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TVP–A Personal Reflection

Monday, 01 September 2008 / Published in Discussion / 3,861 views

By Giriraj Swami

When Srila Prabhupada’s puspa-samadhi opened in Mayapur, a godbrother commented to me that it was not in the Bengali style and suggested that it should have been built in the original, authentic, local style, to fit with the architecture of the other temples in the area.

Some days later I went on parikrama to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house in Godruma-dvipa. Upstairs, on the balcony off his bedroom, where he used to chant his japa, I looked across the Jalangi River to Mayapur. It is said that once, from that balcony, Bhaktivinoda Thakura had looked across the river and had a vision of a wonderful temple and Vedic city in Mayapur.

From that same balcony, I saw Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi, and although the architecture was not in the local tradition, the impression—the intuition—I got was that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was pleased. He had wanted devotees from all over the world to come to Mayapur and chant “Hare Krsna! Haribol!” and dance in ecstasy together. And the samadhi architecture, which combined elements of various styles, was the visible manifestation of the fulfillment of his vision and desire that devotees from around the globe join together in Mayapur in service to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The impression I got was that he was pleased with the samadhi and its unique style, because his desire—Mahaprabhu’s desire—was that the sankirtana movement spread to every town and village of every country of the world, that people everywhere become Krsna conscious. So I felt that he was pleased with the samadhi, because it was the emblem of Krsna consciousness spreading throughout the world, the emblem of the combined effort of devotees of Caitanya Mahaprabhu from all over the world to glorify the person who brought Krsna consciousness to them.

Thinking from his perspective, I imagined that he wasn’t really thinking about all the little details that went into the creation of the samadhi—all our little troubles. Of course, I am sure that he appreciates the trouble we took. Even amongst ourselves, we had our differences. But from his point of view, he saw the result—a magnificent creation that we had all worked together to achieve—and he was pleased with all of us, with our collective effort, and would bless us all.

Then I thought of Srila Prabhupada’s statement to us in Calcutta that if we just build this great temple in Mayapur, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura will personally come and take us all back to Godhead. From our point of view, on the ground level, we may see our problems and differences as big, sometimes even overwhelming. But from the perspective of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the problems are just obstacles to overcome in the course of devotional service. What really counts is the service. It is the service we perform, in spite of all the difficulties in the material world, that pleases him and the acaryas and gains for us their blessings and mercy.

Anyway, these were some of my thoughts on Navadvipa parikrama, on the balcony of Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house in Godruma-dvipa, looking across the river to Mayapur, to the site of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium.


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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: -11 ) says:

    Beautiful realizations from Giriraja Maharaja! I love to hear the words of our senior leaders like Giriraja Maharaja, Dina Bandhu, Hari Sauri, Sivarama Swami and so many other great disciples of Prabhupada. They are all our spiritual masters.

    Sometimes I have difficulty tolerating the existence of conflicts between them, but I can see that their motivation is the intense concern for how to properly serve Srila Prabhupada and fulfill his orders.

    Giriraja Maharaja is like a giant monument, a great hero of ISKCON. If anyone knows something about making sacrifices to complete a building project for Srila Prabhupada it is him.

    By comparison to all these great devotees, I feel very “apathetic”, just blogging on Dandavats whatever pops into my head, to entertain myself, a lightweight who has not done anything significant for Prabhupada.

    In the back of my mind I hear a voice saying, “Why does this Akruranatha have so many opinions about everything? He even contradicts himself. Why can’t he just shut up?” I beg the devotees to forgive me for indulging my propensity to talk and talk. At least, I am trying to talk favorably about things of concern to devotees, so I think it is beneficial to me as long as I am not causing a disturbance.

    I had never heard before this statement that Bhaktivinode Thakur would take us back to Godhead if we build the temple. I have faith in these words, which make me feel, “By all means, build it without delay!”

    Of course it might be too much to hope that the Thakur will take us *all* back. Maybe it just means he will take those who have invested their time, energy, wealth, blood, sweat and tears in building the temple. But Giriraja Maharaja said the statement was that Bhaktivinode would take us *all* back, so there is reason to hope that includes even those who contribute a little bit. (We should all have faith in these words and contribute what we can, even if it is just sending a little money. Why should we allow Ambarish to hoard all the mercy of contributing so much money? There is an opportunity here for everyone to contribute according to his or her own ability? :-)

    One thought: To really see Mayapur as it truly is, nondifferent from Vrndavan, made completely of cintamani, populated by laksmis and surabhis and kalpa vrksas, requires purified senses: sevonmukhe hi jihvadau

    We have to build a nice temple as Prabhupada wants, according to our means, but the real beauty is seen by pure devotional service.

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    pustakrishna ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Akruranath das,
    Dandavat and Hare Krishna. It is natural that a sweet natured humble bhakta like your self should find “angst” that you cannot do something more for Krishna. That is true for every devotee, no matter what they may have offered of their body, mind, words, wealth to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga. Most important, is to remember Krishna, place the Supreme Lord at the Center of one’s life. You are doing that, practically.
    But, always remember that Srila Prabhupad did not venture out of India until age 70. Despite a lifetime of preparation and wonderful service, full of so many sacrifices and trials and tribulations, he came…and he transformed the world. It is never too late to offer something wonderful to Krishna. Man proposes and God disposes (eko bahunam yo vidhadhata kaman).
    I think that the Krishna Consciousness Movement, inaugurated in the West by Srila Prabhupad, has not seen its “best days”. I am firmly convinced that the magic which Srila Prabhupad created will blossom over and over again, in waves of auspicious happiness. There is no religious culture that comes close to bhakti-yoga, as presented by Srila Prabhupad, in bringing the wandering jiva-souls to their real senses, to a connection with their Creator. So, I am very optimistic for the future of Krishna Consciousness. All of the principles have been laid out for us by His DIvine Grace, and we have to accept that the overflowing ecstasy of Sankirtan cannot be digested by oneself without DISTRIBUTION. We are never safe in the material world (padam padam …), at every step there is danger, but by surrendering to the ALL-POWERFUL Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna, we easily cross over those dangers of limited illusory self-interest to the plane of supreme dedication.
    So, keep on “blogging” for now, Akruranath Prabhu. I know you personally, as you live no more than 5 or 10 miles from me near Santa Cruz. Others who simply read your thoughts in print do not know how enthusiastic and kind-hearted you are. Even though you are an attorney, and I am a doctor (usually a repulsive combo), I like you as a person and as a devotee. I see you on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz distributing Srila Prabhupad’s books, and I also am inspired by your fine example. Rock on!!! Hare Krishna.
    Sincerely, Pusta Krishna das

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: -11 ) says:

    Thank you Pusta Krishna Prabhu for your message of optimism about the spread of Krishna Consciousness, and also for your personal words of encouragement. It is great to see you “blogging” here too on Dandavats. It can be a great forum for Krishna Katha.

    I do not think I could quit even if I tried, but I do get embarrassed sometimes that I am writing so much compared to other commenters. I should at least resolve not to “pull the trigger” too quickly, and to try to improve the quality of what I do write.

    This TVP issue is a touchy one because I sense it has caused some friction or hurt feelings among devotees. I regret that when the 3-D representation first was published on Dandavats, I quickly reacted with some hard words, indulging in being a “critic”, without any knowledge of the real challenges facing the devotees who are trying so hard to fulfill Prabhupada’s order, and without considering that I might be causing unhappiness or offense to those Vaisnavas. (It can be dangerous to blog on a devotee forum. To hurt a devotee’s feelings can ruin your life.)

    [I sometimes think if I had my life to do over again, instead of becoming a lawyer I would become a literary or film critic. It is scary that I am thinking that way. I do not want to have to “do over again” another material lifetime, and I do not really want to read and pay attention to the ideas and words of so many mundane people. I guess I just think that would better than having to read legal briefs all the time, where people are making complicated but often dishonestly motivated arguments in order to win money.

    But it seems to me that the ideal, sweetest occupation of all would be to become a connoiseur and glorifier of Srila Prabhupada’s books. That kind of “literary critic” I could be for eternity, and after all, is that not the true perfect ideal of what a book distributor actually does?]

    It is so easy to write something quickly on the internet without thinking carefully about how it will affect some who reads it. This is especially true when we have passionate concerns about the success of certain cherished desires of Srila Prabhupada. But it is nice to have a kind of international electronic isthaghosti where we can hear the (hopefully constructive) insights, questions and concerns of the devotees, and hopefully become more unified, harmonious and peaceful in how we go on as a society carrying out Srila Prabhupada’s wishes in cooperation as one family.

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: -11 ) says:

    p.s. Pusta, I know you have another engagement on Sunday, but in case you have not heard H.H. Radhanatha Swami will be speaking at ISV in the morning for Radhastami.

    The program starts at 7 a.m. and Maharaja will begin his bhajan and discourse at 7:45 a.m., then there will be an abhiseka at 11 a.m. So if you are able to stop by sometime Sunday morning please try to make it. It promises to be another great ISV festival that will have the devotees swimming in bliss.

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    Madhusudana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Regarding Radhanatha Swami, I would highly encourage everyone to listen to his lecture from last night in San Diego about the “cell phone story.” I am still “soaking wet” from swimming in bliss from hearing that talk.

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: -11 ) says:

    Thanks, Citraka prabhu, for providing the link.

    The “cell phone story” was extremely entertaining, but I was left feeling very eager to hear the rest of the lecture. It cut off and left me hanging, increasing my eagerness like an old movie serial: “Will Kholaveca sell a banana flower? How can we become satisfied with nothing but loving service to Krishna? Tune in next time to find out. . .”

    Is there anywhere where the whole lecture can be seen, or heard?

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    Akruranatha ( User Karma: -11 ) says:

    I am sure the whole amazing lecture was recorded and will be available at some point. Now I am eagerly anticipating it. The “cell phone” story was a great appetizer to the rest of the feast.

    It also reminds us that we should ALWAYS turn off cell phones and pagers before attending lectures. Crying babies sometimes cannot be avoided perhaps, but cell phones and beepers going off in a lecture are an unnecessary evil. It is distracting to the listeners and disrespectful to the speaker and to the divine subject matter. We turn our cell phones off before a concert, play, movie or court proceeding, so we should also train ourselves to remember to do so in the Lord’s temple.

    In this case, though, it was an occasion for a nice story invoking Maharaja’s former life with a great yogi in a cave, and his more recent reunion with the yogi’s disciple. I can’t wait for Maharaja’s book to come out, which I hope tells the whole history of his remarkable life.

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    Madhusudana ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m really sorry Akruranatha prabhu; when I saw the title “cell phone story” I assumed that it was the whole lecture. But it was only the short middle part of his talk. I’ve asked Mahat Tattva if anyone recorded the lecture, and I’m still waiting to find out. I try to ask around a bit. It’s the lecture in it’s entirety that was REALLY amazing. We’ll see….

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