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...Feature Article:
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......
...New Entries on the Web-site.....
...Search for Ishthadevatas and Devotees on the site......
...Please Visit the Articles pages
...News Item (....cooking 109 ekadasi preps for the Shaligrams)

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Sri-murti-lakshana, aara shaalagraama-lakshana
   krishna-kshetra-yaatraa, krishna-murti-darshana

“The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the Shalagrama-shila. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka."

 (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 24:335. text - 61 Explanations of Atmarama verse)

Hare Krishna
Namaskaragalu - Vanakkam - G'day

Please accept my respectful obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupad, All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga,All glories to all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord - Chari Vaishnava sampradaya ki jaya

Sri Swayam-vyakta Shaligram Sila, Dwaraka Sila, Govardhan Sila ki jaya

Welcome to what we hope to be the first of many newsletters. The present plan is to attempt to maintain the site nicely and keep updating with new information and pictures and additions to help enthuse everyone, and use this newsletter to help keep everyone informed about that. With my other various services we figured that Quarterly would be a feasible beginning, so we are looking at April - July - Sept - Dec for now.
We very much welcome constructive feedback to further assist the development of the site and newsletter services - always open to that.
...Feature Article:

[Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita 2-6-294:  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Raghunatha dasa, "This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krsna.  Worship the stone with great eagerness."

PURPORT:  Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura writes in his Anubhasya that in the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the govardhana-sila, the stone from Govardhana Hill, was directly the form of Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda.  The Lord used the stone for three years, and then in the heart of Raghunatha dasa the Lord awakened devotional service to the stone.  The Lord then gave the stone to Raghunatha dasa, accepting him as one of His most confidential servants.  However, some envious people conclude that because Raghunatha dasa had not taken birth in the family of a brahmana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not give him the right to worship the Deity directly, but instead gave him a stone from Govardhana.  This kind of thought is naraki, or hellish.  As stated in the Padma Purana, arcye visnau siladhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jati-buddhih...yasya va naraki sah:  "One who considers the arca-murti (the worshipable Deity of Lord Visnu) to be stone, the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, or a Vaisnava to belong to a particular creed is possessed of hellish intelligence."  If one thinks that the worshipable salagrama-sila is a mere stone, that the spiritual master is an ordinary human being or that a pure Vaisnava preaching the bhakti cult all over the world is a member of a particular caste or material division of society, he is considered a naraki, a candidate for hellish life.  When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed that the govardhana-sila, the stone taken from Govardhana, is non-different from the body of Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He indirectly advised such foolish persons that one should not be envious of a Vaisnava who belongs to a different caste or sect.  One should accept a Vaisnava as transcendental.  In this way one can be saved;  otherwise, one is surely awaiting a hellish life. CC Antya 2-6-294]

[2-6-295:  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "Worship this stone in the mode of goodness like a perfect brahmana, for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love of Krsna without delay. CC Antya 2-6-295]
[2-6-307:  "By offering me the govardhana-sila, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has offered me a place near Govardhana Hill, and by offering me the garland of conch shells, He has offered me shelter at the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani." CC Antya 2-6-307]

So similarly, the Shalagram Shila, Govardhan Shila or Dwarka Shilas as featured on this site are not some symbolic representation of God but are directly non-different from the body of the Lord. The Lord can and does appear in many different ways and forms to allow His devotees access to Him. In different times and circumstances the Lord has appeared to His devotees in different forms that they could tangibly experience; Lord Jagannath appeared in the form of the Dharu-brahman log of wood marked with the symbols of Vishnu and which could only be moved by His empowered representative the sabara Virabhadra; In the Old Testament of the Bible Moses experienced the Lord in the form of sound, and that of a burning bush, and so many of our purva-acharyas like Madhwacharya, Ramanujacharya directly experienced the Lord in forms that they could handle. Lord Varadraj and His consort personally appeared and guided Ramanujacharya out from the forest when he was being persecuted by Yadaprakash. Madhwa' too experienced Vyaasadeva in the form of sound, and went on and met and served Vyaasadev in Uttara Bhadri, as mentioned in Sumadhwa-vijaya. Sri Madhavendra Puri experienced the Lord in the form of a dream whereby the Lord informed him that He had stashed a portion of kheera (sweet-rice) for him and to wake the pujari to get it. Kanaka dasa in Udupi, the famed Shalagram Deity of Udupi-Krishna placed there by Madhwacharya had experienced the fact that the Deity turned around to allow him to take darshan, and similarly Gopal Bhattar Goswami's Shalagram changed His form to satisfy His pure devotee, just as Lord Nrsimhadev also manifested Himself for the protection and well-being of His devotee, Prahlad maharaj.

Non-devotees sometimes ask show me where the Lord is, the example of our acharya is to ask them to show where He isn't. He can and does appear in forms suitable to His lila vichitra pastimes. Who are we to say that He cannot appear wherever He likes. Here this is clarified for our benefit:

tvam bhakti-yoga-paribhävita-hrit-saroja
  ässe shrutekshita-patho nanu nätha pumsäm
yad-yad-dhiyä ta urugäya vibhävayanti
  tat-tad-vapuh pranayase sad-anugrahäya

"O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there. You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3:9:11.)

The statement here that the Lord manifests Himself before the devotee in the form in which the devotee likes to worship Him indicates that the Lord becomes subordinate to the desire of the devotee—so much so that He manifests His particular form as the devotee demands. This demand of the devotee is satisfied by the Lord because He is pliable in terms of the transcendental loving service of the devotee. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gitä (4.11): ye yathä mäm prapadyante täms tathaiva bhajämy aham. We should note, however, that the Lord is never the order supplier of the devotee. Here in this verse it is particularly mentioned: tvam bhakti-yoga-paribhävita. This indicates the efficiency achieved through execution of matured devotional service, or premä, love of Godhead. This state of premä is achieved by the gradual process of development from faith to love. On faith one associates with bona fide devotees, and by such association one can become engaged in bona fide devotional service, which includes proper initiation and the execution of the primary devotional duties prescribed in the revealed scriptures. This is clearly indicated herein by the word shrutekshita.
The shrutekshita path is to hear from bona fide devotees who are conversant with Vedic wisdom, free from mundane sentiment. By this bona fide hearing process, the neophyte devotee becomes cleansed of all material rubbish, and thus he becomes attached to one of the many transcendental forms of the Lord, as described in the Vedas.

This attachment of the devotee to a particular form of the Lord is due to natural inclination. Each and every living entity is originally attached to a particular type of transcendental service because he is eternally the servitor of the Lord. Lord Chaitanya says that the living entity is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. Therefore, every living entity has a particular type of service relationship with the Lord, eternally. This particular attachment is invoked by practice of regulative devotional service to the Lord, and thus the devotee becomes attached to the eternal form of the Lord, exactly like one who is already eternally attached. This attachment for a particular form of the Lord is called svarüpa-siddhi. The Lord sits on the lotus heart of the devotee in the eternal form the pure devotee desires, and thus the Lord does not part from the devotee, as confirmed in the previous verse. The Lord, however, does not disclose Himself to a casual or unauthentic worshiper to be exploited. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gitä (7.25): näham prakäshah sarvasya yoga-mäyä-samävritah. Rather, by yoga-mäyä, the Lord remains concealed to the nondevotees or casual devotees who are serving their sense gratification. The Lord is never visible to the pseudodevotees who worship the demigods in charge of universal affairs. The conclusion is that the Lord cannot become the order supplier of a pseudodevotee, but He is always prepared to respond to the desires of a pure, unconditional devotee, who is free from all tinges of material infection. (Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Srimad Bhagavatam 3:9:11. purport)
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......

We have started this web-site and news-letter for the purpose of sharing inspiration among like minded devotees, with a like interest in serving the Lord. On the www.salagram.net/ site there are many topics all referenced to shastra with the express purpose of helping us all over the world to have Sadhu-sanga http://www.salagram.net/sstp-sadhusanga.html So we have tried to create a sacred place in Cyber-space where devotees can find refuge, can associate, gain inspiration, share inspiration, hence it is Shaligram Tirtha, a Holy Tirtha in Cyber-space.

There are so many resources and articles, all of which you are welcome to download or copy for your personal use and to inspire others. If however you find a published article there that you would like to publish or if you have a site or some media whereby you would like to on-share with others just check with me to see who holds the legal copywrite if none are mentioned, as we don't want to offend anyone, even with our zealousness to share.

If you find any inspirational articles, or items, or pictures relevant to this site please feel free to send them to us. Please include all available references and details so that everything can be appreciated fully by all.

If for some reason http://www.salagram.net/index.html isn't working or available then please go to the mirror site http://www.hknet.org.nz/Sri-Shaligram-Tirtha.htm - and please remember to save these URLs in your Favorites (IE) or Hotlist (Opera) Bookmarks (Netscape).
...New Entries on the Web-site.....

In this section you can see all the latest additions, new picture updates of all the various devotees and Silas on the site.
...Search for Isthadevatas and Devotees on the site......

"There are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet" (unknown author)

To all those devotees who are receivers of this first newsletter; if you still haven't sent in photos or introductory descriptions or stories for the Sila in your care, that's okay, time is not out, you can still send. We are continuously updating the pages, so your sending pictures etc is never too late. Please send.

If you have Photoshop please "save for web" to keep the size down, but if you don't have that too is okay, just send, I can "save for web" also, if that will help. If you don't have a scanner that too is no problem, please send me an e-mail and I'll give you the address where you can post (snail-mail) your photographs, and there's always disposable Fuji cameras if things get really tough......
...Please Visit the Articles pages

As the late Bhakta George Harrison so nicely put it in the preface of the Krsna Book, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", so please go to the Articles section and make good use of all the links there. There's so much information and we hope and pray that you find it as useful as we have. =>:-))

This section has to be seen to be believed. We have tried, and had much success to find articles on almost every aspect of Shalagram seva pujan. All articles are clearly marked and ready for your perusal. We trust this serves you in this seva well.
Another version of Prabhupada's Peace Formula: http://www.hknet.org.nz/PeaceFormula.html

Annakuta Madhya 2-4-93:
[The inhabitants of the village brought to the Deity of Gopala as much food grains, ghee, yogurt and milk as they had in their village.

PURPORT: Anna, ghrta, dadhi and dugdha are food grains, ghee, yogurt and milk.  Actually, these are the basis of all food.  Vegetables and fruits are subsidiary.  Hundreds and thousands of recipes can be made out of grains, vegetables, ghee, milk and yogurt.  The food offered to Gopala in the Annakuta ceremony contained only these five ingredients.  Only demoniac people are attracted to other types of food, which we will not even mention in this connection.  We should understand that in order to prepare nutritious food, we require only grains, ghee, yogurt and milk.  We cannot offer anything else to the Deity.  The Vaisnava, the perfect human being, does not accept anything not offered to the Deity.  People are often frustrated with national food policies, but from the Vedic scriptures we find that if there are sufficient cows and grains, the entire food problem is solved.  The vaisyas (people engaged in agriculture and commerce) are therefore recommended in Bhagavad-gita to produce grains and give protection to cows.  Cows are the most important animal because they produce the miracle food, milk, from which we can prepare ghee and yogurt.

The perfection of human civilization depends on Krsna consciousness, which recommends Deity worship.  Preparations made from vegetables, grains, milk, ghee and yogurt are offered to the Deity and then distributed.  Here we can see the difference between the East and the West.  The people who came to see the Deity of Gopala brought all kinds of food to offer the Deity.  They brought all the food they had in stock, and they came before the Deity not only to accept prasada for themselves, but to distribute it to others.  The Krsna consciousness movement vigorously approves this practice of preparing food, offering it to the Deity, and distributing it to the general population.  This activity should be extended universally to stop sinful eating habits as well as other behaviour befitting only demons.  A demoniac civilization will never bring peace within the world.  Since eating is the first necessity in human society, those engaged in solving the problems of preparing and distributing food should take lessons from Madhavendra Puri and execute the Annakuta ceremony.  When people take to eating only prasada offered to the Deity, all the demons will be turned into Vaisnavas.  When the people are Krsna conscious, naturally the government will be so also.  A Krsna conscious man is always a very liberal well-wisher of everyone.  When such men head the government, the people will certainly be sinless.  There will no longer be disturbing demons.  It is then and then only that a peaceful condition can prevail in society.
(ACBSP. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya lila 2-4-93.)

Hari bol !!!
News Item:

This last Sunday here in Katikati, which was partially the reason for my delaying sending out this newsletter, we had so much Krishna conscious fun. April 2003 marked the 20th anniversary of the first Shaligram coming to us when we were living in Vrindavan 1983. So as a symbol of some small gratitude my wife and I were wondering how we could try to show some appreciation for all the years of mercy They have showered, and continue to shower upon us. We ended up bouncing it around our small community of devotees here, and as it was about the same time for our schedule to host the Sunday program, and Ramanavami program (we fasted on the day, and observed the festival on the Sunday too)....so we decided to try to cook it up for the Lord. The initial idea was, as it was Ekadasi vrata also here, that we would see if we could manage 64 ekadasi preps for the Lord, but as our enthusiasm grew and different items became available (ie one nice devotee here who does prasadam distribution to maintain his family arranged for 30 kg/ltrs of fresh pure cow milk from a friends farm) so we set our sights on 108 preps.
 A few days in advance of the festival my wife began co-ordinating with all our local devotees to cook and bring preps as is our tradition here to share the expense of programs, and it all started coming together. Many years ago under the auspices of Kurma prabhu in Melbourne we had shared in providing such a sumptuous offering to Radha Ballabh by all the temple devotees overseen and organized by Kurma prabhu's expertise so we had the knowledge infrastructure of that experience from the past. We all here share a common excitement for offering first class prep's to the Lord free from speculations et al, so the integrity status quo was also set. Now it was just a matter of brainstorming and then doing it.
 The realizations we had of the Supreme opulence of the Lord and the far cry away from the mundane notion of "What do you vegetarians eat???" sent further ripples of philosophical confirmation ecstasy around the community. A sense of excitement was building.
 Now it was just down to co-ordinating the how it was to be done....... Again Krishna had prepared us for that too being Head pujari in a couple of different temples for some years had also provided the necessary first hand training, everything was being taken care of. After spending this weeks and next weeks rent money in full confidence that the Lord will provide as He has for so many years before, and with confidence we sourced out the provisions. It was as an exciting meditation shopping as it was coming home and cooking, interacting with shop-keepers as they asked what this was all for "Are you having a party???" Then as the Supersoul inspired so many of them gave discounts and some threw in an item or two with good wishes..... It was so nice how Krishna was engaging so many people in His service.
 Then came the crunch of cooking. I took it upon myself to begin with all the milk sweets that would take the longest to make and store them in the fridge; so preparing Khoya, Rubbari, Barfi, Perah, Sandesh of different flavours and toppings, Rasa-malai, Rasa-kadam stuffed with pistachio and almond and saffron paste, Rasagula, Cham-cham with saffron strands took two days constant cooking and preparation, but wow what fun it was too. Then came all the other preps some with curd (paneer) different cheese cakes, shrikhands with pistachio, camphor, saffrom, wild berries and different fruits, different yogurt preps like chida dadhi some salty some sweet, it just went on and on, different drinks, I didn't realize you could get so much in our fridge.........
 On the Friday we were fasting for Lord Rama until sunset and my wife was working too that day so again I was alone cooking, but this time for the family for the breakfast in the evening too. Set perimeters had to be defined so as not to make preps' prasadi by those which were offered to Rama and those prepared for the Sunday, but that was okay.
 Saturday was mostly spent in puja and puja preparation for the Sunday and cleaning while my wife did her thing in the kitchen making different cakes and ekadasi cookies and simply wonderfuls, different sweets with sugar bases and milk powder; fudges, buckwheat and so many things for the next day.
 Sunday, ekadasi, and for me Jayapataka swami's Vyaasa pujan - did a nice puja to Srila Prabhupad by whose mercy I am here doing anything, and by whose mercy we remain in the association of nice devotees, and then into the Shaligram puja which due to so many people coming to see Them that day, and as it was Ekadasi we did some extra things for Them too and painted Them nicely. From there it was into mini-Vyaasa-puja mode some reading and homage and pushpanjali just on my own (I had been invited to share with other devotees in Auckland some but declined due these events unfolding).
 Okay, now back into the kitchen where there's another mataji joined my wife for pumping out amazing sabji and soup, kebabs, buckwheat tikis, sago and potato tikis, tamarind sauces, satay sauce, eggplant pukki, eggplant Balaram (Prabhupada's sabji), eggplant Murari (Nandarani' ACBSPs), Arbi bhaji (Champaka-lata's Sweet potato and Amchur sabji) so many, so many.........
 the program's due to begin at 3pm, it's 2pm and 98 prep's completed including those being brought by other devotees confirmed over the phone. It's all coming together, so I went off to have another shower and change of cloth to be there to greet the devotees as they came and get the two tables set up in front of the altar (two 8 feet by 4 feet tables) washed and covered with a cloth, a screen set up for the Lord's offering to go behind and all that....arati tray etc for that part of the program, the whole time bhajans and kirtans echo out from the music machine....
 3pm and devotees start to arrive until there was about 50 altogether, all their offerings are put into small disposable bowls bought for the occasion and placed on the tables. then when all was there, we humbly offered it all to Their Lordships (so that it wasn't all hanging around with the kids checking it out etc, and the hot preps getting cold etc) in the mean time Trivikram prabhu sings the Bhoga arati song and leads other nice melodious bhajans and kirtan for the Lord's pleasure. After that I was asked to give this weeks talk which I did around the concept of rendering service to the Lord and His devotees as a personal interaction to developing personal relationships with both......worked over the brahmeti paramameti bhagavan iti sabjate giving examples to support that concept, even threw in Elvis Presley and Graceland as an example of people heard of him, some heard his music, some met "the king", some even went to Graceland to be with him (obvious material short comings in any analogy were accepted), anyway it seemed to go off okay...........from comments from guests and devotees alike!
 This was followed by an ecstatic stand up kirtan while I performed the arati after organizing that the prasadam be moved over to the side of the room, we have a big lounge room where the altar is, so it works well. Half an hour of nice kirtan and everyone is sweating profusely, and blissfully smiling as they/we dance ecstatically before Their Lordships........
 Then came the moment for which everyone was so eagerly waiting, the honouring of the Lord's maha-prasadam. There were a few big main preparations like Gauranga potato, potato spinach ekadasi lasagna with cheese baked over the top, and fresh mixed salad with pure olive oil and fresh ground spice dressing, and pumpkin soup, as well as sweet stewed rhubarb, and a macaroon based cheesecake with passion-fruit topping and a whey based drink with mint, lemon etc. The rest was all sooooooooooo many little little portions of everything that was made. Needless to say all the devotees were stuffed full of nectar and jovially interacting, the mood was so nice to watch as we served out.
 It ended up that there were 109 prep's offered, and despite it now being two days later and the fridge now half full of maha-prasadam that we will continue to relish, all the devotees took away prasadam for friends, work-mates and other devotees who couldn't make it. It was truly a wonderful festival, one that I recommend be attempted for the Lord's pleasure.
 Maybe we'll make it a yearly event as we already have our Katikati annual pizza festival where we all cook various pizzas and then bring them all together and offer to the Lord at who-ever's place the program is at, have a class and kirtan and take prasadam, we've been doing that now for the last 8 years. Who knows what the Lord will inspire, or who He'll inspire, so we'll keep ears and eyes open for ways to serve Him and share together our humble realizations of what could happen if this kind of thing goes on in every town and village as we know so many devotees are doing, it changes the face of the earth (to coin the phrase from the song.)
 Anyway, that's what we've just been up to. If anyone would like to send in anything to share and inspire us through your interactions with the Sila form of the Lord, please feel free to do so.
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 /  \   haribol, ys JTCd

|)<>(|)<>(|)<>( A Grateful Word to our Supporters )<>(|)<>(|)<>(|
Personally we find that so many devotees are inspiring us in so many different ways, by the grace of the Lord. Especially I'd like to thank HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad for saving my very life, and to HH Jayapataka Swami and HH Indradyumna Swami for all the support and encouragement in seva pujan. There are literally hundreds who have helped in this humble service of ours here, Paramseva dasa was the catalyst for the web-site, Hrsikeshananda prabhu has kindly sponsored the site and maintains it financially, so without his help it wouldn't be, and similarly for the mirror site Tirtharaj prabhu allows us space and hosts www.hknet.org.nz to both these devotees we are so much indebted. There are so many others who have and are helping so much with articles, gifting Silas, books, and paraphernalia, and support; special thanks to Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP, Ramadasa prabhu ACBSP, Kurma prabhu ACBSP, Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP, Sukadev prabhu ACBSP, Bhaktisiddhanta swami JPS, Ameyatma prabhu PVS, Aisvarya prabhu HDG, Jvala Nrsimha prabhu IDS, Matsya Avatara prabhu BTS, Kailash mataji, Hamsa Avatara prabhu, Jagjeevan and Sudevi, Vikram and Aasha Murthy, and mother Neeta Sharma to name but a few. So as not to miss anyone as we so much appreciate all of you who are receiving this newsletter otherwise we wouldn't do all this thank you so much for just being part of it.

Many thanks to all the readers who have one way or another subscribed to Sri Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini newsletter. Your interest and support makes this service possible. Those wishing to contribute in any way to this 'Net-work, send articles, and or information please do so by contacting me here ... mailto:salagram@xtra.co.nz

We are very grateful to our sponsors donations to help maintain this and similar devotional service, especially on a regular basis, so again thank you. Couldn't do it without you.

After some feedback from our readers we are trying to maintain that the newsletter go out Quarterly, (four times a year - April, July, Sept, Dec). I hope that this is okay with everyone. See you in a couple of weeks.

|_____|_____Please pardon the intrusion_|____|______|
*Legalese -- This newsletter is NEVER sent out unsolicited. If you are receiving this for an unknown reason, maybe it's because of a friend giving us your address. We do not buy lists or gather  them via "Harvesting software(s)", nor will we ever give/sell your address to anybody. If you would rather NOT receive mail from us, please send us a message saying Unsubscribe, or Remove - and we will do the needful immediately. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

If somehow you are receiving this double - ie., at home and in the office please let me know, and your preferential option =>:-) JTCd

* Purohit JAya Tirtha ChAran dAsan
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