February 14, 2000 VNN5471 Comment on this story
ISKCON Sri Mayapur Project Media Release
BY BHAGAVAT DHARMA DASA
USA, Feb 14 (VNN) Media Release - 12th February 2000.
From the Sri Mayapur Project Communications Office.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the text from His Holiness Paramadwaiti Maharaj, on the subject of the ISKCON Sri Mayapur Master Plan, published by VNN on the 11th Feb (see VNN Story 5455), is that he could have called our managing director Abhirama prabhu at any time and discussed these matters threadbare. Abhirama had already given time to discuss with Maharaj in Vrndavana within the last year, and commented that Maharaj's input was helpful and appreciated. There were several inaccuracies in Maharaj's statements, and we do not know why he has risked disturbing the minds of the Vaishnavas by broadcasting them without first talking to us.
Srila Prabhupada's plan was to build a world-class temple 350 feet high to the glory of Sri Panca Tattva, with an integral preaching theme, which establishes the veracity of Vedic cosmology.
Yes, ISKCON has a bold and far-reaching agenda for the development of its community in Sri Mayapur dhama. It is well known that this was one of the most important instructions of our founder-acharya, Srila Prabhupada, who meditated constantly on the glorification of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the parampara, as he travelled and preached throughout the world.
Srila Prabhupada's plan was to build a world-class temple 350 feet high to the glory of Sri Panca Tattva, with an integral preaching theme, which establishes the veracity of Vedic cosmology. He wanted to develop a spiritual township around it, as envisioned by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
He wanted to draw in resources from abroad. Indeed, he wanted to draw the whole world to Mayapur, as did the Thakura himself. Srila Prabhupada hoped to see the message of Lord Chaitanya established in the hearts and minds of all humanity. He spoke of inviting the King of England and the President of America to the opening ceremony of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. This was broad and deep thinking, without doubt in the mood of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
As for illicit activities in the dham, ISKCON, along with other Vaishnavas, has fought a tremendous battle in the courts to get the hotels that were facilitating drinking and prostitution closed down. After a huge fight, during which death threats were made against Dayaram prabhu and other ISKCON leaders, we achieved the complete closure of one hotel, which the owner eventually sold to us. We may now turn that into a medical centre. Other hotel owners are now more careful about their activities.
We also succeeded in getting an unprecedented court order banning illicit activity in the dham. It is an unfortunate fact that liquor stores line the roads as you drive towards Vrindavan, but in Mayapur we have a system whereby every bus is stopped before they enter the dham precincts and if they have liquor on board they are refused entry. This is being enforced by ISKCON and ISKCON alone.
As 'a rising tide raises all ships', so the development and success of Srila Prabhupada's preaching, on behalf of his spiritual master and the parampara, has brought a tremendous influx to the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya. The number of pilgrims entering the dhama grows year on year. The preaching and facilities of all the Gaudiya maths has increased. We consider that planned future development is of the utmost importance if we wish to preserve this positive atmosphere, and of course we welcome communication with our respected neighbours. We should all be very mindful of the horrors of unplanned development, which we see all around us in India, especially in other places of pilgrimage.
Our directors and planning team will all be in Mayapur to make our annual report to the ISKCON GBC, in a weeks time. We welcome input from His Holiness Paramadwaiti Maharaj during this time or indeed at any other time.
Aspiring to serve the Vaishnavas
Bhagavat Dharma dasa
ISKCON Sri Mayapur Project
For further information, please contact
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