Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mahaprabhu Followed Caturmasya

The Beginning of Caturmasya - 14-15 July 2011

gdrvc6[Dear Readers,
July 14th or July 15th, 2011 (see calendar) is the beginning of Caturmasya, the four month period each year from July into November, in which devotees observe certain rules and regulations in order to advance in their bhakti. There are many items that are not allowed during Caturmasya, such as leafy vegetables on the first month, yogurt on the second month, milk on the third month, and mustard oil on the fourth month. Besides this, throughout all four months, tomatoes, eggplants, honey and several other foodstuffs are prohibited. (Please see the rest of the list below). Srila Gurudeva gave this talk on September 13, 2000 in Mathura.]
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to follow all these rules very strictly, but nowadays we see that devotees don't follow. Our Guru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura were very strong in this regard. Srila Prabhupada said, "Take my photo during the four months of Caturmasya-vrata, to show that I never shave at that time. Always keep it; otherwise so many so-called disciples will say, 'Oh, Prabhupada never observed Caturmasya-vrata'."
By his causeless mercy, Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja gave concessions in the Western countries, and that is the only reason he also used to shave. The Westerners could not follow strictly at that time. That is why he allowed tomatoes and eggplant, that is also why he used to take them, and that is why he also allowed carrots.
I am therefore also giving concessions, not here in India, but in Western countries. If the devotees there like, they can take these items; but we don't take them. We should strictly follow our proper line from Mahaprabhu to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura and my gurus, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. In Western countries some concession may be given, but here in India we are very strict. If we cannot follow this, then how can we follow Sri Krsna, and how can we serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna? Mahaprabhu shaved – after two months – and we follow this.
Restricted foods during the entire four months of Caturmasya:
  • Eggplants, tomatoes, loki, parmal, urad dahl, and honey
Particular foods that are restricted during each of the four months:
  • First month: No leafy vegetables, such as spinach, salads of all types, cabbages of all types, kale, leafy herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, curry andpowdered leafy herbs and teas
  • Second month: No yoghurt (if one requires it for health, it can be mixed with water)
  • Third month: No milk (if required, it can be mixed with a drop of lemon juice)
  • Fourth month: No mustard oil or sesame seeds
Foods that can be taken all days of the year, including Ekadasi and Caturmasya:
  • All fruits (fresh and dried), all nuts and all oils made from nuts
  • Potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, radish, squash, lemon, avocado, olives, coconut buckwheat, all sugars
  • All pure milk products (except yoghurt during the 2nd month of Caturmasya and milk during the 3rd month)
  • For sannyasis, brahmacaris and vanaprasthas: shaving head and cutting nails is to be done on full moon days ( no shaving on Baladeva Purnima or Purnima at beginning of Kartik )

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Great Devotee of Lord Jagannatha (part 3)

(This is the part 3 of the story of Dasia Bauri)
The Devotee's Devotion Captures the Lord's Heart
Day and night Dasia was thinking about the Lord. He knew nothing except the Lord. One night, he went to sleep meditating upon His lotus feet. He prayed, "Will that Lord be merciful upon me so that I can see that four handed form of the Lord?"
Understanding his mind, Lord Jagannath left the altar of His temple and appeared in front of Dasia. Dasia took darshan of the Lord to his heart’s content. He said, "What I had seen on the chariot is the same as the form before me now. I am directly seeing the Lord! Brahma and all of the demigods and asuras, yakhsas, gandharvsa, kirnars, siddhas, yogis and munis meditate constantly the lotus feet of Lord Hari. They are not able to see Him. I am ignorant, a low born. I have not done any devotional service. O Lord of the universe, You have come to my cottage."
The Lord, who was wearing yellow garments said, "Dasia, please listen. My heart is not attracted to heaven or liberation. Whoever worships me with devotion, My mind is attracted to him. Your mood of devotion is everything for Me. My dear devotee, please ask me what boon I can bestow upon you."
Being very pleased Dasia replied, "O my Lord, all I want is to remember Your lotus feet constantly. I do not need any other boon from You. Please bless me so that I can fix my mind at the lotus feet of Your devotees. Please bless me so that 1 can have Your darshan whenever I meditate upon You. I do not need anything else."
Hearing this, the Lord said, "Your life is blessed. Whenever you go to Puri, look upon Nila-chakra on the top of My temple. I will manifest to you there. Whatever you offer Me, I will accept that."
After saying this, the Lord disappeared.

The Coconut Offering
One day Baligram Dasia went to the home of one brahinana to sell some cloth. He saw a nice coconut in the tree.
He asked the brahinana, "Can you give me this coconut? I would like to offer this to Lord Jagannath. Whatever the cost, please deduct from the cost of my cloth."
The greedy brahinana said, "I can give you this coconut in exchange for the cloth."
Baligram Dasia had only this cloth to sell to maintain his livelihood. But he was not worried about that. He received the coconut in exchange for the cloth, and returned to his village. That day, one brahinana was going to Puri to offer many kinds fruits and milk to Lord Jagannath.
Baligram Dasia went to him and requested him to take his coconut to offer Lord jagannath. Baligram told the brahinana, "Please take this coconut. After finishing offering of your ingredients, please think about my offering. You hold my coconut standing behind Garuda stambha and appeal to the Lord that your devotee Baligram Dasia has sent this coconut. Please accept this. If the Lord will accept this coconut by extending His hand, then give it to Him. Otherwise, bring this coconut back to me."
Hearing this, the brahinana laughed and left for Puri. Baligrama Dasia went back to his house. The brahinana reached Jagannath temple and completed his puja to Lord Jagannath. When he was about to return, he remembered the coconut given to him by Baligrama Dasia. He thought, "Let me see what happens."
Out of curiosity, he went behind the Garuda pillar. Holding the coconut in his hand and closing his eyes, he said, "O Daru-brahma! Baligram Dasia has sent this coconut for You. Please accept it by extending Your lotus hand, otherwise I will take it back."
Suddenly the Lord extended His long arm from the altar and took the coconut from the hand of the brahinana. In this way, the coconut was offered to Lord Jagannath. Just see the strong faith of the devoteel Even Laxmi Devi cannot understand this. By seeing this, the brahinana started to cry in ecstasy. He said, "Oh Baligram Dasia! Your life is blessed! Your father and mother are blessed! All glories to them! Your village is blessed. Lord Pitavas has is so pleased with you."
This news spread among the people in the temple. Everybody glorified Baligrama Dasia for his unalloyed devotion.
The Mango Offerings
One day, Baligram Dasia was planning to go to Puri to take darshan of Lord Jagannath. He was thinking to take something to offer to the Lord. At that time one mango vendor came along. He had very nice looking, big, sweet mangoes. Baligram Dasia bought about forty mangoes and carried those mangoes in a basket to Puri. When he reached the Lion Gate, all the pandas were behind him to take the mangoes inside the temple’ to offer to the Lord. They were fighting with each other to take the mangoes.
Baligram Dasia said, "I do not need any of you to offer these mangoes."
The pandas said, "Then what will you do with the mangoes? If you do not give them to us, how can they be offered? What will you do with them if you take them back without offering them to the Lord? These mangoes are meant for offering to Lord. No one can touch them without first offering them to Him."
Baligram Dasia went ten feet back and placed the basket of mangoes on the ground. He looked upon the Nila-chakra. There he saw Lord Jagannath. He offered his obeisances and said, "O Bhagavan, these mangoes are Your property. You please enjoy them by your own sweet will. What is the need of these brahmanas fighting unnecessarily?"
After saying this, Baligram Dasia picked up two mangoes and showed them to the Nila-chakra. Immediately those mangoes disappeared and went to the hand of Lord Jagannath. Jagannath ate the mangoes happily. In this way, Lord Jagannath enjoyed all the mangoes. This is the nature of the Lord. It does not matter how low born one may be, if he has strong devotion, the Lord will be pleased to accept leaves, fruits and flowers from his hand. Whatever high caste one may be, if he has no devotion, if he offers many varieties of tasty food, still the Lord will not touch it.
After eating all the mangoes the Lord disappeared from the place. All the people were watching how the mangoes were vanishing from Baligrama Dasias's hand.
They asked him, "What happened to all mangoes? Is it some sort of mesmerism? Black magic?"
Dasia told them, "The Lord of the universe ate all mangoes. Go and check inside the temple."
All the pandas ran to temple. They were surprised to see mango seeds and peels lying all over the deity room. The brahamanas said, "You are a great devotee of the Lord. You have purchased the Lord by your devotion. Who is there like you in this universe? We are nothing compared to you."
The Humiltiy of Dasia
The brahmanas gave Baligrama the prasada garland of Lord Jagannath and blessed him to achieve the highest destination of life. Hearing this, Baligrama Dasia fell at the lotus feet of all the brahmanas. He smeared the dust of the feet of brahmanas all over his body. He offered them obeisances again and again. He said, "Oh brahmanas, I am so fortunate to be blessed by all of you."
The Different Forms of the Lord
After blessing Baligram Dasia in this way, all the brahmanas left. Baligrama Dasia meditated upon the Lord withm his heart. He said, "Chakrapani, I offer my obeisances to that all cognizant Lord. I have a humble request to you: Please show me all Your forms. Let my life be purified by taking darshan of Your different forms!"
Lord Jagannath, understanding the mind of Baligrama Dasia, appeared on top the temple at Nila-chakra in His different forms from the fish incarnation to His Kalki incarnation. Baligrama Dasia fell to the ground to offer obeisances again and again, and said, "Now I am delivered!"
Then he went back to his house to live, happily engaging himself in the devotional service of the Lord.


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