Hare Krishna PAMHO AGTSP! AGTY!
Maharaj I am writing to give some updates on our journey to find our service in Srila Prabhupada's Sankirtan movement, Sadhana Report and to ask of you something.
We recently held the first Festival of Gratitude (piggy backing off the Thanksgiving holiday with the extended weekend) here in Boise. The Festival of Gratitude's mission is have an event that will increase devotees appreciation/gratitude for Srila Prabhupada and the process he has given us. With that increased appreciation devotees will be more enthusiastic to follow the process SP has given us and share it with others.
The theme of the festival is the 5 most potent devotional services; Deity, Devotee, Nam, Dham, Bhagavatam. Our focus was a nice Krsna Katha seminar on one of the 5 devotional services, nice Prasdam and nice Kirtan. We where very fortunate that Radhaka Raman Prabhu appreciated the spirit of the event and agreed to give his seminar on the Glories (Appreciation) of Srimad Bhagavatam.
We started Thursday with a huge Thanksgiving day Prasdam feast. Sri Sri Radha Bunkibihari had all homemade tofurky, nutloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed veggies with cheese sauce, fruit salad, pumpkin pie, cherry pie and apple pie.
HpS - Only God could survive that! Guess the rest of us can just look at it and offer our small service.
There was also cranberry sauce with paneer, candied yams, banana nut muffins, stuffing, pasta with cheese, celery with cream cheese or peanut butter and a few other dishes. I will attach a picture of the lay out the devotees took Prasdam from below.
Friday and Saturday we started the day with Guru puja and Srimad Bhagavatam classes given by Anantarupa Prabhuji with emphasis on appreciation of Srila Prabhupada. Then after breakfast Prasdam, Radhaka Raman Prabhu gave his seminar from 10:30am until 1:00pm. Even though it was 2.5 hours it seemed like 45 mins. It was such a wonderful seminar. I myself have recommitted to reading and studying SB and I know other devotees where also inspired. It was an amazing seminar.
Then in evening we had 2.5 - 3.5 hours of Kirtan and Dinner Prasdam. Saturday we finished with a family fun night and had Root beer floats, popcorn, reading from Gratitude tree and Srimad Bhagavatam charades. My wife, Alicia, did the kids program that went on during the seminar and that program was based on appreciating SP.
The kids and her initiated the gratitude tree which tree had some branches, then people wrote on a leaf about what they are thankful for and then tied the leafs to the tree. They encouraged the adults to write their own leafs. It was nice, there is also a picture of it below.
She also designed the shirts we gave as gifts to devotees, you will see a picture below of the sweatshirts. We gave sweatshirts to Anantarupa, Radhaka Raman, Anadi Radha as extra special gifts for helping so much with the festival. Also something very nice was that throughout the whole festival Sri Sri Radha Bunkibihari, Jaganatha, Baladev, Subadra, Guara-Nitai, Laxsmi-Narsimha and Srila Prabhupada all got nice fresh garlands (also pictured below). Normally everyday except Sunday only Sri Sri Radha Bunkibihari and SP get flower garlands.
We learned a lot from this science experiment, we learned more about ourselves in our abilities and weaknesses, what we could do better next time and how we can improve our organization. All to help improve our offering to SP. The devotees appreciated the festival, they encouraged us to continue the project and we agree its something we should continue. Anadi Radha Mataji, Nitisara Prabhu's wife, put a extreme amount of effort in to this festival and although it was almost too much she agrees that its something we should continue again next year.
We also were contacted by ISKCON News for an interview about the festival and did about an hour interview with them. Anantarupa Prabhji was pleased, he says Krishna was pleased because we had unexpected guest come to the festival and we were requested to do the interview. Radhaka Raman Prabhu was also pleased and was very encouraging to us.
Mahraj, is there any instructions you have on the Festival? What can I/we do better to please SP? What is my service in serving SP's sankirtan movement?
HpS - Hare Krsna. AGTSP. I don't think there is much we can say. It is so complete. I think it will expand automatically if you do it again. Maybe only a little focus on the four principles and sixteen rounds. Chanting Japa together. Seems super human to us.
Maharaj, I have been instructed by Srinvasacharya Prabhu to write and ask you to except me as a disciple soon as you will allow. He knows my heart in desiring to be your disciple. He gives his blessing and said to tell you that he believes I am ready for initiation. He said to ask if I maybe initiated in Huston while you are in the USA here in December for you Vyasa Puja celebration.
For more then one year I have been following the 4 regulative principles, chanting 16 rounds each day, getting up before 4 am (currently 3:30am), attending mangala arati and reading SP books (currently I am on 1.9.46 SB in my personal reading of SB). I have been begging Srila Prabhupada for his mercy to please except me into his family, please allow me to do some service and to please let me be formally initiated. I also have been reading your blog and KD regularly. Ananturupa Prabhji says that he will give me a letter of recommendation when and if you have given word that I maybe initiated. Srinivas said he would give me the disciples course whenever necessary so that I maybe initiated.
Maharaj, Will you please allow me to be your disciple and take diksa Harinam initiation from you? If you will accept me when may I take initiation? I will take care of the formalities needed like the TP letter and disciple course. I will fly to wherever necessary. Srinivas Prabhu also encouraged me in getting initiated as soon as I can, citing the story of the devotee who was to get initiated but his spiritual master left his body just before getting initiated.
Please bless me Maharaj that I may do some service for Srila Prabhupda and yourself, please bless me that I may become an exceptable offering to lie down at Srila Prabhupada's lotus feet.
Your aspiring servant,
HpS - If you have the Disciple Course and letter from Ananta-rupa Das then initiation seems fine. If you want to come to Houston we could do it then, but it might be rather quick to do it. Other option is to send your beads and then Anantarupa Das can organize the program there and we can be present by Skype etc. Other is wait until we visit West Coast, Boise, in January or February.
It is a formality, not without meaning, but the sacrifices you describe are the performance that has won Krsna, no? Respects to your good family!