15 Sept. 2016
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. By Krishna’s grace, everything is going well with the Samadhi this year. I apologize for my lack of communication. I am even more delinquent with the Newsletter than usual for reasons beyond my control, mostly material.
We probably have around 100,000 followers who can never repay their debt to Srila Prabhupada. It is a therefore a little surprising that the donations do not reflect that attitude. If everyone in the movement gave just a yearly token $50 donation to Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi, or more, especially as a Kartik vrat, we would be able to build up the Fixed Deposit requirement in no time to cover the maintenance costs with the interest, and also cover future costs of major repair to the aging structure. One’s service, charity, austerities, is benefited 1000 times in Vrndavan; in Kartik, 1000 times that. At one time many devotees actually made yearly pledges. Now would be a great time to resume your pledge.
The collectors rarely inform me what donations are coming in. So in case anyone made donations towards the previously approved Museum exhibits of 5 dioramas and small asana at a central preaching station, I must apologize, and I am most sad to say—They were canceled, because the GBC preferred to keep a mall in there downstairs. Your donations went into fixed deposit. The dioramas of Prabhupada in his Radha Damodara Rooms and boarding the Jaladutta are also no more. We pray that in the near future, Prabhupada’s Museum can actually be so, for which it was originally collected.
I have therefore spent more time making Prabhupada’s Samadhi and Museum upstairs into a facility for direct contact preaching to offset the shopkeeper phenomenon. We used to have an office in the information center for holding talks with groups. Regrettably, the preaching room got replaced with a computer room; so our different preaching groups were forced to wing it individually. Luckily, the devotee who runs the computer concession, spends his quiet hours of the business day, networking with the 10s of thousands of Nama Hatta congregation members (more about that below)! Previously we started out as a simple Free Temple Tours program, which eventually developed into a Nama Hatta program (which did finally get its own office); a revived and improved Market of the Holy Name program (with up to 900 people a day chanting one round of japa upstairs in the Samadhi); and a Rural Development program (which diversified into Self-Sufficiency programs, Kadhi items, and more).
We still have a few stalwart preachers (left over from the Free Temple Tours) meeting and greeting the people coming in. One nice brahmacari from the Youth Ashram, sits at a table on the promenade on the way from the entrance, wearing his MAY I HELP YOU ID badge handing out maha Tulasi prasad and free advice. One mataji stations herself in the Samadhi in the evening, greeting pilgrims with a brief talk and gets them all to chant Hare Krishna. They all leave with big smiles. A few devotees meet groups and give tours around the temple, after which most of them take books home with them. Another devotee greets groups of foreign tourists, explaining the philosophy in simple ways so they understand what they are looking at. A few are stationed in the temple. All in all, we are trying to make personal connections, as we want to share the personal way of living and give them the great chant for deliverance for the Age of Kali.
The Nama Hatta program has expanded so much, they hold isthagosthis with their growing numbers of congregational members, and home programs and also take advantage of wonderful preaching facilities upstairs in the Museum (historical time line; Changing Bodies Diorama; Parampara Deities and Displays). Some of the congregational members from this Nama Hatta program came forward and actively helped put on our Vrndavana Rathayatras the last 2 years. And it all started here at the Samadhi!
Our ladies’ Kirtan Mandal revived the afternoon session of their kirtan in addition to the morning session. They have completed 9 years. It’s so wonderful to hear their sweet voices singing for Srila Prabhupada at his Samadhi. And it’s so wonderful to see the pilgrims joining in and chanting Hare Krishna with enthusiasm.
With these multifarious preaching efforts, we all hope we can please Srila Prabhupada in some way, as he sits as the Grand Master in his eternal resting place. And we hope these efforts are contagious for others to spontaneously join in.
We had a good monsoon last 2 years, so Prabhupada’s Samadhi gardens finally have good hedges under the peacock stairs year-round. The garden strip along the boundary grill have lush fragrant mehndi and night queen year round also, which practically cover the grill all the way up. I planted baby parijata, which may flower next year. Now we just have to periodically add seasonal flowers when we can get them, in the spaces within the hedges.
****The on-going work****
The Samadhi can accept inspired donations for (check the Vrindavana web Samadhi brochure complete list for your favorite item):
1. The normal work repairing, cleaning, stone polishing, painting, etc., Rs. 1.5 laks
2. Replacing display lights for the domes, Rs. 20,000.
3. New, state of the art metal scaffold assembly, non-rotting, easily stored, easier to assemble, Rs. 70,000. I was reluctant at first because it seems to be a big expense. In the long run though, we won’t have to keep buying bamboo, which rots in a couple years, and disappears little by little anyway by someone “borrowing” here and there. It’s hard to store bamboo discreetly where they’re unreachable.
4. Gardens, Rs.30-40,000.
5. Maintenance of or replacement of different equipment (fans, heaters, inverter batteries, geyser, AC, tools, etc.), Rs.30,000 on an average.
6. Up-grading the altar and exhibits, Rs. 40,000
7. Repairing damage due to environment and aging, Rs. 2 laks
The Vrndavana Samadhi Maintenance Fund presently has @Rs1,32,00,000 in fixed deposits, generating @ 7.5% interest for the next couple years. Eventually, the interest will cover the annual minimum costs, not including special projects. These donations perpetually serve Srila Prabhupada with the interest.
Many devotees have expressed the desire to make a large donation in the form of a bequeathment and/or trust from which the interest will be eternally donated to the Samadhi. Many hesitated, wondering whether or not it would end up in the right place for posterity and really go to Prabhupada’s Samadhi/Samadhi Museum FD account eternally. ***You will all be pleased to know the VEB judiciously passed a resolution this year stating that NO ONE may remove monies from the Samadhi Account without the express permission of the VEB.*** Feel comfortable it is secure to make your large commitments as you wish.
This last year many of you donated from your hearts while you were here or sent in donations from India and abroad, and I hope I have listed you all. I’m sorry that I did not receive all your names and contacts. Your service does not go unnoticed, and I thank each and every one of you on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.
If you didn’t get a proper receipt and gift, please do inform me of your contact information, as I will be happy to do so.
The following lists the majority of the devotees who offered generous donations for Samadhi Maintenance Fund and we thank them for helping us to serve Srila Prabhupada better:
Nalini Patel (Rohini devi dasi), Bombay Sri Deepak Vaid
Devananda Pandit das Brahmacari (Vrn.) Sri Chopra Danu
Smriti dasi and Jagannath das, Gokula Dairies, Guj. Sri Debnath
Divya Radha dasi, London Anonymous, Vrn. HH Dhanudhara Swami Nalinikanta, US
Mukunda Datta das ACBSP, Vrn. Aravindaksha das
Tatania Arkhipova, Russia Anonymous, Dubai
HH Kesava Bharati Swami Kamalasundari dasi
Anonymous, Bangalore Anonymous, Doha
Haripad das and Phalini devi dasi Radha dasi USA
Nanda Gopa Jivan das, Delhi
5. Total donations from individuals: @ $6,000.
6. Hundi donations @ $11,000 this year, about the same as last year.
7. We still did not need to dip into the FD for our normal expenses, or projects.
***WHAT YOU CAN DO***
1. Substantial donations to any of the above mentioned projects for the working account.
2. Srila Prabhupada’s Vrndavana Samadhi Maintenance Fixed Deposit Fund needs you now! We aim to build up a fixed deposit of $500,000 to generate interest for expenses beyond the donations for special projects. I had originally thought we needed less, but to accommodate the rate of inflation, the goal has been revised. These donations perpetually serve Srila Prabhupada with the interest.
The interest will cover inevitable yearly costs and give an increased cushion for future surprises in the aging structure. All participation is welcome. SRILA PRABHUPADA IS ACTUALLY SITTING PERSONALLY IN SAMADHI HERE AND RECIPROCATES WITH YOUR SERVICE. No donation is too large or too small.
3. See the Vrindavan web page to choose a convenient method for your personal service to Prabhupada’s Samadhi Mandir and Samadhi Museum. The Samadhi website even provides a way to get a tax rebate if you are donating from the US.
4. Set up Trust Funds specifically for the Vrndavana Samadhi/Museum Monument.
5. Bequeathments for the Samadhi/Museum Monument.
***HOW TO HELP***
You can send a bank transfer (cheaper than wiring) to ISKCON Vrndavana for
Foreign Donations. Whether you wish to make a bequeathment; give to the Vrndavana Samadhi Fixed Deposit; or to some specific project of the Samadhi, kindly contact me please. (email@example.com) here in Vrndavana. I will let you know the easiest and least complicated way to send your donation, and will be very happy to answer any other questions you may have. There is probably one of our reliable representatives near you who can carry your generous donations directly to Vrndavana.
Rupee donations within India:
SBI Samadhi ac#10684301765
IFSC Code SBIN0016533 ISKCON Vrndavana Branch
Andhra Bank, Samadhi ac#10100 30840
IFS Code – ANDB0001885 Andhra Bank Branch Vrndavana
Checks or Online donations in Foreign Currency:
ISKCON Foreign A/c # 9100100-1456-52389
SWIFT code no. AXISINBB086
IFSC code # UTIB0000794 Axis Bank Vrndavan
For US Tax Exemption
However you do it, communicate it to me so I know to look for it in case of technical delays. To insure appropriate handling, if you mail it or send it by hand, address your envelope to Samadhi Maintenance Fund, attention Parvati devi dasi WITH A COVERING LETTER. Please state your name, address and the purpose of the donation, so proper documentation can be made and receipts and GIFTS can be sent.
I thank all of you for helping me to serve the Samadhi better and beg to remain
Parvati devi dasi, Samadhi Office
P.S. KINDLY PRINT AND POST ON YOUR NOTICE BOARDS. THANKS.