Going Deeper in a Personal Relationship with the Lord
What does it really mean to advance in Krishna consciousness? According to Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami, advancement is measured by the amount of love and attachment one has for Krishna. (Madhya-lila 22.71) Advancing, therefore, means developing one’s personal loving relationship with Krishna.
The Krishna Institute of Alachua, Florida will soon offer two workshops that will enable devotees to do just this by heightening their practice of two of bhakti’s most potent angas: worshipping the deity with devotion and chanting the holy names.
Jayananda Prabhu, the North American Minister of the ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry, and Raghunath Prabhu, an exceptionally enthusiastic and expert younger generation purjari of New Raman Reti, will facilitate the Temple Worship Workshop at Alachua’s Bhaktivedanta Academy (August 20 – 21, 10 am – 1 pm and 3 – 6:30 pm each day).
In this workshop devotees will learn the proper mood of worship, and then the procedures for waking and putting the deities to rest, dressing them, and offering them bhoga and aratis. Through this meditation and service, a pujari gradually enters into a personal relationship with the Lord. Sometimes he dreams of the deity, and the deity makes particular requests.
Srila Prabhupada writes in Teachings of Queen Kunti,
“When we associate with the deity, we associate with Krishna personally. Because Krishna is invisible, He very kindly takes a form that is visible to us. . . Even in the form of stone or metal, Krishna can act as Krishna, and one who worships the deity will perceive that. Svayam eva sphuraty adah. The deity, although apparently stone, may speak with a devotee.”
The deity may not speak to every pujari, but every pujari will enter more and more into a loving personal relationship with the deity by sincerely and properly executing this service. Such a devotee will more and more meditate on his relationship with the Lord and how he can best please Him. This pathway ahead will become clear to participants in this dynamic workshop.
On Labor Day Weekend (September 3 – 5, 10 am – 12:30 pm, 3 – 5:30pm daily) Chaitanya Charan Prabhu, well-known for his prolific and relevant writing, as well as for his engaging workshops, will facilitate Relishing Siksastakam: Meditations for Connecting with Krishna and His Holy Name at Alachua’s Bhaktivedanta Academy.
Before Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu speaks the first verse of Siksastakam in Antya-lila, Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami quotes Him as saying:
“Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna, one can be freed from all undesirable habits. This is the means of awakening all good fortune and initiating the flow of waves of love for Krishna.”
In this workshop Chaitanya Charan Prabhu will facilitate clear access to Mahaprabhu’s eight-verse roadmap that will lead sadhakas to this love for Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada writes in the preface to the Nectar of Instruction, “Advancement in Krishna consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower.” By attending this workshop devotees will be able to fine-tune their attitudes according to Mahaprabhu’s and our acaryas’ guidance, making deeper connection with Krishna and His holy name viable.