Soquel, California — Thursday, April 15th

Fasting on ekadasi

It is ekadasi today. Why do I always seem to have the most irresistible craving for bread, rice, cereal, and other grains on this particular day?

Srila Guru Maharaj explains that eleven days (eka+das = 1+10 = 11) after the full moon (purnima) and new moon (amavasya), the exciting rasa (juice or liquid) within our bodies — the material eccentricity of enjoyment and exploitation — reaches its peak, therefore fasting is necessary to counteract the influence of the moon, to save us from that peculiar reaction.

So anukalpa: by reducing our food intake, by fasting from grains, etc., we reduce the cause of excitement. To curb our proclivity for enjoyment, to alleviate the heightened excitement of our senses during these two phases of the lunar month, a restricted diet is recommended.

Krishna Himself feels a greater necessity for enjoyment on ekadasi, and service in the time of need has greater value. When Krishna's enjoying mood is greatest, a little service will draw the most remuneration. We can maximize the return on our service investment by spending less time eating and more time serving those devotees who are supplying the paraphernalia for Krishna's enjoyment.

Soquel, California — Sunday, April 18th

Sri Gadadhara Pandit

Today is amavasya, the appearance of the new moon. It is also the appearance day of Srila Gadadhara Pandit, one of the most intimate associates of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In the introduction to The Golden Volcano of Divine Love, Srila Sridhar Maharaj glorifies the position of Gadadhara Pandit thus:

Srila Gadadhara Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam in Jagannath Puri, at the Tota-Gopinath temple, and Sriman Mahaprabhu and the great devotees like Swarup Damodar and Ramananda Raya were his audience:

nilambhodhi-tate sada sva-viraha-ksepanvitam bandhavam
srimad-bhagavati katha madiraya sanjivayan bhati yah
srimad-bhagavatam sada sva-nayanasru payanaih pujayan
gosvami-prabaro gadadhara-vibhur-bhuyat mad-eka-gatih

"On the shore of the broad blue ocean, Gadadhara Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Krishna). Gadadhara Pandit supplied the wine of krsna-lila to intoxicate his afflicted friend and give Him relief. As he read, tears would fall from his eyes like flower offerings onto the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. May the pleasure of that brilliant personality, Gadadhara Pandit, the best of the Goswamis, be my only object in writing this book."

Soquel, California — Monday, April 19th

Good heavens!

I am in the process of changing the layout of this iMonk site again, for what I think is a simpler, cleaner look. I have been experimenting with a few ideas and graphic designs over the past few weeks, and this is what I have come up with so far...

Astrologically, this is an appropriate day for change. As you know, today is one of those rare "once in a blue moon" days: early this morning we had an unusual second new moon in Aries (the first was on March 20th), followed by a solar eclipse, and later in the morning both the moon and the sun entered Taurus (my sun sign).

Since Aries deals with innovation and new ideas and Taurus deals with down-to-earth practicalities, this is perhaps the right time for me to transition from Aries (thinking about implementing new web pages) to Taurus (actually applying those ideas)...

Um, do you think that I have been in California for too long? :)

Soquel, California — Wednesday, April 21st

Russian bells

Our Srila Sridhar Swami Sevashram in Dasbisa, Govardhan, India, has a huge 110-kilogram (250-pound) Russian-made bell and our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip, West Bengal, has an even bigger 350-kilogram (800-pound) bell, courtesy of our Russian devotees.

If you have ever heard these bells, you know that they are — loud! During the recent Gaura Purnima festival in Nabadwip, we were accompanying Srila Gurudeva on a walk around the Math when he paused in front of the enormous bell next to Srila Guru Maharaj's samadhi mandir, and asked Ranajith Prabhu to ring it.

Ranajith Prabhu, perhaps not realizing just how loud the bell was, swung the clapper resoundingly against the side of the bell. Boinnng! Srila Gurudeva immediately clapped his hands to his ears, grimaced, and turned away, so plangent was the reverberation.

But if you thought these bells were big, there is a report in this week's Moscow Times of a 72-ton bell being installed in the belfry of the Russian Orthodox Trinity St. Sergius Monastery in Sergiyev Posad, near Moscow. How will they ever ring such a stupendous 150,000-pound monster?

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Layout by iMonk — April 21st, 2004.