“In the Skanda Purana there is the following description of the result of seeing aratrika (worship) of the Deity: ‘If someone sees the face of the Lord while aratrika is going on, he can be relieved of all sinful reactions coming from many, many thousands and millions of years past. He is even excused from the killing of a brahmana or similar prohibited activities.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 9)
Friend1: I know you don’t like me complaining about social media.
Friend2: The vehicle itself or the people using it?
Friend1: The latter.
Friend2: You know I love it when you complain about anything. What is it this time?
Friend1: The pictures of food.
Friend2: Seriously? If people couldn’t post pictures of that social media sites would go out of business.
Friend1: I should be more specific. Produce.
Friend2: Like what you buy at the supermarket?
Friend1: Very good you mentioned that. It relates to my complaint. These are pictures of plants grown in the garden.
Friend2: Like eggplant, spinach and such?
Friend1: Tomatoes, too.
Friend2: Okay. And you don’t like this?
Friend1: I don’t understand why someone would think a tomato is worthy of public mention.
Friend2: It’s not just any tomato. They grew it in their garden. They saw the tomato when it was just a seed. It’s the miracle of life.
Friend1: They love putting hash-tags like, “From Farm To Table.”
Friend2: That’s pretty good.
Friend1: My complaint is that have these people not been to a supermarket? There is plenty of produce there. Where do they think the cucumbers, peppers, apples and bananas come from?
Friend2: Those are mass produced, though. They are grown far away sometimes.
Friend1: It’s the same miracle of life. Why not post pictures of the produce aisle?
Friend2: These are good questions. There is a difference when you witness something with your own eyes. You appreciate it more. It’s like when people witness the birth of a child. It’s life-changing.
Friend1: I guess you’re right.
Friend2: This is all the more reason to practice bhakti-yoga in the association of others.
Friend1: You mean like visiting the temple?
Friend2: Sure, but could also be at someone’s house. The atmosphere is what matters. Think about it. You hear this and that about God. You hear people explaining His glories and how everything we see around us is the product of intelligence. Nothing happens by chance, especially not something amazing like the planets, the sun, nature, and the seasons.
Friend2: Chanting together, in sankirtana, brings a direct experience of the Divine: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The deity is there for this reason, too. It is the mercy of Bhagavan to appear in a statue. He does not have to do that. If someone experiences God firsthand, they will appreciate Him more. Increased appreciation hopefully increases the appetite for participation, and if that participation continues up until the time of death then liberation is guaranteed.
Of produce from garden proud,
Liberty to post online allowed.
That like from farm to table coming,
Saw it as seed, full plant becoming.
But same proof previously there,
Just now in new way aware.
Similar with deity in temple meeting,
Benefit just from arati greeting.