Moving the Deities to Their New Altar

March 14, 2008  

The 2008 Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama with Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja officially began on March 15, 2008 and will continue until March 22nd.

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About 15,000 devotees and guests from all over the world were present in Sri Navadvipa-dhama, at the newly built Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Math.

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On March 14th, the Deities - Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda-bihari, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Laksmi-Varaha and Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja - moved from Their temporary small altar and mandir They had been residing in for the previous couple of years, to the main altar in Their new grand temple room.

Before and during Their entrance, and also at the time of Their transcendental bathing ceremony, an authentic ancient fire sacrifice, held to drive away all obstacles and inauspicious elements and to invoke auspicious success for the new temple, was held in a gorgeous manner. The fire sacrifice was headed by Sripad Akincana Maharaja, Sripad Parivarkacarya Maharaja, Jiva-priya dasa brahmacari, and Giridhari dasa brahmacari.

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The murti (divine statue-like form) of Srila Bhakti-prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja (top-center), carried on a very simple palanquin by his loving and strong servitors and accompanied by melodious kirtana and the blowing of conch-shells, preceded the other Deities in entering the temple.

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After having been carried into the temple room by several devotees, the Deities were placed on the altar for Their abhiseka ceremony (bathing with water and five auspicious substances: milk, honey, ghee, yogurt and sugar).

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Since the large Deities had already been installed a year earlier, the smaller Deities were bathed on this day - with mirrors in front of Them. The mirrors reflected the forms of the small Deities standing in the bathing vessel, and also the larger Deities standing just behind the bathing vessel. When the water and other substances were poured on the small Deities, it was also poured onto the mirror, which reflected the big Deities. It is therefore considered that the large Deities were also being bathed. The Lord being absolute, He is non-different from His reflection.

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Among those who watched the abhiseka, seated on the stage area, were Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, presiding over and directing all the morning's activities, along with some of his sannyasis, brahmacaris, and other disciples. Seated along with them were the prominent sannyasis from the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, headed by Parijatak Maharaja.

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After the Deities were placed on the altar, Srila Maharaja ascended the altar to check that all arrangements were correctly made for the pleasure of the Deities. He instructed Sripad Tirtha Maharaja to adjust the position of Sri Laksmi-Varaha so that They would be more straight, and Sripad Tirtha Maharaja immediately carried out the instruction.

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Sri Srimad bhakti-prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, the diksa-guru of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, gave his auspicious darsan to all audiences.

Image Sri Sri Laksmi-Varaha.

The island of Navadvipa on which the grand new temple is situated, is called Koladvipa. It is named after Lord Koladeva, another name of Lord Varaha, who appeared here in a previous Age [please see the book "Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama" for details.]

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That evening Srila Maharaja gave class about the transcendental established truths and unlimited mercy of the Deities, who are non-different from the personalities whose forms are on the altar.

He said (translation by Sripad Madhava Maharaja): "Our Deities were living in a very small temple. Today, without difficulty, Thakurji (God in the form of the Deity in the temple) has mercifully come here. Although my Gurudeva's vigraha (divine form in the temple) is so heavy, he also arrived without any difficulty.

"What is vigraha-tattva (the established truth regarding the divine form of the Lord - in the temple and in general)? Why worship Sri Vigraha? Atheistic people don't worship Sri Vigraha, but somehow or other they are bound to worship the Deity with pictures, or with a big church or mosque."

Srila Narayan Gosvami Maharaja then called on Sripad Tirtha Maharaja, Sripad Nemi Maharaja, and Sripad Rasananda dasa brahmacari to explain the necessity of Sri Vigraha worship. He then resumed his own discourse, and this was translated for the hundreds of Westerners present by Sripad Damodara Maharaja as follows:

"Today, by great mercy, the Deities of Sri Laksmi-Varaha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Sri Radha-vinoda-bihariji, and Srila Bhakti-prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja manifested themselves in this temple. Atheists say, ‘What is the use of spending so much money to build big temples? It is better to use your money to open free hospitals and schools.'

"However, if you open big hospitals, criminals also come there and become cured. Then, when they are released from the hospital, they go back to their crimes and sinful activities. Who will have to share in the reactions to those sins? It will be the persons who participated in opening the hospitals.

"On the other hand, those who come here and have darsan (audience) of the Deities are liberated from the miseries of birth, old age, disease, and death. The persons who come to this temple will hear hari-katha. By this they will be able to realize the eternal constitutional spiritual form of their souls, and they will not have to take birth in this material world again. Therefore, it is infinitely more merciful to open temples than to open millions of big hospitals. From temples like this one, the glories of the transcendental forms, names, qualities, and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be spread all over the world.

"Our previous acaryas (self-realized spiritual masters), like Sri Ramanujacarya, Sri Madhvacarya, Sri Sankaracarya, Sri Madhavendra Puri, and Sri Sanatana Gosvami, have also performed the responsibility of establishing temples. Madhavendra Puri established the temple of Gopal in Vrndavana, and the Deity of Gopal was later moved to Nathwar. Srila Sanatana Gosvami established the temple of Sri Madana-mohana. Atheists cannot understand the transcendental form of the Lord.

"You heard from the other speakers how the Deity of Saski-gopal walked thousands of miles for His young brahmana devotee. [Please see Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, ch. 5, for more details] The Deity Madana-mohana directly talked to His devotee, Srila Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana Gosvami told Madana Mohan, ‘I cannot cook and prepare offerings of good foodstuffs for You.' Madan Mohan replied, ‘Whatever you cook and offer Me, I will accept.' [Please see Vraja-mandala Parikrama for more details] Khira-chora Gopinatha stole khira (sweet-rice) for his devotee Madhavendra Puri. Srila Rupa Gosvami established Sri Radha-Govinda, and.had so many interactions with Him. Sri Jagannatha-deva ran out of the temple when He heard a devi dasi singing the glories of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna in Sri Gita-Govinda.

"In the Bible it is stated, "God made man after His own image and likeness." Can they cut that statement from the Bible? The Koran also states, ‘Inallah kalaka mein suratihi' - Allah (God) created man after His own image.'

"‘Something' in this world cannot manifest from ‘nothing''. All forms have manifested from the original form of Sri Krsna. Therefore, we are very fortunate that Sri Sri Radha and Krsna have taken the combined form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for our benefit.

Editorial Advisors: Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa
Translators: Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja and Pujyapada Damodara Maharaja
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Assistant editor: Hari-vallabha dasi
Transcriber and reporter: Vasanti dasi
Proofreader: Krsna-kamini dasi

 

Mahamantra
© Syamarani dasi
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