Let It Begin #4: A Truly Potent Offense?

by Bhakta-Chris

Hare Krsna, and Happy Western Christian mainly accepted by the rest of the world New Year. The calendar really doesn’t lie, and for me personally, ringing in 2007 in joyous kirtan with 30 other fortunate souls at midnight was much better than some of my more recent New Year’s activities.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Easily forgotten and ultimately temporary. It’s hard enough trying to remember each and every day that Krsna is the doer. But I will offer some prasad for thought, based on my recent reading of the 8th Chapter of the Nectar of Devotion, in which Srila Prabhupada relates offenses to be avoided, and which in this newest of years we should strive our best to avoid as well, so that prema can flow much more freely.

(before I begin, this will be a mixture of seriousness, humor, and questions as well, so forgive any offense I may make)

“One should not sit before the Deity holding the ankles, knees, and hands” -A very common offense for devotees and non-devotees alike. Sitting
cross-legged and straight-spined is something few of us were trained to do from birth. I suggest possibly using the technology of the future to create bionic knees and backs to facilitate non-offensive temple sitting posture.

“One should never speak a lie before the Deity” -A very good one to avoid, and remember that Krsna is also sitting in your heart, the center of the temple of the body, so stepping outside the temple doors to fib is still the same offense.

“One should not cry or howl before the Deity” -I assume this is about material things, because most of the fun of kirtan is crying and howling in ecstasy the holy names for the pleasure or Sri Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra.

“One should not eulogize or praise anyone else before the Deity” -This one confuses me, for we all take part and enjoy the praising of Vaisnavas in the temple when the doors are open. Any insight?

“One should not fail to offer some praise in the presence of the spiritual master” -Always give Prabhupada some love! Whether it’s full obesiances or just a loving nod with folded hands in prayer, he gave us the greatest gift and he can’t be praised enough.

“One should not fail to wash his teeth very carefully every day” -Yes, Mother Yasoda, I will do as you say.

“One should not enter the temple without washing his hands and feet.”-Another hard one to avoid. mainly with our feet. The temple floor, while always lovingly cleaned, still collects so much dirt on our feet. It’s unavoidable. Maybe some fancy feet-washing doo-dad outside the temple doors may help.

All in all, my reaction to this grand list of offenses is that it’s impossible for any but the most pure devotees to avoid all of these offenses. Many of them occur so involuntarily, but above all else, let us remember how incredibly merciful Krsna is to us hopeless rascals in this age of Kali. Who can truly conceive of such causeless mercy? My resolution for myself and for all of us here at New Vrindavan is to really focus moment-to-moment so we can avoid as many of these offense as possible. Then the mercy will really come shining through, in so many wonderful and miraculous ways.

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