Update from Birnagar Dwadash Mandir

Birnagar is good for me. My chanting and meditation are very good here, though I still don't do enough.

I give class in morning and afternoon. Actually, in the morning from 7 to 9 I do kirtan and read Chaitanya Charitamrita and Bhaktivinoda Thakur's songs. In particular reading Kalyana-kalpa-taru, since that was published in 1879-80, which is a period of BVT's life that particularly interests me.

In the evening we are going through Bhagavad-Gita. They have been doing while I was away, so even though I wanted to do Bhakti-Sandarbha, I have been continuing with the Gita. We are using the edition of Gorakhpur Gita Press, which has a very extensive commentary by Ramsukh Dasji. Maybe I will say more about that some other time.

Prasad is good. There is lots of muri. The cows give good milk. Today the prasad was really fine... Someone paid to make nice prasad for the devotees. On special occasions people like to have prasad from the temple, so they make an order and we get to enjoy the results.

We had shukto, dhoka dalna, dal, sweet rice and a sweet. First class. We often have shak, because it seems there are fifty kinds of shak growing here. Since I have been here we have had kumro shak, ol shak, kachu shak and many others. Also we have been getting tal fruit from our own tree, which are just in season and ripening. Tal bhora is usually a treat at Janmashtami time.

We have coconuts and lots of other stuff. A small banana orchard. The mangos and jackfruit are finished for the year, but we still have jackfruit seeds that go into some recipes.

The agricultural part of the ashram could be run better. We have enough land to grow vegetables to have a nice variety all year round. We have a huge supply of cow manure...We shouldn't really have to buy anything from the market other than rice and dal.

Ashram life is good for me. Regularly attending mangal and sandhya arati keeps me disciplined. There are only five of us permanently residing here, and a bit of a motley crew at that, but Vamsi Dasji and Hari Gopal Dasji Maharaj have been around for more than 40 years.

Hari Gopal Dasji is winning ever more of my respect. He is attracting new disciples. He has a lot of energy. He is in better shape than most Bengalis his age, maybe because he spent 30 years doing daily Govardhan Parikrama.

He recently went to Bangla Desh where there are a number of devotees from our family -- disciples of Sachinandan Bhakti Prabha -- and went on a tour of Bangla visiting Rajshahi, Chittagong and Sylhet, etc., all the places that have some connection to Vaishnavism.

And he has also instituted an annual Gauda Dham parikrama -- from Khirchor Gopinath to Vishnupur to Ekachakra, etc, etc. quite the trip. I might go one time, but don't have much enthusiasm for traveling and sightseeing any more. But it is good and necessary for our relatively small devotee community. Small is still beautiful. I am afraid of getting big because it brings a lot of trouble.

Babaji Maharaj has also been really good with the local community. Many people from the village are participating in the development of the ashram and becoming more serious devotees. It is very nice to see..

Anyway, he has brought new life to Dwadash Mandir and a lot of painting and cleaning is going on in the runup to the Utsava, which will start on 27th this month. Bhaktivinoda Thakur's appearance day this year is the same day as Janmashtami. (We follow the Bengali calendar, 18th of Bhadra). So the celebration takes place from 27 August to 4th September. The link is in Bengali only. I will put up another in English later today.

Jai Bhaktivinode Dwadash Mandir ki jai.

A few of the tal fruit that fell from the tree yesterday. Too much for one day to eat. But they don't last, so we have been giving them away. There are a number of things you can do with them, but mix with a bit of flower and deep fry to make taler bora. That is the best. Anotther is to add a bit of milk and sugar and make a kind of pudding. It is orange in color.
Madhava Das preparing tal bora
The goshala seen from the vegetable garden side.
The pumpkin patch surrounded by banana trees.

More pictures on Facebook.


Dear Jagadananda Das,

A (hardback) copy of the Bhagavad Gītā with Abhinavagupta’s Commentary (Gītārtha Saṁgraha) is on its way to you by post (C/O. The Jiva Institute, Vrindavan); the parcel should arrive in a couple of weeks.

Kind regards,


Jagadananda Das said…
Thank you very much for you kind thoughts. I have not studied Abhinavagupta's Gita, which differs in some important ways. It will be a welcome edition to the library, that is for sure. As usual, you continue to be a friend... Jai Radhe.

Anonymous said…

A plain text (Unicode) transliteration of the Gītārtha Saṁgraha (Muktabodha Catalog number: M00244) may be found here:


The Bhagavadgītā with commentary by Abhinavagupta was edited by Lakṣmaṇa Raina Brahmacārī (Laksman Joo).


If prompted for a password and susername:

Username: muktabodha
Password: indology

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