“So at the time of death... Of course, those who are devotees, their position is different. People may say, "The devotee is also dying, and the nondevotee, sinful man, is also dying. What is the difference?" So there is much difference. The example is given: just like a cat catching a rat in his mouth and at the same time carrying his cubs in the mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling the death knell. Similarly, at the time of death, the devotee's feeling that they are being transferred to Vaikuntha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is feeling that the Yamaraja, the dutas, the constables of Yamaraja are dragging him to the hellish condition of life. So one should not conclude simply by seeing that he is dying. No. The process is different. Janma karma ca me divyam. As Lord Krsna's appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly, Lord Krsna's devotee, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Krsna, their appearance and disappearance is also like Krsna's. Therefore, according to Vaisnava principles, the appearance and disappearance of Vaisnava is considered all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals. Just like yesterday we had the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada. So we offered our respects and observed a festival, Avirbhava, Tirobhava. Tirobhava.”
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 6:1:27-34, Surat
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada departed from this world on November 14, 1977 in Vrindavan, India. As Srila Prabhupada explains above, the appearance and disappearance of the Lord and his pure representatives from this world is a cause for celebration. While there is no need to lament the disappearance of the Lord's pure nitya-siddha representative, at the same time the devotees feel great pangs of separation due to the manifest physical absence of His Divine Grace. We offer here a Disappearance Day feast that we hope will reflect the bittersweet pleasure of recognizing this most auspicious day.
Our offering begins with Sour Curd on Rice, a tamarind-tart loose curd heaped over a mound of savoury Basmati. The mixed mellows of this day are also celebrated with Bengali Dal with Sak, a thick sweet and sour dal topped with buttery greens.
We offer a symbol of unending attachment to the Spiritual Master in the form of Haritasraj Naan. The Sanskrit word ‘haritasraj' refers to yellow or green garlands (tree) wound about with a golden chain. This savory naan joins together braids of golden saffron with a green pandan twist. The chain may also call to mind the chain of disciplic succession, through which the absolute truth was faithfully delivered by Srila Prabhupada to the world, just as he received it from his Spiritual Master.
Several of Srila Prabhupada's favorites are featured on the menu, including Kittrie and Cuddy, which he greatly enjoyed. A thick besan cuddy (gravy) is poured overtop well-spiced kittrie. This down-to-earth, simple preparation is a reminder of Srila Prabhupada's preference for all things practical. He taught the devotees to make this kittrie and cuddy, an excellent foodstuff for nourishing the preachers of Krsna Consciousness.
A dry but delicately spiced dish, the Chenna Hari Matar Sabji blends together flavorful fried curd and tender green peas. Peas appear again in another of Srila Prabhupada's favorite savouries, Green Pea Katchoris. Adapted from Yamuna devi's recipe, these katchoris are a labor of love, giving the cook plenty of time to meditate on Srila Prabhupada's lila pastimes.
We think of the gulf of absence left behind upon the departure of the pure soul. A Sijha Mande offers steamed rice balls, plain and white, with a hint of aromatic cardamom.
One of our home recipes, Chenna Nut Balls are a most savory fried treat, having many layers of goodness. A moist ball of nut pate has a dollop of sour cream at the center. These are wrapped in chenna, coated in roasted besan batter and ghee fried to golden perfection.
Srila Prabhupada was known to enjoy bitter melon preparations, which he took both for its qualities as a digestive and for its satisfying bitter vegetable flavor. We offer Bittersweet Baigan, another dish blending the sweet and the not-sweet. This stuffed eggplant prep goes very nicely with the Makhana ka Raita, a creamy yoghurt with lotus seeds, which remind us of the seeds of devotion Srila Prabhupada planted in the hearts of all his disciples.
Another favorite of our Spiritual Master's, the Calcutta Tamatar Chatni not only hails from the place of Srila Prabhupada's childhood, but it was one of his most preferred chutney varieties. This recipe is one he taught to his early disciples.
An amazing sweet is offered in Srila Prabhupada's remembrance, Bitter Melon in Cashew Cream. We were once served this rare delight on Gaura Purnima at the Vancouver temple. The mataji serving said it was one of Srila Prabhupada's favorite sweets. We have never seen a recipe for it, and no one we've asked has, either. It is quite unusual to find recipes for Indian sweets that combine sweet and sour. The following recipe is a close approximation to the dish, although we've never quite gotten the bitter melon to be as chewy as it was that Gaura Purnima. We would love to hear from anyone who's familiar with this preparation!
Along with the wealth of his books, lectures and direction on so many topics, Srila Prabhupada also taught the devotes how to cook so many excellent foodstuffs for offering to Krsna. Here is another, the Orange Halvah is a very opulent feasting sweet loved by all.
Finally, we offer a Warm Saffron Sweet Milk, is a most comforting beverage infused with saffron, honey and nutmeg. The warmth of this drink reminds us of Srila Prabhupada's evening pastimes reading Krsna Book and taking a glass of warm milk before rest.