My response regarding the design of the TVP

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By Ambarisa das

Dear Tattvavit prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I have received your email and have noted the contents with interest and respect. Please forgive any offense created by my responses. I am passionate about my service personally given to me by Srila Prabhupada.

Let me preface my response to specific points below by saying that of course the GBC can decide to do what it wants in this matter. We are a small, but dedicated group of disciples and grand disciples who have given ourselves over the last two years or so, to getting something done in Mayapur. We wanted a practical plan which was not contingent on the benevolence of the West Bengal communists, or raising tens of millions of dollars from a reticent worldwide congregation, or testing materials which have never been used before, or hiring a myriad of worldwide consultants who were very good at planning but terrible at execution. This had all been done before. In short, we wanted to get something done.

This was based on a simple supposition that the plan had already been given to us by the Founder/Acharya Srila Prabhupada, and it was simply a matter of executing it in the most practical way. As I have said, it is a plan. There may be other plans, but this is our plan and the GBC can stop it at any time. If this happens, the momentum and enthusiasm of many devotees from around the world will be extinguished and this small group will disband. None of us are willing to wait for a design which is generated by a committee. We have momentum at this point, so to derail this effort will have effects and repercussions. Having said this, we have always been open to suggestions from anyone who is willing to come to Mayapur, sit with our team and work with us. So, prabhu, the choice is up to the GBC, but our team feels that the time is now and with construction costs rising at 25% per annum in India, to ignore this opportunity would be a serious missed opportunity. So much has already been spent on detailed plans for the current design with the blessings of the GBC, why not let this building come up if it is the desire of the Lord? Srila Prabhupada abhorred such waste. When, as you say, the litigated Trust lands in Mayapur becomes available and money is obtainable, you all may build any other Temple design of your choice—we are not limited to one large Temple, nor to it being built by our generation in our lifetime—you build a better, more beautiful/appropriate one at any future time.

You write:

“Today we, the undersigned, representing the group, have submitted a GBC resolution proposal to change the design of the TVP. It has been sent to the Executive Committee of the GBC in the hope that it will be put on the agenda of the GBC meeting in Mumbai in October”

My response:

With no offense intended, it seems that this is not a proposal to change the design, but to stop the current plan. I have not seen one alternative or constructive suggestion over the last several months. To go back to the previous design is ludicrous as I will explain below.

You write:

“We are now trying to determine, before that GBC meeting, whether or not the majority of devotees and leaders in ISKCON approve of the Capitol design and think it is what Srila Prabhupada really wanted (we are doing this by sending articles and letters to Internet forums and Web sites and asking the devotees to vote)”

My response:

To me this is ridiculous. We know what Srila Prabhupada wanted because he said so. This will not be changed by some internet poll. There is no way that I will be convinced that Srila Prabhupada wanted an Indian style temple as the world headquarters.

You write:

“All of us much appreciate your, and your team’s, dedicated service. As the backer and the planners of the current design, you understandably hope it will be possible to complete construction of the TVP within your lifetimes, and you deserve respect for wishing to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s desire as soon as possible. It is not clear, however, that changing the design would necessarily have to delay the TVP for very long”

My response:

This depends on how much of a change you are talking about. Some design and detail changes are already factored in. This is a work in progress. If you are talking about scrapping the whole dome design in favor of a brand new design, then that will be time consuming and costly. The momentum built over the last two years will be lost, and so will most members of the current team. Any other new design will delay construction by years, not a year. This will increment the cost beyond my capacity; steel & other vital materials have already shot up more than 35% in the last 4 months.

You write:

“Our position is that the decision to build the current, Capitol-inspired temple should be changed in favor of a first-class Indian design”

My response:

I am not in favor of this as it does not represent Iskcon, and is so run of the mill and common. Frankly I find the whole idea boring and prosaic. Unless you spend tens of millions of dollars, you will get a cheap imitation of a Swami Narayan temple. We have neither the organization nor money to do this correctly. The planning alone would cost millions, and going to the last design will not work as it was too costly and the final model had a shikhara made of mesh. It is untested in a design like the one proposed, and fraught with problems.

You write:

“The sections that follow will be included also in the letters and postings to devotees as well as in the GBC resolution proposal.

NINE REASONS TO CHANGE THE DESIGN OF THE TVP

1) Srila Prabhupada, in mid-1976, made three brief statements (added at the end of this file) which suggested that the TVP should look like the U. S. Capitol. But he never insisted that the latter must be its exact model. He said only that the TVP, like the Capitol or the Victoria Memorial, should have a big dome. Five years before these statements, Srila Prabhupada approved Ranchor Prabhu’s very different design for the TVP, and after the statements he did not object to, and seems in fact to have approved, Saurabha’s Indian design; he allowed Saurabha to make a model of it and to display it outside the Lotus Building. It is therefore unclear to what extent he really wanted the TVP to resemble the U. S. Capitol. Hari Sauri Prabhu describes, in Transcendental Diary, Srila Prabhupada’s “extreme enthusiasm” for Saurabha’s drawings of an Indian design, in January 1976 - the very drawings that resulted in the model that was put on display. We are on safe ground if we give priority to Srila Prabhupada’s direct statements about the architecture of the TVP. The problem is that there are not many such statements. The brief and never repeated ones about the Capitol dome, at least two of which were made in the course of long conversations about other things, are supportive only of the idea that the TVP should have a big dome similar to that of the U. S. Capitol, to the extent of being a dome and big. This being the case, the exact nature of the dome should be decided on the basis of other related instructions Srila Prabhupada gave in his works. Such instructions of course suggest that the architecture should be Indian. Srila Prabhupada said that the whole world will come to Mayapura to see “the architectural culture, they’ll come to see the civilization culture, the philosophical culture, the religious culture.” (Feb. 28,
1976, Mayapura)”

My response:

This is of course open to interpretation, but the fact remains that Srila Prabhupada in the last part of his pastimes, had pictures taken of the Capitol, and discussed this particular design with George Harrison, his most influential follower. He mentioned this particular architecture twice, whereas he never mentioned about an Indian style temple for Mayapur. This is a concoction propagated by those trying to sell the grandiose plan of the past which is overblown, overpriced, over planned and just plain over.

You write:

“2) The purpose of the planetarium, to display the Vedic cosmology, is thwarted by the U. S. Capitol design. The exterior is the first impression people will get, our first statement to the public, and it will be the only one on many pictures. But people will be puzzled as to what it is. It looks like a government building rather than a temple. With an added crescent moon and star or a cross on top of the dome it could be taken to be a mosque or a church. And Western Renaissance and neoclassical architecture symbolize a different worldview than the one the planetarium temple has as its purpose to display. The architecture represented by the U. S. Capitol was partly inspired precisely by the modern Western scientific cosmology to which the Vedic planetarium is intended to provide an alternative”

My response:

A dome certainly denotes a planetarium, and if this building reminds a visitor of power and authority, so much the better. After all, we are representing the Supreme Personality. Also, Srila Prabhupada wanted this center of spiritual education to be nonsectarian. If it looks like many religious buildings, so much the better. We do not represent just the Hindus!

You write:

“3) The design is eclectic, i. e., it represents a poor, artificial, external combination of disparate - Western and Indian - architectural elements rather than a mature, integral, credible synthesis. Suggestions please??

4) The design’s combination of Eastern and (predominantly) Western architectural elements is considered by some to symbolize the synthesis of East and West - explained metaphorically as the cooperation of a lame and a blind man - that ISKCON as a whole is often seen as representing. But this view of ISKCON is problematically one-sided. Although the idea of East-West synthesis, and its architectural and other symbolization, is relevant in the West, it is less so in the most important dhama of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in India and at ISKCON’s international headquarters. Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi already includes Western architectural elements to an extent that is controversial to some, but since it is relatively successful as an East-West stylistic synthesis in comparison with the current TVP design, this may be acceptable as a symbolization of Srila Prabhupada’s personal prioritization of the West, in the sense of his choosing to first take Gaudiya Vaishnavism there. Yet the mission of Srila Prabhupada is a global one, bringing Gaudiya Vaishnavism to all cultures and civilizations, and thus producing also other syntheses than that of the East and the West (and the East of course includes other cultures than that of Hindu India). It would therefore be wrong to symbolically link the whole of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition to the West, as the current TVP design does. The TVP should represent, neutrally in relation to all other cultures, only the Vedic tradition in the language of its architectural form”

My response:

I agree with this premise, but not your conclusion. There are many domes in India, and Srila Prabhupada wanted this building specifically for preaching to Europeans and Americans. This has of course been broadened in the past decades because of the preaching, but the fact remains that Srila Prabhupada wanted to use this center to preach to foreigners. It is the headquarters of a worldwide spiritual movement, not just to represent Indian culture.

You write:

“5) The current design gives misleading American and Disney associations and connects ISKCON with problematic, arrogantly imperialistic American politics and culture - problematic not least in view of the spiritual mission of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. The U. S. Capitol is of course a Western architectural masterpiece, as are even more the European domed buildings, like Brunelleschi’s Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence and Michelangelo’s St. Peter’s in Rome, from which the designers also draw inspiration. The U. S. Capitol was also built at a time when the U. S. A. represented other values and ideas. But the very idea of building today a temple resembling the U. S. Capitol in Mayapur, India, is Disneyesque, and the kitsch features of the design add to this impression. The design will reinforce and consolidate the view of the critics who regard ISKCON as an all-American sect. The assertion by Hari Sauri Prabhu (see Dandavats) that American culture has conquered the world even suggests that the associations and the critics’ view are correct. (ISKCON’s Western leaders may even be pushing their Capitol design on the Mayapur management without its support.) The design will compromise ISKCON and diminish its, Srila Prabhupada’s, and Ambarisa Prabhu’s reputations. This central ISKCON temple should instead express only the integrity, the authenticity, the unadulteratedness, the primordiality, the bona-fidelity, the authority, and the beauty of the Vedic tradition, on which Srila Prabhupada always put so much emphasis - and which ISKCON must, to a much greater extent than today, be seen as representing in the rest of the world.

6) Tourists will want an Indian-style temple. If they want to see Renaissance and neoclassical architecture, they go to Florence, Rome, Paris, London, or Washington and get the real thing”

My response:

For goodness sake, there are plenty of Indian temples to see all over India, and better ones than we can afford. We have been outdone by Swami Narayan, even in the sphere of dioramas. They have millions and millions of dollars and volunteers which we do not have access to. After twenty years, we did not even have a credible plan, but one based on building on vested land. This is a planetarium first and foremost. It will evoke the celestial buildings and palaces and be a seat of education. This is not just another Hindu temple.

You write:

“7) Much work has already, with the support of Ambarisa Prabhu, been done on first-class Indian designs. Locating the temple in a congested area is architecturally far inferior to surrounding it with open space, and building it without provision for creating a tourism infrastructure will defeat the main purpose of attracting and hosting visitors, especially international tourists. Our efforts to overcome the current obstacles to acquiring land from the West Bengal government have been frustrated, but ISKCON’s influential members in Mumbai, Delhi, and Calcutta could become involved in negotiations with this government. Support might even be gained from the central government of India since, with the mentioned Indian designs, the project can be presented as being of even greater national importance than the Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi; the government-approved Swaminarayan project did not involve a vast international community of foreigners friendly to India, as our TVP project does. A world-class Indian design, produced by the best professional architects, would be a cultural and religious project of historical importance, fulfilling in its grandeur Lord Nityananda’s prophecy. That is the only kind of project worthy of Mayapur and of Srila Prabhupada”

My response:

We have tried with only negative results to work with the West Bengal government, and frankly no one in the central government or big members have been able to do any good. We are not the Swami Narayans. As far as the previous design, the final result had to rely on a mesh material which has not even been tried on a building of that complexity. We have to face the reality that we are restricted in our land and money. To deny this is to continue on the ‘pie in the sky’ mentality which has plagued this project for many years. Also, to collect money from Iskcon members is very difficult. Leaders tend to need to keep their big donors for valid reasons. Even the Bhattacharyas who have committed to this project will not give a penny before they see a building going up.

You write:

“8) If, for some reasons, the temple must be built on the Lotus Park, one of the previous designs could be scaled down, or a new Indian one of the required size could be produced within a year or two”

My response:

You will have to get a whole new team because none of us are willing to go back to the way it was done before. We also have the parameters of height which Srila Prabhupada left us. Downsizing is not an option. Anyway, I can live with it as I have tried my best. I saw all the waste and extravagance from previous grandiose designs, and I want no part of it. We have devotees who are doing this as their service. It is a work of sacrifice and love, not a career path.

You write:

9) Dina Bandu Prabhu said (on Dandavats) that he has “not met a single person who likes this design, and a lot of people come through Vrindavan,” (Dina Bandhu lives in Vrindavana). Other reports confirm that there is widespread dissatisfaction with and opposition to the design in ISKCON. But most opponents do not speak up because they tend to think that something is better than nothing. We argue that this is not always true, and that it would be better to postpone realization of the project until the requisite land and funding for one of the previous Indian designs is available, or one of them is scaled down, or a new design of similar quality is available. The many who dislike the U. S. Capitol design have no reason not to speak up, and we hope they will do so now, before construction begins, and thus help persuade the GBC to change its decision on this centrally important issue”

My response:

I am sure you can always find what you are looking for. We have found many advanced vaisnavas who actually like the design and would be proud of it. Several millions of dollars of my money was expended on the previous Temple design, but all we had to show for it was a large expense account and very little practical architectural or structural engineering. Whereas, for the current design, after an expenditure of only a few hundred thousand dollars we have structural & architectural drawings nearly ready to go! We have based this work in India and not around the world. Half of our team are Mayapur residents.

Since we practically require a larger Temple now, and since architectural, structural engineering is nearly completed, and since I’m giving the major lead gift and the GBC Body has already approved it, where is the Krishna conscious logic to delay the construction and virtually stop it?

We are amenable to any practical suggestions you may give regarding non-structural alterations, as it is still a work in progress, but do not find any Krishna conscious reason or motivation to not go ahead with the present plan as opposed to scrapping it and waiting for an indefinite and unpredictable period of time with a massive & prohibitive cost escalation.

In fact, it seems almost like choosing between something which ‘does not exist’ and a pragmatic reality. As every endeavor in the material world is tainted by fault, this plan is not perfect. However, it is doable. Now Iskcon leaders must decide what they want: A somewhat flawed but beautiful and functional reality or another post dated check.

Your humble servant, Ambarisa das

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Comments • [comment feed]

1 Unregistered

Dear Ambarisa Prabhu,

Thank you very much for expressing openness to consider non-structural alterations.

I have a specific question on your sentence: “we practically require a larger Temple now.”

What is the difference in capacity (number of people fitting) between the existing facilities (the combined Radha-Madhava-asta-sakhis’ and Panca-tattva’s temple rooms) and the planned temple room?

Your servant, Kaunteya Das
PS - as you say: “we are not limited to one large Temple.” I agree; I wouldn’t be surprised if the planned building will eventually be locally known as the “old temple.” That might constitute a situation welcome to everyone involved. In any case your name will be positively and gratefully remembered in connection with the manifested and extended pastimes of Srila Prabhupada.

Comment posted by Kaunteya Das - JPS on August 24th, 2008
2 Tattvavit Dasa

Dear Ambarisa Prabhu,

You wrote:
[Our work during the last two years] “was based on a simple supposition that the plan had already been given to us by the Founder/Acharya Srila Prabhupada, and it was simply a matter of executing it in the most practical way. . . . We know what Srila Prabhupada wanted because he said so. This will not be changed by some internet poll. There is no way that I will be convinced that Srila Prabhupada wanted an Indian style temple as the world headquarters.
“. . . This [our Reason 1] is of course open to interpretation, but the fact remains that Srila Prabhupada, in the last part of his pastimes, had pictures taken of the Capitol, and discussed this particular design with George Harrison, his most influential follower. He mentioned this particular architecture twice, whereas he never mentioned about an Indian style temple for Mayapur. This is a concoction propagated by those trying to sell the grandiose plan of the past which is overblown, overpriced, over planned and just plain over.”

You have missed the paragraph I sent from Hari Sauri Prabhu’s “Transcendental Diary”. Here is the passage again, in which he writes about Srila Prabhupada’s “extremely enthusiastic” response, in January 1976, to Saurabha’s drawings, which led to him approving Surabha’s displaying an Indian model of the TVP at Mayapur later that year:
“In the evening Saurabha prabhu showed Prabhupada the preliminary plans for the new temple. He estimates the cost will be at least eighty crores of rupees ($80 million). Saurabha’s drawings revealed magnificent plans for an entire city, centered around a huge temple structure. It will be surrounded by satellite temples, a gurukula campus, a commercial area, bathing ghatas, and other facilities. The whole area will be protected from flooding by a latticework of canals. The main feature is to be a gigantic planetarium within the dome of the main temple. Srila Prabhupada was extremely enthusiastic about the plans. He wants the planetarium to demonstrate the Vedic alternative to modern scientific cosmological propaganda, illustrating the structure of the universe as described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Impressed with Saurabha’s work, Prabhupada suggested that the plans be presented to the state government with an application for official acquisition of the land we require.”

Comment posted by Tattvavit Dasa on August 24th, 2008
3 Unregistered

Dear Ambarisa Prabhu,
Pranams.

Every part of my preaching includes a mention about your holiness and i had been successful.You are definitely an asset to ISKCON.
You always remain an inspiration for we new bhaktas.

My opinion here is only my personal opinion and i am sure you would welcome a similar 3rd party views to this .
I have been watching posts on TVP for quite a while and i feel i should represent my view and views from my friends regarding the recent new Capitol dome design.
I definitely feel a typical indian design like tanjore or Puri will never do justice to this project.
We definitely need the innovative minds of americans and other westerners.
Yes,iskcon is not a movement for hindus alone. I agree.
I 100% agree there are many few senior vaishnavas who rejoice at this dome structure.
My opinion has been the same even before sri tattvavit prabhu posted for a poll!
So i genuinely feel there is not much of influencial propaganda happening.You can be assured of that.
Also i feel this present structure is no way innovative least anything ‘vedic’.

I am sure you would have known that structure of this kind are pretty common in many cities in india
.No indian is going to be awestuck by this design.This would be just another dome in this country!
obviosuly no westerner would like this.. every city building/office in USA i had seen has a similar dome.
This is surely not a crowd puller!
However i am sure this project is one of the most important project in re-defining iskcons identity and an future icon of ISKCON -the international movement.
I am being most honest here, not a single devotee or friend i had come across has liked this design.
Few giggled at it at the first place.I have been honest in asking all my corporate friends and vedic friends i am acquainted with.None liked it.
I had always been requesting for a poll to have a chance to hear publics opinion and i am glad that we now have an opportunity to express our views.
All said, our views will remain views since we dont have the capacity or the amount of sincerity you have to Srila Prabhupada.We only do the speaeking part and it you few since
sincere people who ‘work’ oBut i am sure our views are honest and it will definitely is for the welfare of ISKCON movement.
I am really counting on this project since i understand immense dedication and co-operation is being put into it.
I am waiting for the poll results and i hope we will be sure how many really like this design and how many dont.

Comment posted by scooty.ram on August 24th, 2008
4 Unregistered

hence i request, this poll should be taken seriously into account if at all other’s view matter.

I was not sure there were devotees who liked this Dome design a lot .Its a news to me.
Polls would better answer them.Worth the wait

Dasan
Rajagopal

Comment posted by scooty.ram on August 24th, 2008
5 Akruranatha

I am very glad Ambarish has written this response.

After listening to the arguments, back and forth, I think Hari Sauri and Ambarish have won the debate.

We might be disappointed with the current plan and may have been wowed by the much more spectacular plan from the late 1990s, but it does appear that plan turned out to be unworkable, too expensive, possibly structurally unsound. It sounds like in the long run that whole planning process proved to be a collossal waste.

[Maybe in the future that work can be used for something? Ambarish’s suggestion that another large temple might be built later, although made perhaps sarcastically, is not outside the range of possibilities. We are dealing with Krishna, and we should never underestimate what may be possible.]

Anyway, although I have not done any research and am no ISKCON historian, I seem to recall Srila Prabhupada gave us something like a ten-year deadline to build the “Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir” and Planetarium.

So. . . maybe it was a stretch goal, and we had some other problems that got in the way, and Harikesh had his own personal troubles (I do not want to sound snide, but it might do him some good if he could see clear to making some large donations to this effort. I honestly hope he is inspired to do that). But now if this can actually be made a reality in the foreseeable future we have to do it, more than 20 years late.

I sometimes have shifting views of how big and powerful ISKCON is. Sometimes is seems very small and tentative (but we seem to have turned a corner lately and it feels like we are on the verge of a new, stronger phase). Other times it seems amazingly powerful and influential, perhaps in hidden ways, like a kind of “submarine” movement that the world will notice all of a sudden.

Anyway, Ambarish is right that in terms of building huge, fabulous architectural wonders, at present ISKCON is not able to compete with other organizations. We can’t let that stop us from building the planetarium that Srila Prabhupada told us to build. We have to start on a scale we can actually accomplish. And this is already a pretty huge scale. [Some of the critics were concerned that even this design is too big, but if Prabhupada gave specific dimensions, that settles it.]

One thing is, the design should be as final as possible before construction starts, because too many “change orders” will wreak havoc on the budget.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on August 25th, 2008
6 Unregistered

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All Glories To Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. Here is our humble request from a simple devotee community…

With Cable TV, Politics and Violence, “Atheism” has already engulfed many of modern minds of this younger generation, thus challenging preaching efforts.

Suggestion for better TVP will always be there eternally and will remain eternal as we can never achieve 100% on this material endeavour.

As rightly pointedout, the material cost of construction is on the raise. Just in the past 2 years, the construction cost in India raised over 250%.

We, the younger generation looking forward to see this modern construction work to start earlier. This is the only INSPIRATION point for us to take forward Mahaprabhu’s mission in this modern world.

This will undoubtedly give high-impetus to the spiritually crippled younger generation.

By the great mercy of guru and gauranga you all have achieved this great feat to great extent. The next generation of devotee needed a good modern design of structure
to battle against the atheistic brands. Anyone can argue for pros and cons citing any points of design.

We do not mean to offend anyone but to share the deeper anxiety sprouting around the already delayed mission.

The more resistance on this construction in any manner WILL financially cripple the project.

PLEASE DO START THE CONSTRUCTION AS PER CURRENT PLAN IMMEDIATELY.

With Humble Obeisances,

- Sivakumar,Sowmyah,Soundharya
(Humble request from NextGen of Devotees)

Comment posted by sivabd on August 25th, 2008
7 Unregistered

Yes, there is every practical reason to follow what Sri Ambarisa Das Prabhu has said. Actually the simple logic is the correct base: “Srila Prabhupada Wished it”, there is no need of any kind of speculation on this, our father & spiritual master has said it & we simply follow it.
We ourselves should not have any verdict with the taste or preference for the structure, Our loving father & spiritual master wished for it & its the duty of every follower to strive for it. Had the design being english, french, Indian Or something else that does not matter, Srila Prabhupada wished it, thats final. He has better understanding of all things & is the best well wisher for his Society & followers.

There are many mundane architectural wonders as palaces, forts, tombs & many exotic temples for the eye-candy lovers in India & abroad. For us within Iskcon our values & ideas should be based on the “Srila Prabhupada Conciousness”. Even the part of Juhu temple Twin Tower Design has idea borrowed from some luxury hotel abroad. Srila Prabhupada revealed the vedic philosophy is such way to accomodate “anyone from anywhere” in his society. The breath & width of cultural diversity is very broad for Iskcon as desired by Srila Prabhupada & it is very bad to associate His thoughts with any particular regional identity or associate Him with any particular design or sect.

When father has indicated, the sons & grandsons should do it, if the sons differ, their wives differ and also the grandsons & their wives differ on wish of the family head, then thats like going nowhere, the family cannot run like that. And espcially when we consider the family head as Srila Prabhupada, then there is no need of second thought. Also, notable is when some sons are taking the major lead of fulfilling the wish is to be greatly appreciated considering the complexity & size of the project, where millions have been spend only on designs.

It will be esctasy doubled for the devotees to witness the TVP finally coming up & that too on the line of Srila Prabhupada’s wish. It is greatly inspiring to live around Srila Prabhupada Conciousness. We must have such place where inspiration will help produce pure devotees. Only the pure devotees can save the world & show the right path for actions to be done. Hence to do this project as-it-is in Prabhupada Consiouness is in greater benefit to Iskcon society & future prospective devotees.

Hare-Krsna

Comment posted by amolwa on August 25th, 2008
8 Unregistered

i was previously thinking that the present design is not a good idea but this statement from Ambarsih prabhu has changed my feelings:

“Since we practically require a larger Temple now, and since architectural, structural engineering is nearly completed, and since I’m giving the major lead gift and the GBC Body has already approved it, where is the Krishna conscious logic to delay the construction and virtually stop it?”

there are 2 sayings that come to mind

1-dont look a gift horse in the mouth

2-make hay while the sun shines

build build build and stop bickering!

Comment posted by hari.nv on August 25th, 2008
9 Unregistered

I agree that we need a bigger place in Mayapur soon, but what happened to the location where Srila Prabhupada himself held the cornerstone ceremony? Is that not the place where he wanted the TVP to be built?

Comment posted by froginwell on August 25th, 2008
10 Unregistered

Respected Devotees,

Please accept my most humble pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

This is the first time I am writing any comment, so forgive my clumsiness. I have been following the debate about the new temple with some interest. I understand His Grace Ambarisa Prabhu, and wish him all the best in pleasing Srila Prabhupada with the Mayapur Temple.

Nevertheless, I wonder, has the present team considered the following points:

1) Since the new plan proposes to position the new temple right amidst other existing buildings of our Mayapur campus, has there been any attempt to create an architectural unity in the whole congested campus? We will have a temple with blue-golden domes standing next to pink buildings, and a Puspa Samadhi which has a white dome and touches of dark yellow and dark red in the design. In previous designs, the buildings stood apart and we had much more freedom. Now, as things stand, we cannot consider the Mayapur Temple as a single, independent architectural endeavor, but must submit its design to the existing designs around it. Could we perhaps at least make the colors similar, perhaps paint the whole campus in the tones used in the Puspa Samadhi, and make the Big Temple in those tones as well?

2) Why is a crystal pyramid being planned for a campus where we wish to create a traditional atmosphere? I heard that it will host a restaurant. Could we not have a more traditional building built for the restaurant? Why such extravagance in rural Bengal? We are already painfully aware of the abyss that exists between the poor local population and us Western devotees. Why make that gap even greater?

3) The previous design proposed a bathing ghat with steps down to the Ganga in front of our property. Why has this beautiful traditional setting been compromised, and replaced by a concrete port in front of our door? Who can ever hope to bathe, to worship Ganga Devi, and to enjoy coming to the bank of the Ganga if we make it so modernised?

4) Roads come into existence whether we like them or not. I would hope that the planners would keep traffic at bay, and would make our whole campus and its immediate surroundings traffic-free, since it is presently anyway so small that we can easily walk. Cycles and rickshaws should be the only options, the rest should be discouraged and kept at a distance.

With these improvements, the present plan would seem much more acceptable to me personally. Thank you, Ys Ananta-sarovara dasi

Comment posted by ananta-sarovara dd on August 26th, 2008
11 pustakrishna

Dear Ambarish das,
Dandavat and Hare Krishna. I recall the genuine affection that Srila Prabhupad had for you during his 1976 visit (when I was his personal secretary) to the new Detroit temple that you and others were so instrumental in procuring. You are a kind-hearted bhakta and so I know that all of these argumentative issues are very painful for you. I cannot conceive of a more generous person in this movement, and Srila Prabhupad rightly named you after the great bhakta Maharaj Ambarish.
As you may know, I left the sanyas ashram in and went on to become a physician, an orthopedic surgeon in the Silicon Valley. I have continued to preach Krishna consciousness all these years and have been accepted by the devotee communities of more than one mission. I too will eventually make a substantial contribution to the construction of the Vedic Planetarium. I must say, that if you are dissuaded by mundane considerations of others, I also would become very discouraged. I have seen many bhaktas become dis-heartened by the actions of other aspiring Vaishnavas. Pradyumna das was a devotee favored by Srila Prabhupad. He was a Sanskrit scholar and we used to call him pandit. Srila Prabhupad loved him, and, it was my understanding that Srila Prabhupad wanted Pradyumna to complete the translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam which Srila Prabhupad did not finish. Not respecting the service which Srila Prabhupad had granted to Pradyumna, others wanting ___________ (you fill in the word), took this service away from Pradyumna, and Pradyumna eventually left ISKCON. This is a scenario that has played out time and time again. If you step on the bhakti-creeper of another vaishnava, if you discourage their service, you may be committing an act of violence. Pradyumna visited my home in Santa Cruz, California some years ago, and he, with his usual grace and transcendental acceptance, had moved on in his life, saddened by that episode.
If one gets credit for “making” devotees, what is the cost for “losing” (nay, destroying) devotees’ service.
Ambarish, I applaud your courage & generosity, and most importantly your devotion. It is clear that your actions are motivated by love for Srila Prabhupad. That is perfection! What is the value of other opinions, mental speculation, that might potentially sabotage your divinely inspired service. Please do not waste your valuable energy trying to defend your actions and service. Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on August 27th, 2008
12 Braja Sevaki

Tattvavit Prabhu:

This is not a democracy. Neither you nor your team of nay-sayers have a jot of experience or history with the TVP project, but have waltzed into the arena at the 11th hour bandying your opinions around—and let’s call a spade a spade: they are opinions and nothing more.

I know you are a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and have done many years of wonderful service to his mission: but not a single hour of it in this area. I doubt very much that Srila Prabhupada would even entertain your opinions on this matter. In fact, I would be inclined to think he’d say something along the lines of “Mind your own business.” From what I’ve seen of Srila Prabhupada’s written histories, purports, and spoken word, he had a trusted team of people he relied on for advice, direction, and input. He didn’t leave the most important decisions in this movement to some mundane “poll” started by people who have no history or experience with the Project.

Perhaps you might consider how to be a useful tool in the execution of Srila Prabhupada’s desire to see this Temple built, rather than yet another obstacle.

All of these things, of course, are merely my opinion….everyone has one, right? :)

your ever-humble servant :)
Braja Sevaki dd in Mayapur and yes, many of us want the temple built so Deena Bandhu is way wrong :)

Comment posted by Braja Sevaki on August 27th, 2008
13 Unregistered

I just read Ambarisa Prabhu’s reply to Tattvavit Prabhu in its entirety during my morning break at work. I feel confident with Ambarisa’s plan. Let it go forward.

y.s.,
Anadi Krsna dasa

Comment posted by Anadi108 on August 27th, 2008
14 Unregistered

Pranams,

I understand the ‘Prabhupada said’ aspect to this discussion thread.
But are’nt we stretching this too much to say Prabhupada liked(s) this current design ?
But yes, we do everything that pleases Srila Prabhupada.
We must strictly obey the orders of a Spiritual master, but does that mean a disciple doesnt use his brain or creativity in KC?
Hence if we are allowed to utilise our capacity/creaticity in KC , then we should surely accept a poll to know how many like this design.

Dasan

Comment posted by scooty.ram on August 28th, 2008
15 Unregistered

I think you are doing a wonderful service Ambarish prabhu. My husband and I like the design for the TVP and wish you well in this amazing project.

Comment posted by Truthseeker108 on August 28th, 2008
16 Unregistered

I really appreciated Pusta Krishna Prabhus post here. I have never really had a chance to get to know Ambarish prabhu during his visits to Mayapur, he always appears to be so busy, but I am happy to hear such a heartfelt appreciation of him as a warm hearted humble servant of Srila Prabhupada.
To discourage someone from performing their service is certainly a valid offense. But does that mean that if their service will have a significant effect on the lives of the devotees in some way or another, it can’t be discussed?
Mayapur dham is dear to many devotees, so naturally they may be concerned about what happens here. If Srila Prabhupada were with us now to pass the final judgment, who would dare to question it? Devotees have supreme faith in his judgement. He left our physical association when the oldest ISKCON member was at best an 11 year devotee. Some are now 40+ year devotees, and the mantle of responsibility has been collectively passed on. Considering our recent past, Is it so unreasonable that this topic should come up for discussion?
It is saddening that the dialogue has to descend into attacks or sarcastic insinuations. I hope that some of the concerns that came up recently have been addressed by the background information just provided by Ambarish Prabhu. He and the team clearly wish to perform this service for Srila Prabhupada and they have their own very sound reasoning’s for the way they wish to do it. But is there really no room for some sane and reasonable discussion in an attempt to pacify devotees, especially senior devotees who have some doubts?
The fact is that ultimately Krishna will allow what he wants to happen in Mayapur. He allows his devotees to participate in these events for their edification, so we should be prepared to learn from the experience, whether it goes against our personal opinions or not.
I have practical reservations about the new design and its placement. So I welcome the chance to hear the opinions of other sober senior devotees, despite their “professional” qualifications. Of course this is not an ideal world, so while Srila Prabhupada wanted us to strive for the ideal we have to accept whatever Krishna wills. I am prepared to go along with whatever plan emerges, but does it mean that we should just give up our intelligence and not seek a wider understanding?
Your servant
Samba das (Mayapur Masterplan)

Comment posted by Samba das on August 28th, 2008
17 Unregistered

Dear Ambarisa Prabhu,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada. Please accept my humble obeisances.

As common knowledge tells us, you cannot please all the people, all of the time.

Srila Prabhupada taught us that preaching is the essence. The grand TVP structure you have proposed, will definitely increase the preaching in Mayapura, and throughout the world.

Although the external form of the temple is certainly important, the internal purpose of the temple is to spiritually educate and inspire as many people as possible. This internal purpose holds a higher priority and surpasses any other relatively minor considerations, such as the degree of Indian-ness the external walls may display.

It’s simple enough, if your TVP project goes ahead, preaching is increased. If the present plans are not implemented, the TVP may not manifest for an indeterminate number of years or generations.

I believe Prabhupada would bless the starting of this project, immediately. The fact that it actually could start very soon, indicates a blessing in itself, compared to the alternative conception proposed by Tattvavit Prabhu, which at present has no verifiable means of manifesting at any given date in the future.

To axe your project which is already funded and well thought out, in favor a group of subjective opinion holders who have no approved alternative design, or any funding whatsoever in place, actually hurts our preaching mission.

Mayapura is already a tourist haven, as indicated by the fact that it’s not always easy to book a room, even in non-festival times.

To speculate that people won’t be interested to come to the TVP because it’s not Indian-looking enough, may not be very scientific, or objective.

Can anyone say with certainty that a fixed percentage of people, will or will not visit or appreciate the TVP experience, because of one type of architectural design or another? What can be said with certainty is that no one will benefit if the construction is delayed indefinitely.

As you mentioned, there are many huge Vedic style temples that we have seen in south India and other places, which are mostly empty, because there is very little preaching going on, if any. Preaching remains the essence, whether in a park or a palace.

I would hope your internal desire to make this offering to Srila Prabhupada will be implemented by the GBC and accepted with great appreciation from our Vaishnava community.

Your servant,
Bhojadeva dasa

Comment posted by Bhojadeva dasa on August 28th, 2008
18 Unregistered

Yes Prabhu, definitely we must have creative element and also understand all the criticism is in good faith not intending to hurt anybody but also important is to follow the ‘Law Of Maryada-vyatikrama’ in our devotional life.

SB text 3.4.25 & 26 (read also Purport)
Scene: Vidura has left home & set out for self-realization comes in contact with Uddhava. Uddhava said to have received confidential knowledge not imparted in Bhagavad Gita from Sri Krsna during His fianl pasttime. So Vidura requested Uddhava to describe him the precious knowledge. To this Uddhava directed Vidura to Maitreya Rsi.

purport : “ The rule is that in the presence of a higher personality one should not be very eager to impart instructions, even if one is competent and well versed” .

So-

1) The science we all are learning is 5000 years old & given the current state of affairs in the world, it clear it wont get outdated for the next 10,000 years as said by Srila Prabhupada. Who is a scholar of this science & upto date no one within our society or the world at large has come close to his example of devotional standards, dexterity or dept. of understanding. In other words we are unfit to check his vision & alter with our immaturity.

2) The project is strugglingly desired by the heart of Iskcon which consists of Renunciates, Devotees and most experienced & capable disciples of Srila Prabhupada. The whole concept of Bhakti-Yoga is based on “Pleasing the Spiritual Master”. Srila Prabhupada has quoted several times “If you simply try to serve the Spiritual Master with Pure Devotion, your life is successful”. He himself followed it & managed to serve His spiritual master decades after his disap. Service to Spiritual Master is Service To Krsna.

3) Its not a case of “Coca cola company sponsoring a Soccer Stadium” nor is it we are buying a “grand chandelier from the market & wondering whether it will fit in our home nicely”. Obvisouly it’s planned for good, generously funded & executed by devotees who have work-on-hand of bigger projects than the TVP in scale, in their professional lives. So don’t worry about the teething problems.

There are 6 billion souls on earth, so a BIG service awaits for “those earnestly wanting” to serve the Lord. Let us practice more seriously in the science of God and then Let us construct more temples everywhere with “our creative” elements to save the fallen souls with common cause to serve our Spiritual Master & the Lord.

Your servant
Hare

Comment posted by amolwa on August 28th, 2008
19 Braja Sevaki

PS: And a simultaneous standing ovation and full dandavats to Pusta Krishna prabhu….thank you for a most essential reminder.

Your servant
Braja Sevaki dd

Comment posted by Braja Sevaki on August 28th, 2008
20 Unregistered

Hare Krishna
PAMHO

Firstly my sincere obeisances at the lotus feet of HG Ambarisha Prabhu for his exemplary service and his attitude.
Those who have seen him or spoken to him or witnessed him speak to others know how humble he is.
This is a hard act for someone who has so much material opulence and prestige.

My obeisances also to HG Tattvavit prabhu and others who may not like how good the new design is. I too heard some opinions on how it looks less exciting or similar to a mosque.

Nevertheless there are some important points.

1. The new design also looks good in some ways and is pleasing to many devotees for sure.

2. It seems more realistic given ISKCON reality now. Ambarisha Prabhu is the best judge on this matter since he is closely connected to the project.

3. As Ambarisha Prabhu points out, another temple can always come up later which could be more grandiose if needed.

4. I have heard some devotees say that Srila Prabhupada said that Mayapur will be a city by itself, even a separate state.
Such a state can have many huge temples and world attractions.

Finally my humble opinion is this: So many wonderful devotees have labored hard to build a nice temple and Ambarisha Prabhu has worked hard to make it a reality.
Surely it is right that they see their Krishna conscious desire of a grand temple turn into reality.

There is plenty of land in Mayapur. Let this temple be built and let all of us pray for it to be a success.

And let more and more grand temples come up in the future to please the desires of more and more devotees in the time to come.

- Finally may many wonderful devotees get a chance to live in Mayapur and enjoy this great temple.

Let us all pray for it to come up in a flash.

Haribol.

All glories to both sides of this discussion - for both want to please Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna.

your insignificant servant from

IskconMatrimonials

P.S. I hope it comes up soon and there is also a marriage hall…so it can also become a dream wedding place for devotees from all over the world
:)

Comment posted by ISKCON.Matrimonials on August 28th, 2008
21 Braja Sevaki

Samba, I find your comments perhaps a little in the category of “lip service.” I recall trying to discuss a planning issue with you here in Mayapur, and got nothing but a brush-off. The feeling I was left with was that it didn’t concern me, I wasn’t on the Mayapur Masterplan (whatever that is), and so what I thought didn’t count — despite having worked with the SMPDC for some years, despite knowing Ambarisa’s plans and mood quite well, despite living in Mayapur, and despite so many other factors that might give me the right to say I know a little of what I’m speaking.

And I will say to you what I said to Tattvavit pr: unless someone has spent some years here, worked with the Mayapur Project, is privy to “what Srila Prabhuapda” said moreso than those involved, or has experience in design/architecture or any other such field, then their opinion is merely an opinion. If you want to support a democratic process, then please show me anywhere that Srila Prabhupada said this was an option. Please. Anyone. Anywhere. I’m waiting.

Your servant
Braja Sevaki dd

Comment posted by Braja Sevaki on August 29th, 2008
22 Unregistered

I support Tattvavit Prabhu and Janakirama Prabhu’s statements.

As I have been working with the research team working on the content of
the Planetarium museum (research on Puranas and other sctriptures), co-organizing it, I must admit that there are a very few devotees who want to work on the research on sastra and the ones that tried often lack qualifications. Achitecture aside, there is no way that we are ready to show the puranic view on cosmology to the world and we will not be ready for a long time. Why to rush then with the construction itself? First, as a ‘vedic’ planetarium it must at least be built according to some cosmological/vastu rules (like the Anghora temple). I think that the first step it to educate specialists in this field. Then something very powerful could be created.

All enthusiasts of the project like those devotees speaking here who want a progress with the construction, are very welcome to contact the planetarium team if they have not done that already, because there is plenty of research to be done. If you want it to be done quick, then please, do something practical!

Comment posted by Rasasthali on August 29th, 2008
23 Braja Sevaki

Rasasthali: While the TVP is the name of this construction, I believe the actual design is three “separate” inner sections in the temple: one the Planetarium, one the main deity chamber, and one Nrsimhadeva’s altar.

While you may not be ready to present the final Planetarium to the world, I hardly think it’s a reason to stop the entire project. Construction–when it ever finally gets off the ground–will take 6-10 yrs, realistically, and after that, I understand the work inside will be ongoing.

And what greater inspiration for you all than actually seeing the building going up….

Your servant
Braja Sevaki dd

Comment posted by Braja Sevaki on August 29th, 2008
24 Unregistered

Dear Ambarish prabhu,

Thanks for your article and coming forward to answer some devotees’ concerns. My main concern is building on the garden area.

To summarise your reasons for building on the garden area, you are saying we must build there right away because delaying further to get planning permission for the open land, costs will escalate to impractical levels.

Although the gardens do not have any existing buildings that need demolishing, it does not mean they are not as valuable to the preaching as if they did, or that the structures that surround them do not derive much of their value from having the open gardens at their centre. Building in the garden area affects the current success of many other structures which depend on it, the lotus building, the long building and the main temple. Building on this site is undoing a lot of valuable work that has gone on in Mayapura already and which works extermely well. These gardens are not the same as the outlaying fields around Mayapura, they play a very important and historic role in the life and preaching of ISKCON Mayapura.

Srila Prabhupada DID say of the current structures to be careful even putting nails in the walls because we did not know where they came from (the buildings, not the nails). He also spoke of our bad habit of changing things. Locating the new temple as planned will cause the loss of what is already a very successful area of Sree Mayapura, perhaps the most successful, the gardens and impressive access route to the existing central buildings.

Also, if building the TVP is interrupted for any reason due to escalating costs, supply shortages, funds, war, local politics etc there will be an interruption to ISKCON Mayapura for an indetermined period with neither a garden or temple at the centre, but a building site… It is a possibility that we not only lose the garden area in order to build the TVP, but risking destroying the property. At least now we have something worthwhile and solid. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But we really want two birds in the hand. That is why we must get the required planning permission for the open fields. Whoever says it is impossible may not be the right person for the job. Whoever is on a career path may not either…

continued on next posting…

Comment posted by antardwip das on August 30th, 2008
25 Unregistered

Continued from last posting…

How apathetic would devotees be if they didn’t question WHY they are losing a feature central to their world headquarters - possibly including (judging from the video clip) Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir?

So if we wait, will rising building costs make building a temple impossible? Well, no-one has a crystal ball to fortell future prices for sure, that is a fact. It could be a commodity price bubble. They have risen 250% in the last few years one devotee writes in, and he says they are likely to rise more. But that prices will rise is not written in stone. What if prices drop, the government gives permission for the land, and we have lost the garden area and the existing Mayapura environment in the meantime to build a temple cramped in on all sides, who will be grateful?

We want to do service, not disservice. Enthusiasm is necessary, confidence is necessary, but so also is patience.

Your Servant,

Antardwip das

ps I would like to work with whoever is doing the exhibits etc that go inside the temple if I get the chance.

Comment posted by antardwip das on August 30th, 2008
26 bhakta piyush

Working in a spirit of co-operation is (obviously) better than challenging the whole idea. If anything I noticed probably the pyramid draws alot of criticism/attention, could be in the wrong place (it does not bother me that much though), and I guess to some minor degree people walking around the simulated project dressed in modern attire might have a small subtle influence on the mind too (due to the softwares limitations of course.) As would the apparent lack of vedic sybolism in the grounds immeditely surrounding the temple.

Upon reading H.G. Ambarish Prabhu’s reply which gives the facts and details the situation on ground zero, also considering H.H. Sivarama Swami’s statements esp. abt how Srila Prabhupada wanted projects completed quickly, and H.H. Giriraja Swami’s clarification/support, I don’t think there is much room or time for debate. It is going to be built in any way shape or form and we will get used to it, hopefully, otherwise we might lament forever and/or create a schism among our good devotees. No use beating a dead horse as they say.

Comment posted by bhakta piyush on August 30th, 2008
27 Pandu das

Hare Krishna. My humble obeisances to the assembled devotees. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Since these discussions about the contruction of the TVP began here, I’ve been wondering if devotees have a clear enough understanding of Vedic cosmography to display an appropriate model in the proposed temple. I have been trying to understand this myself, but I’m finding it quite difficult. There are several books I have yet to read, so maybe I’m just revealing my ignorance and foolishness here. It would certainly be wonderful to see the world of Srimad Bhagavatam magnificently depicted in a temple (though my commitments leave little opportunity to travel), but seeing Rasasthali’s comment (22) above gives me pause.

What are others’ views on this? Are there devotees who have enough of a clear and complete understanding of Vedic cosmographyto make a 3-dimensional model of it to communicate this knowledge to the public? I certainly hope so. I think it would be an embarassment to build a temple like this without being able to fill it with its intended subject matter. Ordinary people as well as scientists should see the depiction and say, “Wow, that makes perfect sense. Amazing. Do you have any of those Srimad Bhagavatams for sale?” To my view, this is a lot more important than what the temple looks like on the outside. If those in charge know ‘we’ can do that even now, then my insignificant voice says to “Go ahead, do it!” If not, then maybe we’re “putting the cart before the horse.” Please forgive any offense on my part. Hare Krishna.

Comment posted by Pandu das on September 3rd, 2008
28 Akruranatha

Pandu Prabhu and Rasasthali and others have raised an interesting point, echoing something Hari Sauri said about what’s inside the TOVP being more important than the external building.

I, for one, echo Pandu’s desire to hear more about the design of the planetarium inside, which is the really revolutionary aspect of this project.

Rasasthali says the first step is to educate “specialists.” My own insignificant and uninformed opinion is that what Srila Prabhupada requested and ordered us to do does not necessarily require32+ years of difficult research in many different Puranas and esoteric Vedic texts.

I am not very aware of Srila Prabhupada’s specific instructions regarding the planetarium, but I always had the impression that he wanted a straightforward and not overly complex presentation of the cosmology found in his books, primarily Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta (and for Goloka there is Brahma Samhita), something like the cover of the First Canto, explaining Goloka, numerous Vaikuntha planets, the Mahat Tattva with Maha Visnu emanating many universes, each of which contains a Brahma, and then 14 planetary systems within the three divisions of Bhur, Bhuvah, and Svarga, with the different types of beings in their respective planets, such as Nagas, Gandharvas, Siddhas, etc.

There is such a wealth of information in Prabhupada’s books, also about the cycle of four yugas, the karunavatar of Lord Caitanya, the importance of Srimad Bhagavatam (idam bhagavatam nama purana brahma sammitam . . .) We could make museum-style displays depicting all of this information that is in Prabhupada’s books. Why overcomplicate things by trying to learn from other sources, and possibly becoming confused?

But it is easy for me to say. I have not actually labored at trying to design the displays and presentation. I am sure those like Rasasthali who are doing the work are finding problems in the details. It is a great yajna they are doing.

However, I remember (I think?) Prabhupada wanted us to have the planetarium completed in 10 years. Did he really want us to go reading all these other books, or just to present what is in his books attractively and faithfully?

We cannot expect to “out-scientist” the scientists. We are not going to beat them at their game (ascending knowledge, complex analysis). Our task is to simply make an attractive presentation of the simple revealed truth which is presented abundantly in Prabhupada’s books.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on September 12th, 2008
29 Akruranatha

Yesterday I received an email from Anuttama Prabhu (not Rukmini’s husband the GBC, but the other D.C. Anuttama), with some photos of a huge display in an airport in Thailand of the devas and asuras churning the milk ocean, very beautifully done in Thai style.

I am forwarding the pictures to Dandavats editors so hopefully they can reproduce some of them here.

This kind of dazzling 3-D depictions of scenes from Srimad Bhagavatam would be very attractive to display in Mayapur at the TOVP. It is like the F.A.T.E. project on a grand scale, depicting parampara descriptions from Bhagavatam.

In my mind’s eye, the inside of the TOVP will be something like that. When you walk into the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (or the NY one) you see all kinds of dioramas and stuffed animals (big wooly mammoth, giant blue whale, more or less fictitious depictions of scenes from daily cro-magnon and neanderthal life, hunting a sabre tooth tiger, etc.)

To have at least one big place in Mayapur where Srimad Bhagavatam is on display like that would really glorify Srimad Bhagavatam. It would be a great attraction for people from all over India and all over the world.

If there are magnificent displays inside, that will be a big draw, and will make huge propaganda for Krishna consciousness. People will want post cards of the different exhibits, which will become more famous than the Smithsonian’s mastadon or the Louvre’s “Mona Lisa.”

Compared to what is inside, the whole question of the design of the exterior building kind of pales. Why does it have to be built according to vastu rules? Did Prabhupada request that? (I do not pretend to know whether he did or didn’t, but if he didn’t, then aren’t we being like the disciple who brings milk when the guru requests water?)

Comment posted by Akruranatha on September 12th, 2008

Comments are closed. Please check back later.

 
 
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