On Balarama-purnima, the appearance day of Lord Balaram, His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaja graced our residence, named Aniyora after a holy place at Govardhana Hill in Vrndavana, India, and once again our humble abode resounded with devotional songs and the transcendental sound vibration of the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Maharaja, devotees, and friends gathered at midday on Saturday, August 16, 2008 to celebrate this festival.
Sarvatma dasa, known for his devotional singing, began the program with sweet Hare Krsna kirtana. Then Kandarpa Manjari beautifully sang Sri Dasavatara-stotra, a famous poem by Srila Jayadeva Gosvami from the Gita-Govinda. Next, Giriraj Swami spoke eloquently about the advent of Lord Balarama, citing the divine arrangements for His appearance, as described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. He said that Balarama was called Sankarsana because He united two families–that of Vasudeva and that of Nanda Maharaja–who cooperated fully for His service. And he said that in a similar way, devotees–and all people–can be united through cooperative service to the Lord and the mission of the spiritual master, reminding us of Srila Prabhupada’s famous instruction: “Your love for me will be shown by how much you cooperate.”
After discussing a few questions from the audience, Maharaja concluded the talk, and everybody stood for the arati ceremony for the Deities of Sri Sri Krsna- Balarama. Finally, a sumptuous feast cooked by a joint effort for the pleasure of Lord Balarama was served to the guests. The feast included white rice, a tangy Sindhi kadi sauce, spinach and panir sabji (vegetable preparation), okra and coconut sabji, mixed vegetable sabji, dahi vada, and Katmir vada served with two chutneys–mango and peanut. The feast concluded with various sweets, such as rasamalai, date-and-coconut balls, apple strudel, homemade jackfruit and mango sorbet, and the traditional favorite of Lord Balarama, the Varuni beverage.
To conclude the event with even more mercy and merriment, Giriraj Swami distributed maha-prasada from the cida-dahi festival in Panihati, India, and from Deities of Sri Sri Sita-Rama-Laksmana and Hanuman in North Kolkata. (The cida-dahi festival was originally celebrated by Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, following the order of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, in Panihati, near Kolkata, by distributing chipped rice mixed with yogurt and other items.)
Devotees expressed nice sentiments after receiving the maha-prasada several times over.
We were all blessed to have Giriraj Swami and the other devotees attend this festival. It reminded us of the time, some years ago, when Maharaja gave the name Aniyora to our residence, stating that Aniyora is a place where there is always prasada and a place where Sri Krsna and Balarama would often rest.
Sri Balarama-purnima ki jaya! Gaura-bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
Your humble servant,
Krishna Kirtan dasa
These images are of Krsna-Balarama and Radhika-ramana in Carpinteria, taken on Balarama-purnima.