Monday, July 4, 2011

Interview with Temple President, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa

Interviewer: We see such gorgeous temples with very intricate architectural elements being built from times of yore in India. What was the main inspiration and cause for these structures to be built? 
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: In olden days, most of the world was governed by a monarchial system and the king was the representative of God.  And, one of the main activities of the king was to see that the people in the state are God conscious.  To promote that the primary duty of the king, external manifestation he that he himself would engage in building the temples, so obviously, when kings are involved, whatever they do is big, so there are examples of huge temples, which we cannot think of today, even by, even the richest people to build such structures.
It is basically, because of the involvement of the kings in building older temples, it has got that grandeur, plus it is very interesting note another point, the aspect of freedom that Kings had. Just like today, the governments are engaged in industrial activity – engaging thousands of people in the industrial activities, in those days, basically, for the society to run, there was no need of industries and everything was based on farm and cows and it was self-sufficient local economy, everything was going smooth.  The king’s main activity was actually to; engage people in building big, big temples.  There are temples, which were historically built over many generations of kings one after the other.
All these facts are evident from the sizes of the temples that we see that’s still standing today as ancient temples. In the process, a lot of human endeavor has gone in, the aspect of architecture, unbelievable; especially in South India detailed architectural forms have been developed. These forms are very beautiful and very harmonious and appealing to the mind.  The present day architecture is bound by many other practicalities, like time-bound execution, limitations in terms of funds and many more.
Nowadays, it is more like any building is just part of a larger enterprise, so architecturally; it has to suffer in the hands of such limitations and thus find itself wanting. Architecture is an art; it will definitely thrive when it is in the hands of artists who are not bound by these constraints.  In those days, such wonderful forms were produced, in modern days there will be no match to that kind of forms.

Interviewer: Is it not extravagance to use so much time, energy, financials for building and edifice for God can we not do away with a simple structure?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: In our Vedic understanding, God means Brahman, Brahman means, The Great.  So, a huge temple does bring a sense of awe among the common people. For those who are tuned to proper understanding of God will understand philosophically higher and finer aspects of the Lord, than just the simple understanding that God is great. Of course God is great, God is the greatest, no one is equal to or greater than Him, but there are much finer aspects that an evolved living entity relates to God, but as far as, common man is concerned, God is great.
God is the greatest, is a concept that is very, very relevant to remind him, and bringing that feeling of awe is very important and which is also, in our Bhakti it is called, Shanta Rasa.  Architectural grandeur has definitely some connection with making one feel the greatness of God, especially to the common man.  So, it’s not the extravagance.  The idea of extravagance has all come about only nowadays, because everything is shortage, when there is abundance, then it is a different world, it’s a world how to spend more.  
Now, in the Kali Yuga everybody is thinking how to spend less, because of the shortage, shortage mentality.  Just imagine, there is another world, they are finding ways and means how to spend more.  There was richness, just like rich man thinks how to spend money; poor man thinks how to cut down money.

Interviewer: Like you also mentioned that there is in modern times one cannot expect such major wonderful worlds of art and architecture, but in the modern context, how do you see temples and their architectures fitting in and playing a role like they did in those days?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: What I mentioned was that there is hardly any new creation of forms, which needs a different kind of a temperament to be given to the human being to the artist, in the building line, which I said in the modern context is very rare.  Various trusts take up various buildings and they have their constraints of fund raising, human resource, time and other aspects come to the fore. When these kinds of limitations are tying down construction of a temple it is very difficult to see new forms of architecture manifesting themselves. 
Today’s temples are a repeat the same old forms. These forms were already created once upon a time and are repeated again and again. Of course, the Gopurams, the Vimanas, you know, these are some eternal forms, and have been used historically and are from our scriptures. Combining these forms as given in the scriptures and coming out with new forms have stopped lately. If these concepts have to evolve into greater concepts then a different kind of temperament a temperament which existed once upon a time is required.
For instance, because of the way Srila Prabhupada has taught us to serve Krishna, when we were building the Radha Krishna temple on Hare Krishna Hill we were not thinking of the limitations of  funds even though, we didn’t have any fund in the hands, the consciousness was kept clean from such limitations. 
We were only focusing on the work what is to be done to make it beautiful.  For instance, the size of the temple was never determined by the budget of this temple, the size was determined by how much flat land was available on the top of the hill, we worked backwards. That consciousness is the cause for such a big temple to manifest, because in those days, if you really thought of the size and calculated how much it costs, we would have got scared and it would have limited our minds from taking up the project. That would have instilled some kind of a fear or fear of whether we would succeed just by raising funds from the public, such a big temple can be built. Somehow that was kept by aside by Krishna’s arrangement. The size of the temple and the cost of such a size of the temple were kept hidden from our tiny minds, which would have got scared in those days if he had revealed. 
So, we went ahead and constructed all the columns and started working, that is to say that we did have the luxury of the traditional olden days, you know, temple building temperament that was there for us also by Krishna’s arrangement.  And slowly, -- because, of working on the same lines of olden times consciousness was trained to be in the same way.  We were are already satisfied and we felt we should endeavor for building a nice temple for Radha Krishna. First we built a small shed and we used to do our puja there, and our ashram’s full time devotees used to stay up the hill, under an asbestos sheet roof  like a factory and we were quite satisfied in that sense. We were not over hankering we felt as it comes we will build, otherwise, we are already having nice Kirtans, Puja everything is going on beside this we will start building the temple and we will simultaneously keep endeavoring to collect donations. Nothing was on a deadline or anything like that.
As it comes we will build.  So, in that mood, we were endeavoring. This was more of a spiritual endeavor.  Indeed temples have to be built by a spiritual endeavor rather than material endeavor.  Meaning that, it should be -- one should understand that very the concept the design, money is not only shortage.  In any endeavor, money, ideas are shortage, concepts are shortage, intelligence to execute is shortage, money is shortage, and any N of these resources can be shortage, right.  So, in order to get plentiful ideas, plentiful of directions, how to execute complicated tasks in the project, it is an art and that art is the art of how to do things, knowing very well that you are not the doer. It apparently, it may look like a contradiction, but that is the whole art of action and inaction.  And, we were fortunate enough to go through that experience in building this temple. Karmany eva adhikaraste - this was the aspect they were always trying to practice.  Then also, how Prakreteh kriyamanani first Krishna says everything is done by Prakrithi and then, He says that Mayadhyakshena Prakrithi so that Prakrithi is again under my supervision. Then, Krishna says to Arjuna that you are just nimmitha mathram as such  we are just a instruments in the hands of the Lord, instruments in the hands of destiny, instruments in the hands of, you know, our own created destiny of our own.
The material world is run according to the force of Kala and in the pattern of Guna and Karma. Kala pushes the Gunas in the pattern of the Karma, Guna, Kala, Karma, by these things everything is happening in this world.  But, when it comes to building a temple, that is the way, there is no karma involved, because it is for Krishna and Krishna has no karma. Our bhakti is a limit, how much we want to do for the Lord is a limit, so it is not limited by guna, kala and karma because Krishna, God is the owner of kala, he is a source of kala, he is a controller of kala.  So, whatever devotion is there it will defeat the limitations put by karma and guna, things happen beyond guna and karma to manifest things in the service of the Lord, so this is a something which is also being very much experienced here in this temple building.
For instance, if you see from the material point of view, I was just a fresh graduate and joined this society not that – though I am a civil engineer, not that I worked anywhere, I had any experienced, so what to speak of any experience in civil engineer, no experience in architecture.  But yet, when people come and see this, they appreciate, oh what architecture, what design everything.  So, from my background doesn’t have it, so how did it come?  That means, it came from beyond my guna and karma, that means, it is supplied by Krishna, from moment to moment, he was shaping it, he was integrating the designs, he was integrating every moment of this design and construction to bring it to this shape.
Every moment we were just trying to act as his instruments, and we are faithfully hoping that the Lord will help us somehow.  So, in that way design and execution of this temple is actually at least for me, it’s a practical demonstration of the principles of Bhagavadgita.

Interviewer: So, it is just not a bricks and money and people, it is all devotion and person participating in it can feel the devotion and link with God. So you think that this was also the main factor behind the construction of temples in olden days. This has been confirmed by your personal experience in building this temple.
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Yes, in this aspect, there were two aspects, that different living entities has got different benefit, one is executing -- designing and executing it and the is getting the resources for it.  So, many devotees full time devotees use to go in the morning in auto rickshaws and they use to go to the business communities, in the city and request them to become a part of the project and get donations. 
About 15 to 20 teams used to go out every day that was their sadhana that was an experience for them also.  So, all those souls are greatly blessed by the Lord, eternally blessed, even a little activity done towards building a temple today, thousands of devotees are benefiting and the Lord is manifesting his lila in this Hare Krishna Hill.
All those who have taken a little part in this endeavor are blessed by the Lord.  So, that way, the devotees efforts are doing in two directions, one was the designing and executing, miracles were there, and even in fund raising miracles use to happen, new, new schemes use to come and then, wonderful things happen, suddenly from unexpected donors we would get huge donations.  The donors who participated also had a great experience of giving money to this temple, many of them found that the by donating they prospered and felt a different kind of satisfaction.  There are many testimonials. 
A temple has manifested from nothing. It is not just brick cement, men and other resources but it is the interplay of the Lord’s compassion and mercy upon thousands of souls to come to face-to-face, realization with Him and His energy and His reciprocation.

Madhu Pandit Das Receiving Rajyotsva Award from SM Krishna

Interviewer: Now, going to the structural and architectural aspects, what was the unique features of this Garbhagriha, or the temple in itself from architectural and structural point of view?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: First of all, right from beginning we had an idea, we had the inspiration that this temple should look little different than every other temple, particularly in a way in which it would attract the attention of the youngsters.  So, we all know that the young Indians are always attracted nowadays to the west, so we definitely wanted a temple design, which had an integration of western architectural elements along with the traditional elements, based on that, I tried to communicate with many architects, about this, and come up with a design. This effort was underway from 1988 to 1990. I was trying few architects, but somehow, they found it very difficult to bring these two elements together into one form.  Around 1990 I decided to take up the design and the endeavor to get a good design was started. 
An old friend of mine, Jagatchandra Das, he is also a design graduate, post graduate from IIT, he brought up this form of Gopuram and Glass together, so once we concluded that this is – we are satisfied that this is the design, this is a good combination, then we could move forward very fast.  So with that, you know, the form got frozen from outside, we didn’t know what the inside would be, so the whole design process was from outside and inside, usually people design inside functional first and then, they give an outside finish, that touch up the outside, that’s one type of architecture.  We did the other way around, we decided how it should look first, and then we fitted everything inside, the functional design was afterwards.  So, that is how it evolved.  And, as far as the Garbhagriha is concerned, we had decided, basically, we decided that from the road, because it’s a hillock, we decided that at what height the temple should be, so that it can be seen from the road proper and that’s why it was decided to be put in second floor.  And then, because the temple Garbhagriha is in the second floor, we have given a good foundation under the Garbhagriha, it is solid, as per Vaastu, we should not leave any void under Garbhagriha, so it is touching the earth, solidly standing the Garbhagriha.  And then, it is only later on after three, four years, 1994, the idea about Srinivas and Narasimha came about.
 The idea of Narasimha and Srinivasa was there from beginning, but they were also supposed to be in the main temple hall.  But some time around 1994 we felt that Narasimha and Srinivasa should be made independent temples. We realized that was a beautiful concept, because according to the Vaishnava philosophy, Gaudiya Vaishnavas, the various rasas of worshipping the Lord, and when you mix two rasas, its called rasabhasa, more Krishna is worshiped with nice Sankirtana, chanting and dancing more in a mood of intimacy.  Radha Krishna’s worship is done on those lines, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us to worship like that.  So, that mood is different from the mood of awe and reverence of the Lord in the Vaikuntha. Therefore as, Narayana, as Srinivasa is standing in the separate Garbhagriha, beautifully decorated, majestically, reflects a very close darshan, the Garbhagriha like in the traditional South Indian temples Narasimha is again Lord Vishnu’s incarnation and there also, he is in mood of all of reverence with Prahlad.  So, this is beautiful concept, which we realized later on Lord was guiding us making us do. 
The order in which somebody comes to this temple, he has Narasimha darshan, with Srinivasa darshan then comes to Radha Krishna, so this is also some -- we can compare it to the order in which one needs move towards ultimate, Krishna.  But first one has to remove all the obstacles of material desires for which, Vigna Vinasha Narasimhadeva, the killer of the Asuric mentality like he killed Hiranyakashipu, the same way killing the asuric mentality in all of us, purifies us to go first towards, the supreme Lord Narayana or Vishnu, who is worshiped as the controller of the universe the supreme Ishvara of everything, the controller of everything the Paramatma, the creator of the material universes and as Vishnu he is worshiped in the form of Srinivasa Govinda.
One surrenders onto that Lord, as the part and parcel of the Lord belonging to him.  And then, after that,  developing that sense of surrender or giving up – that Lordship – and accepting the Lordship of the Supreme Lord, the real Lord, and giving up our ahankara to be the Lord of all that I survey after developing that kind of relationship with Vishnu, in the mood of total servitude, one comes up to be in front of Radha and Krishna and it is there, unless we surrender and give up our sense of false prestige, false ego, all false identities, it is not possible to develop that kind of a Gopi Bhava or the feeling or to do, to perform to worship in the footsteps of Srimati Radharani in total surrendered mood, so that is the mood of devotees in Vrindavan. Worshiping the Lord in the Vrindavan, either in it’s Sakhya Rasa, Madhurya Rasa or Vatsalya rasa one has to first we give up our false sense of personality -- false prestige and then, with our pure soul we should go.  And then, in that manner, one can culture; one’s other kinds of rasa, finer rasa, with Lord Krishna, who is govindam adi purusham, the supreme Lord.  So, that way it has come out -- there is a beautiful concept behind the various darshanas that we have, which we never knew.
MadhuPandit Dasa @ Akshaya Patra

Interviewer: What are the elements which go to form a temple?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: First, there is Garbhagriha.  The Garbhagriha is sanctum sanctorum, where the Lord is installed.  And then, in front of the Garbhagriha, there is a narrower section for closer darshan of the Lord and a smaller – that area is, because the Garbhagriha is very small, that area is more used for other sevas, an area where yagnas, seva all can be done, and closer darshan can happen.  Then, it opens out to a wider one, that is called Mukhamantapa, so what is between Garbhgriha and Mukhamantapa is a Ardhamantapa, usually the Vimana is on the Garbhagriha and the Gopurams are on the entrances to the Mukhamantapa, the door entrance. These are the various very simple components of any South Indian temple, Garbhagriha, Ardhamantapa, and Mukhamantapa, Gopuram and Vimana.

Interviewer: For the Garbhagriha, what are the elements which were used in the temples on Hare Krishna Hill?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Garbhagriha, they have used stone, granite, a traditional material and all the Garbhagrihas have been the proportions and dimensions have been exactly as per the Vaastu and it was taken from the traditional Vaastu experts and we did not interfere with any of those dimensions, we gave a free hand to them to make as it is. Before the Garbhagriha begun, when we are doing the Bhumipuja at that time, usually when Vishnu is going to be installed in the temple, we put a Ananta in the earth before the foundation begins, symbolizing that the ground is prepared by Ananta, because the Lord Vishnu is always on -- laying on the Ananta, sitting on the Ananta.  And it is also traditional practice to put a Shrichakra also, so some Yantras are all put underneath.  And different Navadanyas then, Navaratnas are put, some gold is put and on that first day, homa is done, Sudarshana Homa, Narasimha Homa is done and then, the foundation starts.

Interviewer: What are the other unique features of the Radha Krishna Temple?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Yeah, right from the concept this temple is little different, because usually when they think of temple, everybody’s focus is just the worship aspect. 
First they think of the Garbha griha, Ardha Mantapa, Mukhamantapa, Gopuram, Vimana which are directly linked to the worship and other elements which are equally essential viz. kitchen, lecture halls, quarters, stores etc are built in the prakaram of the temples.  But, we see the uniqueness in this design of this temple is that, right from beginning we know, that worship is only one of the sevas services of the Lord, and making people know about the Lord, hear about this, it is called Krishna Katha, propagating the message of the Lord, so much facilities are required, so those facilities are planned, so this is a temple complex having all those facilities planned out right from beginning, lectures halls, theatres, library, then devotional paraphernalia shops, Prasadam counters, Prasadam stalls, and huge kitchens, book Godowns, book publishing wing, plus halls for Samskaras or marriages et cetera, so all these are part and parcel of,  temple-centered community services.  This was planned right from the beginning, so that way, it is unique that is was an integrated design, not only for worship but also to glorify the Lord.
Guest houses, and now Akshaya Patra kitchen, which has evolved of feeding, recently the Akshaya Patra kitchen was renovated at the cost of 2 crores to upgrade the kitchen in order to feed one lakh children per day, so one kitchen cooking for one lakh children from this temple, so this is another very major addition to the temple complex, the Akshaya Patra kitchen.
Madhupandit das with Rahul Gandhi

Interviewer: Now, the Ananta Shesha is there, the Garbhagriha is there, the main thing is the deity itself. The  deity, it’s made of different elements and one is the aspect of the physical aspect, and the actual aspect of how the Lord advents in that form, what are the pancaratric processes that are to be followed in the installation of the deity itself in the temple?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa:  The Lord is not bound by our rituals, and Lord is not coming because of our rituals, but rituals are given in the scriptures for us to follow for installing the deities, so therefore, it is obligatory for us to follow those rituals as a matter of obedience, but knowing very well that the Lord is ocean of compassion that even though our senses are now covered by material senses.  We cannot experience the all blissful Ananda Chinmaya Vigraha, Sadujjvala Vigrahasya, we are not able to comprehend and perceive the dazzling, sat form of the Lord, sat, cit and ananda form of the Lord. 
So, the Lord very kindly decides to make himself amenable to our level of sensual perception to receive service.  So, he is omnipotent Lord, he can do anything, so due to his infinite compassion, it is very important to understand, the very idea of temple, it is a manifestation of Lord’s unlimited compassion upon living entities.  So, it is by his, because he is omnipotent, and he has decided to come, so he comes and then, anybody who has such a faith will be in direct link with the Lord, even though his senses are all covered with the material senses, he is able to interact with the Lord in terms of offering him various sevas, services, personal services to the Lord.  So, these deities are carved out of one of the authorized materials which are given in the scriptures, earth, painting, this that, so many things, that you can list out, all those things, so one of those forms, and in a authorized manner, the scriptures says, how the form is to be carved, so we carve in those form and then, the Lord obliges his pure devotees calling him to manifest, in the form in which we are able to see. 
And Srila Prabhupada gives a beautiful example of post office and box boxes at various locations, and you put daily letter in the post box, it reaches the destination, because it is authorized post box, so there maybe something looking like that post box, but if it is not authorized, you put a letter nobody will take it.  So, we need to have an authorized form of the Lord, authorizedly installed, with the authorized seva program, then it is an effective medium of rendering service to the all powerful, all omniscient Lord, all kind, all loving Lord.  So, when we stand before the deities, we should always understand he see – for him, anything to do with the Lord beyond is, he is of limitless space, limitless time, and limitless substance, when you combine these three things, all limitations are gone, and yet he is having time, space, and substance.  There is one thing to say that the Lord is unlimited or Lord is timeless, spaceless, and substanceless, the another thing to say he is of limitless substance, limitless space, limitless time. 
So, that is what the right understanding of God is.  If we can have time, space, and substance, and can exist in that Why God can’t do the same. But he exists limitlessly.

Interviewer: So, it’s a mystical thing that the deity is manifest – the Lord full omnipotence is manifested?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Yes, it is not mystical, if you see that if you accept the Lord’s omnipotence, then it is not a mystical, because what is the meaning of omnipotence, He can do anything.  So, you can see that, deity form is an exhibition of His omnipotence; it is a dynamic truth about God.  It is a dynamic truth about God, it is an active truth about God, and not that God is sitting somewhere.  The deity is a active form of God’s compassion.  He uses his omni potency to present before yourself, in a form in which you can conceive, in a form similar to the material form.  Some people think how you can limit God to the matter, one may say, how can you limit God to the matter, because we can only things in a limited way, our perception is limited, the Lord can take any form without being limited.
 If you carry the image of the deity in your mind, then it is same, the Lord is there, you are carrying him, and He is in your heart.  Story of Brahmin and sweet rice and offering.
Yeah, so mental offering is also fine.  But not that you enjoy everything at the gross level and then, you only offer everything mentally to the Lord, you cannot cheat the Lord, if you don’t’ have, he will accept it. 

Interviewer: Coming to some structural aspect of Radha Krishna Temple, would you like to say some of the salient features of the temple.
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: The Vaastu of this place also has come out very well.  This Hare Krishna hill sloping in the northeast and it has got an extension in the northeast, and it has got a northwestern portion, in that sense the vastu is very favourable.

Interviewer: Were there any special Engineering efforts during the construction of the temple?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Yes, there were many but what comes to my mind is the electroplating of the kalashas, deities themselves, and other parts of the temple which required gold plating. The temple has a kalasha atop its main hall which is 23 feet in diameter. The 23 feet Kalasha, was gold plated. Gold this was a very big task. It was a very big challenge. Apart from plating taking it on top of the temple was a major Engineering feat. It was our biggest challenge in construction. 
We figured out that the only way we can take it up was by creating a temporary ropeway, so from the rock at the lower level, we created a ropeway towards top of the building, and then, gradually it was sliding right over the ropeway and we placed it on the top.  It was a very risky job as if it fell off the rope then glass which was already put on the structure would break. These were some of the engineering marvels and finally, the gold plating was another major achievement I could say. To plate 23 feet diameter Kalasha in various segments we actually had to build huge tanks, to house the kalasha.  The liquid required is so much to immerse it, 15-20 Kgs of gold had to be dissolved and then about 10 percent of it would actually be plated i.e. about 1kg of Gold. The balance 13-19kgs of gold had to be recovered later on from the liquid. When I think of all these now I can clearly feel the Lords Hand!
So, all these kind of things, we had, unique kind of things, which is unheard in normal temple building we had to go through.  And, we have totally about we put our own electroplating unit and then, we plated nearly 2000 square foot of surface gold plating we did.  And in this connection, one important thing that is to be mentioned is, an innovation, this is an innovation.  Normally when temple people think of gold, they do this leafing, so the normal procedure of gold plating is that they get this gold leaf and they put layer after layer and put mercury and burn it. The process is that the copper atoms go on absorbing these gold atoms, then it becomes saturated and that after 5, 6, 7 layer, the gold starts showing up, otherwise the copper atoms go on eating up everything it still looks like copper only, gold disappears into the copper and the 7th layer is shown up and 8, 9th layer brightly it shows up.  So, this kind of method of plating is a traditional plating method.  It costs 7,000 to 8,000 per square foot.
 We were looking for alternatives then it came to our mind that if Titan can produce gold watches, how are they doing it?  So, we thought, we studied the same technology and we found out that over the copper sheeting first, nickel plating has to be made over the nickel plating gold can be plated electrically.  That is the method we adopted. We ensured that there is no contact between the copper atoms and gold atoms.  Otherwise, if you do directly on the copper, after few days you will see that plating will disappear, because gradually the copper atoms is pulling the gold atoms, so, it looks like copper after few days.  Hence using copper as a base would be a blunder. The traditional method was to address this by doing many (as many as 10layers) layers by burning with mercury. But we coated Nickel on copper and on Nickel we plated the Gold. In this way all of the temples important elements were given the Gold finish. 
The traditional method costs Rs 7000- 8000 per square feet. But our method brought the cost down to Rs 700/- per sq ft (almost 10%of the cost). We have even gold plated Dwajastambha. In future we want to cover the garbagrihas with similar gold plating layer.

Interviewer: What are your future plans for the temple?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: Future plans, we have gradually started seva for making the entire temple Garbhagriha gold covered.  We have now done the front pillars, it looks very beautiful, people all appreciate that, and from the beginning it self, top Vimanas, some portion of Vimana only we had done.  We will cover the entire Garbhagriha, full Vimana, everything will be covered by gold, gold sheet, and then this is expected to cost about 2 crore rupees and we are planning to complete this work in next 2 years, so that people will address this temple as, Golden Temple.

Interviewer: Apart from being architecturally noticeable, temples have a social role to play. They are places of learning and beacons of  a social revolution. How far is Radha Krishna temple successful in this regard?
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa: That way, I would say if we do a performance evaluation, we have done very wonderfully that even though the temple was inaugurated in 1997, within a short time, this temple is the most visited temple in South India, after Tirupathi, with such a short time.  And as far as community services are concerned, the Akshaya Patra has been a boon to the country.
No match so that way it has happened; we have surpassed many, many religious institutions in terms of serving society.  Then, as far as giving out spiritual education is concerned, you will be surprised to know that from this temple more than 3.5 lakh of Bhagavadgita in Kannada has been distributed, since the inauguration and similar numbers in the other language put together and Srimad Bhagvatham, minimum of all languages put together 20,000 sets of Srimad Bhagavatham has gone out of this temple.  So, these things are very remarkable, it simple shows that there is hectic activity in this place, so it is a center of learning; it has become a center of learning, and the center to inculcate our culture to youngsters. 
We are having various cultural programs like Culture camp, where last year, 6,000 to 8,000 children during summer vacation had come and associated with the temple and have learnt various arts and crafts and dances from a very expert teachers, who were appointed for this vacation services by the ISKCON temple here.  And, this kind of facility was offered not only to only city well-to-do kids, but it went to – an opportunity was given to even to children from Akshaya Patra schools, poor government schools to whom nobody ever cared to give them some cultural training.  And, we had thousands of students in the Akshaya Patra whom poor children getting an opportunity to develop their talents, and in fact, we were shocked to see that from poorest of the poor background some of the kids had unbelievable artistic talents, which there was nobody to match up, so this temple is acting as a, you know, center for social revolution as it makes no distinction on the basis of caste or status of a person in the society. 
We extend our programme to one and all without discrimination.

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