The Deities in Audarya

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:20 pm

Some people have been asking me to post several pictures of the Deities residing on the altar in the temple room in Audarya. Here they are. The pictures are not authorized in any way, I’m posting them so people who cannot come to Audarya in person to be seen by the Deities can take Their darshan in cyberspace. It would be nice to have a story about each Deity – how He was manifested, etc. I hope Vrindaranya and Guru Maharaja can tell us many exiting stories.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:23 pm

Jaya gauracandra lila audarya apara!


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:33 pm

Jay om vishnu-pad paramahamsa paravrajakacarya astottara-sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja Prabhupada ki jay!


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:38 pm

Sri Giri Govardhana ki jay!


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:42 pm

Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki jay!

Sri Nityananda Prabhu ki jay!


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:43 pm

Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya!


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 20, 2004 7:46 pm

Sri Sri Krishna Balaram ki jaya!


Citta Hari Dasa - November 21, 2004 1:00 am

Gaura-Nitai and Giriraja were already being worshiped when I joined, but I can tell a little bit about Krsna-Balarama since I was lucky enough to be there when we got them.


In 1998 I accompanied Guru Maharaja and Vrindaranya to Vrndavana, and after being there a few weeks Guru Maharaja decided to make a trip to Govardhana get the Krsna-Balarama silas. Early one morning we drove out to the Iskcon monastery there (where we had been cordially invited by Kesava Bharati Maharaja), and from there walked to Govinda-kunda. Guru Maharaja had specified that he wanted a very white Balarama and a very black Krsna, both of which are rare on Govardhana; the vast majority of stones are reddish. We began our search on the shore of Govinda-kunda and not long after Sri Balarama made his appearance. This is of course appropriate, since Balarama, as the fountainhead of Sri Guru, appeared first, then Krsna. Being satisfied with the size and whiteness of the Balarama sila, we continued our search for the Krsna sila. He tested us a bit, since the sun was beginning to heat the sand and we were of course barefoot. We kept searching, the sun rising higher and higher, and the sand got hotter. I don't know about Guru Maharaja and Vrindaranya, but being the tenderfoot I am I started to wonder how long I would be able to keep going. Finally we found him: very black, and about the same size as Balarama. We headed back to the Iskcon temple for lunch, then to our house in Vrndavana.


When we got back, Guru Maharja had Vrindaranya and me give the silas a bath in cold water. "They've been baking in the sun for 5,000 years," he said. "Give them a bath in lots of cold water and then rub ghee on them." We did so, then we wrapped them up in soft cloths and off we went to Loi bazaar to find conch shell eyes for them.


After looking at what seemed like a million types of eyes, we eventually found some that worked in terms of size, shape, and style. We returned to our house and began worshiping them the next day. They of course went on the altar when we got back to Eugene (OR) and have been there since. Due to their manageable size we have had several outdoor festivals over which they have presided. Last year we built a palanquin to take them on a tour of Audayra for the Govardhana-puja, during which they sat regally and delighted everyone with their charming smiles. Jaya Sri Krsna-Balarama!

Forrest - November 21, 2004 8:54 pm

I have always had a soft spot for deity stories. In my experience in devotional life I have always had a special appreciation and fondness of the Lord in that form. It is so amazing to me how merciful the Lord is that he makes himself available in that way. Through the arca-vigraha we are able to engage in such a wonderful varieties of ways with our gross senses.


It was really nice to hear you retell the story of Krsna-Balarama Citta Hari. I relished it the first time when you told me it over prasadam at Audarya. When you tell it now there are some more details too ;)


I would be very interested to hear about Gaura-Nityananda. As I understand Guru Maharaja had them custom made. Vrindaranya told me a little about the significance of their form. It would be wonderful to hear more about them.


Nice pic Nanda-tanuja :( Thanks for sharing them.

Radhanama Dasa - November 22, 2004 1:51 am
I would be very interested to hear about Gaura-Nityananda. As I understand Guru Maharaja had them custom made. Vrindaranya told me a little about the significance of their form. It would be wonderful to hear more about them. 


I'd like to hear more about Gaura-Nityananda as well. I heard a little of Forrest and Vrindaranya's conversation (yes I ease dropped just a smidge, but what can I say I was eager to hear about the deities :() about them, but not nearly enough.

Forrest - November 22, 2004 4:28 am
I'd like to hear more about Gaura-Nityananda as well. I heard a little of Forrest and Vrindaranya's conversation (yes I ease dropped just a smidge, but what can I say I was eager to hear about the deities ) about them, but not nearly enough


I actually noticed that Chris :( It is really hard not to ease drop when such topics are being discussed. Don't worry, I don't hold it against you brother ;)

Radhanama Dasa - November 22, 2004 4:48 am
It is really hard not to ease drop when such topics are being discussed. Don't worry, I don't hold it against you brother


So true, oh so true, Thanks for giving me a pass on that one. :(;):D

Citta Hari Dasa - November 22, 2004 11:28 pm

Guru Maharaja did have our large Gaura-Nitai deities custom-made in Mayapura according to his specific intructions. Mahaprabhu's right arm is raised indicating his absorption in prema, while his left is outstretched offering his mercy to the fallen souls. Nityananda Prabhu has both hands extended toward us, showing that he is fully here for us, while Mahaprabhu is partially here and partially gone in his ecstasy. Thus we should take advantage of Nitai's full-on offer of mercy and by so doing attract Mahaprabhu's attention.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - November 23, 2004 12:31 am

This is what I found about small Gaura Nitai deities, it's from VNN Editorial July 28, 1999 (VNN4389) by Guru Maharaja:

Many years ago I asked Prabhupada if I could worship the Deity of Gaura Nitai, my own personal Deity. I suggested this because I was constantly traveling from temple to temple and each temple had its own pujaris, making it difficult for me to engage in any puja personally. In those days no one thought of worshiping a Deity without Prabhupada's express permission. He granted this permission to me, suggesting that I worship small Gaura Nitai Deities. He told me to keep them in a chest, take them out in the morning for worship, and put them back in the chest when I traveled.


I asked one of the devotees serving with me who was then in India to bring me back a small Deity of Gaura Nitai. We fell out of communication and my attention shifted to other services. Some months later this Godbrother called me from New York to tell me that he had brought the Deity. I hesitated for a moment, until he said that the devotees in New York would be eager to take care of them if I was too busy. When I heard this, I told him to please bring them to me in Chicago. There I kept the 'uninstalled' Deities on my desk and chanted japa before them in the morning.


Gradually I gathered some pieces of cloth and started to wrap them. Suddenly one morning they spoke to me. I then made all arrangements to 'install' them while traveling, culminating in a procedure on Radhastami in Laguna Beach. My Godbrother, Visnujana Maharaja was with me and remarked, regarding installation, that merely by the sanction of the acarya they were already installed, and the bathing procedure, etc. was also very nice. These Deities are on our altar here at Audarya Ashram.

Radhanama Dasa - November 23, 2004 1:17 am

Thank you very much Citta Hari and Nanda Tanuja.

Forrest - November 23, 2004 3:51 am

I am adding another voice of appreciation here. I suspect there may be a chorus.

Bhakta Ivar - November 23, 2004 9:21 am

Very nice.


namo maha vadanyaya krishna-prema pradaya te

krishnaya krishna-caitanya namne gauratwise namaha



Syamasundara - January 12, 2005 6:15 pm

All right, here it goes at last, I am writing from work, hoping that this parakiya mood will stimulate me, since when I do have time, I don't use it for this.

As you know from another thread, I was heartfeltly asked to share my memories about the deities at Audarya, and since I was blessed with a good memory, I was glad to finally engage this in seva. The reason why it took me so long is that I just didn't know where to start from; I didn't want to start already with the best one, but I couldn't find a less best recount to start with, you'll understand, so I decided I'd just go chronologically.

Arcana seva has probably been my first service at Audarya. I was actually cooking for the deities and Gm even a few days before formal initiation. After the first days of jetlag GM told me it was time for some solid service; I had understood salad service and I thought: "Wow they do things seriously here, there's a specific seva for salads."

Apart from that, the day of my diksa I was dressed and decorated like a Christmas tree: tulasi malas, rudraksa, tilaka visnu marks, harinama cadar (I wonder if someone has apicture…) south indian dhoti, etc. I was chanting my first bona fide rounds on the grass, Navadvip and GM drove in, saw me, and GM said "I'd really love him to dress the deities." So I guess that's how the magic began.

I received diksa on Balarama Purnima and before Radhasthami, within a few weeks, GM was already in Vrndavana, so I had time to practice so to speak. After weeks of struggling and petitioning I found someone who would agree to have me on the altar and learn how to dress Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

Gm remained inVrndavana all throughout Kartika, so we did Govardhana Puja alone so to speak. Luckily we took pictures of all festivities. That year Gandharvika dressed the deities and I took the whole day to make a hill. Now, many people know me as a mess of a man, GM used to say I am a circus, but for some things I can be rather nitty-gritty, so instead of making the usual heap of halava, I realized this hill of carob cakes at the base, the heap of halava of course, but shaped like the real Govardhana, like a peacock, with Syamakunda and Radhakunda as the eyes, made from condensed milk in leaf bowls; for grass, green-colored grated coconut, then there was another milk kunda on the side, with a ghat and a mandir made of burfi, somebody brought some plastic cows and animals, there was a cave in the hill studded with gems (sugar coated colored aniseed), I had followed some description of the Bhagavatam. There were bolders of besan laddu and everything, but I just couldn't think of aything for trees. Visnu Maharaja kept saying broccoli tops, because in Southern India they had made a hill of cow dung with broccoli for trees, but I just didn't like the idea of broccoli on sweets.

Then out of the blue came Nityaseva with cookies shaped like flowers and trees!! Well, Christmas trees, but still… I stuck them in the halava and it looked great.

It's dawning at me only now that since then GM always gave me some artsy projects for Govardhana Puja. Ok I wanted to go chronologically but I guess I'm going to have to follow the bhava….

In '98 Dharma and Bhumi were already there, so we turfed the whole temple room with some green plastic turf. We allured the buddies inside with the milk bottles, the only thing that would make them forget the perils of that slippery looking wood floor. Guru Maharaja garlanded them and offered them arati, with all the items offered at once on the plate to make it last shorter, as they were already restless. Meanwhile Citta Hari and I and others were ready for the abhiseka to Giriraja, the big one that Narasimha Maharaja presented us with. Agni was singing Govinda Jaya Jaya Gopala Jaya Jaya. There are printed pictures of all this that can be scanned (hint hint).

Another year GM had me make a Giridharimurti out of cow dung. I took an old table, I cut two openings, and lying in the middle (well, standing in the representation) there was Krsna holding Govardhana with clowds and lightining painted around. On the murti's navel we placed GM's Giriraja, the one Prabhupada looked at, and then we bathed him.

By the way, no one has told the story of GM's Giriraja and Radha-Madanamohana. Vrndaranya served the for the longest time, and I really can't remember the story of Radha Krishna. Of Giriraja I know that at one point some disciple of Prabhuada went to him saying that according to some Purana, the stones of Govardhana could be worshiped like the Salagrama silas. He had two in his hand. Srila Prabhupada took one in his hand and looked at the other one and then said that yes, they were from Govardhana and could be worshiped. Years later this devotees met GM, told him the story and presented him with the sila SP looked at.

When we were in Point Arena, waiting for Audarya to be bought, we made another dung Giridhari. By then I was the dung walla, seen the abundance of the material. I used to make these dung cakes and splat them on the roof of the barn to dry with my handprint just like in Vrndavana: it even smelled like Vrndavana later when we would use them as fuel in the fire place, and it felt even more so when we moved to Audarya, although I had to discontinue the cake production for lack of time.

Vrndaranya had dressed Giriraja really nicely and I got inspired to make three triangular flags to put on the top of the sandalwood canopies just like at Radhadamodara. (There's a pic of that, too, maybe even digital.) In the afternoon we did the funniest Go puja, bringing the kirtan (constituted of GM, Vrnda, Citta, Candrodaya and me) outside into the pen, circumambulated the two buddies, who were flank to flank and head to tail and didn't know what to make of us. The sound of the mrdanga would usually drive Dharma furious, but those apple wedges coming from all over were enough to make him overlook that.

This is all I remember about Govardhana Puja, but since we mentioned Giriraja and it's been a whole 15 minutes of "I" and "me", I'll tell a little recount about GM.


When we realized that Eugene wasn't the place anymore, we thought of moving to Vrndavana, so from February to May '99 GM, Vrnda, and Citta left in search of property there.

While there, the hunt was so intense that, although living in Vraja Mandala, Citta hari visited Vrndavana town but once; but then again, Vrndavana is in the Guru's heart.

Our Guru's heart at that time was devoted to writing the Gita and cooking for Giriraja. He really got into perfecting specific recipes, among which dahi vada, aka, fried urad dal patties soaked in yogurt, that he would offer with tomato slices and tamarind catni. So, when they came back GM continued the tradition.

One such time, well probably the first day after they woke Giriraja up and took up the puja again after the flight, I came from dressing the deities and there were Gm and Vrnda with aprons, blending dal and cooking away. By the time I put the paraphernalia away, it was the time to do the offering. I got inspired, reached into the fridge, and made a rose out of tomato peel, that I put on the plate right at the last moment. GM was unaware of me peeling and trafficking and when I put the rose on top of the vada his face just lit up even more (and the energy in the room was already incredible with the may sun filling the kitchen and making it shine golden), and my heart started to trickle. That's the closest I've ever felt to a manjari, if I may say such a thing.

After the offering we called Citta Hari to see the plate before taking prasada. Citta Hari was a little grouchy at the idea of having fries for breakfast, but he's always grouchy at any minor change that happens in his life :P

I would just look at those tomato slices sprinkled with black pepper, and the fresh yogurt and the heartiness of the dal, and the sour-sweet of the tamarind, oh my God…….. I'm having a moment.

And then Giriraja came back from Vrndavana on this flaming colorful bigger throne, and Krsna-Balarama of course.

I gues that's enough for a start. Sorry again Nandatanuja for not doing this before when asked. Hope I made up for it. Actually I hope not, so I can say more.


In Service

Syamasunadara dasa

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - January 12, 2005 7:47 pm

Thank you so much, Syamasunadara, for sharing such wonderful stories. I hope to see some more coming from you. Can anybody share a story of Srila Prabhupada’s murti and Radha-Madanamohana appearances? So big Giri Govardhana was a gift from Narasimha Maharaja? How did it happen? And what about Subhadra?

Citta Hari Dasa - January 12, 2005 9:54 pm

Nanda-tanuja, you must mean the wooden murti between Krsna-Balarama. It's not Subhadra, it's Balarama. He was given to GM by Paurnamasi; where she found him I don't know.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - January 12, 2005 10:14 pm

Oooops, I was 100% sure it was Subhadra! I guess because of the position between Baladev and Krsna. Should have noticed that colour is different :P

Syamasundara - January 13, 2005 2:48 pm

Hare Krsna,


Another quiet morning, but again I am stuck with memories and don't know which to choose. One of my dearest ones is when I got inspired to dress Gaura Nitai as Krsna Balarama for Balarama Purnima.

I like surprises a lot, so a couple of weeks earlier I bought some yellow and blue cloths, white (plastic) pearls, and golden paint. I snatched somebody's sewing machine and I made two simple sets of dhoti and cadar.

The trickiest part was to find a rope, because the cowherds wear a bundle of rope to tie the cows or for any need. Then I found this curtain supply store with this cute thin white and gold rope that was just perfect. I am no artist, although I may have a sense of art, therefore I just tend to stick to reality, and when dressing the deities everything should be in proportion. I can't relate to Krsna's garland going over his arm, but anyway, that's just a personal outlet.

Then I made a buffalo horn out of fimo dough. I don't know how I could bake it without anyone noticing, as that stuff smells foul. It was beautiful, black, with whiteish marbley veins, the same numebr of golden rings around it like it says in the BRS. Talk about uddipana vibhava. Just looking at those items was such an intense experience; even just thinking of looking at them is now. I wonder what became of it, I never saw it again.

Then I took some wood and crafted a hand plough for Balarama; the golden spray was for that.

I wanted to paint their faces with colored clays like the gopas do on Govardhana to play, but their visages just don't lend to it.

So Balarama Purnima finally came and Gaura Nitai manifested their inner selves. In the Caitanya Bhagavata there are a lot instances in which Nityananda would manifest the bhava of a gopa, carrying and playing a flute, playing with cows and behaving like a boy. Gauranga Mahaprabhu did that too at least once in Puri.

So of course as I dressed the deities I was also offering the dhupa arati and I couldn't see GM's face when I opened the curtain, but I could hear and feel that everybody was pleased.

Mahaprabhu had Giriraja's flute on his hands, and Nitai a plow on his shoulder, I'm all emotional just at the thought. They appeared as Nilambara and Pitambara (wearing blue and yellow clothes) wearing strings of pearls, red sashes around their hips, and a garland of forest flowers.

During the kirtan GM told Vrndaranaya to go get the buddies to have darsan of Krsna Balarama (with the usual baby bottle system :P ) After class Gm would tell anybody he met "Go have darsan of Krsna Balarama" and people would make the most puzzled faces.

I forgot what year it was but it was in Eugene, maybe 1998, yes, because the following year I did it again with the same outfit, but Nitai had the plow propped against his leg and they were wearing shorts, like Krsna and Balarama in Vrndavana.


Here is a picture I found. It may look dark on Windows.


Panchatattva - January 14, 2005 11:33 pm

Thank you Syamasundara for your posts about your deity seva. For those, like myself, who haven't personally met the Deities, it is wonderful to hear about them, as well as Swami's interactions with them and yourself. What really struck me was that you had the devotional freedom to dress Gaura-Nitai as Krsna-Balarama without feeling like you had to get authoritative permission. I'm so impressed and endeared to Swami hearing how he treats all of you. It is quite a community built on love and trust!


Please keep the stories coming. I so relish them.

Pancha Tattva dasi


P.S. I just read your bio. I lived in the girls gurukula in Florence, Italy for a few months in 1991. I think I remember Parama Karuna and Purna Brahma coming up from Milan and selling fresh mozzerella and baked goods at the Sunday Feast sometimes. I would love to go back someday!

Syamasundara - January 28, 2005 7:44 pm
What really struck me was that you had the devotional freedom to dress Gaura-Nitai as Krsna-Balarama without feeling like you had to get authoritative permission.  I'm so impressed and endeared to Swami hearing how he treats all of you.  It is quite a community built on love and trust!


Well, come to think of it, maybe I did risk, but the outcome was so good...

It hasn't always been like that, though. Once I put a nosering on Giriraja, chained to his earring, but after the darshan GM told me to remove it after class, as it's a gopi thing. I don't know, Lord Jagannatha clearly has a nose ring with two dangling things that go towards the ear (although not completely depicted, maybe I am misinterpreting) and in the dramas in Vraja both Krsna and Radha have that ornament, if I remember right; but anyway I appreciate this in our GM (and actually in me, too): he'd never seem to behave as the darshan was a routinary thing. Some of my godbrothers, as sincere as they are, could be totally oblivious about the deities. Well, of course, I dressed the deities for the most part during my presence there, but I don't remember one day, no matter who dressed, in which I wouldn't know what they were wearing, even the small deities. I just couldn't take my eyes off them, those toes, calves, forearms, Nityananda's smile, the jewels... just entrancing.


So anyway, there was one instance, going back to my flops, in which after breakfast in GM's room we had an istha-gosthi to decide what we would do for Gaura Purnima. Actually he asked us what we could do. I got inspired to make a new set of jewelry and he agreed, I guess half-heartedly. In time, this that began as a service, became my own trip, so I had to be replaced for all aratis and cooking, as I had to play "lil beader."


So eventually the day came, the jewelry set was done and everyone said the deities looked stunning, but GM said: "Oh are those your jewels? I couldn't even see them...." while going away and leaving a subtle message in the ether...


I have a picture of that day, they deities did look stunning, and you know what? You cannot see the jewels! Well in the picture at least. The outfit they wear is linked to another story.


For my first Janmasthami at Audarya I was planning to offer a flower outfit and 108 preparations to Their Lordships, as I came from 5 years of Sunday feasting in ISKCON, and that was the minimum or the normality for me. However, most of my godbrothers at the time were very young and didn't have the same background as I had, they just saw this weirdo who after two weeks got two initiations unlike them, got in charge of the arcana and came with these bizarre ideas... Later on Vinodavani confessed that "Sometimes you have to undergo a third initiation", which I guess was their trust and liking, and with some I managed to receive it. However, in that occasion I remember being overwhelmed towards the end. I had been cooking micropreparations for a week or so, and on the last day I could have used some help, but I'd receive uppety looks instead. GM and/or Vishnu Maharaja were probably the only ones who could relate to the mood I was in, when I started to freak out with them. Problem is that I still had to make the flower outfit, which of course must be done the night before. I hadn't been getting much sleep already, and eventually I collapsed around midnight, the only one awake, some chatni simmering, and those marigold that just wouldn't stay sewn on.


During the morning arati I wispered to Vrndaranya that there was no outfit, she was outraged and went to tell GM. I felt like the scum of the erath for the longest time, but when I saw GM he just said calmly that Vrndaranya was sewing one out of a wedding sari. So in this picture you can see the janmasthami outfit on the gaura purnima of the year after.





As far as the flower outfit, Gm says that it's Krsna's favorite, as it takes a lot of devotion to make it (no wonder I couldn't even start it). Once, the spring before the above-mentioned Janmasthami, I got inspired to decorate the altar and the deities with the plants that were present in out yard in Eugene. I got out with my basket, and I felt very much like the pujaris at Mayapur Candrodaya picking campaka flowers in the morning for Radha-Madhava. Oops, I think I already told this story. So anyway, after class GM said he had never seen the deities more beautiful than that morning. I have pics of that, but not digital.





>>P.S. I just read your bio. I lived in the girls gurukula in Florence, Italy for a few months in 1991. I think I remember Parama Karuna and Purna Brahma coming up from Milan and selling fresh mozzerella and baked goods at the Sunday Feast sometimes.


Mmmmm Mozzarella.... I think I might make my first one tomorrow. I happen to have some rotten yogurt whey, from the shrikand  I made last week. And I also left half a gallon of milk in the underroof hoping it'd be cold enough, but the milk went bad... bad for milk but it smells just like fresh mozzarella. Let's see if it comes out.


Syamasundara - January 6, 2008 10:11 pm

BY THE WAY, how many of you know what is in the tiny silver box between the small Gaura Nitai? :Confused:

Something so precious, so rare, that can purify the whole world, and yet, myself I forgot about it.

The devotees coming to the inauguration should be aware of what is in the box, and make a point to have a darshan with it, especially on that day.

We always tend towards what is big and outstanding, and ignore the simple, little things; that's how Vrndavana is still a secret and a mystery, by hiding behind a veil of unassuming simplicity while being in front of our noses.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - January 7, 2008 12:24 am

If I remember correctly the box contains a thread from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's cloth.

Syamasundara - January 7, 2008 12:49 am

All right! :Confused: (Give him a cigar!)


However, I have no clue as to how it made it there.

Syamasundara - January 7, 2008 4:01 am

OK, I tried to make a good use of a rainy day that keeps me stuck at home, and I took pictures (bad quality, but all I found was my webcam, lost the camera) of the printed pictures from my days in the Ashram, from August '96 till the advent of digital photography. I could finally put my hands on those pictures on the way back from Govardhana Puja at Audarya, driving through SF where I had left all my pics, books, and deities (!) in a friend's basement for 6 years. :Confused:


So here they are, my dear ones, at least the altar ones. I'll post the others in Audarya Notes>Pictures from the Ole Days


This is what our deites looked like between Radhastami 96 and Rama navami 97.




Syamasundara - January 7, 2008 4:21 am

These pics refer to post #18 of this thread.


The famous Govardhana cake:





"Your name is... Syamasundara dasa. Balarama likes this name very much."



Bhrigu - January 7, 2008 12:11 pm

That Govardhana cake is really something! :Confused: