The Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, wanted to have temples right in the hearts of the cities so that maximum number of people would have easy, quick access to the tranquility that the temple offers to one and all through the presence of the deities and the constant chanting of the holy names.
In his words –
“We are trying to give human society the opportunity for a life of happiness, good health, peace of mind and all good qualities through God consciousness” – Srila Prabhupada.
Also, on 17th June 1932, Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati journeyed to Mysore to fulfill an invitation from the Maharaja of Mysore, Sir Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar. During then, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was honored as a state guest and lodged in the fabulous Rama Palace on Rama Vilas Road. The Maharaja arranged and attended public meetings at the palace, which featured speeches by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. While in Mysore, Srila Sarasvati Thakura had pointed out that in the far west of Mysore District was situated Sringeri where impersonalist Sripada Sankaracharya had established a matha; diametrically opposite, in the far east of the district at Mulbagal, a matha had been founded by Sri Vadiraja of the Madhva sampradaya, whose upholding of Shuddha-dvaita-siddhanta directly opposed Sankaracharya’s teachings. He felt that since Mysore city is exactly midway between the two locations, it is befitting at this place be present Lord Chaitanya’s teaching of achintya-bhedabheda-tattva which being the midpoint of unqualified monism and unrelenting dualism, harmonized both stances bringing to a perfect conclusion the strengths of both.
Thus it was the desire of Srila Sarasvati Thakura that Sri Chaitanya’s preaching be upheld here in this city through a culturally and spiritually vibrant temple. We as grand-disciples of His Divine Grace wish to accomplish this desire for his pleasure.
When we come to the temple, we take our mental burdens off and sooth our minds with the healing serenity that pervades the temple. Then, when we are mentally rested and refreshed, we restart our duties with greater effectiveness. In fact, because people don’t take such nourishing breaks, they become ineffective in their personal functioning and irritable in their interpersonal dealings, leading to so many avoidable problems. Many temples offer a tranquil atmosphere, but through the vision of Srila Prabhupada all ISKCON temples particularly offer spiritual education in a systematic way by conducting various programs. Spirituality alone teaches us why to do things whereas Science tells us how to do things. Learning is not just for earning, but for rendering service. Spiritual education can create that culture of service. Also, spiritual education helps us understand where to find the highest happiness.
Though this project will house a temple for the worship of Lord Sri Krishna, it will also act as a centre for disseminating the profound message of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, delivered in a modern context. The design of the temple complex – a fusion of the modern, and traditional Indian temple architecture – symbolizes this aspiration to present eternal wisdom from the source books of Krishna, in a way that is relevant to the modern day and derive spiritual bliss.
The infections of the mind lust, anger, greed, envy, pride and illusion cause people to harm others and harm even themselves. The Vedic scriptures explain that remembrance of God is the cure to these infections of the mind. Thus temple is likened to a hospital to cure these infections. Hence, the design in effect was to make one remember the Lord more and more.
Moreover, Kings of ancient India would glorify God as the king of all kings by building His temples bigger than their own palaces. Sometimes, a temple would be so magnificent that several generations of successive kings would build it together. But sadly this glorious culture is dying in India. With the advent of TV, movies and internet, many people are not even aware of the basics of their culture. Hence, the design of the temple was conceptualized on reviving the lost culture.
Thirdly, Mysore, one of the cleanest and most organized cities of India, is also known as Cultural Capital of Karnataka. To enrich its true glory, the design emerged from the Hoysala style of architecture was in fulfillment of an unique concept which also aims at protecting and promoting the ancient culture of the land. The temple sculptures would beckon the people to enrich themselves with the culture and tradition of the Vedic era. The spiritual utilization of technology synergistic with ancient Hoysala architecture would attract millions of people towards the service of God, and help them to find the inner fulfillment and achieve their right to eternal life and happiness.
This temple costing Rs.150 crores would be built on the kind and generous contribution by donors and supporters. This temple would give facility for tens of thousands to come daily and take part in Harinama sankirtan on a massive scale and taste for themselves spiritual life away from the drudgery of city life and the depressing struggle to make money for all the modern necessities.
Moreover, the purpose of temple building is to give opportunity of service to many. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual teacher who translated “bhakti” not just as “devotion”, but as “devotional service”. He did this to counter the prevailing misconception that bhakti is just a matter of the heart, a notion that is often used for shirking from doing anything practical for serving God. Certainly, bhakti is a matter of the heart, but what is in the heart is expressed in one’s words and in one’s actions and in one’s very life. Devotional service is engaging whatever we have – our talents and resources, our intelligence and our energy – in serving Krishna. One important way to render service to Krishna is by building a majestic temple for Him.
The principle of devotional service is to give our heart to Krishna. But often that is not easy to do because our heart is already given to so many other people and things. Therefore we should offer to Krishna those things where our heart is. By so doing, we offer our heart to Krishna, or, in other words, we allow Krishna to enter our heart. For most of us, our heart is in our earnings. So by offering a part of our earnings to Krishna, we are actually inviting Krishna in our heart.