By Akruranatha Dasa
ISKCON‚Äôs newest temple in North America recently opened on Rama Navmi, April 21, 2013, at 1965 Latham Street, Mountain View, California, in the heart of California‚Äôs Silicon Valley. The strategic location is near prestigious Stanford University and the world headquarters of many hi-tech companies such as Google. ISKCON of Silicon Valley (ISV) purchased the property about a year ago, but remained operating at its smaller, rented location in San Jose while completing extensive renovation and remodeling at the new location.
While the Deities moved into the temple on Rama Navmi and the temple unofficially opened on that date, the official Grand Opening will be held during July 4th weekend (July 6th and 7th), to coincide with observance of the Disappearance Day of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, which has traditionally been enthusiastically celebrated at ISV by liberal book distribution.
The new temple in Mountain View is the home of presiding Deities Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Madanamohan, and Sri Sri Laksmi-Narasimhadeva. It boasts a beautiful altar and temple hall with adjoining pujari room, a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, multi-media broadcasting and audio-visual recording equipment, a guest room for visiting senior devotees, two classrooms for children, an office, a large sankirtan book storage room, an entrance hallway/reception area with room for a small gift shop, four comfortably appointed visitor‚Äôs washrooms, and parking for about 17 cars. In the parking lot area there are two mature pepper trees which give the property an exotic atmosphere and fragrance.
The attached photos from Rama Navmi show the temple in an unfinished state. Devotees continue to work on completing the remodel and decoration of the temple. Artwork on loan from the BBT will grace the walls, and many other furnishings and decorations will be added, including a new vyasasana and murti of Srila Prabhupada, and new curtains and ornate metal gates and mandala for the altar. New signage and landscaping have not yet been started. A photo of where the donor wall will include personalized tiles (still going for $2,000 apiece) shows the frame created by Ramdas. New donations of any size are welcome. Please visit www.iskconsiliconvalley.com for more details and updates.
The life and soul of ISV is sankirtan, especially the Monthly Sankirtan Festivals in which devotees from the congregation go out on mass harinama and book distribution for the pleasure of the Deities and Srila Prabhupada. The devotees also eagerly discuss Srimad Bhagavatam among themselves and observe the worship of the temple Deities. There are also University and corporate outreach activities in which books and prasadam are distributed. Such activities give the ISV devotees tangible spiritual happiness and enthusiasm which has inspired them to contribute the large amount of funds necessary to purchase and renovate the temple.
‚ÄúRupa Goswami has stated that five kinds of devotional activities ‚Äď namely residing in Mathura, worshiping the Deity of the Lord, reciting Srimad Bhagavatam, serving a devotee and chanting the Hatre Krishna mantra ‚Äď are so potent that a small attachment for any one of these five items can arouse devotional ecstasy even in a neophyte.‚ÄĚ (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 13, ‚ÄúFive Potent Forms of devotional Service‚ÄĚ)
The devotees at ISV are determined to use the new temple facilities Their Lordships have provided in order to increase their attachment to the above five activities, and to introduce others to them as well. Specifically, we are very eager to see ISV continue to serve as a home base for increasing distribution of Srila Prabhupada‚Äôs books and chanting Hare Krishna more and more, and for bringing more people from all over the Bay Area to see the beautiful worship of the Deities. The Mission Statement of ISV is ‚ÄúTo serve all souls by profusely distributing the holy names of Lord Krishna.‚ÄĚ