The Minister for Culture at the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom, Her Excellency Monika Mohta, graciously hosted the launch of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium on the 30th of August 2010 at the Nehru Centre, London.
The Nehru Centre strives to foster a cultural dialogue between India and the United Kingdom and the centre is the cultural wing of the High Commission of India. It is administered by the Indian Council for cultural relations, an autonomous organization of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Apologies were received from HRH Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Mr Laksmi Mittal.
The guests were welcomed with light bhajans presented by Meera Patel and the kirtaneers.
The MC for the evening, HG Praghosa Prabhu, opened the ceremony invoking the blessings of HDG Srila Prabhupada, Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Sri Pancatattva and Lord Nrsingadeva who are the presiding deities of Sridhama Mayapur as well as Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara, the presiding deities of London.
Sukanti Radha dasi then gave an illustrated introduction to Sri Mayapur creating a prelude to the introduction of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium talk. The audience got an overview of Sridhama Mayapur and its activities and lifestyle. She explained how this was the home of Harinama Sankirtan, a nectar which Srila Prabhupada spread worldwide by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One day this place called Mayapur will turn into a beautiful city as predicted by Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas. Sukanti Radha also explained how this was a place where many came to advance in sastric knowledge and that Sridhama Mayapur is referred to by Mayapur Worldwide as ‘the Spiritual University of the World’. Sukanti Radha concluded by inviting everyone to visit Mayapur and explained the importance of visiting Mayapur before visiting Vrindavan, as explained by Srila Prabhupada.
The audience were then treated to a history on the mrdanga drum by Krishna Caitanya das. The mrdanga is a drum synonymous with Sri Mayapur and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The audience appreciated the glories of this beautiful instrument that is very new to western culture. He mesmerised the audience when playing the various rhythms of the mrdanga.
HG Praghosa das, with his gentle humour captivated the audience with more glories of Sri Mayapur and explained how the Temple of Vedic Planetarium was an integral part of Mayapur. This was an illustrated talk with pictures. HG Praghosa das explained the history of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium, the vision of both Nityananda Prabhu and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, up to the present day realization of those visions. He also communicated the extremely unique significance of this planetarium project. The audience also got to hear about the present team who are responsible for bringing to fruition this glorious project, headed by HG Ambarisa das. In conclusion the audience viewed a live video of the architecture and ultimate manifestation of the planetarium, accompanied by the melodious chanting of the maha mantra, led by Kripamoya das.
HG Jaydeva das concluded the programme with a rendition of the maha mantra, which Her Excellency most welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed.
Her Excellency Monika Mohta then spoke and welcomed the audience and the Vaisnava community to the Nehru Centre. She said she felt honoured to host such an event. She both thanked ISKCON, Sukanti Radha dasi, HG Praghosa das and all that attended the event. She said Sukanti Radha dasi was the driving force behind this programme and praised how well it was organised. She asked the vaisnava community to accept the Nehru Centre as their home. She praised the work of ISKCON and expressed the peace she finds in kirtana. She enthusiastically expressed how she has now allocated time in next year’s diary to accommodate the philosophy and teachings of Krishna consciousness at the Nehru Centre. She requested regular kirtana at the Nehru Centre, which Sukanti Radha is most delighted to organise. Her Excellency will soon invite Sukanti Radha dasi for a meeting to discuss planning of those 2011 programmes.
The evening concluded with sumptuous prasadam, provided and served by Amala Manjari dasi and the Bhakti Vriksha UK team.
See photos of the event below.
Sukanti Radha dasi — Ambassador for ISKCON Mayapur, Promoter of Temple of Vedic Planetarium and Director of Mayapur Worldwide will incorporate the Mayapur Worldwide UK service to provide this link between ISKCON Mayapur, ISKCON UK and Indian High Commission Cultural Division under the supervision of HG Praghosa das. Should you wish to partake in any of the 2011 programmes at the Nehru Centre, please contact Sukanti Radha dasi on (+44) 07803 608 641 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.