Heart, Not Mind

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.3.137 | September 7, 2012 |

English; Dallas, Texas, USA

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I saw an article on Dandavats.com titled "Parusurama and Virgin mary" [ http://www.dandavats.com/?p=26584 ]

This article about Virgin Mary appears to be on more of a sentimental platform conveying the message that you can pray to even Virgin Mary or any demigod to come to Krishna Conciousness. They also have included "portion" of "portion" of one of Srila Prabhupada's correspondence to Sivananda on Virgin Mary to substantiate their "belief".

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1. Is such method of prayer to attain Krishna conciousness valid from the sastric viewpoint?

2. Can we equate such prayers of us to the prayers of Gopis to demigoddess to attain Lord Krishna?

3. In my experience, as this article seems to also indicate, that even after attaining Krishna conciousness, devotees who have attained Krishna Conciousness through such method seems to have attachment to the demigods or virgin mary in the form of affection however mild it might be. Is this still considered okay or pure devotional service to Lord Krishna?

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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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