ISKCON Prabhupada Village
Deities
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DEITIES:

PART 1 – WE REALLY WANT DEITIES HERE

The desire to serve the Lord in His Deity form is intense in Lord Krishna’s devotees and there is no exception in Prabhupada Village. This particular aspect of bhakti-yoga – Deity worship - enables one to render personal service to the Lord, whether by the pujari (priest) on the altar or by others who are able to take darshan (have audience) and bring items such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc. to be offered. It is truly a blissful and spiritually uplifting experience. Below relates how the Deities of Gaura-Nitai - Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, the most merciful incarnations of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna – came to Prabhupada Village.

In 2012, while Gopiparanadhana dasi was in Jaipur, India, Pancaratna das, the temple president, took her to a nearby Deity walla (shop). She was going to ask them to custom-make 4’ Gaura-Nitai Deities for worship in the Temple of the Holy Name. When the person in the shop said they already had Deities that size, Pancaratna remarked that that was amazing because if anyone wants Deities that size, they have to have them custom-made. They were then taken in to see the Deities, who were the exact replicas of the Deities who had recently been installed in a temple in S. India. Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai were absolutely stunning; it seemed as if They had placed Themselves there just for the Temple of the Holy Name! Pancaratna urged her to purchase Them so she took pictures and sent them to her husband, who then sent out an announcement to everyone. Within a very short time, the Deities were fully paid for. Since then outfits and other paraphernalia have been purchased and donated and a beautiful altar has been made specifically for Their worship. Gaura-Nitai were shipped to Prabhupada Village that spring and arrived around six months later - on Lord Balarama’s appearance day, the most auspicious day of the appearance of Lord Sri Krishna’s brother.

PART 2 – MAY 8 OR NOT?

Although everyone was eager to see the Deities on the altar, there were just not enough brahmanas, or priests (pujaris), to worship Them. No matter what ideas we came up with to get some pujaris, nothing panned out and so it appeared that the installation was going to take place only when the Lord so deemed it and not according to our doings. We knew that we needed to develop the proper mood of humble servants and we needed to work cooperatively. One who has faith in the Lord understands that if Krsna wants something to happen it will, but if not, it won’t, no matter what.

In 2015, the ISKCON by-laws were signed and we began to notice a shift in things. Now that the temple had an ISKCON identity, Krsna began to reciprocate in ways that made it apparent that the right decision had been made. But the Deities – when could we install Them? The previous year a young couple from Brazil had come to serve Gaura-Nitai and although they maintained the regular program of worship required before installation, we were still short of pujaris and therefore could not install the Deities. 2015 turned into 2016, the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON movement, and we began to talk even more seriously about the installation, but still wondering where pujaris would come from. But we had to set a date. We had to begin somewhere and so in March we began to research different days and came up with the first and auspicious day of Kartika in October, Lord Nrsinghadeva’s appearance day, which was to fall on May 20, or the beginning of September. Different astrologers were consulted about the various dates. There were a lot of backs and forths; some said May 20 was too early, some said October was too late. Then all of a sudden, in the beginning of April, it was suggested that Gaura-Nitai be installed on Akshaya Tritiya, the most auspicious day of the year – and that was to fall on May 8 – earlier than any of the dates that had been chosen! The astrologers conferred – that was the best date and so researched to find out the time when the installation process should begin on that day. Some time before this decision of May 8, it turned out that a couple who had been serving in Mayapur was looking to relocate – and – they had done many years of Deity service! If they came, it would be possible to actually consider the installation. They decided to move here and he became the head pujari. And then another couple who had originally lived here and who had also spent some years in India, found out that they could no longer remain in India – and she was also a pujari! And then another devotee, who had spent some time doing Deity worship in another temple, moved here! Krsna had opened up a special cloud and out fell the pujaris! Looking at the calendar, we were aghast – the installation was to take place in 5 weeks! We didn’t have the funds so a lot of fund raising had to take place, the back arch on the altar needed some artwork done on it, the Deities needed to be properly painted, the closets and drawers for Their clothes and paraphernalia had to be finished, menus had to be planned and quantity cooks were asked to come to help cook for 500 people (and we had no one in charge of the kitchen), ghee, and yogurt had to be made and many, many gallons of milk were needed, the ceiling in the temple room had to be fixed, a sound system had to be put in, the Festival of India tents needed to go up, articles had to be written, flyers made, flowers figured out, ordered, and decorations made and many details on the altar and pujari room needed to be in place (we also put in an attractive ceiling on the altar). Priests had to be called in from elsewhere to head up the installation and they, too, needed so many items. We really had to start from scratch and it seemed as if the amount of service that had to be done was as insurmountable as the climbing of Mt. Meru! How to accomplish all this in such a short period of time? We had to have many meetings, make many lists, and ask different devotees to head up different departments. And those of us who were in the “thick and thin” wore many hats – all day and through the night. We completely put our personal lives on the back burner and went full speed ahead. There was no thought of turning back! The days started to fly by. One thing, temples generally plan for installation ceremonies way in advance – 6 months to a year. But we had only 5 weeks! As a result, blissful pandemonium ensued.

PART 3 – BLISSFUL PANDEMONIUM!

This part, part 3, has been several months in the thought process. And for good reason. How can one describe the undescribable: the ecstasy that was experienced during the installation of the Deities? The fragrances, the colors, the breath-taking beauty of the Deities, the awesome abhiseka, the delicious prasadam, the wonderful association, the beautiful and transporting-to-the spiritual world kirtans, the smiles, the laughter, the flowers, the enthusiasm, the cooperation? The eagerness to serve, the excitement, the anticipation, the beautiful weather – even the blissful exhaustion so many felt - the everything wonderful? Sometimes last minute decisions prove worth it – and the decision to install Sri Sri Parama Karuna Nitai Gaurasundara at the last minute was all worth it! There was no doubt: the Deities completely orchestrated every minute detail of every aspect of this event and due to Their mercy, all went smoothly. We felt like puppets on invisible strings, all being moved this way and that. “Make me dance, make me dance, make me dance.”

It is now August, almost time for Lord Balarama’s appearance day. Looking back on these few months since the Deities were installed, I think, “It seems They’ve always been here. How could we have lived without Them?” They are the supreme focal point at the Temple of the Holy Name and we hope that They will also become the focal point in your heart. Hare Krsna.


PUJAS
VEDIC CEREMONIES OR SAMSKARAS

From before conception to after death, Lord Krsna offers us various opportunities to advance towards Him while living an auspicious life. You can fill your lives and the lives of your children with blessings from Guru, the Parampara, the Vedic sages, the demigods, the associates of the Lord, and of Lord Krsna Himself by executing the ceremonies or samskaras recommended in the sastras (scriptures). These ceremonies can be held at your home or at our beautiful Temple in the foothills of N. Carolina.

The following is a list of the pujas that are offered. See how many you can perform in this life!

Hare Krishna.

Rama Vigraha das (ACBSP), Head Priest
templepriest@iskconpv.org

LIST OF SAMSKARAS : These ceremonies are a very sweet and devotional way to connect with Krsna!

  • Engagements
  • Weddings
  • Nama Karana (name-giving)
  • Anna Prasana (first grains)
  • Cuda Karanam (hair-cutting)
  • Griha Pravesa (for a new house or construction)
  • Deity installation
  • Abhisekams
  • Homas (fire sacrifice)

We can also conduct home programs with discourses about Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya for the International Society for Krsna Consciousness.

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1283 Prabhupada Road, Sandy Ridge, NC 27046
(336) 593-2322
© 2017 ISKCON Temple of the Holy Name