Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur has written a very nice song in which he teaches the perfect mood for householders:

‘āmāra’ bolite prabhu! āre kichu nāi
tumi-i āmāra mātra pitā-bandhu-bhāi

O Lord, nothing further remains that may be called ‘mine.’ Father, friend, brother-You alone are all these to me.

bandhu, dārā, suta, sutā-tava dāsī dās
sei to’ sambandhe sabe āmāra prayās

My friends, wife, sons and daughters are now Your servants and maidservants. Whatever care I take for them is only as they are related to You.

dhana, jana, gṛha, dāra ‘tomāra’ boliyā
rakhā kori āmi mātro sevaka hoiyā

Declaring that my wealth, family members, home, and wife are truly Yours, I continue as a mere servant to dutifully protect them.

tomāra kāryera tore uparjibo dhan
tomāra saṁsāre-vyaya koribo vahan

For the purpose of Your service I will earn money and bear the expense of maintaining Your household.

bhālo-manda nāhi jāni sevā mātro kori
tomāra saṁsāre āmi viṣaya-praharī

I know nothing of what is good or bad; I simply render my service. I am but a watchman set to guard the properties of Your household.

tomāra icchāya mora indriya-cālanā
śravana, darśana, ghrāna, bhojana-vāsanā

I exercise my senses only according to Your direction, and thus I desire to hear, see, smell, and taste.

nija-sukha lāgi’ kichu nāhi kori ār
bhakativinoda bole, tava sukha-sār

I no longer do anything for my own pleasure. Bhaktivinode says, ‘Your pleasure is the essence of everything.’”

The Main Mantra

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Scripture

Aindra Prabhu:

“One thing is, I always emphasize the importance of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Although Prabhupada said that the Gosvamis’ songs are the extensions of the maha mantra, still more important than all of them is the mukhya mantra, the chief mantra. So many times devotees become side tracked because of lack of taste for chanting the maha-mantra due to not chanting enough. They are thinking that the kirtan is boring if you don’t switch to “Govinda Jaya Jaya,” or “Radhe Radhe,” or whatever jaya, jaya, jaya. Undoubtedly Srila Prabhupada’s instruction is that the main focus of the kirtan should be the maha-mantra. Here in Vrindavana for the 24-hour kirtan we exclusively chant the maha-mantra. That is the main and best sankirtan mantra for this age. So even though there is Hari Haraye Namah Krishna, another way of chanting the maha-mantra given by Lord Caitanya, still, the 16-syllable maha-mantra mentioned in the sastra is the main mantra.”

You have a pinch of material desire, Krishna’s so kind that He’ll give you another body with which to pursue them. He won’t interfere. He’ll allow you.
“Ok, little boy. You wanna play? Go play house, you can play husband, you can play breadwinner.”
These are all just childish play. But if you want something real, if you want something that’s going to satisfy your heart, then go for Krishna.

HK

The quality of our relationship with Krishna is manifest in proportion to the quality of our japa. Sloppy, deficient japa means a sloppy, deficient relationship with Krishna. Perfect japa means a perfect relationship with Krishna. If we do not have perfect japa, we do not have a perfect relationship with Krishna. Imperfection in our relationship with Krishna means that we are still flirting with Maya, the material energy. Such a love affair with the material energy is suicidal for the eternal living being in that it relegates him to rotate perpetually in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore to be saved from the clutches of the material energy we have no alternative. We must perfect our japa by diving deep into transcendental meditation each time we chant our rounds.

(Sankarshan Das Adhikari)

Hare Krishna!

Srila Prabhupada:

Krishna Consciousness means we should always be satisfied and happy. Not that we try to do some impossible work, become overburdened, and then because we are unhappy by so much trouble we lose enthusiasm altogether and give up all hope. No. Too much endeavor should be avoided. By all means we must preserve our spiritual status. That is the point. Not that we are mad after big buildings, many devotees, life-members, and this and that. No. These are only ways to engage the devotees so they may apply the principles of devotional living to some kind of work for practical realization of these principles. It is not the result of the work we want. If we only sincerely preach to one person a day, that is sufficient. Never mind big, big programs. So my request to you is that you do not be bothered by these things…. Krishna does not like to see his sincere devotee suffer or become frustrated or depressed. He will not stand by idly in such a case. Krishna has some plan for you. Always think in that way, and very soon he will provide everything to your heart’s desire.
(Letter to Tejiyas, 19 December 1972)

Where were the hunter Dharma’s piety, Dhruva’s maturity, and Gajendra’s knowledge? Where was Kubja’s beauty? Where was Sudama’s wealth? Where was Vidura’s noble birth? Where was Ugrasena’s chivalrous strength? Lord Madhava is pleased only by devotional service and not by material qualifications.

– Rupa Gosvami

Hare Krishna!!

In Kalyug…

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Prabhupada, Scripture

“In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits. By keeping regular habits and eating simple food, any man can maintain his health. Overeating, over-sense gratification, overdependence on another’s mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy. Therefore the duration of life is shortened.”

Srila Prabhupada, purport to Srimad Bhagavatam – 1.1.10

Hare Krsna

All about Food Offering…

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Scripture

What Is Prashadam?

Krishna is the Supreme Lord (isvara) and the Supreme Enjoyer (purusa).  The living entity, or the jiva, is the enjoyed (prakriti).  It is the jiva’s eternal function to serve God.  That is called sanatana-dharma, or ’eternal religion’.  We are all servants of God.

Since Krishna owns everything, it is only proper to honour His proprietorship by offering everything back to Him.  The Bhagavad-gita describes the process of sanctification of food in the Bhagavad-gita – patram puspam phalam toyam/yo me bhaktya prayacchati/tad aham bhakty-upahrtam/asnami prayatatmanah – ‘If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it’.  Sanctified foodstuffs are called prasadam (the ‘mercy’ of the Lord).

Being the Supreme Proprietor of everything and the Supreme Master, He does not require our meagre offerings. The Lord does, however, accept our devotion.  Krishna is bhava-grahi, which means that he accepts the intent behind our offering.  It is, therefore, essential that our offerings are imbued with love for Him.

Offering Food To Krishna

The process of offering foodstuffs to the Deity of the Lord in the Temple is restricted to brahmana initiated Vaishnavas. Everything should be offered to the Lord.  Therefore, a simple process for offering foodstuffs to the Lord is prescribed for the uninitiated.  Such offerings are made before pictures of one’s personal guru, Srila Prabhupada, the disciplic succession and various Deities of the Lord.

Vaishnava Kitchen Etiquette

Our kitchen should be clean or suci.  The cooking paraphernalia of a suci kitchen is the exclusive property of the Lord.  The Lord also has a separate plate with various thalis (bowls) that He eats from.  Strict devotees make sure that their own condiments (spoons, cups and plates) are not mixed with those reserved for the Lord.  This generally means that our own condiments and those reserved for guests are not stored in the kitchen.

Devotees do not taste food until it has been offered or eat from the Lord’s pots or with the Lord’s cooking equipment.  If the Lord’s equipment is used by mistake, it is considered contaminated and should not be used cooking or offering to the Lord again.  The act of eating, which is considered unclean, is also prohibitted in a suci kitchen.  We do not use the sink to wash our plates or hands after eating.  The kitchen sink is for washing vegetables, running water for cooking and for cleaning the Lord’s pots.  Devotees generally wear shoes reserved kitchen use only (‘kitchen shoes’) as a further standard of cleanliness.  Women generally cover their hair while cooking (which also applies to men with long hair).

The cook should, ideally, be suci or clean.  On the strictest level this means that cook should have showered and should be wearing clean cloth.  If you eat, evacuate, go outside or enter a toilet then you are considered ‘dirty’ again.  If you touch your eyes, nose or ears you should wash your hands (in a suci basin outside the kitchen, not in the toilet!).  Women should not enter the kitchen while they are “off the altar” (ie. during their monthly period).  We are also considered contaminated if we take rest for longer than 45 minutes.  If we do so, and we want to follow the highest standards of cleanliness, then we should take bath and get into some fresh clothes.

Three Important Factors In The Preparation Of Offered Foods: Cleanliness, Quality of Ingredients and Good Consciousness

I read an interview one of Prabhupada’s female chefs in a Back To Godhead magazine where Prabhupada emphasized three important factors in the preparation of devotional offerings – cleanliness, quality of ingredients and consciousness.  We have covered cleanliness to some degree.  We should use the best quality foodstuffs if we can.  If possible, we should use organic vegetables, pure cow’s ghee, non-irradiated spices, sea salt or pure salt.  Ideally, we should grow our own fruit, vegetables and shrubs for Krishna and milk cows bred exclusively for the pleasure of the Lord.  This is not always possible in modern cities.  Soya, mushrooms, cakes made with flour, bread and canned foods are not offered to installed Deities in the Temple.  They can, however, be offered to pictures of the Lord at home (in the case of mushrooms they should be growing naturally in a field, not on stool).  Krishna does not accept offerings of onions and garlic.

The quality of our consciousness is also very important when preparing foodstuffs for the Lord.  Our consciousness should be spiritual.  How do we achieve this?  We should, if possible, be chanting a minimum of 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.  Our kitchen should be clean, like the altar of our Temple.  We should not cook if we are in bad consciousness (for example if we are angry or feeling lusty thoughts).  We should listen to spiritual discourses or devotional music and only discuss spiritual subject-matters or subjects related to our cooking service with the other cooks.  We can also chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

A Simple Food Offering

The following is a very basic method of offering, usually within a devotee’s kitchen or on a simple altar with pictures of the Lord.  In a more sophisticated Temple set-up, the devotee would close the curtain of the alter while offering food, and perform a more elaborate ritual before offering food to the Lord.

Devotees perform acamana (pronounced ‘achamann’) before the process of offering.  Acamana is a purificatory process involving mantras and the sipping of water from an acamana cup and acamana spoon.  (This process need not be followed by beginners).  The devotee takes the acamana spoon in his right hand and pours three drops of water on the same right hand.  The devotee then pours three drops of water on the left hand and chants ‘Om keshavaya namah’, then sips the water from the base of the palm of the hand.  Having done this, the devotee pours three drops of acamana water on the bell and then takes the bell in his/her left hand.  The bell has to be rung while the mantras for offering are recited.  The bell is only stopped when the final mantras have been chanted.  Devotees usually take off their socks, aprons and head-coverings when offering bhoga to the Lord.

Devotees do not feel themselves qualified to offer foodstuffs directly to the Lord.  The devotee, therefore, offers the food to the Spiritual Master, all the time reciting the Spiritual Master’s mantras.  The devotee then offers the food to Lord Chaitanya, reciting Rupa Goswami’s prayers (namo maha vadanyaya).  The devotee finally offers the bhoga to Radha and Krishna, reciting the relevant mantras.  While offering the bhoga to Lord Chaitanya and Radha-Krishna, the devotee thinks himself the servant of his guru and understands that his guru is actually performing the offering.  The offering will be offered from disciple to guru, through the entire guru succession, until it finally reaches Krishna.

The following mantras are recited three times before the pictures of (1) Srila Prabhupada; (2) The Pancha Tattva/Gaura-Nitai; and (3) Radha-Krishna:

1.  Prayers To The Spiritual Master (Srila Prabhupada Pranati)

nama om vishnu-padaya/krishna-presthaya-bhutale/srimate bhaktivedanta/svamine iti namine – ‘I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet’

namas te sarasvate-deve/gauravani-pracarine/nirvesesa sunyavadi/pascyata-desa tarine – ‘Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Goswami.  You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism’

2.  Prayer To Lord Chaitanya (Sri Gauranga Pranama)

namo maha-vadanyaya/krishna-prema-pradayate/krishnaya krishna-caitanya/namne gaura-tvise namah – ‘O most munificent incarnation!  You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  You have assumed the golden colour of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna.  We offer our respectful obeisances unto You’

3. Prayer To Lord Krishna

namo brahmanya-devaya/go-brahmana hitaya ca/jagad hitaya krishnaya/govindaya namo namah – ‘Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Krishna, who is the worshipable Deity for all brahminical men, who is the well-wisher of cows and brahmanas, and who his always benefitting the whole world.  I offer my repeated obeisances to the Personality of Godhead, known as Krishna and Govinda.’

hare krishna hare krishna/krishna krishna hare hare/hare rama hare rama/rama rama hare hare

On reciting these mantras the devotee humbly beseeches the Lord to accept these offerings, ‘Please, my Lord, accept these offerings from Your servant.’  The devotee then stops ringing the bell, and leaves the altar room.   The devotee then bows at the side of the altar.  The Lord may now accept the devotee’s offering.

HK