News from the Sri Rupa-Raghunatha Gaudiya Matha Bhakti-Yoga Center of Salt Lake City
Please accept my dandavat pranamas. On May 24, 2010, Srila Gurudeva gave his â€˜heartly blessingsâ€™ for the creation of a sangha and center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before approaching Srila Gurudeva to ask his permission and blessings for this endeavor, we thought long and hard about the responsibilities we would be taking on and the goals we would be working towards. Given that there are only three of us here, we realized we had our work cut out for us- but something quite miraculous has taken place which I would like to share with you in this brief letter.
We hosted a few informal meetings at local coffee shops and community centers. These had a decent turn-out and the participants seemed really interested in what was being offered. After we had several good meetings, we invited Sripad BV Bhagavat Maharaja to come from Lops Angeles and spend some time with us. He generously accepted and gave several wonderful and inspiring classes during his stay, in addition to spending a great deal of time with the core sangha coordinator sevaks to offer them guidance, support, and inspiration. Since his visit, our Sunday â€˜Pure Loveâ€™ programs have been steadily climbing in attendance and energy. We have experienced more than once a new person coming, and asking us after the program if there is anything they could do to help. We have been very well received by attendees and have been absolutely amazed at both the turnout and the people we have met.
Gaudiya Vedanta Publications made a very generous donation of introductory books (â€˜The Way of Loveâ€™, â€˜Beyond Liberationâ€™, â€˜Siva-Tattvaâ€™, and â€˜Secrets of the Undiscovered Selfâ€™) which we used to create a book table at our weekly program. We were also able to purchase several varieties of incense at wholesale prices on ebay, purchase some introductory books at discounted rates by Srila Swami Maharaja (â€˜On Chanting Hare Krishnaâ€™ and â€˜Krishna: The Reservoir Of Pleasureâ€™), and had some nice postcard photographs of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna and Sri-Pancha-Tattva donated from a devotee in New Delhi. At this point, sales from our little book table are just about covering the costs of Maha-Prasadam each week! Because there is so much sincere interest, we hope to make kanthi-malas and japa-malas available soon as well.
None of us felt particularly qualified to take on this project. We all experienced great anxiety in worrying about giving classes, answering questions, and being proper reflections of Srila Gurudevaâ€™s wishes. To date, it has actually been a very pleasant and joyful experience. Each week we offer a class based upon the â€˜Bhakti Basicsâ€™ video series created by Sripad BV Nemi Maharaja. We try to place our focus on kirtan and showing sincere respect and kindness to every person who comes through the door- and everyone seems to be very happy. We have also used MeetUp.com, inexpensive home-printed flyers, and our own website to reach out to everyone we can.
It is solely by the causeless mercy of Srila Gurudeva and the Vaishnavas that this project is quickly developing into something quite amazing. The more we surrender and take things on as they present themselves, the more we find the process being guided in a powerful way. The reality is that we have not spent much money, forced anything, or even worked all that hard to make this come together. Every day a new idea comes up and we work with it, and the next day it is already adding to the texture of the sangha and manifestation of our long term goals.
We are having a wonderful, humbling, educational, and inspirational experience throughout this process and are grateful to every single person who has given help in innumerable ways!
On behalf of the sanghaâ€¦
Jai Gopal das
Jai Gopal das