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When a devotee distributes prasada, remnants of food offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in order to maintain our spirit of devotional service we must accept this prasada as the Lord's grace received through the pure devotees
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Nectar of Instruction
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.
In this verse Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains how to perform devotional activities in the association of other devotees. There are six kinds of activities: (1) giving charity to the devotees, (2) accepting from the devotees whatever they may offer in return, (3) opening one's mind to the devotees, (4) inquiring from them about the confidential service of the Lord, (5) honoring prasāda, or spiritual food, given by the devotees, and (6) feeding the devotees with prasāda. An experienced devotee explains, and an inexperienced devotee learns from him. This is guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati. When a devotee distributes prasāda, remnants of food offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in order to maintain our spirit of devotional service we must accept this prasāda as the Lord's grace received through the pure devotees. We should also invite pure devotees to our home, offer them prasāda and be prepared to please them in all respects. This is called bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva.
Even in ordinary social activities, these six types of dealings between two loving friends are absolutely necessary. For instance, when one businessman wishes to contact another businessman he arranges a feast in a hotel, and over the feast openly expresses what he wishes to do. He then inquires from his business friend how he should act, and sometimes presents are exchanged. Thus whenever there is a dealing of prīti, or love in intimate dealings, these six activities are executed. In the previous verse, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī advised that one should renounce worldly association and keep company with the devotees (saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ). The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been established to facilitate these six kinds of loving exchanges between devotees. This Society was started single-handedly, but because people are coming forward and dealing with the give—and—take policy, the Society is now expanding all over the world. We are glad that people are donating very liberally to the development of the Society's activities, and people are also eagerly accepting whatever humble contribution we are giving them in the shape of books and magazines dealing strictly with the subject matter of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We sometimes hold Hare Kṛṣṇa festivals and invite life members and friends to participate in the feasting by accepting prasāda. Although most of our members come from the higher rungs of society, they nonetheless come and take whatever little prasāda we are able to offer them. Sometimes the members and supporters inquire very confidentially about the methods of performing devotional service, and we try to explain this. In this way our Society is successfully spreading all over the world, and the intelligentsia of all countries is gradually appreciating our Kṛṣṇa conscious activities. The life of the Kṛṣṇa conscious society is nourished by these six types of loving exchange among the members; therefore people must be given the chance to associate with the devotees of ISKCON because simply by reciprocating in the six ways mentioned above an ordinary man can fully revive his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.62) it is stated, saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ: one's desires and ambitions develop according to the company one keeps. It is often said that a man is known by his company, and if an ordinary man associates with devotees, he will certainly develop his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is innate in every living entity, and it is already developed to some extent when the living entity takes a human body. It is said in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 22.107):
- nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema 'sādhya' kabhu naya
- śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
"Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, the living entity naturally awakens." Since Kṛṣṇa consciousness is inherent in every living entity, everyone should be given a chance to hear about Kṛṣṇa. Simply by hearing and chanting—śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam (SB 7.5.23)—one's heart is directly purified, and one's original Kṛṣṇa consciousness is immediately awakened. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not artificially imposed upon the heart, it is already there. When one chants the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the heart is cleansed of all mundane contamination. In the first stanza of His Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says:
- ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ
- śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
- ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
- sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
- (CC Antya 20.12)
"All glories to the Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This saṅkīrtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious."
|Compiled by||Bhaktavasagovinda +|
|Completed sections||ALL +|
|Date of first entry||November 23, 0011 JL +|
|Date of last entry||November 23, 0011 JL +|
|Total quotes||1 +|
|Total quotes by section||BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 1 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +|