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Srila Prabhupada and Jaladuta Sculpture Installed Outside ISKCON Boston

By: for ISKCON News on Aug. 20, 2018
Events

Left - the sculpture stands in ISKCON Boston's front garden. Right - Pyari Mohan Das offers arati to Srila Prabhupada

On Sunday August 5th, the 52ndanniversary of ISKCON’s incorporation according to the Vaishnava calendar, around 200 devotees gathered outside the ISKCON Boston temple to install an historic sculpture of Srila Prabhupada.

The specially commissioned sculpture was created for ISKCON’s 50thanniversary celebrations in 2016. Designed by Russian devotee Madan Mohan Das and sculpted by Ukranian artist Volodymyr Zhuravel, the beautifully detailed bronze piece depicts Srila Prabhupada disembarking from the Jaladuta cargo ship at Boston’s Commonwealth Pier, where he arrived to bring Lord Chaitanya’s message to the Western World.

The sculpture was originally unveiled in two parts during a massive celebration at Kolkata’s Netaji Indoor Stadium in 2015, in honor of Srila Prabhupada departing Kolkata for the U.S. The first part of the sculpture, showing Prabhupada boarding the Jaladuta, has already been installed in Kolkata.

Both sides of the sculpture together at an ISKCON 50 event in Kolkata

The Boston side of the sculpture was finally installed on August 5thafter Boston devotees worked hard for two years navigating red tape to get a permit from the city.

On the installation day, the whole ISKCON Boston congregation sang bhajans in the temple, before gathering outside at 12:00pm. As everyone sang prayers to Srila Prabhupada, Niranjana Swami unveiled the sculpture in the garden just in front of the Boston temple. 

There, it stands two meters tall atop a granite pedestal which reads: “September 17th, 1965 – A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Arrived by cargo ship from India to share Lord Krishna’s philosophy and culture with the world.” 

Niranjana Swami unveils the sculpture

Beneath this is Srila Prabhupada prayer written aboard the Jaladuta: “Somehow or other, O Lord, you have brought me here to speak about you. Now, my Lord, it is up to you to make me a success or failure as you like.”

After unveiling the sculpture, devotees performed Gurupuja to Srila Prabhupada as well as pushpanjali, a flower offering.

Celebrations continued in the temple with a feast and speeches by Prabhupada disciples Pyari Mohan Das, Asurakula Nasana Das, and Niranjana Swami.

“Niranjana Swami spoke about Srila Prabhupada’s arrival, and the significance of having the sculpture outside our temple, saying that it reminds us of Prabhupada’s contribution to the world,” recalls Boston temple president Vanamali Das. 

The sculpture will also introduce the general public to Srila Prabhupada and his achievements. The Boston temple is located on a prestigious street lined with many other monuments, and tourists regularly walk the streets, reading the various historical markers. Since the Srila Prabhupada monument was installed, many passersby have already stopped to admire the sculpture and read the inscriptions upon it.

The sculpture will also introduce the general public to Srila Prabhupada and his achievements. The Boston temple is located on a prestigious street lined with many other monuments, and tourists regularly walk the streets, reading the various historical markers. Since the Srila Prabhupada monument was installed, many passersby have already stopped to admire the sculpture and read the inscriptions upon it.

The project is still in development – a lotus-shaped garden is being built around Srila Prabhupada, while devotees are also presenting a proposal to the city to create a structure that will cover him and protect him from the elements.

The beautiful sculpture stands in the front garden of the Boston temple atop a granite pedestal inscribed with a quote from Srila Prabhupada 

While some on social media have wondered why this structure wasn’t present from the beginning, Vanamali Das explains that it had to be installed now to meet deadlines imposed by the city. Otherwise, devotees would have lost their permission, and with it all the hard work they had put in over two years. They are now doing their best to get the protective structure approved by Boston’s architectural commission. 

Until then, the sculpture is there for all to admire. “This is a very significant and historic event for all of ISKCON,” Vanamali says.

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[ boston ] [ jaladuta ] [ prabhupada ]
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