Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Guruji’s Birthday (and Prasad Recipe!)

June 13th, we celebrated the birthday of our beloved Satguru Sri Swami Vishwananda. In different corners of the world devotees and disciples rejoiced, having fun, performed puja and yagna, singing bhajans and giving thanks to God.

Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
Guru Krishna prasade paya bhakti lata bija 

"According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service."

 (Srī Caitanya Caritāmrita, Madhya lila, chapter 19.151)

The greatest gift of God is meeting with the Master. It is a great blessing that our Satguru came for all of us, to awakens us, and to opens our hearts. Guruji helps everyone, without expecting anything in return; He loves everyone with unconditional divine love.
From our part we can only faithfully serve the lotus feet of our Master- Just as the Sri Guru Gita always states- service, service, and once again only service.

Sādhakena pradātavyam
Guru santosa kārakam
Guror ārādhanam kāryam
Svajīvitvam nivedayet

„The Guru shoul be pleased and should be made happy. One should dedicate one’s entire life to the Guru’s service.”
(Sri Guru Gita. Sri Swami Vishwananda.)

And our service in the kitchen – of course is cooking! And on this special day - the birthday of Gurudev - cooking prasadam. You can see it now in the  photos....

Preparing birthday cake for the morning puja

and this is preparing a large birthday cake for the evening celebration

and mastering of a new type of coating cake   

and this is the result

And we have prepared small chocolate cakes with monogrammed letters, SV

But today we share with you the prasadam recipe, which we also prepared for Guruji birthday. This is Gulab Jamuns. Gulab Jamun is easily the most popular and loved dessert in India.

The term "Gulab Jamun" literally translates into "Rose Berries". “Gulab” means rose and “jamuns” are deep purple colored berries available in India. This dessert's shape and color (orb shaped and purple tone) is likened to the Jamun berry and since it uses Rose water essence to provide it's addictive flavor, hence the name.

2½ cups milk powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ pint heavy whipping cream
A pinch of baking soda
3 cups sugar
5 ½ cups of water
6-7 cardamom (elaichi) powder 
1 tablespoon rose water
Vegetable oil or ghee for frying (P.S. traditionally gulab jamuns are fried in ghee. you can go the traditional way if you want or just fry them in oil like we have done.)
1 cup = 235 ml

1.      Prepare all the ingredients.
2.      Mix milk powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda and half of cardamom in a bowl. 

3.      Add whipping cream and knead well. This will be consistency of soft dough, if it is too dry add 1 to 2 spoons of milk as needed, not the cream. Dough should be very soft and sticking to fingers, as dough sits milk powder absorbed the extra cream

4. Cover and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  
5. Make the sugar syrup. In a pan add water, sugar and cardamom. Let it boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved, about 4-6 minutes. Add rose water. Turn off the heat. Set the syrup aside.

6. Knead the dough. But before working with the dough, grease your hands with a small amount of vegetable oil, the dough is not stuck to hands. Take small portion of dough and shape it into round balls, each in the same size in diameter of about 1 inch. It is important that they get a smooth surface without any cracks. Put them on a non-stick surface. From the kneaded dough should get about 40-50 balls. After you have rolled up balls, cover them with a damp towel.

7. Heat the oil in a frying pan on high heat and immediately turn them down to the very small.
8. Place the 5-7 gulab jamuns in the frying pan, so they don’t disturb each other. Using a skimmer / slotted spoon, start to turn it to avoid sticking to the bottom and giving them the opportunity to fry on all sides. Approximately after 15 seconds they are themselves will float on the surface, but still keep their turn.

9. Continue to fry them on a very low heat for about 10-15 minutes. They slowly will darken to dark brown. If the gulab jamuns are fried on high heat, they will become hard inside and not fully cooked.

10. When the gulab jamuns are ready, blot the excess oil with a napkin. 

11. Placing them in the hot syrup for about 24 hours. Don’t place the gulab jamuns in the syrup immediately after frying. This will cause the gulab jamuns to lose their shape. They should be soft and juicy, having absorbed a large amount of syrup.

12. Serve.

Serve, Give, Thanks
Meditate, practice Atma kriya
Just Love.
With Love from Shree Peetha Nilaya.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Serve your way to Bliss!

Often we say to ourselves “How to please God? In which way shall we please God? How can we make God happy?” There are many ways God is happy with, but what is the best way to make Him happy?

When do you think God is happy? It is when we are happy. God is happy when we are happy, because our happiness is His happiness, because we are part of Him. We will make ourselves happy through serving, through helping, because the greatest happiness comes from serving. The more you help, the more you make somebody else happy, the more you will see the happiness inside of you grow and grow. The less you help, the more you push yourself backwards. The more you think “No, why should I help”, the more you become untrue towards yourself. When you become untrue towards yourself, you don’t let the heart open up. The more this happens, the more you become miserable.

When you help, like Christ said, it has to be unconditional. When you help, you should forget about it.

Don’t be scared to serve, in whatever way you can, however you can, whenever you can, because you don’t know when God can come to you and in what form He can come to you. Feel blessed and feel the Love of God!
(Just Love 2. Sri Swami Vishwananda.)

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Bhakti Marga at Shree Peetha Nilaya in all areas are enormous work. And the kitchen is not an exception. We have in the kitchen a huge plan, the realization of which we are working on. And what you see in the photo, it is only a small part of the plan as it is constantly reviewed and added to!

Especially in anticipation of such a grand celebration all of the kitchen comes together to accomplish many projects, growing in unity.  Service to our Guru, this is the greatest happiness!

And so each day our team and seva helpers are busy forming something, baking something, cutting something, testing something. 

And so by tradition now, we would like to share one of the recipes we are preparing for the 10 year Anniversary.   This is a very easy recipe sesame candy that will take you very little time and yet still be tasty.

350 gram sesame seeds
250 gram honey

2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Prepare all the ingredients

2. Tip out sesame seeds on a baking sheet and bake at 180 ° C until golden brown, aprox.15 min.

3. In a frying pan pour sesame seeds, honey and lemon juice. Mix everything until smooth.

4. and fry over low heat, stirring constantly, until the honey starts to caramelize. When the mass will thicken a little bit, turn off the gas and let sesame cool.

5. When the temperature becomes normal to take in the hand, begin to form candy.

but better to do it with ten hands....

Krishna says: "I am most satisfied when you serve My devotee. I am most satisfied when you worship My devotees".  The desire to serve - the highest blessing, and to show us how it is sacred, Krishna himself serves His devotees. Actually, there is no greater good than the opportunity to serve the devotees. Service to others, whatever you perform, you are serving the Lord Himself.

We are waiting for all of you in Shree Peetha Nilaya on the 10th anniversary of Bhakti Marga!