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03_History of Temple

In late 1900 A.D. a severe famine and plague broke out in some parts of India, particularly in Bombay Presidency, and people from various states flocked to Bombay city in the thousands. The government made temporary arrangement for them of basic necessities of life like food, shelter, medicine etc.

After some period, people were asked to go back to their respective places. Unfortunately, some of the families / parents died, leaving behind orphan children and it became a very delicate problem for the government about how to take the care of these parentless children.

Consequently, in the month of August 1905, this institution L.N.H.O. was founded with 21 children and a fund of Rs. 2500/-. The institution was named after Lady Northcote (wife of Lord Northcote, the then Governor of Bombay). At that time many institutions, such as churches, were mushrooming and making Christians of such destitutes. So Seth Sri Ruttensey Mulji started LNHO, along with some of his friends, in August 1905.

Mahatma Gandhi used to visit Sri Sri Laxmi Narayan temple in the LNHO premises everyday in the evening, saying his prayers here, since he used to stay a few minutes away at Mani Bhavan. He often sang, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram…” and “Vaishnav Jana to Tene…”

As per the original Trust deed of LNHO, the Trust was formed in August 1900. This premise was registered on 2nd October 1905 (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday) under Registration No. 3108A. The objectives were:

To provide for maintenance and education of orphans of Hindu community.

The Managing Trustees further agreed to form proper Gurukul and Vaishnav teachings.

Therefore a proper temple would be the center of all its activities, particularly Lord Krishna temple, as the original founder was a Vaishnav.

For three generations, the Rattansey Muljis (Founder) controlled the LNHO. The third descendent, Shri Chandrasen Govindji Bhatia (the Bhatia surname was later adopted) was a shipping broker also and known to Dr. Narendra D. Desai (Shri Nathji Das). Laxmi Narayan temple is existing since 22.11.1926.

In about 1976 wife of Dr. N.D. Desai, Maithili Priya Mataji, used to come to LNHO Building No.4 top floor to have darshan of her guru – Padma Ma. Sometimes Shri Nathji Das would accompany his wife and observe the poor state of LNHO and would observe that there was practically no worship of the deities. So the two, Sri Nathji Das and Maithili Priya Mataji started on their own, several services for the LNHO boys:

Regular kirtans and worshipping of the deities

Offering prasadam such as bananas and fruits and milk in the morning, full lunch (dal, sabji, roti, rice) and dinner at night.

Krishna katha pravachans for the boys and general public for whoever cared to come

Yoga and other exercises, medical checking and proper clothing and other hygiene habits. This started in 1977 and The Managing Trustee and Management were very happy, as the health, studies and spiritual development started and improved. Some students became engineers, lawyers, Chartered Accountants etc. But most importantly, some became full time devotees.

On 12th June 1978, Dr. Desai was made a Trustee and at his request, the place of Chairman of Trust was filled by Mr. Arvind Mafatlal (father of Maithili Priya Mataji). Thereafter, due to failing health of Chandrasen Govindji Bhatia, Dr. N.D. Desai was made Co-Managing Trustee on 4th January 1979. However, Sri Bhatia expired on 16th Feb., 1985 and Sri Nathji das took over as Managing Trustee. Shri Nathji used to often preach to Chandrasenbhai in hospital on his deathbed. When Sri Nathji das became Managing Trustee in 1985 (till today, 2001), several steps were taken to fully implement the objectives of the original Trust Deed.

 

H.H. Radhanath Swami and several ISKCON devotees were invited to look after the welfare of the orphans and the temple program. It is by the mercy of H.H. Radhanath Swami that we are what we are today.

Initially the temple was only on the ground floor, as on the first floor there were Dr. Iyengar’s Yoga classes, Tinker Bell School in the front portion of first floor, several coaching classes etc. So LNHO had only a small portion of the back ground floor.

Dr. Radhakrishna and Palika Mataji moved in with their small daughter in a very small room. There were lots of rats, and tenants were filing suits against the “noise disturbance”. The temple successfully fought 22 court cases but the most important was the Supreme Court judgment allowing Janmasthami celebrations up to 1.30 a.m. which has benefited all Krishna temples in India. Later all the tenants became friends.

By the inconceivable mercy of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Gopinathji, Gaur-Nitai deities came and so did Sri Gopalji. The worship started and improved. Srila Prabhupada’s deity was also installed as per the ISKCON standards and again H.H. Radhanath Swami set very high standards.

Sri Chaitanya Seva Trust was then formed in July 1991 with the object of medicare and food-for-life (free food distribution). Bhaktivedanta Hospital at Mira Road started in 1998. (Preceded in 1992 by Chaitanya Poly-clinic). So today, thousands of Vaishnavas are benefiting from this beautiful temple.

 

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