Editor's Message

Dear Readers,

This Guru Purnima was extra special for us, as divine grace showered in abundance with the opening of the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas.
Therefore, in this edition of Sumiran, we bring two special articles to you: 'Eight Days of Inauguration Festivities' and 'Temple Construction Highlights.' Our regular feature columns share the highlights from Swamiji's recent USA tour and BM contributions. Learn about health benefits of turmeric in our wellness section. Finally, enjoy our bhog recipe of Bengali samosa in this rainy season.  
Best Wishes,
Editor's Desk  
In This Issue

भाव अनन्य बना, नित सुमिरन करना |

bhāva ananya banā,
nita sumiran karanā 
Make your devotional sentiments exclusive and engage in continuous remembrance.
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Eight Days of Inauguration Festivities

The much-awaited Radha Krishna Temple in Allen, TX finally opened its doors this month. In addition to the local Dallas-Ft. Worth area devotees, more than a hundred devotees flew in from all over the US to participate in and to contribute to these festivities.

Pran Pratishtha is the main ceremony which invokes the presence of God in the deities and helps establish concurrent sentiments in the hearts of the congregation of devotees as well. The Vedas prescribe a series of pooja's leading up to the Pran Pratishtha that were followed with utmost sincerity, love, and reverence by all participating in them. The ever-merciful Radha Krishna let it be known that the prayers were heard via the abundant divine grace that was continuously flowing for the duration of the festivities. No heart was left untouched as everyone attending these events experienced the grace in a multitude of ways making it an event of a lifetime. Although the entire ceremony was divine and cannot be expressed in words, yet a few of the steps involved are described here for the devotional pleasure of readers.

The festivities kicked off with the Tan Man Shuddi Pooja on July 4th. The aim of this pooja was to cleanse the hearts and minds of the devotees so that they could perform the ceremonies coming up over the next week with sincerity and purity. All the yajmans felt particularly grateful for the opportunity to be able to participate in these ceremonies.

July 5th was the Pushpa Divas which initiated a series of pooja's over the next five days to appease all the celestial gods. This was done because later in the ceremonies, the celestial gods and goddess would be invited to reside in the deities. Just like the water of all rivers flows into the ocean, the talents, strengths, and virtues of all the celestial gods and goddesses would come to reside in the deities. The devotees performed this pooja with utmost sincerity so that all the celestial gods and goddesses would be appeased by their heartfelt prayers and agree to this humble request.

On July 6th Radha Krishna were woken up from their bed of flowers with Suprabhatham. The Radhey Radhey, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya chants, and kirtans of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj reverberated throughout the temple, as the Parikrama (circumambulation) was done with Radha Krishna. Now the devotees started to sense the excitement in the air; they could see this dream becoming a reality. Once again, all the celestial gods were appeased with the Sarva Devata Havan as the devotees performed the pooja with deep devotional sentiments.

July 7th was celebrated as Grihapravesh as the deities were brought into the temple. The Kalash Yatra was the first of the ceremonies conducted on this day. It started with a pooja to invite all the rivers so that their water could be combined in the Kalash. The yatra involved the devotees walking around the block to chantings of Radhey Govind which evoked sentiments of love and peace. Following the yatra, Radha Krishna were bathed with a combination of this holy water, milk, yogurt, honey, and sugar to make them ready for the entry into the temple.

Swamiji then conducted the Dwar Pooja, which he started by creating two swastikas at the doorway for auspiciousness. Just as a new bride is given keys to the house which she ties in the pallu of her sari, Swamiji tied the keys of the temple to Radha Rani's sari indicating Her rightful place as the owner of this temple. Following this, the shilpis and yajmans lovingly carried the deities to the altar. With the loving sentiments reaching such a high fervor, everyone present was so moved that there was not a dry eye left in the hall.
July 8th saw the Angnyas Pooja where all the limbs of the deities were worshipped. Since only a rishi is qualified to place life into each limb, Swamiji agreed to our humble request to do so. After this, the devotees were given the opportunity to submit their offerings at the lotus-shaped base that would hold the deities. The throng of people who stepped up was tremendous. People offered silver coins, gold chains, diamond rings, and anything and everything that was most precious to them as their token of love, invitation, and acceptance for Radha Krishna. The entire hall  was energized as the excitement was building up for the grand finale the next day.

The grand climax arrived on July 9th, the day of Guru Purnima. The anticipation and excitement in the air was palpable as the crowds were growing restless to see their beloved Radha Krishna. The day started with a pooja and then the deities' clothes were lovingly carried up by the yajmans. Another pooja was conducted where Radha Krishna were asked to reside in the deities. The deities were unveiled after this but with blindfolds. By now, the anticipation was clearly building up in the audience.

The story goes that Radha Rani first opened her eyes when Krishna was standing in front of her. To honor this tradition, the shilpis came in with mirrors and behind a closed curtain made sure that as Radha Rani's blindfold was removed, the first entity she saw was Krishna. Then the deities were dressed and they were ready for the first darshan. By now the crowd was getting restless and everyone's heart was fluttering. How much longer would they have to wait to see their beloved Radha Krishna?

Panditji made everyone close their eyes so that they could do Roop Dhyan on the image of Radha Krishna. And when everyone opened their eyes next, the most beautiful and enchanting Radha Krishna wer e standing before them. Devotees were riding the wave of sentiments from the past few days and the unveiling brought tears to their eyes. Everyone felt the divine grace just like water flowing smoothly in a creek.

The flow of the visitors was non-stop this day and the deities were the talk of the town! 

Since it was Guru Poornima, the evening session started with abhishek of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. All the devotees performed this abhishek with much love and reverence in honor of the fifth original Jagadguru.

July 10th started with a short pooja with the highlight being the Dwajarohan or the Flag Hoisting Ceremony. It is believed that once the flags are hoisted, just driving by the temple and looking at the shikharas has the same effect as actually entering the temple and getting darshan of the deities. Since the city did not allow the flag to stay in place due to certain regulations, Swamiji went up the crane and touched the flag at the tallest shikhara to signify the same. Riding the wave of sentiments from these past few days, devotees started dancing even before Swamiji stepped into the crane!

The afternoon brought the Maha Annakoot where the chappan bhog or 56 different delicacies were laid out for Radha Krishna. The story goes that Krishna would eat eight times during the day. While he held the Govardhan hill on his little finger for seven days, He did not eat a morsel of food let alone a meal. At the end of this incident, a lavish feast was prepared for Him with 56 different varieties of foodstuffs. Everyone attending this bhog and feast made sure they bought something for their beloved Radha Krishna. Some offered simple fruits as a token of their love while others stayed up until 2 am to make delicious gulab jamuns and yet others woke up at 4 am to bring in fresh halwa for the Lord!

The evening session started with the first abhishek of Radha Krishna. The ceremony was performed with much love by everyone as no one could deny the divine grace that was flowing through non-stop. Everyone's heart was overflowing with love for their Guru and God.

July 11th was the last day of these festivities. After seven days of non-stop seva, the 12 hour non-stop Akhand Kirtan was an opportunity for all the devotees to sing the glories of their beloved Radha Krishna and engage in Roop Dhyan.

Everyone who helped with the temple construction was honored in different ways during the entire celebration. The mayor of Allen, Stephen Terrell, was so impressed that he announced July 9th 2017 as Radha Krishna Temple Day! Congratulatory messages came in from the local US Senator, John Cornyn. His representative Kamal Fulani attended the event and was very impressed by the temple. The temple architect stated that this temple was built in record time of three years whereas most other temples take an average of 7-10 years to build. Swamiji also honored the shilpis who made tremendous sacrifices by leaving their families in India to come here and provide such exquisite artistry to the temple. And lastly, this was a culmination of the effort of all the devotees who contributed with tan, man, dhan to make this temple come to fruition.

Everyone was sad to these festivities come to an end and no one wanted to leave. While they physically left, the devotees left their hearts in the Radha Krishna Temple of Allen, TX. 
Temple Construction Highlights 

Most of us remember the groundbreaking ceremony (bhoomi pujan) for the temple that took place in March 2014.  Since then it took three years of dedicated service to get it up and ready so that it could serve as an abode for Radha Krishna. In this article, we share with you the highlights and some interesting facts of what it took to get the building to its present state.

In order t
o construct a building, the very first thing that is done is to create a good, solid and stable foundation. The laws of engineering dictate that the taller the building, the deeper and more substantial its foundation must be laid. The piers, under the foundation slab, extend 12 to 15 feet deep and are 2 feet in diameter.

To better appreciate the work that went in to build the walls, we'd like to share a bit about how they were built. The construction of exterior temple walls consists mainly of thick concrete panels that were made right on site. The walls are a little over 7" thick and the smallest one weighs in at nearly 15,000 lb
s. The steel reinforcing alone in each panel weighs thousands of pounds.     

Before wall construction could begin, large concrete casting beds had to be built since the wall panel themselves are over 36 feet in length. Then the concrete workers built out wooden forms, giving shape to the walls and their window and door openings on top of the casting beds. A great deal of engineering work went into the panel design and a lot of accuracy into the execution to achieve proper location and sizing of openings and placement of steel reinforcement.

Dozens of concrete trucks brought in concrete that was pumped and poured into the forms. Once the concrete dried and hardened, we have had to patiently wait for some time for the panels to cure to sufficient strength to be safely lifted and set in place without breakage.

Planning and preparations for lifting panels went on for several weeks before crews finally sprang into acti
on and transitioned into the execution phase. As the first step, crews carefully laid out and marked the wall panel locations using surveying equipment, so that the walls can be placed in the exact location.  They cleaned up all connection points for lifting and bracing the wall panels. Then they checked for integrity and proper location according to engineering design.

Crane operating crew delivered a 350 ton hydraulic crane which took hours to set up. Four tractor trailers delivered the huge heavy counterweights weighing over 100 tons or 220,000 lbs. Crane riggers installed the counterweights on the crane as well as the large heavy pads for the crane's outriggers each of which weighed over a ton. These measures were critically important to prevent the crane from tipping over while lifting. Other crews prepared for the lifting of the wall panels by attaching bracing to panels and preparing the hoisting cables.

The W
alls of the Radha Krishna Temple finally went up over four days. Two construction teams with over a dozen workers, crane operators, and foremen lifted and set 33 wall panels.

Each wall panel weighed between 15,000 to 75,000 pounds and reached just over 36 feet in height. A 190 ton crane that had over 220,000 pounds in counterweights lifted the panels and set them in pla
ce. Considering the size and weight of the panels, the construction team kept safety as its main goal alongside completing the work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Workers installed
braces to hold each panel in place prior to lifting. They carefully measured the exact panel locations to finally set panels with precision and accuracy. Afterwards, crews attached heavy metal bracing with bolts to the concrete slab to hold the panel securely in place.

Once work
ers installed all the wall panels, they welded about a hundred connecting points made from steel plates and angles to connect the panels to each other and to the foundation. As soon as the crew welded the connections, they prepared to begin steel erection to create the structural skeleton of the building.

Four shikharas were manufactu
red in India and shipped to the temple site. They are painted white with detailed intricate artwork on the sides to enhance their beauty. The kalash on the tallest shikhara is over 9 feet tall making the tallest shikhara nearly 37 feet high. In fact, the moment the large shikhar was hoisted and set into place, a brief strong shower of rain came down, as if all the heavenly deities were showering their blessings on this temple!

Elaborate sculptor w
ork will adorn the base all around the temple building perimeter. Over the course of many weeks, the artisans hand sculpted, cast, and finally installed hundreds of spectacularly ornate architectural stone elements of the temple base on the east side. Believe it or not, although already endowed with amazing artistry, these exquisite sculpture works will become even more immeasurably beautiful once the artisans embellish their awe-inspiring masterpieces with color over the next twelve months.  

Featured Video

Why do we want to live and not die
Is there anybody who likes to die? The desire to live is common to all human beings. Even people nearing their last breath wish to live more.
Click here to watch an inspiring video by Swami Mukundananda, where he explains the reason why all creatures seek life.

News & Updates

East Coast Retreat with Swamiji, 2017
2017 East Coast Retreat with Swamiji started off jubilantly with devotees singing and dancing merrily to welcome Shree Krishna. Highlight of the retreat was the Janmashtami celebration where all the devotees enthusiastically celebrated the birth of Shree Krishna. All the devotees danced in merriment and were transported to Gokul singing Govind Gokul Aayo. An evening of total fun with lot of memories to cherish forever! 
Devotees got a taste of Vrindavan during the parikrama. A lush green environment along with the gurgling waters of the creek and lovely weather created the perfect setting. Swamiji's heartfelt chanting of God's names, enthusiastic dance of devotees along with the guided roopdhyan meditation by Swamiji on the Kalia Mardhan leela of Shree Krishna made the parikrama a memorable experience for everyone.

Swamiji took time out to interact with everyone, answer their questions, and provide clarifications. The entire retreat was very well structured to give the best spiritual experience for all the participants. There were so many different activities and each one of them was so spiritually fulfilling and yet fun. The Bhajan Competition and cultural performances made the retreat entertaining.

The yoga, pranayama and meditation session lead by Swamiji was a great hit. Under Swamiji's guidance it was very easy to practice the yogasans and pranayam. It helped in rejunevating the entire body. Practicing the unique technique of subtle body meditation under the able guidance of Swamiji made everyone travel to the spiritual realm. An experience to be treasured forever.
The kirtan sessions were just out of this world. Devotees were filled with enthusiasm and devotion as they chanted the names of God and sang his glories. Devotion was at its peak on the second day when the devotees could hardly hold on to their seats! Everyone danced to their glory expressing their love and devotion to the Supreme Almighty. Soulful kirtans with insightful meaning and composition stole the heart of everyone at the retreat!!

And last but not the least, everyone looked forward to Swamiji's lectures. The topic this time was Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita. Swamiji explained the difference between karm yog and karm sanyas and stressed the importance of cultivating a pure internal mind free from the external vagaries of the world. As usual, everyone was completely absorbed in the lectures as Swamiji delivered them with his usual mix of real-life anecdotes, stories from the scriptures, and humor.  Click here for more photos. 


Lecture Programs

Swami Mukundananda conducted a 7-day Ram Katha Lecture Series in Queens, NY from Jul 21-27.

People traveled from Manhattan, Long Island, and even New Jersey so as to not miss this annual event! Swamiji kept everyone at the edge of their seats as he shared the secrets of each incident. Participants couldn't wait to come back the next day to hear more!

 Click here for photos

Swamiji's Upcoming Events, 2017  

July 29th to Aug 4th

Allen, TX
Aug 5th to 11th     
Morrisville, NC   
Aug 12th to 18th   
Centennial, CO    
Aug 19th to 25th  
Houston, TX   

Aug 26th to Sep 1st
 Hoffman Estates, IL
Sept 2nd to 4th    
Labor Day Retreat   
Sept 7th to 10th  
Newington, CT   
Sept 21st to 29th
 Allen, TX
Last retreat of the year with Swamiji  
Sept 2nd to 4th  
Dallas, TX    
For details, click here
Wellness for Life
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Isn't mother- nature just wonderful?! She has provided so many natural substances that are both healthy and healing for us. One such common herb is turmeric, which we call haldi in India. Its formal name is curcuma longa, and it comes from the ginger family. It has a sharp taste and aroma, and a beautiful golden color. It is readily available and is widely used in cooking across the world. Turmeric's, list of properties are many, of which some include being an antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. It contains nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, protein, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc (all present in very small quantities, not enough to meet your recommended daily dose). So, it can be used for multiple purposes. Let's have a look at the various health benefits of turmeric.

Cancer Prevention
Turmeric's miracle active compound is called curcumin. Curcumin is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds often found in plants that can protect the body's cells from damage caused by activated molecules known as free radicals. Curcumin protects our cells from tumors that are introduced in the body via radiation. Turmeric consumption can impair cancer cells, therefore stopping their growth, and preventing cancers such as prostate, T-cell leukemia, colon, and breast.

Gives Arthritis Relief
Turmeric has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. It is helpful in both osteoarthritis and in immune system trigged rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidants work by attacking and destroying free radicals in our ce  lls, which cause cellular damage. Free radicals are one of the culprits causing inflammation in our joints, and therefore regular consumption of turmeric can significantly reduce joint pain. Give it a try when experiencing acute or chronic pain.

Uveitis is a flare up of the iris of the eye, due to excessive inflammation. In a study, people with chronic uveitis were given curcumin, which they found to be as effective as corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a prescription medication given to reduce inflammation, and can in many physical forms (i.e. tablets, drops, creams, gels, etc.). There is definitely a need for more research to further validate this point. Please be advised to always consult a health-care professional for medi  cal conditions such as uveitis.
Click here to read the entire article.
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Bal-Mukund classes at East Coast Retreat was a great hit!! Children enjoyed the sessions and were looking forward to attend the classes. Parents were literally surprised to see the excitement and enthusiasms with which children were running for Bal-Mukund classes. Children did a myriad of activities which were fun at the same time had a lot of learning!! They were thrilled to meet and spend time with Swamiji and made a lot of friends.
Retreat was focused on Janmashtami and KRIPALU value Respect. Children learned about birth of Lord Krishna, Janmashtami and the way it is celebrated. The y also learned about the importance of Respect and made a craft outlining their personalized Respect pledge that they took back home. They also got to make a beautiful clay peacock that they got to keep as a souvenir. In addition children learned sloka, bhajan in addition to participating in a wonderful Janmashtami celebration and enchanting parikrama. Above all, they got to showcase all that they learned at the retreat to Swamiji, interact with him and get their questions clarified. Children also made a special greeting card for Swamiji and also for each other. It was so much fun to see the children enjoy and yet learn much. All the Bal-Mukund teachers had great time volunteering their time and enjoyed every bit of it!
Click here for more photos 

Bhog Recipe

Bengali Samosa
For the dough:
  • 250 grams white flour
  • 100 grams oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Mix all the ingredients with water to make a dough (hard like poori dough
For Samosa filling:
  • 1/2 kg potatoes boiled and cut into small pieces 
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2-3 green chilli
  • 1/2 tablespoon rasins
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon amchur
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Oil for frying

Process to make the filling:  

Put 3 tablespoon oil into the pan.  Add ginger chilly paste and then put raisons, peanuts, salt, potatoes and the spices.  Cook for some time, keep stirring.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Process to fill the samosas:
  • Divide dough into 10 equal portions.
  • Use a rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a 5" oval.
  • Cut into 2 halves.
  • Run a moist finger along the diameter.
  • Roll around finger to make a cone.
  • Place a tablespoon of the filling into the cone.
  • Seal the third side using a moist finger.
  • Deep fry the samosas on low to medium heat until light brown.
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