(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 8 September 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa, Home Program)
When having a small get-together, the idea is that some blessings are exchanged. We don’t know the workers who built this house and what karma they put in between the bricks. We think they just put cement when we see them working. No, karma is also there.
That’s why in traditional Indian houses, you have to hang a pumpkin outside the building, at the construction site. The pumpkin has to be there and there has to be a face on the pumpkin. Somehow or other, they do this pumpkin ritual and it’s supposed to capture all the inauspicious elements that have been brought in at the time of construction. You don’t know who you bought the bricks from, it maybe from a total demon, maybe Hiranyakasipu! Could be that Hiranyakasipu himself has a brick factory. His bricks are like, you know, full of suffering of so many mistreated (employees) and all the karma of Hiranyakasipu, the brick-seller, comes to us in our house.
But then traditionally, they hang the pumpkin which is supposed to capture all the evil spirits or evil karma and at the end, you’re supposed to throw out the pumpkin or even like BURN the pumpkin! Traditionally, a brahmana would come and chant mantras; nice mantras to invite all the ghosts and spirits into the pumpkin, “Welcome.” It starts very sweet and then suddenly, this brahmana starts some yajna, some fire and he takes a burning stick and he just burns that pumpkin! And throws out the pumpkin of the house, “Out!”
Nowadays, we don’t do such things although that was colourful, I must say. Sort of exciting, you know. It’s not that we cannot do some pumpkin ritual if we want but the essence of course is chanting Hare Krsna. The chanting of Hare Krsna makes everything more auspicious than a truck-load of pumpkins can do because the chanting of Hare Krsna brings auspiciousness. It’s not about driving out the inauspiciousness but it makes auspiciousness, it makes everything auspicious. It makes a house auspicious, it makes our life auspicious!