New Vrindaban’s Transcendental Throwback Thursday – 01/15/2015

New Vrindaban Chaitanya Mangala Mold Shop 1983 ISKCON

This week’s challenge: Who is this striking young man?

Bonus challenge: What is he doing and when was the photo taken?

What to do: Post your guesses on the “who, what, when, where & why” in the comment section at the New Vrindaban Facebook page.

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Who: Chaitanya Mangala.

What: Casting plaster pieces for Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple Room.

Chaitanya Mangala recalls this photo being taken during a marathon to complete the interior of Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple Room in time for the grand opening July 4th, 1983.

He wrote:

“In the photo I see my red “Prabhupada’s Palace” baseball cap” to the left, behind me. That was a highly prized possession back in the day. Behind me, to the right, are winter coats, which means it was most likely early spring. Also note my stylish torn shirt and sikha poking over the top of my head.

The material being cast is Hydrocal, a product composed mainly of plaster of Paris and a small amount of Portland cement. This is what all of the temple room columns and ceilings are cast out of. It’s primarily used for casting sculptured objects as it is considerably harder and stronger than straight plaster of Paris. Though it is for indoor use only as it would rapidly degrade in the rain.

By the shadow in the photo we can deduce that this was taken at night. Throughout this months long marathon the mold shop held three shifts in order to get all the pieces cast in time. Quite often my shift was “late night” that started after the evening program and finished in time for mangala arotika at 4:30 am. There were often times I was the only person awake in the shop that late at night.

The department head was Sudhanu prabhu. Other members included Garga Rsi, Kumara, Patita Pavana & Sundarakara. This was a stalwart team who braved harsh – and often toxic – chemicals during the construction phase of Prabhupada’s Palace and Radha Vrindaban Chandra’s Temple.

Much thanks and appreciation goes to these unsung heros. Because of our volunteer efforts people have been able to enjoy the interior designs in RVC’s Temple for over 30 years.”

When: Spring 1983.

Where: Mold shop in the Utility Building at Bahulaban; New Vrindaban, West Virginia.