While still in high school, I used to be a tourist guide during my summer vacations. At the beginning of each tour, I would ask our guests what was the thing they noticed first when they entered the temple room. Most of the answers I recieved were about to bright colors, cheerful atmosphere, and beautiful paintings.
At first, I was very surprised by the answers. I expected that the altar would be mentioned, since it always comes to my mind first. At the end of the tour, I went back to the temple room. I decided to try and walk into the room as if it were my first time there. Then maybe I could understand why colors and images were noticed first.
Entering the temple room was like stepping into another world. I could see how to the colors and the cheerful atmosphere immediately captivates everyone.
In this final stop of our imaginary tour of the farm, let’s take a look at the person sitting inside the temple room across from the altar. He is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON’s founder acarya. He was born in India in a Vaisnava family. At a young age, His spiritual master asked him to go to America and spread Krishna consciousness in the English language. At the time, he still had a family and could not to leave them alone, so he decided that once he completes his family duties, he would go to the west. And so, at the age of 70 he boarded a steamship and set off for America. He had not more than a few rupies in his pocket. He had no acquaintances on the other side of the earth, only faith in Krishna and his spiritual teacher accompanied him on his journey. During the trip, he had two heart attacks, surviving them he finally landed on the shores of America. For the next ten years, he was very active. He traveled around the world thirteen times, built 108 built around the world, initiated thousands of disciples and translated many scriptures from Sanskrit to English.
He is commemorated in every ISCON temple in a deity form which is usually placed opposite the altar.
On the main altar stand Radhe and Syama, Krishna and His eternal consort. God created man in his own image, this does not only apply to appearance, but also to characteristics. No one wants to be alone. Everyone needs at least one person in their life with whom they can share everything, be it joy or sorrow. For Krishna, this someone is Radha.
The worship on the altar is performed by a group of about twenty people. They are the ones who worship Radha and Krishna several times a day, cook for Them and dress Them.
These activities and customs, are all our way to reciprocate with Krishna. He does not need any of these offerings, since He is omnipotent. We, on the other hand, do.
He provides us with everything, every single day, and these humble offerings of ours are the only way we can try and repay him. This is our way to try and build a relationship with Him that is unique and special for each individual person.
Krishna Valley was a vision of Srila Prabhupada. A self-sustaining community where serving Krishna is at the center of everyone’s life.
We are at the end of our journey, but the story continues, as there are so many other things to tell, topics and interesting things to share about Krishna Valley.