To better appreciate the spiritual benefits of darshan and service to Sri Sri Radha Londonisvara, a short description has been written on the unique way Their Lordships manifested. This description is adapted from Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita, the official Biography of Prabhupada by HH Satsvarupa Goswami:

In the beginning of November 1969, after spending several months in London at the estate of John Lennon, Srila Prabhupada moved into a furnished apartment on Baker street. Syamasundara prabhu and other devotees were working hard, although progressing slowly, to renovate the newly acquired 7 Bury Place property into a suitable London Temple. Syamasundara was inspired with a unique idea for making the temple into an elaborate artistic showcase utlising redwood sent from California.

Consulting a Vedic calendar, Prabhupada set December 14th as the day for the temple opening celebration. Invitations were designed and ordered, even though some devotees thought the deadline could never be met in time. Not only the temple room and altar needed to be constructed, Prabhupada’s quarters and the basement kitchen also needed to be arranged. And the deities? Where were Radha and Krishna? Even though Prabhupada’s quarters were incomplete and continual renovation work made it hectic and noisy, Srila Prabhupada decided to move into the temple building to be with the devotees.

Tamal Krishna prabhu, a leading devotee from the LA temple, moved to London to help organise and manage the devotees and the hectic situation. Construction intensified as well as daily street chanting and selling of Back to Godhead magazines soon manifested.

With only one week away until the temple opening, Syamasundara prabhu labored hard on finishing the temple room and still needed to construct an altar. He was able to get George Harrison to donate two thousand pounds for the needed Italian marble. But overall, the work progressed slowly. Even though Prabhupada had a set of 17 inch carved wooden Radha-Krishna deities, he did not plan on using them. And the altar under construction clearly required much larger deities. But where were the deities that were going to be installed? Construction work was progressing, but where were Radha and Krishna? Devotees did their best to try and locate deities and informed their friends and conections that they needed Radha-Krishna deities for the new temple. But the devotees were unexperienced and barely knew what deities were. They knew who Prabhupada was and trusted that Radha-Krishna would somehow manifest because of the strong desire of His pure devotee.

Then, just three days before the actual installation and temple opening, a Mr. Goyal called the temple. He represented a large Hindu Society and had heard that the devotees needed Radha-Krishna deities. He told the devotees that he had a pair of deities that he may be able to donate. When Prabhupada heard the news, he immediately sent Syamasundara, Mukunda, and Tamal Krishna prabhus over to his home to see the deities. Radha and Krishna were made of white marble and stood about three feet high. Never before had the devotees seen such large beautiful deities and they reverentially offered their obeisances. When they returned to the temple and told Prabhupada, he said, “Take me there at once!”

Srila Prabhupada accompanied by Tamal Krishna, Syamasundara, and Mukunda prabhus left in a van for the home of Mr. Goyal. Srila Prabhupada entered the living room and sat down. The deities, covered by a cloth, stood on a table and were in a corner of the room. Tamal Krishna was about to unveil them when Srila Prabhupada checked him and said, “No. That’s all right.” Prabhupada sat and spoke with Mr. Goyal, asking him about his work and where he had come from in India. And then Prabhupada met Mr. Goyal’s wife and family and chatted with them, mostly in Hindi which the devotees could not follow so well. They simply sat by their master and listened.

“Swamaji”, Mr. Goyal said after some time, “I want to show you my deities.” “Yes,” Prabhupada replied, “I will see Them after some time.” Prabhupada began speaking about his Krishna consciousness mission and then after some time, Mr. Goyal again requested, “Please take a look at the deities.” And with that Mr. Goyal walked over and unveiled Radha and Krishna.

“Oh, yes,” Srila Prabhupada said folding his hands respectfully. Mr. Goyal explained that he had ordered the deities from India for his own use, but in transit a tiny piece of Radharani’s finger had chipped off; therefore, according to strict Smarta Brahmin Hindu tradition, the deities could not be installed. Srila Prabhupada made it clear to his host that these deities were not at all useable to him which was confirmed by Mr. Goyal.

“Tamal Krishna,” Prabhupada said, “See how heavy these deities are.” Placing one hand around Srimati Radharani’s shoulder and the other at the base, he lifted Her. “Not so heavy Srila Prabhupada,” he said.

“Syamasundara,” Prabhupada said, “see how heavy is Krishna.” The deitiies were actually heavy for one man to carry but the devotees understood Prabhupada’s intention. “Not bad,” Syamasundara said holding Krishna a few inches off the table.”

“Yes,” Prabhupada said conclusively, “I think They’re all right. Let us take Them. We have our van.” And suddenly Prabhupada was leaving and his discipiles following, carefully carrying Radha and Krishna. Prabhupada thanked Mr. Goyal.

“But Swamaji! Swamaji!,” protested Mr. Goyal who was not ready for this sudden exit. “Please. We will arrange to bring Them. Our society will bring Them.” But Prabhupada was already out the door and leading his men to the van.

“Please wait,” Mr. Goyal persisted. “We have to fix Them first, Then you can take Them.”

“We have an expert man,” Prabhupada said, “We can fix these things.” Prabhupada was assuring Mr. Goyal and at the same time he was directing his disciples. He opened the door of the van and Tamal Krishna and Syamasundara slowly entered, cautiously setting the deities of Radha and Krishna within. Tamal Krishna and Mukunda were then situated in the back holding the deities secure while Syamasundara was in the drivers seat and Prabhupada in the front passenger seat.

“Now drive,” Prabhupada said. And off they went with Srila Prabhupada smiling from the passenger window to Mr. Goyal and his family who stood on the curb.

Syamasundara had driven just a few blocks when Prabhupada asked him to stop the van. Turning around in his seat, Prabhupada began offering prayers. Govindam, adi-purusam tam aham bhajami…. He looked long at Krishna who was white with a slight bluish cast, and at the exquisite white Radharani by His side. “Krishna is so kind,” he said, “He has come like this.” Then he had Syamasundara continue driving slowly back to the temple.

Carefully, Prabhupada supervised his disciples’ carrying the Deities up to the second floor. The devotees were astounded and delighted to see Prabhupada in such an animated and intense state, bringing Radha and Krishna into Their new temple. He had the Deities placed in a curtained-off section of his own room, and then he sat at his desk.

Prabhupada smiled, “Krishna has played a great trick!” “In the Mahabharata also, he said, there are incidents where Krishna plays tricks. One such trick was Krishna’s agreeing to be on the side of the general He saw first in the morning. The two opposing generals, Arjuna and Duryodhana, had both come to Krishna’s tent early in the morning as Krishna slept. They had agreed that one of them would stand at Krishna’s head and the other at Krishna’s feet and that they would wait until Krishna awoke. Duryodhana chose to stand by Krishna’s head, while Arjuna chose His feet. Krishna awoke and saw Arjuna first.”

“That was one great trick that was played by Krishna,” Prabhupada said. “Similarly, this is a great trick.” He told how Krishna had also tricked Mother Yasoda when she had tried to discipline Krishna. He had run away and she had run after Him, caught Him, and tried to tie Him with ropes. “But every time she came with more rope,”Prabhupada said, “it was just a little too short. Krishna can play any kind of trick. Another such trick has been played. They made so much effort to bring these Deities here, thinking They will be for their Hindhu Centre. But all the time Krishna wanted to come here. So this chip on the Deity’s hand is just Krishna’s trick. And we have caught Them!”

“Prabhupada,” Mukunda said, “You have kidnapped Krishna.”

“Yes,” Prabhupada said. “Once I was in the bank, and the manager had some scheme. But I foiled his scheme. So he said to me, ‘Mr. De, you should have been a politician.’” Prabhupada laughed. Then he became grave and asked the devotees not to talk about the incident. Many would not understand how he could install a chipped Deity. The devotees agreed to keep the secret, but they had no doubt that Prabhupada’s love for Krishna was transcendental to Hindu customs. Radha and Krishna had come to London on the strength of Prabhupada’s desire to serve Them.

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London W1D 3DL, UK

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Srila Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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