King Shibi protects a pigeon from a hawk but ends up sacrificing his own flesh to do it.
I was writing yesterday on Akshaya Tritiya, the ‘Day for New Beginnings’. Another important project begun on this day was the writing of the Mahabharata by Srila Vyasadeva.
Yesterday evening I attended and spoke at a function to mark the completion of a year-long restoration project. Harivamsa das and wife Krishnapurna dasi, two pillars of our community, have been extending and fitting out a house not far from the Manor. In keeping with their long tradition of hospitality, their new home was packed with Vaishnavas. A fire yajna was conducted by Arjuna, the house purified with kirtan and Ganges water, and a talk given by Gaura-gopala das. He chose to speak on the meaning of bhavan, a name that many Hindus give their home, as in Shanti-Bhavan and so on. He commented that the ‘bha’ stands for bhagavan, or God, and if God is not present in the home then all we are left with is ‘van’ or ‘forest’ where the animals live. So for true shanti or peace, there must always be God in the home.
I spoke briefly on the sacrifice required by married people, and how incumbent upon them is the requirement to feed those who are hungry. I gave King Shibi as an example, who sacrificed his own flesh in order to keep his promise to a bird.
One more excellent project completed yesterday was the new houses for the Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh, Belgium. The roof went on, signifying the new beginning for teachers and staff accommodation. So well done to them. Here’s a picture of what the new place looked like yesterday, and, just over the road and down the village a little way the Chateau with its library, temple, and conservatory cafe visible in the photo.
New college building from the street (above) and the castle (below)