All Glories to Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Installation Day of Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika-Giridhari
June 8, 2005
This was a very special day at the Soquel Seva Ashram. Once again, the devotees felt the sweet presence of Srila Govinda Maharaj as the installation of their Lordships, Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika-Giridhari, was honored. It has been nine years since their Lordships were first installed. The history behind the installment brings back several memories to the devotees that have watched this Ashram grow under the sweet guidance of His Divine Grace. I don't remember so much since I was nine years old when the Deities were installed, but I remember how packed the temple room was. I remember seeing Srila Gurudev walking about smiling. His compassionate and transcendental kindness engulfed the room and every living entity in it. The kirtan was lively and loud, and it felt heavy in my heart - it was a kirtan that overflowed with celebration. Since then, their Lordships have showered us with rains of opportunities to serve the mission of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. On this day, several of the devotees were asked what they remembered about the installation. -Vaidehi Devi Dasi
| Sureshvari Devi Dasi:
"I remember that when we saw the Deities we just about passed out because we were amazed at how beautiful they were. I also remember giving my wedding ring and was so excited to do that. I had to go to the sink and use so much soap to get it off of my hand - I had been wearing it for twenty-five years, and I got to give it to the Deity. The next week I moved into the Temple. This was a huge day for me."
| Rasangi Devi Dasi:
"I remember all of the excitement, preparation, and anticipation for the arrival of our beloved Deities. We waited a long time and the excitement was building. We were decorating and cooking and very joyful. I remember feeling that Krishna was coming to us - Radha and Krishna were coming to us and it was an amazing day. When I was in ISKCON at the L.A. Temple I was a part of that installation and it was just like that. You feel very blessed - you feel like you are being given this wonderful special gift. You can't help but feel honored and nervous about whether we can actually serve Them nicely and avoid offences. I remember the joyfulness of all of the devotees and the hard work that Sarvabhavana Prabhu and others did to prepare the altar. Everyone was very ecstatic."
| Adi Keshava Das:
"There were a lot of devotees that day. The Deities were carried all around the property and there were so many blessings for all of the devotees. It was a very warm and glorious day."
| Annapurna Devi Dasi:
"I was ten years old when the Deities were installed but I remember that my mother, Diksavati Devi Dasi, had just gotten back from India. She brought back all of this jewelry and was wearing her brand new gold earrings and nose-pin. She had given Sanatani some gold earrings too. I found out that Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj, under the instruction of Srila Gurudev, had asked all of the ladies to give their jewelry to the Deities just this one time. All of the ladies began taking off their jewelry to give to the Deities. Some people gave their wedding rings, I think I gave my earrings.... It was really fun to see us being able to give the Deities something. It was right off of our bodies and straight to the Deities."
| Dhruva Das:
"I remember walking behind Nityahari Das on Parikrama when he was holding Lord Krishna on his shoulder. That is all I can really remember because I was seven years old but I thought that was really amazing."
| Laksmipriya Devi Dasi:
"It's a very auspicious day and just being here is very wonderful. I am very happy to be here and be a part of the festivities. I took initiation because I wanted to make garlands for the Deities and since then, I make garlands all of the time. Now I am making bracelets and anklets for the Deities in honor of the anniversary of their installation. This is the first time I've been here for the installation celebration and it's amazing just to think that their presence is here. My daughter and I are thankful to have shelter here and have a direct service to the Deities."
Ramai Prabhu: (the pujari)
"I remember one thing. Srila Govinda Maharaj said that everyone was thinking tomorrow would be a very happy day, and I am thinking it will be very heavy. I remember this because the Deities were so big, and the way we didn't put enough rice on the offering because we weren't used to offering so much rice. We were a bit unprepared and had to send Ekala Prabhu all over Santa Clara to find the pots and bowls for the abhiseka. We learned a lot that day."
Kalindi Devi Dasi:
"It was such a special day. We had the presence of Srila Gurudev - what else could we aspire for? Srila Gurudev was here, Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj was here and so many devotees from all around the world were here. The Temple looked beautiful and the atmosphere was completely transcendental. I remember all of the preparations for the abhiseka. When I saw the Deities, I couldn't believe how beautiful they were. It was through the effort and devotion of the devotees, and the mercy of Srila Gurudev, that we got this mercy. For me it was also very significant because this old devotee that I used to help as a pujari helper in Merida, Venezuela, came to the installation ceremony. This brought back the memory of the installation of Radha-Govinda at that Temple in Venezuela when I was so new to the movement. I am very thankful for the mercy of Srila Gurudev for letting me be here at such a special time."
Jahnavi Devi Dasi:
"I was four years old, and I remember the men bringing the Deities up the hill with rope for the parikrama around the property. I also gave my little gold earrings to the Deities that day."
Krsnapriya Devi Dasi:
"Jay Gurudev. The day before, I was running up the hill after doing the lunch offering to take rest because I was really tired. Yudhamanyu Prabhu saw me and said: 'Krsnapriya, come here. What are you doing right now?' I told him I was going to take rest. He said: 'Oh, I'm looking for someone to go with me to Pusta Krishna Prabhu's house to pick up the Deities.' Suddenly I wasn't tired. I ran up the hill, got ready, and jumped into Syamananda Prabhu's van with Sudarshan Prabhu, Anupama Devi Dasi from Germany, and Yudhamanyu Prabhu, and went to get the Deities that Dharubrahma Devi Dasi was nourishing. I got to hold Srimati Gandharvika because we didn't want to put Them on the floor. I was feeling so incredibly blessed to hold Her and help Her come to the Ashram. When we got here we put Them in the temple room, and that was incredible. The next day, the installation day, I remember that Srila Gurudev had asked all of the ladies if they wanted to give some gold and jewelry for the Deities. All of the ladies were taking off earrings and bangles and putting them in the basket. That whole day was just amazing - you can see the mercy of Srila Gurudev everywhere you go. The Deities are really dancing here and helping us."
"I remember that when they were taking the Deities across customs in India, the Deities were in huge crates. It was very difficult to get hem across customs but the custom agent saw the Deities. I think he opened the crate Krishna was in and then sped it through customs very quickly. By seeing Krishna, it melted the custom agent's heart and so he sped them right through instead of holding them up."
Little Bhanavi Devi Dasi honoring the gulabjamuns. Premananda Das listening to the stories about the installation day.
Jaya Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika-Giridhari!