Installing a worshipable deity begins in a conception stage, when the desire or thought manifests in the heart and mind of one person. In the case of Sri Panca-tattva in Mayapur, nearly thirty-five years ago His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada conceived that life-size Panca-tattva deities would be installed in the temple he called the Vedic Planetarium. Their arrival in Mayapur in February was the culmination of that initial thought. In the years since, devotees around the world have been praying that Srila Prabhupada's desire would be fulfilled.
Many devotees came together to make up the team that would see the manifestation of these deities, aware that they were carrying out Srila Prabhupada's desires. The models were made according to descriptions found by the researchers: Bhanu Swami, Jananivasa Dasa, and Bharata Maharaja Dasa. They concluded that each deity should be in an unique pose. Lord Caitanya has His hands wide open, worshiping Lord Krsna and accepting all the conditioned souls. Nityananda and Gadadhara are dancing, and at the same time encouraging the conditioned souls to take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Advaita Acarya is dancing in ecstasy and revealing Lord Caitanya. Srivasa, in his humble mood as a devotee, is worshiping Lord Caitanya with folded hands. All are dancing in ecstasy in the sankirtana movement.
I was fortunate enough to be present at the casting of Lord Nityananda. Although the workshop was crude and simple, the presence of over one hundred chanting devotees surcharged the entire atmosphere. That morning I prayed at the Sri Rangadiya Temple at Sri Rangaksetra (as well as other temples along the way) for the successful casting of Lord Nityananda. The casting began at 10:00 P.M. Before the casting I was asked to read out a sankalpa, a Sanskrit text explaining that we are about to perform a sacrifice. The sacrifice was the casting of the image to be installed as the deity. When the casting began, although I could see that this was an industrial process from one perspective, the whole experience left all of us deeply moved, as we all knew something divine was happening: The Lord was taking His form to be installed as a worshipable deity in Mayapur, and would be worshiped in this way by millions of people every year.
The Lord comes as the deity on the invitation of a great spiritual master and by the desire of the devotees. Since Srila Prabhupada requested that Panca-tattva be installed in Mayapur, we know that he is installing these deities through his representatives. With this consciousness, different devotees contributed at the various stages of the installation.
This special edition of Back to Godhead gives just one small perspective on the dedication and inspiration the devotees have for worshiping Sri Panca-tattva. I am profoundly moved that I had any role to play in the pastime of the appearance of Sri Panca-tattva's arca-avatara, or worshipable incarnation. I am grateful for the dedication and enthusiasm of all the devotees involved in performing the service of casting the deities over a thousand miles away from Mayapur and bringing them to Sri Mayapur Dhama.
I request everyone from all around the world to please come to Sri Mayapur Dhama and receive the most wonderful darsana and the endless blessings of Sri Panca-tattva.