Life's Complex Dilemmas

Bhagavad-gītā 1.36 | July 7, 2012 |

English; Govindadvipa, Northern Ireland, UK

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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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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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Question: My name is Jayapatni Gopi dasi and I have been in the movement and a disciple of Jayapataka Swami most of the time since 1980. I serve here at New Talavana Farm in Mississippi. In the late 80's, I was raising four young children all born within a span of eight years. I was dealing with… Expand>

Question:

My name is Jayapatni Gopi dasi and I have been in the movement and a disciple of Jayapataka Swami most of the time since 1980. I serve here at New Talavana Farm in Mississippi.

In the late 80's, I was raising four young children all born within a span of eight years. I was dealing with my elderly dad who was alone, and had had a bad habit of drinking for many years. He had caused drunk driving accidents, but due to Krsna's mercy had not hurt anyone except
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I made a decision when I moved to New Talavana not to give him my address, because he lived 2 1/2 hours away and I feared he would spend most of his time on the highway driving back and forth to and from his house to mine.

I now am plagued with guilt and remorse for the totally isolated life he lead for the last three years of his life. He was totally alone in a cabin in the woods in the backwoods of Mississippi. He often told me how distressed he was. We went to see him once a month and brought prasadam. If I had it to do over I would trust in Krsna to help me and attempt to have him here doing some menial service for the farm. He liked mowing.

I feared I couldn't care for my four infant children and also be cognizant enough to deal with him and my husband commuted to work and was rarely here to help us. I have had two shrada ceremonies and intend to have another one performed in October, but my thoughts are almost constantly haunted by his distress during those years. He died in 1991, and this doesn't seem to be getting any better for me. We were very close.

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