July 2007


‘I saw plainly that I could no longer write without a clearly defined plan, that I must first of all explain to myself the purpose of my work, its absolute usefulness and necessity, as a result of which the author himself would be filled with a genuine and powerful love for it’

Russian author Nikolai Gogol on the writing of Dead Souls

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I once asked Pankajanghri prabhu, ‘What is the essence of Deity worship?’

He replied, ‘You have to know what you’re dealing with. The Deity is God and His form is transcendental.’  To illustrate this, I have selected the following conversation from an old BTG article by Mother Visakha:

‘Jananivas told [Mother Visakha] about a conversation he had had in the temple with a middle-aged Bengali guest who had asked him, “Are Radha-Madhava made of brass or gold?”

“Well, what are you made of?” Jananivas replied.

After a pause, the gentleman answered, “Flesh and blood.”

Jananivasa told him, “As long as you think you’re made of flesh and blood, then you’ll think the Deity is made of one metal or another. But if you can understand that you’re not the body, that you’re spirit soul, nd also that the soul is part and parcel of God, then you’ll understand that you’re the same nature as Krsna.”

The man wasn’t sure that he had understood, so Jananivas continued, “Do you accept that God is in your heart?”

“Yes.”

“So what’s He made of there, brass or gold?”

The man didn’t know.

“On the basis of revealed scriptures,” Jananivasa said, “we can understand that God’s form is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge. That form, which is present in the heart of every living entity, is made of pure spirit, and that is what the Deity in the temple is also made of. You can’t see the Deity in your heart,” he explained as the gentleman nodded in agreement, “you don’t know who He is. So the Lord comes in a form you can see. Radha-Madhava apear to be material, but They are purely spiritual, and to the extent that you realize your nature is spiritual, to that extent you will understand that Krsna Himself is personally on the altar.”

(From Back To Godhead article entitled “Please Give Me A Sign” by Visakha-Devi Dasi, Vol 20, No. 8, August 1985)

‘In a temple of jewels in Vrindavana, underneath a desire tree, Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.’