By Radharamn Das
125th appearance day celebrations of Srila Prabhupada & his Birthplace at Tollygunge.
This is the 125th year when His Divine Grace A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada appeared under a Jackfruit tree in Tollygunge, Kolkata. In 2011 we had acquired 4 very small rooms under that exact tree which were made possible due to the contributions of HH Radhanath Swami who immediately sent all the money to shift the people living in those 4 rooms. The whole property is around 4 and a half Katha but unfortunately, it’s under “Thika Tenancy”. There is a very complicated legal provision in West Bengal which is called “Thika Tenancy” where the Government is the owner of the land and all the Thika Tenants pay rents to the Government and all the “Bharatiyas” or sub-tenants pay rent to the “Thika tenant”. So legally it’s impossible to purchase the land and own it.
I had approached the Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal Sushri Mamata Banerjee requesting to transfer the land in ISKCON name. So she has agreed to it and for which she has to change some law (it’s already done) but she has requested that we settle with all the sub-tenants and the main tenant and then the Government will hand over the land to ISKCON.
The problem is that there are 17 sub-tenants living on that property and each of them was demanding huge money to vacate the property. Their initial total demand was around 4.3 crores Rupees to vacate the property. In the last 5 years, we worked with them in reducing the price and finally the amount is hovering around 2.65 crores. If we have this money then they will immediately vacate the whole property (4.5 katha area or about 3000 sq feet) and the Government of West Bengal will legally transfer the land in ISKCON name. Our ISKCON Kolkata temple has arranged Rs 50 lacs but unfortunately, we are short of Rs 2.15 crore rupees.
On 1st September 2021, we are celebrating the 125th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada and will it not be a good idea to preserve and GIFT Srila Prabhupada his own birthplace?
My dear Maharaj ji’s, Prabhu ji’s and Mata ji’s Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
UPDATE August 10th:
We wanted to share GOOD NEWS with all of you. No, we did not get the balance money that was needed to shift 17 bharatiyas. But WE GOT a LOAN of Rs 1 crore and I am grateful that Dauji Kripa prabhu arranged this Rs 1 crore loan (This is on top of Rs 50 lakhs which was arranged by him and given by ISKCON Kolkata for Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan).
With this, we have shifted 17 families and demolished their 17 houses and Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan is finally FREE. Since we do not want to offer Srila Prabhupada a construction site on his 125th birth anniversary on 31st August 2021, we have initiated the 1st phase of Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan in which we have started construction of 260 feet boundary wall around the property to secure it. We will also complete the frontage and area around Jackfruit Tree. Srila Prabhupada Lotus feet are being made in white maharana marble in Jaipur and four cornerstones which will be installed on 31st August 2021. We will complete the flooring of about half the property (around 1800 square feet) in the 1st phase which will complete by the morning of 31st August 2021. The work is going on 24 hours X 7 basis.
The 2nd phase of construction will start later. In the 2nd phase of construction, we are planning an ISKCON Vrindavan Srila Prabhupada Samadhi Mandir kind of structure at Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan with life-size murti of Srila Prabhupada.
The 2nd phase will also focus on acquiring adjacent properties and total land of around 2 acres around Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan.
As we have started work at Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan wonderful things are getting revealed every day. When we removed all the 80 years old construction in which these families lived and removed the flooring of their houses and dig for the foundation of the boundary wall, we were startled by the soil beneath it. The soil of Srila Prabhupada Jamasthan is the same soil that is found in Braja (Vrindavan Mathura). It is yellowish and soft like powder. This kind of soil is not found in Bengal. The neighbors and people around it were also startled that this kind of soil is coming out. We are placing these layers of soil which we got 4 feet down around the Jackfruit tree so that devotees can roll in it. The same soil which touched the lotus small feet of Abhay Charan. We are also raising the height of Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan by 3 feet from the road. For that, we have brought white sand from Yamuna ji and Ganga ji and we will mix it with the soil of Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan and raise the ground. The sand of Yamuna ji and Ganga carries dust from all the important holy places along their banks.
Also there are 2 ancient Radha Krishna temples in 100 meters from Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan. Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan ji and Sri Sri Radha Govind ji. The famous Kali temple is just 1 km from Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan and on the same road. Right opposite Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan was an ancient Kund (pond) that was filled up by locals and encroached. We are negotiating with them and we are planning to acquire that Holy pond and we will again dig it up and restore the ancient pond.
Also, 100 meters from Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan is Adi-Ganga or ancient Ganga. Mother Ganga was flowing here a hundred of years back but later changed its course and currently, Adi-Ganga has become a nullah. The Adi-Ganga has lots of ancient Ghats along with it. We had requested Chief Minister to revamp the banks of Adi-Ganga and to clean it up. We are happy to announce that the Chief Minister has just announced Rs 1300 crores Adi-Ganga revamp plan.
Yesterday, the Hon’ble Chief Minister has also directed the officials to make the papers ready so that the Government can hand over Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan papers to ISKCON before 31st August 2021. The land belongs to the Government and the Government will gift this land to ISKCON (since the removal of all the 17+3 families is complete).
We are very grateful to all those who donated especially ISKCON Juhu (HG Braj Hari Prabhu and Bhima Prabhu) who have completed the transfer of their 76.25 lacs rupees.
We are very grateful to the GBC body, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, His Holiness Sivaram Swami, His Holiness Niranjan Swami for donating. ISKCON Chowpatty (Gauranga Prabhu/Srinath ji prabhu) gave Rs 30 lacs and ISKCON Pune has promised Rs 7.5 lacs.
We humbly request all the temples, temple presidents, and devotees to keep donating. As the donations keep pouring in a beautiful temple and tirtha at Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan will keep manifesting on.
On 31st August 2021 (from 3 pm IST onwards) we will be telecasting live darshan of Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan on the ISKCON Kolkata YouTube channel. Our senior Maharaj’s will be speaking too. At 4 pm (IST) the installation ceremony of Srila Prabhupada Lotus feet will begin. Let us all join ONLINE to celebrate this important landmark in ISKCON’s chapter.
Please find attached yesterday’s evening photographs of Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan for your pleasure.
Always at your mercy Yours Radharamn Das
On Fri, 6 Aug 2021 at 05:48, Radharamn Das<email@example.com alt="" img="" src="https://i.imgur.com/EmGZ7ok.jpeg" wrote:=""></firstname.lastname@example.org>
HG Shankarshan prabhu, the nephew and disciple of Srila Prabhupada came to ISKCON Kolkata and he showed me Srila Prabhupada’s letter dated 4th May 1977 which directed Shankarshan prabhu to acquire Srila Prabhupad’s birthplace at 63 Tollygunge road and to build a memorial. This letter was dictated by Srila Prabhupada and the letter was handwritten by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj which Srila Prabhupada signed. Please find the said letter attached here. Srila Prabhupada was ill that time that’s why he dictated the letter and His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami wrote it. At the end of the letter, Srila Prabhupada signed it. Srila Prabhupada start’s the letter with the instruction to His Grace Shankarshan prabhu to immediately purchase 63 Tollygunge Road, Kolkata-700033.
HG Shankarshan prabhu has many original letters from Srila Prabhupada addressed to 63 Tollygunge Road, Kolkata-700033, which HG Shankarshan Prabhu will donate to Prabhupada memorial which will be built at Srila Prabhupada birthplace.
A few days earlier, His Grace Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who makes Srila Prabhupada Lotus feet for temples has given the original imprints of Srila Prabhupada lotus feet from which all the lotus feet was made (including lotus feet at ISKCON Vrindavan, Mayapur, Juhu, etc.) for Srila Prabhupada Janmasthan.
Many are asking for the translation of the Bengali letter of Srila Prabhupada which was handwritten by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami and signed by Srila Prabhupada. The letter was written just a few months before Srila Prabhupada left this world.
Here is the English translation and Bengali Text:
Dated: 04, May 1977 My Dear Shriman Shankarshan,
Accept my blessings! A few days ago I spoke to you about buying the land covering the jackfruit tree(‘Khathal-tala’). Explore if the same is up for sale. We want to build a memorial there. Take this matter seriously and get back to me on the way forward writing to my Bombay address.
My health has deteriorated, so I am going to Kashmir in a few days for a climate change.
I hope you are well with your family.
Your Ever Well-Wisher, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami