Prema Rasa Siddhanta
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Prema Rasa Madira (Vol. I - III)
Prema Rasa Madira (Vol. I - III)Language :English
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The Secret of Deity Worship
Part - 1

The power that any object possesses is not influenced by one’s feelings. In other words, if someone unknowingly drank milk mixed with poison, that substance (the poison) would produce a poisonous effect and that person would die, because the outcome of drinking poison is death. If someone knowingly drank poison in order to commit suicide, he would also die. It therefore does not matter if a person knowingly or unknowingly drinks poison, he will die. If someone who does not know how to swim intentionally jumps into a river to kill himself, or he accidentally slips and falls in, the outcome is the same. In our country, thousands die accidentally like this every year. This means that the object produces an outcome, which has no concern with your intention or feelings towards that object.

Similarly, there is a stone deity. That stone was brought from somewhere, sculpted into a form and then given a name like Rama, Krishna or Hanuman. It is just stone – it does not see, hear, taste, smell, feel, think or know. It is lifeless. As a result, we should receive a similar consequence from that object through its worship. What is that outcome? A person drank poison mixed in milk and even though he thought it to be milk, he was still poisoned. In the very same way, whatever feeling you may invest in the stone deity, you should receive the consequence of it just being stone. Shri Krishn came on this Earth as a divine descension; He was Supreme God. Those who knew and believed Him to be Supreme God and loved Him received a divine consequence. This is only logical. Yet, there were also those who never knew nor believed Him to be Supreme God and who just considered Him to be an ordinary boy and loved Him as such. Some accepted and loved Him as their father, as their son and as their husband, but they also received a divine consequence and entered Goloka. Even those who were hostile towards Shri Krishna, who were negatively attached to Him received this attainment.

A man has a parasa, a mythological stone that converts iron into gold. Whether a person touches that lovingly to some object or he angrily slams it against some object, the object will be converted to gold. The effect will come from the parasa, provided the parasa and the object come into contact with each other. Similarly, electricity is flowing through a wire. Whether a person accidentally touches it or touches it on purpose to die, he will be electrocuted. Parikshit asked his Guru, Shukdeva Paramahansa in the Bhagavatam (10.29.12): “The gopis believed that Shri Krishna was just a boy. They never thought He was God. In fact, they used to verbally taunt Him. Still, mentally they felt attached to Him and loved Him. Everyone in the world loves like this. So how were they liberated from maya?” Shukdeva strongly admonished Parikshit: “Didn’t I explain to you earlier that Shishupal attained the divine abode? This too, after he insulted Shri Krishna one hundred times in the royal assembly.” (Bhagavatam 10.29.13)

You attain the effect of the object your mind is attached to. But your mind has to come into contact with that through emotional attachment, no matter what that emotion may be – this is the condition. “So Parikshit, listen carefully and now do not have any more doubts about God or a Saint in the future.” (Bhagavatam, 10.29.15) Many impurities flow into the holy river Ganga. They do not make the Ganga impure; rather it is the Ganga that purifies the impurities. Anything can be placed in fire, but it does not make the fire impure. Whatever is placed there eventually is converted into fire. The rays of the sun fall everywhere equally, no matter if they fall upon the pure or impure. This does not make the sun impure. God is omnipresent. He dwells in even the dirtiest impure places, but God does not become impure because of this. He makes the impure divinely pure.

In this way, whether Shri Krishna is remembered through feelings of lust, anger, greed, jealously or even hostility, regardless of how one’s mind is attached to Him, the consequence of this attachment is attaining Shri Krishna and going to Goloka. So now you understand one point – that you should be mentally attached to Shri Krishna, regardless of whether you believe He is Supreme God, a human being or an enemy.


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti
Part - 2

By loving a lifeless material object and believing it to be God, the same divine benefit can be achieved as could be achieved by loving Shri Krishna directly. Even if you love an object made of lifeless material elements, if you worship it believing it to be God, you will attain God. Imagine there is a stone Deity and you love this with the feeling that it is God. God does reside in the Deity because He is omnipresent. He is also all-knowing, and therefore, He will give us a consequence based on our feelings for Him. But if we were to worship a statue of a human being such as our mother, father and so on, we will not attain anything. That human being does not permeate the statue. He is not all-knowing. What could he know about the worship we are performing to him through that statue? But if God were worshipped through that statue, because He is omnipresent and omniscient, we would receive a divine benefit from that worship. It is on this basis that Deity worship has been propagated in India.

If a one does not feel that God is present in a Deity, he will only receive the consequence of worshipping a stone sculpture. If we merely think, “What a great Deity! What great features! It’s wearing a lovely diamond necklace. It looks wonderfully alive.” These are only external qualities. They are all material or mayic. If your mind is attached to these, the consequence of this attachment will be material. On the other hand, if you lovingly feel God’s presence in the Deity, then you will receive a divine consequence. Very, very few people have these kinds of devotional feelings. The majority just make some brief show of respect to a piece of stone.

If one were to form these devotional feelings, then how much bliss he could experience! But we do not experience as much happiness from seeing the Deity as we do from seeing our husband, wife or child. If your loved one comes from England after ten years and you go to the airport to see him, how excited you are! We do not become this excited when we see God’s Deity. So then how have we formed any devotional feelings for the Deity? How then could we receive a divine consequence for that worship? For this very reason we have gone from temple to temple in uncountable lifetimes to worship one Deity after another. If you think you have devotional feelings, then ask yourself when you last went to the temple, “How many tears did you shed, thinking, ‘O Krishna! When will I meet You?’”


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti
Part - 3

In all the temples around the world, food is served to the Deities every day. The priest places the food before the Deity, closes a curtain between himself and the Deity, closes his eyes and rings a bell. If asked, “What are you doing?” He will say, “I am serving food to the Lord. He is blessing it. Be quiet!” Does he really believe what he is saying? Does he really believe that the Lord is eating? “Of course, everyone offers food like this.” Now he opens the curtain. Has anyone ever looked closely at the tray and wondered, “What did the Lord eat? Oh! He hasn’t eaten anything! It’s because of me. What a sinner I am!” Has any temple priest had these kinds of feelings? No, no one has. Our faith is the opposite. Our firm faith is that God will not come and eat what He is served. Then how is this “blessed food?” Prasad or blessed food means the food that was left over from what was actually eaten.

Thus, you will benefit from Deity worship when you feel God’s presence in the Deity. You will not benefit from mere Deity worship. The Bhagavatam (11.27.12) states that there are ten different kinds of Deities, made of different materials such as iron, gold, wood, stone and so on. If someone were to imbue such a Deity with the feeling of God’s presence, he could become a great Saint.

If such feelings are not imbued in the Deity, and instead a person says, “This Deity performs miracles.” A Deity does not perform any miracles. It is made of stone. This is your own confusion. “But there’s a huge crowd over there! In one year they collect millions in offerings to the Lord!” This is just blind faith. That same miraculous Lord is present everywhere, even in the hearts of those demons who insulted Shri Krishna and Shri Rama hundreds of times. God is not more present in some places and less present in others. He is not greater in Vrindavan, Rameshwaram, or Badarikashram and lesser elsewhere. Such pilgrimage places should be visited with the feeling that they are God’s leelashthal – places where God enacted His divine pastimes.

For example, so many people are in Rameshwaram just now. Are they lovingly visualising in their meditation that Lord Rama’s lotus feet actually touched that place, and it was there that with His own lotus hands, He established the Deity of Lord Shiva? Not at all. They are just making a show of respect by proclaiming, “Glory to Lord Shiva!” and moving on. With this kind of attitude, how could anyone benefit from visiting a pilgrimage place? You are just deceiving yourself by proudly thinking, “I went to Rameshwaram!” Please note this – every place is equal, whether one is standing in Goloka or hell. How is this so?


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti
Part - 4

God is equally present everywhere; He is also present in a Deity. But it is only our devotional love that makes God manifest through a Deity in His true divine form, so that we can see Him, speak with Him and He can eat what we have prepared for Him.

Once there was a temple priest. In his temple there were many different Deities of God. This is a very common practice in temples nowadays. Generally Deities such as Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Hanuman, Garuda and others are installed so that if a devotee of any of these forms of God visits the temple, he’ll give some money as an offering. As part of his duties, this priest also served food to the Deities. It happened that some of his students invited him to their area, which was quite far from the temple. A young boy of eight years of age used to stay with the priest as a helper. The priest told him, “Son, I have to go away for one month. I want you to continue to serve the Deities like I do, alright? Make a nice meal for them, give them a bath and then close the temple at the right time so God may sleep.” The boy said, “Yes, I will do it.” After the priest left, the boy served his first meal to the Deities. He placed the tray before them and then closed a small curtain so God could eat in private. But really, is a stone Deity going to eat? The boy kept on opening and closing the curtain to see if any of the Deities had eaten. He saw that the food remained untouched. He thought, “They must be mad because the priest has gone away. Alright, so I won’t eat either.” He took the food away.

The next day he prepared food again and said to them, “You all must be hungry by now. Here, please eat!” Again the food remained uneaten. He also went hungry. Several days passed like this. There was no one he could talk to about this because the priest had gone far away. He told the Deities, “I cannot tolerate this hunger any more. Please don’t mind but now I have to do something drastic.” He picked up a big stick and said strongly, “Alright, let’s see you not eat now!”

This little boy had firm faith that the real Hanuman and Krishna, and all the other of forms of God were present there, and that these were not lifeless Deities. Brandishing the stick he said, “Eat or else!” Each of the forms of God represented by the Deities came out and immediately started to eat. They ate so much that the boy said, “Alright, stop! Save some for me!” Unfortunately no food was left so again he remained hungry. The next day he made extra food and again it was all eaten up. Any flour that had been left in the house was quickly finished. He was forced to go numerous times to a neighbour to borrow more flour.

Sometime after this, the priest returned. When he learned about how much the boy had borrowed, he said, “How did you spend so much money on flour? You were alone!” The boy said, “What could I do? God ate it all up!” The priest said, “What is this nonsense that God ate it! Do the Deities eat?” The boy said, “Guru Ji, what are you saying? Do you think I’m lying? Come on, I’ll show you.” He again served the Deities and they all came and ate. The priest saw the food was gone, but he couldn’t see who was eating it. The boy saw that everyone came and ate, but the priest was not able to see anything. At that moment, a voice came from above: “Oh priest! You did not have any faith that we would eat and that is why we did not. But this little boy has full and firm faith, and that is why we have eaten his food.”


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti
Part - 5

We will be able to benefit from Deity worship or visiting pilgrimage places only when we develop our feelings of love and faith. There is no special benefit in just physically visiting these places. As it is, God Himself is seated in our hearts and we are not benefiting in the slightest from this. Then what could we expect to receive from a stone Deity? If someone says, “What you are saying is preposterous!” Then answer this question. After you visited the four main pilgrimage places (Dvarika, Rameshvaram, Badrikashrama and Jagannatha Puri) and you returned home, did you become renounced from the world? Did your attachment to your loved ones and wealth go away? “No, it did not go away.” In fact, it increased. After returning to your home, when you saw your children and grandchildren, you joyfully gave them big hugs, “I’m back!” What happened? You were fine before you left. “Well, when I was gone, I was remembering them. I kept thinking, ‘I’ve been gone for twelve days. What if my accountant makes a mistake with the books . . . and my son was sick when I left. He may have gotten worse. My wife is alone; hopefully she has not become unfaithful in my absence . . .’” Your mind was filled with the world while you sat in the temple. This is the result of going on pilgrimage.

For this reason, understand that God - His name, His form, His virtues, His pastimes, His abode and His Saints are divine. If your mind remains attached among any of these through any kind of feeling you will attain the divine abode, Goloka. If your mind remains attached to the world with worldly feelings, you will attain a material result after your death that corresponds to whomever your mind was attached to during your lifetime. But if you love God through any material object, and feel that God is present in that object, you will also attain Goloka.

In this way, we can receive the same benefit from a true Saint that we could receive from God Himself. If we are not benefited, this is our problem. We have seen Shri Krishna in the past. Even though we saw His actual form, we criticised Him, “He keeps on wandering after girls. Imagine, Sage Durvasa says He is God! He must be crazy too!” Even Sage Durvasa was included in our criticisms. As a result, we received no benefit.


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti
Part - 6

Thus, the benefit we receive from satsang is millions of times greater than this, because we receive the opportunity to listen to spiritual philosophy, and by understanding this, we benefit. The effect of satsang purifies our mind. Here you are sitting and meditating with closed eyes and imagining that God is close to you while you are chanting His name. Even the person who is exploring the temple at Rameshvaram is not receiving as much benefit as you are. While there, a person is troubled because there are so many stairs to climb, he feels tired; he has nothing to drink, and so on. A person can understand where he receives more benefit. Just think whether the benefit you are receiving here in satsang is more than whatever you received on pilgrimage. Reflect on your own personal experience.

In ancient times, Saints used to live in pilgrimage places. Now only shopkeepers are there. Lots of thieves hang around these places, ready to pick someone’s pockets. Lots of unsavoury characters are there to cheat innocent visitors. When a person comes home, he only remembers, “Oh what a horrible thing happened to me!” The benefit that was received from Saints in these holy places is no longer available. Even if one true Saint resides in such a place, there are fifty more who are impersonating a Saint. How could an ordinary person recognise the true Saint?

Therefore, if a devotee goes to a pilgrimage place with true devotional feelings and he meets a true Saint, and he receives the benefit of that Saint’s satsang, then there is a benefit to visiting that pilgrimage place. Otherwise, you can sit alone in your own home and practice devotion, and that benefit is equivalent to visiting millions of pilgrimage places.


An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
Madurai
© Radha Govind Samiti


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