On Saturday, March 14, the first TOVP program was inaugurated at New Raman Reti Dhama in Alachua, Florida, America’s largest devotee community.
A packed temple room of 300+ devotees from all over Florida had come and were engaged in ecstatic kirtan while having darshan of Lord Nityananda’s Padukas and receiving Lord Nrsimhadeva’s Sitari on their heads from Jananivas prabhu’s own hands. After the kirtan Mukhya dasi, the Temple President, welcomed all the devotees and introduced the TOVP Team, and turned the program over to Radha Jivan prabhu. Radha Jivan introduced the speakers, Ambarisa and Svaha prabhus and Jananivas prabhu, while giving rousing and inspiring talks in-between. He concluded the speeches with an appeal to the devotees to make significant pledges to the TOVP which they could fulfill with monthly payments in 5-7 years on the pledge cards previously handed out. Pledge cards started pouring in with pledges for Gold Gratitude Coins ($108,000), Silver Gratitude Coins ($11,000), Radha Madhava Bricks ($2500), Golden Bricks ($1600), Nrsimha Tiles ($1000) and Square Feet ($150) and by the end of the evening an astounding $850,000 had been pledged. Prasadam was served to all the devotees and the program came to an end.
The next day Mukhya mataji wrote a very glowing report which she sent to the other North American Temple Presidents as well as GBC’s. It is reproduced below.
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I wanted to pass along our positive experience with the first TOVP presentation in NA, and I hope this message can go on the NATP Forum as well.
The program in Alachua was held on a Saturday evening beginning with Gaura Arati and ending with sayana arati at 8:50 pm. Light prasad was served at 9 pm just following. All of our devotees were excited to receive the mercy of Lord Nityananda’s shoes (they are huge and beautiful) and Lord Nrisimhadev’s satari on their heads. I was quite surprised to see a few hundred devotees come out tonight, traveling here from all around Florida. They were so enthused by this opportunity to be blessed by Lord Nityananda.
Our community is rich in bhakti but poor in actual money. The new donation system is to pledge an amount over five years, and this made it doable for a lot of people. I was really surprised to see how much was collected tonight.
It is my hope and sincere belief that by pleasing Lord Caitanya by contributing to build His temple in Mayapur, all of our many projects here in Alachua will be funded too. There is no lack for Krishna. It was a very positive experience for us.
Mukhya devi dasi
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