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Preaching Takes Off in Mathura

by Prem Vilas Das

Posted April 27, 2012

The decorated gate marks the entrance to Prachin Janambhu, Sri Krishna's birthplace in Mathura.

For the past four months, devotees from ISKCON Vrindavan have been holding regular Sunday feast programs in Karhagarh, the prison house of Kamsa where Vasudev and Devaki were once imprisoned. The temple, popularly known by locals as Prachin Janambhumi (the very old birthplace of Lord Krishna), houses the beautiful deities of Vasudev, Devaki and Keshav Dev Ji (baby Krishna with four arms).

Prachin Janambhumi is west of Potara Kund (where Mother Devaki washed baby Krishna’s dirty cloth) and a five-minute walking distance from the heavily guarded Janambhumi. Prachin is centrally situated in Malpura (district of the wrestlers), so Kamsa had the prison guarded by these wrestlers.

Gaura Nitai deities flank Lord Keshav Ji with our parampara on the altar.

According to current sevaite Krishna Chand Goswami, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu met the sanodiya brahmin here, and Srila Prabhupada often visited this temple during his visits to Mathura. He recalls his grandfather worshipping Keshav Dev Ji, but has no recollection as to how or when the Deities manifested. The Keshav Dev Ji deity has been worshipped by his family for generations.

The temple is in a state of disrepair and is not well frequented by guests and locals. With the permission of Krishna Chand Goswami, devotees have enthusiastically started the Vasudev Devaki Sunday School for over 25 local children, college preaching, congregational development and the Sunday feast program.

At the first Prachin Janambhumi program on Makara Sankranti 2012, H.H. Vedavyas Priya Swami and Krishna Chand Goswami jovially exchange garlands and gifts.

During Nityananda Trayodasi, devotees held an abhishek for Gaura Nitai, in which Krishna Chand Goswami, with his son Shivkumar, installed Gaura Nitai deities along with our parampara on the altar of Keshav Dev Ji. A sumptuous feast, cooked on a fire of cowdung patties, was later served. Over 200 visiting devotees participated.

Niranata das prabhu is developing the congregation, Madhur Murli das prabhu takes care of the Sunday school, and Parsada dasi and Gaurangi dasi prabhus are preaching at nearby colleges.

Krishna Chand Goswami and Shivkumar Goswami invite devotees and well-wishers to have darsan of Gaura Nitai and Sri Keshav Dev Ji at the altar after the abhishek ceremony.

Project director Devakinandan das said: "We are indeed grateful to Krishna Chand Goswami and his son Shivkumar Goswami for allowing us to render some service to Krishna in this most holy place. As Kali Yuga advances, we see — even in a holy place like Mathura — slaughterhouses, wine shops and other sinful vices. We appeal to our worldwide community of devotees to please help us in preserving this rare jewel."

Krishna Chand Goswami presents Hindi-language Bhagavad-gita As It Is to Col. Sharma, the senior police officer of Janambhumi.

Due to neglect, the temple is in need of renovation and upgrading. Anyone wishing to assist in cash or kind can contact Devakinandan das by e-mail to Ramesh.goyal -at-, mobile 91-8909829179.

Below are a few pictures of the ecstatic Sunday programs.

Congregation from Govardhan Choraya gathers for the program.

Students of Vasudev Devaki Sunday school in bright yellow dhotis and kurtas donated by Bhaktivedanta Gurukula. Vrindavan temple president Pancha Gauda das leads a harinam around Janambhumi.

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