Temple worship is one of the duties of a devotee. It is especially recommended for neophytes, but those who are advanced should not refrain from temple worship.
There is a distinction in the manner a neophyte and an advanced devotee appreciate the Lord’s presence in the temple.
A neophyte considers the arcā-vigraha (the statue of the Lord) to be different from the original Personality of Godhead; he considers it a representation of the Supreme Lord in the form of a Deity. But an advanced devotee accepts the Deity in the temple as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He does not see any difference between the original form of the Lord and the statue, or arcā form of the Lord, in the temple.
This is the vision of a devotee whose devotional service is in the highest stage of bhāva, or love of Godhead, whereas a neophyte’s worship in the temple is a matter of routine duty.
The words dhīrāḥ sarva-bhāvena do not mean “in whichever way you like.” Bhāva is the preliminary condition of love of Godhead.
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
The bhāva stage is the final division before one reaches love of Godhead.
The word sarva-bhāva means that one can love the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental modes of mellows, beginning with dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. In the śānta stage, one is on the border of loving service to the Lord.
Pure love of Godhead begins from dāsya and develops to sakhya, vātsalya and then mādhurya. Still, in any of these five mellows one can render loving service to the Supreme Lord. Since our main business is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can render service from any of the above-mentioned platforms of love.
These talks of Rādhārāṇī with the bumblebee messenger, including Her accusing Kṛṣṇa in so many ways and at the same time expressing Her inability to give up talking about Him, are signs of the topmost transcendental ecstasy, called mahā-bhāva. The ecstatic mahā-bhāva manifestation is possible only in the persons of Rādhārāṇī and Her associates. Great ācāryas like Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura have analyzed these mahā-bhāva speeches of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and described their different varieties, such as udghūrṇā, or bewilderment, and jalpa-pratijalpa, or talking in different ways. These are the signs of ujjvala-rasa, or the brightest jewel of love of God.
When Kṛṣṇa says that He is the origin of everything (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (B.G.10:8), He means that He is even the source of Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the puruṣa-avatāras, the material manifestation and all the living entities within the material world. Actually the word prabhava (“creation”) only refers to this material world, for since the spiritual world is eternally existing, there is no question of creation.
In the Catuḥ-ślokī of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Lord says, aham evāsam evāgre: “I was existing in the beginning before the creation.” (S.B.2:9:33) In the Vedas it is also said, eko nārāyaṇa āsīt: “Before the creation there was only Nārāyaṇa.” This is also confirmed by Śaṅkarācārya. Nārāyaṇaḥ paro ‘vyaktāt: “Nārāyaṇa is transcendental to the creation.” (Gīta-bhāṣya) Since all the activities of Nārāyaṇa are spiritual, when Nārāyaṇa said, “Let there be creation,” that creation was all-spiritual. The “material” only exists for those who have forgotten that Nārāyaṇa is the original cause.
Uddhava was standing near, and he heard Rādhārāṇī talking in this way, as if She had become almost mad for Kṛṣṇa. He was exceedingly surprised at how the gopīs were accustomed to thinking of Kṛṣṇa constantly in that topmost ecstasy of mahā-bhāva love. He had brought a message in writing from Kṛṣṇa, and now he wanted to present it before the gopīs, just to pacify them.
“My dear gopīs, your mission of human life is now successful. You are all wonderful devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore you are eligible to be worshiped by all kinds of people.
The symptoms of the highest order of devotional life were observed by Vidura, an experienced devotee of the Lord, and he confirmed Uddhava’s perfectional stage of love of Godhead. Ecstatic bodily changes are manifested from the spiritual plane and are not artificial expressions developed by practice.
There are three different stages of development in devotional service.
The first stage is that of following the regulative principles prescribed in the codes of devotional service, the second stage is that of assimilation and realization of the steady condition of devotional service, and the last stage is that of ecstasy symptomized by transcendental bodily expression. The nine different modes of devotional service, such as hearing, chanting and remembering, are the beginning of the process. By regular hearing of the glories and pastimes of the Lord, the impurities in the student’s heart begin to be washed off. The more one is cleansed of impurities, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service. Gradually the activities take the forms of steadiness, firm faith, taste, realization and assimilation, one after another. These different stages of gradual development increase love of God to the highest stage, and in the highest stage there are still more symptoms, such as affection, anger and attachment, gradually rising in exceptional cases to the mahā-bhāva stage, which is generally not possible for the living entities. All these were manifested by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the personification of love of God.
There is a supplementary note written by His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda in his Gauḍīya-bhāṣya. Its translation is as follows.
Learned scholars who have full knowledge of all the Vedic scriptures agree that the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are innumerable.
These incarnations are classified into two divisions, called prābhava and vaibhava. According to the scriptures, prābhava incarnations are also classified in two divisions—those which are called eternal and those which are not vividly described. In this Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in Chapters Three through Six, there is a description of Ṛṣabhadeva, but there is not an expanded description of His spiritual activities. Therefore He is considered to belong to the second group of prābhava incarnations.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the original cause, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (B.G.10:8). Even this material world, which is conducted under the modes of material nature, is caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who therefore also has an intimate relationship with the material world. If the material world were not a part of His body, the Supreme Lord, the supreme cause, would be incomplete. Therefore we hear, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: (B.G.7:19) if one knows that Vāsudeva is the original cause of all causes, he becomes a perfect mahātmā.
The Lord is the root of everything. Aham ādir hi devānām: (Bg 10.2) He is the original cause of all the devas, or demigods. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (B.G.10:8) everything emanates from Him. In all cases—nominative, objective, positive, negative and so on—whatever we may conceive of in this entire cosmic manifestation is in fact the Supreme Lord. For Him there are no such distinctions as “this is mine, and this belongs to someone else,” because He is everything. He is therefore called avyaya—changeless and inexhaustible.
All those princesses were lodged in different apartments, and the Lord simultaneously assumed different bodily expansions exactly matching each and every princess. He accepted their hands in perfect rituals by His internal potency.
In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.33) the Lord is described as follows in regard to His innumerable plenary expansions:
advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam
ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca
vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“The Lord, Govinda, whom I worship, is the original Personality of Godhead. He is nondifferent from His innumerable plenary expansions, who are all infallible, original and unlimited and who have eternal forms. Although He is primeval, the oldest personality, He is always fresh and young.”
By His internal potency the Lord can expand Himself into various personalities of svayaṁ-prakāśa and again into prābhava and vaibhava forms, and all of them are nondifferent from one another. The forms into which the Lord expanded to marry the princesses in different apartments were all slightly different just to match each and every one of them. They are called vaibhava-vilāsa forms of the Lord and are effected by His internal potency, yoga-māyā.
(Srimad Bhagavatam—-3:3:8—-translation and purport).
#Bhava #sarva bhava #maha bhava
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