On the auspicious day of papamochani (“freedom from sins”) ekadashi, Thursday, March 11, 2010, the Governor of Assam, Sri Janakivallabh Patnaik, launched the efforts to construct a new Jagannath temple in the city of Guwahati. The fifteen thousand square foot property at Jaynagar Charali Beltola was donated to ISKCON by Shantidevi Kamikya Prasad Sharma.
Bhadra Charu Dasa of ISKCON Mayapur performed Vastu puja, Bhumi puja, and Vastu homa that morning and the Governor participated in the “purnahuti” (final oblation of the vastu homa).
Thereafter the Governor unveiled the foundation stone for the new temple in the presence of ISKCON Assam Zonal Secretary and Guwahati Temple President Shree Jeeva Dasa and other dignitaries, devotees and well-wishers of ISKCON Guwahati.
Jadupati Shyam Dasa of ISKCON Dibrugarh, Assam, welcomed the dignitaries on the dais and addressed the gathering. He spoke briefly about the proposed Jagannath temple, and the aims and objectives of the Institute
for Transcendental Science to come up on the same plot.
Sri Akon Bora, Minister of Social Welfare of Assam State, lauded the project, Captain Robin Bordolai, son of the first Chief Minister of Assam shared his connection with ISKCON since the opening of the Guwahati centir.
Vayasaki Dasa explained that Prabhupada introduced the worship of Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra in ISKCON centers before introducing Radha Krishna worship. During ISKCON's initial three years, 1967-69, ISKCON centers therefore only had Jagannath Deities. He further remarked that in the twenty-first century, Lord Jagannath's Rathayatra festival is known in every major city of the world. Therefore, He is not simply Purinath, or Assamnath, but actually Jagannath.
Afterward, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Minister for Health, Family
Welfare, Science and Technology and Dr. Bhumidhar Barman, Assam Revenue Minister, cited the necessity of spirituality for creating a peaceful society, particularly commenting on its value for the youth.
Basu Ghosh Dasa, President of ISKCON Baroda, spoke in Samskritam and encouraged the
members of the public to learn conversational Samskritam, reminding them that all of the Vedic literature was written in this refined and beautiful language.
The Governor of Assam, Sri J.B. Patnaik, speaking in fluent Assamese, praised ISKCON Guwahati for it's determination to establish a Jagannath temple here in the state capital. He then mentioned the ancient Vaishnava saint of Assam, Shankaradev, who visited Jagannath Puri twice during his lifetime. He explained that Shankaradev's influence was to unite the Assamese people culturally and spiritually. He agreed with
Basu Ghosh Das that Samskritam must be made the national language of India. He said that only Samskritam can unite the entire country on the platform of language, since it's familiar to all throughout India.
An Odissi dance performance by Sitadevi Dasi of France, kirtans by Vaiyasaki Das and a dinner of ekadashi “phalaahaar” prasad concluded the evening.