A big beautiful wall!
This gives a partial view of the property that was occupied. The area was cleared of underbrush and two tin shacks put up, which were dismantled. Being next to the pukkur, it will perhaps make a nice spot for a bhajan kutir or two.
Good news! Those who are interested in the situation at the Bhaktivinoda Thakur Janma Sthan in Birnagar will be happy to know that on Janmashtami, the boundary wall around the Dwadash Mandir property was completed and the encroachers evicted from the disputed section.
|Sri Hari Gopal Das Babaji Maharaj.|
Last week, Harigopal Dasji and a group of about twenty important members of the Birnagar community approached the new municipal vice-chairman, Govinda Poddar, about the situation. He gave a favorable response and a decision was taken to repossess the disputed portion of the land and to build the wall, despite the fact that the court has yet to make a decision.
The next day, the Member of the Legislative Assembly and Superintendent of Police sat down with Harigopal Dasji and Shri Poddar to discuss the situation. When they were convinced that the legal rights belonged to Dwadash Mandir, they said that they would not intervene. The case may be in the court, but the longer the encroachers are squatting there, the more they have a de facto case. They had occupied the land without any court decision, so we could reoccupy it in the same way, they said.
The big, beautiful wall. Babaji Maharaj wants to put a footpath around the perimeter of the property for people to take their morning walk, doing parikrama of the temple and birthsite shrine.
|Another view of the property.|
On Monday, a group of about 25 citizens and a number of workers walked in and started the work, to the accompaniment of Harinam, and the wall was completed on Nandotsav.
Harigopal Dasji has led this fight with great determination and it is to his credit that so many members of the local community have given their support to Dwadash Mandir. They recognize that it is a great treasure for the town and its continued existence is a great positive for everyone here. Bhaktivinoda Thakur's name and his writings are being spread around the world. As such, he is one of the most distinguished citizens to have taken birth here. Every resident of Birnagar can take pride in this piece of heritage.
Harigopal Dasji says that he was perfectly happy living in Radha Kund, doing bhajan and daily Govardhan Parikrama for the last 35 years. But when members of the Bhaktivinoda Goshthi approached him to tell him that situation here had become troublesome: the management was falling apart and starting to sell off some of the temple land in order to keep Radha Madhava and Gaur Gadadhar's seva going, he came out of a sense of duty to Sri Guru.
He clearly is the man for the job and everyone is very eager that he stays on, some saying that he achieved the impossible with this latest challenge.
Many improvements are being made around the temple -- the ten Shiva temples are being fixed up, painted and given new functions -- such as housing a Shadbhuja murti of Mahaprabhu, etc. The goal is to get the work done so it will be completed by August 28, when the annual festival in commemoration of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthday takes place. The main day is celebrated on Bengali Bhadra 18 = Sept. 4, 2017. Everyone is welcome, of course.
Pujari Banshi Das Babaji in front of the only remaining Shiva linga in the ten Shiva temples.
The Shiva temples are getting painted and a bit of plastering for the first time in 250 years. The steps and insides are also getting marble covering and inside tile and paint.
|The idea is to put different murtis in all of them. This is Lakshmi-Nrisingha.|
Harigopal Dasji has asked me to join him here permanently and give him support by preaching and that is what I have been doing for the last couple of months -- giving classes here at the temple and in the surrounding area. People are showing an interest and I have already given numerous lectures in Birnagar and the surrounding towns, with good response.
This area has a fairly strong Vaishnava presence and so there is good reason to be optimistic. What we need to do is start publishing books so that people will have a better idea of the glories of this site.
I would be amiss if I did not solicit for donations. There are a lot of projects that were started and never finished that need to be completed for the temple complex to look presentable and not a jumble of bricks to nowhere. A couple of guest rooms have been built and will need to be completed, along with bathrooms, etc. At festival time, a lot of people come and have to sleep on the verandah, or any other place they can find some shelter. There are few actual rooms where they can stay.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Ula Birnagar ki jaya !!
This gives another view from the front. The very ill-conceived addition on the left covers a part of the old design. This used to be the Durga temple. Now that it is being fixed up it seems a shame that this is not being used as a temple.
Here you can see more of that very ill-conceived addition that was made, covering the old temple arches. Real strip-mall architecture. Very unfortunate. It will cost a lot to repair.
Update from Birnagar.
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part I
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part II