On November 22, 2023, a historic moment unfolded with the Bhumi Puja and Ananta Sesa Sthapana for a new temple project in Sri Dhama Pandharpur, dedicated to Sri Sri Radha Pandharinatha, Sri Sri Sita Rama Laksman Hanuman, and Sri Sri Gaur Nitai.
The ISKCON Bhu Vaikuntha Project marks a significant step in establishing a dynamic center in Sri Pandharpur Dham, the spiritual hub of Maharashtra. This endeavor aims to cater to the needs of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims coming to seeing the presiding deity of Pandharpur, Lord Vitthala. Approximately five hundred years ago, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, graced Pandharpur for eleven days, leaving an indelible spiritual imprint.
Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraces the deity of Lord Vitthala during His visit to Pandharpur in 1511 during His tour of South India.
Located in Sri Dhama Pandharpur, a sacred place on the banks of the Bhima River in Maharashtra, India, the project is crucial to serving the pilgrims with prasadam, shelter, and spiritual upliftment. Pandharpur holds immense spiritual significance, with Lord Vitthala as its presiding deity. The project includes a magnificent temple hall, gardens, exhibits, a gaushala, guest houses, a hospital, Govinda’s Restaurant, Prabhupada Museum, Vaikuntha Bazar gift shops, a children’s park, event halls, conference halls, and a library.
Guruprasad Swami Worshiping ISKCON Founder-acharya A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada to Begin the Auspicious Festival
Revati Raman Das, ISKCON GBC Chairman: Offering A Vision of Inspiration
ISKCON leaders attended the program, including ISKCON GBC Chairman Revati Raman Das, GBC Vice-Chairman Guruprasad Swami, and other senior ISKCON Leaders. Devotees from international locations, including North America, South America, South Africa, and Europe, and various cities across India, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Mayapur, gathered for the auspicious occasion.
Ananta Sesa in Pure Silver: The Resting Place of The Bhuvaikuntha Project
The ceremony witnessed the earth being turned, symbolizing the beginning of a collective journey towards a sacred space. The Ananta Sesa Sthapana ceremony represents the foundational connection between Lord Ananta Sesa and the temple, signifying the sustaining power behind the planetary positions described in the Vedas. It holds significance in ensuring that the entire temple rests on Ananta Sesa’s divine hoods.
The deity of Ananta Sesa was ceremoniously placed in the earth, along with three Silas of Kurma Deva to support the altars.
Vilasini Dasi, the architect for the Bhu Vaikuntha Project, along with co-architect Mohit Chougole, shared, “As sacred design consultants, our goal is to create a transformative experience for pilgrims through carefully weaving Vaisnav symbolism and sacred architecture principles into the temple design which offers an immersive journey from the physical to the soul level.”
Revati Raman Das emphasized the significance of devotee care in developing facilities for pilgrims. Navadwipa Chandra Das, responsible for the Bhu Vaikuntha Project’s Social Media Department, expressed the event’s impact on spiritual unity.
The temple president, Prahlad Das, and the fund development in charge, Paramatma Das, thanked all attendees, especially the donors whose contributions made this auspicious event possible.
Please support the ISKCON Bhu Vaikuntha Project. Visit the website [here](https://iskconbhuvaikuntha.com) for more information, and follow them on [Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/Iskconbhuvaikuntha), [Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/iskconbhuvaikuntha), and [YouTube](https://www.youtube.com/@BhuvaikunthaTV?sub_confirmation=1). To contribute, click [here](https://iskconbhuvaikuntha.com/donate).
Let’s unite to make Srila Prabhupada happy and fulfill this grand vision!
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami was born in New York City, USA in 1965, the same year that ISKCON Founder Acarya, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, came to New York. His mother’s younger sister regularly heard Srila Prabhupada’s kirtans in Tompkins Square Park in 1966. He joined the Hare Krishna movement in Ireland early in 1991. Fourteen years earlier, as a music student at the Aaron Copland Music and Arts Program in New York, he first began chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra as a performer in the Broadway Musical “Hair”. His Holiness Lokanath Swami initiated Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami later in 1993, giving him the name Ekalavya Das. Twenty-seven years later in Pandharpur, the order of sannyasa was awarded to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami. With this venerated title, he continues to be an inspiration for many spiritual practitioners around the world.Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami was born in an affluent family who encouraged education, culture and the arts. While bouncing on his father’s knee, he began his fledgling piano studies at five. At six, he started guitar lessons, and at seven years, he began trumpet lessons. By the time he entered the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1982, he had already learned sixteen different instruments and performed in music groups in venues across the USA. In 1984, he accompanied a friend to the Boston Hare Krishna Temple and became a regular visitor. In 1987, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami received his degree from Berklee College of Music in Recording Engineering and Production, a unique science combining acoustic engineering, electrical engineering and music. Upon graduation, he traveled to twenty-five countries as a professional musician and spiritual seeker.
This year, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami is celebrating 31 years as a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). From 1991 to 1992, he traveled on a pilgrimage on Padayatra through Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain. In 1992, during a meeting in Spain with his spiritual master, His Holiness Lokanath Swami, he was instructed to go to India. Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami traveled with Lokanath Swami as his secretary for twelve years. In 1996, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami was elected as an ISKCON General Body Commission Deputy. In 2006, he was appointed as secretary of the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry. In 2023, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami was elected as GBC Kirtan Minister and GBC Padayatra Minister. His services include coordinating ISKCON’s Annual International World Holy Name Festival for 25 years. He is one of the founding members of the Bhaktivedanta Band and performs at Youth Festivals worldwide. He is a well-known presenter and has traveled extensively to the USA, Canada, France, England, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Russia, India, amongst other countries.
At present, he is based in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India. Alongside many other projects, he oversees the construction of a new recording studio on the ISKCON Pandharpur Campus, LOK.STUDIO, to facilitate live streaming, audio, and video productions for His Holiness Lokanath Swami and the ISKCON Kirtan Ministry.
In the holy presence of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami and Her Grace Malati Devi, early pioneers of the Krishna. Consciousness Movement, I am embraced by my old and dear friend, His Grace Nrsimha Kavacha Prabhu, ISKCON’S Deity Worship Minister, at the end of Day 1 of the GBC Meetings in Mayapur.
The most important item of staying in a holy place is associating with the holy devotees. The high point was seeing many of my dear mentors and friends for the first time in 3 years! Attended the afternoon session of the GBC meetings, which included an enlivening discussion of the development of Krishna consciousness in western countries. I moved into my quarters to stay with His Holiness Bhakti Prabhava Swami Maharaja. Lunch with His Grace Bindu Madhava Prabhu, a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, whom I had never met before, was also a unique treat as he shared his service history to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.
CC Madhya 9.194, Purport: “Spirit is not within the jurisdiction of material eyes, words or mind.”
Similarly, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.84.13) states: yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
“A human being who identifies his body made of three elements with his self, who considers the by-products of his body to be his kinsmen, who considers the land of his birth worshipable, and who goes to a place of pilgrimage simply to take a bath rather than to meet men of transcendental knowledge there is to be considered like an ass or a cow.”
Celebrating Nityananda Appearance Day in Avataridesh* on the way to India. Last night, I reached Mumbai. Today, traveling to Mayapur.
*Avataridesh is a community in a country where the government has not yet given official permission for spiritual gatherings beyond those representing the local culture. Thus, It is most appropriate not to mention that country’s name in social media posts.