When I became a monk back in ’73, the opinion amongst the movement was that your birthday wasn’t important. It relates to the body, and since you are not that body you don’t need to give it much attention. A brief mention of your birthday would happen, as this was our mood, then, in the name of renunciation.
As time passed and our cultural evolution shaped up, we found that ashram residents and community members really do feel loved and appreciated with at least a small birthday cake—without eggs—and when everyone sings, “Hare Krishna to you… Hare Krishna dear so-and-so…” it brings everyone together.
Tonight we went in carloads of well-wishers to the home of Dwarka who turned 60. She is very saintly and she is well loved by the community. Her tiny place in Markham was filled to its capacity in honour of this worthy person. With a little discomfort, we managed to all pack in, and then do the honours of highlighting her qualities—a good mother, wife, devotee and human being. She’s one of those unsung heroes.
We are accustomed to remembering the birth of Krishna or Chaitanya and celebrating them in a grand style, but it is also virtuous to celebrate someone who’s lived through a lot and continues to serve unceasingly. Your birth, your marriage and your death are significant days in your life. Perhaps also the day you accept a guru can be an event to be taken seriously with celebration in remembrance. We want to wish Dwarka the happiest birthday of all.
May the Source be with you!