Gaura Purnima pics

Madangopal - March 16, 2006 3:45 am

We would like you all to take darshan of our merciful Gaura-Nitai. We hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday.






Kamalaksa Das - March 21, 2006 9:04 pm

As Bhrigupada once told me, being banned from the temple was probably one of the best things that could happen to our group; instead of just attending their programs with a critical attitude, we now have the opportunity to hold our own festivals.


And this year we held a combined Gaura purnima and Vyasa puja feast. (Though, it must in all fairness be stated that Krishangi and I attended a very nice dinner reception at Bhrigu's place during the real Gaura purnima.)


We drew up a plan in which we would first celebrate the Vyasa puja at two o'clock, and at three we would continue with celebrating Gaura purnima. Our plan was, that as there would be disciples of other gurus coming over, we would glorify our spiritual master before they arrived.


But, apparently Krishna wanted all devotees to take part in honoring His glorious representative, as our schedule went bad.


This due to the fact that apple halva takes ages to prepare, as does sweet rice, as does blueberry pie. But don't get me wrong here, it was not that the kitchen department was sound asleep prior to the festivities. Rather, the fact is that for one reason or another, the regular kitchen isn't exactly designed to host a vast array of master chefs at once.


The delay had far reaching consequeses, one of which was Bhrigu being forced into unorthodox behaviour. More on this later.


But to the program. Which started aproximately one and a half hours late. (We're sorry...) Those present by now were, as noted earlier, Bhrigu, then Haripriya, Tadiya, Krishna-vallabha, Sulochana, Jayanta Krishna, their two kids Nanda & Priti, Krishangi, as well as myself.


We began by singing Gurvastakam, which went quite well, except for the very last verse, which everyone seems to have a hard time remembering. By this time Guru Maharaja had taken the seat of honour, and had been garlanded with a very fine garland indeed, made by Tadiya and Krishna-vallabha.


During the singing, Bhrigu performed the arati, followed by puspanjali, in which everyone got to bombard Guru Maharaja with floweres. Trice.


After this we swiftly returned to the kitchen, which was not such a long strech, as it laid one door from the make-shift temple room. As we continued cooking our final preparations (yes, we had made some prior to this!) those not engage in cooking the food took turns to read aloud from the Chaitanya-caritamrita. Unfortunately I didn't catch that much of the contents, due to noise produced by cooking. But I distinctly remember every once a while hearing "...and this then proves without a trace of doubt that Lord Chaitanya is the supreme personality of Godhead!"


I didn't always follow the logic, but I thought it to be quite amusing. Proves without a trace of doubt! There you have it.


By this time both Jananivas and Mikko had arrived, and both took their seats at the dinner table. Only for a while though, because the cooking was nearly done. As others soon returned to our temple room I was left bhind to stir the sweet rice. But I could hear singing, and at times participated myself, albeit in a very low voice, in the kitchen. One of my gratest lackings in devotional life is an awfully bad ability to remember words for songs. That, and a singing voice that is useful for scraping paint from the walls, but evidently no pleasure to anyone standing near by.


(And Gurunishta, now is a really bad time recalling my impersonation of Madonna once upon a time...)


Now comes the unorthodox part. Since protocol had to be changed. The reason for our hurry was Haripriya. She lives far away from everywhere, and buses go there scarcely. And even after cathcing a bus, she still has to walk for miles through wolf-infested forests to reach her secluded cottage. In which the temperature at this point nears that of water freezing.


Anyway, Haripriya's bus was leaving soon, and we couldn't let anyone, especially not her, leave hungry. So Bhrigu mad a bold decision: prasadam before the class! Knowing well that this would prove disasterous for attentive attendence later on. Self-sacrifice is high on the ladder of spirituality.


Krsangi Dasi - March 21, 2006 9:10 pm

Here's Tadiya making a garland for Guru Maharaja. Thanks to everyone who brought flowers!


And here's our garlanded Guru Maharaja, on the chair he always sits on when he's here. We've actually become a bit wary of using "his" chair. :rolleyes:



Kamalaksa Das - March 21, 2006 9:11 pm

The offerings had come back, and now the assembled devotees could relish the sweet-tasting prasadam. And even our mandatory vegan could rejoice, as many of the preparations were made to suit even his demanding palate. As customary, I will give a short presentation of what the different kettles contained. If not for other reasons, then for remembering the auspicious event.


We had rice. This is not spectacular, but has a story to it. When deciding wich pot to cook the rice in Krishangi demanded that the smaller one would be used. A heated debate arose out of this: would it be enough? Both sides (Krishangi and Kamalaksa) stated their views with much bravado. Ending in Krishangi proclaiming that she would publicly bow down to every vaisnava she would meet during the upcoming month, should all rice be eaten within two days.


The group took her word, and added that the term vaisnava should be understood in the broadest sence, as someone who isn't hostile towards Krishna and His followers.


The rice ended in due time, so if you wish to see Krishangi bow, please visit us in Porvoo.


The other dishes don't carry as much action, but I will present them anyway. We had three subjis.


The first containing coconut milk, tofu, cauliflower and sugar snaps. With a slightly thai style to it. My plan was to make small amounts of everything, but as usual, these small-sized preparations became something more of supersized. But then again, no one complained.


The second, a sweet n' sour subji with panir cubes the size of matchboxes. And as the third one, a perpetual favorite among vegans and vegetarians alike, chickpeas and eggplant in tomato.


Then we made some koftas in tomato sauce. But one of the new hit dishes was an adaptation of something called chicken satay. It is made up of marinated tofu cubes sauted, and then covered with a peanut butter based sauce. Even Jananivas, the man who is not easy to please, was pleased.


As a slightly healtier alternative we also served a fresh tomato raita. But due to unfortunate circumstances it was forgotten in the frige when eating was being done. Instead it was served the next day as our hungry and poor tenets came over to eat leftovers. The trouble to cut tomatoes did not go in vain, Haripriya. It was much appreciated.


And as no feast is a feast without chutney and puris, we had chutney and puris. Plumb chutney to be specific. And even when the amount at first seemed to be enough for a month, we soon learned that it was well received, and thus our fridge holds only a fraction of it today.


The sweets served were Haripriya's burfi, Mikko's halva, and as previously mentioned, Bhrigu's blueberry pie, sweet rice and applehalva. And Krishangi's laddu that felt weird but tasted good.


But most devotees, controlling their senses trough mystic yoga, decided to have the sweets only after the class. In a desperate attempt to at least partially stay conscious.


Still, some recollection of Bhrigu's class may also be apropriate:


The lecture revolved aroound a poem by one of the Goswamis. (Krishangi thought this could have been Sanatana, but you must remember the circumstances we were facing. Our brains did not have a lot of blood running in them...)


Bhrigu analysed the poem line by line, giving explanation of the words, telling us about Advaita Acarya and Sarvabauma Bhattacarya. And how SB tried to educate the young and simple sannyasi.


The very beautiful ending of the poem came with the simple, and very unusual request for Gaudiya poetry, a plea to Lord Chaitanya, to please remember his servent at least occasionally.


Bhrigu will most probably fill in the blanks. Especially the interesting tale of how the lost manuscript was rediscovered. Bhrigu, plese take the stage!


Then it was time for more sweets.


And, as all good things come to an end, so did our celebration. Our guests, more or less crammed themselves into Mikko's car, and headed homewards. And the hosts colapsed in bed, their feet telling the that it had been a long day standing up. Until next festivities!


Krsangi Dasi - March 21, 2006 9:14 pm

I'd like to point out that the deal we made was that I'd bow to every Vaishnava who visits us here, not every Vaishnava I meet. :rolleyes:

Kamalaksa Das - March 21, 2006 9:15 pm

And lastly a rare picture, demanded by Bhrigu to be shown to the world: Kamalaksa in (almost) traditional clothing.


Now for those of you who do not yet know me, I'm not big on the dhoti thing. I think that during my association with Krishna consciousness since the early nineties I've worn a dhoti something like ten times. Heck, I even got initiated wearing my old Levi's.


Still, Krishangi thought it looked cute.


Nanda-tanuja Dasa - March 21, 2006 11:09 pm

Looks like Kamalaksa is trying to do Brit Milah on himself :rolleyes:

Babhru Das - March 22, 2006 6:31 am

Kamalaksha looks downright sporty! :D

Bhrigu - March 22, 2006 3:15 pm
Bhrigu, plese take the stage!


You forgot the main point, Kamalaksa, about how Sri Caitanya cannot be separated from his devotees, and how we should try to honour the devotees as much as we can. But yes, now we know why the class is always before the feast, not after. :D


The poem was from Sanatana (Ten points to Krishangi!) Goswami's Krishna-lila-stava. That book was considered lost, but was found in the beginning of the last century by the great Gaudiya Vaishnava scholar and encyclopedia-writer Sri Haridas Dasa Babaji floating in the Yamuna after he had searched for it everywhere and prayed to Krishna to find it. The story is not quite as incredible as it sounds, since Vrajavasis routinely throw old books and other holy items they cannot take care of into the holy waters. I've gone searching for old manuscripts on the banks of the Yamuna myself, but only found lose pages of (printed) Puranas and boring books on astrology.


All in all, I think our festival was a great success. I perhaps liked the best the kirtanas we had before Gaura-arati in the evening. Our festivals have always been rather weak in this department, but this year we had a special reinforcement: Srimati Krishnavallabha Didi, a Finnish disciple of Sripad Narayan Maharaja, who sings like a gandharva, is an expert mridanga-player, etc. We had a traditional Gaudiya Math-style krama-kirtana, starting with the mangalacarana-prayers (vande 'ham...), then moving on to songs to Gurudeva, the Vaishnavas, Nityananda, Gauranga, Radha and, finally, Krishna. I felt sorry for Kamalaksa and Krishangi who were slaving away in the kitchen during the kirtana and thus couldn't take part, but Kamalaksa told me that being in the kitchen is "my natural position". Judging by the taste of the preparations, he can't have been completely wrong about that!


It was nice to see how all the devotees took part in making the festival a success. Kamalaksa and Krishangi were the expert hosts and cooks, tirelessly helped by Haripriya. Tadiya and Krishnavallabha made the garlands and sang in the kirtans together with Mikko and Jananivas. Haripriya, Tadiya, Krishnavallabha, Jananivas and Mikko were also the ones who read from the Caitanya-caritamrita at one part of the cooking. I wasn't engaged in as noisy cooking as Kamalaksa, so I was able to enjoy the reading to the full. Mikko drove many devotees to Porvoo, and even more back to Helsinki. He actually drove everyone back to their front doors, even though we live in quite different parts of the city. Sulochana and Jayantakrishna had their hands full taking care of their wild kids so they took turns in taking part in the kirtana. I tried to get Sulochana to sing one kirtana (she has a very good voice), but my command-shakti is evidently very inferior to Kamalaksa's since she politely declined...


Now we are all looking forward to the next festival!

Guru-nistha Das - March 22, 2006 5:21 pm

God, now all I can think of is you (Kamalaksa) doing your Madonna imitation in a dhoti with a kitchen knife in your hand... A sure recipe for nightmares.


Anyway, thanks for the reports, sounded like your festivals really were successful!

Jananivasdas - April 5, 2006 11:38 am

i have to say that i didnt read CC cause i was at that time jumping from the sofa and running around upstairs with prti,nanda and jayanta!!! :P