A new temple in Delhi was opened on 12 February 2014, on the auspicious occasion of Nityananda Trayodasi. Lokanatha Maharaja was the driving force behind this temple and the installation of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Sri Sri Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai took place in grand style with many senior devotees present.
Lokanatha Maharaja extended an invitation to the opening ceremony to Kadamba Kanana Maharaja and in his class on 19 January, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja shared that exchange with us:
In 1986, Lokanatha Maharaja came to me and said, “Can you take care of pada-yatra?” Pada-yatra included a wild elephant; a camel that would bite people; a whole caravan of tractors and exhibitions; and about a hundred and fifty to two hundred Indian villagers! And he asked me to take care of them.
I said to Maharaja, “I am so busy!” There was the samadhi and I was in charge of all the construction in Mayapur. I said to Maharaja that I was so busy and just had no time so please ask someone else.
He said, “In my village, if you want to get something done, you never go to a man who is not busy. If you go to a man who is not busy, he will not do anything because he is lazy. But if you go to a man who is busy, he may not have enough time but because he is active by nature, at least he will do something!”
So how could I say no! This year, he came to me and on an impossible date, when I’m really busy in Mayapur, he wants me to go to Noida, Delhi for the opening of his new temple! And I said to Maharaja, “How can I go?” And he told me the same story again!
So, okay, I am going to Noida on 12 February for the opening of the new temple. Didn’t really want to go but I am going because Lokanatha Maharaja wants it. So what can we do, let the vaisnavas control our life. Let us not be miserly and just think about me. I am happy to go because Lokanatha Maharaja will smile at me and with that smile, maybe I’ll get some selflessness in my heart…
Kadamba Kanana Maharaja describes the festival:
Lokanatha Maharaja celebrated the festival in a wonderful way. Maharaja and his team of devotees welcomed so many vaisnavas with great generosity – they gave us gifts, they arranged for all our travel, they were most attentive to any little need we might have.
Lokanatha Maharaja gave all his guests the opportunity to take leading roles in the program and he stayed humbly in the background. His humility came to the forefront, meanwhile giving credit to all. It was wonderful. The Deities of Radha Govinda look like They are intoxicated with bliss.
Maharaja made me give Bhagavatam class. I spoke about the descent of the river Ganges, how the mercy comes in the universe and how the demigods partake in distributing it. Then I spoke about how the Lord mercifully manifests Himself in His Deity form and in each Deity, manifests a different aspect of His unlimited qualities. I mentioned how once we were debating which Deity is the most beautiful. I said, “Radha Syamasundara, of course,” while a leading devotee from Delhi said, ‘It’s Radha Partha-Sarathi.’ Finally, the conclusion was that the most beautiful Deities are the ones that you serve.
I reminded the devotees once again how ecstatic Sri Sri Radha Govinda looked. Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhu from Vrndavana commented that the Deites take the quality of the place where they are at and that these Deities have taken in the ecstasy of Lokanatha Maharaja. Jananivasa Prabhu mentioned that Maharaja had said, “I already love these Deities very much. They have stolen my heart.”
And what can I say, I know that I will have to go back to the Noida temple and as far as you are concerned, I think that on the way to Vrndavana you should stop for a darshan and you will see that these Deities are really special.
I must also say that I thank Lokanatha Maharaja and all the Noida devotees for the very generous hospitality; in their association I felt purified.
After flying up-and-down, bumpy roads, arriving at 1 am, little sleep and cold for the last few days, I am going to have a big sleep, right now!
Here are pictures from the opening ceremony. If you cannot view the slide-show below, then please visit flickr.