On October 3-5, 2017 Radhanath Swami participated in a three day festival of the Installation of Sri Gaurachandra at the Bhakti Center in New York City. For over twenty years the Bhakti Center has been the home of the beautiful Temple of Sri Sri Radha Muralidhara (Radha & Krishna). October’s festival engaged the center’s community in the timeless Vedic tradition of calling the presence of the Divine to reside on the temple altar, this time in the compassionate form of Sri Chaitanya called Sri Gaurachandra (The Golden Moon). The festival was filled with unforgettable moments that we will treasured by all who attended.
The first day of the festival served as a fundraising drive to cover new outfits and paraphernalia for Sri Gaurachandra’s seva, festival expenses and the remaining building improvements and repairs at the Bhakti Center.
On day two, accompanied by a chorus of voices chanting Vedic mantras and jubilant kirtan, brahmins began the ceremony on installation by establishing the intention in the minds of the community, honoring and seeking the blessings of the seniors present and commencing the rites with the traditional Vedic fire ceremony.
In the evening the eyes of Sri Gaurachandra were opened, auspicious items were shown to him, and the gathered community had their first chance to see His beautiful form.
On the third day the rites concluded during the day, and in the evening everyone celebrated with a grand festival. Radhanath Swami spoke,guests had their first vision of Sri Gaurachandra residing alongside Sri Sri Radha Muralidhara, full dressed and decorated, and kirtan as held late into the night.
The installation of Sri Caitanya at the Bhakti Center was a desire in the heart of Radhanath Swami and the community at the Bhakti Center for some years. The form of Sri Gaurachandra had been carved and the center had been waiting for the right time to take up this service and perform the ceremony of His Installation. The time was finally right on a practical level, as the center, along with ISKCON’s Deity Worship Ministry, felt the staff at the center were ready to take the step of increased service as, over the course of time, the had improved the standard of seva to Sri Sri Radha Muralidhara and expand their team of pujaris and servants.. On a spiritual level the community felt that perhaps Sri Chaitanya has chosen to appear now to bless their efforts of expanding their service of bringing Bhakti to an ever increasing family in New York City.