Small is Beautiful

December 14, 2010 |

English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

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Question: One should begin the worship of the demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in the execution of devotional service. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimha-deva and in that way has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore, all devotees should worship Ganapati. Thus my neighbours placed Ganesha next to Nrsimhadeva on the altar. Other devotees cite Srila Prabhupada letters in which he says that there's no need to worship Ganesha. So what is the proper understanding?… Expand>

Question:

I saw a murti of Ganesh on the altar next to Nrsimhadeva at a neighbours' place. There was an argument between devotees. Some say that in Srila Prabhupada's Nectar of Devotion it is said in Chapter 8, One should begin the worship of the demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in the execution of devotional service. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimha-deva and in that way has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore, all devotees should worship Ganapati. Thus my neighbours placed Ganesha next to Nrsimhadeva on the altar. Other devotees cite Srila Prabhupada letters in which he says that there's no need to worship Ganesha. So what is the proper understanding?

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No Taste for Chanting

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Question: I have been practicing for several years but when recently asked by another young devotee regarding when one gets the taste for chanting I had to frankly admit that I hadn't got it yet. I can understand that it is due to offences and inattentive chanting. If it is not too impertinent to ask, may I request you… Expand>

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I have been practicing for several years but when recently asked by another young devotee regarding when one gets the taste for chanting I had to frankly admit that I hadn't got it yet. I can understand that it is due to offences and inattentive chanting. If it is not too impertinent to ask, may I request you to share your personal experience about chanting. I have heard from your lectures that you were chanting 16 rounds from the day you joined. Of course it depends on the devotee's level of sincerity and one cannot put a timeline on when one gets a taste from chanting and consequently other things such as waking up early, but hearing from you will definitely inspire those of us who are struggling.

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Question: I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness. It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.… Expand>

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I have a problem concerning the purity and contamination of prasadam and consciousness.

It began with the fact that after taking prasadam at public programs (Namahattas, Bhakti vrksas, Sunday feasts in the temple) my material desires increase – images not related with Krishna appear in my mind, and in dreams images of militants, horror and erotica appear (in dreams I sometimes was strangled, maltreated, raped etc.). Because of this I felt I had to endeavor more to follow sadhana; concentrate while chanting and reading. I was advised not to take prasadam at public programs because the standards of cleanliness are very low. Thus I visited the programs but did not take prasadam and this seemed to solve the problem.

After that at some point I decided to live in the temple to dedicate more time to service, in the hope that it would be easier to practice, but it turned out to be the opposite. After one and a half months my material desires and dreams became very strong (stronger than at home). I returned home and senior devotees (brahmacaris who live outside the temple) sent me caranamrta and sent me prasadam until I recovered. I thought that this was related with aparadhas that I had unconsciously made.

Now I'm in another city, and visiting another temple, and after taking prasadam there – my bad dreams and images again manifest.

I have the understanding that this is because of the low standards of cleanliness of preparation: prasadam not being cooked by brahmanas, distributors hands dirty, dirty clothes, anyone can take a disposable plate with dirty hands or serve themselves prasadam from the vessels, also I myself need to be cleansed. Do these low standards of cleanliness in cooking and distribution of prasadam influence the enthusiasm of devotees in their service?

On the other hand, I see how many devotees live in temples and practice sadhana. And that's why I have a doubt that it could be tricks of my mind not to live in the temple? Or maybe, I should live in the temple, but cook for myself?

Please help me to get an understanding of purity standards. Is external cleanliness important? Can prasadam be contaminated? Can it affect the mind and its thoughts and images? Can it affect the desire to serve Sri Guru, Prabhupada, Krishna and devotees? Maybe, I should concentrate on chanting, do more practical service, distribute books? And maybe I should pay less attention to things that I pay attention to now as they are not so important?

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Yogananda talks about the spiritual eye – a golden disk surrounding a blue field and in the centre a 5 pointed silver/white star, and the devotee has to penetrate this like moving through a tunnel to the star and into it to get samadhi.

My question is simple. Does this image of the third eye have a reality? Krishna is also blue and gold. Say this spiritual eye is the impersonal feature of krishna – is it nevertheless real?

I am not interested in discussing the legitimacy of Yogananda. I would just like to know what you think of this idea of the spiritual eye. Also, the tunnel with the light at the end is part of the Near Death Experience, or NDE.

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