Intelligent People Perform Sankirtana

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.9.38 | May 14, 2014 |

English; Simhacalam, Germany

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Question: However, this particular preacher was speaking out against the worship of Krishna. He was saying that Krishna cannot be God because he was killed in a hunting accident and left a material body. When I saw him preaching like this I felt very disturbed that all of the students around him were misled into thinking that Krishna was a human and could be killed.… Expand>

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For about five months now I have been engaged more actively in book distribution. Every Thursday I go around knocking on doors at different apartment buildings with another devotee, and I also try to distribute books every day at Krishna Lunch on the university campus. One day when I was walking back by myself to the preaching center from the campus, I saw this man preaching in the plaza. It was obvious that he was from some kind of church, and he was speaking out against all other religions with the exception of his own. There were many students gathered around him asking questions. Usually, I ignore these kinds of preachers and just keep walking. However, this particular preacher was speaking out against the worship of Krishna. He was saying that Krishna cannot be God because he was killed in a hunting accident and left a material body. When I saw him preaching like this I felt very disturbed that all of the students around him were misled into thinking that Krishna was a human and could be killed. Since I have gained more confidence and desire to speak about Krishna due to book distribution, I wanted to say something to try and clear up this misconception, but I started to think that he would not understand what I had to say. So, I ended up just walking away. I would like to know, what is the best thing to do in these circumstances? Is it better to kindly say something or walk away? If it is not too much trouble for you, I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

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Question: My question is regarding deity outfits. On Nrsimha Caturdasi, at an ISKCON temple in Germany, the deity of lord Nrsimhadev was dressed/pasted with different flavours/colours of sandesh milk sweet dough instead of any sort of cloth outfit. Maharaja, my question is that is the above performed act, proper and in line with the scriptural rules of deity… Expand>

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My question is regarding deity outfits. On Nrsimha Caturdasi, at an ISKCON temple in Germany, the deity of lord Nrsimhadev was dressed/pasted with different flavours/colours of sandesh milk sweet dough instead of any sort of cloth outfit. 

Maharaja, my question is that is the above performed act, proper and in line with the scriptural rules of deity worship, just as during chandan yatra the deities are pasted with sandalwood paste or just as there are flower outfits for the deities in many temples? Or is it not to be accepted. I mean something similar to the previous incident of the deities dressed in Santa Claus outfits?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami: 

I’m not aware of any scriptural rule that says to dress the Deities in a dress made of milk sweets. It’s the first time I ever heard about it. There are various aspects of Vaiṣṇava culture which may not be directly described in śāstra, but they may be performed in some places as a tradition. So, may be that in some traditional temple in India that there is a tradition on certain days dressing the Deities like that; although, at least in India, if you were to do so, then quite likely the Deity would be covered with ants very quickly. So, that may not be a very good idea to do that. Ants and flies would come. Probably not so much in Germany because there are not so many little living entities as there are in India. But there are some very desirable elements of Vaishnava culture which could, according to the discrimination of the devotees – that may be questionable also (the level of discrimination as to what should be accepted and what should not be accepted). But there are various items of Vaiṣṇava culture which can be adopted, but if something is not in śāstra, is not in tradition… I’d be very cautious about making innovations, especially in Deity worship. So, you probably have to ask the devotees in Germany where they got this idea from. One consideration is that it’s fairly common in India to see Deities of Hanuman covered with butter. That’s quite a common practice. I don’t know if the Deities get attacked by ants, or whatever. Flies come. I’ve seen that. It’s quite often done.

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