Chakra Announcements

ISKCON educational centre opens in Malaysia

by Janananda das and Kalesa das

Posted October 14, 2004

On October 20th, 2004, the first of three buildings to be constructed on ISKCON's land in Penang, Malaysia will be opened. In 1971, during Srila Prabhupada's visit to Malaysia, he requested local supporters to help construct a temple. He showed a picture of a temple in Vrndavana and said, "I want a Temple like this." For thirty years there was little progress on the project.

Despite the society owning several plots of land, it has not been possible to build a Temple in Malaysia, a country with a predominantly Muslim population. Recently, however, ISKCON obtained a parcel of land where Prabhupada's desire could be fulfilled. In March 2001, an acre of land was purchased from the Penang state government, in a religious enclave zoned solely for non-Islamic organizations. Taking advantage of this rare opportunity, plans went ahead for the fulfillment of Prabhupada's desire.

Devotees decided to build in three phases. Construction of Phase 1, a four-storey utility building, commenced in January 2004 and is now completed, as seen in the accompanying picture. This building will have accommodations, offices, kitchen, guest rooms, seminar rooms, library, roof gardens and bathrooms for devotees and public, as well as a temporary temple hall. The main emphasis of the building will be education of various types for the community. Courses are planned on scripture, yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu architecture, cooking, music, Deity worship and other topics. Children's classes, youth programs and various retreats and conventions are also proposed. Devotees from other parts of Southeast Asia could also come for training and association.

Phase 2, which will be the main Temple building, will start as soon as possible. The third phase will be the cultural hall, providing a facility for weddings, large gatherings, theatre, etc.

The opening ceremony of Phase 1 will be held on October 20th at 8.50 a.m. onwards. If any devotees happen to be passing through Malaysia on their way to India, please consider a stopover and join us for the opening or just come to visit. If you would like to come or would like more information, please write to janananda@yahoo.com. Penang International Airport is not far from the property.

In addition, from November 13th to 16th, ISKCON Malaysia is holding their 7th Annual Convention of sravanam, kirtanam and feasting on this property. The official public opening of the building will take place on the evening of the 13th, attended by the Chief Minister of Penang, the chairperson of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, members of Parliment and several ISKCON leaders, including Jayapataka Swami, Prabhavisnu Swami, Bhakti Vrajendranandana Swami, Bhanu Swami, Bhakti Vighna-vinasa Narasimha Swami and Bhakti Purusottama Swami.

Anyone wishing to attend please write to smvara@my.jaring.net or simheswara.JPS@pamho.net