By Purushottam Nitai Das
The stars are still smiling in the sky, the birds are still sleeping in their nests, the big trees and the small plants are curiously looking around enjoying the spectacle, the water in the nearby Ganges are resting peacefully, the cool breeze is singing shyly occasionally touching the sacred river gently and immediately racing to catch up with the devotees who are quickly walking towards the temple. Men, women, children walk briskly lest they miss the momentous opportunity. When clock calls 4:30 a.m., pujari blows the conchshell reverentially and opens the gigantic curtain hurriedly. Hundreds of devotees raise their arms in jubilation when Sri Sri Radha Madhav along with eight gopis and Panca Tattva appears to enjoy the celebration. Their looks are from the spiritual sky, they are always full of smile, their stunning glance give devotees immense joy.
When Prabhupada cried
The year was 1971, it was the time when Srila Prabhupada still walked on the planet earth. Mayapur is a special land because here is Lord Chaitanya’s sacred home. Prabhupada had a mega plan – “Let us build a magnificent temple in Mayapur. Let people from all over the world congregate here to chant Krishna’s holy name.” Muslim Sek brothers with great difficulty finally agreed to offer a piece of land. “Let us not waste even a single moment. Let us all work together to develop Chaitanya’s land.” Prabhupada’s clarion call spread far and wide. Without any delay devotees marched towards Mayapur. To construct a beautiful world class spiritual center was their vision and to work hard in any situation and condition was their mission.
The toughest years
The initial years were the toughest years. Electricity was a rarity, clean water a luxury, cooking an austerity. Storms and rains often sullied the land. Snakes and scorpions enjoyed the muddy land. Prabhupada appreciated the monumental efforts. He called Bhavananda one night and suddenly began crying to Bhavananda’s surprise. “I know it is difficult for all you Western boys and girls…..I know you cannot even get prasadam. When I think that you cannot even get milk and that you have given up your opulent life to come here and you do not complain, I am very much indebted to all of you.” Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita Chapter 42: Developing Mayapur. But he continued elevating devotees spirit, “Mayapur is so wonderful. You can live on the air and water alone.”
The First Gaur Purnima Festival
29 Feb, 1972 was a historic day, the first Gaur Purnima festival in the upcoming center was celebrated on this auspicious day. Devotees from everywhere had assembled here to participate in this mega fest. The five day festival featured several programs. Non – stop Hare Krishna song continued day and night, spiritual discourse touched the core of every soul, devotees danced through the spiritual lanes and stopped at many sacred sites – they embraced the neem tree under which Mahabrabhu appeared, meditated on the samadhi of Chand Kazi who got Mahaprabhu’s grace, danced in the courtyard of Srivasa Angan where Lord danced dusk to dawn.
Let it be the spiritual capital
“Let Mayapur be the spiritual capital of the world,” Prabhupada boldly declared. Let people far and wide across the ocean across the continents sing in chorus the glories of Chaitanya’s name. Let all land in this holy land to enjoy the bliss of the holy name. “Let us all install here life size deities of Panca tattva,” again Prabhupada demanded. Lest his dream be a wishful thinking devotees began looking for the artisans good enough, devoted enough to carve the deities in their heart. The search began in 1999, the fortunate artisans of Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, were the gifted souls. Panca Tattva is about to manifest, the wind carried the news far and wide. With dedication the work began in 2002 and seeing devotees devotion the Lord agreed to manifest in the metal form. The eight metals – copper, brass, tin, lead, iron, gold, silver, steel- were mixed in right proportion so that each of the deity gets their specific complexion. Lord Chaitanya, of course, has golden complexion.
Panca Tattva appears
Devotees numbering thousands waited with bated breath for the arrival of deities in Mayapur. At dawn their hopes soured high and at dusk their hopes did not die. They called the name of Gauranga in unison and Mahaprabhu finally arrived to join the celebration. 21st, 22nd and 23rd of Feb 2004 were the most auspicious days. These 72 hours were the memorable moments. No one spoke everyone sang. No one walked everyone danced. No one slept everyone wept when the 7 feet tall magnificent deities each weighing about 3 tons were installed on the majestic altar. The guidelines of pancartrika literature guided Panca tattva installation – the sense organs and the limbs of the deities were invoked, prana pratista ceremony ceremoniously invoked Lord’s divine presence, sacred water with sacred substances relentlessly rained to bathe the Lord during maha – abhishek.
Anxiously everyone inquired, “Where is the Lord?” Suddenly the priest heard the pleas and flung open the gigantic curtain. “The Lord is here.” Everyone cried in chorus. Panca tattva had appeared. Their glance enhanced everyone’s emotion. Devotees failed to hide their devotion. It’s not an exaggeration, devotees danced in utter jubilation. Tears and Krishna’s song complimented the celebration.
Prophecy comes true
Panca Tattva on the altar looks magnificent. Lord Chaitanya blissfully stands in the middle, with long raised arms he invites anyone and everyone to chant Krishna’s name. Nityananda on his right, Gadadhara on his left welcomes all to the sankirtana land. Advaita Acharya standing far right is full of compassion and Srivasa Thakura standing far left is paragon of devotion.
Nityananda is not an ordinary soul, he is the plenary expansion of the Supersoul. 500 years back he uttered the auspicious words, “eka adbhuta mandira ei haibe prakasa/gaurangera nitya-seva haibe vikasa.” – An astounding temple will appear and will engage the entire world in the eternal service of Lord Chaitanya. (Sri Navadvipa-Mahatmya, Parikrama Khanda, Chapter 4).
This prediction has now come true. Mayapur has one of the most beautiful temples of the world. 300 foot high upcoming Temple Of Vedic Planetarium which is going to be world’s one of the tallest temple is soon to manifest in Mayapur. This will further enhance the beauty of the beautiful land, glories of the glorious land.
Circumambulating the magical land
Millions of devotees from everywhere of different colour and different faith long to come to Mayapur to bathe in the dust of magical land. Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama has become a mega fair. Celebrated during Gaur Purnima festival, more than 10000 devotees with much expectation come here to cleanse their hearts of all imperfections. Dawn to dusk they dance through the sacred land, occasionally stop to hear the glories of that specific place and immediately march ahead to next destination. Night they spend in makeshift tent houses. Throughout the day they walk for several kilometers, in total they cover around 80 km, they continuously sing “Hare Krishna” song accompanied with mridanga and kartal.
Longing to live in Chaitanya’s land
A person without vision cry confidently that stone and diamond are one and same. A person without any devotion cry in confusion, “What is so great about this ordinary land.” Mayapur is not just any land. The dust here has immense potency as it has drunk Chaitanya’s mercy. The wind having witnessed wonderful pastimes sings with joy the song of spiritual sky. Here every word becomes a song and every step a dance. Lord Chaitanya is not a simple soul, he is indeed the Supersoul. His glories are sung in sacred scriptures. Nrsimha Purana confidently declares,”The Supreme Personality of Godhead who in the Satya-Yuga appeared as a half-man, half-lion to cure a terrible disease that had ravaged the daityas, and who in the Treta-Yuga appeared as a person named Rama [Lord Ramachandra], the person who defeated the ten-headed Demon Ravana, and who in the Dvapara-Yuga removed the earth’s burden, and protected the Gopa [cowherd men] people of Vraja-pura, will appear again in the Kali-Yuga. His form will be golden, He will delight in chanting the Lord’s holy names, and His name will be Chaitanya.”
When will the day come when I too will dance in the dust of this magical land, sing Hare Krishna in this mystical land, long to live in Chaitany’s land!
Reference: Srila Prabhupada lilamrta