The Glories of Raghava's Bag, Part 7

BY: SUN STAFF - 28.2 2023

Coconut Candies

A journey through the nectarian contents of Raghava's Bag.


Coconut and Sugar Confections

The next description in Caitanya-caritamrta Antya lila of the foodstuffs found among raghavera-jhali:

Antya 10.25

narikela-khanda nadu, ara nadu ganga-jala
cira-sthayi khanda-vikara karila sakala

narikela-khanda nadu -- sweetmeat balls made with coconut powder; ara -- and; nadu ganga-jala -- a sweetmeat ball as white as Ganges water; cira-sthayi -- long-lasting; khanda-vikara -- modified forms of sugar-candy sweets; karila -- made; sakala -- all.

"She made many sweetmeats shaped like balls. Some were made with powdered coconut, and others looked as white as the water of the Ganges. In this way she made many varieties of long-lasting sugar confections."

Narikela, the Sanskrit term for Coconut, is used throughout Caitanya-caritamrta in describing many forms of the fruit: coconut pulp (narikela-sasya), dried coconut, sweet coconut (mista-narikela ), coconut water, (narikela-jala), coconut cake and (narikela-puli).

Camphor Confection

The narikela-khanda nadu mentioned in today's verse are sweetmeat balls made with powdered coconut. Verse 10.25 explains that Damayanti "made many varieties of long-lasting sugar confections". The nature of the transcendental confections is explained elsewhere in Antya-lila. In Verse 10.55, we read:

"After the Lord's party arrived in Jagannatha Puri, "Raghava Pandita delivered the bags of eatables to Govinda, who kept them in a corner of the dining room."

Hard Sweet Balls

In a later passage, which we'll discuss in detail in a segment to come, we read about mukuta narikela, one of the very hard sweet preparations of coconut that had a long life:

Antya 10.125-126

yadyapi masekera vasi mukuta narikela
amrta-gutikadi, panadi sakala
tathapi nutana-praya saba dravyera svada
'vasi' visvada nahe sei prabhura prasada

yadyapi -- although; masekera -- one month; vasi -- remaining; mukuta narikela -- a very hard sweet preparation of coconut; amrta-gutika -- amrta-gutika sweetballs; adi -- etc.; pana -- sweet drinks; adi -- and so on; sakala -- all; tathapi -- still; nutana-praya -- as if fresh; saba dravyera -- of every preparation; svada -- the taste; vasi -- stale; visvada -- tasteless; nahe -- were not; sei -- that; prabhura prasada -- the mercy of the Lord.

The hard sweets made of coconut, mukuta narikela, the sweetballs, the many kinds of sweet drinks and all the other preparations were at least a month old, but although they were old, they had not become tasteless or stale. Indeed, they had all stayed fresh. That is the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Coconut fruit confection


Coconut Fruit Balls

1 cup dried Apricots
1 and a 1/2 cups shredded Coconut
1 to 2 tablespoons Citrus Juice (lemon/lime/orange/grapefruit)
Additional 1/2 cup coconut
Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Place the dried apricots in a steaming basket over boiling water until soft and plump. Set aside to cool. Put the additional 1/2 cup coconut in food processor, and process until powdery. Set aside.

Put apricots and citrus juice in food processor, and blend to combine. Add the coconut, and process until the mixture is firm (if the mixture does not get firm enough to form into balls, or remains sticky, add a little confectioner's/icing sugar or more coconut to firm it up).

Form into small balls, and roll in the powdered coconut. You can dust them with confectioner's if you like. Allow to dry at room temperature for at least 4 hours, then store in a container with tight lid.