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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Kukui Nuts

A royal gift

After lunch, the mailman arrives with an airmail parcel for Srila Gurudeva. Everybody is excited — and curious! It is not every day that an overseas parcel is delivered to the Math...

The parcel is from Srila Gurudeva's newest disciple, Sraddha Mayi Devi Dasi, in Hawaii, who, aptly enough, received harinama initiation and her japa mala through the mail last week from Srila Gurudeva.

Srila Gurudeva opens the parcel: it is a lovely wicker basket, with the five recommended articles of guru-daksina: (dried tropical) fruit, (money for) flowers, incense, new cloth (towel), and guru-pranami (a cash donation).

Srila Gurudeva is visibly pleased.

Also included in the basket is what looks like japa mala, or huge glossy beads in the form of a necklace or garland. The card attached to them reads: "Kukui nuts — In ancient times Polynesian royalty wore Kukui nuts as a symbol of the love and respect their subjects bestowed upon them."

Srila Gurudeva says: "These will look good on Mahaprabhu," and gives them to the pujari to put on the deity of Mahaprabhu next to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Radha Madhan Mohanjiu on the alter downstairs.

"How appropriate," I think — a symbol of the love and respect Mahaprabhu's devotees bestow upon Him...

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