The Opening of Rajkot and Dwarka Temples

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

The last few days, particularly 6-9th December 2003 are pockets of time that will never leave our memories, especially for the devotees and disciples who were physically present, for they and thousands of others, witnessed what can only be described as the workings of the Lord through the agency of His pure devotee – HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj.

At an age (82 yrs) when the majority of us are content to be able to pick up our malas and chant the Lord’s Names, Maharaj stepped up the gears in full overdrive and in the incredible span of 4 years built a Vedic stone temple in the Holy Dham of Dwaraka. The Holy Dham is millions of years old, and yet the Supreme Lord, in the words of H.H Lokanath Maharaj, kept a plot of land 1 km within the radius of the ancient Dwarakadhish temple for His great devotee for centuries, to build a temple, where finally, Rukmini Devi meets the Lord!

All that I say cannot describe the full glory of the blessed occasion when the temple, looking resplendent when completed, with ornate carvings, exquisite decorations, and a lofty dome, opened its doors to reveal Their Lordships Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarakadhish in all Their glory to the world. The look of ecstasy and sheer happiness on Maharaj’s face as he gazed lovingly and soberly at Their Lordships when the first arati began told us all the confidential loving exchange that Krishna has with His dearmost devotees, something we can all learn from watching and obeying Maharaj and his instructions.

So many detractors over the years doubted if the temple would be built – too much money, too little collection, location is too small, Maharaj is too old, the full-time devotees serving Maharaj are too slow, Dwaraka is too far away, Their Lordships should not come first before a temple is built – the list of criticisms are endless – even if not spoken, then felt. But Maharaj had only one weapon with him that destroyed all the doubting Thomases – his pure devotional service and discharge of bhakti with great velocity and sincerity. Because of his bhakti, the money came, the collection grew, the location was ideal, his disciples like Vaishnava Seva and Lokapati Prabhus performed excellently, Maharaj’s health and stamina was endless, tiring us along the way, Dwaraka became very close – to all our hearts and therefore our minds and then our physical bodies, and their Lordships built Their own temple through Their ardent devotee.

And if 1 temple was not enough, Maharaj surged ahead only in the beginning of this year - and throwing all his faith and sincerity at the lotus feet of the Lord, full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls, he stepped into Rajkot, 6 hours away from Dwaraka, a bustling city and capital of Saurashthra, sat on a 9 acre land on its outskirts and began devotional service - preaching, studying Bhagavatam, chanting, lovingly touching the lives of one and all. 12 months later, under a year, he had built a massive temple hall which can hold 500 devotees, a beautiful temple for Their Lordships Sri Sri Nila Madhava, and installed the powerful Prahlad Nrsimhadev deity from Ahobilam.

Prabhus and Matajis, when the dust has settled, Maharaj is already planning ahead with his spiritual vision - how we can all be engaged in the Divine Service of Their Lordships in Dwaraka and Rajkot. The temples have opened, and the journey begins now. Maharaj would be most pleased to see all disciples and all well-wishers (there is a place for everyone) to serve our Supreme Lord, to maintain the temple, to expand the preaching programs, and most important of all, to learn from this great episode in our lives. There may have been so many imperfections in the arrangements leading up to and on the days concerned – for those of us working on the ground – many things appeared totally out of our control – but Gurudev’s anthem for the entire yatra was just 2 verses SB 8.23.16 and SB 1.5.14 from Shrimad Bhagavatam :

mantratas tantrataś chidraṁ deśa-kālārha-vastutaḥ
sarvaṁ karoti niśchidram anusaṅkīrtanaṁ tava

There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when Your Lordship’s holy name is chanted, everything becomes faultless.

tato ’nyathā kiñcana yad vivakṣataḥ
pṛthag dṛśas tat-kṛta-rūpa-nāmabhiḥ
na karhicit kvāpi ca duḥsthitā matir
labheta vātāhata-naur ivāspadam

Whatever you desire to describe that is separate in vision from the Lord simply reacts, with different forms, names, and results, to agitate the mind as the wind agitates a boat which has no resting place.

Gurudev said that if the boat has no anchor, then it is restless on the ocean and tossed hither and thither. But as soon as the anchor is placed, then the boat becomes steady. That anchor is our devotional service, chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord. We may be so perfect materially and in terms of rituals, but even then if these are separate from the interest of the Lord, then they wreck havoc to our lives, like the agitated boat. But even though we may not be perfect in our execution of various rituals, principles, etc, if we are fixed in our devotional service of the Lord, then everything, every discrepancy that appears for a while, eventually goes away and becomes faultless, because then we are not separate from the Lord.

How to ensure we will not be separate from the Lord? Take the association of a great and pure devotee like Maharaj, and especially for disciples, obey him. Maharaj several times told many of us - “You just obey, whether the result is success or failure - doesn’t matter - just obey and everything will succeed.”

I thank all the devotees who contributed in one way or another, with one heart or another, to make these programs a huge success. Without the mercy and love and dedication of all these wonderful devotees, everyone on this email list and others who are not, such a great work by a great devotee would not have been sufficiently glorified.

I pray that I will get the association of all the wonderful Vaishnavas who graced and blessed the programs with their presence there and from afar – and for all those who did not – rest assured - in the words of Gurudev – bhakti crosses all time, place and circumstances – in your own ways, every one of you who are fixed in devotional service, and non-envious in nature, have installed Their Lordships in your hearts. All glory to Guru and Gauranga.

Your servant always,
Devakinandan das

P.S: I lost my mobile and the number will be activated sometime tomorrow. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused. Many nice pictures have been taken - I will endeavour to put a few – perhaps other devotees can create some kind of portal for viewing them on the net. Gurudev will be in Rajkot till 21st December 2003 – then to Baroda for a few days and then to Mumbai. He may leave for overseas early next year – we will let you know soonest.