Varnasrama is External to Bhakti, but Still Required

November 30, 2013 |

English; Nanda Gokulam, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Question: I would like to ask for clarification of one subject, namely, Krishna's "assuming" different forms. In one of the classes that had been uploaded on the bvks.com you spoke about the Lord not "assuming" the form, as far as I remember, you made the point that these forms of the Lord do exist eternally and that… Expand>

Question:

I would like to ask for clarification of one subject, namely, Krishna's "assuming" different forms. In one of the classes that had been uploaded on the bvks.com you spoke about the Lord not "assuming" the form, as far as I remember, you made the point that these forms of the Lord do exist eternally and that the forms of the material world are the "copies" and not the other way round. You also made the point that the word "assume" should probably not be used in the verse.

Today we were listening to the class by Srila Prabhupada and he also spoke on the topic and this is what he said:

"So sometimes this earthly planet was thrown into the water, Garbhodaka-samudra, Garbhodaka Sea, and God took the form of a boar, having two tusks — because it was easier. Just like shovel, you take something like that. So He took the earth. So that is described: ksitir iha vipulatare tisthati tava… No. What is that? Dasana-sikhare? The, this is described in Jayadeva's prayer. Vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna. Vasati, "is resting"; vasati dasana-sikhare, "on the top of the tusk." Kesava dhrta- sukara-rupa jaya jagadisa hare. So He's yajnesa. It is not that He's… is shape was just like hog, but He's not hog. Don't misunderstand. His shape was a gigantic hog. You can just imagine what kind of hog He was. The shape was like hog, but He was resting the whole planet, earthly planet, on the tusk. Vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna sasini kalanka, kesava dhrta- sukara-rupa. Here it is stated, saukaram. Saukaram means like hog. Not that He's hog. He's yajnesa. He can take any shape. Just like here is, God has assumed the shape of a lion, half-lion, half-man. So He's all powerful, He can take any shape, any form, but He is not that form. That is for the time being. For the time being, He assumes so many forms. The real form is Krsna, the original form. Kesava dhrta-sukara, sukara-rupa or sukara-rupa. "My Lord Kesava, You have assumed this form." So there are many millions and millions of forms of God. According to time, necessity, circumstances, He assumes different forms. Because it is His business:

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham
[Bg. 4.7]

He appears as soon as there are discrepancies in the methodical way."

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.7 — Los Angeles, September 13, 1972

I remember discussing this very same point with Gokula Candra Prabhu when we were in Salem, and the conclusion was that these forms do exist eternally, but from the above statement by Srila Prabhupada it seems to be otherwise. Could you clarify that please so that I may understand this properly?

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Question: I have a doubt in my mind, and you could most likely solve it. Sannyasa is the highest ashram and generally the sannyasis are respected as being; as good as God by other sections. I hear stories about Prabhupada offering sannyasa to many of his devotees, and many of them could not maintain it. During the early stages of the Krishna Conscious movement, was Prabhupada very careful in choosing candidates for Sannyasa?… Expand>

Question:

I have a doubt in my mind, and you could most likely solve it.

Sannyasa is the highest ashram and generally the sannyasis are respected as being; as good as God by other sections. I hear stories about Prabhupada offering sannyasa to many of his devotees, and many of them could not maintain it.

During the early stages of the Krishna Conscious movement, was Prabhupada very careful in choosing candidates for Sannyasa? I hear stories that sometimes many of the devotees were given Sannyasa on a single day and were asked to go out and preach (please correct me if I am wrong).

Is the spiritual master supposed to understand the possible frailties of his disciples very carefully and give instructions only according to the disciple’s capacity? I hear this argument that the strength to carry on the instruction is imparted with the instruction itself.

Is it possible that the spiritual master may give an instruction, but if he is not very helpful to the disciple then the disciple has to take a simpler instruction for himself after the failure?

How does giving instructions work in the current context? We have many madhyama bhaktas acting as leaders, so are we supposed to check with others when there are strict instructions (other than chanting and regulative principles) and strong ideas presented that are directly not in Prabhupada's books - like preaching, program building etc.?

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Question: I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness. It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.… Expand>

Question:

I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness.

It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.

After that at some point I decided to live in the temple to dedicate more time to service, in the hope that it would be easier to practice, but it turned out to be the opposite. After one and a half months my material desires and dreams became very strong (stronger than at home). I returned home and senior devotees (brahmacaris who live outside the temple) sent me caranamrta and sent me prasadam until I recovered. I thought that this was related with aparadhas that I had unconsciously made.

Now I'm in another city, and visiting another temple, and after taking prasadam there – my bad dreams and images again manifest.

I have the understanding that this is because of the low standards of cleanliness of preparation: prasadam not being cooked by brahmanas, distributors hands dirty, dirty clothes, anyone can take a disposable plate with dirty hands or serve themselves prasadam from the vessels, also I myself need to be cleansed. Do these low standards of cleanliness in cooking and distribution of prasadam influence the enthusiasm of devotees in their service?

On the other hand, I see how many devotees live in temples and practice sadhana. And that's why I have a doubt that it could be tricks of my mind not to live in the temple? Or maybe, I should live in the temple, but cook for myself?

Please help me to get an understanding of purity standards. Is external cleanliness important? Can prasadam be contaminated? Can it affect the mind and its thoughts and images? Can it affect the desire to serve Sri Guru, Prabhupada, Krishna and devotees? Maybe, I should concentrate on chanting, do more practical service, distribute books? And maybe I should pay less attention to things that I pay attention to now as they are not so important?

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