple in the world.”

Or by asking any of the Hindu Americans attending the festival she would know they almost all believed Iskcon a branch of Hinduism.

So while the Swami’s remark may have had some utility at the time it is certainly not worth publicizing on the internet as a brilliant way to blow off a controversial question.

Better to acknowledge the downside of Hinduism (or Iskcon) with some humility, admitting the problems and the need to address them. After all the essence of Hindu spirituality is of course Krsna consciousness; it is not purdah, dowry, child marriage, forced widowhood, selective female abortions, denial of education and opportunity, and all the other forms of abuse that women in India have had to contend with for centuries.

All glories to Iskcon of Silicon Valley!

brahma

Comment posted by brahma dasa on July 30th, 2012
6 Unregistered

Jai, sincere congratulations for this acquisition! it looks very nice and i’m sure it would help devotees to continue serving the mission of Srila Prabhupada. Akruranatha Prabhu, thank you for sharing the news and also thank you for a bit of nectar by Jayadvaita Maharaja :-). hope all is good for your bhajan. all the best, ys Matsya das (ex marko)

Comment posted by Matsya das on July 31st, 2012
7 Akruranatha

“What I’m hearing from you here is that you were enlivened by how cleverly the Swami sidestepped an embarrassing question at the Q and A booth at SF Rathayatra.”

Not necessarily an “embarrassing” question (not that I deny that women in ISKCON have at times been treated poorly), but an overly complex and confusing discussion that would distract and be “off message”.

Yes, I was enlivened at the “verbal judo” maneuver which avoided a comprehensive critique of modern feminism and traditional gender roles in Hindu and Islamic society.

Mukunda Maharaja told me a story (I hope I remember it right) of how a journalist in San Francisco in the 1960s asked Srila Prabhupada, in front of a crowd of hippies, if he was the spiritual master of Allen Ginsberg. Maharaja worried about how Srila Prabhupada might answer. If he failed to distance himself from Ginsberg, he might be associated with immoral, anti-establishment values of drugs, homosexuality, sexual “liberation”, etc. But if he made a point of distancing himself from Ginsberg as an icon of such things, he would alienate hippies and come across as stodgy and conservative. While all this was going on in Maharaja’s mind, Srila Prabhupada simply said, “I am no one’s master; I am everyone’s servant.”

I had a similar feeling of admiration for Jayadvaita Swami’s response. This very thread is an example of how a stray comment (in this case my out-of-place reporting on the Ratha Yatra Q&A) can cause a whole conversation to get sidetracked.

Whether ISKCON is “Hindu” is another perennial Ratha Yatra booth question. You and I both know a simple yes or no does not do it justice, but a dry, academic discussion is usually not what the situation calls for, either. The art is to keep it light and entertaining but interesting and spiritually transformative.

To say that “purdah, dowry, child marriage … denial of education and opportunity” are examples of “abuse” is not quite accurate, either. Sure these practices may be abused, but we could also “within minutes” find favorable statements by Srila Prabhupada about their proper use.

As disciples it may be important for us to harmonize those teachings of Srila Prabhupada with our own convictions (we can’t ignore them), but the Q&A booth at Ratha Yatra is not the best venue for such efforts. If someone persists, clear, direct answers are best. But an offhand question should often be deftly sidestepped.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 1st, 2012
8 Unregistered

Dear Akruranath Prabhu,

Obviously, ISV under the leadership of Vaisesika Prabhu (and yourself) is presenting Krsna consciousness in an effective and sensitive manner. While I personally found the Swami’s disingenuous remark distasteful I admit that it may have had some utility at the time; even though the statement “We Know Nothing about Hinduism” cannot be found on any official Iskcon website.

As for purdah, dowry, child marriage, forced widowhood, denial of education, and the rest, these are all classified internationally as human rights abuses and are illegal even in India (and rightly so). At times Srila Prabhupada offered reasoning in support of some of these practices as they existed in ancient Vedic civilization but he never attempted to institute any of them in his organization.

We don’t live in ancient Vedic civilization; we live in present day Northern California where such strictures are universally abhorred. Neither will you find any devotees here or elsewhere interested in subjecting their beloved daughters to purdah, child marriage, forced widowhood, denial of education and the like, even though support for these things might be found somewhere in the dharma sastras. Neither are any of these socio-religious trappings in any way essential to the practice of Krsna consciousness

Therefore I see no need to tap dance around such a question. The straightforward answer is: Yes, women in India and elsewhere have suffered much abuse in the name of religion, but our philosophy teaches that ancient socio-religious strictures against women should be discarded in favor of essential spirituality (sarva-dharman parityajya).

Simply put, we are absolutely against the abuse of women in the name of Hinduism; and the practice of Krsna consciousness is open to everyone regardless of race, gender, or their socio-political views.

All the best, brahma

Comment posted by brahma dasa on August 4th, 2012
9 Akruranatha

“The straightforward answer is: Yes, women in India and elsewhere have suffered much abuse in the name of religion, but our philosophy teaches that ancient socio-religious strictures against women should be discarded in favor of essential spirituality (sarva-dharman parityajya).”

That might have been a good answer, too. One thing I learn in the Q&A booth is that many devotees have different ways of answering questions, and they have different angles and insights that may be helpful.

Some of our other preachers might take the opportunity to point out that so-called advancement of women’s rights and freedom actually results in exploitation in dating, illicit sex, divorce, single parenthood, abortion, alcoholism, spiritual blindness, and the rest.

I admit I sometimes get a little uncomfortable at such preaching, thinking that it might make a bad impression, but it is a fact that Srila Prabhupada oftened preached that way, and it is a fact that it is a goal of the Krsna consciousness movement to help reestablish dharma and good conduct (though I agree that “in like a needle” means, get them to like chanting and hearing about Krsna from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and the natural principles of “isavasyam” social and economic relationships will gradually flourish as society begins to appreciate the saintly character of self-controlled people.

Even though this thread is about the new property in Mountain View, I know these social issues attract a lot of attention and maybe talking about it here will be Krsna’s arrangement for getting more people to know about the new ISV “home base” property.

The fact is that I, personally, do not really know that much about Hinduism, when I come to think of it. I have tried to learn Hindi but I can barely understand it, and I have no Bengali (not to mention Tamil). I have tried to learn something about Indian history and society, but I am far from fluent in that subject, either. I learn more and more from our Indian devotees all the time about Hindu social customs and how they are changing, but the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

I do not think we want to endorse the modern views of “human rights” groups, even of the Indian government (which sometimes buys into the dominant, materialistic and spiritually blind attitudes of modernity).

BTW, L.A. Ratha Yatra was FANTASTIC, as usual. In the Q&A booth were: Kesava Bharati Swami, Jayadvaita Swami, Vaisesika, Kanka, and Prabhupada Jivan.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 7th, 2012
10 Akruranatha

In the 1960s and 1970s, Srila Prabhupada’s followers really embraced devotional service and detachment from the rest of society with enthusiasm. We had a certain confidence that, because we were devotees of Krishna, we could forge our own separate society and show the rest of the world how to live well, in love and peace and harmony, without scarcity, and with abundant spiritual enlightenment.

We may have been naive, but our enthusiasm was in large part based on our faith in Srila Prabhupada and Bhagavad-gita, and even if we sometimes made stupid mistakes or were overly hard on ourselves (or on others), Srila Prabhupada did encourage us. He encouraged the spirit of renunciation and faith that if we just had Krishna consciousness nothing else would be lacking.

Our separatism from mundane society and our exuberant mood that we could do everything netter because we were devotees may have caused us to have some “cult”-like problems, and in some cases led to mistreatment of children, women, and other members who were socially weaker (lower in our own separate ISKCON social hierarchy). We may have unnecessarily and improperly given women a lower status due to different factors including perhaps some residual aversion on the part of young celibate male leaders and an immature understanding of the healthy interplay of dominant and submissive roles in varnasram society.

I agree that just because Srila Prabhupada spoke fondly of how his mother would even not go next door without riding in a covered vehicle (purdah), or how there would be great anxiety if a girl in the family reached puberty without being engaged to marry a suitable boy (child marriage), or how there was no such thing as divorce and widows were not expected to remarry, he did not necessarily emphasize that we should follow all these rules (though to be honest he really did seem to assert they were marks of a more civilized way of social interaction).

At ISV we do emphasize hearing and chanting and distributing books and worshiping deities and doing other service, and we are not so much involved with having a separate society or cult. Our members are mostly householders (or expect to soon be householders) with jobs and families and their own cars and insurance and bank accounts. It is not that we do not want to have a training asram for brahmacaris and -carinis, or for full-time vanaprasthas and sannyasis. We hope to grow such a program responsibly. …

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 7th, 2012
11 Akruranatha

Some ISV members are interested in cow protection and “simple living”. We do of course accept all of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on the subject of the natural social and economic order of things which should always put Krishna in the center. We study Srila Prabhupada’s books closely, and we do not think that any of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings can simply be disregarded.

But I agree with you that there should not be an over-emphasis on recruiting people into a whole separate and separatist society, in which we discourage members from having careers or higher education. We do not want to make people economically and emotionally dependent on our temple (Vaisesika often says “ISV stands for ‘individual, spontaneous and voluntary’.”) Our philosophy is to just add Krsna consciousness, as far as possible, hopefully to the standard of an initiated devotee (16 rounds and 4 regs, plus some active service to ISKCON’s mission)

It seems to be common among Hindus today, at least among the well-educated, professional classes who get jobs in Silicon Valley and comprise probably 80% of our ISV congregation, to send their girls to college and delay their marriage until after graduation. It is not unusual for both husband and wife to get high-paying jobs in order to support a middle-class “American Dream” standard of living with home ownership, two cars, ample financial planning for retirement, good health care and education for the children. None of those things are in themselves bad, and one can be Krsna conscious and still “have it all”. There may be danger that kids get in trouble or marriages split up, but from what I have seen these families are much stronger and “cleaner” than those of many western devotees. Moreover, it is attractive for non-Hindus also to emulate such happy, loving Krsna conscious families.

I do worry that something is missing. In a class Jayadvaita Swami gave a few weeks ago (we are reading “Dhrtarastra Quits Home” in First Canto), he reminded us that we are not supposed to rot in grhastha life forever, struggling to somehow make money and fill our bellies. Still, I fear we have to be practical: “depending on Krsna” should not mean economic dependence on ISKCON, and I am afraid ISKCON also may not be prepared to take on many elderly dependents. Then what?

These are all useful topics for discussion, though not really at the Ratha Yatra Q&A tent IMHO. Sorry I did not see you in LA, you would have loved it!

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 7th, 2012
12 pustakrishna

Then what? One must cultivate faith in Krishna. We study the books, chant His Names, perform service in order to understand how great is Krishna. He is not an ordinary Person but rather the Summum Bonum. To me, that is the prime reason for having an ashram now, first, foremost, to give opportunity for those to dive into deepening faith in Krishna. It is true, ISV is approaching this differently, perhaps with more sensitivity to engaging grhastha families, then cultivating the next generation of dedicated preachers. I think that it is essential to have two rooms there to allow people who want to taste the lifestyle of full time devotional service, now. Respectfully, Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on August 8th, 2012
13 Akruranatha

Yes, Pusta Krsna Prabhu,

We want a brahmacari asram (and brahmacarini asram) to give an opportunity to dedicated devotees to serve more completely, and also to train up new, unmarried and unemployed bhaktas in a more effective way. We could make a lot of new devotees that way.

We cannot have it right in that building, because the building is zoned commercial and no one is supposed to live there. Of course, it is not important that the brahmacaris actually sleep under the same roof as the Deities. (There will be one guest room for visiting senior devotees or perhaps a brahmacari caretaker).

The Bhakti Center in Santa Clara already houses 10-15 “bachelors”, many of whom also have jobs or school. Actually, not all of them now live in the same Harrison Street building (I think they are split up into three or four locations), and several have already moved into an apartment across from the Mountain View location. We are looking for some nearby homes for rent in which we can house our pujaris (we already have two full-time pujari couples and we have been discussing the possibility of bringing another founding ISV member and his family back to the area). Of course, one limitation is money.

As for a brahmacari asram, another limitation is having the right asram leader(s). ISV was discussing with one very charismatic young devotee but as far as I know that particular devotee’s plans are still up in the air. We need someone (at least one devotee) who can attract new young people, train them patiently and kindly, set a good example himself, and who can commit to remaining in Mountain View and developing the bhakta program/brahmacari asram for a significant length of time (if not as a life’s mission). For the right person ISV would give all facility.

So…even more than the limitation of money is the limitation of getting the right people with the right character, profile and skills set. I heard (but cannot confirm) that Srila Prabhupada said if he had 12 pure disciples he could take over the world.

But as Vaisesika says, “Where attention goes, energy flows”. We have been discussing the brahmacari asram idea for some time, but have been discussing it more and are meditating on it more now that we have a Home Base property. Maybe by this attention and prayer the right person will manifest. Or maybe the man we have been talking with will become convinced to do it. Please also join us in praying for this to manifest.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 10th, 2012
14 Akruranatha

Actually, remodeling the place to install a proper commercial kitchen that meets with zoning requirements for grease trap, exhaust hood, fire sprinkler system, firewall, and to relocate the bathrooms into the public area of the temple, along with certain repairs to the roof and roof beams, is going to be quite expensive (more than initially anticipated).

Also, we would like to pay off the mortgage so we can use the monthly income for expanding book distribution and providing residential quarters for full-time devotees (as Pusta Krishna Prabhu suggested).

Therefore, on Janmasthami we inaugurated a campaign to build a “Million Dollar Fundraising Tile Wall for Krsna”. Similar fundraising drives have been successful elsewhere in ISKCON. The concept is simple:

We are engaging two prominent artists, Dhrti and Ramdas, to design a ceramic tile wall that will be erected in the garden-entrance area. The wall will be composed of 500 ceramic tiles, on which donors can direct their names or some other inscription (within reason and subject to temple approval) to be written. For example, one may write “In memory of my beloved mother, Joan Bernstein”, or “All glories to Srila Prabhupada, –Arun Sharma and Family”, or simply “The Millers: Tony, Jane, Rama, Damayanti and Susan”.

The donation for a single tile is $2,000. There is no limit to how many tiles an individual or family may buy, except that once the 500 tiles are sold, the wall will be finished. Twenty-five tiles were sold at Janmasthami. We calculate that if we sell all 500 tiles and raise $1 million, we can finish all the remodeling, repairs and furnishing of the temple and altar, and also pay off the mortgage). We hope to sell at least 100 more tiles before the end of the year. Maybe more, with your help.

We know that devotees have their own projects in their own cities, and there are even many other worthy projects to donate to in San Jose, such as Motel Gita or sponsoring books for distributors. However, we wanted to give everyone everywhere the opportunity of becoming part of ISV history by donating $2,000 or more toward Krishna’s Million Dollar Tile Wall.

Finally, after nearly 15 years, ISV owns a temple building. Once the building is remodeled and open we expect the facility to help expand book distribution and outreach dramatically. It is in a very good location and will draw a lot of new people into the ISV congregation, which is a book distributing congregation.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 14th, 2012
15 Unregistered

Akruranath Prabhu is diligently working in this project and we are all in supportive mood to make the ISV dream a Grand Success. There are varieties of projects planned and general consensus is also developed in the entire Silicon Valley that ISCKON is moving to a new temple.

It is no doubt a joyful event and to make it more joyful, we all need 1 Million Dollar Tile Wall Program hits across the United States as well as the entire Globe.

I remember H.D.G Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur often says, dust or one brick from Vaikuntha can mantain all our temples. Let’s Pray to our Lord Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan to help us getting the Laxmi for His service and glory only.

We again humbly request everyone to donate and participate in the Tile Wall Program. It’s very promising and win-win situation for the devotees at ISV congregation as well as extended community.

I’ll spread the word to some new comers those who came to the Lil’ Krishna Kidz Program Summer camp program recently conducted at Sanatan Dharma Kendra…

Today is also India Independence Day. You will get real independence from Maya by engaging in the service of the Lord.

Seeking the mercy of Sri Sri Radhey!!!

-bali-

Comment posted by balimardana on August 15th, 2012
16 Akruranatha

Even those who cannot afford to give $2,000 for a tile but are supporters of ISV can participate however they can. Right now we are making a big push for new temple money, and no gift is too small.

Some related websites are: www.virtualtemple.org; www.isvnewtemple.com; www.iskconsv.org. PayPal donation links are available.

One can write to me directly at bernsteinlaw@earthlink.net to discuss or inquire.

Groups of families can pool together to get a tile with several family names on it. Organizations such as “World Hindu Council of America”, “Bay Area Telegu Association” or even groups from other religions (I remember that Mormon groups have supported ISKCON in Utah) can get tiles.

NOW is the time to really help ISV get established in its new Home Base property, from which the Sankirtan Movement will resound throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.

“If a businessman is in possession of thousands and thousands of dollars, and if he has to offer all this to Krsna, he can do it. This is work for Krsna. Instead of constructing a big building for his sense gratification, he can construct a nice temple for Krsna, and he can install the Deity of Krsna and arrange for the Deity’s service, as is outlined in the authorized books of devotional service. This is all krsna-karma.” (B.G. 11.55, Purport)

“If one has sufficient money, he can help in building an office or temple for propagating Krsna consciousness. Or he can help with publications. There are various fields of activity, and one should be interested in such activities.” (B.G. 12.10, Purport)

“The devotee should more fully establish My Deity by solidly constructing a temple, along with beautiful gardens. These gardens should be set aside to provide flowers for the regular daily worship, special Deity processions and holiday observances.

“One who offers the Deity gifts of land, markets, cities and villages so that the regular daily worship and special festivals of the Deity may go on continually will achieve opulence equal to My own.

“By installing the Deity of the Lord one becomes king of the entire earth, by building a temple for the Lord one becomes ruler of the three worlds, by worshiping and serving the Deity one goes to the planet of Lord Brahma, and by performing all three of these activities one achieves a transcendental form like My own.” (S.B. 11.27.50-52)

Getting one $2,000 tile is substantial help to Srila Prabhupada’s movement in Silicon Valley!

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 17th, 2012
17 Akruranatha

Purchasing a tile with a company name on it may have the added benefit of having the name seen by many worshipers for years to come. Devotees should ask their employers or friends and relatives who own businesses to consider contributing a tile that many devotees will read.

[Some restrictions may apply: Companies that sell meat, liquor or other impious products should not be named on the wall; and a business’s tile should simply and tastefully identify the Company or make some devotional statement, rather than an advertising slogan or telephone number. Krishna’s Wall not be overly commercial.]

Contributing a tile with your company’s name on it may be a nice way of advertising your business while also serving Lord Krishna. Think about it: Ads in magazines, billboards or phone books are only for limited times and have to be renewed often to be effective. Here, your company will be associated with Krishna’s temple and people will see your tile for years. Also this is a nice way to dedicate a portion of your company’s revenues for doing Lord Krsna’s work.

The wall will be very attractive and elegant and will be viewed by thousands of devotees as they enter and leave the temple, year after year, for as long as ISV remains in Mountain View. By contributing $2,000 or more, your tile will be a permanent record of your participation in this crucial phase of ISV’s history.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 17th, 2012
18 pustakrishna

A world-wide appeal to financially support the ISV is unrealistic. Perhaps one of the only persons who has supported large projects globally is our Godbrother, Alfred Ford (Detroit, Honolulu, Mayapur). It is necessary for the local people to support the temple with their donations. It is not a very expensive project, really, and they must come forward to support the temple. We do not want to think that the cart has been placed before the horse! And, the improvements to the building, as your management committee have planned, should be delayed, indefinitely, until the project demonstrates self-sufficient sustainability. The roof may need to be repaired, and the simplist kitchen (there is a kitchen now), utilized, until the funds are available. Few projects come fully funded from the get-go, and it is wise management to avoid placing the community in overwhelming debt immediately. We have seen much larger projects fail, like the Manhattan temple, after Srila Prabhupad’s departure. The tile idea is a nice one, but its appeal will likely only be locally feasible. You can, as you’ve said approach businesses and families, and individuals. The Silicon Valley has one of the top three populations of Indian communities in the US. So, go from small and sustainable to larger and more opulent, and don’t jeopardize the early sustainability of the project. Remember, that book distribution in the west was the financial foundation for the development of the earlier temples, and only later did life membership and other forms of donations become realized in the west. The local book distribution must reflect profits to both buy more books and to plow funds into the temple maintenance fund. Try not to be too grandiose initially. That had been my observation and experience in the past. Cut the coat according to the material that is available. Sincerely, Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on August 22nd, 2012
19 Akruranatha

Thank you for your advice Pusta Krishna Prabhu. Vaisesika Prabhu has been reminding the management board of ISV to keep the book distribution and preaching in the forefront (rather than the building), and to “cut the coat according to the material.” Respectfully, I think we are doing so. It took us a long time to find the right Home Base and everything seems to be falling into place.

People actually have been purchasing tiles from outside San Jose as well as on the peripheries of our congregation, and we expect this trend to continue.

We do have to build the kitchen and make the other remodeling adjustments now, before the Deities move in. We considered and decided against trying to put in a temporary makeshift kitchen for the time being. If we don’t do it now it might never happen. The City in fact will not allow a church to serve meals more than once per month without a commercial kitchen built with permits. We can do it, and we are doing it!

We sold 10 tiles yesterday (including several to people from outside the Bay Area), and Jagarini has been discussing with Dhriti and Ramdas the dimensions and plans for the wall. ISV’s board is very confident that the remodel will be accomplished and Their Lordships will be ready to move in by January of 2013 or maybe a little later. Things are working out just fine. Please feel free to talk with us privately about all the details and including blueprints, finances and everything.

Jagarini just sent out a slide show and I’ll see if I can provide a link. Really, there is a great, swelling mood of optimism and we will be seeing this move happening before our eyes within the next 5 or 6 months.

We appreciate that many well-wishers have come forward to suggest we should do things like this or like that, (and we appreciate your own financial help as well as the spiritual guidance and classes you have given at ISV on many occasions), but we hope everyone understands that ISV’s board of directors has carefully considered such suggestions and objections (from day one) and has charted the course it has found most appropriate. I think it will continue to do a great job, with Vaisesika at the helm.

Naturally, we cannot satisfy everyone because we are constantly receiving conflicting advice, but we do appreciate the input of all concerned and the genuine care and wishes for ISV’s continued success that motivates them. We always value your wisdom and experience, Pusta Krishna Prabhu.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 23rd, 2012
20 Akruranatha

You can access the slide show prepared by my wife Jagarini Dasi here:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1r6EAMHW6Nq8vfckqbRETdxRA8kCtb83S5I0iBmwDJhs/edit?pli=1#slide=id.g1a5b783c_0_52

(I hope that works anyway).

One slide shows the general plan of the new layout. We do not have a slide showing the existing plan.

Pusta Krishna, your memory of their being an “existing kitchen” is probably not entirely accurate. What exists is kind of a “break room” with a formica countertop and small sink for washing hands, under which there is a tiny refrigerator. No one could cook a feast there.

What the new plan accomplishes is a 650 square foot, state of the art kitchen which meets City requirements for commercial ventilation hood, fire sprinklers, rated fire wall, large sink for large pot-washing, plenty of storage space and walk-in cooler, a grease trap installed under the floor (required by zoning) to protect City drains.

Also, the current bathrooms, which are old and in need of a facelift, are located back in the area where the kitchen and pujari room will be. These will be moved to the public area in the front of the building, and there will be an “authorized personnel only” area where the Deity paraphernalia is stored, which the public will not access.

On the other side of the building, some existing rooms will be enlarged for use of the growing Sunday School and Vedic Academy programs.

We want to offer everyone an opportunity to buy a tile and be a part of this crucial phase of this important project in North America, but I hopr I have not made it sound like a desperate plea for an uncertain and overambitious enterprise. Not at all. One of our congregation has already funded an interest-free, $100,000 loan, which of course we want to pay back as soon as possible through Tile Wall contributions. Please trust us, the Board of ISV is confident that the funds are available to pay for the project (without interfering with existing book distribution and outreach programs).

Moreover, once the move is completed, we have good prospects for increasing our congregation and our preaching and fundraising efforts. The Mountain View location is a very good, central location within easy access of thousands of potential new congregation members. I think we will see the project expand very nicely over the next decade after the move is accomplished.

But please do buy tiles if you can, and be a part of this. Tell your friends!

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 23rd, 2012
21 Akruranatha

Vaisesika Prabhu sent out the following email to our ISV mailing list today:

“Krishna’s Push”

Many people go to the Hawaiian island of Maui to relax.

There the weather is perfect just about every day of the year: 77 degrees Fahrenheit, with a few puffy clouds floating across a deep blue sky.

I know this because I stayed with some devotee friends in Maui for a week in 1982 to convalesce after breaking my arm.

My friends told me: “We are eager to move away from here because the environment is so nice that we hardly get anything done; nor do we notice the passing of time. We simply coast, year after year.”

Krishna’s devotees don’t like to coast. Rather, they welcome challenges that cause them (nay, that force them) to realize their full dependence on Krishna.

Queen Kunti prayed to Krishna that calamities might continuously befall her family, because such calamities not only forced all her family members to take full shelter of Krishna but also induced Krishna to stay with them in order to protect them.

Although asking for calamities may be a bit extreme for most, every devotee benefits when there are challenges to meet in Krishna’s service. We grow when we’re tested. Otherwise, the tendency to coast and not grow is strong.

In the early days of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada instructed one of his top leaders that the duty of managers is to “create fresh challenges so that devotees would be inspired to rise to meet them.”

For many years at ISV, we have talked and dreamed about owning a beautiful temple in which to worship the Lord and host His devotees. Such a temple would not only represent the sublime philosophy we teach and follow but would stimulate bhakti in the heart of anyone who passed its threshold.

Now we are on the threshold of realizing our dream, and Krishna is mercifully giving us a push.

Through the entire process of locating and negotiating the purchase of a suitable property, devotees have spent hours, weeks months, and years viewing sites, discussing plans, holding late night conference calls, writing emails, collecting funds, and scheming how to make it all happen.

At times the process has been nerve wracking. At other times, it has been exhilarating. In any case, it has all been in the realm of devotional service.

(To Be Continued)…

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 24th, 2012
22 Akruranatha

“Krishna’s Push”, by Vaisesika Das Adhikari (Part II)

During our years together at ISV, we have been blessed with ample service. Together we have met many challenges. We’ve achieved (and smashed) more goals than we can count. We’ve watched our children grow up in Krishna consciousness. We’ve lived through disappointments and adversity. And through it all we have not only survived but also grown stronger. And from time to time we’ve cried in joy to see the progress of our beloved devotees.

Srila Prabhupada coined a phrase to describe this process of meeting the challenges that come as we serve Krishna together. He called it “boiling the milk.” And devotees fortunate enough to stay in the pot get to taste something sublimely sweet as the milk thickens.

I see before us now a situation arranged by Krishna. Who else could have led us to the new temple at 1965 Latham Street? And hasn’t He arranged this opportunity for us to pull together to complete the project?

Luckily, at ISV we are well practiced at meeting goals. And now we have a chance to use all that we’ve learned to achieve something that will be forever marked in history: a new temple for Radha and Krishna, in the middle of Silicon Valley, California. Make no mistake. This is big news.

Our immediate target is to raise $300,000 by the end of December 2012, the amount we need to complete the kitchen and remodel the interior so that we can move in. Miraculously, we have already made progress toward this goal. But to meet the deadline in time will require, as usual, a lot of devotees doing a little.

Through our fund raising team, Krishna has revealed an ingenious plan to meet this deadline: build a “Million Dollar Wall.” This artfully designed wall will sit just at the entrance of the new temple and will be decorated with a composite of small tiles, each inscribed with a message or name chosen by the donor who purchased the tile.

The overall goal is to sell 500 tiles at $2,000 each, bringing in one million dollars to fully support temple operations and finish the needed refurbishment of the building. Our immediate objective is to find at least 150 sponsors to purchase tiles by December 31, 2012.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 24th, 2012
23 Akruranatha

“Krishna’s Push”, by Vaisesika Das Adhikari (Conclusion)

On the way home from ISV last night after the Wednesday night class, my two dearest friends, Kesava Bharati Dasa Gosvami and Satyadeva Prabhu, both remarked that the tile fund raising drive is well conceived. And they both expressed their confidence that it will succeed. (This after each of them purchased their own tile during the announcements after the class!)

With this letter, I appeal to you to get involved in the tile fund raising project in whatever capacity you can. ISV has a good name around the world. Many people are eager to see ISV succeed and increase.

Please reach out to everyone you know and give them an opportunity to invest in this shining new temple under Srila Prabhupada’s banner, dedicated to the promulgation of Lord Caitanya’s divine message for the welfare of every living being.

The Agni Purana says, “By building a temple for the Lord one is freed from all sins. He who has built a temple for Vishnu reaps the great fruit which one gains by celebrating sacrifices every day. By building a temple for the Lord, such a devotee takes his or her family, a hundred generations past and a hundred to come, to the region of Acyuta.”

Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madan-mohan, ji jaya!

In humble service,

Vaisesika Dasa

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 24th, 2012

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