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Jagannath

When Does Food Become Prasadam?

With proper guidance, anyone can turn ordinary food into a spiritual substance. The phenomenon of something changing from material to spiritual is an extraordinary one, but it is something we as devotees are involved in daily—often several times a day. It happens when prasadam (unoffered food) becoming prasadam, or food sanctified by the Lord. When I was a new devotee in Montreal, we arranged a program that was to be given on campus at McGill University. The leaflet advertising the program read, “See matter transformed into spirit before your very eyes.” That title certainly drew interest from a lot of people. During the program, the temple president was giving the presentation, and he was leading up to this point. Finally he said, “OK, now it’s going to happen. You are going to see spirit...

Jhulan Yatra

21 Aug – 26 Aug 2018. So during this (rainy) season, everything is so blossoming, blooming and fragrant in all directions, and at that time the devotees of Vrindavan – and Brijawasis especially headed by the most confidential associates of Shri Radharani and Lord Govinda – they arrange under the direction of Brindadevi,beautiful, beautiful Jhulan, or swing for Radha and Krishna to enjoy together upon. And there are unlimited ways in which Radha Govinda enjoy their Jhulan Yatra.  Sometimes they make a swing shaped like a lotus flower, where Radha and Krishna sit in the middle and the eight Sakhis and principal Manjiris and everyone sit on the same swing and then Gopis make that go. And sometimes Radha and Krishna sit together on this swing. And sometimes Radharani puts her friends on ...

Chaturmasya

Chaturmasya-vrata In the Vedas it is said that one who observes the Chaturmasya-vrata will attain eternal happiness in the heavenly kingdom. One who performs the Chaturmasya-vrata becomes pious. By becoming pious, one may be promoted to the higher planetary systems. In the Bhagavad-gita, it is said that this flowery language of the Vedas mostly attracts persons who identify with the body. To them such happiness as that of the heavenly kingdom is everything; they do not know that beyond that is the spiritual kingdom, or kingdom of God. Purpose of Chaturmasya-vrata Sannyasis are generally meant to travel all over the country for preaching work, but during the four months of the rainy season in India, from July through October, they do not travel but take shelter in one place and remain there...

Balaram Appearance day

Sunday 26th August 2018 The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body. They are both one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Balarama is the first bodily expansion of Krishna, and He assists in Lord Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. He is the source of the entire spiritual world and is the adi-guru, the original spiritual master. He assumes five other forms to serve Lord Krishna. He Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and He does the work of creation in four other forms called the catur-vyuha (four armed) forms known as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Anirudha. He executes the orders of Lord Krishna in the work of creation, and in the form of Lord Sesa He serves Sri Krishna in vario...

Sri Krishna Janmashtami

Monday 3 Sep 2018. Janmashtami commemorates the earthly appearance of Krishna, who is described in India’s sacred writings as God Himself. One of the biggest religious festivals in the world, it is celebrated by nine hundred and thirty million people around the world–and two million in the US alone. To devotees, it’s Christmas and New Year’s in one, a day of deep spiritual renewal and celebration that effectively finishes an old year and begins a fresh one. But why Janmashtami, you may ask? What’s so special about Krishna, as opposed to any other form of God? It’s His personable-ness. He reciprocates in unique, personal ways with every devotee who offers Him love—He is the most adorable, mischievous son, the most romantic lover, the most compassionate friend. And on Janmashtami, devo...

Disappearance of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura & Gadadhara Pandita Date: Fri, 2018-07-13 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838-1914) was a pioneering spiritual leader, a magistrate working in colonial India under British rule, a prolific preacher, writer, and poet. One of his sons was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a highly influential spiritual leader in his own right, and the spiritual master of the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In the closing days of the nineteenth century, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the one who reestablished the validity of the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which by then had been largely misrepresented or lost. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote almost one hundred books to explain the science of Krish...

Panihati Cida-dahi Festival

Panihati Cida-dahi Festival Date:  Mon, 2018-07-25 Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who later became famous for his renunciation, was previously a householder and wanted to join the personal association and service of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri. However, his father prevented Raghunatha dasa from doing so. After several failed attempts, Raghunatha dasa heard that Nityananda Prabhu had arrived at Panihati. In order to receive the Lord’s causeless mercy, Raghunatha dasa went to see Him. When Nityananda Prabhu saw Raghunatha dasa, He ordered him to prepare and serve all His associates chida-dahi, flat rice mixed with yogurt. In order to please the Lord, Raghunatha dasa immediately carried out His order by preparing and distributing large quantities of chida-dahi to the Vaishnavas, as well...

Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi

Sunday 24th June 2018 is Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi. “Pandava” refers to the Pandavas, the sons of Emperor Pandu. One such son was Arjuna, to whom Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita. Another son of Pandu was Bhima, a most powerful warrior and a most voracious eater. Bhima was also known as “Vrikodara,” or “wolf-belly.” He was not one who welcomed fasting, and admitted to not being able to follow Ekadasi. However, he was told that if he observed complete fasting on one particular Ekadasi day annually, he would get all the spiritual benefits of having followed every Ekadasi fast of the year. He and his brothers thus all agreed to fast on that day, which is today. “Nirjala” means “no water.” Strict followers of Pandava Nirjala Ekadasi obse...

Purushottama Maas 16 May – 13 June

Purushottam Maas also known as Adhik Maas Wednesday, 16 May – Wednesday 13 June Wednesday, 16 May begins Purushottama Adhik Maas, the very auspicious month of Purushottama which comes every two, sometimes three years. It is a special month and very dear to Krsna. When the full moon occurs twice in a month, i.e. in less then 29 solar days then the month is divided into 2 and a leap month is added. This leap month is known as Adika mas or Purushottama month and occurs about every 3 years. It is equal to performing 16 Kartik Vratas and therefore it is a very good time to engage in full devotional service. THE GLORIES OF PURSHOTTAMA MONTH (Translated from Padma Purana) Once upon a time, thousands of sages came together in the holy place called Naimisaranya to perform sacrifice. To their very g...

Narasimhadeva Chaturdasi

Sri Narasimha Jayanti is the appearance day of Lord Narasimha, the half-lion half-man incarnation of Supreme Lord Krishna, who appeared to protect Prahlada from his demoniac father Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu received a special benediction from Lord Brahma that he could not be killed by any human being, demigod or animal or any other entities; he could not be killed by any kind of weapons, neither during day nor night. So, the Lord appeared in half-man half-lion form and killed him with His nails at twilight, thus satisfying all the conditions. Lord Narasimha out of compassion removes obstacles on the path of devotional service.

Sri Rama Navami

Sri Rama Navami is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Sri Ramachandra. Sri Ramachandra appeared in the month of Chaitra (March – April). This year we celebrate the festival on March 25, 2018.  Sri Ramachandra appeared as the son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, who hailed from the dynasty of Maharaja Ikshvaku. Dasharatha had three wives: Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra, but he had no children. On the advice of Maharishi Vashishtha, the king performed a Putra Kameshti Yajna. As a result the three wives conceived sons. Kaushalya gave birth to Rama and Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. Sumitra gave birth to the twins: Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The life and activities of Sri Rama are explained in detail by the great sage Valmiki in the epic Ramayana.  

Festival of chariots

Poda Pitha After the 9 days sojourn at the Gundicha Temple, the Lord Jagannath return to the temple, but stop once during the journey. Can you guess why? Well, that’s because Lord can’t be back home without tasting his favorite sweet, Poda Pitha, a special kind of pancake made in Odisha, on the way! When Lord Jagannath  from moving Legend has it that Lord Jagannath would be unwilling to visit his aunt’s place every time, and creepily, every year, no matter how many thousands of devotees push the chariot, it would simple refuse to move a bit from its place. It’s only after hours of pushing that it would finally show movement! Yes, it’s kind of funny Rath Yatra or the famous Chariot Festival marks Lord Jagannath’s yearly sojourn to HIS maternal aunt’s abode. Well, yes, it is a fact propounde...

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