Big is Best! (02/28/19)
Bhāvānanda ‘says’ that ‘once’ Śrīla Prabhupāda told him he wanted Aṣṭa-sakhīs. Great! I believe Bhāvānanda, but that does not mean the original Deity arrangement should be over shadowed and minimized. The ‘original Deity arrangement’ given by Śrīla Prabhupāda is/was the highest conception of Divinity and Theistic thought to be represented by the presence of a Deity. That was Śrī Śrī Gaura Rādhā-Mādhava (Mahāprabhu standing by Rādhā-Mādhava). Yes, those little Deities are still on the altar, but it is a fact that They are only seen when someone points them out. The towering much larger Deities of Rādhā-Mādhava and the sakhīs get all the attention.
Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and the aṣṭa-sakhīs are not the highest conception of Divinity or even līlā. Mahāprabhu as the combined form of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is the highest conception of the Absolute Truth and those are the Deities that Prabhupāda installed in Māyāpura. And it was Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta who first ever installed such Deities as Śrī Śrī Gaura Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and at ISKCON Māyāpura, Śrīla Prabhupāda was presenting the highest form of Deity worship and also preserving the contribution of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta.
No one wants to listen, but the fact is that a large Śrī Śrī Gaura Rādhā-Mādhava (along with the smaller original Gaura Rādhā-Mādhava Deities] should be on the center altar, Śrī Śrī Guru and Pañca Tattva on the first altar and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava and the Aṣṭa-sakhīs on the third altar. Actually, Bhakti Cāru Swami pointed this out to the GBC years ago, but he was out-voted. (Democracy means Demon Crazy).
So, YES! The wrong Deities! After millions and millions of dollars are spent, the highest conception of Divinity is overlooked and the village idiots go away thinking the Earth if flat!
Rumor is that after ISKCON has declared the final height of their temple in Māyāpura, _____ is going to build a temple ten feet higher and declare it the temple of the Highest Divinity! Because ISKCON has failed to do so, _______ has taken my advice about what are the Deities representing the Highest Divinity and, after completing two of his other projects in Vṛndāvana he will begin the project in Māyāpura. Transcendental competition….
Personally, I would prefer to see ISKCON get the right spiritual conception with the Deities, regardless of who builds the taller temple. But in a world where “Big Is Best” and egos rule the day — some people miss the chance of a lifetime and one man’s loss becomes another man’s gain.