This article, "Plans for Rs. 200-cr. Vedic City in West Bengal," was published in The Hindu, August 2, 1976, in Chennai, India.
Madras, Aug. 1.
Commencement of work on the construction of a Rs. 200-crore Vedic city in West Bengal will herald the commencement of the second decennium of the Hare Krishna Cult. This year (1976) marks the tenth anniversary of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, founded by Swami Prabhupada on July 6, 1966. From a small rented store in New York, the movement has to-day spread to over 100 centres all over the world.
In 1975, Swami Prabhupada opened a Krishna-Balarama temple at Brindavan (India). A similar structure in Hyderabad will be inaugurated by the Swami on Grokulashtami (August 18). in Bombay, a Rs. 1-crore temple project is under progress. Land for building a Krishna shrine in Madras has already been sought from the Government.
The proposed Vedic city will include a 35-storey temple-cum-planetarium, a gurukula, a Vedic university as well as a business district and areas for developing agriculture and cottage industries. It will be completed by 1986, coinciding with the 500th birth anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who propagated the chanting of the "Maha-Mantra".
The first two of Swami Prabhupada's disciples, Swami Achyutananda and Swami Yasodananda are now in India spreading the activities of the Hare Krishna movement by holding festivals at important centres, meeting other spiritual leaders and giving discourses. They will be in Madras till August 4 singing kirtans at "Dharmaprakash" in the evenings.
They told a press conference yesterday that Krishna Consciousness had been recognised as an authentic religion and the members could carry on their missionary activity anywhere, according to a Philadelphia decree. In the next ten years, it was proposed to open three Vedic universities - one in the United States (probably in New York), the second at Kurukshetra, and the third at the proposed Vedic city in West Bengal. These centres would provide facilities for the study of literature of the four Vaishnava traditions - of Ramanuja, Madhwa, Nimbarka and Vishnuswami and their harmonisation by Chaitanya.