Kesava Krsna Dasa: We are taught that photographs of the Lord‚Äôs deity forms and the spiritual masters are non-different from them. Devotees are very fond wearing similar spiritual images on T-shirts and bead bags. They get washed and ironed. Does the thought of putting a hot iron on such images deter anyone from wearing such things, or are such images different from the form of depiction?
We have our wonderful paintings that are described as ‚ÄúWindows to the spiritual world.‚ÄĚ Are these artistic depictions of the Lord engaged in various pastimes different from the object of vision? Many badges with images of Lord Jagannatha and others easily get lost or are knocked about. Should we be concerned to treat them carefully, or are they just cool fashionable embellishments?
I once noticed how a disciple entered a room where his spiritual master was. He paid his obeisances, placed his bead bag on a nearby table, before sitting down. The bead bag was placed behind a small framed photograph of Srila Prabhupada, but the counting beads rested atop the picture, partially hanging down to dangle on Srila Prabhupada‚Äôs image. The sensitive spiritual master requested the disciple to remove the bead bag or at least move the counting beads.
If we compare this sensitivity with the need say, to wash a T-shirt with an image of Srila Prabhupada, then to iron it - does this display insensitivity? Then what to speak of ironing imprints of Sri Sri Radha/Krishna or other similar images? Are there differences between photographs and paintings or prints of Srila Prabhupada and the Lord in His multi-forms?
While in the UK I heard many devotees say that Srila Prabhupada said, ‚ÄúNever to cut butter with a knife‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ Devotees avoid making commemorative cakes with images such as cows, to avoid even the perception of ‚Äėcutting‚Äô a cow. Some conscientious devotees often advise that if when designing Krishna conscious jigsaw puzzles, to avoid having the form of the Lord or Srila Prabhupada, among the separate pieces ‚Äď better leave them whole. Is this overdoing it?
Seeing the pros and cons of how to treat such images when the vast supplies of paraphernalia our gift shops and budding entrepreneurs sell of images imprinted on various key rings, lockets, calenders, clocks and more, would it be spoiling the fun even to think too considerately about such things? Let the devotee jury decide‚Ä¶
Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.