Guru As Truth Conductor

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta 1.1.46 | August 19, 2012 |

English; Cupertino, California, USA

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Question: 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… Expand>

Question:

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."

When I arrived at the Hindu Mandir, I saw the central deities were Laxmi-Narayana, with Sita Rama Hanuman Laxman, Radha Krishna, Siva lingam, Siva Parvati Ganesh Durga deities as well. When Susan and I arrived, they were having a havan, with a South Indian pandit chanting many mantras, which we participated in. Several people thanked me for the way I chanted Sanskrit with the Pandit. After this, I met the temple president, Mr. AV Singh, and when I asked him if I could say a few words about Gita Jayanti, he told me that there is no way of confirming the actual date that the Bhagavad Gita was spoken and that there is no need to promote the Bhagavad Gita, because every Hindu knows about it. He told me that their center was "diversified", and they don't promote any one book, and that if they let me promote the Gita , then everyone would want to promote their own religious views.

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.

My gratitude to Srila Prabhupada increased for the ISKCON movement he has given us , representing the true universal message of Sanatana Dharma. I realized even more the necessity of starting our own programs so that people could learn about Lord Caitanya. Hindu Bindu hodge podge religion , with so called "diversity" minimizing the glorification of Bhagavad Gita won't get people very far.

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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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.
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Well, not every instruction of Śrīla Prabhupāda in his letters is meant for everyone. Some of them are personal instructions. This question, the answer to it can be understood in detail by reading the prefatory note, or essay, in the Vedabase, given by His Holiness Jayādvaita Swami, about how to use or utilise the instructions in the Vedabase. That sum of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions is for all times, places and circumstances. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto, that’s Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. That’s for anyone in any time, place and circumstance. Others are not. Just like when… Or here is a good example, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna mām anusmara, that’s an instruction for anyone in any time, place and circumstance, but yudhya ca - fight, that’s not for everyone. 

So Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions also, there are general instructions for everyone, and specific instructions for specific individuals. So how to understand what’s for you through the whole mass of instructions given by Śrīla Prabhupāda, a very large body of instructions? Well, therefore one has to take guidance in spiritual life, personal guidance. It’s not that you can understand everything just by reading the books ourselves. If you read the books you’ll find that ... Well, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes in a Bhagavad-gītā purport, I’m paraphrasing here, don’t know the words exactly, but says that no one can advance properly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness without taking personal guidance from a spiritual master. Don’t remember that? Some very crucial statements.

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