Reincarnation, festival timing and Lakṣmī
I am delighted with the stories about Jada Bharata and Ajāmila and if your time allows it please give me some illuminations. First, please tell me - these stories are true stories? Both stories confirm the statement of the Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6, if I understand it properly? Now according to this I began to think on what is actually most important in our dhyāna? What is the priority during dhyāna, meditation on our svarūpa deha or on Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa? Logical is on both, but, if I understand properly, both Jada Bharat and Ajāmila got bodies according to their thinking at the time of death. If I properly understand Jada Bharata thought of a deer and therefore he got the body of a deer, and Ajāmila pronounced the name of Nārāyana and got a body similar of Nārāyana in Vaikuṇṭha? What if at the time of death I think of a cow – will I get the body of cow? Or the body of a dog if I think of a dog? What if I think of Kṛṣṇa, will I get the body of Kṛṣṇa? If I at the time of death pronounce the words 'Ha Gurudeva' will I get the body of Gurudeva? If I say Rādhe, Rādhe, will I get the body of Rādhā? What if I constantly meditate on my siddha deha but due of misfortune just at that moment of death I think about my wife or about my father, will I not attain my siddha deha but I will be born in the body of my wife or my father?
The proper way to understand reincarnation as described in Bhagavad-Gītā 8.6 is the word bhāva – bhāva means attitude. Behavior like a dog brings a dog-body. It’s also not casual thought that brings such a body but deep absorption. The stories in the Bhāgavata are true because details of time and place in which they took place are given, but such stories have a lesson to teach and that is the value of them. Stories we should meditate upon as a sādhana are Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa nitya-līlā only. The rest of the Bhāgavata is for learning lessons. Next lesson about Gītā 8.6 is ‘sadā tad-bhāva bhāvita’ – it’s what you always think of that you will attain. If you always think of your manjarī-svarūpa but at the time of death of father-mother it’s not that you will miss your manjarī-svarūpa then. Also you cannot BECOME your father mother, Rādhā or Kṛṣṇa, but you would attain their vicinity only, due to bhāva. We practice manjarī-bhāva – it is the feeling, attitude, consciousness of a manjarī that results in a manjarī-svarūpa. Mṛga evābhiniveśita-manā (Bhāgavat 5.8.27) – Bharata was absorbed, engrossed in thoughts of the deer at the time of death. It was not just a flash, casual remembrance. mṛtam anu na mṛta-janmānusmṛtir – after death he did not forget his previous birth. Meditation on both Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and one’s own kinkarī-svarūpa have been recommended in śāstra. Ajāmila did not attain a body like Nārāyana, but one of an associate of Nārāyaṇa (pārśva-vartī, Ś.B. 6.2.43).
I have hear that devotees recently organized Śrī Jagannātha's Ratha Yātrā almost one month earlier than the exact date of Ratha Yātrā. Is it proper to hold such a festival or any other festival in a time which is not according to the Panjikā (Vaiṣṇava almanac)? I have heard the explanation that in July when Ratha Yātrā falls most people will be on vacation on the Adriatic coast and will not attend so they hold the festival early. Somehow I think that it is not correct to prepare sevā to Kṛṣṇa and celebrate festivals led by the schedule of non-devotees. In August when falls Śrī Kṛṣṇa Janmāṣṭamī people, kids, students are also on vacation, so is it proper to celebrate Janmāṣṭamī in May so that all they can attend? Please tell me your kind opinion.
Yes, it’s very disturbing that Janmāṣṭamī and other festivals are held on Sundays, when working people have a day-off, while Janmāṣṭamī may be on Tuesday. It is wrong. There will be no benefit from such observance. It must be observed on the exact tithi. Such a Sunday could be a dwādaśī- or caturthī tithi or so. Totally wrong. They may as well do the Ekādaśī-fast on Sunday, even if it may be aṣṭamī or amāvaśyā then. Ratha-yātrā is also on a fixed tithi. Working people should serve Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa should not serve working people. Take a day off work on Janmāṣṭamī and if not possible, observe it after work in the evening. And what do they do on the Janmāṣṭamī-tithi then? Eat 3 slices of bread for breakfast, go to work and fast the next Sunday till midnight?
I wish also to hear your kind opinion about the use of Śrī Lakṣmī-devī's name for money. Money is money and if there is still need to use Sanskrit term then dhana is Sanskrit word for wealth or money. Somehow I find it offensive to address money with Lakṣmī's name. Lakṣmī is the goddess of Fortune, calling money with Her name suggests that fortune lies in money and it gives wrong the conception in the mind - subconsciously we think that our fortune is money. What is your kind opinion about it?
Yes Lakṣmī is the Goddess of Fortune and should not be employed for luxury cars or hotel rooms or Swiss bank accounts for so-called Swamis. No need even for words like dhana or vitta. Just Euros and Dollars. Nowhere in śāstra is the name Lakṣmī used to indicate money.