Mayapur, A Spiritual City

T he desire of ISKCON’ s F ounder -A carya , Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhu­ pada, was that the culture of Vaisnavism be taken up by people all around the world. His own spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, told him, “If you ever get money, print books and take this knowl­ edge to the western countries.” Srila Prabhupada fulfilled his spiritual master’s instruction by going to the United States in 1966 and starting his inter­ national Society in New York. The first members were American, and Britain, Australia, France, Ger­ many, and the rest of Europe, Africa, and Austral­ asia soon followed. Within a few short years, “Hare Krishna” was in every home, every town, and every village. And now, from all around the world, devotees come to Mayapur to ex perience living in the Holy Dhama. Ashram living is an integral part of the worldwide ISKCON community. Living in the asso­ ciation of other devotees is one of the five primary processes of spiritual life recommended by great acaryas like Srila Rupa Goswami. In Mayapur, devo­ tees from practically every country of the world come and stay for short periods or long periods to fully experience the wonder of living in the holy dhama. Here, life is simple, and the centre of the community is the Lord in His worshipable form as the deity: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associ­ ates, the Panca-tattva; Sri Sri Radha Madhava and the eight principle gopis; and Sri Nrsimhadeva. Serving and living together in Mayapur, the devo­ tees are “in training” for the spiritual world, where everyone serves the Lord and His eternal associ­ ates, engaging in blissful pastimes. Organizing fes­ tivals, hosting guests, sewing dresses for the dei­ ties, making garlands, decorations, and jewelery for the deities–all these activities are joyfully per­ formed by the resident devotees. 30

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