Gopatih, Gopta

Viṣṇu-sahasranāma 497-498 | October 1, 2016 |

English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

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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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How to Remove Weed-like Desires?

May 1, 2016 |

Question: If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Srimad Bhagavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to the process of pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds, how can I remove these weeds I suffer from like adoration, prestige, sense enjoyment, emancipation and so many others?… Expand>

Question:

If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Srimad Bhagavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to the process of pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds, how can I remove these weeds I suffer from like adoration, prestige, sense enjoyment, emancipation and so many others?

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami:

“A question in reference to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.2.30.
In purport toward the end, Prabhupāda says… This is quoting from, Śrīla Prabhupāda is quoting from and paraphrasing from, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instructions to Rūpa Gosvāmī as stated in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta about the creeper of devotional service.
By the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa one receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service. One has to water that creeper by giving water, figurative water, of hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa, then the creeper grows. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda writes:
3) “It so happens that by the watering process some weeds are also grown, and unless such weeds are uprooted, the nurturing of the main creeper, or the creeper of bhakti-yoga, may be hampered.
4) Actually these weeds are material enjoyment, merging of the self in the Absolute without separate individuality, and many other desires in the field of religion, economic development, sense enjoyment and emancipation.
5) There are many other weeds, like disobedience to the tenets of the revered scriptures, unnecessary engagements, killing animals, and hankering after material gain, prestige and adoration.”
So that is, more or less, a direct translation of a passage from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. 

PERENNIAL KIND OF QUESTION 
Then the question from Kalki dāsa:
“If we are chanting the holy name of the Lord and reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam daily, then why are desires arising that are completely contrary to pure devotional service? I know for a fact that I am suffering from weeds. How can I remove these weeds?”
Why do the desires arise? Well, arise is just the right term because they are there, deep in the heart. They arise. It may be just like in a lake. At the bottom of the lake there is mud, and sometimes some bubble just comes up. There is some air trapped deep in the lake, or it may not even be a bubble. The air may form at the bottom of the lake and come up.
So the reason is we’ve been in this material world since time immemorial and we have so many material desires; and hearing and chanting is the cleansing process. It doesn’t mean that everyone immediately becomes clean. If we are chanting the holy name, the question is how do the desires arise. But how are we chanting? Are we chanting with full purity? So it’s a process. Therefore we have the process of sādhana-bhakti.
Actually, this kind of question I’ve answered dozens of times. Maybe hundreds of times in varieties of ways. It’s a perennial kind of question. So it’s a process.
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati (Upadeśāmṛta 3)
By enthusiasm, determination, patience, following the proper process, giving up bad association, and following in the footsteps of great devotees, success in devotional service is guaranteed. 

PATIENCE IS REQUIRED 
So in purport to this verse from Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Prabhupāda states that patience is required also. We shouldn’t think that immediately we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and then we become totally cleansed of all material contamination. 
He gives the example that after a girl gets married, she expects to get a child, but she has to wait a little time. Once she is married, it is expected that she will have a child. Of course, nowadays they don’t bother getting married. They just get a child without marriage in many cases also. That’s the normal process – marriage and then the child will come, because only after the marriage do the boy and girl unite in a manner that can produce children.
So some patience is required also. And that patience is part of the process of devotional service. If we become impatient and think that “Well, oh, too much! I want immediate Kṛṣṇa prema!” Then we become disqualified from getting it. We may say: “Why do material desires arise?” Those desires are there in the heart. They come out. See them, drop them. Don’t meditate on it. Then we can become free from it.
How can I remove these weeds?
Again, it’s by the process of sādhana. We go on with the process, with faith. rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso – with faith that Kṛṣṇa will protect me. If I stay on this path, Kṛṣṇa will help. 

CONCLUSION
So what’s the answer? How do I get free from these weeds?
Go on with the process of sādhana and be careful. 
ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ
prātikūlyasya varjanam
Accept everything which is favorable for devotional service and reject everything that is unfavorable. We can’t expect to advance unless we do this. That means we have to have plenty of hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa in our life.
And things which are unfavorable like, so many times I say this, but it’s a common anartha, watching all kinds of nonsense things on TV, not turning off our cell phone when we come to the temple, even though we are asked to so many times; so many things. This will impede our devotional advancement. If we follow the process, then Kṛṣṇa will help. To the extent we follow, Kṛṣṇa will reciprocate.

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