Picture essay from North Carolina May 2006

Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 4:01 pm

Pranams to all. I have finally gone through about 900 pictures, and I am sure there are more I haven't seen. Hopefully this is a representative samplying. Sorry the pics come out a bit small, but this reducing the pixels is the only way I know to make them the correct size for displaying here---I reduced them to 400X300 so I could have made them a bit bigger.


I also apologize that so many of the pics are of me during the yajna, but that was a bit of the story on this occation. The real story of course was the acknowledgement of the Sraddha of the devotees in their Guru, and his kind acceptance of them as disciples. I was only one of may players and witinesses. However, I had a great time doing the yajna, as imperfect as it was on my part. So here we go:




Swami with his Danda was a new feature of this visit.....and what a cool Danda at that, having no cloth but the bare wood visable. I can't say for sure, but either the Danda gave him more potency, or he just had more on this visit---or perhaps both. Unfortunately the picture doesn't convey this, but I felt it!




A typical sight of a talk, this one during an evening session. Over the last few years the numbers of participants has reduced, though the quality and interest has increased---along with the controversies which explains this phenomenon.




Radha Gopinatha presided over our home programs.

Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 4:17 pm



We live at the top of one of the devotees roads, and on the first day of Swami's visit we went to visit the mini zebu cows, one just acquired who is pregnant.




Checking out the cows. Swami with Venu and Arcana watch.




The go mat gets Guru Maharaja's affection strokes, and he gives the example of go seva, a limb of bhakti.






Venu Gopal, Madan's son gets a lesson in cow feeding. The last picture I didn't put on here---weird technology with no explanation (it is not listed on the attatchments), but I guess you were supposed to see it....it is Swami petting the baby bull that was featured in the last years photo essay.


Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 4:58 pm

It was a beautiful spring day, pleasantly warm, yet coolish with storm clouds in the sky. What a better way to spend such a day than going on a country walk with Swami and his friends and the cows.





Swami next to Mathura, the farmer and cowherd who owns this bit of land.





Swami with little Krsnaya, Vatsal's and Sashi's grandaughter who they are raising. She is a great dancer, and boy will she be a handful when she hits the teenage years. She is a real beauty and very stront willed!!




Thursday evening we had a well attended meeting at the home of Archi and Dulal-Chandra, and don't miss getting this CD: it was a fab talk about karma. About 25+ people counting the devotees attended, one of whom expressed the desire for initiation. This is his second meeting with Swami, and he has his Gita. He is a former impersonalist yogi, who now sees the light about the personal nature of God....quite a story.




Friday we traveled to Hillsborough to for an evening program at Madan and Gaurangi Priya's (her new name) home. Exciting was in the air about the initiation ceremony to be held the next day.




For some reason---perhaps with the help of unseen admin or spiritual persons all my post are merging into one, so here are two other pictures from Dulal and Archis program, since I can't go back into the post to add them.



Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 5:17 pm





Arcana brings an indispensable part of the Yajna person's "stuff", namely, my shades, 'cus I am facing east on a bright sunny morning. Thanks to a well placed tree, by the time I began the chanting I didn't need them any more.


I would like to tell you of a wonderful part of this occation, namely, that it rained the day before and for days after the yajna, but on this Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky. Now if that is not a good omen, I don't know what is! Many of us took notice of this, though of course the critics missed this point!




Rather than the usual five lines, I drew the Om sign, surrounded by the "Vedic star" called in the West the star of David, then three circles, then an eight petaled lotus, and lines for the four directions. It looked really cool on paper, but my attempt was---well a nice try perhaps, but only I could tell what it really was, but nobody asked, which was good. It was fun thoough and colorful.




While I did the preliminary rites and we waited for the secret initate Chaitanya Daya, and Swami to arrive, Narayan lead the chanting while Agni and Ekanath and others sang along.

Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 5:38 pm

The presiding Deities of the Yajna.




I tried to set the mood of celebrating the manifestation of Divine Faith, group participation and giving blessing and support to the initiates over there long journey toward perfection.



Karnamrita Das - May 16, 2006 5:51 pm

My humble attempt to offer blessings and ask other to do the same. I see the yajna as a portal to the higher realms. Really all the mantras and rites are to invoke auspiciousness for the ceremony and in the lives of the new sadhakas.




chanting the initial "Om pavitra etc" mantra and sipping water for acaman:




Guru Maharaja begins his initiation talk with Gauravani listening:






Unfortunately this is a rather time consuming endeavor and we are going to Alachua tomorrow, so I will have to stop here. Hopefully I will finish on the road, or when I return. Apologies for this.


das Karnam

Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 12:23 am

The initiates look on while listening to Swami's lecture--nectar for the eyes and ears!



Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 12:37 am

We all enjoy a laugh as the neck beads are too small for Steve's neck. Steve get his new name--Nama-strestam and chanting beads.




Jim's neck was just fine, as he received his beads and new name, Jiva-daya. By the way, Jiva was thinking about possible names beginning with J, and when he came to Jiva-daya he wanted that name and prayed to be given this name!!! How's that for a faith builder!!


Babhru Das - May 17, 2006 2:59 am

Thank you, Karnam, for putting this together. I again find myself buffeted by alternting waves of blis and lamentation.

Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 12:31 pm

Hari bol Babhru. We can all lament our not be to engage in full devotional service. And now I lament not being with Swami at Audarya


I will try to finish up the pics now.




This was a very sweet exchange. Guru Maharaja asked Panca how old she was and I think she said 28, and he said he had been initiating less years than that, so in that sense she was his oldest disciple since she has been a devotee her whole life....something like that. He told her to listen to his CDs in order to feel his heart. I think we can all agree with that!




When putting on her neck beads he smiled and said should I be doing this? and answered that we need a dynamic understanding of scripture. (What comes to mind is Prabhupada saying that never before had sannyasis participated in the marrying of their disciples)




Panca -tattva becomes Gaurangi, and now is Gaurangi priya dd!!




This was a very humorous situation, as another Gaurangi spoke up to glorify the name Gaurangi. Swami asked her what her guru said that name meant, and it refered Sri Radha's golden color and ......? Then Swami said this is an example of one and different, because he gave Gaurangi this name indicating the compassionate golden color of Lord Chaitanya (something like this). Very good laugh for everyone. And an important philosophical point: one name, different gurus with different understandings of that name. Unity in diversity in action!



Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 12:46 pm

Thinking of the fire as the Lord. I asked GM if the devotees could think of the fire as buring up anarthas and he replied that we should think of the fire as our spiritual life which we need to keep blazing!




I would like to say that then the wood burst into flame, but no I used a lighter with camphor!




Svaha! Throwing grains into the fire. And boy does the priest get hit with the grains and ghee.



Bhrigu - May 17, 2006 4:03 pm

Looks like you set up and performed a beautiful homa, Karnamrita! It would have been great to be able to take part. And yes, the priest always takes quite a few hits! :D

Gaurangi-priya Devi - May 17, 2006 9:14 pm

Thank you Karnamrita for posting all those great pics. I tried to post some a few days ago, but had some technical difficulty, so thanks for doing that. I know it's a time consuming service. Seeing the photos brings back so many memories. There were so many wonderful, important, and endearing points Gurumaharaj said in the talk. I'm looking forward to the cd!!


One point, when he was putting the neckbeads on me he asked everyone if it was alright, and then said how we're living in modern times when a few people said yes. I felt very much the special quality of Gurumaharaj that he so much sees our spirit soul, not the external body. I thought it was very nice that he personally put the neckbeads on the initiates, and I certainly didn't want to miss out. Usually I've just seen someone from the gathering of devotees put the neckbeads on the initiates, not the guru himself.

Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 10:26 pm

Looks like you set up and performed a beautiful homa, Karnamrita! It would have been great to be able to take part. And yes, the priest always takes quite a few hits! :D


And thanks Briguji for providing additional resources for the yajna which I did use.


I do have a few more pics if you are all game, and since I can't here your response I hope it is yes!


Chanting OM BRAHMANAYA DEVAYA.....with bananas ready.




Going bananas....into the fire.



Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 10:44 pm

Kirtana around the fire lead by Agnideva:




Adding the rest of the ingredients to the humgry fire.




Placing ashes from the fire on everyones forehead.




And last but certainly not least, we returned to "PV" at home Saturday eve for an ecstatic bhajana led by Agnideva and at times both he and Swami led in duo.........GM was very animated and everyone was enlivened. The pictures don't do the occation justice, but then that is always the case. We only give a hint at the experience.





Karnamrita Das - May 17, 2006 10:57 pm

Nama-strestha shows off his new sadhaka-deha and his Guru.





Thank you all for this opportunity to share Guru Maharaja's latest visit. I hope you are able to imagine the experience and in that way be with us. We wish you could all be here!!





Arcana and I offer our respectful Dandavats to all the assembled devotees.



Jai Sri Guru and Gaura-Nityananda!!

Ekanatha - May 19, 2006 7:14 pm

Thank you all very much (Swami-Karnamrta-Arcana-

Gauravani-Agnideva, and all the many other vaisnavas),

for providing and facilitating the ever-expanding bliss and

enlightenment, it is very much appreciated. It was a

wonderful visit. I am looking forward to the next one.

Your servant, Ek



Nama-strestha shows off his new sadhaka-deha and his Guru.



Thank you all for this opportunity to share Guru Maharaja's latest visit. I hope you are able to imagine the experience and in that way be with us. We wish you could all be here!!



Arcana and I offer our respectful Dandavats to all the assembled devotees.

Jai Sri Guru and Gaura-Nityananda!!

Karnamrita Das - May 21, 2006 10:44 am

I should add that Ekanath took most of the pictures---over 700---and our son another 150. Without them there would have been few pics to choose from. Much thanks for their efforts.