Bhaktiyoga - practical V.
How to Become Humble
Japa and Japamala
Karma and Handicaps
What is exactly Krsna the god of?
Krsna and Devotee - "I carried you"
Money - Source Important, Transparency
Naivedya: Food Offered To The Lord
"Don't come with chemicals!"
Protection by Lord Nrsimhadeva
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura recommends that we become humble by practicing the following meditation: "The earth, which is always visible to me, is the expansion of the lotus feet of my Lord, who is always to be meditated upon. All moving and nonmoving living beings have taken shelter of the earth and are thus sheltered at the lotus feet of my Lord. For this reason I should respect every living being and not envy anyone. In fact, all living entities constitute the Kaustubha gem on my Lord's chest. Therefore I should never envy or deride any living entity." By practicing this meditation one can achieve success in life. (SB 12.11.24, purp.)
Result: (SB 2.3.17p., quote from Manu-samhita 7.85)
- to non-brahmana: in the next life the same gain
- to half educated brahmana: 2x more
- to fully educated and qualified brahmana: 100,000x more
- to veda-paraga (who realized the Vedas): unlimitedly more
- only to the Lord: (SB 7.14.34)
patram tv atra niruktam vai
harir evaika urvisa
yan-mayam vai caracaram
patram - the true person to whom charity must be given; tu - but; atra - in the world; niruktam - decided; vai - indeed; kavibhih - by learned scholars; patra-vittamaih - who are expert in finding the actual person to whom charity must be given; harih - the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva - indeed; ekah - only one; urvi-isa - O King of the earth; yat-mayam - in whom everything is resting; vai - from whom everything is coming; cara-acaram - all that is moving or nonmoving within this universe.
O King of the earth, it has been decided by expert, learned scholars that only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, in whom all that is moving or nonmoving within this universe is resting and from whom everything is coming, is the best person to whom everything must be given.
Japa and Manu-samhita
Loss of taste for Japa
108 beads in Japamala
Japa and Manu-samhita
Manu-samhita and Lord Caitanya are in complete agreement as to how great sins should be expiated.
"He gets rid of the sin of teaching the unworthy and doing sacrifices on behalf of the degraded by means of Japas and Homas, that which is incidental (vile gifts) he shall get rid of by means of penitential austerities and by renunciation, that is, renouncing the articles given as gifts." (Manu 10.109,111)
"All Vedic rites such as the Japas, Homas, etc [associated with karma kanda] do perish in time, but eternal is the Pranava, since Pranava is identical with Brahma.
"A Japa-yajna is 10 times more meritorious than a Vidhi-yajna (ritualistic sacrifice). The muttering of a Mantra in a low or inaudible tone is 100 times, and a Manasa Japa is 1000 times more meritorious." (Manu 2.84-85)
"Undoubtedly by means of Japa alone, a Brahmana achieves success (mukti), no matter whether he performs any other Vaidik sacrifice or not since a Brahmana is said to be a friend of Brahma." (Manu 2.87)
This verse along with Manu-smrti 10.109,111 is very much in accordance with Lord Caitanya's instruction to Subuddhi Raya:
"The Lord advised him, "Go to Vrndavana and chant the Hare Krsna mantra constantly." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu further advised Subuddhi Raya: "Begin chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, and when your chanting is almost pure, all your sinful reactions will go away. After you chant perfectly, you will get shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna." (CC Madhya 25.198-199)
And, it also is in accord with other sastras which emphasize the chanting of the Lords name, it certainly doesn't contradict the yuga-dharma that chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord - which is the perfect mantra - should be done as the yajna for this age. Maybe Manu doesn't say chant the Holy Name of Krsna, but since Krsna does say that He is Pranava, there is no contradiction. The main point being that mantra japa is supreme over anything else and it is sufficient for the expiation of any sin.
In conclusion from reading of Manu-smrti, of which I am about 90% complete, I would say it complements Bhagavata-dharma while still taking cognizance that there are many types of people, some of whom will worship pitrs and such. Manu is used by Baladeva Vidyabhusana as the prime source of proof to attack the Mayavadi theory of the caturvyuha (as quoted in SP's longest purport regarding the caturvyuha in CC Adi) and Baladeva states that Manu is the main proof of establishing the Personality of Godhead. I would think that would be something that is very much in keeping with Bhagavata-dharma. How can the main text used by our purvacaryas for establishing the Personality of Godhead not be Bhagavata-dharma? It would be contradictory otherwise no?
Mukunda Datta Das
Below I've collected a couple of references on japa, which someone might find helpful. T.R. Sharma, in his Studies in the Sectarian Upanisads, quotes the following statement (which I haven't personally looked up) from the Mahabharata:
"I shall certainly perform japa; a man who engages himself in japa, and he neither fully becomes busy in it nor completes it, such a man goes to hell." (Mahabharata, Santi Parva, 197.11).
This seems like a pretty strong statement, though we do know from Srila Prabhupada's books that inattentive or irresolute chanting (like all the other offenses outlined in Padma Purana) will cause us long-lasting problems that will obstruct our realization of Krsna (vacya-svarupa) as His transcendentally pure, holy name (vacaka-svarupa). But Krsna will be very happy to reveal Himself to us of His own accord as soon as we no longer offend Him (svayam eva sphuraty adah).
Lord Caitanya said that there are no hard and fast rules for chanting Krsna's innumerable names and He Himself used to keep count on His fingers instead of with a japa-mala. There are other ways of doing so as well. Still, as per the traditional standard, Srila Prabhupada taught us to use a japa-mala, with 108 beads. Japa is discussed at length in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa.
Here are some simple slokas one can recite when chanting japa. I've excerpted them as they appear the Sri Stava-kalpa-druma, an anthology of Sanskrit prayers and verses compiled many years ago by one of Srila Prabhupada's godbrothers, H.H. Bhaktisaranga Gosvami Maharaja.
Sri Nama-mala-grahana-mantra (upon taking one's beads):
"His form bent in three places, His hands bent over the holes of His flute, the son of Nanda Maharaja stands resplendent amidst a circle of gopis."
Sri Nama-mala-grahana-mantra (on taking the beads for the purpose of japa [japarthe]):
avighnam kuru male tvam
sri radha-krsnayor dasyam
dehi male tu prarthaye
"O Mala, please destroy inauspiciousness in my chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari and grant me the position of service to Radha and Krsna. This is all I pray, O Mala."
namaiva parama gatih
namnah parataram nasti
tasman nama upasmahe
"The Holy Name is a beautiful transcendental touchstone - it is the supreme goal. There is nothing higher than the Holy Name. I therefore worship the Holy Name."
Sri Nama-mala-samarpana-mantra (consecrating the mala); traditionally, Vaisnavas first offer Krsna everything they use, including their neck beads, japa beads, etc. I don't know that this is intended here though.
"The sacrifice of the name is the highest yajna, which destroys the contamination of Kali-yuga. In order to please Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I offer this sacrifice of the holy name."
Sri Nama-mala-sthapana-mantra (establishing the beads):
caitanyaya namo namah
"The holy name is the savior of the fallen. Oh, please deliver this lowest of men. Obeisances again and again unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, unto Sri Sri Radha-Krsna."
tvam male sarva-devanam
tena satyena me siddhim
dehi matar namo 'stu te
"O Mala, among all of the gods, you are considered the bestower of all perfection. By dint of this fact, O Mother, please grant me perfection. Obeisances unto you!"
Again, there are never any hard and fast rules for chanting japa, but one has to appreciate the intensity of the pure desire that must have inspired someone to pray like this even to his own japa beads. At least that's something we can all emulate, or pray for.
One older disciple of Srila Prabhupada once told me that at his initiation Srila Prabhupada instructed him to finger the beads while chanting "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare," and to hold the beads still between the thumb and middle finger while chanting "Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." Srila Prabhupada told him this would help him to concentrate on Krsna.
Loss of taste for Japa
One might have committed many offenses to the holy name and thus the holy name does not grant one the taste that one desires. Further, one could be committing many sinful activities secretly which cause one to fall into the material whirlpool, although seemingly, out of some social or other reason, acting as a devotee to some degree. Further, one could have developed a critical and offensive mentality towards superior Vaisnavas, such as the Founder Acarya or one's own spiritual master, and thus started thinking foolishly which causes one to lose all taste for chanting. One could also have other material plans which one secretly wishes to fulfill as soon as one gets some opportunity (economically, politically, socially, or through circumstances) and this constant plan-making for material achievements makes one lose all taste for the holy name. One could have also made offenses against Vaisnavas by blasphemy or otherwise.
One has to find the cause and correct it. In any case, no one should stop chanting, no matter what. But if one does anyway, it is due to serious offenses.
108 beads in Japamala
In our japamala there are 108 beads. They represent the 108 principle gopis and manjaris in Radhika's group. So we are chanting, counting, praying, and remembering Sri Krsna-lila. In Goloka Vrndavana Sri Krsna is counting on the 108 beads of His mala and counting all the cows. They, like gopis, are also divided into 108 groups and have 8 different colors. When Sri Krsna is calling them on His flute they come to Him. Chanting the maha-mantra is calling Sri Sri Radha Govinda to come near. Each of the beads on our mala represents 108 qualities we are praying for to serve the Divine couple.
Number 108 has a special significance in Vedic culture. Apart from 108 main gopis there are famous lists of 108 names of Krsna, Visnu, Siva, Radha, Laksmi, Durga and many devas, 108 main Upanisads, etc. (more info) Japamala symbolizes eternal cycle of life. 109th bead stands for Vishnu, the Supreme Lord (or sometimes it is said Meru, mountain forming the axis of the universe). Japamala is usually made from sacred tulasi wood. Japa is a form of pranayama.
Traditional number of japa rounds chanted per day is 64. When Srila Prabhupada came to West, he saw that his disciples can't chant so much. Thus he decreased the number to 16. It was purely a practical consideration based on desa (place), kala (time) and patra (circumstances/person).
Harinama: Holy Name of the Lord
Q: I was born normal then had accident and brain damage. The brain does not register much. Like the person disappeared and now there is something else. I didn't think this could happen, I thought you were guaranteed your natural intelligence for life.
So I just wonder about rebirth and how can I be born human again next life with the basic human faculties that everyone else has. Do we get a new human "package" each life with a normal human head and brain that works right?
A: Many people are born healthy and later become handicapped in various ways. These are just karmic reactions from past. They appear in the form of our body at birth and also during the embodied life. Karma has several stages of manifestation. When they are used up or removed one gets another "normal" body.
Q: What are the causes for a normal basic human rebirth with normal human intelligence? Also if I die with dementia what is left to carry over?
A: Normal human birth is caused by living in so-called rajo-guna, or "mode of passion", as described in the Bhagavad-gita 14.7,9,15,18. On the other hand, if one is living a sinful and degraded life of tamo-guna nature, mode of ignorance, this leads to handicaps in future human life. In general the misused sense organ in this life becomes damaged or blocked later in this or next life, or one may even be born in lower species, like an animal.
The lesson to learn is that we should live according to the laws of human life (dharma) described in the Vedic scriptures and in this way become elevated. Otherwise we will remain as we are or degrade. The elevation and cleaning from negative karma is best done in this age by spiritual activities which are part of bhakti-yoga, especially chanting of the holy names of God and eating food offered to God (called prasadam, "Lord's mercy").
A: This question can be answered either very simply or very elaborately. When you say "god of" I guess you have on your mind the general understanding of "Hindu gods", i.e. each (demi)god ruling over some affair: Indra rules over the rain, Varuna over the oceans, Vayu over the winds etc.
In this sense Krsna is not a god of anything. Neither is He "Hindu" - as if every religious tradition had a different God. There are many persons in this (and other) world(s) and God is the Supreme Person. This is a simple understanding. Krsna means "the all-attractive one" (SB 11.31.6, Laghu Bhagavatamrta 5.66, Krsna sandarbha 92.3). He is the most attractive person of all and has other attributes which define Him as the Supreme. The Vedas describe Krsna as such and all the demigods as His empowered servants managing the material world. God is like a king and each demigod (in Sanskrit "deva") like a government minister. King has no particular function. He simply sets the rules and oversees their following through other people. He himself doesn't have to do anything.
If we would still like to define Krsna somehow, then as the Supreme Enjoyer. He has good time eternally and His associates too. There are unlimited of His names pertaining to His playful activities (lila). He plays His flute (Muralidhara), protects the cows (Govinda, Gopala etc.), kills many demons (Kesi-nisudana, Madhusudana etc.), is the darling son of His parents (Yasoda-nandana, Nanda-dulala etc.), enjoys with His cowherd girlfriends (Gopijana-vallabha), especially with Radha (Radha-ramana), He is the charioteer of His friend Arjuna during the battle of Kuruksetra (Partha-sarathi) etc. etc. The goal of bhakti-yoga is to enable us to awaken our eternal position as His associates and participate with Him in His lila.
What is God
One night a devotee had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with Krsna. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to Krsna.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him; he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned Krsna about it. "Krsna, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious devotee. I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you".
apahRtya parasvaM hi yastu dAnaM prayacchati
sa dAtA narakaM yAti yasyArthAs tasya tatphalam
The man who robs someone, though he uses the money to make a charitable gift, goes to hell. The fruit of the meritorious deed goes to the original owner of the wealth. (GaruDa PurANa 1.114.67, Venkatesvara Steam Press)
apahRtya paHsyArthaM yaH parebhyaH prayacchati
apaharttA tu nirayA yasyArthas tasya tat phalam
If any one steals another man's wealth and gives it away as a gift (to another person), the merit of the gift accrues to the owner of the original wealth, but the thief who steals, falls into the hell. (NArada PurANa 1.15.123)
nyayarjitaih sadhanais ca dana homa arcanadikam
kuryanna cedadho yati bhaktya kurvann api dvija
yatnat siddhair nijaih suddhair dravyair dhanyo 'rcayet prabhum
puja dravyany asaktas ced dadyad ikseta varcanam
"Oh brahmana, one should perform meritorious activities such as giving charity, performing sacrifices, and worshiping the Supreme Lord with properly earned money. If it is not done so, if a person does such activities with money which was not earned properly, he goes to the lower planetary system and into the lower species. Therefore, such people are advised that they should earn money by proper means and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If somebody is unable to do so, he should just watch the worship of the Supreme Lord or else give some ingredients, according to his means, for the worship of the Supreme Lord." (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 11.50,51, from Agastya Samhita)
When Srila Sanatana Gosvami in his Digdarsini-tika says, "Oh brahmana" this signifies "Oh Sutaksana, anyone who is faithful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must earn wealth in proper ways and arrange for the worship of the Supreme Lord. Such a person is considered to be most fortunate. As it is mentioned here, "yatnat", if somebody is unable to earn money by proper ways, he should, according to his ability, give worshipable ingredients for the worship of the Supreme Lord. If he is unable to do even that, he should just watch the worship done for the Supreme Lord by a devotee of the Lord.
visnum uddisya yat kincid visnu bhaktaya diyate
danam tad vimalam proktam kevalam moksa sadhanam
If anything is donated to a devotee of Lord Visnu in the name of Lord Visnu, that charity is said to be pure and the only solution for liberation. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 11.64, from Skanda Purana)
nyAyopArjita-vittena kartavyaM hy Atma-rakSaNam
anyAyena tu yo jIvet sarva-karma-bahiS-kRtaH
One should earn money by just means to preserve one's atma (soul/body). All pious karmas of one who earns his livelihood otherwise (i.e. by unjust means) are in vain. (Parasara smriti 12.46)
Sociologist E. Burke Rochford says in his book "Hare Krishna Transformed" (New York University Press 2007, ch. 8, p. 204): Two-thirds (64%) of the Indians responding to the Centennial Survey agreed that "I would be more involved in iskcon, and more likely to contribute, if there were a better accounting of how money is spent."
Transparent bank accounts greatly help in this. Ideal for churches, foundations, political parties or individuals, they greatly boost trust of potential donors in the given physical or legal entity.
Ekanath Das, 1997
The glories of food and the glories of other items (especially flowers), that have been offered to the Deity, will be discussed.
In ISKCON we talk a lot about prasadam and maha-prasadam, which we simply call "Maha". If we were to search for key words in Sanskrit books, like verse beginnings in the slokanukramanika (an alphabetical verse index that is sometimes supplied with a Purana or other literature), we would wrongly conclude that these books do not have much to say about prasadam. There are however a great number of statements, especially in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and other books, but we would have to search for the words naivedyam, niveditam, nirmalyam, sesa, avasesa etc.
It so happened that I began to search for these entries, after Srila Harikesa Maharaja had posted a message in COM, in which he asked whether anyone could supply a sastric reference to the effect that a person who takes Krsna-prasadam, would attain liberation after 700 births. What I found is as follows:
In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, just as there is a Nirmalya-mahatmya at the end of the eighth vilasa, so there is at the end of the ninth vilasa a section called Naivedya-mahatmyam, The Glories of Prasadam. There are some fifteen verses, quoted from different sources, and even though there is nothing about liberation after 700 births, still, the wonderful results of taking prasadam, which are listed there, are sometimes exceeding simple liberation after 700 births.
It is stated that the remnants of food offered to the Lord have the potency of one million fire sacrifices; then there is a nice verse ending with the statement:
yo 'snati nityam purato murareh
"One who takes the food that was previously accepted by Murari, attains the pious results of ten-thousand times ten-million fire yajnas."
After this verse, which is numbered as 130 in my Bengali edition, verse 131 comes as a commentary of the above, as it were:
sadbhir masopavasais tu
yat phalam parikirtitam
visnor naivedya-sese yat
phalam tad bhunjatam kalau
This verse explains that in the Kali-yuga, a person who eats the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu, gets the same pious credits as if he has been observing a fast for six months.
In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (4.37.27) it is stated that a person who happens to eat the remnants of food offered to the Lord, in the association of sadhus, gets the results of performing sixty thousand years of austerities.
In general, most quotes compare the powers of taking the remnants of food that has been offered to the Lord to the performance of a particular number of certain yajnas.
Now somebody may argue that liberation is still better than any number of yajnas, because yajnas take you to heaven only. Even though the yajnas are specified in one verse as agnistoma and vajapeya, the meaning is not limited to that. In verse 133 there is a quite interesting (and a little funny) statement, that explains what one actually gets:
hrdi rupam mukhe nama
naivedyam udare hareh
padodakam ca nirmalyam
mastake yasya so 'cyutah
"Having the form of the Lord in one's heart, His name in one's mouth, the remnants of His food in one's belly, the water that has washed His feet on one's head and (being decorated with) garlands and flowers that had been offered to the Lord, one becomes (like) Acyuta."
Sanatana Gosvami comments on the words "sah acyutah": "Acyutah means like Acyuta, because one attains the liberations beginning with sarupya."
Still, one may argue that liberation simply from taking prasadam is not possible, because the above verse should mean that one must meet all the requirements simultaneously, i.e.:
1. form in one's heart,
2. name in one's mouth,
3. food in one's belly,
4. water on one's head,
5. garlands, tulasi, flowers etc. all around
Narada Purana, Uttara-bhaga 67.41, states:
naivedyam bhaksayec capi sa muktim labhate dhruvam
"One who happens to eat the remnants of food offered to the Lord, definitely attains liberation."
Here are further quotes from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana:
In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana 2.36.27-41 Durvasa Muni is heavily chastising Indra. What has happened is that Durvasa had received a garland from the Deity and was walking down the street with that garland around his neck. Then he met Indra who was riding on his elephant. Durvasa gave Indra his garland, but Indra, instead of decorating himself respectfully with that garland, placed it on the head of his elephant carrier. The animal grabbed the garland with his trunk and threw it on the ground. This of course enraged Durvasa Muni, who took the opportunity to give a long speech condemning Indra in which he lists the glories of remnants in general and prasadam in particular. He also points out that he should have been respected, because he, wearing the garland, had now become sanctified. The passage goes as follows:
are sriya pramattas tvam katham mam avamanyase
mad-datta-puspam garvena tyaktavan hasti-mastake
"Maddened by your opulence and because of pride you have placed the garland which I gave you on the head of your elephant!"
visnor niveditam puspam naivedyam va phalam jalam
prapti-matrena bhoktavyam tyagena brahma-ha janah
"One should respectfully accept items offered to Lord Visnu, such as flowers, food, fruits or water, at that very moment when one receives them. A person who refuses such sanctified articles is guilty of killing a brahmana."
bhrasta-srir bhrasta-buddhis ca bhrasta-jnano bhaven narah
yas tyajed visnu-naivedyam bhagyenopasthitam subham
"If he rejects the remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu, which are being presented to him by some good fortune, such a person looses his wealth and beauty, his intelligence and knowledge."
prapti-matrena yo bhunkte bhaktya visnu-niveditam
pumsam satam samuddhrtya jivan-muktah svayam bhavet
"One who immediately and with devotion accepts the sanctified remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu, becomes liberated in the self-same body (as the only one out of hundreds of excellent persons)."
visnu-naivedya-bhoji yo nityam tu pranamed dharim
pujayet stauti va bhaktya sa visnu sadrso bhavet
Here Durvasa also explains that one becomes "just like Visnu", if one respects prasadam properly and offers obeisances and prayers with devotion.
tat-sparsa-vayuna sadyas tirthaughas ca visuddhyati
tat-pada-rajasa mudha sadyah puta vasundhara
"The breeze that touched the body of such a saintly person (like me), at once purifies tons of holy places. O fool! The dust of his feet purifies the planet earth."
pumscaly-annam avirannam sudra-sraddhannam eva ca
yad dharer anivedyam ca vrtha mamsam abhaksakam
siva-linga-pradattannam yad annam sudra-yajinam
cikitsaka-dvijanam ca devalannam tathaiva ca
kanyavikrayinam-annam yad annam yoni-jivinam
anusnannam paryusitam sarva-bhaksyavasesitam
sudra-pati-dvijannam ca vrsavaha-dvijannakam
adiksita-dvijannam ca yad annam savadahinam
agamya-gaminam caiva dvijanam annam eva ca
mitra-druham krtaghnanam annam visvasaghatinam
mithya-saksya-pradanam ca brahmananam tathaiva ca
etat sarvam visuddhyeta visnu-naivedya-bhaksanat
In these six verses Durvasa Muni is elaborately listing all sorts of food prepared by low class people and therefore unofferable. He recommends that one eats Visnu-prasadam to counteract the inauspicious effects of eating such sinful food.
sva-paco visnu-sevi ca vamsanam kotim uddharet
harer abhakto vipras ca svam ca raksitum aksamah
Just like SB 7.9.10
ajnanad yadi grhnati visnor nirmalyam eva ca
sapta-janmarjitat papan mucyate natra samsayah
"If one (by chance) unknowingly accepts the remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu he becomes freed from the results of sins accumulated during his last seven births. Of this there is no doubt."
jnatva bhaktya ca grhnati visnor naivedyam eva ca
koti-janmarjitat papan mucyate natra samsayah
"But if one knowingly and with devotion accepts the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu, one is freed from one's sins accumulated during the last ten million births. Of this there is no doubt."
Brahma-vaivarta Purana, 4.75.54 (Narayana speaks to Narada)
visnor ucchista-bhoji yo matsyam mamsam na khadati
pade pade asvamedhasya labhate niscitam phalam
"One who eats the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu and who does not eat fish or meat, is positively assured to receive the results of the asvamedha yajna at every moment of his existence."
Brahma-vaivarta Purana, 4.83.7,29,30 (Krsna speaks to Nanda Maharaja)
nityam bhunkte mat-prasadam anivedya kadacana
annam vistha jalam mutram yad visnor aniveditam
"For him who always eats the remnants of food offered to Me, if he should at any time eat unoffered food, those grains will be like stool and water will taste like urine."
visnu-prasada-bhoji ca pavitram kurute mahim
tirthani ca narams caiva jivan-mukto hi sa dvijah
sarva-tirthesu sah snato vratanam ca phalam labhet
pade pade asvamedhasya labhate niscitam phalam
"One who eats Visnu-prasadam purifies the whole earth, the holy places and the people. Such a brahmana is liberated in the self-same body. He is considered to have taken bath and to have observed sacred vows in all places of pilgrimage. He is positively assured to receive the results of the asvamedha yajna at every moment of his existence."
- different grades acc to pujari's advancement or "either/or"?
Astaratha Das: There is no "half-accepted bhoga; Krsna accepts food when offered according to the rules, when there is bhakti it is like addition - there are different grades according to the advancement of the cook.
- offering to present living guru or to Krsna through the picture of the guru?
Harikesa Swami: SP used to take bhoga cooked for him; the rest of bhoga is offered through picture.
Babhru das: In Honolulu in early 1974, Srila Prabhupada said it was not necessarily the case that any creature eating prasadam would automatically get a human birth. He explained that the benefit derived from eating prasadam depends on the appreciation for the prasadam. If someone appreciates that he got something to put in his belly, he gets some benefit; if he likes it because it tastes good, he gets even more benefit; if he appreciates that it is the Lord's remnants, he gets the most benefit. (As far as I know, these questions after classes were not taped because they may have (and often did) deal with sensitive issues, as our GBC and leading sannyasi had just left ISKCON and closed all the temples in the islands, and many devotees left with them, at least for a time.)
- already eaten not to be left for others:
SB 11.18.19, quoted in CC 2.3.74 (esp. for sannyasis), Kalyana-kalpataru, Ucchvasa 3, section 2, song 8, verses 2, 4 - nije srestha 'jani' ucchisthadi dane - quoted in CC 3.4.173 p.), Manu 2.56. Padma Purana, Patala Khanda 82.35:
na anyocchistam ca bhunjita
na anya sesam ca dharayet
One should not eat other's leftovers and one should not wear the clothes previously worn by others. One should not talk to avaisnavas (atheists) and one should not praise others.
Jay Gauranga Das
The other day on sankirtan I saw one young man with tulasi mala, so I said "Hey, nice necklace," and I pulled mine out and showed it to him. He said "Yeah, I like that, man. I've got mine at the Hare Krsna temple, man, in Los Angeles." I said "I live there." Then he said "Cool, man, I was there and I had a good time when I bought that necklace." Then I explained to him the significance of tulasi mala, that at the time of death if you have tulasi mala the Yamadutas don't come to take you to the court of Yamaraja, and he was very happy to hear about that.
Then he said "Hey man, let me tell you a story of my life." Once he took LSD, and he actually got so elevated that he saw Krsna, sitting on the beautiful golden chariot, and all those horses, beautiful associates, everything was so brilliant, more brilliant than the sun, more brilliant than anything material. Then Krsna saw that this person could see Him, and Krsna said to him "I am glad that you made it all the way here. I am glad that you have such an elevated consciousness so that you can see Me, but next time don't come with chemicals!"
Protecting pilgrims on the way to Badarikasrama
... His father was a very big devotee of Nrsimhadeva. So one day his father plus eleven other Vaisnavas went to Badarikasrama for darsana of the Deities. They were walking, and on the way they were attacked by these baels. They're called baels? [Bheels]
Bhavananda: Aborigines in the north. Very ferocious.
Tamala Krsna: They're ferocious men. So the men said that "Now we will kill you and take your money, plunder you." So his father said, "Well, we will give you whatever we have, but what is the use of killing us?" They said, "No, we are not brahmanas. We are aborigines. So we like to kill also." So then the father said, "Then at least, the king, even if he hangs someone, he gives them five minutes for prayer. So give us five minutes." So then all of the Vaisnavas, they chanted Nrsimhadeva mantras very strongly. And suddenly there was a strong roaring of a lion, and a big ferocious lion leaped into the middle and ate up two of the attackers. And then all of the Vaisnavas, they bowed down at the feet of the lion and they were offering prayers, and the lion went away. So his father... He said that if one has a pure heart, if he's a pure Vaisnava, Krsna can appear. He said in the form of the lion Krsna actually protected them. (Conversation, Vrindavan, Oct. 29, 1977)
Story by bh. Gus
It had happened in America where one devotee was distributing books. He was in a kind of a rough neighborhood where there were some "Hell's Angels" (a type of gang who ride Harley motorbikes and wear black leather... that's the stereotype.) They didn't like the book distributor and started to follow him. The devotee became scared and started to run and, of course, the bikers initiated the chase.
The devotee ran frantically to get away. Without knowing he ran into an alley not knowing it's "dead" end...
As he realized his situation he turned to see the "Angels" coming into the alleyway, ready to rock.
The devotee became overwhelmed with fear. Seeing the odds he backed into a corner anticipating a serious beating he started to chant the Nrsimha pranama. Seriously chanting and shaking he was able to finish the whole song. When he looked up he saw the alley way was empty: they had gone.
A few weeks later in the temple the devotee saw the same bikers enter the temple. Now, not afraid because of the surroundings, he approached them. "Hey weren't you the guys that were chasing me a few weeks back? They recognized each other and the devotee showed them around. When the tour was over he asked the bikers why they didn't beat him up.
They became grave and told him that they wanted to get him that day in the alley. But just when they were about to pounce, the head of a fierce lion appeared just above their victim's head. Completely terrified they ran out of fear from this lion. Looking back at this event the "Hell's Angels" became very curious about the temple and the devotees so they had come.
Now my question: Has anyone heard this story before? And does anyone know where and when this happened?
Lord Nrsimhadev shows His mercy even to a non devotee
Narrated by HG Pankajanghri Prabhu
Yasoda Mata'as 85-year-old foster father passed away two months ago. During his stay in the hospital, Yasoda Mata prepared a tape recorder and played the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra all day long in his ward.
Her foster father was actually in semi-coma, but miraculously when he heard the Maha mantra, gradually he awoke and with closed eyes he appeared to enjoying the music and the sound vibration. He started to follow the tempo by tapping his hand on the edge of his bed. His finger ring made the sound like "adon, don don"a "adon, don, don"a
He looked like he was totally meditating on the Maha mantra. Suddenly he spoke, "aLook! There is a huge 5 clawed man, and his head looks just like a lion'as, he is coming into my ward. Don'at you see him? He is coming..."a The foster father still with eyes closed said "aOh, yes, I forgot you all cannot see him, but he is really here. I do not know who He is?"a
At that moment Yasoda Mata and her daughters looked at each other in great surprise and answered. "aFather, He is Lord Nrsimhadev"a. "aWhat dev??? I don'at know Him. But He is nodding His head to tell me that He is."a Yashoda Mata felt great ecstasy in hearing this for in her house she keeps a model of the Nrsimha Deity from Mayapur and had been offering heartfelt prayers to Him so that her father could leave the body without any attachment and that his soul can become Krishna'as devotee in his next birth.
Continuously her father said, "Look, He is smiling to me and starting to speak again. Oh, He is telling me that I have to learn to chant what you are chanting now. What exactly are you chanting ?"a He said. "aIt is a mantra to call the holy name of Lord"a Yasoda Mata replied. "aI don'at know what mantra, but please teach Me."a he said. "aAll right father, please repeat after me and listen carefully — Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna..."a Yasoda Mata taught her foster father word by word patiently. Without taking a long time, he learned and tried to chant... and chanted so nicely.
The next day he passed away with tranquility. During that weekend, we devotees here congregated together to do the kirtan for Yasoda Mata'as father at the memorial service. Yasoda Mata prepared the prasadam garland, Ganga water, tulasi, and put tilak on her father, which have all been done nicely and properly according to her guru maharaj H.H. Giridhari Swami'as telephone instruction. Her foster father'as face looked so peaceful, his cheeks were a little pink, and his body was soft. After some customary ceremonies the body was sent to the incinerator.
A Few hours later the people who work in the memorial service came to us and exclaimed in amazement - "aWe have never seen anyone'as ashes look so white and beautiful like jade as your father'as! What happened to him? What were you chanting for him? Could you write it down for us? We want to learn and we think we can also chant while doing our service here."a
Why the Lord Himself personally appeared before someone who we consider a non-devotee proves the sastric statement - that if one is always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, their family members will be benefited as well.
From Lin Tulip, Taiwan, 20th March 2006Nrisimhadeva was there! (a recent incident from South Africa)
By Ramananda Raya dasa
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Attached is an article submitted by Shikar and Yoginee about the scary event that happened to their family in South Africa. They were held up in their own home by five gangsters. But miraculously, by Lord Nrsimhadeva's mercy, they were saved.
Your humble servants,
from BCS Secretariat
We arrived home just after nine o'clock that night, not knowing at all what was destined to happen to us. We parked in the drive way and in a sort of routine way, we walked to the front door. We started to go inside when the sound of many footsteps startled us. We turned around and witnessed the most frightening sight. There were five men standing in a semi-circle in front of us. We were cornered. There was no where to escape except into the house.
They were all dressed in dark clothes and four of them had balaclavas covering their faces. They all stood in the same stance pointing their guns in our direction. My heart started to beat faster as dreadful thoughts rushed through my mind. Will I make it out of this? Will they hurt us? Will anything happen to my family? This is when I heard the voice of my father screaming KRISHNA!! KRISHNA!! The man whose face was visible commanded us to go into the house and deactivate the alarm. He said, "Be quiet or I'll shoot you!" Again, my father's voice, "KRISHNA!! KRISHNA!!" As one enters our house, the first room visible is the temple room. The men could see our Prabhuapada deity and our altar.
They instructed us to kneel on the floor of the entrance hall, however my mother insisted on walking further into the house. When one of the men asked her where she was going, she replied mechanically, "I need to put the alarm off; I need to put the alarm off". He pointed a gun to her back as she walked off but for some reason, he did not follow her. They did not move beyond the temple room. I decided that the only thing I could do was join my dad. I screamed loudly with such anger and desperation in my voice, "NRISIMHADEVA, NRISIMHADEVA". I started to scream Nrisimhadeva prayers at them, as if I was using it as my weapon. My dad then pointed to a picture of Krishna on the wall and very courageously exclaimed, "This is my Lord and He is going to save us!" The men were silent, they didn't say a word. They just stood there, looking really confused.
The man who did not have a balaclava pointed his gun towards my dad once again but his hand started shaking and he didn't pull the trigger. From his facial expression I could see how terrified he was. He was trembling. His eyes appeared as if he had seen a ghost. He turned around, picked up a set of our car keys and they all ran away. After they left, the police and the guards from our security company quickly arrived on the scene in response to my mum's phone call. Later my mum told us that she did not see them carry any firearms at all. Perhaps if she had seen them, she would not have been so brave as to set the alarm siren off and phone the police. So now the questions arise in my mind, why couldn't the men walk beyond the temple room? Why did they not follow my mother into the bedroom? Why did my mother not see their guns? What made us react to scream to the Lord for help and not be silent as the robbers demanded? Why did the men look so terrified? Could they see something that we couldn't see? The answer is simple, NRISIMHADEVA WAS THERE!! The Lord protected us that night and He saved us from being harmed by these terrible men. We could have all been killed. We do not question what we did to deserve this traumatic incident; but rather, we see it as an educational experience to increase our faith in Lord Nrisimhadeva.
Om namo bhagavate sri maha-Nrisimhaya damstra-karala-vadanaya ghora-rupaya vajra-nakhaya jvala-maline mama vighnan paca paca mama bhayan bhindi bhindi mama satrun vidravaya vidravaya mama sarva ristan prabhanjaya prabhanjaya chata chata, hana hana, chindi chindi mama sarvabhistan puraya puraya mam raksa raksa hum phat svaha.
"O Nrisimhadeva, whose form is terrible by sharp and long teeth; who is very fearful to see with strong, large nails; and who is garlanded by flames - destroy, destroy my obstacles and kick out, kick out my fear. Scatter, scatter my enemies, destroy, destroy my karma. Flash, flash! Kill, kill! Cut, cut! Ever fulfill, fulfill my desire [to serve You] and protect, protect me and all around me."
All Glories to that most ferocious, most caring Lord Nrisimhadeva! Jai Srila Prabhupada!
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