ISKCON Mayapur, situated in Sri Navadvipa Dham, the birthplace of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the largest Hare Krishna community in the world. We have been visited by thousands of guests coming every day from all over the world as well as from various parts of India. But what’s our ranking? You will be amazed to know that ISKCON Mayapur is one of the 20 sacred places most visited in the whole world with almost 5 million* visitants/guests around the year! It’s almost the same quantity of visitants in the St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican, Rome, 7 million people. And it is the same quantity of people who have visited Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall or Western Wall. Of course that, after the New Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir will be ready we’ll have much more opportunity to spread the glories of the Kali Yuga* Pavana Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, worldwide. We can see how Srila Prabhupada brilliantly encouraged and inspired his disciples to do this amazing service. He gave every detail about the new temple and it is impossible for us to measure how valuable it will be for the Sankirtan* Movement.
Through the gates of the ISKCON Mayapur complex more than 350 thousand people are passing every month, included lower and higher season together. More than 900 hundred volunteers and employees are working around the clock for the success of numerous temple festivals, book distribution, Kirtans, restaurants, schools, deity worship, Maha Prasad Booths, Information Booths, the Samadhi’s museum, as well as seeing to the overall cleanness and security of our extensive site.
It was the desire of the previous Acharyas to see Gauda Mandala Bhumi* fully developed that many people could take advantage of Lord Chaitanya’s Sankirtan Movement. The greatness of this project and how it can inspire devotees and non-devotees about the glories of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is astonishing. Nowadays we can see with our own eyes that the desires of the Acharyas are now being fulfilled.
ISKCON Mayapur has more than 20 wonderful projects, running simultaneously, for the pleasure of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu under the expert guidance and inspiration of HH Jayapataka Swami. Below are five of these projects which we would like to tell you about to give you a small sampling of the many great projects that are going on here.
The Morning Japa* Program – – is one of the most dear projects of ISKCON Mayapur. Every day, for 20 years, patient and determined brahmacaries* teach the Mangala Arati guests how to chant the Holy Name of the Lord on japa mala beads. “Jiva doya Krishna Nama Sarva Dharma Sara”, in this song, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, “Sing loudly the Holy Name, which is the essence of all forms of religion, and is the maximum act of compassion”. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from, or their political, economic or educational position, after Mangal Arati*, the many guests who attended and would like to now sit in the temple room for 30 minutes are instructed on how to chant japa on beads, and also receive knowledge about the importance of chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra to overcome the terrible effects of this Age of Kali Yuga. Bishok prabhu, the brahmacari who is in charge of this program said that some guests come to him after some time to share their realizations “…After that day I started chanting on japa beads and reading the book that you gave to me. Then gradually my life completely changed, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to learn how to chant..”
Food for Life– is a worldwide ISKCON program. Mayapur Food for Life is based on Srila Prabhupada’s direct instructions given in 1974. Srila Prabhupada saw a group of children fighting for foodwith street dogs, and in that moment he ordered “no one within a 10 mile radius of ISKCON Mayapur temple should go hungry”. In 2011, according, to Food for Life Mayapur’s Annual Report, more than 700,000 meals were distributed, which means about 2,000 meals a day. About 20 (twenty) volunteers and cooks are preparing and giving free, sumptuous, nutritious, freshly-prepared vegetarian meals to all, regardless of caste, creed or religion. This amount also includes the distribution of small cups to visiting pilgrims and guest to make sure that no one leaves ISKCON Mayapur without having Krishna prasadam.
Book Distribution– In 1970, HH Jayapataka Swami inaugurated book distribution in Sri Mayapur Dham. The first book printed was “Gitar Gan”, a version of the Bhagavad Gita written in Bengali by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in only one day. At that time there were four brave, western devotees who could not speak Bengali who would go to distribute books in the nearby villages of Mayapur. Nowadays, ISKCON Mayapur has 10 buses to carry 80 Sankirtan devotees out into the nearby villages, and almost 50 devotees are distributing books to the thousands of pilgrims who come through the gates of Mayapur every day. As an international center of pilgrimage, and to satisfy the needs of those who come here to learn about spiritual life, Mayapur has a huge BBT which prints many book titles in five languages (English, Bengali, Hindi, Oriya and Urdu). According to the “World Sankirtan Report of 2011-2012”, ISKCON Mayapur is in third place for book distribution amongst the biggest ISKCON temples in the world. It is ahead of the big temples in North America and Europe.
New Bhakta Prashikam– When Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON in New York City in 1966, he established in writing as well as in many lectures, the seven purposes that ISKCON should be based on. In two of these purposes Srila Prabhupada wanted to institute the importance of a training program for new devotees who joined ISKCON, in order for them to take complete advantage of everything that our philosophy has to offer. Since 1972, when this program was established, it has helped many devotees get off the material platform and onto the spiritual platform of self-realization. In Mayapur, new devotees are trained for six months to eventually become qualified Brahmanas. The training is based on the 3’s (Study, Service and Sadhana). They study under the guidance of experienced devotees. More than 90 new bhaktas have been trained in the last 5 years. Then these newly trained devotees usually go out to travel and preach on one of Mayapur many traveling book distribution parties, and some of them remain to do service in the temple.
Diety Worship– Everyone who comes to Mayapur Dham is pleased and impressed by the deity worship in Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir. Every single day we have a festival because of the opulent deity worship that takes place here. More than 50 devotees are involved directly and indirectly in deity worship; they are doing aratis, cooking, cleaning and selling Maha prasadam. Every day, 24 x 7, in cold winters or hot summers, never mind! They never stop their duty to service their beloved Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Pancha Tattva and Lord Nrsimhadev. Deity worship is done under the direction of our dear, head pujari, HG Jananivas Prabhu. He took initiation directly from Srila Prabhupada, and he has been serving in Sri Mayapur since 1972. He is a personal example of love and surrender.
If you want to know more details about these projects or other, you are invited to visit Mayapur Seva Office in the courtyard of the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir.
Nitya Kishor dd
Names behind the scenes:
ISKCON Mayapur Co-Director: HH Jayapataka Swami
ISKCON Mayapur Co-Director: HH Bhakti Purushottama Swami
ISKCON Mayapur Deputy Director: HG Sankarshan Nitai prabhu
Japa Program leader: HG Bishok prabhu
ISKCON Mayapur Food for Life: HG Sundara Govinda prabhu
Book Distribution leader: HG Sachi Kumar prabhu
New Bhakta Prashikam Coordinator: HG Padmapad prabhu
Deity Worship Head Pujari: HG Jananivas prabhu
All glories to those are giving their lives to fulfill the desires of previous Acharyas.