TOUCHING THE DEITY
In the Viṣṇu-dharmottara there is a statement about touching the lotus feet of the Lord. It is said,
“Only a person who is initiated as a Vaiṣṇava and is executing devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has the right to touch the body of the Deity.”
In India there was agitation during Gandhi’s political movement because the lowborn classes of men like street-sweepers and caṇḍālas are prohibited, according to the Vedic system, from entering the temple. Due to their unclean habits they are prohibited, but at the same time they are given other facilities so they may be elevated to the highest grade of devotional service by association with pure devotees. A man born in any family is not barred, but he must be cleansed. That cleansing process must be adopted. Gandhi wanted to make them clean simply by stamping them with a fictitious name, hari-jana (“children of God”), and so there was a great tug-of-war between the temple owners and Gandhi’s followers.
But anyway, the present law is the law of all scripture – that if anyone is purified he can enter into the temple. Actually, that is the position. Only one who is properly initiated, who is properly following the rules and regulations, can enter and touch the Deity – not all. And one who touches the body of the Deity, following such regulative principles, is immediately delivered from the contamination of material sins, and all of his desires become fulfilled without delay.
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