Important and Unimportant

August 9, 2014 |

English; Lika, Croatia

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Question: When reading Srila Prabhupada’s instructions through letters, how should one tell to himself that the instructions hold good for him too (with abject humility I say here that I am not questioning Srila Prabhupada, his instructions are very much relevant to the jivas, to the every atom in the universe) and not just to… Expand>

Question:

When reading Srila Prabhupada’s instructions through letters, how should one tell to himself that the instructions hold good for him too (with abject humility I say here that I am not questioning Srila Prabhupada, his instructions are very much relevant to the jivas, to the every atom in the universe) and not just to the said person in question. Sometimes if someone says, ‘oh, that was between Srila Prabhupada and the said person’ how should we reply that 'no, that also holds good for us too.’ Is there a quote from Srila Prabhupada to answer this question? I heard Srila Prabhupada talked about an analogy of sun in this context.

Audio answer by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami:

Well, not every instruction of Śrīla Prabhupāda in his letters is meant for everyone. Some of them are personal instructions. This question, the answer to it can be understood in detail by reading the prefatory note, or essay, in the Vedabase, given by His Holiness Jayādvaita Swami, about how to use or utilise the instructions in the Vedabase. That sum of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions is for all times, places and circumstances. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto, that’s Kṛṣṇa’s instructions. That’s for anyone in any time, place and circumstance. Others are not. Just like when… Or here is a good example, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna mām anusmara, that’s an instruction for anyone in any time, place and circumstance, but yudhya ca - fight, that’s not for everyone. 

So Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions also, there are general instructions for everyone, and specific instructions for specific individuals. So how to understand what’s for you through the whole mass of instructions given by Śrīla Prabhupāda, a very large body of instructions? Well, therefore one has to take guidance in spiritual life, personal guidance. It’s not that you can understand everything just by reading the books ourselves. If you read the books you’ll find that ... Well, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes in a Bhagavad-gītā purport, I’m paraphrasing here, don’t know the words exactly, but says that no one can advance properly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness without taking personal guidance from a spiritual master. Don’t remember that? Some very crucial statements.

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Question: In the purport to CC Madhya 8.294, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is quoted poiting out that the Yamuna, the kadamba trees, cows, Krishna's flute and Krishna's sticks belong to the santa-rasa. Furthermore, in CC Madhya, 19.185 it's said that santa-rati is the neutral stage between the conception of impersonalism and personalism… not much willing to render service to… Expand>

Question:

In the purport to CC Madhya 8.294, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is quoted poiting out that the Yamuna, the kadamba trees, cows, Krishna's flute and Krishna's sticks belong to the santa-rasa. Furthermore, in CC Madhya, 19.185 it's said that santa-rati is the neutral stage between the conception of impersonalism and personalism… not much willing to render service to the Lord.

It's difficult to understand how a living entity without the desire to render loving service can be in Goloka Vrndavana. And if I remember cows in Brahma-vimohana-lila, they seemed to have motherly affection toward Krishna (expanded as their calves). How to understand that the river Yamuna and the kalpa-vrksa trees also don't have much desire to serve?

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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>

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.

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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But I have also heard in one of your lectures where you had not agreed with the tendency of some Iskcon temples in North America having the deity of Lord Ganesha in the altar. Also else where in a letter conversation also Srila Prabhupada disagreed with the idea of Lord Ganesh worship, asking his disciple to pay him a hefty amount before they want to do that? How do I resolve these apparent contradictions? Is it an acceptable tendency to allow demigod worship in our temples?

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