Bhakti Vedanta Swami Charity Trust
Helping restoring our Acarya’s heritage
Once in Vrindavana during Srila Prabhupada’s last days, he suddenly began to shed tears, lamenting that many of the old temples founded by Lord Chaitanya’s followers were giving way to ruin. He then expressed his desire to set up a trust to renovate these holy places.
Lord Chaitanya had told the Goswamis of Vrindavana to rediscover the lost places of Lord Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes. Later, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura found the place of Lord Chaitanya’s birth. Now Srila Prabhupada wanted to renovate the pastime places of Lord Chaitanya and His personal associates.
Lord Chaitanya started the Hare Krishna movement in the holy tract of land known as Gaura Mandala Bhumi (now West Bengal and Bangladesh). The places where He lived and the homes, temples, and Deities of His associates form the roots of the Krishna consciousness movement. By seeing to the health of these roots, we can help Krishna consciousness grow to encircle the whole world, with blossoms, flowers, and fruits in every town and village.
Srila Prabhupada, therefore, set up the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust. And he placed funds in a fixed-deposit account, so that interest from the account could provide for the work of the Trust.
To unite the devotees of Lord Chaitanya, he also envisioned offering help to the temples of his Godbrothers and other Gaudiya Vaishnavas in Gaura Mandala Bhumi.
The Trust is overseen by a body of trustees, of whom HH Jayapataka Swami is the chairman. There is a working committee made up of devotees from ISKCON and other Gauḍīya Vaisnava institution.
To rediscover and restore the holy places in Bengal connected with the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. To provide suitable arrangements for pilgrims in these places. To unite the followers of Lord Chaitanya, especially those descended from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada.
Temples falling apart need to be renovated. Lost places known only from old writings need to be found. And neglected places known only to local residents need to be located and restored. Another plan calls for setting up multilingual plaques to mark the way in holy places and provide information for pilgrims. A book is to be published telling what Lord Chaitanya’s associates did in various places and giving directions for reaching those places. Such a book was already published in Bengali several years back, but an English version containing updated information is scheduled to be released soon.
With the onset of Western materialistic culture in India, local involvement in many of the old temples has seriously declined. Some temples lie in remote villages where people are too poor to maintain them.
Srila Prabhupada founded the Trust at the very end of his stay with us. So, unlike his other projects, it never developed under his direct guidance. Many devotees, therefore, are unaware of the Trust and its importance. Busy with working around the world to spread Lord Chaitanya’s teachings, we may neglect places sacred to the heritage we are trying to spread. While we buy land in holy places for new temples and residences, old temples crumble.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you’re able, come to Mayapur to help with research and renovation. Or else donate funds to help the work.
You can “adopt a holy place.” That means you take a personal interest in providing for the daily worship, clothes for the Deities, and so on. This website contains information about the holy places in Gaura Mandala Bhumi.