Virabahu, Vidharana

Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 464-465 | February 20, 2016 |

English; Hyderabad, Telangana, India

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Question: However we use the word "puja (worship)" in relation to guru. Guru-puja, Vyasa-puja etc. Also Krsna says to Uddhava: mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika. What is a context in these cases where the word "puja" is used?… Expand>

Question:

From Srila Prabhupada's lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1 — October 22, 1976, Vrndavana

Puja means I call you and offer you some respectable [indistinct], some foodstuff, and then very much seated very comfortably. Naturally I may ask, "What do you want?" Then I'll expect, "Give me this. Give me that. Give me that." That is going on. That is called puja. But those who are worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is not called puja; that is called seva, krsna-seva. We never say krsna-puja. Nobody... Never says like that. Seva. Seva means it is my duty. I am eternal servant of Krsna. Seva is my duty. So there is difference between puja and seva. Puja means I flatter you to satisfy you, and after being satisfied, you may offer me something, or I'll ask you something and you offer me. That is called puja. That is devata-puja. But, so when you come to Krsna, or Visnu, that is not puja; that is seva. Seva. So as Krsna is offered seva, service, similarly His representative, he is also offered seva.

(end of quote)

 

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to BG 6.47:

The word bhajate is significant here. Bhajate has its root in the verb bhaj, which is used when there is need of service. The English word "worship" cannot be used in the same sense as bhaj. Worship means to adore, or to show respect and honor to the worthy one. But service with love and faith is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can avoid worshiping a respectable man or a demigod and may be called discourteous, but one cannot avoid serving the Supreme Lord without being thoroughly condemned.

(end of quote)

 

However we use the word "puja (worship)" in relation to guru. Guru-puja, Vyasa-puja etc. Also Krsna says to Uddhava: mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika. What is a context in these cases where the word "puja" is used?

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After procrastinating for several months, with the encouragement of Susan, I finally got myself out the door to visit our local Hindu Mandir, in London , Ontario. I looked at the Vaisnava calendar, and was reminded that it was the day for GIta Jayanti. I thought "How auspicious. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a box of Gitas with me to share with the local Hindus. A most wonderful way to begin my associating with the local pious people!"

I thought perhaps I might be able to speak something about the glories of the Bhagavad Gita at the Mandir, so I Googled Gita Jayanti, and heard part of an inspiring class by HH Prahladanandana Swami where he explained,

"There are 7 billion verses in the Vedas, and the Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all of them, and of all of them , the middle 6 chapters of the Gita are the most important, and of all those chapters, the 9th is the most important , and of all the verses , Bg. 9.34 is the most important,… man mana bhava mad bhakto, "Engage your mind in always thinking of Me, worship Me offer your obeisances unto Me. Thus you will surely come to Me, because you are My very dear friend." It is such an important verse , that it is repeated in the 18th chapter as well."

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I stood there listening to him with my mouth open, in a state of disbelief. I purposefully kept my mouth open so he could see how

shocked I was at his response. He asked me if I understood. I told him that I understood his point of view, but because the Bhagavad Gita is a universal , non-sectarian teaching, I had difficulty accepting his resistance toward promoting it. He told me that the temple was for people to come and worship, sing a few songs, and go home "happy". I quickly packed up the Gitas and left, not feeling very happy at all.

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What would have you said to Mr. Singh, regarding his arguments against saying a few words in glorification of the Bhagavad Gita?

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