This is how my new office japa altar setup looks like :
Basically it’s an letterpad holder. The altar pictures come from Krishna – Balaram Mandir temple store. Easy and light weight. Carry with you anywhere!
After lunch, I spend about 30 minutes doing japa in front of this altar at work. It’s a great break and something I enjoy doing everyday. Wish I could light a lamp, an incense and offer some flowers too.
An idea just popped in my head – can we have office japa sessions in all cities where we have devotees working? Or better if few devotees are in the same neighbourhood offices, they can come together in a park for a 30 min japa session ! Woah ! Any takers?
(see full image)
This is the most beautiful painting of Lord Chaitanya I have ever seen recently. It looks so powerful and exotic at the same time. I believe it was done on the Vyasa Puja celebration of HH Jayapataka Swami this year.
On many a occasion, I have wanted to carry that work on street Harinama sessions, place it outside prasadam catering tents, lean it in a wall during spiritual lectures on our movement etc. Even contemplated taking it home to worship it. I think it should be on display every weekend at temple and major festivals as that’s when we get majority of the crowd. So many can then see and marvel the work.
Would you believe the painting was carried out by a few children at the Melbourne temple? These devotee kids can do anything.
For a week or so, I had the privilege of staying with Amit prabhu and his young family at their apartment right in the middle of Melbourne city, 19 floors up. The family has just started to take to Krishna Consciousness. They were excellent in their hospitality and care for their guests. We spent many late nights talking about the urgent need to spread Lord Chaitanya’s mercy across this city which he has grown to love. I was wondering how I could repay my debt of my stay with them. So, I surprised the family one evening by setting up a little altar for them. Their very first !
Most of the items on the table came from the Melbourne temple. Some of them, they already had. I also got them a packet of beautiful incense sticks, a Vaishnava song book and that table cloth. When the family entered the room, the first thing they felt was the aroma from the agarbatti and exclaimed, “The room smells just like the temple !”. When they set their eyes on the altar, they all paid their obeisances and stared at it for a while. We had a short kirtan and from that night on, they have started to offer food. Hari Bol !
I was happy too. I think I gave them a nice gift back for their incredible hospitality. Good Vaishnava acts between two people.
Normally I stay away from TV or movies but I was encouraged to watch a bollywood movie called “Jodhaa Akbar” today. There was an extra motivation in watching it as I have a huge interest towards Indian history. The movie showcases the love and respect the Mughal Emperor Akbar had towards his Rajput wife, Jodhaa.
I truly did enjoy watching it and I was suprized to see the following beautifully picturized bhajan for Sri Krishna :
The 2 altars of Jodhaa in her parental home (below) and in Akbar’s palace (seen in the song above) were beautiful !
A few of my friends rate this bhajan as their favourite song in the movie. I just did a round on the internet for reviews and its the same there. So, even if a highly commercial movie includes some sequences related to Sri Krishna, it becomes even more attractive. And it also gave a chance for millions of people to focus their attention on Him for those few but very valuable minutes.
“Graceville”, is the suburb that houses the Hare Krishna temple in Brisbane and that’s where I was few days ago. Just got back this morning. It was great to be at sunny Brisbane compared to the cold, wet Melbourne of today. Actually, it did rain twice very heavily in Brisbane but it was fun. I had gone to Brisbane mainly because a close friend of mine and his wife had invited me there for the long weekend holidays and had also expressed an interest to set up a prayer area in their house.
These 2 people are very special to me because of their genuine nice nature. I knew they were very interested in spirituality. So, when they asked me if I could help set up a prayer altar, I took that as a sign and rushed to the place on the condition that I wanted the entire set-up to be a surprise and that they shouldn’t be in the house when I set it up. Mind you, they have no idea about ISKCON, the teachings, the followings etc. So, I was a bit nervous too. Anyways, I told Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupad in a silent prayer that all I would do was introduce my hosts to Them and They would have to handle their Krishna consciousness growth, issues and problems.