Disinfection by Deity Darshan - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

The following is the transcription of the class by HG Devakinandan Prabhuji in Abu Dhabi on 16th Oct 2011 on Srimad Bhagavatam verse 6.16.31 when king Citraketu takes darshan of the Lord. 

svasthāmalāntaḥkaraṇo ’bhyayān muniḥ
pravṛddha-bhaktyā praṇayāśru-locanaḥ
prahṛṣṭa-romānamad ādi-puruṣam

As soon as Maharaja Citraketu saw the Supreme Lord, he was cleansed of all material contamination and situated in his original Krishna consciousness, being completely purified. He became silent and grave, and because of love for the Lord, tears fell from his eyes, and his hairs stood on end. With great devotion and love, he offered his respectful obeisances unto the original Personality of Godhead.

Srila Prabhupada very nicely writes very nicely in the purport, "The word tad-darshana-dhvasta-samasta-kilbishah is very important in this verse. If one regularly sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the temple, one will gradually be disinfected of all material desires simply by visiting the temple and seeing the Deity. When one is freed from all the results of sinful activities, one will be purified, and with a healthy mind, completely cleansed, he will increasingly make progress in Krishna consciousness."

One thing we should remember is that just like every aspect of devotional service is purifying, we must never take for granted the fact that we have deities and that we are worshiping them. We have so many wonderful deities and so many wonderful paraphernalia for worshipping them. Our beloved Guru Maharaj liked the above-mentioned verse very much and he found the purport to be very important. He liked the word disinfected in the purport and he said some nice points on the verse which are worth remembering. The most important thing we should never forget is that the deity is nondifferent from Krishna. So if we have a deity in our house we should really factually believe that the deity is Krishna. How do we know if we are behaving in such a way that we believe that the deity is Krishna? Maharaj said, "It is an easy test. Actually if somehow or the other Krishna is really present before us in whatever form we believe Him to be, how would we behave?" In the same way, we should never think for a moment that the deities are just there and that they are the representations of Krishna. To say that they are representations of Krishna is to become impersonalist. Maharaj said the following about the deities which are worth remembering.

1) Whimsical approach to deities to be avoided: Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the postman and the post box. He said that if the deities have come with the blessings of the parampara, with the blessings of the spiritual master, with the blessing of the devotees, then the deities are considered to be authorized. Maharaj says, "If out of our own whims and fancies, we decide that we need a deity now, then it is like somebody going out to get a dog and make it a pet and saying, "now I have a pet dog." That whimsical approach to deities should always be avoided. If you make your own post box and post the letter will never reach the desired destination. But if you go to a designated post office and post the letter, you know for sure, within a few days, the recipient will receive the letter. That should be how we should conduct our devotional service." Whenever we are in the mood of speculation, whatever we perform or do cannot be backed up or authorized by Bhagavatam, by our spiritual master, by Bhagavad Gita or by the senior devotees or by the system of Parampara. Then that post box is made by us and the post box is not going to help us in the least. It will only serve as a form of sense gratification. So when we worship deities, we must be very sure that we are worshiping them not because They are here to serve our desires but because we are here to serve Their transcendental desires. It must be the opposite. 

2) Deity is non-different from Krishna: Maharaj's nature is to see the good things in everyone. So even though Swami Vivekananda did not perform any direct devotional service, Maharaj appreciates the following conversation between Vivekananda and an impersonal saint. Once Swami Vivekananda was about to go and speak in the International congress of religion in Chicago. He went to see the saint and this saint asked him, "How you will you present Hinduism?" So at that point in time, Vivekananda said, "I will present Hinduism first and foremost by making people understand that there is one Supreme Lord." That saint said, "God is formless. So how can you say that there is one Supreme Lord?" Then Vivekananda said that the form of the Lord in the temple is the form of the Lord. It is non-different. The saint said, "That cannot be, because if that is the case, then the Lord is like an ordinary man sitting amongst us as stone." Then Vivekananda went to see a picture of that saint on the wall. He took that picture and smashed it on the floor. When he did that, the saint got very upset. He said, "How can you just take my picture and throw it on the floor?", Vivekananda said, "It is not you. It does not have any relevance to you. It is only a picture." The saint said, "It is non-different from me. By throwing the picture, you have insulted me." Swami Vivekananda said, "If just the picture of a person who is mortal can make a person feel so much that he thinks he is with the picture, then how much must the Supreme Lord be the same as the form that He intends to manifest?" So this point Maharaj appreciated very much in the pastime of Swami Vivekananda.

Prabhuji went on to explain how deity worship equals to behavior and the same shall be transcribed and offered in the next mail. 

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
Abu Dhabi.