Please accept my humble dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
Recently HG Sajjan prabhu wrote a wonderful mail on 'offering obeisances'. Though offering of obeisances externally is an easy act, the reward it fetches are very great and the Lord is very obliged to a person who even tries to offer an obeisance. Even if he does not actually perform it and the Lord rewards such a person. In his commentary to the verse 17.14 on Bhagavad Gita, Srila Prabhupada explains who are worthy of being offered obeisances and offering obeisances to elevated personalities and the Supreme Lord constitutes austerity performed with body.
"One should offer, or learn to offer, respect to God or to the devatas, the perfect, qualified brahmanas and the spiritual master and superiors like father, mother or any person who is conversant with Vedic knowledge. These should be given proper respect."
He also writes "One should go to the temple of God and offer respects to the deity as a matter of duty without expecting anything in return".
The scriptures tell us the benefits of prostrating before the Supreme Lord. In Mahabharata, the following shloka occurs.
eko 'pi kṛṣṇasya kṛtaḥ praṇāmo daśāśvamedhāvabhṛthena tulyaḥ
daśāśvamedhī punar eti janma kṛṣṇapraṇāmī na punarbhavāya
Even one salutation, offered with sincerity to Lord Krishna, is equivalent to ten asvamedha yajnas properly performed. He who has performed the ten yajnas may still take another birth, but he who salutes Krishna is never born again.
Sripada Sankaracharya quotes the above verse at the end of his commentary to the Vishnu Sahasranama and he states, "It is a nice practice followed by great sages to offer pranams to Lord Hari at the starting and completion of any act. Following that practice, I offer this commentary at the feet of Lord Hari with pranams." Even if a person accidentally falls down in front of the deity/temple, the Lord treats it as an obeisance and includes it in that person's pious credits. So without any laziness (applicable to me only), and shyness we should cultivate the practice of offering pranams to the Lord with our body and mind. Today while talking to Maharaj on this subject, he said, "Bali Maharaj could not offer pranams physically but did so only mentally, still the Lord accepted it and blessed him. This is His grace".
While the Lord has such magnanimous and merciful nature, we find in this world, people falling at the feet of politicians (by default unqualified) who have sycophantic attitude and demands such pranams from innocent public only to show that they're superior and others are inferior. One such incident happened in South India where a person fell at the feet of a politician in his room asking for some help. However at that time no photographer was there. So the politician called the photographer and asked the person to fall once again for photo and arranged so that the photo was displayed in the front page of the newspaper in full size, next day. The Lord, unlike these worthless people, though worthy of infinite pranams from the all the living entities, he just looks for an inclination from the living entity to offer obeisances. It's the great mercy of Srila Prabhupada and great acharyas that they constructed temples all over the world so that we can offer obeisances to the Deity and receive His blessings. It is suggested that while offering obeisances one chants the Hare Krishna mantra or appropriate pranama mantra so that the mind also falls in front of the Lord along with the body. Though externally we may fall before the Lord, the mind and ego will not. Chanting pranama mantras in prayful mood, helps to offer sincere obeisances to the Lord who is worthy of all worship and receive His bountiful blessings.
I sincerely pray at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, Gurudeva and devotees so that I'll give up laziness in offering pranams and cultivate this habit sincerely.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das
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