Plans For Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple (04/29/07)
Dear Dr. ______,
We are very happy to receive your email and to know that you want to be involved with the restorations at Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī’s samādhi and the Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara temple.
Thus far, the restorations are being done under my direction with the financial help of about one dozen individuals both Indian and western devotees (Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas).
The temple sevaites at Rādhā-Dāmodara are the direct descendants of the temple sevaites for the past 300 or more years. Śrī Nirmal Chandra Goswami is my very dear friend and he is the senior sevaite
at the temple. His five sons are also doing regular service in the temple.
As you may know Śrīla Prabhupāda, A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami lived at the Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple for many years and his rooms there are so sacred that they are visited by devotees from across the globe every year. At Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple there are also the samādhis of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. The Deities at the temple are Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vṛndāvana Candra, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Calacikana and the govardhana-śīla with the self-manifest foot print of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. You may also know that Dāmodara is also self-manifest from the hill of Govardhana. Thus in the opinion of many senior Vaiṣṇavas the sacred temple of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara in Vṛndāvana is the most holy place in the universe. Certainly it is very high in terms of spiritual conception and devotional service.
The Rādhā-Damodara temple was very dear to our Śrīla Prabhupāda and he will certainly by pleased to shower his blessings upon you if you are able to assist in the wonderful service that is going on at the
The restorations began a few years ago by renovating the temple kitchen. The old roof was removed and completely rebuilt after more than 300 years. The walls and floor of the kitchen were redone in marble. While doing those renovations and medium size govardhana-śīla was found in the earth and is now being worshipped in the temple.
After the new kitchen was complete a bore well was dug which by the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa yielded sweet water.
After the bore well was complete then the old samadhi of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī was removed to below the foundation level and everything was rebuilt as it was but this time in thicker sandstone, including the
roof. The structure will now last for at least another one thousand years.
That much renovations have been done. Also a few simple rooms at the temple have been renovated so that visiting devotees can stay comfortably for somedays at the temple and attend the pujas.
Now the next step is to reconstruct the bhajana-kuṭīra of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī in the same stone and style as the samādhi. Everyday in the bhajana-kuṭīra, Rūpa Gosvāmī is offered noontime prasādam.
The expenditure for the kitchen and well was 1.75 lakhs. The samādhi reconstruction was 5.5 lakhs and the room renovations were approximately 2 lakhs.
Now the proposed reconstruction of the bhajana-kuṭīra is estimated at 5.2 lkhs. The bhajana-kuṭīra being only slightly smaller than the samādhi. That is were we stand at present. Donations are needed for the reconstruction of the bhajana-kuṭīra.
When the bhajana-kuṭīra is completed then the next stage is the building of the kīrtana hall in sandstone, monkey proofing the entire courtyard and the development of the temple gardens. An accurate estimate for the kīrtana hall, monkey proofing and gardens has not yet been made. But it will be much more than any of the work done thus far because the area is quite big.
Several years ago when, by the grace of Śrīla Prabhupāda and Lord Kṛṣṇa, I was inspired to take up the project at Rādhā-Dāmodara, I remarked to Nirmal Chandra Goswami that I want to see at least 1 crore rupees spent on renovations at the temple so that the next several generations of devotees do not have to worry about such things. I told Goswami that I do not have such money nor do I know where to get it, but if Kṛṣṇa wants, He can send His devotees to assist the project. Thus far it is happening, but there is more ground ahead of us than there is behind. However we are enthusiastic and are doing whatever we are able to do within our means.
You might wonder why money is even an issue when the program is to develop one of the most important holy places in India. And one crore rupees really isn’t that much money these days when we look at what
developments are going on in India. Well, the money is an issue and there are two reasons why. The first is that not just anyone may be given the opportunity to render such service as to Śrīla Prabhupāda, Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara. It is possible by divine grace only. Indeed, it is very, very rare that one is given the opportunity to perform such service. And secondly the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava world has many divisions and partitions and as such devotees are reluctant to give service contributions unless they and their temple or institution are in control. But at Rādhā-Dāmodara, Lord Kṛṣṇa is in control and only those devotees who are inspired to give and who are happy with the service itself have been the ones to come forward thus far.
If you find some inspiration in reading the above then take it that Lord Kṛṣṇa is giving you a rare opportunity and I will be very happy to hear further from you. In the meantime I hope this meets you and your loved ones in good health and Kṛṣṇ consciousness.
Swami BG Narasiṅgha