Swami Narayananda, Prabhu Goel, Lakshmi Vittala Dasi, Manoj Kumar priest and devotees.

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The Balaji Temple of San Jose, Calif. celebrated its Retreat Center Building Inauguration function at Hollister, Calif., Dec. 14. Swami Narayananandapuri cut the ribbon, writes Vijayalakshmi.

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Peetadhipathi Swami Narayanandapuri inaugurated the Retreat Center at Bolado, Hollister, Calif. Prabhu Goel and Ashok Kumar were guests of honor.

The celebration began with Ganpati Homam, Kalasha sthapana and Punyavachana. Swamiji along with priests Ranganath and Manoj Kumar performed the Ganesh Homa.

A few years back, an anonymous donor donated land at Tress Pinos in California in the San Benito county to Balaji Temple.

After the ribbon cutting, Swamiji briefly spoke about Prakriti (nature) and how to appreciate Mother Nature.

Swami Narayananda  and devotees at the Retreat Center building inauguration in Hollister, Calif.

Swami Narayananda and devotees at the Retreat Center building inauguration in Hollister, Calif.

Swamiji also talked about the importance of faith by talking about the incident of Kanakadasa. Kanakadasa was a shepherd boy who lived in the South India, in Karnataka, during the Vijayanagar empire.

One day, he a saw priests worshipping God. He requested the priest to teach him how to worship. The egoistic priest said that you cannot worship as you look after the buffalo and cows and that is all your wisdom. The priest teased him and said that you can sit under the tree and repeat buffalo buffalo. God will come to you.

Kanakadasa was very innocent took it in good faith what the priests told and chanted buffalo in kannada language, “Kona” and Lord Yama (the God of death) came before him and initiated the name of Keshava one of Vishnu’s form and guided him to sage Vyasathirtha. Kanakadasa took guidance and became a self-realized soul.

The students were jealous of him and made fun of him because he remained silent and quietly absorbed in his own self. So one day to teach a lesson to other students, the Guru gave a banana to each of the students and told them to go out and eat the banana where no one would watch them. All the students ate the banana and were waiting for Kanakadasa.

At last Kanakadasa came back with the banana. And he told his master that he cannot find a place anywhere as Krishna is watching him. So he gave the banana to his master. The Guru rebuked everyone and told the other students that this is the knowledge and wisdom and this is real devotion. God will always be visible to you.

Later Prabhu Goel, Ashok Kumar, Santhosh and Laksmi talked about Swamiji’s dedication, hard work, service to devotees, and the help and guidance given through the years. Board member Elango thanked all the devotees for participating in this celebration and bringing the maha prasadam.

Interested readers can learn more by visiting balajitemple.net.