Saturday, July 4, 2015

Travel to Mayapur and Nabadwip around ISKCON

We travel to Mayapur and Nabadwip after a journey that takes about four hours by car. Mayapur is a city located about 130 km from Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. The headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON, which spreads the Hare Krishna Movement is located here.

Mayapur is an island in the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Jalangi. The cities Nabadwip and Krishnanagar are only a few kilometers away. The philosopher Chaitanya was born in Nabadwip in 1486. Navadvip can be reached by car, boat or train. One of the most prominent pilgrims here was George Harrison. In his honor, a garden has been built here, which bears his name.

Mayapur was only a peasant village for centuries. It gained global importance only after the establishment of the headquarters of the ISKCON movement, which was founded in New York in 1966 by Srila Prabhupada. Thousands of visitors come daily not only to see the beautiful temple and garden facilities but also to get immersed in the spiritual atmosphere. I met people from many nations and even met people from Wall Street here.

And when we got there, we were more than surprised. The welcome we received at Gada Bhavan was magnificent. They wore a wreath of flowers and fresh sandalwood on the forehead. Our hosts told us that this is the way to receive people according to Vaisnava tradition. We spent two days in the sacred place. The next day we got up very early and bathed in cold water.

India is dusty and dirty but when you come to Mayapur, everything is different. It's quiet here. The atmosphere is very green and almost idyllic. Everything you hear when you arrive at Mayapur is the mantras. Life is permeated with divine sounds. The eyes of the people are bright and are ever enthusiastic. They are mostly vegetarians and have devoted their lives to God.

We participated in the mangal arati at the Pushpa Samadhi of Prabhupada and then at the temple of Radha Madhava. Its circular shape allows many people to simultaneously see Prabhupada sitting majestically on his altar. Inside the dome, mosaic tiles represent important events in Prabhupada's life. I was moved by the image representing Prabhupada as he teaches to write a Sanskrit letter to an American child. On the first floor, there are dioramas that illustrate the life of Prabhupada and his Ratha yatra at the age of four

I had the whole day ahead of me. As we walked to the goshala we were shown the Grihastha apartments and a building that is the headquarters of the Brahmachari. The goshala is divided into four sections for older cows, young cows, calves, and bulls.

Mayapur images

There is also the Vedic Gurukul. We received a very instructive response in the evening when we went to the Gurukul. Students learn Vedic mathematics, English and Sanskrit, music, martial arts, Vedic mantras, and Vaisnava texts. They cook, clean, wash their clothes and fill the water containers. In the evening they use oil lamps and for cooking, they use cow dung as fuel. We wondered if they were worried about their future. They are completely cut off from modernity and modern culture.

When I entered the grand hall of the temple and looked to the right, I was amazed at the sight of the four sails on both sides, admiring the perfect beauty of Madhava and Radharani. The temple was full of devotees who offered ghee lamps. Then we went to the adjacent room, which was also spacious.

When I saw the enormous Tattva, I could not even think that I should have left Mayapur. The graceful dances of devotees and the beautiful kirtan enchanted me. And before I could get back, I found myself in front of the divinity of Nrisimha. With silver-colored clothes, it looked like a silver flame. It had a very fierce and yet reassuring look.

Several modern temple buildings and the relaxed and concentrated atmosphere of the Ashram and its surroundings stand in stark contrast to the rather hectic life of many Indian cities. The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium is also located here. The building is modeled on the universe. It is a modern temple. Alfred Ford, the descendant of Henry Ford donated millions of US dollars for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

From the shore of Jalangi, we headed towards the island of Godrumadvipa. Then we walked along the road outside the temple territory to take a boat to one of the Navadvipa Islands. I could not take my cell phone with me and I started walking barefoot, feeling the fresh sand of Mayapur caressing my bare feet.
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