Inauguration of ISKCON – Tirupati
By Jayapataka Swami
30th, Jan, 2007 – Inauguration of ISKCON – Tirupati, Second Day:
Inviting the Lord to His Temple:
Today is the day that the Lord is formally invited to come and live in His temple. The marble Deities of Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Asta-sakhi are already on the closed altar with Their eyes covered. Their otsab murtis (Festival Deities) of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Sri Tirupati Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Laksmi Narasimhadeva are being brought from the elaborate Puja Mandapam next to the temple to Their permanent home.
Different Senior vaisnavas were carrying the metal Deities and were greeted by the Doorway. The small Srila Prabhupada Deity was being carried by another devotee while the Head Priest touched Srila Prabhupada’s hand and then offering the flowers to the Lotus Feet of the Deities. Many mantras were chanted. Then I was asked to repeat the “Swagatam” mantra or welcome mantra. I don’t remember all the Sanskrit but it was Something to the effect: “My Dear Supreme Lord, Lord of the Universes, Possessor of Divine qualities, for the mercy of the conditioned souls we welcome to Your Temple!” The final words still ring in my mind: “Svagatam tava mandiram!” Welcome to Your Temple. I was so moved by this I couldn’t help but get very emotional. The Lord was coming to His new home. His temple was being offered to Their Lordships.
It is a beautiful Temple. Colored with intricate golden filigree, marble floors, carvings and painting everywhere. They have raised the “bar” in Tirupati with this beautiful offering to the Lord. There may be bigger temples in ISKCON, but this one is very beautiful. One important thing is the temple was primarily built from book distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books! It is a temple produced by Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution! The book distribution Minister HG Vijay Prabhu was here to celebrate it as well as Jayadvaita Swami the BBT Trustee. They commented to me the temple had a book distribution vibration!
Today a proksana abhisheka (bathing) was offered to purify the murti’s from any contamination during Their moving and making. It is called “silpa dosa snana”. A special worship was offered by one of the famous priests of Sri Balaji temple who is well versed in elaborate worship. This is also to have local acceptance. He did “Raja-upasana” worship or royal worship. One example is he held a camara fan over incense and filled it with incense smoke and then fanned the Deities with the scented air. Like that there were many offering all really special and majestic.
Then the abhisheka was performed by all the senior devotees present. Some of the senior devotees that I can remember were:
HH Jayadvaita Swami, HH Prabhavishnu Swami, HH Bir Krishna Swami, HH Radhanath Swami, HH Lokanath Swami, HH Bhanu swami, HH Bhakti Vrajendranandan Swami, HH Bhakti Vijnana Swami, HH Bhakti Vijna Vinasa Nrsimha Swami, HH Bhakti Purushottam Swami Maharaj, HH Amiya Vilas Swami and HH Radha Ramana Swami.
Special Guests: HG Ambarish Prabhu, HG Yasomatinandana das, HG Bhima das, HG Dinabandhu das, HG Sarvaisvarya Das, HG Vedanta Caitanya das and many others.
So far 3750 devotee guests have been registered! Everyone is praising HG Revati Ramana das, the Tirupati Temple President, and his crew of devotees. They say their service attitude is exceptional.
The evening installation program included “netra-unmilinam” or opening the eyes, nyasa-homa or touching and awakening the different parts of the Deities form, fire yajnas, pujas, swing festival and “sayan adhivasa” or putting the Deity to rest. These programs took place in the temple. Apart from the temple program there are cultural programs with dance drama’s from Srimad Bhagavatam.
HH Gopal Krishna Goswami, HH Guruprasad Swami and HH Bhakti Madhurya Madhava Swami and some other senior devotees like HG Devamrta Swami and HG Srestha das from Vrindavan also arrived.
Opening the eyes ceremony was very beautiful. After touching the eyes with honey and ghee with a gold and silver rod to awaken them, 32 senior devotees were carrying auspicious articles. The curtan was raised and everyone could see the Deities being shown the auspicious articles and worshipped. This whole ceremony took about 1.5 hours. Devotees were ecstatically chanting during the whole ceremony.
Then the priests, ISKCON devotees, went to the fire yajna mandapam and performed the nyasa homa for fire sacrifices to the Deities. While this was going on devotees went to see the dance drama performed on Lord Sri Krishna’s pastimes from Srimad Bhagavatam. After the fire sacrifice was performed some “sampat” or ghee remnants from the oblations was brought up and each Deity had a devotee assigned to touch and enliven the different parts of the Deity’s form with a kusa grass stick dipped into the ghee remnants. The devotees softly chanted while this was going on.
Then the Radha Govinda otsab murti’s (festival Deities) were placed on a carved swing and all the senior devotees took turns in swinging the Deities. Then lights were dimmed and everyone offered lamps. After that HH Radhanath Swami led a beautiful kirtan very softly as the Deities were put to rest in “sayan adivasa”. Then vina and traditional music was played for the Deities. I had the mercy to fan the Deities with a chammar fan along with other devotees.
The program was going on until 1145PM and then I decided to leave as tomorrow I have to give a lecture on Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Only thing I missed was a bharat natyam dance for the pleasure of the Deities performed by a young devotee.
It was an ecstatic evening filled with Krishna conscious activities. Tomorrow is the maha-abhishekha program on the holy day of Lord Nityananda Prabhu.
Yours in service,
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