The TOVP fundraising Team consisting of Their Graces Jananivas, Ambarisa, Svaha and Braja Vilas prabhus, and led by the holy Padukas (shoes) of Lord Nityananda and Satari (helmet) of Lord Nrsimhadeva recently returned from a grand, successful ten day tour of South Africa with over $2 million in pledges, matching the results of our first tour in 2014.
From October 15-25, the TOVP Team visited the temples in Durban, Capetown, Botswana and Johannesburg, as well as some smaller cities like Santana, Lenasia and Midrand, and multiple private homes. From the wonderful receptions of the Padukas and Sitari, to the ecstatic kirtans and sumptuous feasts, all leading to the momentous fundraising success, the unity, enthusiasm, comradery and teamwork of the South African leaders and general devotees to serve the TOVP project was exceptional and exemplary. This practical display of cooperative, focused service to Srila Prabhupada and Mahaprabhu not only brought financial results for the TOVP, but enlivened all the devotees and blessed them with the realization that by together serving the acharya’s orders to build the TOVP all devotees and all the temples will benefit simultaneously. As explained by Swarupa Damodar prabhu, the Regional Secretary of Durban:
“The TOVP team made such exciting and inspiring presentations and although about $1m was ‘liberated’ from the Durban yatra, everyone, including the managers and devotees were so blissful. This is clearly a project that can unite us all on a macro level, and if we can all band together behind it, we can learn from those unifying elements to work together here in South Africa….I am also convinced that if the South Africa yatra puts its full weight behind building the TOVP, our own yatras will flourish since the flood of love of Godhead will flow with tremendous current here…. So, I encourage our yatra leaders here to take a leap of faith and support this project whole heartedly and as Jananivasa prabhu comments, “It will be good for the world and it will be good for you.”Swarupa Damodar prabhu, the Regional Secretary of Durban
This same spiritual principle was confirmed by Srila Prabhupada who said:
“The more you help develop Mayapur, the more Lord Chaitanya will bless your area of the world and it will flourish…Mayapur is the spiritual world manifest on earth. Build your sambandha by seva and glorification of the dham. As the dham manifests so also your seva to it will give you the path back to godhead.”Srila Prabhupada
And Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:
“Those who are living their best to keep intact the flow of service to Sri Mayapur, will be considered the benefactors of the world of Vaisnavas.”Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
South Africa has a special place in the hearts of the TOVP Team. It was here in 2014 that we had our first-ever TOVP tour achieving a level of success we did not anticipate. Although we only had the square foot ($150) program in place, we raised over $2 million in pledges plus a $1 million pledge from one donor. From our experiences there we developed our ideas for other levels of donors such as the Golden Brick, Nrsimha Tile, etc.
Coming back for a second visit, we were overwhelmed by another wave of success. One anonymous donor in Durban pledged $250,000. At one house program in Ermilo we raised $50,000. At the small congregation in Midrand we raised $230,000 using up our last 16 Silver Coins. And we ran completely out of Nrsimha Coins early on because many South African devotees are Nrsimha bhaktas and his prayer for protection is their mantra.
The support we received from the South African leaders is to be lauded. From His Holiness Bhakti Caitanya Swami, to Govardhana, Devakinandana, Swarupa Damodar, Vibhu Caitanya, Nanda Kumar, Nanda Kishore, Siddhanta, Jyotirmaya, to all the other devotee organizers, we owe a debt of gratitude for their wholeheartedly opening the gates of their zones and temples to our team.
To conclude, we wish to reiterate this important point of cooperatively serving the Holy Dhama and the gravity of the TOVP project. It is not just a fanciful, imaginary idea but one that is inherent in our philosophy and essential to our spiritual understanding of Sridhama Mayapur. This has been expressed in a new essay by His Grace Ravindra Svarupa das,
Revealing the Heart of ISKCON, when commenting on an article by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur:
“When this central temple (the TOVP, ‘Parent Temple’), by the mercy of devotees, extends outward from its inherently sacred environment into profane regions, these expansions or branches, even though distant from their source, are essentially identical with it. The analogy of “one lamp lighted by another,” employed by The Harmonist, is taken from Brahma samhita (5.46), where it is used to elucidate the relationship between Lord Krsna and His expansions, like Balarama, Maha-Visnu, and so on. The use of the metaphor here implies that all the institution’s temples, as integral components of a spiritual organization, will be equally potent, even though one is the original, and the others, its branches or branches of branches.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur
To read the entire essay please go to: https://tovp.org/inspiration/revealing-heart-iskcon/