Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ananta Shesha Sthapana at Vrindavana Chandrodaya Mandir

Vrindavana, the holy land where Supreme Lord Krishna enacted His wonderful pastimes, has several spiritual dimensions to it which cannot be seen with our mundane material eyes. It is revealed to only those devotees of the Lord whose eyes are anointed with love for Krishna. Over five hundred years ago, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent His disciples, the six Gosvamis headed by Srila Rupa Gosvami to uncover the locations of different pastimes of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana. Due to their efforts, today the whole world knows about the glories of Vrindavana.

Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, encouraged devotees to construct skyscraper temples for Krishna. Inspired by his instructions, the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore have initiated the construction of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, a massive skyscraper temple, rising up to a height of 700-feet with a footprint of 5.5 acres in the village of Chattikara. It is the world’s tallest temple of Lord Krishna being built in Vrindavana.

To protect baby Krishna from the attacks of various demons like Putana, Shakatasura and Trinavarta, the residents of Gokula decided to shift their entire settlement to Vrindavana. On their way they halted at this village (Chattikara) and unyoked the bulls from the carts. The Supreme Lord has manifested in Chattikara as Sri Radha-Vrindavanachandra and is now residing in a temporary structure built here. Soon the iconic temple will rise into the sky and the Deities will move there and attract millions of devotees from all over the world.

His Excellency Sri Pranab Mukherjee, the Honorable President of India, participated in the ceremony of installing Lord Ananta Shesha (thousand-hooded serpent) at Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir on November 16, 2014. Lord Ananta Shesha is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi-khanda 1.46), nivasa-sayyasana-padukamsuko-padhana-varsatapa-varanadibhih: Ananta Shesha serves the Supreme Lord by assuming various forms like umbrella, slippers, bedding, pillow, garments, resting chair, throne etc. Srila Prabhupada, in his Srimad-Bhagavatam purports explains that Ananta's strength is so great that innumerable universes rest on His hoods. Since His strength is unlimited, all the universes resting on His hoods feel no heavier than mustard seeds.

While constructing the temple, the foundation is laid and the Deity of Ananta Shesha is installed first. The idea of this ceremony, which is recommended in the Agama shastras (part of the Vedic literatures), is that the entire temple building of Lord Krishna will be resting on the hoods of Ananta Shesha. The sanctum sanctorum (garbha-griha) of the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is at a height of 15 meters from the ground. The Agama shastras recommend that the altar has to have bhu-sparsha (contact with the earth) and hence it is perched on a bhu-sparsha stambha. During the ceremony, the Deity of Ananta will be placed under the bhu-sparsha stambha which is formed by filling earth from several holy places and river basins from all over India.

Speaking on this occasion, Sri Pranab Mukherjee said that, “I am happy to hear that the followers of Srila Prabhupada from ISKCON Bangalore have conceived an iconic project of setting up a skyscraper temple for Lord Sri Krishna in Vrindavan. This is a historic undertaking. This project will highlight the significance of Vrindavan in multiple ways.”

He further expressed his hope that Vrindavan should become a beacon in spreading the spiritual culture of bhakti to Lord Krishna and give solace to thousands of people from all over the world. It should grow to become the spiritual capital of the world.

Conveying his appreciation for Srila Prabhupada, he said, “Srila Prabhupada the founder and Acharya of ISKCON was a true visionary and an ambassador of Indian culture who took this message of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and glory of Vrindavan dham the world over. Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual influence continues to resonate in the hearts of Krishna devotees all over the world even to this day.”

The temple architecture harmoniously blends the timeless grace of traditional Indian temple architecture and the glitter and elegance of modern architecture. Apart from the worship of Lord Krishna, the complex will also include many enchanting features – state-of-the-art multimedia expos on Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srimad-Bhagavad-gita and also science and spirituality. A capsule elevator will take the visitors through the planetary systems to the viewing gallery at the top of the structure, re-creation of twelve forests (dvadasha kanana) of Vrindavana around the temple complex as described in the scriptures, rivulets of Yamuna with lotus ponds, light-sound-motion dioramas of Krishna’s lilas – to name a few.

Expressing his vision for this ambitious project, the Chairman of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, said, “The life, customs, practices, language and festivals in Vrindavan dham form a unique culture, having developed over the last five centuries based on the revelations of great saints of Vrindavana. It is our hope that Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir will be the center for preserving and promoting this pristine Vedic Culture and protecting the holy dham from the influence of materialistic culture which is threatening to wipe out local cultures in our urban areas of India.”

The President of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa said, “We cannot have a peaceful and prosperous society without the foundation of Krishna’s teachings that form the bedrock of people’s character, behavior and values. And we want to present this spiritual paradigm of life in a philosophical, reasonable, logical and authoritative manner on the basis of the teachings of Lord Sri Krishna. In other words, this temple will play a major role in influencing the youth of India to become responsible and contributing citizens with fine character and sublime values of life.”

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