1st March 2020
The right Consciousness while performing Deity Worship
Today is Sunday and hence there are fewer participants. So many devotees are writing reports. Morning Sankirtana is taking place in Bhubaneswar. In Delhi, there are a few festivals and they are going to watch the Hare Krishna Movie. This is good that Hare Krishna people are going to see the movie. Ramlila Mataji is celebrating a birthday and she is doing Parikrama. She is asking for blessings. Doing Parikrama is in itself a blessing. She came from Solapur to Mayapur for Parikrama. So without blessings, it is not possible. Around 1500 Hindi Speaking devotees are attending the Parikrama. I also got an opportunity to offer Aarti to Radha Madhava and Asthasakhis. Once in a year or sometimes twice, I get this opportunity. When I was offering aarti, I was reminded of days in 1973-1975 when Prabhupada was there in Mayapur. Those days I was Head Pujari of Radha Rasabihari Temple, Juhu. Jananivas Prabhu, Head Pujari of Radha Madhava would offer me the opportunity to serve Radha Madhava behind the curtains. He served Madhava and offered me an opportunity to serve Radharani.
yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato ’pi
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
The spiritual master is always engaged in the temple worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He also engages his disciples in such worship. They dress the Deities in beautiful clothes and ornaments, clean Their temple, and perform other similar worship of the Lord. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. [ Mangala Aarti Verse 4]
When we worshiped Sri Radha and Krsna and cleaned the temple, Srila Prabhupada would go on morning Parikrama on Bhaktisiddhanta Road. Whenever I served Radharani I remembered that Prabhupada has gone on his morning walk and he is about to return.Those days when Prabhupada returned after the morning walk around 300 devotees welcomed him with kirtana. Then we would get a signal that sringar darsana is about to happen and we have to be ready quickly. That Deity of Radharani Whom I worshiped was stolen by some Muslims thinking She was real gold. Taptakancan Gaurangi.
arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhir
viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇavānāṁ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe 'mbu-buddhiḥ
śrī-viṣṇor nāmni mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he śabda-sāmānya-buddhir
viṣṇau sarveśvareśe tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ
One who thinks the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master in the disciplic succession as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaiṣṇava in the Acyuta-gotra to belong to a certain caste or creed or who thinks of caraṇāmṛta or Ganges water as ordinary water is taken to be a resident of hell. [ Padma Purāṇa]
Having such kind of thoughts of a Deity is hellish. Today morning while doing aarti my assistant was taking photographs , I was thinking that when viewers will see the video and photographs then they will say, “See Maharaja, he is with the Lord". I was also thinking that I have reached the abode of the Lord. Being on the altar is the same as being with the Lord. Such feelings are needed.
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. [ BG 18.55]
We are trying to understand the Lord as it is. Wherever the Deities are, that place is the abode of the Lord. If we are on the altar of Radha Madhava, that place is Goloka. If the Deity is Laksmi Narayana, then the place is Vaikuntha. If it is Sita-Rama, then the place is Ayodhya or Saket Dham. Similarly, if we are on the altar of Rukmani Dvarakadisa, that place is Dvaraka. If we have such feelings then we are also with Them. Worship of Radha Madhava and Ashtasakhis is topmost worship.
preṣṭhālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi.
In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them. [ CC Antya 1.6]
This is meditation. There is Vrindavan. Vrindavan is kalpavriksha. Below that tree in Vrndavana Radha and Govinda are sitting on the jewelled throne and the Gopis are serving Them. I remember that there is such a desire tree. And Asthasakhis are serving Them. If Ashtasakhis are serving then the pujari also reaches there and under the guidance of Lalita and Vishakha, the pujari also starts to serve.
lalita vishakha adi jata sakhi vrinda
agyaya koribo seva charana arvinda
With the permission of all the sakhis, headed by Lalita and Visakha, I will serve the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna.[Radha Krsna Praan Mora verse 5 by Narottama Das Thakur]
If one has to serve then one has to take permission of Lalita Vishaka and serve Them under Their guidance. When the time came to offer camara I saw Lalita and I saw she was also holding a camara. I'm also offering a camara and she is also offering a camara, but there is a huge difference between our emotions. I was praying that I may also learn the devotional service the way Radharani, Asthasakhis and Gopis do.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita
srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pum-artho mahan
sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is worshipped along with His transcendental abode Vrndavana. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrndavana. Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything and pure love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. [Caitanya-matta-manjusa by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura]
This is the instruction of Lord Caitanya that if you want to worship then follow in footsteps of the Damsels of Vraja. This is the opinion of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are many sakhis. But 8 are the topmost Sakhis. In the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, many devadasis dance in front of Jagannatha and they try to please Jagannatha while singing Gita Govinda. Ramananda Raya would dress those ladies and prepare them for dance. He had to touch their bodies, but there was no thought of lust while serving them. This is the bhava of Ramananda Raya. People having such consciousness can serve Radha Madhava. We can think like that for Ramananda Raya. It was not bewildering to associate with such ladies as he was the incarnation of Sri Vishakha. It was no problem for Vishakha to prepare devadasis.
ātmanaḥ saha śaktibhiḥ
muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ
The merging of the living entity, along with his conditional living tendency, with the mystic lying down of the Mahā-Viṣṇu, is called the winding up of the cosmic manifestation. Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies. [SB 2.10.6]
The perfection of Deity worship is muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ. One has to reestablish oneself in one's original identity and understanding that we are not this body and get fixed in the mood and bhava of that Svarupa. Then we can exchange our feelings and emotions with the Lord.
In the earlier days people asked, ‘Are you Svastha?’ Is your soul situated in the service of the Lord? People would ask in this way. Sva means the subtle body, the soul. Is your soul engaged in the service of the Lord? Nowadays people ask, ‘Is your health good?’ Sva means soul. We should ask about the soul.
ayi nanda-tanuja kińkaraḿ
patitaḿ māḿ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-pańkaja-
O son of Maharaja Nanda (Krsna), I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.
The soul is kinkara. Body is an instrument. [ Siksastakam Prayers verse 5]
sharira madhyam khalu dharma sadhanam
The physical body is the medium for righteous action.[ Mahakavi Kalidasa in his work Kumarasambhavam]
The soul uses the body as an instrument in the service of the Lord. The soul uses its senses in the service of the Master of the senses.
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and, simply by being employed in the service of the Lord, one's senses are purified. [ CC Madhya 19.170]
Deity worship is one of the angas of devotional service. The goal is to situate oneself in one's own identity.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
There has to be kirtana while worshiping the Deities then it's complete. In this way, this is our final Japa session from Mayapur. We are now going to stop our speech. We will leave for Pune tomorrow where there will be Gaura Bhagavad Katha from 4th March to 10th March. The chanting session will keep going on.