Q & Ans

Hare Krishna,
Over the last 40 years,Gurumaharaj has given answers to a lot a questions on a various topics.In this page,we are trying to compile all these questions and answers.Please feel free to contribute.Please ensure that the date and place of the lecture is also mentioned.

 

Q:  What are the standards regarding Indians who ask Tulasi plants for their home worship? Bhakti Rasa Das TKG 10 May 1994

I heard Srila Prabhupada mention that giving someone a tulasi plant included being responsible for how they treated the plant, etc. Eg: it could bring some reactions. Therefore, usually only initiated people are given plants. Srila PRabhupada did say that we can give tulasi seeds to people and they can plant their own plants and that doesn’t attract ant reactions. 12 May 1994

Q:  I have got Nilacala Mahaprabhu deities – Gaura nitai who are walking to Jagannath Puri (one hand up, second down). What’s the proper way to put Them on the altar. Who is Lord Caitanya and who is Lord Nityananda? Mahasakti DA NRS 01.07. 1994


Ø      When one hand is up and the other down they are considered to be dancing in ecstasy.
Two down is accepting all the fallen souls.
Regarding the form of Nitai Gaura with two hands up I have heard several versions but one is that  they are also dancing but in the mood of praying to Lord Krsna, ie, in showing us how to surrender to Krsna.
Nitai’s base is usually colored with a blue lotus and Lord Caitanay Mahraprabhu’s with a pink or red lotus. 05.07.1994
Ø      Usually the positions of hands and feet in ancient Deities established by associates of
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu are used as a basis for knowing about the position of hands pr feet on Gaura Nitai Deities.
What is more important is when the Deities are established who was called into which Deity. Sometimes Gaura is called in one and Nitai the other and some pujari gets mental about the foot location or position and switches the Deities around. This is un acceptable to my understanding. Once the Lrod is called into a particular deity then whimsically how can He be worshipped as some other Deity? If some acarya or spiritual master establishes and installs the Deities one way then they should remain that was andthere will be no problem. If you want to know the majority positioning prior to installation then you would have to research a bit someone’s collection of ancient Guara Nitai Deities. Kiranasa prabhu has some photos of deities and may be he cab shed light on the common positioning of hands and feet. As Bhanu maharaj and Krishna Kshetra have already mentioned its not an absolute hard and fast rule as different deities also have slightly different proportions and positioningsin any case
06. 07.1994

 

Q : . In our temple we had some discussions about dressing the deities for the night. One opinion is that we should put the thick woolen chadars the whole year. But, is it proper to use woolen chadars also during the summer? Kandarpa manjari dd 03.07.1994

Srila Prabhupada taught that our devotional service to the Deities is personal. The Deities are arca avataras- the Supreme Pesonality of Godhead in His personal worshipable form has appeared for the benefit of conditioned souls. The lord gives us the opportunity of serving Him in this worshipable form. In our Deity worship we should consider how to make the Lord happy and comfortable. Srila Prabhupada said when it was cold out and devotees wearing sweaters and chaddars the Deity should also be dressed warmly. In India when it is hot it is common that a fan will be placed in their Deity room to cool the Deity with a cool breeze. Therefore, if it cold outside and devotees are wearing warm clothing at night then warm woolen chaddars would be suitable for the Deities. If it is hot outside and people are dressing lightly then why would you adorn the Deities with hot woolen chaddars in the night? May be in Prague it is cool all year around in the night like in the North Pole.Then it would make sense to have woolen clothes all year round. But if it is warm then dress the Deities accordingly. That is my understanding in this matter.
06.07.1994


Q. I have heard that in some temple whatever from Dieties paraphernalia is touched by contaminated matajis should be thrown away and it cannot be purified again. But also some devotees say that when there is no one else, contaminated matajis can sew for the deities, make the garlands etc. and it can be purified with the mantra. So the question is what should be followed in this regard ? Ida dd 05.07.1994


Goswami vidhi permits. This has often been puzzling to me since no Gosvami would allow a contaminated women to do puja in India. (H H Bhanu swami’s response 17.07.1994)

I understand “Goswami vidhi permits” as indicating principles take precedence over blind rules. Also it indicates Srila Prabhupada and the Goswami teachings of the “utility is the principle” and the “niyamaagraha” factors.
Srila Prabhupada indicated that if it meant the deity would go without being worshipped if the (contaminated) woman did not do the puja, then in that extreme emergency it was more important to do the worship even while contaminated than allow deity to go unworshipped.
It would be a case of being overly attached to the rules and regulations without seeing the purpose is that the deity should be worshipped in the best manner. If  following the rule meant totally stopping Deity service then it would go against the higher principle. Stopping worship would be worse.
Srila Prabhupada did not give a blanket permission and rather recommended that it shouldn’t be done. In ISKCON it is quite often to hear about some mataji that “she is off the altar now”, meaning that it’s that time of the month for her. That does show that it si part of our ISKCON culture to have mataji’s desist from deity worship during those times.
I seem to remember Srila Prabhupada having answered a lady’s question about worshiping the Deity in the house that if there was no one else she should continue to worship the Deity as she has to take care of her children in that state if there is no one else to do so. Unfortunately I don’t have the reference handy. But that is the understanding I have been carrying with me for 20 years. In a formal public temple there are supposed to be 5 brahmins before a deity is installed so there should not be that kind of emergency requiring a woman in a physically contaminated state to perform Deity worship.  19.07.1994

 

Q :  How to establish healthy co- relations with family members? Most of the time, my husband and children, they  quarrell with each other for petty things. They get angry, sometimes I get very  angry. There is always fighting, so what to do?

 

Reply by Gurumaharaj:  Sometimes ,they have a kirtan inside  the house to  sway away all the ghosts and  subtle entities  which are  creating disharmony in the house .They also say, you  study the qualities of devotee -have  to be patient,have to be tolerant. not that we should be always impatient and intolerant of things. Generally what we do is,  we don’t try to push. Because one person in the family is more krishna conscious than the  others. but if she/ he pushes the  others too much -   pushing them that “ you are not vegetarian” ,or “ you are not chanting”  or.. . too much of a push, then the person may also develop some kind of rejection. that  "you don't love me anymore, you don't like anything I am doing, only you are  criticizing me, in this way they start rejecting everything. "I don’t want anything to do with Krsna. Krsna has created problem for my life". So they may have some negative reaction. so we don’t want that to happen.

Instead, you  try to encourage them to do something. But if they don't do ,then you don't be very discouraging. you just, rather give some thing postive.you may do something like trick them , "Prabhu let us sit down and read Bhagavad gita  together or let us chant one round together" .Something like a more  affectionate way to do it rather than nagging, and pushing.Then they feel like, you know, this Krsna is creating so much trouble  for me.Rather, i make krishna  the source of more happiness for them, materially and spiritually.

As far  as the fights between the father and the children, I am not a grihasta , so I don't know all these details about grihasta life.May be talk to some senior grihasta who is more experienced , someone who has been able to manage their husband or wife very effectively  in their grihasta.

that  we can set up some counselling program in the future. They have that  in chowpatty ,they have  mariage placement,  marriage  counselling, , job placements, they have so many things

now we have a small congregation  here, we are building temple., so many things . but in the future if  the grihastas more  get initated,  more get responsible , we can set up some social support programs, so that their spiritual life will also become easier to perform at the same time as their..because the material side is  more peaceful.

OK?

 

Vizag, 26 Nov 2007

 

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Comment by nirmalya prasad das on August 27, 2013 at 1:47pm

HAREKRSNA.ALL GLORIES TO GURUDEV.

can i know the detail history of ISKCON BHADRAK?

i hear from some senior disciples of GURU MAHARAJ that,,guru maharaj starts giving his initiation to his disciples after srila prabhupada's deparature at GOURA GOPAL TEEMPLE(ISKCON BHADRAK) for the first time in the year 1978.is it true????

IF yes ,please give me some more information.

HARIBOL.

Comment by Ratikeli Radhika devi dasi on February 15, 2012 at 3:22pm

Hare Krsna ! All Glories to Gurudeva!!!

Comment by deepapriya on January 15, 2011 at 3:12am

How can we become humble in krishna conscious?

 

Answer by guru maharaj in 2010 in balaramdesh:

 

If we serve pure devotees, we learn to be humble. The ego should not rise. Refer vaishnava ke. Also shistashtaka's third verse mentions the importance of being humble:- trinad api suni cena. Being more humble than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree. We should humbly pray to the lord to become his servant.

Comment by Sri Sakti DD on January 14, 2011 at 6:39pm
The immediate presence of the spiritual master is very rare and valuable. How best can a woman disciple take his association?

Answer by GM in 1995:

When the spiritual master is a sannyasi, the women disciples have to keep a certain respectful distance. If the guru were a grihastha. guru, the husband and wife can do some work. A few more services maybe there, that they could do. Apart from that there is no difference. How does any disciple take advantage? Someone has to clean the room of the guru. There is no restriction that only brahmacari can clean the room of the guru. A man or woman can clean the room. Only the kaupin should be cleaned by the brahmacari or by a man. Few restrictions are there. Generally the women devotees cook, although the men can also cook for the guru, hearing from the guru, worshipping the guru. Whichever opportunities are available to serve the guru, to hear from the guru those opportunities can be taken to get vapuh seva. There are two kinds of services to the guru, the vapuh and vani. Vapuh is when he is immediately present and we are doing some direct service related to his presence, and vani is when we are carrying out his instructions. We can carry out his instructions all the time, and this we have to do regardless of the gender of our body.

In fact it is said that when Lord Caitanya was in Jagannath Puri, He was, of course at that time a sannyasi, so there were very strict regulations regarding women associating with Him. When the devotees came from Mayapur and Navadvipadham, many grihasthas came, and with them also women also came. When the devotees from Bengal met Lord Caitanya and His devotees from Jagannath Puri, they immediately offered their obeisances to Lord Caitanya. From a distance, the mathajis paid their obeisances to Lord Caitanya. The men went and fell at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya picked some of them and embraced them, and different devotees were embracing each other. At that time, the mathajis were also touching the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya in their minds and they were offering prayers and crying in ecstasy. They were also experiencing the same ecstasy, only they could not simply touch Lord Chaitanya's lotus feet, whereas the men could touch His Lotus feet. That is the only thing. But in the mind they were touching His lotus feet and they were praying. They were also getting the same ecstasy, the same love of Krishna. Their eyes were also filled with tears and their hearts were filled with love of Krishna. Only because of the varnashrama, certain restrictions are there for giving proper example to society, but spiritually there is no restriction for developing love of Godhead.
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on September 22, 2010 at 9:33pm
CONCEPT OF CAUSELESS MERCY

************************************

Question: Please explain the concept of causeless mercy.

Srila Gurumaharaj:

If there is something as causeless mercy then there must be the opposite, which is, mercy, which has a cause. In this world we sometimes see a politician giving out chadders or food or something. Why? Because he wants to get votes.

Someone else may be doing a similar thing to get social esteem, to be known as a charitable person. When it comes to Krishna giving us His mercy, we call it (Ahaituki kripa) causeless mercy. He has already got everything, what does He need from us? We are rebellious. We have forgotten Him, gone against Him, but He personally comes here as Avatar, He sends us devotees, His representative, the Guru. And in so many ways He is trying to reclaim us and give us a chance to go back to Him.

What does He gain by it? It is not that we are a significant part. It is simply out of His love. There is no other motive other then His love for us. He knows where we belong and how we will be happy. Similarly, the spiritual master takes on a disciple. Later on the disciple may not follow the guru’s orders and may break the principles or commit some sinful act, and the guru has to suffer for that. He may suffer through dreams, illness or through various other ways. So why does the guru take on such a headache? To try to deliver the fallen souls. The true guru does not gain anything materially. Whatever he gets, he gives to Krishna anyway. So this is also causeless mercy. He is doing it to please His spiritual master, He wants to please Krishna. He has compassion for the conditioned souls, he wants the conditioned souls delivered from their conditioned life. Therefore he takes on such a risk. They think, "I will just chant Hare Krishna and I can get Mukti. If I take disciples, and if they don't follow properly, then again I have to take birth again and deliver the disciples, why take the risk". So those who want liberation don't usually bother to take disciples. Lord Caitanya wanted the sankirtana movement to spread. He wanted people to get the opportunity to go back to godhead. So if some candidate comes forward and says that he wants to follow, and take the vow that he will follow, then how can guru refuse to give him a chance? That is causeless mercy. Due to the influence of Kali Yuga, you see some of these disciples forget everything. They don't think what a serious commitment the guru has taken, and how they are causing so much suffering for the guru. To take a guru and then go against his instructions and break vows is like being a guru drohi, a killer of the guru. But we saw that Srila Prabhupada was always very eager to reclaim any lost disciple to try to maintain the disciples that were there in Krishna consciousness, by protecting them from the influence of Maya. Why should Prabhupada leave Vrndavana and go all over the world to preach?

He was living in Radha Damodara temple in Vrndavana, over looking Rupa and Sanatanas samadhis. If you just chant Hare Krishna there you will go back to Godhead- there is no doubt about it. But He took so much risk, going all over the world and preaching. For what? He said "even though I have got big temples all over the world, I don’t stay in one place for more then a few days" We call that causeless mercy.

(Question and answers session with Srila Jayapataka Swami Gurumaharaj on January 26th 1993 at ISKCON Bangalore).
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on September 22, 2010 at 9:30pm
Question:

There is no unanimity among Srila Prabhupada's disciple on Guru-disciple relationship and some are affected by this. So what should they do? What is it that you want them to do regarding any questions that come up?

Srila Gurumaharaj:

This is Kaliyuga- the age of nonunanimity. Even in GBC meetings, It is very rare to find unanimity. But in the GBC we decide by majority. Usually it is quitte close to unanimity, but there are also a few who do not agree. Regarding this, I want the disciples to do what the shastras tell us to do. Follow the sadhu, shastra and guru. However, understand the scriptures by the light of the examples of the great devotees and by the explanation of the guru.

We have our Founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada as shiksha guru for our movement. For my disciple, I am in the role of personal shiksha guru and initiation guru. The scripture says that one should understand with the help of the spiritual master. When one has faith in the guru and takes him as the guru then one must follow his intructions. Now it may be that on some issue the spiritual master may say, "This is a very complex issue". It means that this requires to be discussed by the GBC and a solution reached. I do not want to give an opinion right now, because it is such a major issue that it should be discussed by everyone. Or it may be something that the guru can directly give an instruction based on sadhu, shastra and his realization. What is the use of having a guru if one wants to find the opinion of the whole world and see what the unanimous opinion is. Instead of taking the opinion of the guru, one can take a gallup poll on every issue,and find out what people think. But this way one becomes thoroughly bewildered. There is always slight difference in mood or application in devotional service. There are mukhya and gauna -primary or major aspects and secondary or detailed aspects of the philosophy. ISKCON has given quite some leeway for the gurus according to their realization, to apply the principles of devotional service to their disciples. There is some difference in the way different gurus relate with their disciples ( the disciples have their own way. I do not know what the reason is). Whatever the reason, the devotees are choosing different gurus and going on with their devotional service. But the major principles are the same: reading Prabhupada's books, following regulative principles, cooperation and working together, staying in Iskcon, distributing books, building Mayapur, building our temples, expanding the preaching and so on. The basic philosophy is not at contradiction. It is only in the detailed aspects: someone gives more stress to book distribution (of course, everyone is giving importance to book distribution). Maybe practically someone is printing, someone is directing the temple expansion, someone is doing namahatta, someone is doing different things in different proportions, Someone is writing books, someone is trouble shooting and so on. There are so many different personalities and different services. Accordingly people are developing faith. As Srila Prabhupada said, "What we learn from the guru is his mood, his dedication in serving guru and Krishna".
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on September 22, 2010 at 9:29pm
Answer (contd..)

In the book by Narahari Thakur, Krishna Bhajanamrita, he explains that one's personal guru is like one's spiritual father. In a family, giving the united hindu joint family as an example,you have your senior paternal uncle, you have the younger brother of your father. But still your father is your father. You co-operate with your father and with your uncles, and you respect everyone. Sometimes there is a disagreement between your father and older uncle on some basis. you will stick to your father, because your father has your interests in his heart, while you cannot depend on your uncle for the same degree of personal interest The least to say anyway, is that you follow your own father. That is the bottom line, of course, as long as one is not going against the grandfather or the whole parampara. Obviously this thing has been happening not only now, but previously too. Otherwise why should Narahari Thakur (The same Narahari Thakur who was fanning Lord Chaitanya) write about it? Obviously at that same time also there were godbrothers gurus. The older godbrother gurus sometimes said "Why is your guru offering arati in this way?"Who do you listen to? Once the godbrothers of Srila Prabhupada were saying, "You should not call this Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir. You should have this Sanskrit sandhi this way, Your pranam mantra must be like that". And so on. If you listen to everything they say, you will go crazy. Everyone wants to show you that they know better. For instance, "Why do you eat eggplant? Why do you not eat baigon?" We follow Srila Prabhupada, and I tried to learn as much as I could from Srila Prabhupada. If there is something that I do not feel confident about, I discuss with people whom I think are experts. Srila Prabhupada said:"I am not an expert in Deity worship because I never lived in the temple at the time of Srila Bhaktisddhanta Saraswathi. I was a grihastha staying outside. I was publishing books." So when we asked him about Deity worship, He said,"Why don't you consult my godbrother so-and-so maharaja who is very expert in Deity worship and get some idea from him?" He would sometimes advice like this for some specific thing. Sometimes ISKCON got carried away and went out for everything. When one person became authority in cooking, you go and ask him how to construct a building. That is not what Srila Prabhupada said. This person is for Deity worship, this person is for this thing. We cannot afford to go for everything and for every reason. But Srila Prabhupada did send people out. It is up to the guru. The point is that the guru is our personal link. We take him as final authority. Even Narahari Thakur said that if some other person (even a senior Vaishnava or senior guru) gives you some philosophy before you take it as the final word, you should go and confirm that with your guru whether the understanding is really correct or not. Everything we get spiritually, we should have it confirmed by the guru and then we will always be in complete harmony and link with the parampara and the spiritual master. That is the basic system. Who will need the guru, if it is just an institution? That is not the parampara system. we put our faith on the whole Parampara, We put our faith on a particular guru, we put our faith on the whole parampara , and then we follow in that way as long as we have a guru. It is like a doctor. We take his medicine. Some other person may give his physician's medicine to take. But if we have a regular family doctor we ask him if it is all right to take."No, no you are taking other medicines. You may get an allergy." So we have to understand the things with the help of the guru. This is not my opinion. This is the opinion of the previous acharyas.

Vyasapuja, April 1990
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on September 21, 2010 at 4:25am
Q) In the lecture this morning,your Divine Grace mentioned that one should tolerate tiredness, criticism, mental stress etc. as a labour of love for guru and krsna. Sometimes we are unable to tolerate unreasonable criticism, and we do retaliate with good intention. Does this happen due to our lack of faith in Guru and Krishna? Does this speak of one's love of Guru and Krishna?

Gurumaharaj's reply: Of course, it depends on who is making the criticism. We see some people can make it but not take it. When there is criticism, sometimes the devotee becomes very depressed and allows that depression to impede his devotional service. The point is, we should not lose our enthusiasm for devotional service. There are so many things that may happen. Sometimes our near and dear ones may criticise us. We must not think, " oh, what is the use, they are not pleased with me." we are not serving for other purposes, but to please guru and krishna- that is the point.
There are three kinds of criticism: contructive, unreasonable or unconstructive, and a mixture of both. When constructive criticism is presented in a harsh way, then that hits our false ego. But actually that criticism is valid and it was for our benefit, but it may be presented in a way that is not so palatable. If someone is pointing out that something we are doing is not pleasing to Guru and Krishna, and if it is a valid observation, then naturally we should take that into consideration and adjust accordinly. However, if someone make a critcism and we are not able to appreciate it as being valid, still, according to Lord Caitanya, we should be more humble then the straw in the street and tolerant than the tree, and not retaliate by arguments. Especially if it is amongst the vaishnava's, we should avoid arguing. Retaliating to different kinds of criticisms, just result in arguments. And this creates bad feelings, which can be an impediment in our devotional service. We know the four regulative priciples very wel.l once Srila Prabhupada wrote down nine regulative principles. Five more. No arguing, no gossiping, no frivolous sports, eating only krsna prasdam and..... So gossipping, rumour mongering and arguing, these are detrimental, and we should avoid it.

Comment by JPS Disciples Team on September 14, 2010 at 6:46pm
Coping with Sadhana


Devotee: Sometimes from normal work schedule we get involved in special
occasions like marriage of a close relation, projects, work deadlines,
preparations for festivals. At this time our SADHANA like chanting, Bhagavad
Gita & Srimad Bhagavatam reading is affected. How can we make good, this lapse
in Sadhana?

HH Jayapataka Swami: When I was building Mayapur project, Prabhupada had us
work from 6 in the morning to 12 midnight. Double shift. But I had to be
overseeing both the shifts. So there was no time to regularly go to Mangalarati
and what to speak of read books and things..! So I asked Prabhupada, and he
said, "Well, at least you should try to do a Guru puja everyday and chant your
japa". Offering our obeisances to our Guru, it is important. And at least try
to chant. Sometime if you fall behind in the chanting, you can carry it over,
but that's not a very good habit. Because you get more and more indebted.

Lecture, 19 Dec 2007
Avataridesh
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on August 27, 2010 at 3:43am
Question by Jaya Radha Krsna das, Mayapur: While chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, if sometimes one chants the mantra with improper pronunciation, what is the effect? Should one endeavor to pronounce properly? Even if the tongue is not habituated is it offensive chanting? What about the persons who are unable to pronounce properly Hare, Rama, Krishna?
Response by HH JPS: Thank you for your question. Despite we should try to chant the mantra properly, and we should try to hear the mantra properly. Inattentive chanting is offensive. So if we are attentive then we ought to try to pronounce properly. At the same time it says that even if someone is not able to pronounce perfectly, the fact that they are trying to chant Hare Krsna. It's not just a mechanical process. In the Vedas, if you mispronounce a mantra, it will produce a different result. This is not that kind of a mantra. If you are chanting Hare Krishna even improperly, Krsna understands that you are trying to chant His Holy Names and He will bless you. Just like a little child is chanting the name of the parent, "Ba Ba, Daddy, Papa." The parents are really happy. He recognizes me, she recognizes me, my name. So like that, Krsna also appreciates when we try to chant His Holy Names. This is mentioned in SB 7.5.23 on the nine practices of devotional service.

Source : Wincom
Comment by JPS Disciples Team on August 27, 2010 at 3:41am
Q: How can we distinguish between bhakti-lata creeper and the false creepers in the heart since they can seem similar?
A: The bhakti-lata creeper and the other false creepers are called upasakas or weeds and the weeds are inspired by such things like love, profit, position, worship, respect, violence, harsh dealings, diplomatic dealings, political dealings, attachment for breaking the principles... Some are quite obvious and some are very subtle.

If someone is doing devotional service and is motivated only by getting respect, then they will become unmotivated and they have to analyze. So somebody is more sincere about their motives then they take out those weeds out of the heart. Actually I am not serving because I want to get respect. I am just doing this to please Guru and Krsna. I know when I was building mayapur, it was very intense. Srila Prabhupada had us working from 6 in the morning till midnight every day. Double shifts. At on point I thought I was going to crack. Then I was just thinking that I would never do this for money or any other reason. I am just doing this because I really want to please S. Prabhupada and the previous acaryas who want to see my effort in all this. And then, somehow when I thought like that I could just feel like as if Bhaktivinoda Thakur was smiling at me. Suddenly things seem to feel a lot better. It is important that we realign our thoughts. How we pull the weeds is that when we let some other motives or some other things creep in, then it becomes burdensome to do devotional service when it is not aligned with other creepers. If we are properly doing things for right Krsna conscious reason, then it is always blissful to do devotional service.

Source :wincom

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