Mayapura readies new Panca-Tattva Deities
Posted September 21, 2003
ISKCON Mayapura devotees are about to complete the casting of five large bronze Deities of Sri Sri Panca-Tattva, whose formal installation ceremony is planned for February.
Concerned by approaching storms, and by the effect of rainfall on molten metal, devotees delayed by one day the casting of the murti of Srivas Thakur, the last of the five Deities to be completed. The Sthapati, responsible for Deity casting and polishing, has ordered precautions against interruptions from rain or drizzle. We have covered the area of the fire pits where the crucibles of metal will be heated to melting, and also the area of the "cocoon" where molten metal will be poured into the clay mould.
Devotees have been bursting with excitement to see the larger-than-life form of Lord Caitanya, freshly released from the mould. "Lord Chaitanya's hands and beautiful ornamental belt, bracelets and anklets, and the gorgeous brahmana-thread across His beautiful lion-like chest, are most wonderful to behold," said a misty-eyed Ganga das, obviously awed at the size of the still-unpolished Deity. "He is a mountain of golden radiance that couldn't match the effulgence of His compassionate mercy."
"We were surprised to see the amount of work put into the Deities after They came out of the casting mould," added Jananivas das. "We naively thought that, after a very small amount of work, like a little polishing here and there, the Deities would be ready, but reality taught us otherwise."
The amount of work -- hundreds of work hours -- going into each of the Deities is impressive. The first polish removes so-called "mudcakes" remaining encrusted within the metal after casting. A second rough-polish or carving stage defines the general shape of belt, armlet and earlobe details. Finally, the most senior artisans start the smooth polishing. The process is intense and, at any one time, at least 10 workers are performing different stages of polishing.
Meanwhile, the delicate, intricately carved lotus-petals pedestal intended to embrace the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga has been created, simultaneously with the Deities Themselves. The whole workshop at the Sthapati is reverberating with symphonic, celestial sounds of chiselling, like a glorious kirtan direct from the spiritual world.
All devotees are invited to attend the Deity Installation, scheduled for Mayapura, India, on February 23, 2004.
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