Tuesday, November 10, 2015

15 foot Cake Mountain for Govardhan Puja Maha Festival in Dallas

Due to the extensive help from a large body of devotees here in Dallas the Govardhan Puja festival has been exceedingly grand this year.  Here is a video of the cake mountain preparations.
Bhaktin Brittany decided to spend the night on Saturday so that she could work the whole evening Saturday and Sunday in preparation.  She is was amazing a real trooper.  She has a wonderful service mood.  Both my wife and her slept just for a few hours and spend both days just working hard.

We also had Anamsha and her husband Caitanya Nitai put in many hours of help

Govinda Kakkad, who just left for Govardhan Puja in Vrindavan also was very instrumental in the organization.  His mother, Kunjesvari, picking up on the inspiration of her Guru Maharaja, His Holiness Giriraj Swami, also help a lot.

Last year HH Giriraj Swami attend the festival and was very much enlivened.  He shared some very encouraging words, saying that, 'Anyone who helps to put on this Govardhan Puja festival will go Back to Godhead.'  In the mood bringing joy to exalted devotees such as Giriraj Swami, everyone strived to out do the grand scene of the previous year.  There were many beautiful lamps hanging from the trees

Here meet some the Brijbasi residents

Even Indra showed up to offer his prayers of forgiveness with Surabhi and Airavata

Here you see Nanda holding on to a worried Mother Yaśodā and whose left stands Balarāma.

and of course we have the most divinely beautiful, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī

On top of the Carob cake mountain are some Brahma bulls and other animals

Govardhan was also decorated with a beautiful Kusum Sarovar and many kunds.  In fact all the temples and kunds are mapped out on this hill.

Many others helped such as Dr. Murlidhar Govinda Prabhu, Shilpa, Madhurya Sindhu Dd, & Vrinda Priya.

Some other big helpers include ArjunKrishna Prabhu, Adishakti, Chitravasini, Madhava Vrajanatha Prabhu, and Bhakta Steve.

Lest we not forget Prema Sindhu seated next to Bhismadeva Prabhu, who took most of the photos.  You can see the album here.  Prema Sindhu Prabhu helped tremendously for festival as he does every year.  

Also we had Ananda Lila and her decorating team arrange a cool scene in the temple room above Śrīla Prabhupāda.

For the festival there was a very entertaining and engaging drama parikrama tour led by the students of TKG Academy under the direction of Mother Gopi Gita.  Each student group had a skit and lovely details of the different major pilgrimage spots on the hill.

I do want to save the best for last! Mother Laxmipriya and her daughter GopiKrishna and other helpers baked all of the 51 carob cakes that it took to make the hill.  That includes the 10 plus gallons of frosting.   

We will bid you farewell with two sweet videos of the Sweet Hill, Govardhan.  Please forgive us if we forgot your name for recognition.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Texas Faith 137: Will a presidential candidate’s religion sway your vote?

Dallas Morning News,
Each two weeks we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

So many people are running for president this year that it’s hard to get your voice heard unless you do something outrageous. Donald Trump got the party started by suggesting that the U.S. deport every unauthorized immigrant, then let the “good ones” back.
Republican Ben Carson amped up the insanity with his comment that a Muslim shouldn’t be president, and he reportedly raised more than $500,000 after making that remark. Carson has since backtracked, saying that he could support a Muslim if he or she would swear to uphold the Constitution over Shariah law. (Carson, by the way, is a Seventh Day Adventist, a denomination that has faced criticism from people who believe it’s a cult.)
How important to you is the religion of a presidential candidate?
The Constitution states that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any government office. Are you more likely to vote for someone who is the same religion or denomination as you? Or is a presidential candidate’s faith a secondary issue or no issue at all to you?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

Religious affiliation is unimportant in relation to how spiritually enlightened an individual may be. A highly spiritually enlightened individual may be found in any bona fide tradition, whereas a spiritual ignoramus may be found steeped in religious belief and ritual. However, religion and metaphysics should not be outside of the political dialogue. One’s metaphysical outlook informs and drives one’s decisions. For example, President George W. Bush stated after being out of office, that his campaign in the Middle East was motivated by his religious convictions. He even used the word crusade.

By nature, if a politician must not speak about his religious beliefs then he/she must be in that sense, dishonest rather than giving a full view of his political outlook.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Even the lion cannot kill unrestrictedly

Śrīla Prabhupāda explains how the tiger or lion, although a killing machine, is restricted by Mother Nature in killing. So similarly even though this dentist desires to kill, his ability is now being restricted.

Here is the quote

Just like a tiger. He is also enjoying. He is thinking, "I am very strong. I have got so power, so much jaws and nails. I can jump over any animal and immediately kill him." He is pleased in that position, but, you know, the tiger or the lion, they are so unfortunate that they do not get daily food, in spite of becoming so strong. Because prakrti-jan gunan, he is under the influence of the material nature. He... The tiger may be very powerful, but he remains always hungry. Very powerful. Because the other animals, they know that in that corner of the forest there is tiger, nobody goes there. Where he can get food? Hardly chance, by chance he gets one animal and jumps over it. This is called prakrti-jan gunan. He thought, "By becoming tiger I shall be very much proud of enjoying," but prakrti says, "No, sir, you cannot get even daily food. That is not possible." Therefore prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarva... [Bg. 3.27].

Here the so-called tiger, so-called big men... Just like in America the president is a big man. But now he is put into such a condition that he is full of anxiety. At any moment he may be kicked out. This is the position. You cannot be happy either as President Nixon or tiger or cats and dogs or human being or Lord Brahma. That is not possible. That is not possible. You must be full of anxieties because this is unnatural life. (life in the material realm)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Radhika Raman's Mayapur Seminar on Jiva Goswami's Sat Sandarbhas

Lately I have been listening to an amazing and philosophical seminar of His Grace Radhika Raman Prabhu.  For those who do not know Radhika Ramana Prabhu is a wonderful Vaishnava scholar who did  home school at the Boise temple.  He started college at 13, valedictorian at 17 of Boise State and a PhD in theology from Oxford by 22.  He is now a very young tenured professor in Utah.  Please check out the series!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Twelve Month Sandwich - Going on 8 years

In an effort to compete with Sabjimata Mata's and Kurma Prabhu's delicious prasadam blogs, I hereby submit our twelve month sandwich.

There are five main cooks who are always involved. The first one is Gaurachandra; on His right side stands Nitaichand, and on His left side stands Gadadhara. Cooking nearby is Advaita, and Srinivas is holding the spatula. Sweet Mrdanga sauce is mixed in with spicy kartals - all accompanied with side orders of conch and bells. All the demigods headed by Lord Brahma line up to get an opportunity to relish this sandwich. In fact the flavor of this sandwich conquers the flavor of millions upon millions of curd sabjis. Lord Shiva, Sukadeva Goswami, and Narada Muni are all there and are choked in ecstasy to get but just a taste.

This sandwich is what we have had the pleasure to honor for the past twelve months: the ISKCON sandwich. During Srila Prabhupada's time he established a program of spiritual purification by which one can make steady progress in Krishna Consciousness. It was nicknamed the ISKCON sandwich, a Krishna conscious program of bhajan, kirtan, artik, and class every morning and every evening. Many devotees eager to rapidly expand Krishna Consciousness asked Srila Prabhupada if it was ok to miss the evening program in the event of late evening book distribution and other such outreach functions. However, when such late activities were decreased, the habit of returning back to regular programs in the evening also waned. Instead of live chanting during the Gaura Artik, more often it would be found that there was simply a tape playing. This one slice sandwich was not enough to fill up the spiritually starved soul. Therefore, the devotees decided to return to the healthy diet of the double slice, Mangal mustard, Gaura Artik greens, and a class every few days for proper nutrition.

We have seen many health benefits to this diet given by Srila Prabhupada. Even our restaurant customers are finding new energy in their spiritual attraction. Before, if they ventured into the temple in the evening, they were greeted only by an electronic kirtan - hardly enough to encourage one to start singing with full lungs. But now we are serving the real organic kirtan, fresh from the hearts of the devotees. And as they say local is more healthy, these local lungs are inspiring to hear for all who enter. So whether you are at home, at the gym, watching TV, or out on book distribution make sure to get some daily doses of the ISKCON sandwich. Thank you.

-posted July 23rd 2008, Now we are going on 8 years!