Shilanyas at ISKCON Guwahati Assam

By Basu Ghosh Das
On the auspicious day of papamochani (”freedom from sins”) ekadashi, Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Governor of Assam, His Excellency Sri Janakivallabh Patnaik, launched the efforts to construct a new Jagannath temple, on a fifteen thousand square foot property at Jaynagar Charali Beltola, Guwahati, Assam, donated to ISKCON by Smt. Shantidevi Kamikya Prasad Sharma. 

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On the auspicious day of papamochani (”freedom from sins”) ekadashi, Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Governor of Assam, His Excellency Sri Janakivallabh Patnaik, launched the efforts to construct a new Jagannath temple, on a fifteen thousand square foot property at Jaynagar Charali Beltola, Guwahati, Assam, donated to ISKCON by Smt. Shantidevi Kamikya Prasad Sharma.
Thursday morning, Sriman Bhadra Charu Das of ISKCON Mayapur performed Vastu puja, Bhumi puja, and Vastu homa, according to agama shastras. In the evening, upon his arrival at the site, His Excellency the Governor participated in the “purnahuti” (final oblation of the vastu homa), accompanied by his wife, Smt. Jayanti Patnaik, formerly a Member of Parliament from Orissa, as well as Assam State Government Ministers, and other dignitaries.
Thereafter His Excellency unveiled the foundation stone for the new temple in the presence of ISKCON Assam Zonal Secretary and Guwahati Temple President Shree Jeeva Das, dignitaries, devotees and well-wishers of ISKCON Guwahati.
Immediately after the foundation stone unveiling, His Excellency and other dignitaries assembled on a stage to address the gathering, where seating arrangements for several hundred guests to hear speeches by His Excellency and other dignitaries.
Sriman Shree Jeeva Das and other devotees felicitated His Excellency the Governor, his wife, Smt. Jayanti Patnaik, Smt. Shantidevi Kamikya Prasad Sharma, the land donor, and the other dignitaries on the dais with garlands, gifts, and traditional Assamese gamochas (towels).
Sriman Karunapati Das chanted mantras to inaugurate the function.
Sriman Jadupati Shyam Das of ISKCON Dibrugarh, Assam, welcomed the dignitaries on the dais and welcomed the gathering. He spoke briefly about the proposed Jagannath temple, and the aims and objectives of the Institute for Transcendental Science to come up on the same plot.
Sri Akon Bora, Minister of Social Welfare of Assam State first addressed the gathering. He said that it would be very good for the people of Assam if a replica of the Jagannath temple at Puri was constructed by ISKCON here. He also said that it was very good that the Governor and other Ministers were taking initiative in this noble endeavor.
Captain Robin Bordolai, MLA (Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly and son of the late Gopinath Bordolai, who was the first Chief Minister of Assam) spoke next. He said that I am actively associated with ISKCON since it’s inception at Guwahati and fully supports the new venture of ISKCON in the form of the Jagannath temple.
Vayasaki Das, senior disciple of ISKCON Founder-Acharya A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, explained that Prabhupada first introduced the Sri Murtis of Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra, in ISKCON centers, before introducing Radha Krishna Murtis. During ISKCON’s initial three years, 1967-69, within ISKCON centers only Jagannath Deities were installed. Later on, at the end of 1969, Prabhupada first installed marble Radha-Krishna Vigraha, at London. Vaiyasaki Das explained his special association with Lord Jagannath’s Deity. When he first entered an ISKCON temple, the first Deities he saw were Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadradevi. During the 1973 Rathayatra festival at London, Vaiyasaki Das met Srila Prabhupada personally for the first time. Later at San Francisico, Prabhupada awarded diksha to Vaiyasaki Das, also at the Jagannath Rathayatra festival!
In this way, Vaiyasaki Prabhu was saying how Lord Jagananth was there at the most important moments of his Krishna conscious career, especially now as a guest speaker and kirtan performer for the shilanyas of Lord Jagannath’s temple at Guwahati.
He explained that in the twenty-first century, Lord Jagannath’s vigraha, and His Rathayatra festival are known in every major city of the world. Therefore, He is not simply Purinath, or Assamnath, but actually Jagannath. Vaiyasaki Prabhu closed his speech by reminding us that Prabhupada had written that just as Christianity was spread through the symbol of the cross, similarly Krishna consciousness would be spread through the symbol of Lord Jagannath.”
Thereafter, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Minister for Health, Family Welfare, Science and Technology spoke. He said that the construction of the Jagannath temple will benefit the younger generation spiritually. He appealed for generous donations to construct the temple.
Dr. Bhumidhar Barman, Assam Revenue Minister, the senior-most cabinet Minister after the Chief Minister, addressed the gathering. He spoke about Lord Krishna. He said that without spirituality, the society cannot become peaceful.
Basu Ghosh Das, President of ISKCON Baroda, also a disciple of ISKCON Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada spoke in Samskritam and encouraged the members of the public to learn conversational Samskritam. Then, speaking in Hindi he explained that all of the vedic literatures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana are in Samskritam He pointed out that when India obtained Independence, Samskritam should have been made India’s national language. ISKCON was formed to spread vedic culture and that the culture is preserved in the Samskrita language. He also expressed happiness that the Governor and several Governments Ministers of the Assam State Government were taking keen interest in the construction of the proposed Jagannath temple. He quoted Lord Krishna’s instruction in Bhagavad-gita that everything should be an offering unto Him.
Braja Hari Das, President of ISKCON, Juhu, Bombay, pointed out that the six goswamis were ordered by Mahaprabhu to write books and build temples. Prabhupada established Jagannath temples worldwide to bless the fallen mlecchas and yavanas with His darshan because he is very merciful to the fallen, “patit pavan”.
His Excellency the Governor of Assam, Sri J. B. Patnaik, spoke in fluent Assamese, despite the fact that he is from Orissa.
Firstly he praised ISKCON Guwahati for it’s determination to establish a Jagannath temple here in the State Capitol. He then mentioned the great ancient Vaishnava saint of Assam, Shankaradev, who visited Jagannath Puri twice during his lifetime. He explained that Shankaradev’s influence was to unite the Assamese people culturally and spiritually. He agreed with Basu Ghosh Das that Samskritam must be made the national language of India. He said that only Samskritam can unite the entire country on the platform of language, since it’s familiar to all throughout India.
Before the conclusion of the meeting, ISKCON life member Sri G. N. Khound, proposed a vote of thanks to the dignitaries and gathering. The entire program was compeered by Sri Mukunda Nrsingha Das.
Immediately after the conclusion of the speeches of the dignitaries, the gathering was entertained by an Odissa dance performance of Sitadevi Dasi, of France, and by kirtans performed by Vaiyasaki Das and devotees.
Ekadashi “phalaahaar” prasad was served to all.

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