Katraj Kondwa Road runs through the silent outskirts of Pune, a city in western India. Since a few months, however, the sounds of stone-cutting chisels emerge from a five acre plot adjoining this road; the construction is on—round the clock. What’s up?
Four structures stand in the blue print: a temple for Radha-Krishna, a temple for Balaji, a monastery and a house for serving out free food to the masses. The estimated cost of construction is 300 million. The fund-raising committee is under stress—and so am I, being its head.
Recently, Radhanath Swami visited the site. “Why do you intend to construct the main structure that will house Radha and Krishna only in the end?” Radhanath Swami’s quizzical expression accentuated his inquiry.
Our plan was to construct the Balaji temple in the first phase, the monastery and the free food house in the second phase, and the Radha-Krishna temple in the final phase. The logic behind constructing the Balaji temple first was as obvious to us as the conspicuous presence of the hills that overlooked the plot from its rear. Like the Balaji in the Tirupathi temple, who is the richest deity in the world, we expected our Balaji too to attract ample donations from the pilgrims; the rest of the construction could then proceed smoothly.
“Do you think the Supreme Lord, who has appeared as Balaji, is a fund raiser? He hasn’t appeared for collecting donations. He has appeared to remove the burden of sins of his pilgrims.” Radhanath Swami’s words swam across the current of the evening breeze that flowed through the open plot. The breeze—obviously a cool one—now felt warm, inconspicuously.
And why construct a monastery and the food house before the main temple structure? We had felt that if the temple structure was ready first we couldn’t possibly raise funds for the remaining structures. Most pious donors were attracted by the ‘temple’ within the package of ‘temple, monastery and free food house.’
“Radha and Krishna are supplying everything for everyone in the universe. How could you keep them waiting from coming here thinking their coming will stop the supply of funds required for the rest of the construction?” Radhanath Swami’s words drilled through the package of misconceptions in our brains.
Though we accepted spirituality, we wanted to be practical in the real world. But for Radhanath Swami, spirituality was the only practical reality.
–Sri Guru Charan