Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Guidance for deity worship -
kanai - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 08:38:01 +0530
I would like to ask which books or sastra are actually recommended for deity worship?I was usually using two books published in ISKCON-Pancaratra Pradipa and Sat Kriya Sara Dipika(translation by Bhaktivedanta Academy-Mayapur), and Arcana Dipika by Srila Narayana Maharaja.How does actually deity worship complements raganuga bhakti?Who can worship Salagram and Govardana silas?Which are actual mantras for offering bhoga?Do we use pranama mantra for Guru?Also my question is-can i offer bhoga to Srila Ananta das Babaji, although i am aspiring for him,i am not yet initiated.
jiva - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 18:06:05 +0530
The entire body of the ritual and devotional practices of Gaudiya Vaisnavism has been codified by Gopala Bhatta in his elaborate and erudite Hari-bhakti-vilasa.Although the highest form of Gaudiya Vaisnavism dispenses with mere Sastric rule and outward ceremony,and lay stress upon an inner and more esoteric
way of realisation,the faith does not at the time ignore the impulse to devotional acts which comes from the injuction of the Vaisnava Sastra and outward form of piety.As much as i understand, Raganuga sadhakas are advised to follow the injuctions of Vaidhi-bhakti with a different motive that those on the path of Vaidhi Bhakti.Perfect adherence to the injuctions is the goal of Vaidhi Bhakti,while following in the footsteps of Krsna`s eternal associates in Vrndavana is is the goal of raganuga sadhakas.
Hari-bhakti-vilasa consists of twenty chapters or Vilasas.The first Chapter deal with the necessity of a Guru ,qualifications respectively of the Guru and Disciple etc.The first qualification that a man requires for becoming a Vaisnava is Mantra-Diksa or Initiation for the purpose of receiving the proper devotional formula of the School from the qualified Guru.A man without initiation is not entitled to worship,for the act of initiation destroys all sins and bestows divine knowledge.So,find the Guru.
Even initiated woman and Sudras are entitled to worship Salagrama or Govardhana,the prohibition being applicable
only to those who are non-Vaisnavas.
Caitanya himself is said to have entrusted a Govardhana-sila to his Sudra disciple,Raghunatha dasa.
"At the death of Raghunatha dasa,Krsnadasa Kaviraja become absorbet in it.When he died,Mukunda served it with tears of prema.Narottama-thakura was the beloved pupil of Lokanatha,and his pupil was Ganga-Narayana Cakravartin.Ganga-narayana had two daughters Visnupriya and Krsnapriya...He entrusted
the stone to Krsnapriya-thakurani"(Narottama-vilasa).
The purchase and sale of Salagrama ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN!
kanai - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 20:29:55 +0530
Dear Jiva prabhu,
Thank you very much for your answer.The part about raganuga bhakti and pancaratra is interesting,but i didn't find interesting your pointing-find the guru, it reminded me of though times i went through in ISKCON.I have written that i aspire for Srila Ananta das Pandit,and according to books i wrote that i am using it shows that i am worshipping deities already,and also i know that i shouldn't purchase or sale Silas.I was initiated in ISKCON and later outside of that institution in one of branches of GM,so i have received standard 7 mantras and some more for deity worship and bhajana which they don't give in ISKCON.Those mantras are some of mantras which are in Dhyanacandra Goswamis Sri Gaura-Govindarcana-smarana paddhati, the other mantras are from other sources.Those mantras are given to me through my Guru and he received it from one sannyasi disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.Srila Bhaktisiddhanta gave it to him directly.
I am searching also for translations of Gopala Tapani Vyakhya and Kama Gayatri Vyakhya.Does anybody know where is possible to find them?
Madhava - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 20:43:42 +0530
In regards to finding a guru, it is necessary for the aspirant to feel confidence within his heart. A guru should not be accepted out of a mere feeling of obligation, but the disciple should rather pray for Bhagavan to bless him with the audience of a sad-guru. Then it will be fruitful.
As far as the mantras and worship etc. are concerned, I suggest you discuss the matter with any senior Vaishnava whom you regard as a person according to whose instructions you can safely proceed on your journey for prema.
Since it appears you have faith to Pandit Ananta Das Baba, why not write to him and ask these questions? A disciple of his in Delhi conveys emails to him, you can write to radhakund at india dot com. Be sure to write in the beginning to Yugal (the disciple), "please confirm receipt of this message immediately" to make sure it reached someone there.
It is always an awkward situation when one gets into a situation where he has to start swapping the gurus. It is to be very delicately handled to avoid unnecessary aparadha.
Nilamadhava dasa - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 21:25:26 +0530
QUOTE(kanai @ June 15 2002,23:08)
can i offer bhoga to Srila Ananta das Babaji
By bhoga, do you mean unoffered "food"? I'm pretty sure that I read in one of Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji's books, that the guru should be offered food that has been offered to Krishna (prasada). Sorry for the lack of a reference. Is this correct?
kanai - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 21:29:09 +0530
Yes,i was thinking of prasada first offered to Krishna.Thank you for correcting me.
kanai - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 21:43:45 +0530
I don't want to swap my Guru which i have now for another Guru.I am satisfied with him,but i do think that for esoteric aspects of Gaudiya vaisnava raganuga bhakti sadhana instructions i have to go to another sadhu.Is this wrong or i have to stick just to one person?I think that there is a example in Dr.Kapoor also.Did he left Gaudiya Matha?I didn't read or heard that,but he had siksa from a Babaji.
Madhava - Sun, 16 Jun 2002 22:44:45 +0530
You wrote in your first letter: "Also my question is-can i offer bhoga to Srila Ananta das Babaji, although i am aspiring for him,i am not yet unfortunately initiated."
Then, "I don't want to swap my Guru which i have now for another Guru.I am satisfied with him,but i do think that for esoteric aspects of Gaudiya vaisnava raganuga bhakti sadhana instructions i have to go to another sadhu."
You are not initiated by anyone, is that so?
I am satisfied with him,but i do think that for esoteric aspects of Gaudiya vaisnava raganuga bhakti sadhana instructions i have to go to another sadhu.Is this wrong or i have to stick just to one person?
If one has received diksa, then the etiquette is to approach the diksa-guru for his sanctioning the relationship with the siksa-guru. If one has not received diksa, but has a relationship of learning with any sadhu, then although it is not obligatory to seek his sanction, it is still good to do so out of courtesy.
There is certainly no injunction that one should stick to just one person. One should stick to whoever helps one advance. That is the criteria. Adequate respect towards everyone should be maintained. But there must be progress.
I think that there is a example in Dr.Kapoor also.Did he left Gaudiya Matha?,i didn't read or heard that,but he had siksa from a Babaji.
I think OBL Kapoor is a bit of a controversial character in this regard. Some time after the departure of Bhaktisiddhanta, he went to Gauranga Das Babaji, who is in Radha Raman Caran Das Baba's line (Nitai Gaura Radhe Shyam Hare Krishna Hare Ram), and derived much of his spiritual inspiration from him. Nevertheless, I think he kind of was in/around the Gaudiya Math until his departure.
kanai - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 00:06:09 +0530
I am initiated but according to GM standards.Is initiation in BSS line totally wrong?Do you think that when i have received diksa mantra from GM, that they are not working?Do you think that if i didn't receive initiation into raganuga bhakti sadhana that i am not initiated properly?I wrote that i did receive certain mantras and instructions but furthermore i have read by the mercy of Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani books by Srila Ananta das Babaji translated by Advaita prabhu whom i also take seriously,like siksa guru.I decided just to go on further as i have realized many points which i didn't know.Should i be sectarian and say my guru is the only one and he is better than anyone else?Sorry, i am not into that. Advaita prabhu in one letter to me states that mantra initiation may be very simple or very complicated according to Guru one chooses. He thinks of non GM or Iskcon gurus of course.That shows diversity in presentation or relationship Guru-disciple even in the traditional line.I simply want to go further in my devotional life,and I want to take instructions from Srila Ananta Dasa Babaji.
What does it mean you are not initiated by anyone?Is that a hint that i am not properly initiated? Please elaborate on that.
Regarding my guru knowing that i will go to Pandita Ananta dasji- i don't think that this is obligatory for him to know like you have stated. I am going further in my devotional life for what i think it will advance me in my Krishna consciousness on the road to prema.That is not out of fashion,this is my advancement in Krishna consciousness,raganuga bhakti and my spiritual life.I am just asking for opinions and sadhu sanga and furthermore, ultimately i will decide what will i do.
And yes, i wrote unfortunately i am not initiated by him as i am thinking that is a great fortune to be initiated by Srila Ananta das Babaji,same thing i am thinking for my guru that is a great fortune that i got initiated by him.
Thanks Raga(Atul Prabhu,if i am correct)
Madhava - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 00:22:33 +0530
What does it mean you are not initiated by anyone?Is that a hint that i am not properly initiated? Please elaborate on that.
It was just unclear to me whether you have received diksha or not, since in your first text you said, "Also my question is-can i offer bhoga to Srila Ananta das Babaji, although i am aspiring for him,i am not yet unfortunately initiated.
" The word "yet" confused me. That's all.
Do you think that if i didn't receive initiation into raganuga bhakti sadhana that i am not initiated properly?
In my view, it should not be the concern of others to judge someone's guru-disciple relationship. It is a matter of heart, and a question of the aspirant's eligibility.
But still i would like to offer prasadam of Krishna to my guru and Srila Ananta dasji, is that ok or not?
If you wish to offer something to someone, naturally you must ask the person to whom you wish to offer something.
Thanks Raga(Atul Prabhu,if i am correct)
Nowadays Madhavananda das.
kanai - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 01:54:19 +0530
Dear Madhavananda prabhu,
Thanks for your kind advices.I will certainly write to Srila Ananta dasa Babaji and ask him about mantras, deity worship and offerings unto His lotus feet.That is the best thing.If somebody else have any insights or comments i will be really happy to read it.
adiyen - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 13:38:39 +0530
One thing I might mention regarding Dr Kapoor. His recently published books call Gaurangadas Baba his siksha guru and BSS his disksha guru. But apprarently this was written by the publisher, who seems to work for Iskcon in some capacity (see sadhu.net where he claims GBC authorisation), without Kapoorji's consent and is not an accurate description of Kapoorji's status as he himself regarded it. This was pointed out to me by someone who knew Dr Kapoor.
Radhapada - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 17:55:10 +0530
I would like to share briefly some experiences that may be relevant to your questions.
While I was a member of the ISKCON institution I became very attracted to Thakur (Deity) seva. After I left the community life I had a desire for a personal Deity. Feeling that my ISKCON Guru would not encourage me to worship Shalagram sila I decided to take up doing worship anyway without his consent. For many years I did this seva while consulting various devotees of ISKCON and whatever books that were available. One thing that was not clear to me however, was who is my ista deva? I would go from Narayana to Krsna, to Krsna and Balarama, to Caitanya and so forth. I had a desire for Radha and Krsna worship, but felt discouraged to do so. I didn't know what was the appropriate mantra for worship.
While in Vrndavana, I one time visited a Goswami sevait of Sri Radha-ramanjui. I asked him which mantra I should worship my Shalagram with. He told me very explicitly that the mantra is given by the Guru. I thought he didn't understand my question because in the ISKCON Deity worship book there is a list of mantras for different Visnu murtis. I went away dissapointed. His words haunted me for quite some time though.
After some time a Govardhana Shila was given to me by a Vaisnava in Govardhana Hill. So I was worshipping Govardhana Shila and a host of Shalagrama shilas in Vrndavana. Still unclear was how to worship Them properly. Is Shalarama Shila Krsna or Narayana? I was confused.
Later on I left the ISKCON sampradaya and took diksa from Ananta Das Pandit Baba. He gave me many diksa mantras and gayatris. He gave me the istha devata, worship procedures, siddha pranali...the whole package. I very soon realized the words of the sevait of Sri Radha-raman. You get everything from the Guru.
My advice is that you first approach whom you consider your Guru and try to get your bhajan from him. Deity seva is bhajan and that is the mercy of Sri Guru. The Guru's mercy comes in the form of bhajan for the disciple. All forms of bhajan i.e. sampradayic tilak, Deities, mantras, procedures for offering food and worship, nama chanting, siddha deha meditation, lila smaranam, manasi seva--all is given by a sat Guru. Ask him and he will give you.
It is my understanding that Dr. Kapoor took diksa from Gauranga Das Baba.
Madhava - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 22:22:49 +0530
It is my understanding that Dr. Kapoor took diksa from Gauranga Das Baba.
But this is not a public understanding I believe. [-oo-]
Perhaps there is truth to what Adi says above, but I find it hard to believe he would have openly proclaimed this, considering that he was still around the Gaudiya Math for a good number of years, at least maintaining his relationship with Bhaktivedanta Swami. I don't know about the rest of GM, actually.
OBL Kapoor writes in "The Saints of Vraja" (chapter XXVII):
After my spiritual master Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja had passed away, I was in great distress. Though I knew that his benedictory hand was still on me, I felt that without his living presence I was like an orphan. There was no-one to whom I could go for succour, guidance or inspiration. My wife was in greater distress, because she had only received harinama from him.
[They went to Gauranga Das Baba.]
My wife said, "Baba, if I go to a kalpataru, there is only one thing I shall pray for. I will say -- give me the guru I want. But since I have found in you the guru I want, why should I go to the kalpataru and not pray to you directly? Would you not kindly give me diksa and accept me as your sisya?"
"Lali, you are mine", replied Baba affectionately.
"And what about me Baba", I asked excitedly.
"You are both mine", said Baba, looking at me with deep affection.
"But Baba, I am already initiated by Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja."
"So what? He is your diksa-guru, I am your siksa-guru. You should regard the diksa-guru and siksa-guru as one."
My problem was solved. Baba gave me the best of his love and blessings, and in the few remaining years of his life I remained in close contact with him.
This is definitely not something written by the publisher, but OBL Kapoor himself.
Madhava - Mon, 17 Jun 2002 22:30:59 +0530
But apprarently this was written by the publisher, who seems to work for Iskcon in some capacity (see sadhu.net where he claims GBC authorisation),
"Although sadhu.net is primarily established by students of the late Paramahamsa A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, it holds no partiality whatsoever towards any group or divisions of any Vaishnava school. "
Where did you see the GBC authorization?
Radhapada - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 17:45:13 +0530
But this is not a public understanding I believe.
Your right, it's not.
adiyen - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 19:49:53 +0530
The publisher is Radharaman Sadhu (he informed me of this himself by email), hence 'sadhu.net'. Go to 'More Vaishnava Books' page and you will read that he is a disciple of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, and that he has himself written two books. One 'Who is Prabhupada?' the other 'Tatastha Shakti'. Read the description of the latter book on its own page (click its picture) and you will see where the author states that the book was written in response to a general GBC directive. The implication is that the author was personally asked but I see that this is not stated.
In any case the publisher wishes to be viewed favourably by GBC (or does he? I guess he is a bit hard to figure now I read it again). The above autobiographical quote tends to contradict what I was told. In conclusion it seems not innapropriate to regard Kapoorji as a bit of an enigma, and this does not detract from his greatness at all.
kanai - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 05:55:24 +0530
Thank you for your insights.I have another question regarding deity worship.I was in Iskcon previously and after i started taking siksa from my Guru which i have today, my previous Guru banned me from some temples in Iskcon.So, i was limited by going on the altar worshipping Deities what i really love.Now, after discovery which i made in last 10 months, this shook my whole world even more.
What is your opinion what one should do?
adiyen - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:13:40 +0530
My opinion, Kanaiji- as with the Gita, always remember we are in the hands of the Lord, and He will reveal what is in store for us, in His own way and His own time.
Have you asked your present Guru what you should do? Do you intend to 'go behind his back'? This cannot be spiritually healthy in the long term. Then if your genuine inner need exceeds what your Guru will accept you may need to move on, as has been already pointed out, and make a clear break before more progress can be made. It is a bit like modern marriage. 'I like how my wife does some things but I am very attracted to another woman'. As Jerry Springer would say, 'You have to choose'. But that doesn't mean you can't still be friends with your former 'wife'. Just that it is fair to all when you make things clear. Otherwise it is 'adultery'!
Madhava - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 10:46:14 +0530
I agree with Adi on this one. It is a breach of proper etiquette to do so, and etiquette is known as the ornament of sadhus. Mahaprabhu speaks to Sanatana (CC Antya 4.130-131):tathApi bhakta-svabhAva maryAdA-rakSaNa
maryAdA-pAlana haya sAdhura bhUSaNa
maryAdA-laGghane loka kare upahAsa
iha-loka, para-loka dui haya nAza
"It is the nature of a devotee to protect the proper etiquette. Maintenance of etiquette is the ornament of saints. By transgressing the etiquette, one becomes the object of laughter for the world. Then both in this world and the world beyond, things are spoiled."
Radhapada - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 18:09:27 +0530
It is something that will unfold as time goes on. When I accepted diksa from my Guru I was still affiliated with ISKCON and ISKCON/GM bhaktas in a number of functions. I found it hard to break and in the early days I had no spiritual need to do so either. I was in a sense enjoying from my ISKCON club membership. I would give some classes and lead kirtan. However, as time went on it became apparant that there are differences in bhakti conceptions and spiritual aspirations and therefore decided to stick to my own kind of fellowship, namely raganuga bhaktas. I feel peaceful now in my situation of nir-institution-jan bhajan, while seeking association with other raganuga sadhakas through the cyber space. I don't miss much. The confusion is conspicuous by its absense. Pray to Sri Radha for guidence.
Be prepared that in most cases, if you do inform your present spiritual precepter that you want to enter traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava bhajan outside of the GM/ISKCON institution, that your teacher may strongly dissaprove and even condemn your decision to do so. However, it may not also be the case. You will see for yourself. In any case, bhajan is a confidential thing and you decide whom you want to reveal your new found love to or not. You don't have make a proclamation wherein the whole world knows your business. If you have friends and family they will always be there for you, provided they are loyal to you. Nothing has to change dramatically. We just have to change our thinking.
Mina - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 00:30:56 +0530
In may case, Radharani and Nityananda arranged for me to be forced to make the clean break. I went to see Babaj and take diksha from him without telling anyone at ISKCON that was my intention. They somehow found out anyways (through the gossip grapevine in Braj). At first I was disturbed by that development (remember, Praphupada had only recently passed away and the succession wars were not yet in full swing), because I really did not want any confrontations with ISKCON people that could turn violent. In a way I feared for my safety. One day while riding my bicycle through Lohi Bazar in Vrindavan, someone I knew from ISKCON shouted at me to stop. He, a householder, was on a two seater cycle rikshaw with one of the Indian sannyasis that did not know me. I just smiled, bowed my head in respect and kept on riding away without saying a word. I do not know whether that was going to be a friendly encounter or not, but I was not all that eager to find out. After all, that sannyasi had his big danda with him, which could do some major damage. One day one of the ISKCON brahmacharies came to see Baba to get advice and I acted as translator. Baba did not know that he did not yet have the gayatri mantras and told him to do a thousand kama-gaytris daily. When I told Baba that he did not yet have those mantras, Baba's reply was that he would give those, but only once that fellow left the institution.
In the long run, I can see that it was probably for the best that I had to leave all the old friends behind, even though it was difficult. I still speak with a few of them on occasion, but generally avoid the subject of my defection and they do not bring it up, except for a couple, such as the person that posts here as adiyen and the person that posts on other boards as Jijaji.
I tried to give some advice to one of the ritvik people recently to just forget about ISKCON and go on with his life, but I assume that he did not like to hear that, since I never received a reply to my email.
Advice can be helpful, but it thrusts this burden of responsibility on the one giving it. The only advice I would offer is to find a senior level Vaishnava or two in India (someone outside ISKCON and Gaudiya Math) to get some counseling from, if that is at all possible. You can also write to Pandit Ananta Das Babaji. Madhavananda Das can tell you where to send either post or email to.
Do not despair! Radhe Radhe bolo!
sevak - Minaketan Ramdas
Mina - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 02:26:45 +0530
Just one more comment. Nobody should underestimate the capacity for violence within institutions such as ISKCON. I am sure everyone has heard the tales of murder involving Kirtanananda and Jayatirtha. When Nitai Das first left, goons were dispatched by certain ISKCON leaders with makeshift weapons fashioned from wooden clubs with nails sticking out of them, in order to attack him. Luckily they did not know where to find him, and the Babajis helped keep him concealed. I distinctly remember one ISKCONer in Los Angeles telling me a couple of months after I left how he had blinded and deafened another disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada for some remarks that fellow had made opposing certain successor gurus.
A word to the wise - even if things seem peaceful at the present time, they can take a turn for the worse at a moment's notice, if one is not cautious. Even if there are official reforms and policies, that does not mean that those will prevent the isolated incidents perpetrated by fanatical extremists that believe they are only 'following the teachings'. Certainly the majority of the members are not criminals, but there is that other percentage that can get out of control.
Its probably best to leave quietly rather than stir up angry reactions - better that some feelings get hurt than bones getting broken (or worse).
Radhapada - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:54:54 +0530
I agree. I also was a bit fearful of my situation in Vrndavan as the news slowly spilled out. After I took diksa, sometime later within a couple years, a whole string of former ISKCONers one by one took diksa from Baba. I was very concerned and quiet about our meetings in public places as to not arouse suspicion if news was to break out of our taking Vaisnava diksa in Radha Kunda. I heard of a friend of ours from the GM/ISKCON who broke a friendship with us (my wife and I) who pleaded with a sannyasi from ISKCON to 'save us from the wrong path'.
Yes, don't underestimate the power of fanatical following within institutions. The hate towards Vrndavan and Radha Kunda babajis is very deeply engrained in the followers of the institutions. They have accepted this 'bhava' through the teachings that have passed down for some generations. I was told that one Vaisnavi many years ago was given an ultimatum by the followers of the institution: "You a have a choice, either choose Radharani or us!"
Her's - Fri, 21 Jun 2002 00:53:58 +0530
QUOTE(Radhapada @ June 20 2002,07:24)
I was told that one Vaisnavi many years ago was given an ultimatum by the followers of the institution: "You a have a choice, either choose Radharani or us!"
While many may appear to desire the personal association of Srimati Radharani, they are unwilling or unable to accept all that entails. Her unconditional Love and Grace are freely available to all, but few actually seek Pure
Devotion exclusively, and that is what She is. Most are trying to use Bhakti-devi for the purpose of increasing material benefits and want to enjoy Radhika as the pleasure potency. This is not
the greed which is a prerequisite for raganuga bhakti.
I consider it contaminating the motivation for relationship with religion and all it's inherent duplicity. For religious institutions and their
followers, Radharani and raganuga can be seen as major
threats because they necessitate completely
one-pointed dedication to the Spiritual Potency.
Krsna, on the other hand, reciprocates one's desires
according to the degree of surrender while always
maintaining religious principles. Therefore theabsolutely unconditional
grace that we desperately require is not available from Him, but only from Her, except in the case of Lord Chaitanya due solely to His appearance in Her mood.
Only by fully accepting the supreme position of Sri
Radha and our need to surrender EVERYTHING to Her
alone can we fully accept the complete causeless mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Pure bhakti begets only bhakti and nothing else! Let those who desire a more comfortable
social position and happy family life admit the self-imposed limitations of their choice and not pretend that their relationship with God has anything whatever to do with Radharani, or perhaps even Krsna, PERSONALLY.
Let them content themselves instead with Lord Visnu, vaidhi/vaikuntha bhakti and the material mode of goodness rather than deluding themselves and others into believing their surrender is motivated by anything other than false-ego gratification. Then they might avoid lashing out offensively at anyone or anything that reminds them of their self-imposed limitations and simply remain their OWN worst enemies!
kanai - Fri, 02 Aug 2002 09:30:21 +0530
Ok,back to beginning...
Dear Radhapada prabhu have mentioned ista devata worship.I would like to know also the answer to that question.Does Guru only can tell me that, or is it just that you pick your ista deva?In Iskcon i was totally confused about that.
Radhapada - Sat, 03 Aug 2002 01:49:21 +0530
How I've come to understand it is through combination of different things. One is hearing the teachings of the Goswamis. Another is the mercy of a Vaisnava saint, or the mercy of Guru. Mercy of the dhama, mercy of Sri Tulasi Maharani, mercy of the holy name of Gauranga and Krishna. They all contribute in defining what form of God is most desirable for service. The Guru's mercy though is the one which allows one entrance into the worship and service of the ista deva. He gives one the secret mantras, the holy name, the procedures, teaches how to meditate, meaning of the mantras, installs and gives one the Deity(ies) to worship. He gives one the svarupa by which one can service the mental conceived Deity during lila smaranam. His mercy is most essential.