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Thursday, September 24, 2015

vyavahārika kārpaṇya and a compromise with vegans

In Bhakti Sandarbha (173) Śrī Jīva Goswāmī speaks about the absence of vyavahārika kārpaṇya in a devotee, who has faith that Kṛṣṇa will take care of him. Some translate this vyavahārika kārpaṇya as ‘materialistic miserliness’ (meaning: he hesitates to spend his money because he is afraid that he will go broke and Kṛṣṇa will not provide more funds), and others translate it as ‘acting pitifully like a beggar, hoping that people will come and support him’. I think both meanings to these words apply.
After this, Śrī Jīva Goswāmī quotes Kṛṣṇa’s famous assurance in Bhagavad-Gītā (9.22) -

Ananyaś cintayanto māṁ ye janaḥ paryupāsate
Teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmyaham

‘Whoever thinks exclusively of Me and fully worships Me, to those who are eternally connected with Me, I provide what they lack and preserve what they have.”

About acting pitifully, I remember that in the early 1980s I used to send letters from India to my concerned mother about all the hardship and diseases I suffered there, subtly hoping she would send some financial aid, prompting a rebuke from my elder brother that I should not criticize the lifestyle of persons that I am subtly begging from. I told this to Sādhu Bābā, who said that my brother was right. Sādhu Bābā taught that one should not beg, flatter, pretend to be a saint or perform a pitiful theatre to attract donations, but that IF money was offered spontaneously and with love or affection, it could be accepted with both hands.


In the weeks I suffered from stomach flu I had to offer feasts mentally – either partially or wholly – to Giridhāri because I was either unable to prepare them or to digest them physically. Sādhu Bābā gave permission for mental devotional service on the condition that it would not replace physical service out of laziness. It may be the way vegans can actually get their way. On the past festival days I was unable to either buy or digest milk, so I physically offered Giridhāri His abhiṣekha with water while mentally turning the water into milk, yoghurt and ghee. If vegans could at least mentally offer a dairy pancāmṛta abhiṣekha to the deities it could be an acceptable compromise……..

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