New Temple Opens in Pune

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The inauguration of the New Vedic Cultural Center Iskcon Pune temple took place on 23rd February, Nityananda Trayodashi. More than 40000 devotees participated from across India and all over the world. The event was graced by the presence of the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. One of the most redeeming features of this project is that it was supported by 40,000 middle-income group families who gave small amounts of donations, thus involving entire communities across Pune.

A day before the formal inauguration, the 22nd February, devotees had thronged the temple to witness the installation and abhisheka ceremonies of Their Lordships : Sri Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra, Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Sri Jagganath Baladev Shubdra Devi & Sri Balaji. The programme on the 23rd included the Presidential address, traditional Maharastrian offering of turbans, the fire sacrifice for Deity Installation, the Maha Abhishek along with energetic kirtan by Lokanath Swami Maharaj with at last there being the Pushpa Abhkshek.

Speaking on the occasion, the President deeply appreciated the contribution made by ISKCON and called upon the center to dedicate itself to the cause of humanity by spreading the message of peace, harmony, love and compassion. He described the progress and growth of ISKCON as a movement of high velocity and representative of the saying that nothing can prevent an idea whose time has come. He said that Indian culture has never spread through conquest or deprivation. Centuries ago the Indian saints called for happiness for everyone. The President said the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada galvanized the whole world in short spam of time and established over 600 temples. He also pointed out that ISKCON provides food to over ten million children everyday. He quoted Gandhiji and said, "If one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him" and called upon ISKCON to continue its commendable work of spreading the message of love and compassion.

Delivering his key-note address, the President further said, “Swami Prabhupada’s greatest legacy was that he was an exemplary ambassador of India’s timeless values. In the years that he spent spreading his simple message, Swami Prabhupada convinced hundreds of thousands of Indians and westerners about the profound value of his philosophy which they embraced along with a Vedic lifestyle. Throughout his mission, Swami Prabhupada remained faithful to the guidance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who had revitalized the Bhakti-yoga tradition in the 15th Century.”

After the ceremonial lighting of lamps, the following verse from the Chaitanya Charitamrita was chanted: -

‘krsna surya sama maya haya andhakar; jaha krishna tahar nahi mayar adhikar’

Gopal Krishna Goswami then delivered his speech saying, “Culture, by its nature, is all about refining the individual. But Vedic culture goes a step beyond refinement. It actually transforms our hearts and minds by awakening us to higher levels of consciousness. This results in improving the character and moral values of every individual. Reforming the character of people is the urgent need of society today. Therefore even though this culture of India may be ancient, it is still very relevant to the modern world. The New Vedic cultural Centre will cater to the needs of all age groups from every background, and to students from all over the world.”

The New Vedic Cultural Center, one of Pune’s largest temples and cultural centers showcases six acres of land with 200,000 square feet of built-up area which includes includes the spectacular Radha-Vrindavanchandra temple, the south Indian style Balaji temple, a huge multi-purpose hall, annadan hall, landscaped gardens, guest, recreation areas, several conference and training rooms.

“The focus of the Center is to inform and educate people about the glorious culture of India from the Vedic times, and to train them on how it can be applied to modern lives,” said Gopal Krishna Goswam Maharaj. “The Center will help people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and perform work in a regulated manner called sadhana so that it transforms into divine service or seva that will build the foundations of a peaceful existence dedicated to achieving the highest goals of life.“

Photos of the event may be viewed here