Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple: ISKCON’s Rs 300 crore attempt to transform Vrindavan into the spiritual capital of India

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By  Gaurav Sharma

The land of Vrindavan, more accurately known as Brindavan or the forest of Basil has been revered by Hindus and spiritualists alike since time immemorial. For devotees of Krishna, however, the place holds special significance as the most sacred place of pilgrimage because Krishna sported in it, performing various heart-capturing and awe-inspiring pastimes.

History of Vrindavan

According to the Bhagavata Purana, the holy scripture of the Hindus, Krishna spent his early childhood pastimes in the Vrindavan forest, where he and his brother Balarama along with their friends stole butter, engaged in childhood pranks and fought with demons.

The more ‘confidential’ pastimes of  meeting and dancing with the local girls or gopis of Vrindavan village, especially Radha, are also believed to have taken place here.

When was the mystery of Vrindavan unravelled?

It is believed that Vrindavan was not discovered in its ‘true sense’ until the 16th Century. In the year 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a Hindu monk visited Vrindavan and located the lost history of Vrindavan.

It is believed that by His divine spiritual power, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was able to relocate all the important places of Krishna’s pastimes in and around Vrindavana,as he wandered the various sacred forests in a spiritual trance of divine love.

Like any traditional holy place, Vrindavan boasts of a number of popular temples and shrines. Most notable among them are Madan Mohan temple, Banke Bihari temple, Radha Vallabh temple, Sri Radha Raman Mandir, Govind dev temple, Krishna Balarama temple and Radha Govinda temple.

A Goliath among Davids

The construction of Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple, however, is expected to tower over the ancient temples, while making a departure from the classical places of worship. At a staggering cost of Rs 300 crore, the temple will be one of the world’s most expensive temple built by ISKCON, more popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement.

Speaking to NewsGram on the ambitious project, Swami Arjun Nath Dasa, member of ISKCON said, “The temple is being built with the aim of establishing Vrindavan as the spiritual capital of India. The temple will have a footprint of about 5 acres and will rise to a mind-boggling height of about 700 feet or 70 floors. From the ground level, a capsule elevator will rise up through the temple core, taking visitors through different planetary systems in the universe as described in the Vedic literatures, through an immersive sound, light and diorama show. The capsule elevator will finally reach the visitors to the Viewing Gallery at 700 feet for a breathtaking panoramic view of Braj Mandal.”

“In order to recreate the reestablish the virgin beauty of Vrindavan, a look-alike of the verdant forests of Vrindavan will be recreated around this magnificent temple with varieties of lush vegetation, green pastures, elegant vistas of fruit bearing trees, flower laden creepers serenaded by bird songs, clear water lakes with lotuses and lilies and waterfalls that tumble from small artificial hillocks”, he said.

He also stated that everything will be recreated from descriptions in the Srimad Bhagavatam and other source books of Lord Sri Krishna – to transport the visitors to Krishna’s times in Vrindavan.

An eclectic concoction of serenity, entertainment and spiritual wisdom

On the uniqueness of Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple, Swami Arjuna Nath Dasa said,  “The Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple offers something for everyone”:

While the Yamuna creek will provide a boating opportunity for the visitors and the Krishna Leela attractions in the forest will offer an entertaining experience for all the family members, the Bhagavad Gita Expo will ignite the minds and invigorate the intellect with the stupendous wisdom given by Lord Sri Krishna that forms the bedrock of the culture and the philosophy of life in India.

The Krishna Heritage Museum will showcase the rich heritage and artistic celebration of Lord Sri Krishna in diverse cultures of India, practiced and perfected over thousands of years.

There will be an indoor park that will permit visitors and devotees to immerse themselves in Krishna Consciousness through-out the year, irrespective of the sometimes hostile weather conditions of Vrindavan. The indoor park will  house an expo to present the pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna, the life of Sri Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, the founding member of ISKCON.

Maintaining the root-connect

The temple will also include a Braj Heritage Village to transport visitors back in time and space of Krishna. The India Heritage and Culture Expo will be planned as a walk through with the matic lighting and exhibits that highlight the legends from these epics and classics. The exhibits will display dolls in real life-size settings with light, sound, and visual effects.

In addition there will be audio-visual shows in small and medium-sized theatres. These exhibits and shows will communicate the timeless message of the classics of India in an entertaining and educative manner.

Serving the Gomata

More than 30 acres of land will be solely used to house a grand Goshala, built on the lines of a peacock feather. The concentric rings of beautiful green and blue hues forming around the deep dark blue nucleus of peacock’s eye will form the different zones of the goshala land.

An Oasis in the desert

With more and more people losing touch with their spiritual roots and the becoming increasingly disillusioned and disgruntled with the incessant onslaught of the material world, the construction  of the Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple is bound to re-spiritualise the atmosphere of material pollution.

 

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The Prominence of Hari-Naam in Hinduism: Benefits of Chanting “Hare Krishna” Mahamantra

"Hare Krishna" is known as the "Maha-Mantra" as mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upnishad during the Bhakti-movement by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Know about the benefits of chanting it

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Hare Krishna Text
"Hare Krishna" is perhaps the most powerful but very easy mantra that anyone can chant without restrictions.

By Kashish Rai

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama,

Rama Rama, Hare Hare

The Srimad Bhagvad Gita, which is the sacred book of the Hindus says that Krishna and Krishna’s name is the same. So, when you chant “Hare Krishna” you gain Krishna’s consciousness inside of you, you connect with the supreme being, so you connect with the universe.

“Hare Krishna” is known as the “Maha-Mantra” as mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upnishad during the Bhakti-movement by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The “Hare Krishna Mahamantra” is composed of three words of the supreme being~ “Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama”.

“Hare Krishna” is perhaps the most powerful but very easy mantra that anyone can chant without restrictions. In the truest might, this maha-mantra addresses the supreme power invoking its blessings on the chanter.

Know about the Benefits of Chanting “Hari Naam” in this article!

  • Benefit 1: You Get The Control Over Your Mind

The Srimad Bhagvad Gita Says, “One must conquer the mind. Those who have, their mind then becomes their best friend. In turn, those who haven’t, their mind will become their greatest enemy”.

The Chanting of “Hare Krishna” may help you to get a hold on your mind, stopping you from becoming the slaves to unwanted desires and whimsical thoughts that your mind can meander into. You can get the utmost peace of mind.

Hare Krishna Mahamantra
The “Hare Krishna Mahamantra” is composed of three words of the supreme being~ “Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama”.
  • Benefit 2: You Can Reach The Absolute State of Happiness

In today’s world filled up with materialistic things and miseries of life, everyone is in the search for happiness! And the chanting of “Hare Krishna” can allow us to share our contact with the god and his spirit, thus, leading us to our bliss by entering his association.

This is not material happiness, but a state of absolute happiness! This is the reason that everytime one chants “Hare Krishna” with passion, they themselves start dancing!

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Dancing
Image depicts Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dancing on tunes of “Hare Krishna Mahamantra” along with followers. Pinterest
  • Benefit 3: You Can Get Awakened To Your “True Self”

In this fast-paced world, we have become so accustomed to the material universe that we have forgotten our true self- the self of the spiritual. And when we have become so material, we have developed fears of death, old-age, and diseases.As definite beings~ we fear the loss of power, beauty, wealth, intelligence and so many other things.

When we chant Hari-Naam we get this supreme realisation that we are the pure, change-less spiritual souls which is different to the materialistic body. Hari-Naam is a pure spiritual sound vibration, and it can help us develop the consciousness to understand our ‘self’.

  • Benefit 4: You Can Change Your Negative Karmic Tendencies

The basic law of karma is equivalent to Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction”.

Spiritually, it means that for every material action performed, nature forces an equivalent reaction upon the performer. We as human beings transform ourselves from one karmic destiny to another.

Chanting Hare Krishna can help us build our positive karma as chanting Krishna means that we are chanting the name with “transcendental energy” to erase all the negatives that exists within us and then Attain “Moksha” (To free ourselves of this cycle of life, we need moksha and the liberation from the endless wheel of birth and death is also known as ‘samsara’. This can only be achieved when our consciousness is completely free from material desires.)

Lord Krishna
when you chant “Hare Krishna” you gain Krishna’s consciousness inside of you, you connect with the supreme being, so you connect with the universe. Pinterest
  • Benefit 5: You Get the The Most Salient Benefit~ You Understand “The Love of God”

The most important benefit of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is to find God-realization and pure love of God.

When our consciousness becomes one with God, our positive nature is depicted in our character and behavior in the same phenomenon just as how the sun approaches the horizon, it is preceded by warmth and illumination.

ALSO READ: Dealing with Work-From-Home in a Long-Term Remote Setup

Likewise, the name of Krishna is revived in our heart, which has been missing since the start of “Kali Yuga”.

Chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra does not pertain to only recalling the name of god but it takes you on a journey of self-realisation through supreme consciousness thereby redeeming yourself from the mundane state of life.

 

 

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Yoga: A Sacred Gift, with Love from Hinduism and India to the World

Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism for centuries, it is a gift from India to the world

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Yoga
Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism in India. Pixabay

BY Varuni Trivedi

Lord Krishna said to Arjun in the Geeta, “Restless senses, O Arjuna, forcibly carry away the mind of even a wise person striving for perfection.” Patanjali’s description of the practice of yoga after the yamas and niyamas, directs towards the pratyahara, meaning turning inward of the senses. In simple terms when one is unable to restrain the senses, they become powerless to direct their minds. No matter how well-read or wise they sound while talking, it carries little importance without the practice discipline. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ (“to yoke”) which is more literally translated as “union of the individual’s Atma or soul with Paramatma or god (the universal soul). This is often understood as a union with the divine power by the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Thus, Yoga is what imparts an internal discipline, not only to the body but also to the mind and spirit. 

 

History of the art of Yoga

Bhagavad Gita, the holy scripture of Hindus also states the importance of yoga, “Yoga is the journey of the self, to the self, through the self” it beautifully quotes. The history of Yoga is accurately is difficult to trace its has many places of obscurity and uncertainty. In those ages, texts and teaching were passed down orally. Not only was the oral transmission of sacred texts is a common occurrence but the secretive nature of its teachings was also a recurring phenomenon. Furthermore, earlier writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed, or even lost making it difficult to trace the exact time of its inception. However, experts claim that the development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, some researchers even think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. 

The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred known to mankind, the Rig Veda. These Vedas are sacred Hindu texts and were a collection of songs, mantras, and rituals to be used by Brahmans and Vedic priests. Later on, Yoga was slowly refined and developed by the Brahmans and Rishi munis who documented their practices and beliefs in the Upanishads, which contains 200 scriptures. However, to date, the most renowned Yogic scriptures where Yoga and its benefits are mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita which was composed in around 500 B.C.E. 

Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice, and development or the pre-classic, classical, post-classical, and the modern period. Yoga as a means of exercise for the body and mind is a deeply rooted concept of Hinduism in India for centuries.  Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga are considered the four main yogas, but with time and development now there are many other types. 

Yoga and meditation
Yoga is more of a spiritual act and it remains a vibrant living tradition. Pixabay

 

Yoga in the modern period

Yoga is more of a spiritual act and it remains a vibrant living tradition. It is seen all across the world as a means to enlightenment for the mind and soul. In the 1800s and 1900s, yogic gurus traveled to the West, gaining attention, and followers and making Yoga more and more famous. Essentially this spread can be traced back to, 1893 when in the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda left the attendees spellbound with his speech. His lectures on yoga and wellbeing were a great catalyst in spreading the word about this art. Late, in the 1920s and 30s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India as the work of T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda, and other yogis became popular.

Krishnamacharya was the first to open a Hatha Yoga school in Mysore in 1924. Sometime later in 1936 Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the holy river Ganges, he aroused three students that continued his legacy and increased the popularity of Hatha Yoga. They were B.K.S. Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, and Pattabhi Jois. Sivananda himself wrote over 200 books on yoga and established nine ashrams and many yoga centers across the world, making yoga popular worldwide. In the western world, the importance of yoga and its popularity soared when Indra Devi opened her yoga studio in Hollywood in 1947. 

Yoga is popular in many parts of the world. Especially in the United States, yoga has become associated with the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, which have gained immense popularity as fitness exercises. Even though Yoga is central to Hinduism, other religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, have also been greatly influenced by it throughout the world. Some of the most important Hindu texts which have laid the ground for yoga worldwide include the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

 

Yoga
The practice of Yoga asanas and meditation provides natural support to the immune system. Pixabay

Yoga and Modi

PM Modi has been a patron of yoga, practicing and propagating the idea of yoga and its importance worldwide. Recently at a yoga event called “Yoga for Peace” in Argentina’s capital Mr. Modi addressed the participants saying that the practice of Yoga connects everyone to happiness. The Prime Minister further said that if the mind is at peace, there would be peace in family, society, country, and the world as well. He went on to say that “Yoga is India’s gift to the world for health, wellness, and peace.” Yoga can be credited to connects us with wellness and happiness and bring peace of mind to many across the globe.  PM Modi further said that Yoga is bridging the vast distance between India and Argentina. It is connecting people worldwide and binding them in a positive light. PM Modi has on other occasions termed yoga as the “unifying force of the world”

Also Read: Paatal Lok and its Objectionable Motives

Yoga In the Times of Pandemic

The multiple benefits that the practice of yoga has on a person’s wellbeing are accepted all across the world. In these tough times when people are locked inside their houses as anxiety and worklessness eat them up, Yoga can be a great support. It would not only help to bring the mind at peace but also help with the body at such times when physical activity is low. Yoga could help deal with anxiety and stress which commonly surround people in a lockdown. In fact, recent studies have said that Yoga even helps in quitting smoking and other tobacco products. This can be a great time for people to quit their bad habits and turn to a path of spirituality. Yoga in every sense of the world is excellent support in these stressful times or literally every time. It brings harmony and peace not only to the mind but also to the body. 

 

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ISKCON Sues Shemaroo Ent and Comedian Surleen Kaur For Defaming Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma

A legal complaint has been lodged against Shemaroo Ent and comedian Surleen Kaur ISKCON trust for defamation

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Rishi Muni
Rishi Munis and hinduism has been trolled for long but now ISKCON has decided to act against it. Pixabay

BY Varuni Trivedi

In a new-age trend of trolling, masqued under the name of comedy Hinduism/Sanatan Dharma, Rishi-Munis and culture are constantly abused people or organizations. These people undermine the tolerant nature of the followers of Sanatan Dharma, advocates ISKCON trust in a complaint to Mumbai police against Shemaroo Ent and comedian Surleen Kaur.

Demonising Hindutva and defaming Hindu saints and mahatmas has become the order of the day for most Web series and stand-up comedians. A knowledge of culture and scriptures in addition to lack of legal action has made them bold in this practice. However, bashing this ongoing trend ISKCON has made clear that the organization will seek to put an end to these malicious ways.

The latest example of this trend that started this fire was when, comedian Surleen Kaur defamed ISKCON and also portrayed Hindu rishi and Munis along with the age old Sanskrit language in bad light. In one of her recent acts she was quoted as saying “Beshak hum sab ISKCON waley hain, par andar sey sub harami Porn waley hain”. She went to say that, “Dhanya ho hamarey Rishi-Muni jinhoney thodi si Sanskrit use kar key apney badey badey kand chupayehai….Kamasutra”.

ISKCON
ISKCON’s complaint against Shemaroo will not be taken back says Radharamn Das. PC: Organizer

ISKCON has initiated a legal proceeding against Shemaroo Entertainment and Surleen Kaur for defaming the organization, demeaning Sanatan Dharma, and associating the followers with sick content. Radharamn Das, the Vice President & Spokesperson of Kolkata ISKCON has stated that strict legal action will be taken against them.

ISKCON, in its complaint to Mumbai police commissioner, has stated that the comedian’s act was highly objectionable and derogatory, it has caused great pain to the followers of Sanatan Dharma. Hindus and ISKCON devotees worldwide feel raged at these defamatory comments.  The video which was shared Shemaroo and all its social media platforms has caused irreparable loss to our society and sentiments, the complaint states.

The complaint mentions that “There is a growing trend in India, where Hinduism/Sanatan Dharma and our Rishi-Munis, Deities etc are being constantly abused by a group of people and organizations. They are misusing the tolerant nature of the followers of Sanatan Dharma and their abuses and language and volume of abuse has only grown louder day by day.

 

ISKCON Complaint
ISKCON Complaint against Shemaroo Ent & Comedian Surleen Kaur for defamation of Sanatan dharma. PC: Organiser

There is a hidden propaganda and conspiracy to defame Sanatan Dharma, our Rishi Munis so that the youths can be easily manipulated. Through app’s like Tik-Tok etc. the focus of the foreign power’s is to destroy the character of the masses so that country can be easily controlled & destroyed”.

Also Read: Stadia Pro Members to Get Six Bonus Games in June, Reveals Google

An F.I.R under relevant sections against Surleen Kaur and Shemaroo Entertainment limited has been requested by ISKCON to Mumbai Police. Meanwhile, Shemaroo has accepted that the act performed by Surleen Kaur was in fact found derogatory and the same has been taken down with immediate effect from all social media platforms. However, ISKCON has clearly stated they don’t accept the apology and will continue with the legal action.

Radharamn Das of ISKCON has clearly stated that they will not accept Shemaroo’s apology, “This has become a trend to demean Sanatan Dharma. No more. We will make an example out of this nonsense”, he said.