Size has nothing to do with the Adbhūta Mandira (04/09/19)
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
I watched the Dallas, Ratha Yatra video – a nice community festival that everyone can ‘enjoy’, well organized, beautiful girls dancing, everyone chanting, singing, taking prasādam and have a good time, etc, etc.
For the mass of people, getting as many people as possible to chant, doing service and taking prasādam, it was very nice. However, how much it all represents Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the question?? For children, women and neophytes, I think it was great. For anyone interested in the depth of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and actually making spiritual advancement, it was not that desirable. But that is what ISCON has become these days – a ‘feel-good’ society that prides itself in the number of devotees, big buildings, big festivals, numbers of books distributed…all external achievements. Basically the movement is led by the sentiments, feelings and desires of the neophytes.
Once Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta narrated a story about Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī – it was the day of a festival in Navadvīpa and Bābājī was staying at the Rāṇī Dharmśala. Bābāji encouraged everyone to go to the festival, but he himself did not go. When everyone had gone Bābājī began dancing and chanting in the courtyard in an ecstatic mood. At a point Bābājī expressed that, “Now all the fools have gone to the festival to eat bananas and look at the women dressed in beautiful sāris!”
Without the leaders taking the lead and demonstrating a higher standard, there is no turning back for ISCON. Suggestions and criticisms such as mine and others are branded as envious, scorned and even laughed at by the leaders, so why bother?
In my opinion, ISCON is a done-deal and I cannot do anything to change that. Nor does ISCON want to change. They are very happy doing what they do. The real reason I bother to express myself in these matters is for the benefit of my own community and for the benefit of a handful of like-minded godbrothers and godsisters.
In one of your last emails someone said that although ISKCON was not building “the Adbhūta Mandira” they were nonetheless building “Prabhupāda’s Adbhūta Mandira” or something to that effect. But that is not true unless they place the Deities representing the highest theological conception at the center and also preach the highest theological conception.
Size has nothing to do with the Adbhūta Mandira envisioned by Bhaktivinoda. The “Adbhūta” is the most wonderful conception of Divinity – not how wonderfully “Big” the temple is.
When ‘big’ or ‘unique’ defines the Adbhūta Mandira, then there are already many Adbhūta Mandiras in India;
The golden Lakṣmī temple in South India is covered in 4 tons of gold; the Prema Mandira (a sahajiyā-mandira) in Vṛndavana is fully built with beautiful Italian marble – there is even a Hindu temple in Haridwar called the “Adbhūta Mandira”.
So, if Prabhupāda’s temple is ever to really be “Adbhūta”, then the GBC must place Śrī Śrī Gaura Rādhā-Mādhava in the center as the main Deities of the temple and preach the conception of Mahāprabhu as the combined form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava. If not, then the TOVP simply joins the list of “Big is Best” temples in India.