Hare Krishna Dear Gurumaharaj
Please accept my humble obeisanceâ€™s
All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to You
I pray that Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Gopalji keep Guirumaharaj well and in good health.
Our preparations for the glorious Vyasa puja celebrations 2012 started months before the event. In fact it started with devotees asking: â€œWhen are youâ€™rll celebrating your Guruâ€™s Vyasa puja?â€ the next question was:â€Is Maharaj coming this year? We are missing Him. Is Maharaj doing katha?â€. I could not describe to them the longing I feel in my heart -the pain of separation.
So, under the able guidance of His Grace Krsna Kesava prabhu, we had our first meeting at Vinod prabhu and Sunitha matajiâ€™s house. We had different responsibilities allocated to us, and minutes of the meeting recorded. Every aspect was discussed, from the date, time and venue to the prasada list, to the Guests of Honour. Thereafter we communicated by email; but not before honouring prasada and leaving the meeting feeling ecstatic because this occasion is being planned to honour our Gurumaharaj.
We next met at Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Mandir on a cold Saturday afternoon. The decor was decided upon. Further planning was finalised in connection with flowers, Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s Vyasa asana, Srimati Tulasi Deviâ€™s altar, the welcoming committee, sound, video, etc. I left the mandir with hope and also concern and prayer that all goes well.
To add to the anxiety we only got the menu list a week before the puja, so it was in a frenzy that HG Krsna Kesava, myself and Aradhya Murti Devi Dasi did the buying. One devotee, Sandir Prabhu so kindly donated ALL the vegetables. He was just so excited that he could do some service for Gurumaharaj. We asked our Nama hatta devotees for assistance with cooking.
Kishore Prabhu and Bhaktin Sachita designed the Vyasa Puja Invitation. They also took the responsibility to video record the entire event.
The Paneer was made on Thursday and kept in a cold room until needed. All our flowers were delivered a day before. Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s Vyasa Asana, Srimati Tulasi Deviâ€™s altar were decorated.The Mandir room was decorated the night before the puja.
On the day of the Vyasa puja, we started cleaning the vegetables at about 08:30, with the program set to start at 15:00. Five of us started but I do not know from where they came, but many devotees arrived to assist in any way; even to scrub the pots. Under the guidance of HG Bindu Madhava Prabhu. the following dishes were prepared:Butternut, Cauliflower and Potato, Butter Paneer, Saigo Patties, Pakora, Fried Banana, Salad, A Five Lotus Leaf Sandesh Cake, Tea, Chavda and a Sweet.
The Vyasa puja commenced at 15:30 after all the Senior devotees and guests were welcomed by Jayshree mataji and seated.
We had the honour of having His Holiness Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Swami and His Holiness Rama Govinda Swami at the puja. HH Bhakti Madhurya Govinda Swami just arrived in Durban a few days before and HH Rama Govinda Swami flew in from Mauritius especially for the Vyas Puja.
Gurumaharaj I cannot render an account of the proceedings proper as Aradhya Murti and I were still busy finalising the cooking, but this will come with the official report.
After the celebrations, His Grace Kulasekhara prabhu did the Bhoga offering and HH Rama Govinda Swami conducted the Guru puja.
Prasada was served to all devotees, including passing strangers. For the night and following day we heard praises for a fantastic Vyasa Puja.Devotees could not believe that a handful of disciples could plan and accomplish such a fabulous celebration and extravagant feast. They could not believe that Ekadasi preparations can be so varied and so much.
But this was only possible by the grace of Sri Sri Radha Radhanath, Srila Prabhupada and Yourself Gurumaharaj. Aradhya murti and I are just instruments Gurumaharaj and are prepared to do anything to further the propagation of Lord Catianyaâ€™s movement.
Gurumaharaj, this is my poor attempt of events leading up to the Vyasa Puja celebration, as the official country report will follow.
Everyday I am honoured to be a disciple of His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj.
Gurumaharaj, please forgive for any offences I may have committed,
Your unworthy and insignificant servant,
Krishna Baladev Das