Mayapur, A Spiritual City

pearl, Srila Prabhupada sits on a marble vyasasana against a backdrop of yellow and burgundy Italian marble. The eye is drawn to the top of the marble cham­ ber in which Srila Prabhupada sits, to the shining 24 carat gold enameled terra cotta kailash a full 15 feet from base to tip, then on up to the beautiful mosaics decorating the inside of the dome, to a huge painting of Lord Chaitanya and His associates that adorns the apex of the dome. The building is an offering of love and gratitude from the members of ISKCON to their eternal spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and his activities are depicted throughout. The mosaic work done by Mr. Ganguli from Kolkata shows 12 memorable scenes from Srila Prabhupada’s years as Acharya of ISKCON, including the construction of the first solid building in Mayapur; San Francisco Rathayatra; the first gurukul; Prabhupada’s stress of a simple agrarian way of life and cow protection; Deity worship; his translation of the Bhagavatam, and others. Demi-gods show their respect and appreciation for this great devotee of Lord Krishna by showering flowers from the clouds. Along the parikram path inside the central chamber are dioramas showing more activities of ISKCON’s founder; his first printing of Back to Godhead, his move­ ment’s primary magazine; taking bath in the Ganga with his disciples; a morning walk and discussion. On the balcony level is a full walk-by exhibition of three dimension models, showing 13 key moments in Srila Prabhupada’s life beginning with his childhood rathayatra in Calcutta, up to his final moments in Vrindavan. Beneath the chamber is an auditorium for performing arts glorifying Krishna and His devotees and seminars on the practice of Bhakti yoga, the science of becom­ ing Krishna conscious. Around the outside of the mandir are 30 panels some measuring nearly 200 square feet, made from enameled terracotta. These panels which were all made on site using traditional methods are a wonder in them­ selves. Each one illustrates a pastime from the Srimad Bhagavatam endorsing the nine processes of devotional service as the only way to obtain Krishna’s lotus feet. The site of the Samadhi was originally chosen by Prabhupada himself for his resi dence, but he departed from this world before it could be built. Since he had expressed a desire for a pond, a large pukur was excavated and a multicolor foun­ tain added. Every year Sri Sri Radha Madhava visit Prabhupada at his Samadhi and enjoy Their Naukavilas lila in the pukur, accompanied by Their devotees and enthusiastic kirtan. Of the approximately 4,000,000 people who visit each year, it is rare for any­ one not to be impressed and leave with a greater appreciation for the person­ ality to whom it is dedicated, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. 18

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