Sri Vaisnavism & Gaudiya Vaisnavism

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.2.12 | August 14, 2016 |

English; Seattle, USA

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  • Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta 3.20.144-146

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Books by OBL Kapoor

January 6, 2014 |

Question: Could you please share your vision on the books of Dr. OBL Kapoor (Adikesava prabhu). I am specifically interested to know your opinion regarding his biographies of the "Saints of Vraja". It has been recently published in Russian by devotees outside ISKCON and our devotees are enchanted by it. Still, some maintain their doubts about it. Should ISKCON devotees read this book?… Expand>

Question:

Could you please share your vision on the books of Dr. OBL Kapoor (Adikesava prabhu). I am specifically interested to know your opinion regarding his biographies of the "Saints of Vraja". It has been recently published in Russian by devotees outside ISKCON and our devotees are enchanted by it. Still, some maintain their doubts about it. Should ISKCON devotees read this book?

His other book "The Saints of Bengal" is less popular since most of our devotees are aware of the existence of sakhi-bheki etc that it depicts.

I would be very grateful if you could advise us in this regard. Thank you very much.

 
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Two Similar Questions

April 30, 2011 |

Question: 1) My question is that why god Krishna is coupled with Radharani in every temple and in every poster. What about his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. Did Krishna loves only Radharani? What is that reason if my question is wrong? Please pardon me. 2) Why is it that only Lord Krishna in a deity form is worshiped with Srimati Radharani? Lord Balaram an immediated expansion of Lord Krishna, is not with a deity form with his wife in spiritual world?… Expand>

Question:

1. My question is that why god Krishna is coupled with Radharani in every temple and in every poster. What about his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. Did Krishna loves only Radharani? What is that reason if my question is wrong? Please pardon me.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Well, what about his: “In every temple in every poster Kṛṣṇa is coupled with Rādhārāṇī.” Would be nice if it was. I guess in ISKCON it’s like that, pretty much. What about His wives Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā? Well, what about the other wives too? Like Kalindi, Bhadra, Satyā, Mitravinda; there are so many other wives. Rohiṇī. Nāgnajitī is Satyā; it’s another name. I said, didn’t I? Satyā. So, Jāmbavatī; now we got almost all of them. Who was there, Madri? I think that’s pretty much it now. So yeah, and then Rohiṇī, I said is… There are 16,108, so there are eight famous ones. So Rohiṇī is the foremost of the other 16,100. So does Kṛṣṇa only love Rādhārāṇī? Well, it’s point to consider that we in our temples, we have Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, not much of Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā. In ISKCON Chennai the Deities are there Kṛṣṇa-Rukmiṇī-Satyabhāmā, because someone donated them at some point. Although when the main temple’s open, they’re going to install Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We do have Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa in Los Angeles, but Kṛṣṇa’s laying a flute; and Prabhupāda used to refer to them as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. 

Yeah, it’s an interesting point that we have Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in every temple. We do have Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in every temple, but at the same time we say that to be very careful in approaching Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Don’t just jump in. So on the one hand, for the public and temples are especially meant for neophytes, so we’re told… The people, they like to come to the temple. They see Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. But on the other hand, we say not to inquire too deeply into these matters, because to understand the actual answer to this requires more than a Bhakti-śāstrīdegree. You have to go up to Bhakti Sārvabhauma, or [you] have to come up to the level of Caitanya Mahāprabhu practically to understand this. So, it’s a very intimate subject. In short we can say that Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāmā, all the queens, all the Lakṣmīs, Sītā – they’re all expansions of Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī is the ādi-śakti. She’s the original source of all the forms. So, just as Kṛṣṇa’s the source of all Narayana forms, so Rādhā’s the source of all Lakṣmī forms. So when we worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, actually we are worshiping also Rukmiṇī and Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā. Rādhārāṇī is all those persons. 

There’s much more to be said about this, but from the way question’s asked, I can understand that to discuss in detail won’t be understood. It’s like someone who’s just a child and just beginning to learn 1+1=2 and they see in some textbook some integral calculus calculations and they hear the word integral calculus and they ask the teacher: “Can you explain integral calculus to us?” So they may have heard the word and they have some vague idea – maybe not even that – but it’s not possible for the teacher to explain that at the student’s present level of understanding. So just very basically we can say that Rādhā is the original form of all the śaktis. But to understand in detail – it’s not that it cannot be understood, but one has to go through various levels of understanding. It’s not that one can immediately come to the highest understanding. 

Question 2. Why is it that only Lord Krishna in a deity form is worshiped with Srimati Radharani? Lord Balaram an immediated expansion of Lord Krishna, is not with a deity form with his wife in spiritual world?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

Yeah, Balarāma has His wives, two wives – Revatī and Vāruṇī. And there are temples of Balarāma with Revatī in Vraja, in the Vraja area. But where we worship Balarāma in ISKCON, we mostly worship Him with Jagannatha and Subhadra, who are traditional forms worshiped in this way; and also Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma. To worship Balarāma separately with His wife, that is a special bhava which a few devotees have. Just like some people worship Sītā-Rāma, so some people worship Revatī-Balarāma. Vāruṇī we don’t hear much of.

So again it’s people asking a question which is… Very intricate and esoteric matters which… Unless we first of all understand Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then to understand His intimate personal dealings won’t be possible for us.

(On the photo: Deity of Lord Balarama with His wives Revati and Varuni, Tota Gopinatha temple, Jagannatha Puri, Orissa) 

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Standards of Cooking for Deities and Pictures

May 1, 2016 |

Question: As far as cooking prasada for the deities, the standard as I know is to be second initiated. Does this apply to cooking for the devotees and offering it to a picture? In Krishna house they have devotees cooking who chant 8 rounds and its questionable if they are following the regulated principles. Would this affect one's consciousness and can this be considered a fit offering to the Lord?… Expand>

Question:

As far as cooking prasada for the deities, the standard as I know is to be second initiated. Does this apply to cooking for the devotees and offering it to a picture? In Krishna house they have devotees cooking who chant 8 rounds and its questionable if they are following the regulated principles. Would this affect one's consciousness and can this be considered a fit offering to the Lord?

Answer by H.H. Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

Well, the proper term in our terminology is to prepare bhoga for the Deities. It is offered, the Lord accepts it, and then we take His prasādam.
Yes, but that’s the strict rule that in the temple where Deities are worshipped, all cooking and Deity worship should be done by brāhmaṇ initiated devotees.
That doesn’t mean that if you are not brāhmaṇicaly initiated you should not eat, or just only eat raw food or something like that. Even that, you are supposed to offer to Kṛṣṇa.
There is laxity for some devotees who are not initiated in that way. But in the temples with installed Deities (of course Deity means installed) there bhoga should be offered and cooked by persons who are formally initiated brāhmaṇically or pañcarātrically.
If they are not chanting 16 rounds and following the principles, then they shouldn’t be cooking for Deities and they will affect our consciousness.

viṣayīra anna khāile malina haya mana
malina mana haile nahe kṛṣṇera smaraṇa

“When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one’s mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Kṛṣṇa properly.“ (CC Antya 6.278)

Then we may say they are devotees, not materialists. They are not devotees to the level who should be cooking for distribution to others. They won’t benefit others. I’ve spoken on this many times. You can see on the website, there must be.
It affects one’s consciousness certainly because the consciousness of the cook is transmitted through the cooking.

Once, in Australia, Śrīla Prabhupāda was given some prasādam, nicely puffed up purīs. Afterward he asked: Who is the cook? The cook was Kūrma dāsa Prabhu, one of the most famous cooks in the history of ISKCON.
There are some famous cooks: Yamunā devi (who is probably the most famous), Kūrma Prabhu, Apūrva is very well known in America, Vibhu-Caitanya was there in Vṛndāvan. There are so many good cooks, but some in particular.
So Kūrma Prabhu came and Śrīla Prabhupāda said to him: Thank you very much for so nicely following the regulative principles!
We may say what’s that got to do with cooking, but Śrīla Prabhupāda could understand that his cooking is so nice because he is so seriously practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and Rādhārāṇī is manifesting through him. It’s understood that cooking for Kṛṣṇa is the service of Rādhārāṇī.

rādhikāra pakka anna vividha byañjana
parama ānande kṛṣṇa korena bhojana

“In great ecstasy and joy Kṛṣṇa eats the rice, curried vegetables, sweets, and pastries cooked by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.” (Bhoga-arati / Bhaja Bhakata Vatsala, verse 8)

As Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says She cooks for Kṛṣṇa rice and various vegetables, and so many different preparations.

And in South India they don’t know so much about Rādhā yet. So, they will say that Lakṣmī is cooking actually. Cooking for Viṣṇu means that the cook has to take blessing from Lakṣmī. It’s Her service, so the cook can only assist.

So, when one is in good consciousness then Kṛṣṇa is very pleased to accept the offering, and His mercy comes through fully.

If we are in materialistic consciousness, if we are not following the principles properly, if we are not up to the level of chanting 16 rounds, well, whatever good consciousness we have it will come through, and whatever bad consciousness we have it will come through also.
So, that’s the one in brief.

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