After screening a short film about Mayapur on the sixth day of ILS, Brjavilasa Das spoke to the ILS delegates on behalf of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), stressing the importance of Mayapur in the eyes of Srila Prabhupada. He mentioned that Prabhupada had wanted to establish Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the yugavatara for this age from the precincts of this temple.
“In 1969, Srila Prabhupada gave his first ever instruction on Mayapur to Gopal Krishna Goswami,” announced Brjavilasa Das. “He told him that if he went to India, he should go to Mayapur and build a temple there.”
He explained that Bhaktivinoda Thakura had seen a vision of the temple from his residence in Svarupaganj, across the river Jalangi. He had also envisioned Americans, Russians and Europeans dancing and singing here with karatalas and mridangas.
“Srila Prabhupada accepted Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s vision as his life’s mission,” explained Brajavilasa. “He was very clear about his vision for the Mayapur temple. He had thanked all his disciples for helping to build the temple as an offering to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He had instructed all branches of ISKCON to give money for the construction of this temple. Prabhupada had even instructed us to bring the Queen of England for the opening of this temple. In this way, his instructions for Mayapur were crystal clear.”
Jananivas Das, the Head Priest of the Mayapur temple, described how Nityananda Prabhu in a conversation with Jiva Goswami had predicted that the Ganges would flood the birth-place of Lord Chaitanya, 100 years after his birth.
“For 300 years, the birth-place would be submerged under water,” he explained. “And Lord Nityananda had predicted that it would be rediscovered once again. He had said that houses would be built, kirtan would be held constantly, and a great temple would be built. From this temple, service to Lord Gauranga will spread all over the world. All of this is happening here right now.”
Brajavilasa recollected how Jananivisa Das had accompanied him to North America with Lord Nityananda’s padukas (peg-shoes) to 45 temples where they had raised over $16 million from 3000 people. He explained that the total cost of the TOVP project was $90 million, out of which Ambarish Das had given $25 million, and $15 million had been collected by the worldwide fund-raising drive. “We have pledges for an additional $20 million, which leaves us with a shortfall of around $30 million,” he said. “Even if 3000 people pledge $11,000 each, we can complete this temple in the service of Prabhupada.”
Several ILS delegates immediately pledged their support by filling pledge forms. Over $250,000 were collected in less than an hour, with promises of more pledges during the day. A special mention was made of Gopal Bhatta Das, head of the GBC Strategic Planning Committee, who pledged $100,000.
After the TOVP presentation, Kaunteya Dasa mentioned the launch of Bhaktimarriages.com, an online portal for pre-marital counselling and care.
“We support the devotees who wish to get married, to live together as followers of Srila Prabhupada, and to assist each other in spiritual life,” said Radha Govinda Dasi, Project Director of Bhakti Marriages. “We believe that in ISKCON the only way to stable, successful marriages is to learn and follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. Before getting married, all devotees should go through training. Our portal offers many courses for men and women, offers services in astrological compatibility, and a databank of quotes and instructions from Srila Prabhupada.”
In the evening, ILS delegates were treated to a special film festival organised by ISKCON Television and Vande Arts. Over 20 clips and trailers were screened from various genres such as documentaries, narratives and drama to a packed audience at the Nama Hatta building.[ gbc ] [ ils ] [ mayapura ]