The Real Spirit of Thanksgiving
By Sandamini devi
It was another beautiful fall day in Tucson, Arizona. The preparations started days before, to prepare for the biggest single event all year at Govinda’s, the celebrated American holiday – Thanksgiving Day! “We bake the pumpkin pies and do all the prep work the previous day to assure we can keep up with the crowds”, says Tusli devi . She and her husband Manohar das have been the main cooks at Govinda’s for the past 11 years.
We served 350 plates of delicious prasad, including all the traditional fare, to the grateful patrons, who mostly sat outside in our beautiful resort-like patio and listened to a concert of melodious harp music played by a congregational devotee. Our rescued turkey ‘Mukti’, who was the special guest of honor, roamed about the compound getting his photo taken with both the kids and adults alike.
The CBS affiliate channel 13 covered the event on the evening news, as well as Author Mathew Besinger, who is writing a book on Spiritual Holidays. Both were out to capture the mood and fun of the day.
The guests were all asked to write down their appreciations and what they are thankful for this year. Of the hundreds of entries, many said they were truly grateful to have a place like the Hare Krishna Temple and Govinda’s to come to and take refuge. The selected winners were treated to a free future meal at Govinda’s.
One of our more famous guests to Govinda’s, rock musician/singer Linda Ronstadt, has said this about Krishna’s cuisine – “Govinda’s is the ONLY place to eat in Tucson. Whenever I travel around the world, I always look for a Govinda’s.”
Govinda’s in Tucson has been in operation for over 20 years and has received numerous favorable acclaims by magazines, restaurant review websites such as Yelp, and many newspapers including the national publication USA Today.
Govinda’s prasadam restaurants, as with everything else, was the idea and creation of Srila Prabhupada, to help distribute Krishna’s delightful mercy to the souls of kali-yuga, as well as to provide a comfortable and favorable venue to introduce the public to our spiritual Movement. It would be fantastic one day, to see hundreds and thousands of these transcendental operations opening throughout the world. After all, as Srila Prabhupada said, we are known as the “kitchen religion.”
As the saying goes, the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Opening a “chain” of Govinda’s would be a good, smart, and noble investment for some of our more-wealthy Iskcon members and supporters. Prasadam distribution in this formal way not only bridge’s our way into people’s minds and hearts, but it also crosses all social, political, and religious barriers.