Five Areas Of Equivalence To Support Bhakti-yoga

[Govardhana Puja]“The sacrifice known as Govardhana Puja is observed in the Krishna consciousness movement. Lord Chaitanya has recommended that since Krishna is worshipable, so His land, Vrindavana and Govardhana Hill, are also worshipable. To confirm this statement, Lord Krishna said that Govardhana Puja is as good as worship of Him.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that if you do one thing, you don’t really need anything else. There will only be one rhetorical question left:

“What more could you ask for?”

This one thing is purna, which means complete. It is not lacking anything, though it appears to have no substance. It is equivalent with the entire whole, though there is no way to grab it by the hand. It is equal to controlling authority over the entire universe, though it cannot be seen.

To help understand the importance of that one thing, we can look at several areas of equivalence within the bhakti-yoga tradition. These tend to be readily acknowledged. That is to say, there is little dispute. People who follow the tradition both accept the equivalence and take advantage of it.

1. God and His land

From traditions like Govardhana Puja we know that there is no difference between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the land associated with Him. Govardhana Puja was not existing prior to Krishna’s time in Gokula, some five thousand years ago.

It was a tradition started by Krishna Himself. He had to persuade the people into it. He created a sense of urgency to intentionally skip over the annual Indra-yajna. This new tradition would benefit the people and teach a lesson at the same time.

[Govardhana Puja]After it was worshiped, Govardhana Hill then became an umbrella. That is not a typo or a misunderstanding. Krishna lifted the massive hill and held it aloft to save the people from devastating rainfall, which was the wrath of Indra. The king of heaven noticed the diversion in interest. He would not forgive the people, though Krishna would later forgive him.

2. God and the food offered to Him

This is known as prasadam. It is the mercy of the Lord. Food, water, flowers, clothing, and other items can be placed on the altar, with an accompanying formal ceremony. This is to let the Supreme Lord know that everything is for Him, that we cannot produce anything on our own.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं
यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति
तद् अहं भक्त्य्-उपहृतम्
अश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)

The food that remains after the offering is so sacred that it can transform lives. Even if someone does not know the potency of the food they are eating, there can be a purifying effect. Govardhana Puja itself typically features fifty-six different kinds of preparations, which makes the resulting feast all the more enjoyable.

3. The transcendental form and the person it represents

This is a little difficult to understand because we have so many similar objects that lack an equivalence. That photo does not represent us. It shows a vision of how we used to look, with the emphasis on the past. That childhood form is no longer there.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरो ऽपराणि
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्य्
अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ‘parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)

Famous personalities sometimes receive the honor of a statue dedication. The statue is supposed to resemble the person, but no sane person would think they could talk to the statue and have the communication reach the intended recipient.

The archa-vigraha is different. It is authorized to receive prayers and offerings. The comparison is to the mailbox. At the surface, it is not much different than any other box. But a higher authority has created the mechanism whereby that particular box is the receptacle for packages and letters, for reaching the intended destination.

अवजानन्ति मां मूढा
मानुषीं तनुम् आश्रितम्
परं भावम् अजानन्तो
मम भूत-महेश्वरम्

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
mama bhūta-maheśvaram

“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)

[Radha-Krishna]What to speak of the deity, it is difficult to believe when seeing God in person, face-to-face. The fools are not able to recognize Krishna when He is present before them. He has left behind the process of deity worship for maintaining the connection, and the potency is such that there is a direct connection, when the worshiper is of the proper standard of consciousness.

4. God and His representative

God is the person who is worshiped. The representative is the side doing the worshiping. Since they are forever linked, there really is no difference. It is for this reason that the spiritual master is treated to be as good as God. They receive the highest honor and praise.

The representative does not have to be the officially recognized guru. They could be a sadhu, which is a saintly person. Since they are always thinking of God, serving Him, and giving the best example for others to follow, they are worthy of the highest praise.

राम नाम सुमिरत सुजस भाजन भए कुजाति |
कुतरूक सुरपुर राजमग लहत भुवन बिख्याति |

rāma nāma sumirata sujasa bhājana bhae kujāti |
kutarūka surapura rājamaga lahata bhuvana bikhyāti |

“By remembering Shri Rama’s holy name, even those who are born into a low caste become worthy of fame, just as the wild trees that line the roads in the heavenly realm are famous throughout the three worlds.” (Dohavali, 16)

5. God and His name

This is the one thing recommended more than anything else in the current period of time. Chant the holy name. Be attached to the holy name. Honor the holy name. There are many names from which to choose.

सबरी गीध सुसेवकनि सुगति दीन्हि रघुनाथ |
नाम उधारे अमित खल बेद बिदित गुन गाथ ||

sabarī gīdha susevakani sugati dīnhi raghunātha |
nāma udhāre amita khala beda bidita guna gātha ||

“Shri Rama personally gave liberation to Shabari, the vulture Jatayu and those who performed wonderful devotional service, whereas the holy name has liberated countless wretches; a fact well-established in the Vedas, which sing of its glories.” (Dohavali, 32)

Goswami Tulsidas considers the holy name to actually be superior to the person it represents. He gives the example of the avatara of Shri Rama liberating great souls like Shabari and Jatayu through personal contact. But the holy name has liberated countless more throughout the annals of history.

In Closing:

From simple chanting task,
What more to ask?

Because everything found,
Through that sacred sound.

Equivalence already accepted,
Like potency in prasadam detected.

Principle applying the same,
With Hari’s holy name.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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