The day after Rathayatra I went over to the temple in Brooklyn for the Sunday feast. Its always big the day after Rathayatra and at least 800 guests were there at the peak. Ramabhadra prabhu the TP graciously allowed me to show my powerpoint presenation of the Bhaktivedanta Archives and I sold a few of my books.

Highlight of the evening was ‘As Kindred Spirits’ a devotee band headed up by Gauravani, the son of one of ISKCON’s oldest kirtaniyas, Baradvaja prabhu, and mother Rukmini. Gauravani has inherited all his father’s kirtan skills. He’s an excellent bhajan/kirtan man and can keep an audience enthralled for hours.

I have strong ties to this temple. I was the one who bought it in 1982 when I was GBC here for a year. We were in a terrible mess at that time with the main temple a small building on 7th Ave. between 53 & 54. It had been closed to the public and Sri Sri Radha Govinda were living in a miserable condition.

We sold that place for a $1 mill. and bought Schermerhorn for $675,000. As a facility you can’t get much better, fantastic hall for a temple, and good accomodations for asramas. Somehow though the temple pop. had been reduced to a skeleton crew and Ramabhadra wants to sell it (the place is worth multi-millions now) and get a place in Queens where most of our Indian congregation live. I keep telling him he won’t be able to do it until Radha Govinda decide They want to move…

My last two days were spent back at Bindu’s on Long Island although I went into the city for a special meeting with my old and dear friend Pradyumna prabhu. He’s been working for a group called ‘Religions for Peace’ as a senior researcher for about 10+ years. They do high level intervention and mediations. Last year President Ahmadinejad of Iran was one of their clients and they regularly deal with other world leaders.

I went to see him in his office just opposite the United Nations building. As I expected, his office was stacked high with books. He used to carry trunk loads around with us when we were traveling with Srila Prabhupada. He has a brilliant mind but he’s a bit unorganized so he had stacks all over the place. We had a great two hours reunion–I haven’t seen him since 1992 in Los Angeles.

At one point he pulled out an old black covered, Indian printed book and dropped it into my hands. “Recognize this prabhu?” he asked with that characteristic ear to ear grin and squinting through his glasses. I perused the yellowed pages, it was all in Sanskrit. I didn’t click at first and he gave me a hint. “You carried this book all around the world!”

“Wow!” It was one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal Bhagavatams that he used for his translation and commentaries in 1976-77. Priceless! Pradyumna pointed out some hand written annotations on some of the pages. They were clearly Srila Prabhupada’s own hand writing. Amazing that after all these years Pradyumna still had it.

I suggested to him that he immediately get it de-acidified, and in fact, give it to the Archives for preservation and storeage. Something like that is an important part of our priceless heritage. He hadn’t actually thought about this, so I hope my suggestion hits home and he puts it into action.

 Pradyumna lives at the Sanctuary, a six story building under the control of ISKCON devotees led by Yajna Purusha prabhu. Its directly behind 26 2nd Ave., at 25 1st Ave. So after an enlivening meeting, Pradyumna put me on a bus that took me straight down town to within half a block of the Sanctuary. I got there just in time for lunch.

 Its a great facility. It was formerly owned and run by followers of Kirtanananda, but after disruptions in their ranks, he invited ISKCON to rent some of the floors from him. He was still living there till the beginning of this year and then he moved to India. Now there is just our ISKCON men left. The ground floor was a well appointed restaurant but due to some present litigation it is not open at the moment. Yajna Purusha told me he expects that will be cleared up late this year.

 I hope so. There is a proliferation of vegetarian restaurants in NY, many of them within walking distance of 26 2nd Ave. So somebody is making a living at it. It is most lamentable that after 43 years in NY we don’t have a single restaurant.

I also found the time to visit the Hayden planetarium at the Museum for Natural History. Its quite an impressive building and the theater is inside a large globe suspended within the building. We saw a show called ’Cosmic Collisions’ in the planetarium itself. It was a 20 minute digital projection and I saw that GOTO was on the list of credits.

I went in expecting to see a star projector but none was in evidence. It was below ground level. When I came out I asked an attendant when they had shows using the star projector and he said ‘once a month.’ I was quite surprised. Of course, he may not have known everything and I intend to check into this further. But it did raise the question of how important an opto-mechanical star projector is.

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