Eighteen Days - Sri Panca Tattva's Mayapur Lila

O tt r M od t rn-rlay Vi-i!(lrarnra

encl o[ 1988, when they came to Mayapllr for the seconcl time.

At that time, work on Srila Prabhupdda's samadhr had come to a halt, but on Bharata's arrival, the work once again coml"nenced. Bharata had been a potter with his own business in Australia, and one of the first things he dicl on his arrival was to builcl his own kiln on the grounds, hand-firing all the sample terracotta pancls that would grace the samadhl walls. lnitially the panels were to be plain terracotta, but soon another clevotee, Matsya Avatara Dasa, became involvecl and introducecl color. The result was Florentine-style, multi-colored panels, and the workload increasecl. Instead of requiring one firing, the panels requirecl up to [our; conse- quently Bharata spent eight years instead of the proposed one year on the project, working under the most extreme conditions to complete this beautiful work o[ art. At the end o[ it all, Yamuna Dasi. one o[ Srila Prabhupada's earliest clisciples, laughingly saicl to Bharata, "Only eight years?! I'm surprised it was so fast, under the circnmstances!" Such was the difficulty and arcluous effort involved. In 1995, shortly beflore the cornpletion of the saruadhl, an artist named Milan Bagh, from the nearby town of Krishnanagar, carne to Mdyipur and made the rnodels flor rhe small Panca-tattva deities that currently resicle in the temple. Within three monrhs, Bharata Maharaja l'rad cast the deities in the workshop next to his house. ln the rniddle of the casting, the workshop was pulled clown and the artists and casters movecl into Bharata's house. The work continued in the beclroom, while Bhakta Gana paintecl the cornpletecl deities in the kitchen. Sleeping bodies covered every available inch of floor by night, while work continued on the deities cluring the day. It was an austere living ancl working environment. that existed for three months, when the deities were finally reaclyr The deities were installed in 1996 for Srila PrabhupAda's Centennial year, on thc last EkddaSi before Gaura-p[rnirni. Shortly after, Bharata began working on the clay moclels for the large Paflca-tattva deities. They were macle on the rool of thr: Gada Building. a guesthouse on the grounds high enough so the floods wouldn't threaten their work. Milan Bagh was again involved, working with Bharata in cre-


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