The latest design for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, based on the architecture of the U.S. Capitol building, has been subject to a lot of controversy since it was shown to the world through this video on Dandavats.com. The groundwork for the construction of this temple is due to begin very soon.
This week, a serious call to change this design has begun to circulate. The call has been put out by Tattvavit Dasa (disciple of Srila Prabhupada and editor) and Janaki Rama Dasa (recent PhD in Science and Religion from the University of Oxford). They present 9 reasons to change the design.
One of the main arguments, put forward by the design team, in favour of keeping the present design for the temple is that Srila Prabhupada wanted the temple to look like the U.S. Capitol. In their call for change, Tattvavit and Janaki Rama present the three available quotes in which Prabhupada mentions the U.S. Capitol in relation to the temple, and they argue that it cannot be proved that Srila Prabhupada favoured a temple that looked so much like the Capitol. They also include other quotes which suggest that such a design would not meet Prabhupada´s expectations for the temple, and show that, even after making his statements about the Capitol building in relation to the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, Prabhupada was enthusiastic about quite a different design.
Tattvavit and Janaki Rama have also written to the GBC executive committee to propose that this issue of changing the present design be put to a vote at the upcoming GBC meeting in Mumbai in October. Bhanu Swami has supported their proposal. Whether or not this issue will make it to the agenda for the October meeting will be decided by the GBC Executive Committee in about two weeks from now.
A public ballot is now underway to gauge public opinion on the matter, in the hope that a significant number of votes for changing the design will influence the GBC to accept the proposal.
The letter that includes the call for change, the 9 reasons, instructions on how to place a vote, and the Prabhupada quotes can be found as a pdf file here.