For his Vyasa Puja this year, devotees at ISKCON Brisbane, Australiaoffered Srila Prabhupada multiple cakes designed on the theme of the twenty-six qualities of a pure devotee.
The main cake featured the name “Prabhupada” cut into individual letters. These were surrounded by twenty-six small cakes, each with one of his qualities artfully inscribed upon it.
As explained by Srila Prabhupada himself, Krsnadas Kaviraja, author of the Caitanya-caritamrita, lists the twenty-six qualities of a Vaishnava. They include: He offers respect to everyone; he does not desire any respect for himself; he is very kind to everyone; he is truthful; he is very peaceful; he is magnanimous; he controls his senses; he works for everyone’s benefit; and of course, he is always surrendered to Krishna.
The large cake letters, measuring 18 x 10 inches, were made out of vanilla cake containing golden syrup, spread with butter icing and covered in white and orange fondant.
The small cakes were made from carrot cake with the same icing and fondant. All were beautifully decorated with edible vines and flowers.
Srimati Dasi, who works at Govinda’s in Brisbane, organized the team behind the cake. They included Radha Thakurani, who also works at Govinda’s and is well known as an expert cake-maker; full-time mother and graphic designer Bhakti Chandrika Dasi; and Radha’s son Devaki Nandana; as well as Mohana Gupta, Rasika Seva, and Lakshmi Dasi.
The team offered the cake at an ecstatic Vyasa Puja festival, where about 250 devotees from all over Brisbane came to take part in glorifying His Divine Grace.
The event included kirtan, abhisekha of Prabhupada’s small murti, guru puja, and homages by devotees.
“This year, the children took a bigger part in the festival,” says Srimati. “Two young girls aged around 7 or 8 sang ‘He’s a kind and gentle soul,’ by Mangalananda (Michael Cassidy), which was really sweet and touched all the devotees’ hearts.”
A sumptuous feast concluded the proceedings, but judging by the Facebook reaction to photos, it may be the cake that is remembered most.
“The response from devotees about the cake has been completely overwhelming,” Srimati says. “We have had so many devotees from all over the world making lovely comments, and we feel completely humbled. I think there have been about 500 shares of our post, which has completely blown us away.”
Behind the success, of course, is the cooperation amongst devotees to serve Srila Prabhupada, and that, according to Srimati, is what made this year’s Vyasa Puja at ISKCON Brisbane so special.
“It is inspiring that so many devotees come together and rightly so; to glorify our beloved Srila Prabhupada,” she says. “It is also inspiring how devotees work together co-operatively to make this a wonderful festival, from the decorations and homages to the amazing feast. I think devotees went home afterwards with lots of gratitude and love for Srila Prabhupada, and the desire to make next year’s festival even bigger and better.
“I know our cake team are already talking about how we can make even better creations for His Divine Grace next year,” she concludes with a grin.