Vrndavana Samadhi 2004
Posted June 25, 2004
Srila Prabhupada Samadhi Mandir, Vrndavana
May 22, 2004
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Once again, I wish to extend my thanks to so many of you who were inspired to come forward this year to help build the Samadhi Maintenance Fund Fixed Deposit as well as the working account. It is certainly Krishna's blessing to have so much international participation in this wonderful service in Vrndavana Dhama.
We will reciprocate with you by keeping you informed of our activities and organizing special gifts. If I missed someone, kindly let me know loud and clear.
**Many thanks to our many spontaneous donors as well as to those who have honored their yearly pledges: Udayananda das, Lila Madhuri devi dasi, H.H. D. Swami, Devahuti devi dasi, Dayananda das, Laxman das, Pyasvini devi dasi, Madhavananda das, Mahamayi devi dasi, all the devotees from Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East, Gopal Bhatta das, Balarama das, Doru Krishna das, Krishna Charan das, Rishab Miralal, Madri, Madhavi, Tadit devi dasi, Bindu Badhava das, Dravida das, Kesava das, Labangalatika devi dasi, Ashokamrita das, H.H. Rtadvaja Swami, Tirtharthi das, Wallace Dorian, Daivashakti devi dasi, Krpa Mayi devi dasi, Rangavati devi dasi, Devananda Pandit das.
**Special recognition this year for service beyond the call of duty by: Udayananda das, Mahamayi devi dasi, Jayadvaita Swami who inspired all the devotees from Baharain and elsewhere in the Middle East, Gopal Bhatta das, Daivashakti devi dasi, Krpa Mayi devi dasi.
- With continual vigilance, the pigeon problem inside the Samadhi is still pretty much under control. If they are born in here, they become really attached. The secret is simply to keep chasing them out to make them uncomfortable to nest. (Herding the pigeons of Vrndavana!) We're also looking for attractive for squirrels and sparrows to stop nesting!
- Though we have plenty of other pests, which are temporary and really not too much of a menace, the mice, cockroaches and termites have been eliminated.
- No bats in the belfry, but some of these tiny little creatures managed to squish behind the huge Rathayatra painting behind the altar. We're clearing them out.
- Last year we had much better result with the flower beds under the
staircases. This year, however, the weather was just so severe and the
nurseries gave such junk, it wasn't possible to maintain very much for very
long. But, looking on the bright side, because the beds are filled in with
SOMEthing, no one was peeing in the area.
Since we did install an underground 1500 litre tank @$100 for sweet water for the gardens, the plumeria (frangipani), shrubs and other surviving greenery have thanked us for it. This year, I will organize large orders of colorful flowers with the more reliable nurseries seasonably, ahead of time.
Last year, I experimented with Freesias in my own garden, and they were gorgeous and fragrant the first year, but didn't yield much result the following year. Nevertheless, it would be fantastic if someone wants to arrange to bring over (please do NOT mail or ship) up to a few hundred bulbs, especially of the yellow, white, blue and red. Apparently the bulbs are available in August or September, though I found some plants in California in May and June. I think it depends on where you live. Best time for planting here is October, November or December.
Also, if there is anyone out there who has experience with these bulbs in climates similar to Vrndavana (if there is such a thing), let me know how you take care of them, especially when they are finished. Some say the staying power of these bulbs is not good. Otherwise, it appears we might have to plant new ones every year.
- Wall and ceiling fans were installed strategically both in the Samadhi and Museum for the pleasure and relief of the devotees and our summer pilgrims. Our costs were @$900.
- Spotlights now highlight the dioramas upstairs in the Samadhi. This was only $20.
- One Museum diorama was renovated for @ $200. And there are no rats in the docks!
- Some Museum walls and the ceiling were repaired and partially repainted upstairs and down after the water damage problem was under control. We had to keep repairing until we finally discovered the root of the problem (after the brahmacari bathroom leaking was rectified a few times) was a drainage area from the roof which had never been sealed when the construction was "finished". So we had to reconstruct and reseal the shaft from the roof down to the ground for about one week. This all cost @ $250.
- Upstairs in the Museum, we replaced 8 huge photographs which had been hopelessly damaged by the above leaking, and have remounted them keeping a hollow space in case it happens again. We also replaced Bhaktivinode Thakur's picture and he is now chanting with his right hand (because 10 years ago the developers had reversed the negative!), and Srila Prabhupada is now in the strangely empty space in the parampara group of pictures. There are two more empty spaces which would be perfect for Gaura Nitai, when I find the suitable negatives. This was around $1500 so far.
- We called craftsmen from Makrana to carve the missing knobs and peacock heads broken off the staircase railings, and the missing pigeons which had dropped out of the sky from the balustrades. They also repaired and re-anchored a few of the menacing-looking ornaments on the overhangs. That work only cost around $350.
**Next few months we can accept inspired donations for the following projects:
- The entire dome right up to the flag at the top is now in scaffolding for polishing the marble (with special stones) and filling in the seams with white cement before the rains set in. Because of the heavy exposure and the extremes in temperatures during the year, there has been quite a lot of separating of the marble tiles. The completed top part is already sparkling. So it wasn't for naught. It hasn't been done since it was built, partially because it costs up to $4500 to do it... At least it won't have to be done again for another 15 years.
- The hung ceiling on the inside of the Samadhi will be repainted. Again, this will require a lot of scaffolding. We will also do the final repainting and repairing of the walls and ceiling on the Museum side. It should all be done in under $2400.
- If we have a donor for a DVD projector, we will be able to show videos all day and night in the Samadhi Museum on the silver screen. That's around $5-6,000 for the appropriate projector, the computer and the DVD's. Once this preaching begins, we can maintain the program by distributing the DVD's and Srila Prabhupada's books.
**There is still urgent work which needs to be done:
- Loose marble slabs outside and inside the Museum should be replaced @ $1000. This is in addition to the work being done on the dome.
- Two little strips of walls inside of the Samadhi altar room must be finished with black granite-@ $1000
- English and Hindi captions are still needed in most of the Museum exhibits--@ $200
- In the Museum downstairs the large color photos damaged by water leaks and/or sun exposure for the last 10 years must be replaced soon--@ $2000-$3000.
- The two large paintings behind the altar must be replaced by bronze bas relief-@ $10,000 each. If this is going to take too long, we are considering replacing them temporarily with good paintings--@ $1000 each.
- Our yearly maintenance and puja--$10,000-- is not yet fully covered by donation box collections and interest from the Fixed Deposits.
- The Vrndavana Samadhi Maintenance Fund now has about $35,000 in fixed deposit. These donations perpetually serve Srila Prabhupada with the interest.
- Many devotees donated for special projects. See above under "So far".
- Hundi donations @ $2,000. Adding this to the $2,100 FD interest gave us $4,100- 40% of the annual minimum costs. This year the interest rates dropped from 10% to 6%.
- To do the immediate summer work we need $12,000 now, $25,000 soon.
- We aim to build up a fixed deposit of $200,000 to use the interest for expenses in addition to the donations. This will cover inevitable costs and give an increased cushion for future surprises in the aging structure.
**WHAT YOU CAN DO**
Srila Prabhupada's Vrndavana Samadhi Maintenance Fund needs you now! All participation is welcome. No donation is too large or too small. Please choose a convenient method for your personal service to Prabhupada's Samadhi Mandir:
- Annual commitments to the Fixed Deposit presently vary from $108, $501 to $1,001.
- One-time donations are really needed for the Fixed Deposit to reach the
- $1,000 (50 donors are needed in this category)
- $5,000 (20 donors are needed in this category)
- $10,000 (7 donors are needed in this category)
- Substantial donations to any of the above on-going projects.
**HOW TO HELP**
Whether you wish to give to the Vrndavana Samadhi Fixed Deposit, or to some specific project of the Samadhi, contact me please (firstname.lastname@example.org) here in Vrndavana. I will let you know the easiest and least complicated way to send your donation, and will be very happy to answer any other questions you may have. There is probably one of our reliable representatives near you who can carry your generous donations directly to Vrndavana.
International money orders (personal checks entail a very long process), bank drafts of foreign money (made out to ISKCON, account # 321, State Bank of India, Pratap Bazaar, Vrndavana, U.P., or bank transfers using ac/#210321 and routing code 2502), or Traveler's Checks and cash sent by hand reach here more reliably than something sent through the mail. Drafts in rupees may be made out to ISKCON ac/#208, SBI ISKCON Ext. Counter, Vrndavana. However you do it, communicate it to me so I know to look for it in case of technical delays.
To insure appropriate handling, address your envelope to Samadhi Maintenance Fund, attention Parvati devi dasi WITH A COVERING LETTER. Please state your name, address and the purpose of the donation, so proper documentation can be made and receipts can be sent.
I thank all of you for helping me to serve the Samadhi better and beg to remain
Parvati devi dasi,