The Festival of the Holy Names

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Mar 162007

One week after Gaura-purnima, in Laguna Beach California, this much-anticipated gathering of devotees once again flooded the atmosphere with the ecstasy of hari-nama-sankirtana. This annual phenomenon aptly dubbed ‘The Festival of the Holy Names’ by His Holiness Indradyumna Swami, is the highlight of many devotees yearly activities.

Consisting mainly of hours of happy chanting, this occasion provides an opportunity for devotees from all over Southern California to get together and dive deep into the ocean of the chanting of the holy names.

After kirtana and a lecture by Indradyumna Swami in the temple room, the Deities of Gaura-Nitai are accompanied by hundreds of devotees on hari-nama-sankirtana to the Beach, along the boardwalk and back to the temple. The kirtana then continued thunderously in the temple room until everyone is swept off the material platform, minds and bodies leaping in the grasp of the holy names. The sweet melodies continued until the devotees were about to collapse and then all are treated to a huge feast.

We are working on producing a DVD of the full program but as an appetizer here is a 3 minute video of His Holiness Giriraj Swami with the devotees at the festival.

28 Mb Windows Media Video. icon_arrow.gif

Celebrating the Disappearance of Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami, Saturday,February 17, Ventura, California

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Feb 262007

His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaja hosted the auspicious celebration of Srila Tamal Krishna Goswami’s disappearance day and Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji’s disappearance day, on Saturday, February 17, at the home of Kandarpa Manjari and Krishna Kirtan Prabhus in Ventura.

Other special guest speakers included Amogha-lila dasa, Mahashakti dasa, Nrsimhananda dasa, and Urvasi dasi, as well as Balaram dasa from New Dwaraka and Guna Avatara dasa from Israel.

The festival began with kirtana. Then Guru Maharaja invited the devotees to speak about their realizations and experiences with Tamal Krishna Goswami, affectionately called Srila Gurudeva by disciples. At the end of the offerings, Guru Maharaja addressed the gathering and related some of his experiences with Srila Gurudeva. Then Amogha-lila Prabhu recited the mangala-carana prayers, as the participants observed the puspanjali ceremony. And then Guru Maharaja offered arati to Srila Gurudeva, while Nrsimhananda Prabhu led the singing of guru-puja.

The festival culminated with a sumptuous feast prepared in Srila Gurudeva’s honor, consisting of rice, dal, chapatis, cauliflower pakoras and raisin chutney, an eggplant, tomato, and panir subji, a broccoli, cauliflower, and potato sabji, raita, halava with whipped cream, and juice.

Expect audio recordings of the devotees’ appreciations soon. For now, here are some images from the occasion:

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Photographs and text by Krishna Kirtan prabhu.

Vyasa-puja in Ventura

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Nov 222006

On Friday, November 10, Guru Maharaja and His Holiness Radhanath Swami attended a Vyasa-puja program for Guru Maharaja at the home of Krishna Kirtan Prabhu and Mother Kandarpa Manjari. The devotees had worked very hard to create a spiritual atmosphere, with the Deities and decorations creating a Vrndavana-like mood in the temple room.

The program was small, intimate, and very sweet. After a welcoming and foot-bathing ceremony, Radhanath Swami spoke eloquently about Guru Maharaja’s purity of service to Srila Prabhupada. Thereafter the devotees spoke their heartfelt appreciations of Guru Maharaja, and Guru Maharaja shared his thoughts and realizations with the devotees.

After guru-puja, a sumptuous feast was served to all the devotees. Guru Maharaja and His Holiness Radhanath Swami then opened gifts and enjoyed nectarean personal exchanges with the devotees.

Here are some photographs from the occasion.

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Srila Prabhupada’s Disappearance Day in LA

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Oct 282006

Guru Maharaja and His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaja drove through rush-hour traffic from San Diego to Los Angeles to participate in Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day ceremony at New Dwaraka. They arrived in time to meet with His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, and then the three godbrothers spoke on their realizations of Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance pastimes.

The lectures can be downloaded in one file from here. icon_arrow.gif

After the offering of bhoga, puspanjali, arati, and kirtana, the godbrothers took prasada together, and a feast was served to all the devotees.

In the evening, Guru Maharaja and Radhanath Swami reluctantly left the assembly of  devotees and drove back to the ashram in Carpinteria.

Here are some images from the occasion.

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Giriraj Swami in San Diego, Part 1

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Oct 272006

On Sunday, October 22, Guru Maharaja and His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaja joined the devotees in San Diego to celebrate Govardhan-puja. The next day Radhanath Swami held initiations at the ISKCON Sri Sri Radha-Giridhari temple. With great humility, he mercifully accepted some new disciples and gave second initiation to others. Guru Maharaja shared the event with him and spoke on avoiding the ten offenses. Here are some images from the initiation ceremony.

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Vyasa-puja Image Gallery

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Sep 202006

Guru Maharaj celebrated a Vyasa-puja festival in Dallas on September 16. This is a gallery of images from the occasion…icon_arrow.gif

Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Day in LA

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Aug 262006

You may hear Giriraj Swami’s talk from the occasion here…icon_arrow.gif

Here are some images from Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day in Los Angeles.

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By Giriraj Swami

Srila Prabhupada had to struggle very hard to build the Juhu temple. The first struggle was to get the land, the next struggle was to get the permission to build the temple, and the last struggle was to actually build the temple and install the Deities. And we had worked very hard to get the permission, but Indian permits often include many conditions. So although they give permission, the permission is not actually valid until one fulfills the conditions.

One of the conditions was that we had to have an internal access road of a certain width according to the length of the road. And it just so happened that right where the access road was supposed to go, there were some palm trees. Once, when Srila Prabhupada came to Juhu after being away for some time, he noticed that one or two of the trees had been cut, and he was very concerned–I would even say upset. He asked, “Why did you cut down the trees?” We thought we had the perfect answer: We had to build the temple, and to get the permission for the temple we had to cut the trees in the way of the road. Srila Prabhupada said, “No, you go to the municipality and tell them it’s against our religion to cut down trees.” So we had no choice, and we did it. And of course the municipal officers objected.

But one thing that really struck me about how concerned Srila Prabhupada was for the trees was that the next time he came back to Juhu after a world tour, practically the first thing he said was “I was in Tehran, and I have seen they have trees in the middle of the streets. So we can also have trees in the middle of our street.” In other words, it was not so strange. So on Srila Prabhupada’s order, we held our ground with the municipality, and in the end they gave us the permission to keep the tree. And even today you can see that tree that Srila Prabhupada protected, still standing there with asphalt all around it.

So I am thinking that if Srila Prabhupada has so much concern and care and even love, I would say, for a tree, then what to speak of us–how much care and love he must have for us. And it’s just because of Srila Prabhupada’s care and mercy and protection that we are able to stand in Krsna consciousness–no matter what else is around us.

All glory to Srila Prabhupada.

Hare Krsna.

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Sri Krishna Janmastami in LA

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Aug 212006

Hare Krishna,

Here are some images of the Janmastami Festival Program in Los Angeles. Guru Maharaj attends every year and all who attend relish worshipping the Lord and associating with the devotees.

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Los Angeles Ratha-yatra 2006

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Aug 062006

rathla_12.jpgOn July 30th the annual Ratha-yatra procession and festival were held at Venice Beach, Los Angeles. As usual, Guru Maharaja and many other devotees from all over the globe were present to relish the transcendental pastimes of Lord Jagannatha and enjoy the sweet association.

To view a gallery of images from the festival click here…icon_arrow.gif It may take a minute or two to load.

Remembering Srila Prabhupada

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Jul 262006

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Giriraj Swami, and others
July 8, 2006
Carpinteria, CA

There is a process to remembering Srila Prabhupada. There are three most important processes in bhakti-yoga: sravanam, kirtanam, and smaranam. Sravanam is hearing about Krsna. Then kirtanam, glorifying Krsna. And then smaranam, remembering. Today we are talking about remembering, in this case, remembering Prabhupada. When you remember a great soul such as Prabhupada, if you do it very intently, what is the result? The result is that he is actually present, as good as if he were present physically.

Download the talks by Giriraj Swami and Satsvarupa dasa Goswami as a Word document here…icon_arrow.gif

Click on the thumbnails to view the images.

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