In Srimad Bhagvatam, it is mentioned that
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam” (SB 11.5.41)
Every human being is obliged and has an obligation? We are under whose obligation? Demigods – Sun God, He gives us heat and light; moon nourishes our eatables and like that Indra, Chandra, Surya, Brihaspati, they all are demigods and are supplying. They are supplying and they don’t send bill for what they are supplying so we are indebted to them.
We are obliged to cow and ox. Ox is tilting the ground and cow is giving us milk, butter, butter milk, ghee, etc. Mother Cow is nurturing us so we are under obligation to cow and ox.
We are indebted to our forefathers also. Why? because they not only brought us to this human form of life which is very rare and valuable but also nourished us, nurtured us. They provided us food, clothing and education so we are indebted to them.
Those who are cent percent surrendered and are serving Krishna, they are not under any obligation of “devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan”. Why? Because they are surrendered and are serving Krishna. “Sarvātmanā”, the king is dependent on Krishna, demigods are dependent on Krishna and everybody else. Just by supplying food to the stomach, we automatically nourish our hands, nose, ear, whole body so simultaneously, serving Krishna, “sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ”, by surrendering to Krishna we pay up our debt.
Why perform Shradh Ceremony?
So that we can relieve our ancestors from the hellish conditions, suffering condition.
If we are not cent percent surrendered to Krishna then we must perform Shradh. Lord Ramchandra did, he performed for Dashrath Maharaj, pinda daan. There was no question of Dashrath Maharaj going to hellish conditions because Lord Ramchandra was his direct son. It is the greatest fortune to have Krishna as your son, God as your son, Dashrath Maharaj will never suffer from hellish conditions, go to hell, even then Lord Ramchandra performed shradh. Lord Chaitanya is God himself, he also went to Gaya to perform Shradh Ceremony for his departed father, Jagannath Misra. So if we are not cent percent surrendered then we must perform Shradh Ceremony to pay up our debt to our forefathers, to relieve them from their hellish conditions.
How to perform Shradh?
It is stated in Srimad Bhagvatam that one must call pure brahman and perform the ceremony. One must cook sumptuous, beautiful, tasty, rich prasadam and that one has to offer to Lord Vishnu. This is written in Srimad Bhagvatam that first one must offer it Krishna, Vishnu, Ram, Narayan, Laxman and then one must offer to the Brahmans. When Advaita Acharya performed Shradh Ceremony of his father, first, he offered to a vaishnava, not even brahmans and Srila Haridasa Thakur was the most exalted vaishnava present there; He was a Muslim, he was not within varnashrama even, not even a brahman but a pure vaishnava. After offering to the Lord, one must offer to the vaishnavas, then one must offer to brahmans and then to one’s relatives, after that one is supposed to offer to people in general, beggars and after everything is over, one is supposed to honour that prasadam and give dakshina to brahmans, vaishnavas, the best donation is to vaishnavas. One should do it with faith and that will relieve one’s ancestors from the pangs of maya, suffering.
We can only correct a Vaishnava, if he is surrendered to us, otherwise, we may incur a Vaishnava Aparadha or we may get into a Vaisanava Aparadha.
The line is if he is surrendered, if he is ready to listen to us, ready to obey us.
‘Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā’
First is ‘praṇipātena’, Is he surrendered to us? Is he going to listen to us? If not, then leave it to his Guru, to his superior and to his Krishna, Maya and everybody else.
Everybody has a different level. If we are on the same level or if somebody is surrendered to us, then we can instruct him, he will hear, he will listen and there would not be any aparadha but if he is not going to listen to us and if he is thinking that he is above us (he may/may not be), equal to us and we try to instruct him, then Vaishnava Aparadha may happen. Also because he is dear to Krishna, if he is a devotee and we are also dear to Krishna and both of us start fighting, then Krishna will never like it, Krishna doesn’t appreciate this.
If someone is ready to listen that means he is surrendered to us and we can instruct him but if he is not surrendered and doesn’t want to listen to us, then we should not get into any offence. Read More Teachings
Preparing for initiation means taking spiritual life seriously and when one is convinced that this material world has nothing to offer, it is just for the body. Material world is going to offer everything for the body but not for the soul.
Then what about the soul ? That is preparing for initiation- “I want to do something for myself. What is that something that I want to do for myself ? That I want to advance in my spiritual life.”
Srila Prabhupada says that if we want to learn carpentry, how do we learn? By working under a good carpenter. How can we become a doctor? By working under a doctor and reading the medical books available. Similarly, if we want to do something for ourselves, if we want to become spiritually advanced, then we need a Spiritual Master who can teach us how to advance in our spiritual life.
What are our shortcomings? How can we go in the right direction ? A Spiritual Master can put us on track again and having a Spiritual Master means having a well wisher, our guardian, who serves his disciples. A Guru, helps us, holds our hand and brings us to Krishna. So preparing for initiation means taking help from the Spiritual Master to advance in the spiritual life.
Srila Rupa Goswami in Sadhna Bhakti, says that
“Aadau Guru Padashraya”
Aadau means right in the beginning, we have to find a proper Guru and take shelter of him.
“Aadau Guru Padashraya Krsna dikshaadi”, then Krishna Diksha, Diksha into Krishna Consciousness. Then “Vishrambhena Guru sewa”, serving our Guru, without any doubt.
Preparing for initiation means that we have to fix the teacher then we can advance. The following things we to follow, 4 regulative principles, 16 rounds and studying the recommended Vedic Literature, few books and prepare ourselves.
We have to accept “Vartamana Pad-Pradakshika Guru”, Siksha Guru, Diksha Guru, Chautha Guru, Guru means many Gurus so it is not that Diksha Guru is all in all, there are many other ways Guru comes to us and topmost Guru is Krsna, Chaitya Guru.
“Krsnam Vande Jagat Guru”. Krishna is the topmost Guru. So this is preparing for initiation.
Do not think that Krishna will give us less than what we give Him.
If we take 1 step towards Krishna, then He will take 10 steps towards us.
Krishna’s most important Dharma is that He is Bhakta Vatsal, He is Kripalu, He is Karuna Sindhu, Krishna gives us more than what we deserve but we have to learn to dovetail it with Krishna. Like Srila Prabhupada, He left everything and then Krishna gave Him more than He could earn in pharmacy or any other business.
So we should not be afraid to dovetail everything to Krishna, not that Krishna will run away with our money, house, family or friends, He will just purify and give it to us back in many million folds. This is Krishna’s nature, He doesn’t want to see His devotees suffer and no devotee suffers.
Dhruva Maharaj, he left his father, mother, kingdom and family and at the end, Krishna gave him everything.
Gopis, they gave up everything for Krishna and at the end Krishna says, ” I am yours and I cannot repay your debt, I am eternally indebted to you”. Same thing with Hanuman, Ramchandra couldn’t pay His debt to Hanuman, He eternally remained indebted to Hanuman.
So when we give it to Krishna, do not think that Krishna will snatch it away or run away with it. No ! He is Kripalu and His most important Dharma is that He is Bhakta Vatsal.
Krishna doesn’t keep, He gives, this is His nature, His Dharma, Bhakta Vatsalta.
Our real mother is of course Krishna and we must thank Him today.
“aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-samanvitah” [Bg. 10.8]
Everything is produced from Krishna, Krishna is the source of everything and that is why He is the original mother. The Supreme Personality Of Godhead, even though everything emanates from Him, He also desires that He should also have a mother, so that He can enjoy the motherly love and affection.
Though Krishna is the original mother but He also likes to have a mother and that is why He has the original mother, Mother Yashoda. Both in the spiritual and the material world, He accepted Mother Yashoda and Mother Devaki as a mother, not only one mother because Krishna is very greedy for motherly love and affection.
In the Tenth Canto, Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna says that in this material world if we look for pure love, close to pure love (pure love cannot be found in the material world) then it can be found in a mother. That is the closest pure love, which we can find in the material world. A mother is so caring, protective and she serves the child so well, that makes a strong bond between the mother and the child. Just like if we come between a mother and the cubs, we are finished because the mother loves her offspring so much , this is the real bond or loving reciprocation between a child and the mother. A mother might be 10,000 miles away but a mother would be knowing what her child is going through.
Padavas, they were so grown up but when Mother Kunti would see them after a long time, immediately she would emanate parental love and affection. Same thing can be seen in Krishna’s past times, Krishna was so grown up and when He would see Mother Yashoda or Mother Yashoda would see Him, immediately parental love would be emanated. So this is a very affectionate, loving and intimate relationship between a child and the mother.
This is unparallel in the material world, we cannot compare the mother’s love towards the offspring to anything in the material world. Since she loves us so much, it is not enough to thank her only one day , we should thank her everyday and every moment.
You are what you eat..
Suppose we don’t eat anything for 1 month, what will happen? Our body will shrink and probably die also, so our body is made up of what we eat.
The dearmost thing to us is our body and we put garbage in it. Is it a good idea? No, there is a natural fuel for the body. First we can say vegetarian but before vegetarian, we should only eat Krishna prasadam, in the human form of life. We should only eat food offered to Krishna. Why? Because Krishna says He has made a cycle –
” annad bhavanti bhutani
yajnad bhavati parjanyo
yajnah karma-samudbhavah “
By yagya, rain comes, from rain grain, from grain life and if we are alive, we can perform yagya and from yagya rain, this is the cycle. So we are supposed to perform the yagya, means offering to Krishna but we break that cycle. Because we break the cycle, Krishna says that the person is a thief, why? Because Krishna is the one who gives rain, when we perform yagya- “Hare Krishna , Hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama , Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. And when rain comes, then grains come but that grain is supposed to be offered in the yagya but we just consume it, without offering to Krishna. That means we are breaking the cycle.
So it is Krishna who gives this and without giving it to Krishna, we swallow it, then Krishna says that we are a thief. If the food is not offered to Krishna, then invariably we are eating the sins, that means we are very sinful.
It is Krishna’s and we should offer Him back and then He gives us in the form of prasadam and by that prasadam, we can purify our body. A body’s natural food in the human form of life is Krishna Prasadam, we should be Prasaditarian, not just vegetarian. One relieves himself from all sinful reactions by offering food to Krishna first and then taking the prasadam. Those who cook for their belly, they are invariably eating sins.
Our body, consciousness, intelligence and mind become polluted by eating polluted food. Whatever we eat, that kind of consciousness we will attain.