Devotee: There is a doubt circulating among some devotees about the authentic location of ‘Māyāpura,’ the birth site of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There is also a controversy among some devotees about the Adbhūta Mandira. Will you please say something to clarify these issues?
Swami Narasingha: Some sahajiyās and mundane academics such as Jan Bzrezinski claim that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s birth site is in Rāmacandrapura (a suburb of modern Navadvīpa town). However, according to the text of Bhakti-ratnākara Māyāpura (Yogapīṭha) is located in Antardvīpa, on the eastern bank of the Gaṅgā.
Rāmacandrapura in modern Navadvīpa is located in Modrumadvīpa on the western bank of the Gaṅgā. Thus the site claimed by the sahajiyās as the birth site of Mahāprabhu could not be the original location. As for the Adbhūta Mandira – Iskcon has recently claimed that they are building the Adbhūta Mandira predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. However, the skyscraper temple constructed at Yogapīṭha (Māyāpura) by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in 1935 has been accepted by paraṁahamsa Vaiṣṇavas for the past 69 years as the Adbhūta Mandira. Thus Iskcon could not be building what has already been built.
When we speak of Māyāpura we do not mean any temporal or mundane location in this material world. Māyāpura is the epicentre of the Lord’s pastimes in eternity. This Māyāpura manifested at the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s appearance in 1407 Śakābda (1486 CE) and has since sometimes been manifest and sometimes not manifest. This is the nature of eternal truth. It is sometimes appearing and sometimes disappearing. This is called prākṛta and aprākṛta-līlā.
The name of ‘Māyāpura’ is found in Bhakti-ratnākara, Urdhvāmnāya-tantra, Brahma-yamala, Ananta-saṁhitā, Kṛṣṇa-yamala and Kapila-tantra, although it is not mentioned in either Caitanya-caritāmṛta or Caitanya–bhāgavata.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya-bhāgavata make specific mention of ‘Navadvīpa’ meaning ‘nine islands’. At the time of Mahāprabhu’s appearance Navadvīpa was known as ‘Nadīyā’, which is the corrupted form of the name ‘Naudīyā’, meaning ‘new place’. The ‘new place’ was originally established by King Lakṣmaṇa Sena of Vikrampura on the eastern side of the Gaṅgā. Only after Mahāprabhu performed His pastimes in various places in ‘Nadia’ did the area become known among the Vaiṣṇavas as Navadvīpa. The area ‘Navadvīpa’ encompasses all the places of the Lord’s pastimes – including Antardvīpa the place of His appearance or Māyāpura.
In modern day Navadvīpa there is a place referred to by some sections of the sahajiyā community as Prācīna Māyāpura or ‘old Māyāpura’. This name Prācīna Māyāpura only came into use in 1928 nearly 41 years after Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī discovered the location of Māyāpura, the birth site of Mahāprabhu, on Antardvīpa.
It is mentioned in Bhakti-ratnākara that Māyāpura is located in Antardvīpa (on the eastern bank of the Gaṅgā), which was sometimes known as ‘Atopura’. This is described in detail by Narahari Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
According to the sahajiyā account, Mahāprabhu’s birth-site is in Rāmacandrapura where it is alleged that the dacoit-king Vīra Hamvīra (who ruled Viṣṇupura from 1586-1621) had built a temple. According to reliable records Vīra Hamvīra was a disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya but there are no records of his ever having built a temple at Navadvīpa to celebrate the appearance place of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus the account of the temple allegedly constructed by him is only hearsay.
The sahajiyās further contend that when the alleged temple built by Vīra Hamvīra was destroyed by the movement of the River Gaṅgā, that later on, the chief adviser to Lord Hastings, Divan Gaṅgā-Govinda Singh, rebuilt it on the same spot with red sandstone in 1792. Floods from the Gaṅgā claimed this temple in 1876. It is well known that the temple built by Divan Gaṅgā-Govinda Singh housed Deities of Sītā-Rāma and not a Deity of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Indeed, this is unusual if we are to accept that the temple built by Gaṅgā-Govinda Singh was constructed to celebrate the birth site of Śrī Caitanya! When Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura visited Navadvīpa town he wrote that he was very unhappy with what he found.
“Every Saturday, I went to Navadvīpa to search out the places of the līlā of the Lord, but I did not find many and I was very unhappy. At the present time the people of Navadvīpa only pay heed to their stomach etc. They do not make even a little effort in relation to the places of the līlā of the Lord.”
Bhaktivinoda continued his search and after years of research, earnest prayer and at last a divine revelation, the site of Mahāprabhu’s appearance place was revealed to him in a vision. Bhaktivinoda spoke of this as follows:
“One night, Kamalā and a clerk and I went up on the roof in order to look around. It was 10 o’clock, and was very dark and cloudy. Across the Gaṅgā, in a northerly direction, I saw a large building flooded with light. I asked Kamalā (if he saw it) and he said he had. I asked the clerk and he said, “I did not see anything.” Because of that I was utterly amazed. In the morning I looked carefully at the place (where I saw the building) from the roof of Rāṇī’s house, and I observed that there was one Tāl tree in that location. When I asked others about this place they said that this distant place was known as Ballāl-dīghi and that the remains of the fort etc. of Lakṣmaṇa Sena were close by. That Monday I returned to Krishnanagar and the following Saturday I went back to Ballāl-dīghi. I saw that wonderful phenomenon in that place again at night, and the next day I went to see the area on foot. Upon inquiring with the elderly people of that place (Muslims), I was informed that this was the birthplace of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. I gradually saw everything (in the area) and ascertained where all the small villages mentioned in the Caitanya-bhāgavata and in Narahari Ṭhākura’s Bhakti-ratnākara and Parikramā-paddhati were.”(Svalikhita Jīvani by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura)
Professor Nishikantha Sanyal, a disciple of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, has written in this connection as follows:
“To the person with any antiquarian sense the difficulty is all but solved by the traditions that linger still in the village itself. We know from the villagers that the present Mohammedan inhabitants, who are in occupation of part of Māyāpura, are the descendants of recent immigrants. The village was in a depopulated condition before the coming of the Mohammedans. That it was at one time a place of residence of Vaiṣṇavas is also known to these Mohammedans. They also know that it is the birth-place of Śrī Caitanya. They have inherited some names of the different parts of the village such as Vairāgi Ḍāṅgā (Vairāgi’s mound), Khola-bhāṅga Ḍāṅgā (mound where the khola was broken), Barajpota (Vraja-pattana), Śiva-dobā (Śiva’s pool), etc. These names refer to famous incidents in the career of Śrī Caitanya and the Vaiṣṇava tradition. There are also current in the village highly significant superstitions. The tulasī plant grew perennially all over one of these un-occupied homestead lands. Those who had attempted to occupy the land for purpose of habitation or even for cultivation, found that all crops are inevitably destroyed by the irrepressible tulasī plants and some terrible harm befalls the occupant. Everyone is also cautioned against disturbing any portion of that particular mound in any way. Many had suffered terribly for trying to do so. That mound is sacred ground, because Nimāi was born there. The Mohammedan inhabitants make offerings to the shrine that was subsequently erected on the spot. They firmly believe that the place possesses supernatural qualities. It would be worthwhile to collect all the current-stories which are fast becoming mythology as the villagers are becoming irreverent and partisan by outside influence. That these traditions were naturally taken to be genuine is proved by the fact that when the site was identified forty-three years ago by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda as the village Māyāpura where Śrī Caitanya was born, no person belonging to the locality disbelieved him. As a matter of fact, there was no opposition from any quarter at that time and for a long period afterwards.” (The Harmonist, Vol-28, January 1931)
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura confirmed the location of Mahāprabhu’s birth site with the help of Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī, the most respected and senior Vaiṣṇava of the times. This incident occurred in 1887. Vihārī Dāsa Bābājī, the servant of Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī, remembers this occasion:
“Once Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura arrived at the residence of Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī with a kīrtana party. The party, accompanied by Bābājī Mahārāja then quickly advanced towards Śrī Māyāpura. During this time another kīrtana group was approaching from the Vāmana-pukura side. The two parties chanting the glories of Śrī Caitanya assembled together at the place of the present day Yogapīṭha. Over the age of 130 years, Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī, being humpbacked, normally could not sit in an erect position. But when he would perform the congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy name he would extend his body by the distance of five hand lengths and spring upward a distance of over one meter! How wonderful it was when he pointed out the location of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s appearance site. It is also still fresh within my mind the way he struck his stick on the ground with a resounding “crack”. He pointed out some distance away, a well that contained the broken hull of a mṛdaṅga. Sometimes Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī would chastise persons who were opposed to the authenticity of Śrī Māyāpura.” (Interview, Gauḍīya Magazine-1928)
The Yogapīṭha at Māyāpura was also accepted as the birth site of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by such great Vaiṣṇava personalities as Gaura Kisora Dāsa Bābājī and Vaṁśī Dāsa Bābājī. Once a charlatan devotee claimed he had a dream that Yogapīṭha was in modern Navadvīpa, but this was sharply contested by Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī and Vaṁśī Dāsa Bābājī. Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī said,
“Those great personalities who have discovered the birthplace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are to be followed. Simply because this person has had a dream that this is the birthplace of Śrī Caitanya is not proof in itself. Those persons to whom holy places of pilgrimage are manifested never collect money with the intention of finding other holy places. Those persons who are actually followers of Śrī Caitanya are able to find the place where Śrī Caitanya was born. The way in which Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja discovered Mahāprabhu’s birth place must be taken as a real fact.”
“Then on the following day Vaṁśī Dāsa Bābājī, taking one small shovel in his hand, went to the place where that person was preaching that he was representing the original birthplace of Śrī Caitanya. Vaṁśī Dāsa gradually began to cut down the fence in front of that place. He showed the people how it was improper that this person was imitating that which had already been discovered by previous ācāryas.” (From ‘An Era Not to be Forgotten‘ printed in The Gauḍīya)
After Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī had established Māyāpura as Mahāprabhu’s birthplace, one Sashibhushana Bandyopadyaya wrote in a periodical called Pallavāsī Patrikā that the real Yogapīṭha was somewhere in the district of Rāmacandrapura. Although his statements were only based on hearsay there was a protest by the sahajiyās followed by a court case. There was no evidence to prove that the previous site where Gaṅgā-Govinda Singh had built a sandstone temple had ever been recognized as the birth site of Mahāprabhu. There were hundreds of elderly people living in Navadvīpa at that time who had visited the sandstone temple dedicated to Sītā-Rāma, before its being claimed by the flood water of the Gaṅgā, but none of them could come forward to the courts to say that they remember that temple commemorating the birth site of Śrī Caitanya.
The court ruled in favour of Bhaktivinoda and stated that further evidence was needed in order to establish any claim of Mahāprabhu’s birthplace being in the modern town of Navadvīpa.
The sahajiyās began to take other steps to disprove the authenticity of the Māyāpura birth-site on Antardvīpa but to no avail. Then in 1916 (two years after the disappearance of Bhaktivinoda), one Vraja-mohana Dāsa Bābājī tried to find archeological evidence to disprove Bhaktivinoda’s claims. It is said that he dug more that 700 holes in the modern Navadvīpa area along the Gaṅgā until at last, he finally found a piece of red sandstone – which in the end did not verify anything.
It is mentioned in the book Sarasvatī-jayaśrī that Vraja-mohana soon after approached the Gauḍīya Maṭha and agreed to publish his findings in favour of the Māyāpura discovered by Bhaktivinoda if they would bear the financial expenses for publishing his maps and book. When the Gauḍīya Maṭha refused, Vraja-mohana became angry and swore to wreak havoc. Eventually the dubious findings of Vraja-mohana were published in a book entitled ‘Navadvīpa-darpana’ with the help of the famous map publisher, Śrī Dvijendranath Dhara. Later however, Dvijendranath Dhara admitted that he was sad that such an erroneous book had been published with his help because the contents of the book and its maps were full of fallacious additions and mistakes.
The courts never accepted the findings of Vraja-mohana as evidence in the case – thus in 1934 the government of India represented by the Honourable Governor Anderson of Bengal (the third most politically influential person in the British Empire) made an official proclamation that the birth site of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was none other than the Yogapīṭha in Śrīdhama Māyāpura established by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī and their followers.
“The Devils work is never done” — still the iṣṭakā-vādīs (followers of Vraja-mohana’s brick philosophy) and other sahajiyās continue to beg the question and attempt to dispute the actual birth site of Mahāprabhu, but this is of little consequence in the face of Śrī Caitanya’s eternal service being spread throughout the world from Yogapīṭha at Śrīdhama Māyāpura.
It has been predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu that the eternal service (nitya-sevā) will manifest (vikāśa) from a wonderful temple (Adbhūta Mandira) constructed on the birth site of Śrī Caitanya.
adbhūta mandira ei haibe prakāśa
gaurāṅga nitya-sevā haibe vikāśa
“A wonderful temple will appear, from where Lord Gaurāṅga’s eternal service will manifest.” (Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma Māhatmyā, ch-5)
After establishing the place of Śrī Caitanya’s birth Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura set out to fulfil Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu’s prediction of the Adbhūta Mandira at Māyāpura and this was later taken up by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura who completed the Adbhūta Mandira in 1935.
That the temple at Yogapīṭha build by Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is the Adbhūta Mandira predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu is confirmed in the following excerpt from an article, “Opening Ceremony of the Lord’s Temple.”
“When Śrīman Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu was performing Navadvīpa parikramā, Nityānanda Prabhu told him about Śrī Māyāpura:
cāri-śata-varṣa gaura-jana dhāri
haile śrī mūrti sevā habe sarvopāri
“Four hundred years after Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s appearance, the worship of His Deity will manifest and He will be worshipped in a magnificent manner.”
This prophecy of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu was fulfilled. We hear even more from the mouth of Śrī Nityānanda:
punaḥ kabhu prabhu techa habe balavāna
habe māyāpure ei rūpa vāsa-sthāna
adbhūta mandira ei haibe prakāśa
gaurāṅga nitya-sevā haibe vikāśa
“By the Lord’s desire, this place will become prominent again and people will live in Māyāpura as before. A wonderful temple (Adbhūta Mandira) will appear, from where Lord Gaurāṅga’s eternal service will manifest.”
“Then, in 448 Gaurābda, in order to fulfil Śrī Nityānanda’s prediction, the great soul Bhakti Vijaya (a disciple of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura) dug the foundation for the great temple (Adbhūta Mandira) at Yogapīṭha. Following the desire of Śrī Gaura’s associate, the Deity of Adhokṣaja Viṣṇu, Who was worshipped in the house of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, manifested Himself from the earth in the presence of a large number of people on Wednesday 15th June 1934.
“Let the inhabitants of the world see with their own eyes and feel within the core of their hearts how these statements of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu have been fulfilled by one who is non-different from Nityānanda Himself. Today, by the grace of Śrī Nityānanda’s manifestation of Śrī Gurudeva, the bhakti–vijaya-pataka (the flag of pure devotion) flies over the sky-scraping Adbhūta Mandira (at Yogapīṭha Śrīdhama Māyāpura).” (Gauḍīya Magazine, March 16th 1935)
Since the building of the Adbhūta Mandira by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in 1935 the eternal service of Śrī Caitanya has indeed manifest not only in Bengal and India but also throughout the world.
It is not stated anywhere that Krsna consciousness will first be preached globally and thereafter the followers of Śrī Caitanya will come to Māyāpura to do the Lord a favour by honouring His birth site with a temple. This is a gross misconception. Unfortunately, the members of modern day Iskcon think that their ‘plan’ to build a very large temple in Māyāpura will be the fulfilment of the Adbhūta Mandira prediction. They unwittingly undermine the position and achievements of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
The expertise of the ‘propaganda machine’ sometimes gets carried away in the ‘self-adoration’ society and arrives at erroneous conclusions. It should be pointed out however that all the disciples of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura (including A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, Swami B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Swami B.P. Keśava Mahārāja, Swami B.P. Purī Mahārāja and all others) accepted the temple constructed at Yogapīṭha as the Adbhūta Mandira predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. In light of that, in the years that followed the opening of the Adbhūta Mandira there were many articles and essays that appeared in the Gauḍīya, Harmonist, and other publications of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura where it was mentioned that the construction of the temple at Yogapīṭha was the fulfilment of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu’s prediction.
In light of the fact that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is the parama-guru of every devotee in Iskcon one would think that Iskcon devotees would be sensitive and eager to understand Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s desires and contributions to the sampradāya, but surprisingly they show little or no interest. Other than maintaining a minimal regard for Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and the previous ācāryas in our line —for all practical purposes Iskcon leaders have ‘divorced’ Śrīla Prabhupāda from the rest of the sampradāya by preaching apa–siddhānta everywhere and imitating achievements of previous ācāryas in his name.
Many Iskcon leaders have said that they accept Śrīla B.P. Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja of Śrī Gopīnātha Gauḍīya Maṭha in Māyāpura as their śikṣā-guru, but at the same time they do not seem to care for his opinions on any topics other than śālāgrāma and Deity worship. However, for their benefit, Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja has spoken about the Adbhūta Mandira as follows:
“With the help of a wealthy disciple, the late Sakhī-caraṇa Bhakti-vijaya, Śrīla Prabhupāda fulfilled Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s prediction of an extraordinary temple (Adbhūta Mandira) being built at Śrī Yogapīṭha. When the foundation of the skyscraper temple was being dug, on June 13, 1934, a four-armed Deity of Viṣṇu was discovered in the ground. Śrīla Prabhupāda studied the Siddhārtha-saṁhitā and, according to the positioning of the weapons and symbols in the Deity’s hands, identified it as Adhokṣaja Viṣṇu accompanied by His Śrī, Bhū and Nīla potencies. Several expert archaeologists, including Śrī Rāmaprasad Chandra, attested to the Deity’s antiquity. Śrīla Prabhupāda commented later that this was the Deity formerly worshiped by Śrī Jagannātha Miśra himself. This beautiful Deity is currently being worshiped at the Yogapīṭha temple in Māyāpura. (Translation of B.P. Purī Gosvāmī, in Of Love and Separation – ‘A few Glimpses at the Lotus Feet of Śrīla Prabhupāda)
The members of Iskcon have conveniently forgotten that the idea to construct the “Planetarium” or “The Temple of Understanding”, as it was called by Śrīla Prabhupāda, was originally the idea, conception and desire of Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja of Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha. Śrīdhara Mahārāja wanted to build such a temple in Koladvīpa but found the project too ambitious for his means. He then decided to share his idea with an old admirable friend, Śrīla Prabhupāda (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Mahārāja). Śrīdhara Mahārāja remembers as follows:
“I asked Swami Mahārāja (AC Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda) to construct a temple where the whole Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy will be demonstrated. I had a mind to construct such a temple here, but that was too ambitious and I could not do it. When I was told that he would build a temple there (in Māyāpura), I humbly put forward my desire. I wanted a temple to be built according to the Bṛhad-bhāgavatamṛtam of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. The whole structure of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy will be represented there in that temple. Bhūr, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahar, Janar, Tapa and Satyaloka will be shown in a spiral way, and then Virajā, Brahmaloka, Paravyoma, Goloka-Vṛndāvana. The idea is to demonstrate the structural position of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava theology, and from where Kṛṣṇa has come down to this world to very kindly give us the clue to how we can be uplifted there, to the highest place. That should be dealt with in a scientific way.
“Whoever comes to have the darśana of the temple will leave with an idea of the whole structure of all the religious conceptions to ever come into the world. The development is in a scientific basis. What is Bhur-loka? The land of experience of the five senses. Bhuvar-loka? Without this body, the mental experience world, and there are further gradations Svaḥ, Mahar, Janar, Tapo. Bhu-loka is somewhat Pṛthvīloka (Earth); there is also Preta-loka, the world of the dead; there is Deva-loka or Svar-loka, heaven; above Deva-loka is Mahar-loka where resides Bhṛgu and other rsis. Then there is Tapa-loka where the Catuḥsana reside, and then Satya-loka of Lord Brahmā.
“Then Virajā, the highest position aspired for by the Buddhists, Prakṛtīlaya. And above that, Brahmalaya, the end aspired for by the Śaṅkarites; then Śiva-loka, Bhakta-Śiva, and Vaikuṇṭha, the land discovered and made known to the world by Śrī Rāmānujācārya. In that area of Paravyoma, there are so many Vaikuṇṭhas in so many different phases of the pastimes of Lord Nārāyaṇa who resides in the centre. Then above is Ayodhyā with Rāmacandra and the first introduction of vātsalya-rasa (divine parenthood). Then there is Kṛṣṇa with many Queens in Dvārakā, and Kṛṣṇa in Mathurā. Again, in the Mathurā sphere is Vṛndāvana, Govardhana, and Rādhā-kuṇḍa. From what standpoint does the theistic conception develop higher and higher – this is to be depicted. He (A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svami Prabhupāda) accepted this plan and asked his followers to construct such a temple. But I am too old. He could not see it fulfilled, and perhaps I too may not see it.” (Taped discourse, 1981)
Śrīla Prabhupāda also confirms this in the following conversation:
Śrīla Prabhupāda: I do not know for how long I will be able to carry on. So, I came to see Śrīdhara Mahārāja.
Devotee: If you all go away, then the world will become dark.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: (to Prabhupāda) It is so wonderful that the will of the Lord becomes manifest through someone.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: I want very much, Mahārāja, that you come and stay at Māyāpura. Because Prabhupāda (Bhaktisiddhānta) always desired that you preach. He told me quite a few times, “Why don’t you pull him out?” (They both laugh.) You know, I also tried to some extent before, but somehow or other it did not work out. Now, why don’t you come and stay at Māyāpura? Śrīla Prabhupāda told me also, “Śrīdhara Mahārāja is one of the finest preachers.” I want to take you everywhere. At least at the place we have in Māyāpura, people are coming from all over the world. If you just agree, then whatever kind of building you want, I will arrange it for you. They are trying to build a house for me. So both of us will stay there. And whenever you want, you can come here to your maṭha.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, as long as I am alive to fulfil Prabhupāda’s desire.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: This is my earnest desire. Since you could not go around the world and preach, at least stay there and people will come to you. I shall make that arrangement. If you stay, then it will be helpful to me also. Sometimes I need to consult with someone and there is no one. There is no one that I can consult with. I feel this deficiency very greatly.
Devotee: If he (Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja) stays in Māyāpura, all kinds of people will get to hear from him.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, that’s right.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Yes, people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds will come there.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, and they are already coming. And in that house I will make arrangements for an elevator so that you won’t have to go through the difficulty of walking up and down the stairs. You won’t even have to move a step yourself. I’ll make arrangements for a car and an elevator. My disciples are telling me that they will build a house for me. So, both of us will stay in that house. Most of the time I am traveling around, so if you are there, they can get some guidance. So, Mahārāja, please, give me the order and I will make all the arrangements for you. That Planetarium (The Temple of Understanding) also will be built under your direction. My idea is to combine the Indian culture and the American money–the lame man and the blind man policy. I tell them also that this will be very beneficial for the world.” (Excerpt of 1977 conversation at Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha, transcription by Bhakti Cāru Swami)
For decades Iskcon leaders have struggled with the concept of what “The Temple of Understanding,” now being referred to by them as the “Adbhūta Mandira,” will represent. This is due to their having neglected to humbly approach the original architect of “The Temple of Understanding” to find out what was his conception of such a grand temple.
Of course, that is all in the past and the original plans for the Iskcon “Temple of Understanding” (sometimes now being called “The temple of Misunderstanding”) have now been reduced in size by 70% from what they were in the time of Śrīla Prabhupāda. This has come about due to the fall downs of numerous Iskcon gurus and project financiers.
Even though Iskcon only has a plan on ‘paper’ to build their temple, still, self-adoration dictates to them that their paper plan is the ‘Adbhūta Mandira’ (ignoring the glory of the Adbhūta Mandira already constructed at Yogapīṭha). Such are the effects of false pride. It is improper or offensive, as Vaṁśī Dāsa Bābājī has demonstrated above, for devotees to imitate that which has already been done by previous ācāryas. But as already mentioned, the proposed Iskcon temple is now 70% less ‘Adbhūta’ than as originally conceived of by Śrīla Prabhupāda and it unfortunately bears none of the original theistic conception outlined above by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja. Even the Deity conception at Iskcon Māyāpura is no longer the same as originally given by Śrīla Prabhupāda (see the article Temple of Understanding for further details).
The onus is now on Iskcon leaders to either accept that the Adbhūta Mandira as predicted by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu was built by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura at Yogapīṭha or it is up to them to prove via guru, sādhu, and śāstra that the temple at Yogapīṭha is not the Adbhūta Mandira. The latter would not be advisable, for as Professor Sanyal has cautioned in his article above – anyone who tries to bear harm to Yogapīṭha runs the risk of meeting with “terrible suffering”.
If Iskcon wants to remain connected to the Gaura Sārasvata paramparā (rūpanuga-sampradāya) then they would do well to accept the above conclusions or they are destined to continue on the path of becoming an apa-sampradāya (pseudo-disciplic succession).