Mayapur Road Conflict Update

Sunday, 08 July 2007

You may remember that two years ago more than 300 road workers with bulldozers showed up on the Bhaktisiddhanta road in Mayapur. They had an official order in their pocket to expand the road and remove all temple gates and samadhis which would fall into the road widening area.

Gaudiya missions, which had their temples established on Bhaktisiddhanta road (some before Iskcon acquired a property there), were taken by surprise with this plan and quickly filed a request to stop this court order.

All missions had previously signed a request for road-fixing, a request which was formulated by the Sarasvat Gaudiya Vaishnava Association, managed by the secretaries of Iskcon Mayapur, without consulting the other Saraswat Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Mission leaders were very sad to find out about this and requested the government to study the situation closely.

What came to light was quite surprising: According to Indian law an institution can only acquire up to 300 acres of land. In order to bypass this law Iskcon registered properties in the name of 20 different trusts, so that they would be able to realize their master plan. Besides wanting to build a very big temple, they want to construct a new road and bridge over the Jalangi-river. Thus by creating a new entrance into Mayapur the dham would be rearranged in such a way that Iskcon would be in the center, the first temple visible & visited. The other Gaudiya missions on Bhaktisiddhanta road would fade away somewhere in the background. A new entrance to Mayapur over the Jalangi-river, going through the middle of Iskcon land would effect the entire set up of Mayapur.

This plan was hidden from other Gaudiya missions. Maybe a private master plan of a mission does not have to be made public, but in the event that it effects the strategic position of other temples it must be shared and discussed. The case of Mayapur is of such nature. Also Iskcon's land purchasing crusades have already driven the land prices into the sky.

There are positive alternatives. If that new road would turn left as soon as it crosses that new bridge (over the Jalangi-river), and join the Bhaktisiddhanta road at Hula ghat, it may turn out beneficial for all. But nothing was discussed, and other Gaudiya temples became upset, and the government started to investigate about who owned all that land in Mayapur. This led to a serious situation.

We have received information from a source which prefers to remain undisclosed that Iskcon had to change their entire master plan, cut down their huge temple to a six story building and locate it in the middle of the old garden and pandal area. It is sad to see how the lack of regard for other missions backfires and disturbs Vaishnava relationships and projects.

The town envisioned by our Acaryas for Mayapur is a town of plurality and appreciation.

A town with a divine plan. A plan where all the Gaudiya missions on this planet have their respective centers and contributions and where devotees can meet with each other under the banner of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, who started the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha under Mahaprabhu's order. A plan to see the entire world embraced by Mahaprabhu's vision of spiritual globalisation into every town and village with the holy name manifesting. A plan to increase the joy of all and to show to the world how Mahaprabhu has simultaneously many branches of his plan to bless the world. Blessed plurality of divine manifestations rather than ecclesiastic stagnated and politicized church structures.

God knows it all and arranges things quite independent from the Bengal government, even though sometimes through them.

Mahaprabhu's plans was already revealed in the Siksastakam, where he teaches us all: not to search out respect for oneself, but to respect all others. This is the best medicine for inter-Vaishnava mission relationships. And Mayapur is a good learning ground. Undeniable all missions are surrounding the Adbhuta-mandir constructed by our main Acaryas, and the holy places such as Isodyan, Nandanacarya bhavan, Srivas angan, Murari Gupta's temple and Kolavecha Sridhar Maharaja's samadhi.

A dham. A place of divine pastimes. A place of divine love and hopefully trust. Here the great souls in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Prabhupada have put the cornerstones to their wonderful missionary contributions. To mention them all would require a separate article. Plus many of them also chose Godrumdvipa and Koladvipa to manifest their temples, guest-houses and diverse service plans.

The dham is full of surprises, divine manifestation.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wanted the dham to blossom and donated for fixing many of the original shrines. His vision was to work together in love and appreciation for each other. And the original shrines should be maintained by all visitors and residents in this spirit. That would require though that such places are managed without local guru position conflicts. That can be accomplished by understanding and cooperation for a larger plan.

Let us all pray and help for such a divine plan for the holy dham to manifest so that the whole world can come here and see an examplary dham. The dham of the yuga avatar for this kali yuga. A dham without unnecessary conflicts arising from a lack of communication or a lack of transparency in the communications. That would make the glories of Mahaprabhu more accesible to the world.

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