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The main goal of the bhajan program is to encourage our children to understand and be proud of our culture and heritage and extract the richness and beauty of our social foundation.

To know the details about the program please read the contents of the following



The patrika or the newsletter for the monthly bhajan program in Baltimore ISKCON temple by Oriya families is called Chirantana, the meaning of which is eternal.

Future program information

Our next month bhajan program will be on February 16, 2002 at ISKCON temple, Baltimore.

The regular tentative program schedule:

Children Bhajan
Bhajan by All the Participants
Adult Bhajan (continues)
Prasad sevan and discussion

6:00 PM
6:15 PM
7:00 PM
7:20 PM
7:40 PM
8:15 PM


Puri Maharaja Divyasingh Dev joined us on 13th November, 1999 bhajan program. We had a very good discussion with him about many Orissa related facts including its past, present and future.
The above format is valid in general (80% of the time). In case of very specific circumstances such as visiting intellectuals, late arrival of participants etc., the program is modified to adapt to the changes.

Past program news:

January 19, 2002

Bhajan: The weather was bad. It was snowing and there were warnings for the freezing rain. However, it didn't make the true devotees abandon their regular ritual. And surprisingly everybody was present on time. It was a very illuminating experience. Mahashakti Prabhu lead the bhajan singing and everybody participated. The bhajan singing continued for a long time. With the presence of good singers like Pratap Dash, Nrusingha Mishra, Brahmapriya Sen, the bhajan and kirtan were very enchanting.

Prabachan: Nrusingha Chaitanyaji talked about the power of devotion. He told that God took a test with the unfavorable weather condition, but we all came to the temple for our bhajan program and passed the test. This is called true devotion. He also told that for something to happen three main elements are needed. They are "utsAha" (encouragement), "nischaya" (determination), and "dhairjya" (patience). He poited out that devotion or bhakti is a sort of cultivation. You put effort and it takes time to grow. But for a crop to grow, it needs sunshine, water, air etc. In similar way, devotion needs the above three elements to grow. In describing the true devotion and true love he explained the stanza:

tat sukhe sukhitam
tat dukhe dukhitam
iti prema lakhyanah

He also told that in the materialistic world a person advances from his/her doubt. But in the spiritual world it comes from faith. He then described the nine different ways one can express his/her devotion for the Lord. They are:

bisnu smaraNam
pAda sevanam

ParikhYit maharaj
Prahlada, Brahma
Pruthu Maharaj

Children's Program:
The children were first tested on their knowledge of previous month's "sLoka". We also started Odia lessons. The material can be found from the page by clicking at "Learn and Fun".

Dinner Discussion:
Nrusingha Mishra started the Jagannatha tatwa discussion. Also there were discussions on Hori arrangement.

Today's prasad was sponsored by Meera and Shashadhara Mahapatra of Silver Spring, MD.

Bhajan Mandali welcomed Drs Kailash and Meena Sahu and their daughter Mita.

December 15, 2001

Today's program focussed more on bhajans. All the devotees sang beautiful bhajans and joined the Arati.

Dinner Discussion:
The dinner discussion focussed on Hori planning. This year's Hori will be celebrated at Murugan Temple on 23rd of March (4th Saturday of March).

Children's Program:
The children were taught the "sLoka" on Lord Bisnu. The "sLokas" will be available from Bhajan webpage very soon. Please discuss the "sLoka" with your children below.

The prasad was sponsored by Jhunu and Indu Mishra of Columbia, Maryland. They are now proud grandparents of a grandson. Our heartfelt congratulations to jhunu Mausi and Indu Babu.

Bhajan Mandali welcomed Asim and Sangeeta Dey and their friend.

November 20, 2001

Today's program was very different. The temple had arranged to have 24 hour kirtan during this weekend and the bhajan group continued this kirtan from 6-10 pm with people alternating the roles of chanting "hare krishna.........." with different tunes of Oriya songs.

Dinner Discussion:
There was no dinner discussion.

Children's Program:
The children were taught on the concept of "dharma". After the teaching, they were tested on their understanding. In the Dec. 15th program, they will be asked questions on the last class's topic. They will also taught on further information about "dharma".

The prasad was sponsored by Illa and Arun Ojha of Towson, Maryland.

October 20, 2001

Mahashakti Prabhu lead the bhajan singing and everybody participated. The bhajan singing continued for a long time. With the presence of good singers like Surendra Ray, Binod Nayak, Bandita Nayak, Pratap Dash, Nrusingha Mishra, Brahmapriya Sen, the bhajan and kirtan were very enchanting.

Dinner Discussion:
We were fortunate to have Sukanti apa (Sukanti Ray) with us who had the direct experience of the trauma caused by Sept 11th attack on Pentagon. She had lost some of her friends and she discussed her feelings and the feelings of her family members after the attack. It was very emotional presentation on her part.

Today's prasad was sponsored by Bandita and Nrusingha Mishra of Germantown, MD.

Bhajan Mandali welcomed Mitu, the new baby daughter of Illa and Arun Ojha.

September 15, 2001

Mahashakti Prabhu lead the bhajan singing and everybody participated.

Children's Program:
Children told stories on religious characters. Alok Mohanty, Philadelphia talked on Krishna's childhood and Kansa badha. Bagmi Das talked on Arjun's illusion and Lord Krishna's advice, Sidhharth Mohapatra told the story how the bandit Ratnakar became Balmiki, Mrunali Das told the story how Bhima killed the Ekarakhya asura and saved the villagers, Shashwati Das told the story of churning of the Ocean.

Tulasi Bandana:
Instead of Prabachan, Krishna Kirti pravu arranged to teach "Tulasi Puja" to all of us. He had made the slides of the puja steps in very organized manner and he informed the roles of different circles and which circles have to be offered Arati how many times. He told the story of Tulasi Devi and why Tulasi worship is important. Then he installed one Tulasi plant in the middle of the prayer room and the priest Sudhansu Dasa performed the puja and showed us different steps that was explained in Krishnakirti prabhu's presentation.

Then we all chanted Tulasi Bandana that was lead by Mahashakti prabhu and we circled around the Tulasi Puja site. It was a very instructive lesson that Krishnakirti prabhu lead and we all learnt a lot.

Today's prasad was sponsored by Jaigopal Mohanty and Sulochana Mohanty from Philadelphia.

Bhajan Mandali welcomed Prachi and Sibaprasad Mohanty of Philadelphia, Jhinu and Shantanu Chhotray from Virginia and Mausumi Pattanaik from Virginia.

June 16, 2001

Bhajan Sandhya:
We had a good gathering today. The bhajan songs continued for a long time. There were many people who enjoy bhajan singing and most of them participated.

Prabachan was given by Krishnakirti Dasa. He is originaly from Ireland and has stayed in India for 6 years in the cities of Baroda and Bombay. He talked on vedic costum or way of life. He told that this world can be used in many different ways. It depends on who uses it and how. An iron rod put in the fire can itself become a fire. Similarly people engaged in certain activities regularly with determination as a piece of iron can convert themselves to those entities. He also gave example of knife in the hands of a surgeon and a robber. He recited a verse from Gita which explains self control and how to sacrifice senses for the self control. He said that in a society there are many different types of people. They have many different attributes that we may not be able to tolerate. However, we have to share this world, this society with them and we have to find some common areas to interact with them. Brahmapriya Sen asked that if humans can become animals by doing bad acts, then whether there are chances that animals also can become human doing good acts. Krishnakirti Pravu explained him that 'it is possible' by reciting some stories.

Children's Class:
Children's class was not held. And the children enjoyed talking and interacting with each other outside in the grass after their bhajan singing.

Today's prasad was sponsored by all. There were two types of 'raja poda pitha' made by Meera Mohapatra and Bigyani Das.

Dinner Discussion:
The dinner discussion continued on the discussions by Krishnakirti prabhu.

May 19, 2001

Bhajan Sandhya:
Only 8-9 families attended today's program. Everything in this world happen for a reason. We were so fortunate to have the ISKCON members from North Carolina, the best bhajan singers who made the evening a great evening to remember. Bhajan participants became so carried away with their melodious voice that they requested them to sing more and so the bhajan singing continued until late.

We didn't have Prabachan session today.

Chldren's Class:
Children's class was not held as the coordinator couldn't come.

Today's prasad was sponsored by Bandita and Nrusingha Mishra.

Dinner Discussion:
Naresh Das put "the future mission of our bhajan program" as the dinner discussion topic. The topic was criticized as very broad considering many different factors. The factors were: commitment of people, availability of facilities, ISKCON rules and regulations.

Some people suggested that we should keep it simple so that it can be easy to achieve. For spreading Jagannath culture, Srikant Nayak suggested that we should build a Jagannath Temple. Although many people were in favor of building the temple, but some others also pointed the fact that without massive Odia family's cooperation, these types of work wouldn't result anything. It's not just building the temple, but what should be after that, how should those things be managed, what about if the politics comes in the way. So, some vision is needed which should not be restricted to bhajan group, but the whole Odia community.

Bigyani Das suggested that whatever we were achieving, let's make sure that we can achieve that in the long run. While planning for the larger picture, let's not destroy the simple picture, the enjoyment we get meeting each other and singing bhajans. To get those things once in a month is also something great in this stressful working life.

April 21, 2001

Bhajan Sandhya:
With record number of families attending today's bhajan program, it was a great experience. There were many new faces including Ashutosh Dutta's family from New York and some new people from Maryland. As usual the bhajan started at 6 pm. There were group bhajans and solo bhajans. Mahashakti Dasa's devotion mixed with Lipishree, Deepa and other devotee's love for the Lord made the program a memorable one.

Our Prabachan was lead by Subhakanta Behera who has obtained his Ph.D degree on Jagannatha Dharma. He discussed on the topic "FROM NILAMADHAVA TO JAGANNATH: EVOLUTION OF THE JAGANNATH DHARMA". The abstract of the discussion is given below.

No where in the world a god or religion is so exclusively linked with a people and land as is Jagannath, and Oriyas and Orissa. Puranic, scriptural, literary and historical evidences not only delimit the origin of Jagannath to the Orissa land but also provide clues as to how Jagannath was ultimately appropriated by Oriyas as their own deity. For this, an objective analysis of the Jagannath's origin legend is needed. More importantly, in the legend itself, one can find some basic principles and essences (friendship, equality, inter-racial dialogue etc.) of the Jagannath cult. But these are now unfortunately lost.

The Oriyas' appropriation of Jagannath as their deity is evidenced by the fact that in popular parlance, Oriya's religion is called `Jagannath cult' (dharma) and Oriya culture is known as `Jagannath culture' (samskriti). This unique phenomenon has historical reasons behind it. Right from 15th and 16th centuries onwards, a new religious trend developed in Orissa, centering around Jagannath. Although it is, on ultimate analysis, a part of the pan-Vaishnavite tradition, it developed its own specifics and peculiarities, for which it may be appropriately called as the 'Jagannath Dharma'.

After formal introduction by Dr Shashadhar Mohapatra, Dr Subhrakant Behera made the presentation for about 25 minutes which was followed by discussions. Almost all the people were interested in the discussion and everybody became so absorbed that they forgot the time. It was getting late and so the discussion had to end.

Children's Class:
Children sang the bhajans and then spent time in playing and sharing stories.

Today's Prasad was sponsored by Indu and Jhunu Mishra.

Dinner Discussion:
Dinner discussion continued with the same topic of Dr Subhrakant Behera's presentation.

March 17, 2001

Our program for this month was the annual Hori Jatra and it was held at Murugan Temple auditorium.

February 17, 2001

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was a very nice, but cold evening. We were fortunate to have Karnamruta pravu with us. Together we sang bhajans, chanted mahamantra and welcomed our youngest devotee Neha Kar (2 months old) to bhajan mandali.

Karnamruta Pravuji gave prabachana today. He narrated his God Realization experience in the story-telling style that kept the audience's attention fixed. He told us the story of the "senses" who thought they are really doing hard work and the "stomach" is just enjoying and eating food. They went on strike and didn't cooperate and within a few days they found themselves weak. Then they realized "stomach's" contribution to their well-being. "Stomach" was not just eating, but providing nourishment to the senses. The learning from this story is "we are interdependent on eachother and if we think that we are just working, but the manager is just sitting, that is not true. The manager is thinking about you and planning for the betterment of you".

He also said how God loves those who love them. The best example he gave is the availability of the Jagannath temple in Baltimore, so that the bhakta's will not miss their temple activities that they were used to in India.

Nrusingha Chaitanyaji told a story in which a scientist, a mathematician and an engineer approached the boatman to cross the river. While in their way they asked if the boatman has learnt anything in life such as science, Maths. or engineering techniques. Getting the answer as "no" from they boatman they all commented that the boatman's life is wasted as he hadn't learnt many important subjects. Then a small storm approached in that area and the boat was about to sink. The boatman asked these people if they know swimming or how to help the boat from sinking. And in the reply they all said "no". Then the boatman said "your hundre percent life is wasted now. You didn't learn the basic techniques for saving your life".

The learnings from this story is "every skill is important and each skill has its own radius of applicability. So just criticizing somebody's ignorance in some field is not the right thing to do."

Children's Class:
Children sang the bhajans and then spent time in playing and sharing stories.

Today's Prasad was sponsored by Madhumita and Dhirendra Kar.

Dinner Discussion:
Hori preparation was the topic of discussion today.

Bhajan Pictures:
Dhirendra Kar took pictures of the bhajan program.

January 20, 2001

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was dark, cold and a snowy day. But it didn't prevent the true devotees to come to the temple for the monthly ritual. All the devotees (bhaktas) sang beautifull bhajans for the Lord adding more excitement to the program. Together with the melodic voice of Mahashakti Dash, the kirtan and bhajan continued for a long time. God probably became surprised to see what the power of devotion can achieve.

Nrusingha Chaitanyaji gave a short prabachana. He again emphasized on the control of the tongue. He told that love for the Lord is not reflected only on the number of times somebody visits the temple or offers "bhoga", "flower" or "money". It depends much on how people spend time there. At home people engage themselves in many materialistic activities. If they engage themselves in similar activities in the temple then there is no benefit in visiting the temple.

Children's class:
Children mostly partipitated listening to the bhajan and prabachana.

Today's Prasad was sponsored by Meera and Shashadhar Mahapatra.

Dinner Discussion:
Srikant Nayak discussed different "Avatara's" of the Lord. Then there was discussion about Hori planning. Somebody suddenly observed the heavy snowfall and so all had to wrap up the discussion.

Bhajan Pictures:
Dhirendra Kar took pictures of the bhajan program.

December 16, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was dark, cold and raining outside. The fog had covered the sky with visibility very low. Inside, it was the melodic voice of Mahashakti Dash, "adhA TALu bhangA, gAi-jagA, Dahi chora re". It's feeling to be felt, not described. Somebody should be physically present there, have complete surrender to the Lord, and love for the music to feel the real peace in the heart that such congregations can bring. Although the attendance was low, but the effect was high.

Nrusingha Chaitanyaji was in very high spirit today as the audience was very enthusiastic to participate in the discussion. One of the important fact he narrated is his story of king "Jajati" who went to heaven as he had done many noble deeds. In the heaven also he started doing meditation. "Indra", thinking that "Jajati" might take away his position went to Lord "Brahma" for the solution. Lord "Brahma" told Indra to approach king "Jajati" and ask him about all his noble deeds (punya karama). Indra approached Jajati and asked about his "punya karmas" for which he was able to come to heaven in his human form. At that point without understanding indra's plan, Jajati started describing all his "punya karmas". As soon as he finished talking all this, he fell down from the heaven. The LESSONS learned from this story is: If we have done anything great it should be told and felt by others, not by us. When we start spreading our great deeds ourselves, the effect of our great deeds completely dissapear.

The second story he narrated replying to Bandita Mishra's question was about king Janaka. King Janaka asked "astabakra rishi" how to get rid of problems and have peace in mind. Rishi didn't say anything. After a while the Rishi went and hugged a pillar very tightly. Then he shouted and asked for help to detach him from the pillar. he complaied that the pillar had attached him so tight and he was not able to free himself. Janaka was confused as he had seen that the Rishi was attaching himself to the pillar. So he went to the Rishi and asked why he was doing such type of action. The Rishi then explained Janaka what he meant. It's nobody, but we are binding ourselves to different problems and we only can solve our problem, nobody else. It's because we want happiness, we are also getting sorrows. It's because we want to love somebody, get love from somebody, we also learn to hate and get hatred from others.

Children's class:
Meera Mahapatra guided the children to finish there crossword puzzle.

Today's Prasad was sponsored by Bandita and Nrusingha Mishra.

Dinner Discussion:
As Srikant nayak had to go to India suddenly, the jagannatha Tatwa could not be discussed. Instead, people discussed about the current events.

Bhajan Pictures:
Dhirendra Kar took pictures of the bhajan program. please check the bhajan webpage.

November 18, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
Mahasakti Dash with his usual melodic voice lead the bhajan program with many songs, like "Nanda suta kala kanhei", Jayadev's "praLaya payodhi jaLe" etc. A few bhajans were contributed by the participants. The prasad was sponsored by all.

Nrusingha Chaitanyaji spoke on one of the "sloka" from Bhagabat Gita and told the story why Krishna accepted invitation from Bidura but not from Duryadhana. This is the same "sloka" he had recited one year before to greet the Puri Gajapati.

He also told the story of Jaganath's prasad chori. Since the the next day was prathamastami, gift packets with children's cloths were given to Nrusingha chaitanyaji and Mahasakti pravu on behalf of the Bhajan group.

Children's class:
After finishing their prayer, children were given word puzzle paper with many religious names. Mira Mohapatra tought them the concepts of bad and good through disney characters.

Dinner discussion:
Jaganath tatwa, part II was presented by Sashadhar Mohapatra. Discussion was centered on why the "navakalebar" is held once in twelve years. Everyone participated and enjoyed the discussion.

Bhajan Pictures:
Starting from Nov. 2000, Bhajan pictures will be available at the following website: Every month pictures will be taken during bhajan program and will be available at the above site. Please visit the site and comment. Thanks to Dhirendra Kar for volunteering for this noble work.

October 21, 2000

Today's program started at 6 pm as usual. Some of the temple guests from North Carolina (original Indians from Africa) joined us in bhajan activities. Thay sang with the children and they sang with everybody. Although the language was Oriya, they followed the english scripts that was put on the overhead projector.
Also the parents of Chandana Pradhan, Mr and Mrs Narayan Pradhan participated in the program with much enthusiasm. They praised the Oriya community for having such types of programs.

Bhajan Sandhya:
After Arati all the children sang the bhajan "Jaya Jagannatha Swami" together. The children were tested on their knowledge about Orissa and did the coloring of the Lords.

The prabachan was given by Nrusingha Chaitanyaji and he emphasized that we should control our tongue as much as possible to avoid misunderstandings and have a good social life.

While the prabachan was going on, the ladies were engaged in cooking some of the items. Today's program was sponsored by Illa and Arun Ojha.

Dinner discussion:
During dinner discussion Naresh Das started one chapter of the book on "Jagannatha Tatwa". Different chapters of the book will be discussed in the forthcoming programs by different people. Next discussion on Jagannatha Tatwa will be lead by Nrusingha Mishra. forthcoming programs by

September 16, 2000

Today's program was devoted to the children. There were hands on activities for children for painting, drawing and making statues of Lord jagannath with clay. Meera Mohapatra and Madhumita Kar supervised the children with these activities.

Bhajan Sandhya:
After Arati, the children came to the prayer room to present their items. Nrusingha Mishra moderated the presentation activities. The stories were presented about Lord Rama (Titu Sahoo), Hanuman (Lutu Sahoo, Satish Mishra), Laxmi (Rajashri Mishra, Mrunali Das), Narada (Sidharth Mohapatra), Ganesha (Bagmi Das), and Sita (Shashwati Das). Neel Sen did some super action and Satyabati Dash sang a bhajan. After that Nrusingha Mishra asked the children for their comments on bhajan program. Sharmistha Mohapatra, Srotalina Nayak and Bagmi Das suggested for more children activities.

A short prabachan was given by Jaykishan prabhu. He narrated the story of saint Haridas. The dinner discussion was led by Dhirendra Kar. He asked the question about the tradition behind worshiping Lord Ganesha in the beginning of every puja. According to him it might be that Ganesh is the God of knowledge and so knowledge is emphasized as the first requirement of the human being.

Bigyani Das narrated a story in which a man who was very fond of a local town coffee shop, wanted a change, and thus wandered about other shops of the town. However, he didn't find the warm welcome, friendly faces, and the peacefull atmosphere in any other places. He finally came back to have some good time in his old place, but found the coffee shop closed. He asked the other shop-owners nearby. They told "like you other costomers of the coffee shop went to other places and so the owner couldn't run the business and had to close it". The man understood his mistakes and repented that he didn't care for his role as a costumer of the shop. He promised that he should never neglect anything that counts on him and also gives him pleasure, since if he neglects he would never get that back.

Today's program was sponsored by Naresh and Bigyani Das. The children got prizes for their involvement in today's program.

August 19, 2000

It was a very special day as we completed three years of the program. The attendace number is same as the previous month's program, 10-12 families and some singles. Today's prasad sponsor was Dhirendra and Madhumita Kar.

Bhajan Sandhya:
Children's bhajan started on time and continued upto 6:30 pm. As the time was flexible, it was only after 6:40 pm that other families appeared and very soon by 7 pm everybody was there. Mahashakti Dasa started the bhajan and then everybody joined.

In Nrusingha Chaitanyaji's absense, Jaya-kishan prabhu from the ISKCON temple, Gujurat gave prabachan. Among the new families we had Dr. Pandey and his wife from Baltimore. The 5th issue of the bhajan newsletter Chirantana was distributed.

Dinner discussion:
Meera Mohapatra told stories to the children. Today's dinner speaker was Manoj Panda from Virginia. He spoke about "Yagyan" and he narrated the story of Nachiketa when discussing about life and death.

July 15, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was the gathering of the most enthusiastic and energetic group, who made the bhajan-sandhya very enjoyable. It was a gathering of about 26-28 adults and 13-15 children. Today's prasad sponsor Sushim Dalabera was present in the temple before 5:45 pm. He was trying to find many different tasks for himself and was completely devoting himself for the success of today's program.
Children's bhajan started on time and continued upto 6:20 pm. Mahashakti Dash started the adult bhajan. In many bhajans the singers involved everybody. The bhajan songs by Surendra Ray had the intrinsic lyrical beauty of the pure Odia music. Others bhajans contributed by Pratap Dash, Padmanava Pradhan, Nrusingha Mishra and Sushim Dalabehera all had their own spirit of awakening the inner-self.

Nrusingha-chaitanyaji was absent and so we didn't have prabachana. Bhajan singing continued upto 9 pm. Many people had contributed supplements for today's prasad sevana. So the food was plenty and tasty.

Dinner discussion:
Today's dinner speaker was Dhirendra Kar. Dhirendra asked the question of the scientific explanation of Lord Krishna's Geeta teaching during the time in the battle field. How can such vast knowledge be given during that short time and who can document it with absolute accuracy? The answers given by Nrusingha Mishra, Shrikant Nayak, Devraj Sahoo and Manoj Panda (Virginia) all had the same message, the time scale was very different. About accuracy, many of them gueseed the super power of the brain during that time which might be working as multiprocessing computers. Finally Dhirendra Kar stated the answer given by Swami Vivekananda.

Arun Ojha gave some comments on improving children's learning during the bhajan program. Surendra Ray suggested to adopt the methods that will attract children within a few minutes. He suggested that we should attempt to make the multimedia learning tool to teach the culture and the traditions.

Sushim Dalabehera also involved himself in cleaning. He really had a great sponsor's spirit.

June 17, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was a small gathering of about 10-12 families. After children's bhajan temple priest Mahashakti Dash presented bhajan songs. Some participants also contributed to the bhajan singing. Meera Mahapatra too care of the children.

The prabachan by Nrusingha Chaitanyaji was very good. He talked about the story in which a person was trying to clean the well by removing the dirty water which was caused by the dead bodies of the dogs who fell on the well. Then the Rishi suggested him to remove the dead bodies of the dogs first which was the cause, i.e. eradict the cause first, then plan about the effect.

The bhajan was sponsored by all. There was a silent prayer for Mrs. Koutuki Patnaik who left the world for heaven.

Bhajan participants donated money for a tractor to be bought for the temple.

Dr Nrusingha Mishra talked about Alternative Medicine during the dinner discussion.

May 20, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
10-12 families joined the bhajan program. Temple priest Mahashakti Dash presented excellent bhajan songs. Meera Mohapatra engaged the children.

Dinner discussion:
Dr Lipishree Nayak was the dinner speaker. She spoke about regular health care needs. There was question-answer session that followed her speech.

Shreekanta Nayak invited everybody to attend the Rathayatra ceremony at Shiva Visnu temple, Lanham, Maryland on July 8, 2000.

April 22, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was a good gathering with 10-12 families. The bhajan started at 6 pm although people took their time to join the program. Many people had to drive about an hour to join the program. There were many good singers in the group and they sang many beautiful bhajans. Temple bhajan singer Mahashakti Dasa's family was present and his five year old son Krishna participated in bhajan singing. Bhajan group welcomed Mahashakti Dasa's familly, the newly weds Pratap Dash and his wife, and the visitor from Michigan, Manoj Panda and family.

After the children's bhajan they colored Krishna picture. During the bhajan by adults, Meera Mohapatra took care of the children's activity. The children joined us during prabachan.

Nrusingha Chaitanyaji and Mahashakti Dasa were gone for a house program in Germantown. In Nrusingha Chaitanyaji's absense Manoj Panda talked to us during Prabachan. He was introduced by Dr Shashadhar Mohapatra who knew him from the time Manoj was a student in Oklahoma 10-12 years back.

In his talk Manoj discussed the teachings of Gita in a very different way. He related the Mahabharat story with our day to day life activities. He told that our mind is the blind king as Dhritarashtra who is married (has relationship) to Gandhari who has eyes, but covers them. He related Gandhari with our conscience which has the ability to analyze wrong and right, but always gets carried away by the desires of the mind.

He also told that in our individual kingdom we have 100 sons (kauravas) or wrong desires; these desires are the product of our 10 senses in 10 directions. There is always war between these 100 wrong desires and 5 good qualities (pandavas) within us.

He narrated a story in which a rich man used to have a sitar in his showcase. He didn't know how to use that, but just wanted to keep the instrument. Once it fell down and broke. The rich man didn't know what to do with a broken sitar and threw it. A beggar who was passing by found the instrument and took it home. He fixed it and started playing it. Listening the beutiful music it played, the rich man claimed the instrument, but the beggar refused and then finally the beggar got the sitar. The reason of telling this story was some people just want outside recognition that they are very religious and so they collect all religious books, remember 2-3 slokas, but never read it properly. They don't try to understand it and never follow the rules. They just keep the books with them and become content that they are very religious. That's not the way the ancient scriptures should be used.

After his talk, many children and adults asked questions to him. He tried his best to give the convincing answer to each question.

Dinner discussion:
During dinner discussion also the question-answer session continued with Manoj.

The prasad was sponsored by Pramod Tripathy.

March 25, 2000

Check for the Holi Report page for our Holi 2000 function on March 25, 2000.

February 19, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
It was a medium size gathering. The bhajan participants sang beautiful bhajans. Mahashakti Dash was absent.

The prabachan was very good. Nrusingha Chaitanyaji gave many good examples of human behavior development. He emphasized that when a baby gets nutrition from mother's milk his/her development in the later stage are according to the attributes of a human being. But when the baby's initial nutritional needs come from cow's milk, goat's milk, bufallo's milk and milk powder, the brain will be developed accordingly. That's one of the several reasons that now-a-days the children are out of control and don't want to listen to the parents.

Meera Mohapatra took charge of the children and read stories to them.

Dinner discussion:
During dinner discussion Naresh Das discussed about Holi and took suggestions/comments of the participants. Some participants volunteered to take some responsibilities such as food, cultural etc.

It was decided to observe the Holi festival on March 25, 2000.

Kanan Mishra updated the benefit dinner news and requested everybody to join the dinner and help Orissa cyclone victims.

January 15, 2000

Bhajan Sandhya:
About 18 family members joined the program. The temple bhajan singer Mahashakti Das was absent. But we had a very good bhajan program. Many participants took part in bhajan singing. Also Nrusingha Chaitanyaji sang two, very nice bhajans and we followed. We also had good "kirtana" during Arati.
All the participants together recited Bissnu Sahasra Nama.

Niva Kodelikar gave the news from the Greater Baltimore temple about their interest to celebrate Rathayatra.

Kanan Mishra made the announcement about fundraising dinner and Naresh Das made the announcement about the workshop for discussing various ideas about rebuilding procedure after the super cyclone.

Indu Mishra reached late as he had gone to the Greater Baltimore temple, but still he worked with the children and prepared them to recite the sanskrit "slokas".

Dinner discussion:
During dinner discussion the comments were taken whether to celebrate Holi or not. Mostly everybody expressed their interest to continue the celebration.

People expressed their vision about themselves and the community for the new millenium. Almost everybody expressed their interests to be involved in the community efforts. They also commented that in community efforts we should look for common interests that could bind us and try to avoid the divisive subjects.

Although unrelated to the bhajan program, personal comments about the proper methods of utilizing the fundraising money were taken.

December 18, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
We had a small gathering. The bhajan was as usual. The prabachan emphasized on considering everybody as a whole package rather than criticizing one aspect of anybody and comparing with them. According to Nrusigha Chaitanyaji many people have misconceptions about Lord Krishna and criticize the Lord for his "Gopalila" and other activities relating to women. He emphasized that criticism of any aspect of anybody shouldn't be made unless other attributes are also matched. He gave the example that a person was using "bhanga" and glorifying that act as the act of Lord Siva. But Lord Siva also drank the poison which the person would not dare to do.

Nrusigha Chaitanyaji was more concerned for Y2K problems and he requested if some of the bhajan participants could offer any help. Pramod Tripathy offered to help with dry food preparation and Bandita Mishra offered to provide gas cyclinders.

Indu Mishra taught some sanskrit slokas for Lord Ganesha and the children chanted the slokas.

Brahmapriya Sen offered to provide an eraser board to be used during discussions.

Dinner discussion:
The dinner discussion started with the eye wittness news of the cyclone situation from Alok Praharaj. He informed that the "Utkala Bipana Sahaya Samiti" members were really great who handled the dirty work of removing dead bodies and burning them. He also informed about the bad practices of some greedy authorities who take bribe to write down people's name for getting relief and help for rebuilding their houses. Some people who are also in good condition bribe these people to falsify their cases.

We then started with the topic "vision for the coming year for the self as well as for the community". Everybody's answer included their concern for the cyclone and their part in the rebuilding procedure. Kanan Mishra wanted to take a semester off and teach in a school. Indu Mishra wanted to devote his time in "adopt a village" plan. Nrusingha Mishra wanted to help his villagers. Pradeep Pattnaik with his other three brothers had planned to make a school/shelter at Chhatrapur, Ganjam. He also gave some information how Y2K problem could me minimal as all essential utility company employees would be busy in working on the new year's eve as well as new year to make sure about the normal operation of everything.

Alok Praharaj had already helped 4-5 families in their village to reconstruct their houses. Padmanava Pradhan had to help his relative's village in Jagatsinghpur. Bandita Mishra along with her cousins had helped some of the villagers in her uncle's village.

Mahashakti Dash was concerned about the improvement of the Baltimore ISKCON temple. Bigyani Das wanted to work for popularizing the use of Oriya language. Naresh Das wanted to be involved in cyclone related activities considering the do-able and realistic projects. Brahmapriya Sen's personal dream for the new century was to go to Orissa as they have not gone for more than five years and as regards community he wanted to contribute for improving the school and educating the common people in his village.

Kanan Mishra discussed the fundraising dinner plan with Illa Ojha, Chandana Pradhan and Sikha Sen.

November 13, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
We had a huge gathering because of Puri Maharaja Divya Singh Dev's presence. More than 20 families participated in the bhajan program. We started at 6 pm. with children's bhajan. Mahashakti Das sang some heart touching bhajans. Everybody was simultaneously sad for Orissa's cyclone aftermaths and excited to meet Puri Maharaja.

Puri Maharaja joined us at about 6:50 pm and participated in the regular "Arati". After the "Arati", bhajan singing also continued for a while as there were many interested singers in the crowd.

We had a very good discussion session with Puri Maharaja.

After the discussion Dr Indu Mishra and Jhunu Mishra accompanied the children to meet Maharaja. The children sat in a circle in front of the Maharaja and sang the prayer to natural forces and to the Lordess "Mahalakshmi". Prerna Pradhan sang oriya bhajan. Maharaja offered his garlands to the children.

Dinner discussion:
Anu Biswal distributed "Jagannath Prasad" to everybody. Then we had dinner. The dinner discussion was based on the current cyclone effects.

Pramod Tripathy spoke about his relative the news of whose wife and children is still unknown. The cyclone had also affected many people's villages and distant relatives; fortunately not anybody's direct relations.

Many bhajan participants had brought packages of cloths and Dr Indu Mishra collected them to take the next day to New York for sending to Orissa through AIR INDIA.

October 16, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
We missed many regular bhajan participants becasue of several programs coinciding the date and time. However, the program was very enjoyable as we got the opportunity to have more personal interaction with other participants. Mahashakti Dash sang the heart touching bhajan "Prabhu Keun bAnA udaila" with his melodious voice. Dr Indu Mishra taught the old age religion to the children when people used to pray the essential elements of nature, not the "Avatara's" of God.
We all prayed the same hymns with the children.

Our prabachan session was conducted differently in which the meaning and explanation of two first slokas of "Gita" was read by different people. We also prayed together in the school prayer style. Dhirendra Kar volunteered to collect good prayes during his forthcoming trip to India. Nrusingha Chaitanyaji also emphasized that the present day events (Kaliyug events) were visualized by the Rishis of India before so many Yugas.

September 18, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
Today's special was children's program. About 15 families and a few singles participated. Some of the children were dressed in costumes and presented their religious characters. The children who participated were Mrunali Das (Mahalaxmi), Suman Ojha (Durga), Bagmi Das(Saraswati), Rajasri Mishra (Princess Laxmi), Silpa Das (Sita), Sweta Das (Parvati), Shashwati Das(Narayana), Prerna Pradhan (Savitri). We had more children today, but they were not ready to present. The children program was coordinated by Dr Indu Mishra.

We missed Prabachan as Nrusingha Chaitaniyaji was absent.

Dinner discussion:
The dinner discussion was started by Kanan Mishra who asked the question "how our thoughts determine our destiny?" People were divided into four groups and discussed among themselves each other's experiences. Then the group representatives presented the summary of the outcome from their group.

Some of the significant points came out of the discussion are:

When negative thoughts come to you during critical moments, visualize it in a broader sense and then your own sorrows will go away and you will find a path to get rid of your worries.
Sometimes thoughts are accelerated by visualization power. If you want to be a doctor always visualize yourself in a doctor's role.
Strong thoughts backed up by strong will power and action always come out with positive results.
Money cann't bring you everything. You need to have faith on the supreme power for getting peace and respect for the fellow human beings to avoid confusion and be directed towards peace.
The thoughts change as we grow and some of the thoughts deviate to other directions being directed by the circumstances. But the main thought or desire still glows in the heart.

August 21, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
Today was a very special day as we completed two years of Bhajan Program. This second anniversary day of Bhajan Program was also colored by participation of 18-20 families. We also had the third issue of bhajan newsletter "Chiranatana" came up this day.

We missed the prabachan part as Nrusingha Chaitanyaji had gone to the ISKCON temple Philadelphia. But we made up with more bhajan songs. The classic Kirtans by Dr Surendra Ray were very enjoyable. Most of the audience participated in bhajan singing. This month's special was "couples sing together". Among the couples who sang together are Dr Nrusingha Mishra and Bandita Mishra, and Pramod and Liza Tripathy.

Dinner discussion:
Today's dinner speaker was Dr Nilakantha Pattnaik, principal, Talcher Engineering College, who was visiting from Orissa. He shared his expriences with the educational evolution in Orissa from the time of his schooling to this time. He presented the problems faced by the Private Engineering colleges and how the task of providing jobs to so many Engineering graduates had become a problem. The follow-up comments by Dr Indu Mishra and Dr Surendra Ray were also very interesting. According to Dr Ray Orissa politicians always thought of following examples of other developed states instead of thinking some new ideas and doing some new plans and that's how the state was always lagging behind the other states in every aspect.

Dr Indu Mishra explained the tradition of Rakhi Purnima to the children. The children were put rakhi in their hands by their siblings (or friends) and enjoyed singing together the prayer and "Mahalaxmi Sloka". He also distributed the roles to the children to play during the coming September month program (the month is dedicated to the children).

July 17, 1999

We had a gathering of about 30 adults and 13 children. Mrs Illa Ojha introduced Oriya alphabets to the children and then discussed vowels and consonants.

We introduced the use of overhead projector for displaying the bhajan songs. Dhirendra Kar had taken charge of buying the projector with the contribution from bhajan participants.

The overhead projector was also helpful for displaying the "sloka" which was discussed during prabachan session. We started with the first sloka of "Karma Yoga" chapter of Gita. Everybody recited the "sloka" and then the meaning was discussed.

Dinner discussion:
Dinner discussion was started by Dr Pinaki Panigrahi. His topic was "The Uniqueness of Hindu Religion".
He started with his first question to the audience about their views on the uniqueness of Hindu religion. Dhirendra Kar gave one interesting reply. According to him all other religions are based on one person theory. But in Hindu religion anything which is vital to human life is given the name "God" to signify its importance. So evenif we take out the usual Gods' names from Hindu Religion, still we have many other resources.

His second question was "what was the basis of the individual people to leave their own country and settle in America". Among the responses many people stated "freedom of choice" and "availability of opportunities". Some people stated "sincerety and truthfulness".

He then summarized all the answers and gave some of his own statements. He said that Hindu Religion is the only religion where the disciples have the freedom to ask questions freely to the teacher which is not seen in any other religious discourses. According to him the usual concept that people have chosen to stay in USA for money is not the complete truth. The truth is "The Freedom".

June 19, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
We had a medium size gathering on June 19th program. It was a very interesting program as everybody participated in singing the bhajans. Dr Indubhusan Mishra coninued his story telling and sanskrit teaching to the children. By narrating a story from "purana" he taught them how positive thoughts help us in acheiving our goals and negative thoughts bring misery.

We had a very informal Prabachan session discussing the future Prabachan plans to involve everybody in the discussion. According to the plan one person should take charge of selecting some "sloka" or "slokas" from "Gita" and inform everybody. Everybody should read about those "slokas". During the prabachan session everybody should chant the "slokas" together. Nrusingha Chaitanyaji will start the explanation of the "slokas" and then everybody could discuss their own thoughts on those "slokas". This will enhance our understanding of the subject more than just listening the explanations.

Dinner discussion:
During dinner discussion Dr Lipishree Nayak presented some important facts about exercise and health. She suggested that every exercise should start with easy steps, then go to the highest level and should end with easy stretches. The transitions between lowest and highest levels should be smooth. This will prevent muscle soreness which is usually a problem if somebody suddenly starts faster exercise or suddenly rests after doing faster exercise.

May 15, 1999

Bhajan Sandhya:
We had a big gathering on May 15th program. About 14-15 families including 4 new families (new to the bhajan program), and some singles participated in the program. We were fortunate to have the music director from ISKCON temple Bombay who entertained the audience with many heart touching bhajan songs of their production "Krishna Krishna". We also had many people in the group with very good singing skills and singing interests who participated in the adult bhajan program. Due to lack of time we postponed the formal "prabachan" part as many discussions on "Ramacharita Manasa" and other religious facts took place alongwith the bhajan songs.

Dinner discussion:
It was also an auspicious day for the ladies for "Savitri brata". So during dinner discussion Dr. Naresh Das suggested everybody to talk about their favourite "Devi" or favourite female character from the "purana" including the reason. Among the discussed were "Sabari" (Dr Naresh Das), "Gandhari" (Dr Dharitri Mishra), "Sita" (Srikant Nayak), "Chandi" (Dr Braja Mishra), "Savitri" (Liza Tripathy), "Khulana Sundari and Maa Mangala" (Bandita Mishra), "The old lady who gave the idea of Konark temple foundation" (Bandita Nayak), "Saraswati" (Binod Nayak and Dr Kalpana Panigrahi), Sarada Devi (Dr Pinaki Panigrahi) and "Meera" (Punamji, wife of Nrusingha Chaitanyaji). Kanan Mishra and Dr Lipishri Nayak discussed their mothers.

April 17, 1999

During the prabachan Nrusingha Chaitanyaji asked us to decide the topic of discussion. We requested him to talk to us about the principles discussed in our Hindu Religious books those can be applied to build the strongest community. He discussed about the four main divisions based on caste. He made it clear that the division is not based on our birth as we all are born as "sudra's". Then according to our education level and our performance level we rise to the level of Brahman, Khyatriya, Baishya or Sudra. God has said in Gita that for the proper maintainance of the creation he creates people dividing them into these four main castes which means he makes the non-uniform distribution of different knowledge among the people to carry out various activities in this earth.

Mrs. Anapurna Biswal discussed her plans and different requirements for making sandwiches and delivering them to the shelters for homeless people.

March 20, 1999

Check the report of HOLI celebration for more information.

February 20, 1999

During the prabachan Nrusingha Chaitanyaji discussed about our sufferings which result from our strong desires to satisfy the requirements of our senses. He gave examples such as: 1) the deer who loves the hunter's music that brings him closer to the hunter, 2) the fish who can't resist the temptation of tasting the food that is used as a trap, 3) the male elephant who can't resist the touch of the female elephant (used by the traders); the female elephant tricks him and puts him in the mud from which the male elephant fails to escape and is caught by the traders, (4) the bees who become so much attracted by the smell of the lotus flower and enjoy staying inside the flower; after sunset the flowers close and the bees die without finding the way out, (5) Ajambila, the great brahmin who became the most sinful person after seeing the activities of a prostitute.

Dinner discussion:
During our dinner discussion Dr Nrusingha Mishra talked about some preventive actions to be taken to reduce the chances of getting cancer.

January 16, 1999

As there was power outage in the temple, the program was held at 9535 Ridgeview Drive, Columbia. We did our best to inform everybody who had informed us before to attend the program about the place change. Thanks to everybody who adapted to the change very quickly and participated in the program. Also thanks to the volunteers who cooked. The program was very successful with the usual temple traditions, bhajan, prabachan, prasad, dinner discussion and childrens' learning.

Our sincere thanks to the temple priests who came that day. Also thanks to Dr Indu Mishra and Mrs Illa Ojha for working with the children. At the end of the program the children recited the sanskrit "sloka" for "Matta Laxmi". Brahmapriya Sen started the dinner discussion on keeping positive attitudes even during most disstressful moments. He gave examples of the power outage problem which in fact helped people to trace the true friends and take help of them. The discussion was very live with comments from Jhunu Mishra, Pinaki Panigrahi, Srikant Nayak, Nrusingha Mishra and Nrusingha Chaitanyaji. Of course everybody participated in the discussion.

The important truth that Nrusingha Chaitanyaji stated in his "prabachan" is that people always complain of being neglected while others getting more share. But it's better to analyze our restoration capability before we complain. When rain drops fall in an area it falls on the land uniformly. But the highlands drain the water and become drier and the wetlands restore all the water.

December 19, 1998

On Dec. 19, we mostly discussed about the survey results which were sent on November 21. Thanks to everybody who responded to the survey. All of us who were present during the dinner talk decided to celebrate Holi as the symbolic program of friendship, good wish and devotion to the Lord in a grand way. This could be achieved by inviting friends who stay within driving distance in a concept similar to invite a "Sangata" from a different village for "yatra", "pala" in our own villages.

Thanks to Illa (Illa Ojha), who started working with the children. She started teaching them about Orissa, the temples, the culture etc. as an introduction. From the next class she plans to start teaching Oriya, starting from alphabets to translations. There are other three volunteers for teaching the kids.

Please watch this page to get more news on survey results.

October 17, 1998

On Oct. 17, Dr Indu Mishra gave a nice talk on 'MANA O SARIRA'. We are thankful to him for sharing two interesting stories from Ramayan to us and specifically talking in Oriya. He talked about how to control (or utilize together) mind and body to achieve our goal. We also heard from Dr Anusuya Choudhury about her recent research work on finding cost effective drug for AIDS patients which was very highly praised in the Chemical Scientist community.

We would very much appreciate if you can share such a story which gives strong messages applicable for the peace and prosperity of our daily life. That way BHAJAN SANDHAYA will be enjoyable to everybody.

We are planning to involve kids more and more in the program activities. We also encourage kids talking in Oriya (it might be difficult, but if they could practice talking two sentences and then increase to four, six, eight successively to our next programs it will not be difficult). If any kid can present a good story before the gathering and point out what good things everybody should learn from it, it will be great.

Your suggestions about how to improve the quality of the program so that everybody can enjoy it is always welcome.

September 19, 1998

The childrens' program on September 19th was a great success. We thank our children Ananya Tripathy (Durga), Anjana Mohanty (Saraswati), Bagmi Das (Krishna), Kunjrani (Prahlad), Mrunali Das (Prahlad), Ramulu Nayak (Rama), Rajashree Misra (Laxmi), Satish Misra (Hanuman), Shashwati Das (Baby Krishna) and Subhashri Nayak (Hanuman). Thanks to the parents for encouraging and preparing the children. The prabachan of Nrusingha Chaitanya prabhuji was very interesting with the story of "Sulakhyana" and "Baki (Putana)".

As Nrusingha Chaitanya prabhuji said and we all know that we could construct the shapes of our choice when the clay is wet. Once it's dried, we don't have any control over its shape. Similarly childhood is the best time to teach the values. If we neglect this moment the time will never come. We are very fortunate to have Mahashakti prabhu (his voice has its own charm of devotion mixed with melody) and Nrusingha Chaitanya prabhuji (a great speaker's voice with depth in various religious topics) to add spice to our program.

Questions about the program

What is this program?

Oriya families meet in Baltimore ISKCON temple once in a month to sing "Oriya Bhajans" together, listen "Prabachan", take "prasad" and discuss some day to day related events and the festivals of the corresponding month. The dinner discussion starts with the dinner speaker and follows by question answers. For details on the mission goals please check the patrika.

The children participate in bhajan as well as coloring. They also learn to engage themselves and develop friendship with other children.

How can I participate in this program?

You could participate by contacting any one of us. The contact numbers and names are given in the patrika. If you are staying in a place far away from Baltimore, but want to participate in the program, we would be happy to arrange for your stay here.

How can I know the date and time of the program?

Usually we try to keep the program fixed on the 3rd Saturday of every month. But if some temple specific or any Indian, Oriya celebration falls on that date, we change the date by consulting the temple priests. Please check this URL address or call one of us to know the date and time correctly.

Will this program continue every month?

We hope to continue the program.

Directions to the temple

From I95 take I695 (Baltimore Beltway) west towards Towson. Take exit 13 for Catonsville (Fredrick Ave. West). Turn left at first traffic light to Bloomsbery Ave. After one or two blocks the temple is on the right, 200 Bloomsbery Ave, Catonsville, MD 21228. Temple phone no. is (410) 744 1624.


During the bhajan program on July 17, 1999 decision was taken to form an Oriya internet library. Oriya families who regularly attend bhajan program could benefit from this.

Anybody interested to share his/her collections with fellow Oriyas could send a list to me (Bigyani Das, I will put the list and the owner's name in the GLOBE (Good will Library for Oriya Books and Educational resources) collection page.

Anybody who wants to borrow an item should send a request before one week of the bhajan gathering. The exchange of items should take place during bhajan program. The borrower would have one month to keep the item and in the next bhajan program it should be returned to the owner.