The Real Spirit of Thanksgiving

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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.


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George Harrison said, It’s True, I live for you, showing his love for Lord Krishna. It’s True, the same can also be said for the real spirit of Thanksgiving which occurs annually at The ISKCON Temple in Tucson, Arizona, graciously provided by President, Sandamini Devi.

I can personally speak for I experienced it firsthand. The real spirit of Thanksgiving occurs every year, every month, every week, and every day at SANDAMINI’S PLACE, as I call it in my poem about the temple. I have visited to be closer to Bhaktivedanta and Krishna as well as Sandamini and my devotee friends twice and am retuning for a third visit soon.

I would like to include a few excerpts from SANDAMINI’S PLACE, to show the ISKCON community how KRISHNATIZED (Krishna energized) I feel every time I am there. (Bhakta Steven)

My name is Sandamini, Come chant with me, Our Temple is in Tucson, Show your spirituality

We are the jewel of the cactus state, Enter through Bhagavad Gita’s gate, Walk this way don’t hesitate, Can’t be late for Krishna’s date

Remove your shoes and stay a while, Chant the Lord’s name with class and style, Stay tuned to Krishna on the ISKCON dial, We love to see Bhaktivedanta smile

My palate screams HOORAY for GOVINDA’S CAFE, I hope lasagna is on the menu today, I enjoyed my stay and will be back again someday, KRISHNA will always be with me on my spiritual highway

Submitted by Bhakta Steven

Comment posted by bhaktasteven on December 11th, 2012

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