Basics of Reincarnation Explained

Bhagavad-gītā 13.22 | October 14, 2015 |

English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

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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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Should devotees observe a full fast of abstaining from water on Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi? Some devotees, don’t go to bed on Ekadashi, they stay awake all night and as soon as the night is over, they go to sleep. What should our attitude be?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami: 

Observing jagarana – staying awake at night on Ekādaśī is the proper way to observe Ekādaśī, or if you want to observe it fully as in sastra, one should do that. Actually, there are many rules to follow. One’s last meal before the Ekādaśī should be at midday on the day before - on the Daśamī; and that should also be a very simple meal, according to sastra. And we have our daily duties and services to do in Kṛṣṇa’s service, so if just we go to sleep after staying awake all night, then in the name of extra service, we are cutting down our regular service. It’s like some devotees chant 64 rounds a day, but then they miss maṅgala-ārati, or they’re chanting their rounds during maṅgala-ārati… You’re trying to do something extra, but you’re cutting down on some of the basics. So, what’s the benefit? It’s best to stick to the basic things that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave us. If you want to do something extra, that’s nice, but we shouldn’t promote as if: “This is the great thing!” Prabhupāda already gave us all that we need for going back to Godhead. So, if we can just follow the basic things - that’s more than most devotees are doing. We always have to do something different. Or do something to show that we are better than others because we are doing something different. If you don’t do what I’m doing, then you can’t go back to Godhead. I’ve discovered the great secret. I’m the messiah for the present age. Hare Kṛṣṇa. If you go out and distribute books all night - that would be more pleasing to Śrīla Prabhupāda than staying awake. And a lot of this staying awake, I see actually they’re half-asleep anyway. So-called staying awake.

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Why is it that the cultural convention is for men to renounce and women to marry but the cultural code that it is best to renounce?

I would like to know which section of our society repels the renunciation of women in your opinion and why. Is it that the grhasta men want to keep their enjoyment guaranteed in convention?

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