Deity worship in the temple has been in existence since the beginning of Vedic culture. There is a class of men described in the Bhagavad-gita as veda-vada-rata: they believe only in the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies but not in temple worship

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"Deity worship in the temple has been in existence since the beginning of Vedic culture. There is a class of men described in the Bhagavad-gītā as veda-vāda-rata: they believe only in the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies but not in temple worship"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Deity worship in the temple has been in existence since the beginning of Vedic culture. There is a class of men described in the Bhagavad-gītā as veda-vāda-rata: they believe only in the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies but not in temple worship. Such foolish people may here take note that although this marriage of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī took place more than five thousand years ago, there were arrangements for temple worship.

Just then, Rukmiṇī, full of anxiety, saw the brāhmaṇa messenger. Kṛṣṇa, being the Supersoul of all living beings, could understand Rukmiṇī’s anxiety; therefore He sent the brāhmaṇa inside the palace to let her know that He had arrived. When Rukmiṇī saw the brāhmaṇa, she could understand the auspicious trembling of her body and immediately became elated. She smiled and inquired whether Kṛṣṇa had already come. The brāhmaṇa replied that the son of the Yadu dynasty, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, had arrived; he further encouraged her by saying that Kṛṣṇa had promised to carry her away without fail. Rukmiṇī was so elated by the brāhmaṇa’s message that she wanted to give him in charity everything she possessed. However, finding nothing suitable for presentation, she simply offered him her respectful obeisances. The significance of offering respectful obeisances to a superior is that the one offering obeisances is obliged to the respected person. In other words, Rukmiṇī implied that she would remain ever grateful to the brāhmaṇa. Anyone who gets the favor of the goddess of fortune, as did this brāhmaṇa, is without a doubt always happy in material opulence.

When King Bhīṣmaka heard that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had come, he invited Them to see the marriage ceremony of his daughter. Immediately he arranged to receive Them, along with Their soldiers, in a suitable garden house. As was the Vedic custom, the King offered Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma honey and fresh, washed garments. He was hospitable not only to Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma and kings such as Jarāsandha but also to many other kings and princes according to their personal strength, age and material possessions. Out of curiosity and eagerness, the people of Kuṇḍina assembled before Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to drink the nectar of Their beauty. With tearful eyes, they offered Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma their silent respects. They were very much pleased, considering Lord Kṛṣṇa the suitable match for Rukmiṇī. They were so eager to unite Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī that they prayed to the Personality of Godhead: “Our dear Lord, if we have performed any pious activities with which You are satisfied, kindly be merciful upon us and accept the hand of Rukmiṇī.” It appears that Rukmiṇī was a very popular princess, and all the citizens, out of intense love for her, prayed for her best fortune. In the meantime, Rukmiṇī, being very nicely dressed and protected by bodyguards, came out of the palace to visit the temple of Ambikā, goddess Durgā.

Deity worship in the temple has been in existence since the beginning of Vedic culture. There is a class of men described in the Bhagavad-gītā as veda-vāda-rata: they believe only in the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies but not in temple worship. Such foolish people may here take note that although this marriage of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī took place more than five thousand years ago, there were arrangements for temple worship. In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says, yānti deva-vratā devān: (BG 9.25) “The worshipers of the demigods attain the abodes of the demigods.” There were many people who worshiped the demigods and many who directly worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The system of demigod worship was directed mainly to Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lord Gaṇeśa, the sun-god and goddess Durgā. Lord Śiva and goddess Durgā were worshiped even by the royal families; other, minor demigods were worshiped by silly, lower-class people. As far as the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are concerned, they simply worship Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gītā the worship of demigods is condemned but not forbidden; there it is clearly stated that less intelligent men worship the demigods for material benefit. On the other hand, even though Rukmiṇī was the goddess of fortune, she went to the temple of goddess Durgā because the family deity was worshiped there. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that as Rukmiṇī proceeded toward the temple of goddess Durgā, within her heart she always thought of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore when Rukmiṇī went to the temple it was not with the intention of an ordinary person, who goes to beg for material benefits; her only goal was Kṛṣṇa.

As Rukmiṇī proceeded toward the temple, she was silent and grave. Her mother and her girlfriends were by her side, and the wife of a brāhmaṇa was in the center; surrounding her were royal bodyguards. (This custom of a would-be bride’s going to the temple of a demigod is still practiced in India.) As the procession continued, various musical sounds were heard. Conchshells, drums such as paṇavas, and bugles of different sizes, such as tūryas and bherīs, combined to make a sound which was not only auspicious but very sweet to hear. Thousands of wives of respectable brāhmaṇas were present, all dressed very nicely with suitable ornaments. They presented Rukmiṇī with flower garlands, sandalwood pulp and a variety of colorful garments to assist her in worshiping Lord Śiva and goddess Durgā. Some of these ladies were very old and knew perfectly well how to chant prayers to goddess Durgā and Lord Śiva; so, followed by Rukmiṇī and others, they led these prayers before the deity.