Comments Posted By ccd

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The Desire To See God

It is nice to have such encouragement from you Puskaraksa prabhu, and certainly you are most welcome to come over to Belfast when you are here. So is Santasya and Japa yajna, most welcome to come, sorry for not noticing your kind words.

When I say it is a common practice in ISKCON, I do not quote from my own experience, but from what I was presented at the official Deity Worship seminar in Mayapur and the situation as it stands (not how it was 20 years ago). Surely you have not been travelling for the last ten years as intensely, or maybe I am wrong. I can only uphold the standard as it is and use it for preaching. And yes it is Prabhupada’s standard (at least at the very beginning), that he constantly tried to raise, be it in the early days of Australia preaching or be it other parts of the world.

Going Congregational is just natural, since we are now a Congregational movement. Participation of householder devotees, all of whom we talk now are with 10 or more years in KC and chanting the Harinama, is commendable and should be encouraged and balanced with the right attitude. Right attitude is attitude of a preacher (madhyama) not of a kanistha. Garuda Purana confirms that:

brahmananam sahasrebhyah satra-yaji vishishyate
satra-yaji-sahasrebhyah sarva-vedanta-paragah
sarva-vedanta-vit-koöya vishnu-bhakto vishishyate
vaishnavanam sahasrebhya ekanty eko vishishyate

“A brahmana qualified to offer sacrifices is better than an ordinary brahmana, and better than such a brahmana is one who has studied all the Vedic scriptures. Among many such brahmanas, one who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu is the best, and among many such Vaishnavas, one who fully engages in the service of the Lord is the best.”

Comment Posted By ccd On 23.03.2012 @ 21:13

Srila Madhvacarya has brought to our attention to this quotation from the Narayana-samhita:

dvapariyair janair vishnuh pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena pujyate bhagavan harih

“In the Dvapara-yuga one could satisfy Krishna or Vishnu only by worshiping opulently according to the pancaratriki system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting His holy name.”

Deity worship therefore is part of preaching, not a separate department. Of course rules, such as non-initiated not touching the Deity form, are to be followed. Yet the process of arcanam is subservient to chanting the names, and anything that makes a neophyte, like myself, become more inspired in chanting, anything that makes me want to chant more with a pure desire to please the Lord, is most welcome and is essentially true. In our temple we had a long tradition of engaging first initates on the altar, this is a common feature of ISKCON. Even less than that had become not a norm, but an acceptable exception and it is part of the differences seen by devotees who joined in 80s, during the period of inflated standards that nowhere are maintained exactly. So, with an aspiration to rise above pure kanistha level of judging others, I see devotees who did not undergo the purificatory rites are often more qualified and more brahminical than those who have been around and have neglected the vows of initiation. Yet all of them are to shown mercy, and the deity worship is exactly that — mercy of the Lord, not His punishment.

Comment Posted By ccd On 22.03.2012 @ 01:48

I know it is a common theme I find, that devotees do not draw a line between sadhakas (trying for pefection) and siddhas (those who are already perfect). I always felt that there is a difference in how one worships the Deity on these stages. I also found it very encouraging that Deity worship IS for purification of neophytes.

Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura makes an interesting observation in his tika quoting Gopala Tapani –

Gopal tapani upanisad (12.1) says:

sat pundarika nayanam meghabham vaidyutambaram dvbhujam mauna mudradyam vanamalinam isvaram

Govinda has lotus eyes, complexion like a cloud, and cloth like lightning. He has two hands in the position of mauna and wears a forest flower garland.

Because of the siddha devotee being able to grasp the spiritual lotus cloud and lightning by spiritual intelligence and senses, the spiritual Upanisada easily conveys the Lord’s eyes, body and cloth which are
compared to these things. However, the sadhaka devotee, though he cannot grasp these things with his intelligence and senses, by applying the concepts of a material lotus, cloud and lightning to the Lord he can
make them enter his intelligence. By concenterating his mind in this way, he then becomes joyful, under the impression that he is meditating on the Lord, though not even touching the Lord’s effulgence.

But the Lord, controlled by waves of unlimited mercy, thinks “My devotee is meditating on me.” The Lord brings that devotee to His feet for service when his bhakti reaches maturity.

This is the nature of the Lord, He is bhava-grahi — he sees good and devotion even in those of us who are not liberated or not transcendent to the modes, certainly me included.

Comment Posted By ccd On 22.03.2012 @ 00:29

Prabhupada somewhere mentioned that children from the age of 11 are to be taking training and service in worshiping the arcanam (in the temple). So I am completely taking it as a practical and down-to-earth kind of decision and process. If someone is clean, steady and brahminical, he is a brahmana type and should be trained up. If someone is on the other hand is initiated but is a cheat and unclean, he needs to shape up.

If you are asking me about my own qualifications, or the lack of it, I just try to follow the programme left by Srila Prabhupada. It is simple and keeps you engaged. If at any stage of my life I do get to the point of the perfection of Deity worship, you will probably hear from me. I will not be shy.

One definition of fanatism is un-ability to distinguish the theory and it’s literal requirements from the real life application of the same and the gap of adjustment. I am a bit fanatical, they say, but I am working on it to become a bit more realistic.

Thank you very much for your comment and all the time you took to put it together. It is valuable. It is full of information on requirements. We all need to know what are the adhikara of brahmana, in order to not be cheated.

How would you, Puskaraksa prabhu, describe, in which select words, your favorite devotee pujari-brahmana? How does he sit, how does he walk, how does he talk and does his service?

Comment Posted By ccd On 17.03.2012 @ 22:57

The Belfast temple and the "spirit of Christmas"

Thank you for your generous donations in this service opportunity: Savitry Bhatt, Pawan Goyal, Mrs. Brady, Syamasundara Bhagavan, Syama Gopa Rupa, Brian, Nial, Steven, Radhani Rupini, Ravi, Dr. Batt, Mark prabhus.

Your contribution had helped up to raise 1200 pounds and we are glad that the new boiler installation has a go-ahead now.

With the generous support of souls like you, we will be able to serve Radha Madhava and devotees in the temple and to work toward a brighter future with our regular Sunday programs.

For more information on how your donation is helping to serve Radha Madhava, we invite you to visit our Web site at ISKCONBELFAST.COM You will also find information there on our upcoming events for this year and special service opportunities.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

Comment Posted By ccd On 09.01.2012 @ 16:07

Three Levels of Devotees Which One Are You?

It is interesting that bhakti is so powerful, that even a shadow of bhakti (bhakti-abhasa) gives liberation (and certainly for kanisthas). Just like the shadow of the holy name (not unalloyed, but even if mixed with material desires for liberation or enjoyment) will give moksa. “You may say that,” the man said, “but if the shadow of the holy name does not give liberation, then I shall cut off your nose.” So he lost his nose, as the story goes in CC Antya, 3 and the man’s name is Gopala Cakravarti.

Comment Posted By ccd On 11.03.2011 @ 20:01

Since liberation is mentioned in this context, one needs to note that Srila Prabhupada answers this question very clearly: “There are three divisions of devotees—first-class, second-class and third-class. Even the third-class devotees are liberated souls. It is explained in this verse that although they do not have knowledge, simply by seeing the beautiful decoration of the Deity in the temple, the devotee is absorbed in thought of Him and loses all other consciousness. Simply by fixing oneself in Krishna consciousness, engaging the senses in the service of the Lord, one is imperceptibly liberated.” Not to say that the use of words in this commentary of Srila Prabhupada is anything but perfect! We should remember that pure devotee can be at all three levels and all three levels of Vasnavas are liberated, while the kanistha is “imperceptibly liberated.”

Comment Posted By ccd On 08.03.2011 @ 10:43

“uttama adhikary platform can be referred to as one who has realized the kanishta and madhyam” is again incorrect. Just as one should not think that in order to be an offenceless chanter, one needs to include both nama-aparadhas and nama-abhasa in his chanting.

Comment Posted By ccd On 06.02.2011 @ 07:17

It is incorrect to assume that Arjuna asks the questions but Krishna does not answer them. The lord answers this first question in text 55 . And next to it he answers Arjuna’s second question in texts 56–57 (“How does he speak?” This question means: “How are his intelligence and words affected by another’s affection, anger or neutrality? In other words, how does he respond?”). The next question—“How does he sit?”—means: “How does he not engage his senses? What is his mentality when his senses are restrained from their objects?” Krishna answers it in the two verses 58 and 59, in the same chapter 2. Certainly this statement is incorrect:

“If we carefully follow further Bhagavad Gita, we can read how the Supreme Lord very eloquently describes the characteristics of His devotees but never really answers the question asked by Arjuna. This is the one question left unanswered in the epic conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. The reason is because a Vaishnava is never to be judged by his exterior manifestations.”

While I agree that a Vaisnava should not be judged by external manifestations, it is not that it is because Krishna does not answer the questions about sthita-dhir-muni, which is a different thing. At least we can read the next 5 verses after the question before we conclude that the Lord “never really answers” something. vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijïe na bujhaya — that is the basis that is used by Prabhupada in this case, as to not try to second-guess the Vaisnava’s mind, and Prabhupada gives the source as well for this statment, Caitanya-bhagavata.

Comment Posted By ccd On 05.02.2011 @ 09:49

My Last Conversation with Aindra Prabhu

As Pustakrishna in No 6 puts it:

“All of this becomes “jnana sunya bhakti”, loving serving without a tint of jnana, in the divine state of Krishna consciousness as revealed in Braja lila”

The words jnana-sunya are meant to completely eradicate any consciousness of the impersonal aspect of the supreme, and not the kind of knowledge of relationships (sambandha-jnana) which is favorable to the attainment of pure devotional service, nor the knowledge of actual execution the service itself (bhakti-rasa-jnana), and knowledge or arts for example.

Comment Posted By ccd On 07.02.2011 @ 22:20


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