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Monday, June 15, 2015

Husbands, throwing prasāda and welcome to the machine

Returning to the issue of the mañjarīs having husbands – Govinda-līlāmṛta 2.57 says the sakhīs come sva gehāt, from their homes at early morning 6 a.m., after Rādhikā returned home from Vṛndāvana, while the next verse, 2.58, speaks of the mañjarīs being immediately ready for Swāminī’s devotional service, without mentioning them coming from any home. This shows that they are not married.

Question – I have seen many Iskcon-utsavas wherein pūjārīs throw mahā-prasādam from the altar to temple crowds. Do any śāstras say that prasadām can be thrown? Some may cite Gaurānga’s throwing coconut pulp to a Puri dog as pramān??

Advaitadas - Mahāprabhu threw the coconut pulp at the dog because dogs are untouchable, not because prasād can be thrown about. It is like throwing Kṛṣṇa’s deities around. See my blog ‘brahmins dogs’. In 1979, during the annual birthday extravaganza of Bhagavān Dās in France, there was a massive prasādam-fight, in which tons of prasād was thrown around. Bhagavān Dās was, rightly so, incensed about it. But it is not that prasād cannot be given from the altar at all. You see in many temples in India dona’s (leaf cups) or kulla’s (clay cups) of mahā-prasāda are politely and gently handed down to devotees in the temple, not thrown about.

Question – “Nowadays devotees use bread machines and so.”

Advaitadas – “That is very bad. The benefit of the devotional service goes to the machine. The idea of bhakti is to work hard to please Kṛṣṇa. Nowadays also you see Hindus going on Govardhan parikrama by car or flat-bed riksha. The benefit goes to on one of course. The drivers do it for money and the lazy fat passengers do some sight-seeing instead of getting the reward of the sacrifice of walking many miles. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda says dhana śiṣyādibhir dvārair yo bhakti - If you pay someone for rendering devotional service or have it done by disciples then it is not bhakti. (Bhakti rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.259) Nanda Mahārāja personally milks a cow to feed milk to Kṛṣṇa and mother Yaśodā personally supervises the kitchen of Nandagrām where Kṛṣṇa’s meals are prepared. They don’t lay back in a board room like the managers of today’s devotional institutions and leave the ‘menial services’ to novices. The best machines we can use are airplanes to bring us to Vraja.”

Question – “Then what about internet? That is also a machine and you sit on that all day.”

Advaitadas - You must earn your reward in bhakti by giving and sacrificing. A devotee can work very hard for Kṛṣṇa on the internet - preaching, uploading kathā and kīrtan. It is the effort which counts, that is not the same as a bread machine because rotis can and must be made by hand. patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (Bhagavad-gītā 9.26). Kīrtans cannot be uploaded to the internet by hand. What’s next? A drone which does ārti while the pūjārī watches TV? In the 1970s there was someone in LA who would chant the rounds of busy gṛhasthas against payment. Will anyone benefit from that – employer or employee?”