The Pune temple inauguration – The inner and the outer miracle

by Chaitanya Charan dasMarch 1, 2013

It was 11 pm. I had just returned into the Pune monastery after an evening program. During the program, I had failed to resist the temptation to answer questions and so was inordinately delayed. (We monks wake up each morning for the 4.30 am prayers and so usually sleep by 9.30-10 pm.) As I entered into the dark room where ten of us slept, each in his allocated area, my eyes scanned the outlines. Everyone else was fast asleep. I tiptoed in, spread out my mat and lay down.

I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard someone entering. Knowing that the room was full, I wondered who was coming in at that time. As my tired eyes tried to peer through the darkness, I saw the silhouette of our temple president Radheshyam Prabhu, my foremost spiritual mentor, entering even more silently than me. Surprised, I looked at the corner where he would normally sleep and realized that someone else – a visiting senior monk from another temple – was sleeping there.

Radheshyam Prabhu realized at the same time what had happened. After a moment’s thought he gathered his mat and started leaving the room. I immediately got up, went after him and said, “Prabhuji, you can sleep in my place. I will find somewhere else to sleep.”

Smiling serenely despite his obvious exhaustion, he replied, “No, no. Don’t disturb yourself. I will find somewhere to sleep.” Before I could protest, he turned out and disappeared into the darkness, to find an empty place outside the temple hall under the open sky.

As I stood thinking, the acute shortage of space in our monastery hit me for the first time. Though some sixty of us lived in three small rooms, I had got so used to it that it just didn’t rise above the threshold of conscious awareness. Till now. Seeing that Radheshyam Prabhu didn’t have a place to sleep brought this fact forcefully into my awareness, almost with the velocity and ferocity of an erupting volcano.

The lava of the resulting thoughts propelled my mind back to several years earlier when I had first come to the temple in 1996. Much of the temple premises were an overgrown wilderness; the monastery though not deserted was definitely not crowded. A few years ago, I was told, it had worn a deserted look.

It was the arrival of Radheshyam Prabhu in Pune that had really set the temple and especially the monastery afire. His vigorous and numerous outreach programs had filled the monastery with monks and the temple with visitors.

To work hard to invite people to your home and then to find it so filled that you have no place in it – that’s not an experience many people would enjoy. But I know that Radheshyam Prabhu was happy: he considered it his success. His satisfied smile announced that better than the most eloquent speech. I stood rooted to the spot outside the door of the monastery room, pondering the miracle of his selflessness.

We had just started discussing the prospect of a new temple. (The exact date of this incident eludes me) But at that moment in the darkness of night, an illuminating beam of absolute certainty swept over me: Krishna would surely arrange for a spacious temple for his self-sacrificing devotee. How could he not? I looked in the direction of the altar; it was some distance away with several walls in between, curtained off due to the time of the night. Yet I could almost visualize Kunjabihari (the presiding deity of the old Pune temple) smiling in appreciation for his devotee and planning to reward him with a magnificent temple.

***

A view from the sidelines

The memory of this incident rushed through me on 22nd February, 2013 as I entered the magnificent temple at the heart of the New Vedic Cultural Center. The temple was far better and greater than what I had dreamt. The blend of grandeur and artistry left me mesmerized. Seeing the mouths of visitors fall open in amazement when they caught sight of the elegant designs on the ceiling was a special joy.

When I took darshan of the Deities, I offered my gratitude and my apology to Radha Vrindavanchandra. Gratitude because they had manifested themselves along with such a splendid temple. And apology because I had done nothing to help in the manifestation of the temple.

Events had conspired in such a way that I had found myself mostly on the sidelines of the action. It’s said that some people make things happen, some people watch things happen and some people wonder what happened. As regards how the Pune temple ‘happened’, I felt that I belonged to the third category – it left me wondering what had happened and how..

Of course, I knew what had happened. I had more than a fair idea of how zealously and tirelessly the Pune devotees had worked over the last several years to make the temple ready. And I knew that Krishna had profusely rewarded their sincere and intelligent endeavors. Yet did I really know what had happened?

I had been away from the site of the new temple for three years and the difference was stunning –a dreary construction site had metamorphosed into a stately capacious temple. Some three years ago, HH Bhakti Rasamrita Maharaj had envisioned a mega-project of making world-class documentaries and had asked Radheshyam Prabhu if I could do research and write scripts for the documentaries. Radheshyam Prabhu, ever-eager to assist his shiksha-guru, had immediately consented. That service had evolved in such a way as to require my relocation to Belgaum. Even before the relocation, I had been primarily engaged in writing and teaching, and so hadn’t done anything tangible for the new temple project. That’s how I was left at the sidelines. But Krishna consciousness is essentially a matter of consciousness. If we think about Krishna, we get enriching realizations whether we are in the center of the action or the sidelines.

Do you believe in miracles?

As I looked around at the smiling faces of hundreds of devotees and visitors, a feeling of humility and a feeling of security enveloped me. Humility on comprehending the extent and the excellence of the efforts of my fellow Pune devotees. Security because I could see that the principle of devotional service was still real and demonstrable.

What was that principle? Devotees endeavor, Krishna reciprocates – miracles happens.

Sometimes people ask us, do you devotees believe in miracles? Well, we see them happen regularly. So it’s not a matter of belief; it’s a matter of fact. In fact, we don’t just believe in miracles; we depend on them. But these are not the miracles that make ash appear; these are the miracles that make love – pure, spiritual love – appear in the heart and in the world.

When Srila Prabhupada went to America at the age of sixty-nine with just forty rupees in a non-convertible currency, he couldn’t have climbed on the ship to America if he hadn’t believed in miracles. If anyone ever needed a miracle to succeed, Srila Prabhupada did.

And he had not been afraid to ask Krishna for the miracle. In his celebrated prayers on the ship, he had begged to Krishna:

aniyacho jadi prabhu amare nacate

nacao nacao prabhu nacao se mate

kasthera putali jatha nacao se mate

“O Lord, I am just like a puppet in your hands. So if you have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as you like.”

This is one of my favourite prayers and I have meditated on it hundreds of times. But as I contemplated it while thinking of the Pune temple, it struck me that Srila Prabhupada had asked for a very specific miracle: not the miracle of success, but the miracle of surrender.

He had not asked for Krishna to provide gorgeous temples in the scores and receptive seekers in the thousands. He had asked simply for the strength to dance for Krishna’s pleasure, to stick to the service of Krishna in the midst of overwhelming obstacles.

That determination, that dedication, that diligence – that was the inner miracle in Srila Prabhupada’s heart which had led to the outer miracle in the form of 14 world tours, 108 temples, 80 books and thousands of devotees. All in the last twelve years of his life, years that most others of his age struggle to endure.

I entered into the altar to have darshan of the Deities as they rested in a reclined position for the last time (After the installation, they are never moved; they always stay in an erect position, even when they are beseeched to rest through mental prayer, manasa-puja), I saw H H Radhanath Maharaj singing songs to put the Deities to rest and sitting inconspicuously by the side was Radheshyam Prabhu. The miracle of his inner dedication on that night in the monastery had manifested as the outer miracle in the form of this magnificent temple. And the inner miracle was continuing. Here in the moment of his glory he was satisfied to be quietly by the side of his spiritual master – unassuming and untiring as ever.

As I met many of the devotees (they are too many to name here) who had worked untiringly to make the new temple happen, it struck me that Srila Prabhupada had inspired this inner miracle in the heart of so many of his followers.

I pray that this miracle may happen in my heart.

As long as we the followers of Srila Prabhupada keep praying and striving for that inner miracle of commitment, he and his beloved Krishna will keep rewarding us with outer miracles like the majestic Pune temple.

The symbiosis of the inner and the outer miracles – that’s what makes life in Krishna consciousness exciting and fulfilling.

 

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das
20 Comments
  • ananda jagannath das
    March 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    thanks for sharing this wonderful article. very touching and sweet. Krishna always reciprocates to the sincere call of His devotees. It shows the greatness of Krishna and the devotion of His devotees. Thanks for sharing. Hare Krishna.

  • Jugal
    March 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Beautiful article….Very inspiring….Thank you so much.

  • Shivam Saraogi
    March 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Hare Krishna prabhu. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article- I am truly overwhelmed by it. Especially your statement ” Devotees endeavor, Krishna reciprocates – miracles happens.” is so inspiring.

    HG Radheshyam Prabhu is a real sadhu. As you narrated the history of Pune, even the history of Kolkata Temple is no less than a miracle- again a selfless service by HG Radheshyam Prabhu. His selflessness is a living inspiration for all of us.
    Thank you so much prabhu.

  • Santanu Saikia
    March 2, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Haribol ,Haribol

  • Keshav
    March 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji ,
    Thanks for sharing this .

    * There is a mistake please change it , it’s 22nd Feb 2013 not 22rd .

    We are always worried about future , this worry is also a kind of Maaya .
    It resist our devotional attitude toward Krsna . we should never worry but always
    follow what Srila Prabhupada instructed firmly whatever be the future .

    We have a very intimate relationship to this body ,it is so deep that although
    we say we are devotee , as soon as we see something wrong in our surrounding ,
    we start thinking if i continue to be a part of it ,what will the World say , i will not be able to stand in front of the world . But all great devotee’s of the Lord were never ever interested in what the world will say , they were always interested in what will Krsna will think if i commit mistake toward Krsna or his devotee’s .

    When the President of India Inaugurated the Temple he said ” Prabhupada’s determination shows , if you decide anything you can achieve it ” .

    But in reality it was not Prabhupada it was the mercy of Lord Chaitanya that manifested through Prabhupada . Determination cannot change the destiny ,
    only Mercy of Krsna can change everything .

    It was mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , that on 23rd and 24th Feb 2013 ,
    on the official website of President of India ,A Image of Srila Prabhupada being offered flowers by President Of India was revolving . Although this thing may look material but we can see the spiritual angle in it .

    This inauguration also gives a glimpse of the partiality of English Media ,
    rather i should say the so called secular media , still some papers have published it so i am grateful to them ,

    Only one National newspaper and rest are local newspapers who have published the event in their newspapers . Here is a PDF file you can download :

    What make’s me to blame English Media is

    When the same person went to inaugurate ISRO’s PSLV 20-C on 25 Feb 2013
    all newspapers published it . The thing is that still the intellectual people from all fields
    think that Spirituality is about emotions and fantasy, it can create laziness
    , can result in war and backwardness . And Technology is about advancement from clinches of Fantasy into the reality .

    We need the causeless mercy of all the parampara ,
    so that we are determined & firm in our resolutions .

    Even if everything becomes odd and all people in this world become averse to Krsna Consciousness , still we should remember Krsna always .

    Prabhu this comment may look like advice , so pardon me for that .
    It is just what i said to myself , after i read this article and followed the events .
    So you can say its a written practice of what i understood in my heart .

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    All glories to Radheshyam Prabhu
    All glories to Vaishnava Dharma .

    Hari Bol !!

  • geetanjali nath
    March 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    very beautiful, heart touching and very very reassuring. “ Devotees endeavor, Krishna reciprocates – miracles happens.”, amazing.
    thank you once again for sharing such wonderful thoughts. Hare Krishna

  • Dhananjay Vashistha
    March 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Wonderful narration of the wonderful NVCC (New Vedic Cultural Centre), Pune.
    I could not come to Pune to be the part of that Inauguration, so I saw whole programme live on Mayapur.tv , Atleast I got some satisfaction by watching the programme.

    This article should come in Back to Godhead Magazine.

    • Chaitanya Charan das
      March 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      For BTG, a proper report of the temple inauguration is already scheduled by a Pune devotee, Ajit Nimai Pr. Moreover, this article is too personal for BTG, the official magazine of our movement.

  • Arjun K Ramachandra
    March 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you prji for sharing your personal experiences with HG Radheshyam pr. It was really heart touching to see how he despite being the temple president went out to sleep under the open sky. I have also personally noted how HG Radheshyam pr’s life has always been an open book, completely transparent and pure. It is extremely rare to find such a pure steady saintly preacher like him. I consider it my greatest fortune to have come in touch with prji and all other devotees in pune by the arrangement of the lord. Ever since you went to Belgaum, ee are also missing your association here in pune prji. But through your enlightening heart felt articles such as this one, we are feeling your presence.

  • Muralidhara dasa
    March 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hare Krishna Prabhu
    Very satisfying to read this article. The power of sincerity and commitment has been narrated very nicely. Your concluding statement is wonderful:”The symbiosis of the inner and the outer miracles – that’s what makes life in Krishna consciousness exciting and fulfilling.” Thank you Prabhu.
    Muralidhara dasa

  • KrishnaGaur Das
    March 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Perfection Of our life is in following in The footsteps Of Grest Souls.Pune Devootes Are Doing That Excellently.Prji By Ur WebSite Ur Creating inner miracles in Many People’s lives.Thank U very much prji

  • Charudeshna Radhika Dasi
    March 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hare Krishna Prabhu

    Thanks for sharing this most wonderful experience. It is very inspiring and touching–to say the least! This real life incidence is an example of how the Lord reciprocates with his devotees. It is very encouraging.

    All glories to the wonderful service that the Pune temple does under the aegis of a wonderful leader. Again HG Radhe Shyam Prabhu is a profound example of yad yad aachrati sresthas…
    A great leader will have great followers. And Pune temple is a thriving example of this verse from chapter 3.
    Thank you again. I look forward to every email from this website and encourage devotees to subscribe to it.

    Kind regards

    YAS

    Charudeshna Radhika Dasi
    Sydney

  • Raghunandan Acharya das.
    March 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Hare Krishna Prabuji,

    Thank you very much for publishing this article. It is realy heart touching. we know how the brahamachries are lived in the old temple with very little space. Hope now they are comfortable in the new temple. All Glories to HG Radhesham pr and all brahamacharies of Pune temple. Thankyou very much pr. once again.

  • Anagha Warade
    March 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Very inspiring article! Thank you so much for sharing..

  • Piyush Dwivedi
    March 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

    So encouraging prabhu…. thank you so much.

  • Rajat
    March 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Hare krsna prji,
    pamho
    agtsgg
    i just couldn’t stop my tears. the herculian efforts put up by all the devotees from pune temple are really appreciable. all glories to radheyshyam pr. whos is embodiment of sacrifice and surrender. all glories to you for not hiding the secret incident which you experienced with HG Radheyshyam Pr. all glories to your articles which i read and hear regularly.
    missing your association at pune!
    haribol!

  • Saurabh Khatri
    March 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Amazing article. Thank you so much pr for reminding the selfless sacrifices HG Radheshyam pr had done and is continually doing for all of us, by his mercy we have got KC and understood the importance of this life.
    Thank you to you also pr for such inspiring articles. Missing your Bhagvatams at Pune.
    ys
    saurabh

  • Ravikumar Shukla
    July 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji, Dandavat Pranam

    This is the very reason why I love you people, you people are simple, honest and sweetly connected to Krishna, I am fortunate that I got associated with such wonderful people here who are really serious about making Krishna Happy and I am sure Krishna must be so very happy with your efforts so far…but still a long way to go
    Keep up your honest efforts and dedication towards Srila Prabhupada and all his devotees…..I don’t know if i am having capacity to ask Krishna to give you all the strength and courage needed to continue in the service of our beloved Guru Maharaj A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada…a Great Soul….All Glories to Him

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji, Dandavat Pranam

  • Argha Maji
    February 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Radheshyam Prabhu is a great inspiration to me. He teaches by his own example of how humble a devotee should be. I pray to Krsna to give his association some day.

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