Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Feasts - Make Your Own Butter

The last 2 weeks were filled with some of the biggest Vaisnava festivals of the year.  Balarama's festival was on the Tuesday with the full moon and then 8 days later Krsna's special day and then the following day, the birthday of our Guru.  He said there is a festival to celebrate almost everyday of the year.  With the traditional Waldorf/Steiner celebration ones as well, our life is filled with lots of meaning and joy.

You could say our branch of Vaisnavism is basically the "kitchen religion".  Anything can be offered up to God...including food.  In some temples, food is offered 6 times a day, many of the dishes being quite elaborate.  On special festival days, sometimes there are 108 or more offerings.  The Supreme of course does not need anything but accepts the love.  This food becomes prasadam, which means mercy.

Rasagullas, Raspberry Halava, Mango Buttermilk, Cucumber Raita
My daughter and I decided we would like to make some butter to offer.  It is said that baby Krsna loved butter!  The gopis (beautiful cowherd women and girls) would spend much of their day making butter, ghee, and yogurt.  So following in their footsteps, here is our modern attempt without a churning pot and fresh milk.

Make Your Own Butter

What You Need
organic cream (1 pint is a good amount)
mason jar with lid
3 clean marbles (we did Balaram white, Krsna blue, and Radha yellow)
jars or containers to store the butter milk and butter


You pour the cream into the mason jar with the marbles.  Seal the lid and start shaking.  I remember doing this in 1st grade and it must have been easier with 25 children to help shake.  With just the two of us, we almost gave up!

You will hear the marbles at the beginning.  When it stars to thicken, the sound will disappear and you will begin to have whipped cream.  This is when it gets hard, but keep going!
We took turns and chanted the maha-mantra while shaking.
Now we know why the gopis had such nice figures...all the physical work.
Eventually you can see through the glass again and thick curds start to form.
Then you will start to hear the marbles again and tinges of yellow appear.  The yellow is the butter forming and the white liquid is the buttermilk.  When you have a solid mass of butter, pour off the buttermilk into a clean container.  Rinse the butter with cool filtered water until no buttermilk remains.  This keeps it fresh longer as the buttermilk can make the butter go rancid faster.
You can then transfer the butter into a fresh container.
If you have cute butter molds, this would be a good time to use them.

After making butter, we made several more dishes and preparations for our celebration in the evening.  We also dressed our Deities (traditional forms of the Divine) in new outfits and fresh flowers.

We sang special devotional songs.

For our Guru's birthday, we made one of his favorite snacks - Kachoris.  It also happens to be one of mine as I have a love for all things flaky and fried.

Kachoris with Roasted Peanut Chutney

Anyway, someone might ask why all this effort....can't the Supreme just be happy without your offerings?  This practice of offering items with love helps us to go beyond ourselves and thinking of our material bodies.  Love is a means thoughtful doing.

Wishing you love and devotion in all your relationships,


  1. oooh yummy yummy! i now see why you have to do your macrobiotic cleanse!!

  2. exactly! at least until Radhastami :)

  3. Ha,ha. Yes! What Devadeva said :)
    Beautiful post.<3
    We just found out there is an ISKCON temple within 45 mins of here (jaw drop) with an EXCELLENT childrens program. I can't wait to start going, I miss temple life soooooo much!!