In almost every ISKCON temple and center worldwide, a large or small murti of ISKCON Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada can be found. The murti is worshiped daily no different from any deity of the Lord, and Srila Prabhupada is thus considered to be personally present to accept our service and bless his devotees and followers. This is in accordance with all guru, sadhu and shastra.
Lord Siva says in the Padma Purana:
vishnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
“Lord Shiva told the goddess Durga, ‘My dear Devi, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord Vishnu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord Vishnu is the rendering of service to Vaishnavas, who are related to Lord Vishnu.”
It is especially fitting that the Founder-Acharya of our branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and siksha guru to all its members, be worshiped in such a way. In the Guruvastakam by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the seventh verse is chanted by devotees daily:
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
“The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari (Krsna).”
What many devotees don’t know is, who made most of these marvelous, lifelike deities of Srila Prabhupada that look so real and inspire us daily? The answer is His Grace Sriman Locana das, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who has been making these murtis since even prior to Prabhupada’s disappearance in 1977. Srila Prabhupada himself was highly pleased when he saw his own murti, the first of its kind, made by Locana for the FATE museum in Los Angeles. This unique murti depicting Srila Prabhupada sitting and writing at his Vrindaban Radha Damodar temple desk has a head that moves up and down.
Over the years Locan has continued this dedicated service to all ISKCON temples under all circumstances and challenges in his personal life, making innumerable murtis of His Divine Grace for temples worldwide. And shortly, commemorating Srila Prabhupada’s 125th Appearance Anniversary Year, the TOVP will be unveiling his magnum opus, greatest achievement, in the form of a one-of-a-kind, worship-pose murti of Srila Prabhupada. This murti will sit before his beloved Sri Sri Radha Madhava and Pancha Tattva with eternally folded hands, personifying his statement, “Mayapur is my place of worship”.
On October 14 and 15 Srila Prabhupada will be welcomed to the TOVP in a grand ceremony: Srila Prabhupada Vaibhava Darshan Utsava. His personal presence will inspire and guide us to continue with construction and complete the TOVP as soon as possible as his personal offering to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and our acharyas.
Every ISKCON devotee can participate in this historic and most important occasion by sponsoring one or more of five kinds of abhishekas. This is a befitting gesture and service for one and all as guru dakshina to the jagat guru and Founder-Acharya of ISKCON.
We are grateful to Sriman Locana das for his service to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada’s mission, and for rendering this remarkable murti of His Divine Grace for the TOVP. Please watch the video produced by Sriman Dayavira das (ACBSP) about the history of the making of Prabhupada murtis in general, and the TOVP Prabhupada murti specifically, by this dedicated disciple and Vaishnava.
Sponsor an abhisheka TODAY at the Welcome Ceremony Abhisheka page of the TOVP website.
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