Other rules are that one should not offer foodstuff which is cooked by a non-Vaiṣṇava, one should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee, and one should not engage himself in the worship of the Lord while seeing a nondevotee. One should begin the worship of the demigod Gaṇapati, who drives away all impediments in the execution of devotional service. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that Gaṇapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva and in that way has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore, all devotees should worship Gaṇapati. The Deities should not be bathed in water which has been touched by the nails or fingers. When a devotee is perspiring, he should not engage himself in worshiping the Deity. Similarly, there are many other prohibitions. For example, one should not cross or step over the flowers offered to the Deities, nor should one take a vow in the name of God. These are all different kinds of offenses in the matter of executing devotional service, and one should be careful to avoid them.
Should be careful (Books)
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 7 - 12
The Lord said that because He entered into the material universe by His personal representation, the cosmic manifestation has been made possible and is going on. Now as far as Arjuna is concerned, he is inspired by the statements of Kṛṣṇa, but in order to convince others in the future who may think that Kṛṣṇa is an ordinary person, Arjuna desires to see Him actually in His universal form, to see how He is acting from within the universe, although He is apart from it. Arjuna's addressing the Lord as puruṣottama is also significant. Since the Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is present within Arjuna himself; therefore He knows the desire of Arjuna, and He can understand that Arjuna has no special desire to see Him in His universal form, for Arjuna is completely satisfied to see Him in His personal form of Kṛṣṇa. But the Lord can understand also that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to convince others. Arjuna did not have any personal desire for confirmation. Kṛṣṇa also understands that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to set a criterion, for in the future there would be so many imposters who would pose themselves as incarnations of God. The people, therefore, should be careful; one who claims to be Kṛṣṇa should be prepared to show his universal form to confirm his claim to the people.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
One should also know the distinction between the individual living soul and the Supersoul, their different influences, their potentials, etc. One just has to understand this Bhagavad-gītā directly from the description given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all this will be clarified. But one should be careful not to consider the Supreme Personality of Godhead in every body to be one with the individual soul, the jīva. This is something like equating the potent and the impotent.
SB Canto 1
For material enjoyment there is no need to approach the demigods. The demigods are but servants of the Lord. As such, they are duty-bound to supply necessities of life in the form of water, light, air, etc. One should work hard and worship the Supreme Lord by the fruits of one's hard labor for existence, and that should be the motto of life. One should be careful to execute occupational service with faith in God in the proper way, and that will lead one gradually on the progressive march back to Godhead.
SB Canto 3
Although one may be well versed in the transcendental science, one should be careful about the offense of maryādā-vyatikrama, or impertinently surpassing a greater personality. According to scriptural injunction one should be very careful of transgressing the law of maryādā-vyatikrama because by so doing one loses his duration of life, his opulence, fame and piety and the blessings of all the world. To be well versed in the transcendental science necessitates awareness of the techniques of spiritual science. Uddhava, being well aware of all these technicalities of transcendental science, advised Vidura to approach Maitreya Ṛṣi to receive transcendental knowledge. Vidura wanted to accept Uddhava as his spiritual master, but Uddhava did not accept the post because Vidura was as old as Uddhava's father and therefore Uddhava could not accept him as his disciple, especially when Maitreya was present nearby. The rule is that in the presence of a higher personality one should not be very eager to impart instructions, even if one is competent and well versed.
To be too fat is not very good for spiritually advanced life. Rather, one should reduce because if one becomes fat it is an impediment to progress in spiritual understanding. One should be careful not to eat too much, sleep too much or remain in a comfortable position. Voluntarily accepting some penances and difficulties, one should take less food and less sleep. These are the procedures for practicing any kind of yoga, whether bhakti-yoga, jñāna-yoga or haṭha-yoga.
SB Canto 5
In this verse the word puṁścalī refers to a woman who is easily carried away by men. Such a woman is never to be trusted. Unfortunately, in the present age, women are never controlled. According to the directions of the śāstras, women are never to be given freedom. When a child, a woman must be strictly controlled by her father. When she is young, she must be strictly controlled by her husband, and when she is old, she must be controlled by her elderly sons. If she is given independence and allowed to mingle unrestrictedly with men, she will be spoiled. A spoiled woman, being manipulated by paramours, might even kill her husband. This example is given here because a yogī desiring to get free from material conditions must always keep his mind under control. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura used to say that in the morning our first business should be to beat the mind with shoes a hundred times. and, before going to bed, to beat the mind a hundred times with a broomstick. In this way one's mind can be kept under control. An uncontrolled mind and an unchaste wife are the same. An unchaste wife can kill her husband at any time, and an uncontrolled mind, followed by lust, anger, greed, madness, envy and illusion, can certainly kill the yogī. When the yogī is controlled by the mind, he falls down into the material condition. One should be very careful of the mind, just as a husband should be careful of an unchaste wife.
SB Canto 7
While chanting the holy name of the Lord, one should be careful to avoid ten offenses. From Sanat-kumāra it is understood that even if a person is a severe offender in many ways, he is freed from offensive life if he takes shelter of the Lord's holy name. Indeed, even if a human being is no better than a two-legged animal, he will be liberated if he takes shelter of the holy name of the Lord. One should therefore be very careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord's holy name. The offenses are described as follows: (a) to blaspheme a devotee, especially a devotee engaged in broadcasting the glories of the holy name, (b) to consider the name of Lord Śiva or any other demigod to be equally as powerful as the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (no one is equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor is anyone superior to Him), (c) to disobey the instructions of the spiritual master, (d) to blaspheme the Vedic literatures and literatures compiled in pursuance of the Vedic literatures, (e) to comment that the glories of the holy name of the Lord are exaggerated, (f) to interpret the holy name in a deviant way, (g) to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, (h) to compare the chanting of the holy name to pious activities, (i) to instruct the glories of the holy name to a person who has no understanding of the chanting of the holy name, (j) not to awaken in transcendental attachment for the chanting of the holy name, even after hearing all these scriptural injunctions.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
We should be careful to understand that to get Kṛṣṇa as one's son, one must undergo such great austerities. If we want to get the Supreme Personality of Godhead to become one of us in this material world, this requires great penance, but if we want to go back to Kṛṣṇa (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna (BG 4.9), we need only understand Him and love Him. Through love only, we can very easily go back home, back to Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore declared, premā pum-artho mahān (Caitanya-manjusa): love of Godhead is the highest achievement for anyone.
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight comprise My separated material energies. But besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which consists of all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe." Spirit and matter cannot be made one, for actually they are superior and inferior energies, yet the Māyāvādīs, or Advaita-vādīs, try to make them one. This is wrong. Although spirit and matter ultimately come from the same one source, they cannot be made one. For example, there are many things that come from our bodies, but although they come from the same source, they cannot be made one. We should be careful to note that although the supreme source is one, the emanations from this source should be separately regarded as inferior and superior. The difference between the Māyāvāda and Vaiṣṇava philosophies is that the Vaiṣṇava philosophy recognizes this fact. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy, therefore, is called acintya-bhedābheda—simultaneous oneness and difference. For example, fire and heat cannot be separated, for where there is fire there is heat and where there is heat there is fire. Nonetheless, although we cannot touch fire, heat we can tolerate. Therefore, although they are one, they are different.
The readers should relish this wonderful nectar because nothing compares to it. Keeping their faith firmly fixed within their minds, they should be careful not to fall into the pit of false arguments or the whirlpools of unfortunate situations. If one falls into such positions, he is finished.
"The servants are always coming and going without interval. If I touch them, I shall be ruined."
Herein it is very clearly indicated that priests performing Deity worship should be careful to keep themselves completely pure and not be touched by outsiders. Sanātana Gosvāmī and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, thinking themselves mlecchas and yavanas because of their past association with Muslims, did not enter the temple or even travel on the path in front of the temple gate. It is customary for the priests of temples in India not even to touch outsiders or enter the Deity room after having been touched. This is a very important item in temple worship.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Nectar of Devotion
In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-praṇālī. The siddha-praṇālī process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorized and who have manufactured their own way of devotional service. They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by thinking of themselves like that. This external behavior is not at all according to the regulative principles. The so-called siddha-praṇālī process is followed by the prākṛta-sahajiyā, a pseudosect of so-called Vaiṣṇavas. In the opinion of Rūpa Gosvāmī, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service.
Nectar of Instruction
In this verse Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī advises the devotee to be intelligent enough to distinguish between the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī. The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given some practical hints to the effect that an uttama-adhikārī Vaiṣṇava can be recognized by his ability to convert many fallen souls to Vaiṣṇavism. One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikārī. A neophyte Vaiṣṇava or a Vaiṣṇava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikārī as a spiritual master.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
"My dear father," Lord Kṛṣṇa said, "there is no need to worship the demigod Indra. Everyone has to achieve the result of his own work. We can actually see that one becomes busy according to the natural tendency of his work; and according to that natural tendency, all living entities—whether human beings or demigods—achieve their respective results. All living entities achieve higher or lower bodies and create enemies, friends or neutral parties only because of their different kinds of work. One should be careful to discharge duties according to his natural instinct and not divert attention to the worship of various demigods. The demigods will be satisfied by proper execution of all duties, so there is no need to worship them. Let us, rather, perform our prescribed duties very nicely. Actually, one cannot be happy without executing his proper prescribed duty. One who does not, therefore, properly discharge his prescribed duties is compared to an unchaste wife. The proper prescribed duty of the brāhmaṇas is the study of the Vedas; the proper duty of the royal order, the kṣatriyas, is engagement in protecting the citizens; the proper duty of the vaiśya community is agriculture, trade and protection of the cows; and the proper duty of the śūdras is service to the higher classes, namely the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. We belong to the vaiśya community, and our proper duty is to farm, to trade with the agricultural produce, to protect cows or to take to banking."
Light of the Bhagavata
As already mentioned, the human life must be divided into four component parts: the student life, the householder life, the preparative life, and the life of dedication to the service of the Lord. One must retire from all sorts of family life, big or small, at the age of fifty, and thus prepare for the next life. That is the process of human culture. The householders are allowed a pension from service so that they can live for a higher cultural life. But foolish men, reluctant even to accept this pension, want to artificially increase the duration of their life. Such foolish men should take lessons from the drying pools of water and should know, in their own interests, that life is eternal, continuing even after death. Only the body changes, whether spiritually or materially. An intelligent man should be careful to know what sort of body is going to be awarded him, and thus he must prepare for a better life in other planets, even if he is reluctant to go back to Godhead.