...Feature Articles: Sri Murti Worship vs. Idolatry by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......
...New Entries on the Web-site.....
...SEARCH for Ishthadevatas and Devotees on the site......
...Please Visit the ARTICLES pages
...More Nectar: Eyes to see God and Developing a deep attachment 4 the Deity = ACBSP
...Prabhupad uvacha - service is One !!! .......letter to Satswarup maharaj
...News Item ( Pilgrimage to the top of the world - Damodar Kunda)
...Lord Chaitanya comes as Gaura-gopala to receive the brahmana's offerings
...Letters from readers............
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Sri-murti-lakshana, aara shaalagraama-lakshana
The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the Shalagrama-shila. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka."
(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila
24:335. text - 61 Explanations of Atmarama verse)
Namaskaragalu - Vanakkam - G'day
Please accept my respectful obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupad, All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga,
All glories to all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord - Chari Vaishnava sampradaya ki jaya
Sri Swayam-vyakta Shaligram Sila, Dwaraka Sila, Govardhan Sila ki jaya
Welcome to what we hope to be the first
of many newsletters. The present plan is to attempt to maintain the site
nicely and keep updating with new information and pictures and additions
to help enthuse everyone, and use this newsletter to help keep everyone
informed about that. With my other various services we figured that Quarterly
would be a feasible beginning, so we are looking at April - July - Sept
- Dec for now.
We very much welcome constructive feedback to further assist the development of the site and newsletter services - always open to that.
Sri Murti Worship vs. Idolatry
Excerpt from The Life and Precepts of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, writen by Srila Sac-cid Ananda Bhaktivinod Thakura.
Of all these forms, kirtan or singing the Name etc., of Krishna is the best. Humble knowledge is necessary in these forms of worship and fruitless discussions must be avoided. There are some who start at the theory of worshipping Sri Murti. "Oh." they say, "it is idolatry to worship Sri Murti. Sri Murti is an idol framed by an artist and introduced by no other than Beelzebub himself. Worshipping such an object would rouse the jealousy of God and limit His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence!" We would tell them, "Brethren ! candidly understand the question and do not allow yourself to be misled by sectarian dogmas. God is not jealous, as He is without a second. Beelzebub or Satan is no other than an object of imagination or the subject of an allegory. And allegorical or imaginary being should not be allowed to act as an obstacle to bhakti. Those who believe God to be impersonal simply identify Him with some power or attribute in nature, though, in fact, He is above nature, her laws and rules. His holy wish is law, and it would be sacrilege to confine His unlimited excellence by identifying Him with such attributes as omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscienceattributes which may exist in created objects such as time, space etc. His excellence consists in having in Him mutually contradicting powers and attributes ruled by His Supernatural Self. He is identical with His All-Beautiful Person, having such powers as Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence the like of which cannot be found elsewhere. His holy and perfect Person exists eternally in the spiritual world and at the same time existing in every created object and place in all its fullness. This idea excels all other ideas of the Deity. Mahaprabhu rejects idolatry as well, but considers Sri Murti worship to be the only unexceptionable means of spiritual culture. It has been shown that God is Personal and All-Beautiful, Sages like Vyasa and others have seen that Beauty in their souls' eyes. They have left us descriptions. Of course, word carries grossness of matter. But truth still is perceivable in those descriptions.
According to those descriptions, one delineates a Sri Murti and sees the great God of our heart there with intense pleasure. Brethren ! is that wrong or sinful ? Those who say that God has no form either material or spiritual and again imagine a false form for worship are certainly idolatrous. But those who see the spiritual form of the Deity in their souls' eyes, carry that impression as far as possible to the mind, and then frame an Emblem for the satisfaction of the material eye for continual study of the higher feeling are by no means idolatrous. While seeing a Sri Murti, do not even see the image itself but see the spiritual model of the Image and you are a pure theist. Idolatry and Sri Murti worship are two different things ; but my brethren, you simply confound one with the other out of hastiness. To tell the truth, Sri Murti worship is the only true worship of the Deity, without which you cannot sufficiently cultivate your religious feelings.
The world attracts you through your senses as long as you do not see God in the objects of your senses; you live in an awkward position which scarcely helps you in procuring you your spiritual elevation. Place a Sri Murti in your house.
Think that God Almighty is the Guardian of the house. The food that you take is His prasadam. The flower and scents are also His prasadam. The eye, the ear, the nose, the touch and the tongue-all have a spiritual culture. You do it with a holy heart and God will know it and Judge you by your sincerity. Satan and Beelzebub will have nothing to do with you in that matter. All sorts of worship are based on the principle of Sri Murti. Look into the history of religion and you will come to this noble truth. The Semitic idea, of a patriarchal God both in the pre-Christian period of Judaism and post Christian period of Christianity and Mohammedanism, is nothing but a limited idea of Sri Murti. The monarchic idea of a Jove amongst the Greeks and of an Indra amongst the Aryan karma kandis is also a distant view of the same principle
The idea of a force and jyotirmaya brahman of the meditators and a formless energy of the shaktas is also a very faint view of the Sri Murti. In fact the principle of Sri Murti is the truth itself differently exhibited in different people according to their different phases of thought. Even Jaimini and Comte who are not prepared to accept a creating God have prescribed certain phases of the Sri Murti, simply because they have been impelled by some inward action from the soul! Then again, we meet with people who have adopted the Cross, the salgram sila, the lingam and suchlike emblems as indicators of the inward idea of Sri Murti. Furthermore, if the Divine compassion, love and justice could be portrayed by the pencil and expressed by the chisel, why should not the personal beauty of the Deity embracing all other attributes be portrayed in poetry or in picture or expressed by the chisel for the benefit of man ? If words could impress thoughts, the watch could indicate time and sign could tell us a history, why should not the picture or figure bring associations of higher thoughts and feeling with regard to the transcendental beauty of the Divine personage ?
Sri Murti worshippers are divided into two classes, the ideal and the physical. Those of the physical school are entitled, from their circumstances of life and state of the mind to establish temple institutions. Those who are, by circumstances and position, entitled to worship the Sri Murti in mind have with due deference to the temple institutions, a tendency to worship usually by sravana and kirtana and their church is universal and independent of caste and color. Mahaprabhu prefers this latter class and shows worship in His Shikskastakam printed as an appendix to this book.
Worship then without intermission,
with a feeling of resignation, and in a very short time you will be blessed
...About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......
We have started this web-site and news-letter for the purpose of sharing inspiration among like minded devotees, with a like interest in serving the Lord. On the www.salagram.net/ site there are many topics all referenced to shastra with the express purpose of helping us all over the world to have Sadhu-sanga http://www.salagram.net/sstp-sadhusanga.html So we have tried to create a sacred place in Cyber-space where devotees can find refuge, can associate, gain inspiration, share inspiration, hence it is Shaligram Tirtha, a Holy Tirtha in Cyber-space. Some of you may have noticed the Warning........ it seems appropriate to some of us it be there as many devotees were feeling they didn't want to express themselves or reveal their "bhav" least people who had no such appreciation might misunderstand - misinterpret - criticise what they saw or read due to their own vision/motivation/agenda. So following the advice of shastra we are keeping our Ishthadevas hidden while sharing mutual appreciation found in rendering some small service to the Lord.
Those of you who haven't visited the site recently will find transcendental pleasure that there are so many resources and articles, all of which you are welcome to download or copy for your personal use and to inspire others. If however you find a published article there that you would like to publish or if you have a site or some media whereby you would like to on-share with others just check with me to see who holds the legal copywrite if none are mentioned, as we don't want to offend anyone, or do anything illegal, even with our zealousness to share nectar.
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...New Entries on the Web-site.....
In this section you can see all the latest additions, new picture updates of all the various devotees and Silas on the site.
We keep this page separate from the
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SEARCH and ARTICLES links and all other pages are also updated simultaneously.
...SEARCH for Isthadevatas and Devotees on the site......
"There are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet" (unknown author)
To all those devotees who are receivers of this first newsletter; if you still haven't sent in photos or introductory descriptions or stories for the Sila in your care, that's okay, time is not out, you can still send. We are continuously updating the pages, so your sending pictures etc is never too late. Please send.
If you have Photoshop please "save
for web" to keep the size down, but if you don't have that too is okay,
just send, I can "save for web" also, if that will help. If you don't have
a scanner that too is no problem, please send me an e-mail and I'll give
you the address where you can post (snail-mail) your photographs, and there's
always disposable Fuji cameras if things get really tough...... Please
also view the article by Param Seva prabhu www.salagram.net/sstp-HELP.html
...Please Visit the ARTICLES pages
As the late Bhakta George Harrison so nicely put it in the preface of the Krsna Book, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", so please go to the Articles section and make good use of all the links there. There's so much information and we hope and pray that you find it as useful as we have. =>:-))
This section has to be seen to be believed. We have tried, and had much success to find articles on almost every aspect of Shalagram seva pujan. All articles are clearly marked and ready for your perusal. We trust this serves you in this seva well.
Developing firm faith in the inconceivable potency of the Lord:
The episode of Shakshi Gopal:
Sripada Gopal Bhatta Goswami's Sri
Sri Radha Raman Shaligram:
"The Divine Form" by Sripad Sadagopan
Iyengar of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya
General information from the Puranic
See many more articles on similar topics
Eyes To See God
An excerpt from On the way to Krishna, by His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
"You cannot see Me without your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes, so that you can behold My mystic opulence"(Bhagavad-Gita 11.8)
How can we get the eyes to see God? How can we become God conscious, Krsna conscious, in every step of our life? Actually, Krsna makes it very easy for us: "O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability to man"(B.G. 7.8)
In this verse Sri Krsna is describing how we can become Krsna conscious fully, in all stages of our lives. For instance, all living entities must drink water. The taste of water is so nice that when we are thirsty, nothing but water seems to do. No manufacturer can create the pure taste of water. We can thus remember Krsna when we drink water. No one can avioid drinking water every day in his life, so God conscious is there-how can we forget?
There are nine different processes for associating with God, and the first method of association is sravanam - hearing. By reading Bhagavad-Gita we hear the speeches of Sri Krsna, which means that we are actually associating with God. (We should always remember that when we speak of Krsna, we refer to God.) In as much as we associate with God, and as we go on hearing the words of Krsna and His names, the contamination of material nature is reduced. If we understand that Krsna is sound, illumination, water, and so many other things, we cannot avoid Him. If we can remember Krsna in this way, our association with Him is permanent.
Association with Krsna is like association with sunshine. Where there is sunshine, there is no contamination. As long as one is out in the ultraviolet rays of the sun, he will not be diseased. Western medicine recommends sunshine for all kinds of diseases, and the Vedas say a diseased man should worship the sun to be cured. Similarly, if we associate with Krsna - and we can see Krsna in the sun and the moon, and we can hear Krsna in sound and taste Him in water.
It is especially useless to speculate
about God. Therefore Shrimad-Bhagavatam recommends that one give up all
sorts of speculation. Instead, one should become submissive, realizing
not only that he is an insignificant creature, but also that this earth
is only one small point in a great universe. New York City may seem very
large, but when one realizes that the earth is such a small spot, and that
on the earth the United States is another small spot, and that in the USA,
New York is but a small spot, and that in New York the individual
is only one out of millions, then one can understand that he is not so
very important after all. Realizing our significance in the face of the
universe and God, we should not be artificially puffed up but should be
We should be very careful not to fall prey to frog philosophy. Once there was a frog in a well, and upon hearing of the Atlantic Ocean from a friend, he asked, "Oh what is this Atlantic Ocean?"
"it is a vast body of water," his friend replied.
"How vast? Is it double the size of this well?"
"Oh no-much larger."
"How much larger? Ten times the size?" In this way the frog went on calculating. But how could he ever understand the depths and far reaches of the great ocean?
Our faculties, experience, and powers of speculation are always limited. We can give rise only to such frog philosophy.
After giving up speculation, what should we do? Bhagavatam recommends that we become humble and hear God's message submissively. We may hear His message also from the Bhagavad-Gita and other vedic literatures. The only qualification is that we receive the transcendental message from a realized soul-a pure devotee of God.
In the 17th Chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krsna gives additional ways to perceive Him in every step of life: "I am the heat of the fire. I am the life of all the lives, and I am the penaces of all ascetics"(B.G. 7.9).
Only Krsna can create flowers and fragrances. We may synthetically create some scents or fragrances but these are not as good as the originals that occur in nature. When we smell a good natural fragrance, we can think "Oh, here is God, here is Krsna."Or when we see natural beauty we can think, "Oh here is Krsna."Or when we see any form of life, whether it be in a plant or animal, or in a part and parcel of Krsna, for as soon as the spiritual spark, which is a part of Krsna, is taken away from the body, the body disintegrates. "O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existence, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men"(B.G 7.10).
Here again it is obvious that Krsna is the life of all that lives. Thus at every step we can see God. People may ask, "Can you show me God?" Yes, of course. We can see God in so many different ways. But if one closes his eyes and says, "I shall not see God" then how can he be shown?
The easiest way to see God is to chant
Hare Krsna always. Never mind whether you are in a factory or in a hell,
in a shack or in a skyscraper - it doesn't matter.
Just go on chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. There is no expense, there is no impediment, there is no caste, there is no creed, there is no color-anyone can do it. Just chant and hear. Then, by Krsna's grace, you will always have the eyes to see Him everywhere and always.
Hari bol !!!
Srila Prabhupada talks about our developing deep attachment for the Deity
(this article requires the Balaram font download it for free here www.hknet.org.nz/fonts.htm )
Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 11th January 1975. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:26:34., lecture. Bombay, India
"If you go to the spiritual planet,
Vaikunthaloka or Goloka Vrindävana, then you haven't got to return.
That is eternal."Tyaktvä
deham punar janma naiti mäm eti [Bg. 4.9]. Mäm eti. If you go to Krishna, then your complete success is...
mäm upetya punar janma
samsiddhim paramäm gatäh
Samsiddhim, that is the highest perfection,
paramam. Therefore we should try, we should endeavor, for that purpose,
how to go
back to home, back to Godhead.
So simply you have to train your mind. Man-manä bhava..., this, the prescription. Mäm evaishyasi asamshaya. Krishna says that "You,
this practice,"mäm evaiñyasi, "you will come to Me."Asamshaya. Krishna says, "There is no doubt about it."So why don't you do
that? Train your mind, always Krishna conscious, and the method is simple. You do not require much education or university
degree - nothing of the sort. Simply man-manä bhava mad-bhaktah: you just become devotee of Krishna and always think of Him.
Where is the difficulty? You can walk on the street and remember Krishna. Is there any tax? No, the government will not ask you for
any income tax, sales tax, that "You are chanting Hare Krishna."They may do so. The time is coming. (laughter) They may say,
"The Hare Krishna people must be taxed three times because they are chanting and doing nothing." The Communist government
will do that. So never mind. The tax will be sent by Krishna. (laughter) You haven't got to bother. Still, yoga-kshemam vahämy aham
[Bg. 9.22], Krishna says. You believe in Krishna. Then every problem is solved. We have no problem if we simply follow Krishna's
instruction. Krishna says, teshäm satata-yuktänäm yoga-kshemam vahämy aham [Bg. 10.10]. Even they tax for chanting Hare Krishna,
then Krishna will bring the money. We are getting that practically. So you know the history, how this land was purchased. There
was no money, but Krishna sent money and everything was done nicely. So there is no anxiety, provided we are purely Krishna
conscious, without any other desire.
shilanam bhaktir uttamä
No other desire. Simply... Desire will
not come. Krishna is so strong and nice. As soon as you allow Him to sit
down within your
heart... He is there already. Simply you have to see. Then the strength is already there. There is no need of acquiring external
strength for acquiring Krishna. The simple thing is that you follow the instruction of Krishna, man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäji
mäm namaskuru [Bg. 18.65].
So this is very natural. This temple
worship is meant for that purpose. Actually, when we see the Deity, immediately
become Krishna conscious. At least, we think of Krishna: "Here is Krishna."So that is man-manäh. Chanting also, chanting, that is
krsna-manäh, man-manäh. In this way you become bhakta. Regularly chanting, you become bhakta. Without becoming bhakta,
nobody can chant. So man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäji. And worship Deity. He has come very kindly to accept your service.
You just dress Him, just bathe Him, just decorate Him with ornaments, with garland, with nice thing. So He is ready. Just like a
child is ready to accept the service of the mother. The mother dresses the child nicely, and the child accepts. So Krishna is so kind
that... You cannot capture Krishna in His virät-mürti. You can capture Krishna in your capacity. So Krishna has agreed. So take this
chance. Man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäji. Worship Him. Why you are denying? It is not difficult, not expensive at all. And
in this way, if you follow the process, then your bhäva, your nature, will be changed. You will become a complete devotee.
So at the time of death, if you can
maintain this bhäva, Krishna conscious bhäva... The bhäva
is the perfection. Bhäva is attained
after much practice of devotional service. Ädau shraddhä tatah sädhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriyä tato 'nartha-nivrittih syät tato nishthä
ruchis tatah, athäsaktis tato bhävah [Cc. Madhya 23.14-15]. Äsakti, when there is äsakti, attraction, attraction... Now, recently I
have received one letter. One boy, he was engaged in worshiping the Deity in our Hyderabad center, and he was transferred to
Madras. So he became madlike. He has come back. He could not stay there without serving. He has written me letter. So that is
bhäva. He cannot stay without worshiping the Deity. That stage comes. You have to simply adopt it. Tato bhävah. Tato
'nartha-nivrittih syät. Anartha. Anartha means we are accustomed to this material condition of life, so many anarthas. Just like
there are so many people, they are going to the cinema in the evening. But those who have attained bhäva, his anartha nivritti is
already done. He is not attracted any more by the cinema. He is attracted, bhäva, in the worship of the Deity. That is called bhäva.
That bhäva means prema. Only thinking of Krishna, serving Krishna, simply busy in Krishna's service - that is the perfection of life. And
if we can maintain that bhäva, that situation, mentality, then yam yam väpi smaran loke tyajaty ante kalevaram, and at the time of
death, if that bhäva is maintained, that is samsiddhim paramäm gatäh. That is the highest perfection of life. This is Krishna
consciousness practice, Krishna consciousness. We are trying to... We are not trying to give others. We are trying ourself also, how
to get that bhäva. That is the perfection of life.
So human life is meant for that purpose,
not to practice how to imitate barking like the dog, no. That is not human
life is meant for acquiring this bhäva. Budhä bhäva-samanvitäh. In another place in the Bhagavad-gitä it is said, budhäh...
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matvä bhajante mäm
Those who are actually learned, actually advanced, such persons "budhä
mäm. That is perfection of life. So take this opportunity, human life. Don't miss. You may be very proud of your intelligence, but
this intelligence is not very good intelligence if you are devoid of Krishna consciousness. Then you are a müdha (donkey). If, by your
intelligence, you learn how to surrender to Krishna and worship Him with bhäva, that is real intelligence. Bahünäm janmanäm ante
jnänavän mäm prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. And if you try to become intelligent, some tricks, material trick, to get some money or cheat
others, that is not very good intelligence. These cats and dogs that... They have also such intelligence. How to steal food from the
room, the cat knows very well. So that is not intelligence. That intelligence can be found, even birds, beasts, everywhere. Real
intelligence is how to regain your Krishna consciousness and be promoted to the stage of bhäva, and at the time of death maintain
that bhäva, and then your life is successful. Tyaktvä deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9].
Thank you very much. (end)
(Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
11th January 1975. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:26:34., lecture. Bombay, India.)
My dear Satsvarupa Maharaja,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Jan. 5th, 1975 and have noted the contents. Thank you very much for doing your work so nicely. I was very pleased to receive the review on the 1st volume of the third canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam written by professor Mehta from the University of Windasmall book to distribute that will contain such reviews so that people will see what a great impression our books have on the intelligentsia of the world.
Regarding your question about the controversial talks going on, this kind of talk is not befitting my advanced students. This is childish. In Krishna's service, there is no inferior and superior. Deity worship is just as important as book distribution. It is not material. As mentioned in the Bhagavatam.
sravanam kirtanam visno smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam
Sravanam kirtanam is the beginning--to chant and hear. Book distribution is under this category of sravanam kirtanam. The next item is smaranam. If somebody simply remembers the Supreme Lord, that is also as good as sravanam kirtanam. Then there is arcanam. That is also as good as the others, but one who simply becomes engaged in arcanam and does nothing of sravanam kirtanam, his position becomes in the material field. Any one of the nine processes is as good as the other. There is no question of inferior or superior. But out of all of them sravanam kirtanam is very important. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu while instructing Srila Rupa Gosvami, has said how the seed of devotional service sprouts and increases by watering the root by the process of sravanam kirtanam. So, these two items are very important in devotional service, but that does not mean that the other items are inferior. Srila Jiva Gosvami has stressed kirtanam especially in the age of Kali. Even if there is arcanam for sanctifying the contaminated mind, it must be accompanied by sravanam kirtanam.
So, you are all advanced students. You should understand the importance of each and every item of devotional service. Do not make any misunderstanding by devaluating any of the spiritual activities. You are one of the advanced students. One who distinguishes a particular type of service as inferior or superior, he does not know the value of devotional service. It is all transcendental. Whatever item is suitable, that is accepted as very elevated. Just like Maharaja Pariksit. He simply listened to Sukadeva Gosvami. That is sravanam. And Sukadeva Gosvami simply narrated Srimad-Bhagavatam. This is kirtanam. Prahlada Maharaja simply contemplated--smaranam. Prthu Maharaja simply did deity worship--arcanam. Arjuna only remained as friend of Krishna--sakhyam. Hanuman remained only engaged in carrying out the order of Lord Ramacandra--dasyam. And Bali Maharaja surrendered everything to Krishna--atma-nivedanam. So, any devotee executing any one of the nine is transcendentally glorious. One devotee may be proud that his process of service is the best. That is not inglorious. This is called transcendental competition. Everyone should feel proud of his particular type of devotional service, but that does not mean that other types of service are inferior. Everyone should feel proud of becoming sincere servant of Krishna, but the pure devotee never minimizes the importance of other devotees. Krishna is the enjoyer of varieties of service. It is not stuck up with any particular type of service. Krishna takes pleasure with devotees even by fighting service. When Grandfather Bhisma was trying to injure the body of Krishna by sharpened arrows, in full devotion in the mellow of chivalry, Krishna was feeling the piercing of the arrows as good as worshiping him with soft rose flowers. The conclusion is that everyone should be very very sincere. There is no more the question of inferior or superior.
I hope this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svami
- From the Srila Prabhupada Uvacha by HG Srutakirti Dasa
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Please Chant: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare And Be Happy
Pilgrimage to the top of the world
Visit Muktinath or Damodar Kund in Northern Nepal the home of the Shaligram Sila
Fly up the Kali-gandaki gorge, the deepest natural gorge on the planet amid the towering Annapurna range of Himalayas. An experience of a life-time, with stunning views that will remain with you treasured for the rest of your life. Take a quick look here to whet your appetite....
There are two pilgrimage time periods
when this region is accessible, as the rest of the year it is snow-bound.
April - May - June
End of September - October - November
Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or plane - bus takes six - eight hours, plane takes less than an hour)
Pokhara - Muktinath (by Helicopter)
where devotees get one hour to worship Muktinath and fly back to Pokhara
then back to Kathmandu.
Cost US $400.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)
For Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or
plane) Pokhara - Damodar kunda (by Helicopter) and fly back to Pokhara
then back to Kathmandu.
Cost US $850.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)
Damodar kunda Trekking Itinerary (Damodar kund now open to devotees)
Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel
Day 02: Half day sight seeing tour.
Day 03: Ply to Pokhara
Day 04: Fly Pokhara Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni
Day 05: Kagbeni - Tashukang O/N Camp
Day 04: Tashukang - Tetang O/N Camp
Day 05: Tetang - Tange O/N Camp
Day 06: Tange - Surkhang O/N Camp
Day 07: Surkhang Luri O/N Camp
Day 08: Lur i- Bas Khola O/N Camp
Day 09: Bas Khola Damodar Kundai O/N Camp
Day 10: Damodar Kunda- Luri O/N Camp
Day 11: Luri - Ten O/N Camp
Day 12: Ten Tetang O/N Camp
Day 13: Tetang- Muktinath
Day 14: Muktinath-Jomsom
Day 15: Jomsom- Pokhara
Day 16: Pokhara- Kathamndu and transfer to hotel
Day 17: Rest and explore your self.
Day 18: Fly back to home.
· Special Permit for 10 days US$ 700.00 Per Person & above 10 days every day 70.00 US$ more extra.
· For Liaison officer expenses have to pay by clients
· Client (s) should have fill up all form for permit with in 15 days before, departure for trekking
Cost - US $ 2600.00 per person for group of 5 people (Special permit fee included)
a) All domestic air and land fares within Nepal.
b) All three course meals in trekking days (not in hotels in Katmandu)
c) All staff and trekking leader wages included.
d) 4 nights at Kathmandu and 1 night in Pokhara on Bed and Breakfast.
e) Departure and arrival transportation.
(US$1900.) Cost does not include.
a) Visa fee - which will be purchased at your home country.
b) Special permit fee of Upper Mustang (US$700.)(makes the total of US$2600.)
c) Private and Personal Expenses - obviously.
d) Tips and donations that you may feel obliged to give along the way......
For those in doubt of ridiculous price of Special trekking permit, sadly these are the prices for such a remote area as Upper-Mustang. The following URLs are Nepali Government sites supporting and confirming the US$ 700 cost.http://www.manang.com/Trekking%20Permit.htm and http://www.project-himalaya.com/info-visa.html and http://www.buddhatreks.com/nepal/trekking/trekking-permit.htm sorry that's the Nepali Govt permit price!!!
For Enquiries/Inquiries & Bookings send E-mail
To get some idea of the views etc please visit HERE: Visit Shaligram Tirtha
Lord Chaitanya comes as Gaura-gopala to receive the brahmana's offerings
The following pastime is found in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, but is more elaborately described in the Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-khanda, Chapter 3 as follows:
One saintly brahmana who was most virtuous was touring the places of pilgrimage in order to obtain Sri Krishna. He used to worship Gopala by chanting the six-syllable Gopala mantra, and without having offered bhoga to Gopala he would eat nothing. Hanging from his neck like a brilliant jewel was his Bala Gopala Salagrama. By his transcendental good fortune, one day he came to the home of Jagannatha Misra in Navadvipa. The pious pilgrim's brahma-tejas was incomparable; from his mouth, the sound "Krsna, Krsna" was always emanating, and within his heart he was always relishing the transcendental mellows of affection for Govinda, such that his eyes were always filled with tears.
Seeing such a devotee, Jagannatha Misra at once got up and offered him respects. Jagannatha Misra did everthing appropriate to receive his exalted guest. He washed the water of that brahmana's feet and offered him an elevated seat. Inquiring about his welfare, Sri Misra said, "Dearmost brahmana, where is your residence?" The brahmana replied, "Having become indifferent to household life, I have left my own country and continually wander from one holy place to another. I cannot become attached to any one place any longer. That's why I constantly wander." Sri Misra responded with great humility, "Actually, I think that you are wandering about just to spread good fortune among the residents of this world. Especially today the topmost fortune is mine. If you give me your order, may I make arrangements for your meal?"
The brahmana said, "Misraji, whatever you desire." Sri Misraji in great ecstasy collected the best of all materials and cleaned the kitchen thoroughly and presented everything to the brahmana. He also supplied the best of all foodstuffs from his pantry. The brahmana, becoming very happy, cooked everthing and sat with eyes closed in meditation to offer the bhoga to Sri Gopala Krsna (his Salagram shila).
Sri Sacinandana is the all-knowing
Supersoul in the hearts of all living entities. He desired to give
His darsana to that brahmana. The brahmana had just begun his meditation
when the Lord crawled into his presence. His whole body was covered
with dust and he was wearing no clothes at all. His eyes were very
restless, and His feet were most beautiful. The child laughed and
took a mouthful of the bhoga and the brahmana's meditation was broken.
That fortunate brahmana saw what had happened and cried, "Hay! Hay! This
child has ruined my offering. Sri Jagannatha Misra came and saw little
Gaurasundara eating rice and smiling. Misra became furious and ran toward
the child to beat him. The brahmana quickly got up and caught Jagannathe
Misra with his hand saying, "Misra, you are very great, you're a very intelligent,
pious gentleman. You know better than to hit a child. You know the
nature of children. They know no distinction between good or bad.
Please do not hit the child."
Sri Misra, becoming dejected, sat down and held his head in his hands. He was so angry, he could say nothing. The brahmana said, "Misra, don't become dejected like this. Some days are like this. Bhagavan knows everything. Some days I get only fruits from a house; sometimes wonderful foodstuffs. I'll just take something simple today. Please don't mind."
Misraji said, "Priyavara, if you will consider me your servant, please once more cook in my kitchen. I will supply you everything you need. Please cook again and my mind will become peaceful. This is my only request."
The brahmana replied, "All right. If that is your desire I will cook again." Hearing this, everyone was happy, and somehow or other collected everything from other places, cleaned everything, and arranged for the brahmana to again cook. Everyone said to one another, "This child is too restless. See that he is restrained and cannot return again to cause more disturbances." For as long as the brahmana was cooking, the Lord was taken to another house and kept there.
Then Sacimata, holding young Nimai in her arms, took him away to another house. There, all the ladies said, "Why Nimai? Why did you eat the brahmana's offering?" The Lord smiled. His smile was as beautiful as the moon. He then said, "What fault of mine is there in this? The brahmana himself called me to eat!" They all said, "You rascal Nimai! You ate his cooking, but do you know what his caste is? Or where he's come from? What will you do now? How will you maintain your caste?" Nimai smiled and said, "I am just a cowherd, but I eat the food of brahmanas all the time. Can a cowherd's caste be spoiled by eating the cooking of brahmana?" They all looked at Nimai's mouth and they all looked at Nimai's mouth and began to laugh. Sri Gaura was explaining his factual identity, but they were unable to understand a single thing of it. Hearing the Lord's words, they simply laughed and squeezed Nimai to their breasts; they were unfazed.
The brahmana again finished cooking and offered the bhoga to Gopala with his eyes closed, seated in meditation. He began to meditate upon Bala Gopala in his heart. This fact was taken note of by Sri Gauracandra. He is the Lord within the heart. Bewildering everyone, and laughing to Himself, He somehow escaped that house and arrived once more to where the brahmana was meditating. Quietly, He sneaked a fistful of rice and put it into His mouth. The sounds of His munching broke the brahmana's meditation--he saw Nimai. The brahmana again cried, "Hay! Hay!" and Sri Gaura Prabhu swallowd the rice and ran off. Misraji saw this and quickly took one big stick in a rage, and ran off to catch Nimai.
Sri Gauranga became most fearful and ran from one house to another, and Misraji quickly followed Him, burning with anger. Sri Misra said, " If I catch you for what you've done today, I will beat you with this stick. I've lost all my patience and discrimination." "Where is that great thief of a son of mine? Which house is He hiding in?" Saying this, Jagannatha Misra pursued his son Nimai. Everyone began to say, "Misraji, you're very great and magnanimous. You ought to forgive such a minor offense. These children, they have no sense. How can you beat a mere child like this? In this way, they began to give him instruction, but to no avail.
Somehow or other, the pious brahmana appeared on the scene and, clutching Jagannatha Misra's hand said, "Misra Rai, look, there's no fault in this boy. What's meant to happen is meant to happen. It just must be my fate that today Krsna will not accept my bhoga offering. That's my problem. Please don't be so dejected. This I'm telling you." Jagannatha Misra simply stood there completely angry and completely miserable.
At this point, Bhagavan Visvarupa
arrived there. There was incomparable beauty in all of His
limbs and He had great transcendental effulegence, and charming countenance,
with a yajna-sutra hanging from His shoulder, He was the personification
of brahma-tejas. He was non-different from Nityananda Prabhu. All
the sastric conclusions were always ready upon His tongue, and He was always
explaining pure devotional service to Lord Krsna. Seeing such an
unprecedented personality, the pious brahmana was struck with wonder and
began to look at Him. His eyes filled with tears. He asked,
"Noble Sir, whose son are You?"
Everyone answered, "He is the elder son of Jagannatha Misra." Hearing this, the brahmana became very happy and embraced Visvarupa. "Your mother and father are most fortunate to have such an unequalled son as you." Sri Visvarupa offered His pranamas to the brahmana and the two sat down. As if exuding a stream of nectar from His transcendental mouth, He said, "What a fortunate, greatly auspicious day has come upon us. My house is blessed with such a saintly personality as Your Grace. Great personalities such as you wander from one place to another to bless the denizens of this planet with your purifying association. You are always full in ecstasy and, freed from any material desire, simply wander at will filled with bliss. We are most fortunate that you have arrived as an unexpected guest in our house today. What can I say of our misfortune that you are fasting? The house from which a guest leaves without having eaten will only see misfortune henceforth. Having your darshana, I am most fortunate but hearing what everyone (about your fasting) has said, I have become most unhappy.
The brahmana said, don't be unhappy about anything. If there are any roots or berries available, I am content to eat that only. I am a forest-dweller, and I am well-accustomed to eating such things. Some days, nice grains are cooked, and sometimes there is some obstacle which makes this impossible. Just seeing you people has given me greater joy millions and millions of nicely prepared offerings.
Jagannatha Misra has been standing nearby, silent. He was unable to speak. Holding his head in his hands, he was simply overcome with despondancy. Sri Visvarupa said, "I am a little fearful to say this, but you are a great personality, and great personalities are like oceans of mercy. Sadhus are always unhappy at the unhappiness of others. They become jublilant in the rejoicings of others too. Therefore if you are pleased to take a little trouble to cook once more and offer your bhogas to Lord Krishna, then everyone's unhappiness will be mitigated. Then we will all experience paramananda."
Sri Visvarupa continued, "Priyavara, please don't take offense, please cook something at least, just once more, and everyone will become happy. Bowing down, He clutched the feet of that brahmana in his hand with this entreaty. The brahmana looked at Visvambhara and said, "Alright, I will cook." Hearing this, everyone became joyful again, singing out, "Hari bol, Hari bol!" They all cleaned the kitchen again and in but a minute, everything was assembled and ready. The brahmana then entered the kitchen. Sri Gaura-gopala took note of this.
Everyone told Jagannatha Misra, "Misra, lock your door from outside so that Nimai won't be able to get out." Misra said, "Good, I've already locked Him up inside, too. Meanwhile everyone on the outside locked the door to Jagannatha Misra's house from the outside. The ladies all said, "Don't worry, Nimai has gone to sleep now--He won't be going out to eat anything tonight!" The brahmana soon finished his cooking.
That fortunate brahmana then
began to offer his bhoga to Lord Bala Gopala. The indwelling Supersoul
Sri Gaurasundara then thought, "The bhoga is ready now."
Once again, the desire to give His darshana to that brahmana arose within His heart. Thus the Lord left the house while everyone was sleeping (by this time, it was late at night). Nobody knew about this. Nimai appeared at the place where the brahmana was meditating. Seeing the child again, the brahmana again cried, "Hay! Hay!" In utter frustration, he began to cry. But this time nobody heard him -- they were all fast asleep. Then Sri Mahaprabhu said, "Oh, brahmana, you are very exalted. What is My fault if I come as soon as you call Me? You're chanting My mantra, invoking My name, how can I not come? Every time you're making your offering with such pure devotion, so every time I come to give you My darshana.
At that very moment, the brahmana had the darshans of Lord Gaura in a wonderful form. Before him, Lord Caitanya manifested His eight-armed Bala Gopala form. In four hands were the conch, disc, club, and lotus; with two hands, He was playing the flute; in one hand He was holding a ball of butter; and with the other hand He was eating butter. Upon His breast were the srivatsa and the kaustubha jewel, and brilliant garlands of jewels hung from His neck. All of His limbs were bedecked with beautiful ornaments and jewels, and upon His head was an ornament of gunja beads and a peacock feather. The lips of His moon-like mouth were enchanting, and He looked about here and there as He smiled. He had a vaijayanti mala, and there were shark-shaped earrings swinging from His ears. There were jewelled ankle bracelets upon His feet, and His toenails were resplendent. The brahmana then saw that the Lord was beneath a kadamba tree and He saw Vrindaban, there were birds flying in all directions. On all sides of the Lord, there were cows, gopas, and gopis. Whatever the brahmana was accustomed to meditating upon within his heart, that beautiful vision was now manifest directly before his eyes.
That fortunate brahmana saw such wonderful opulence that he simply fainted in bliss. The ocean of mercy, Sri Gaurasundara held him in His own transcendental hands. From His touch, the brahmana regained consciousness, but he was struck dumb with transcendental bliss and he could not even utter a word. Again and again, he fainted to the ground, and again and again he would rise in great ecstasy. There was perspiration, trembling, horipilation, and all manifestation of ecstatic symptoms in his body. A vast river of tears flowed from his eyes. For a moment the brahmana regained his sense and fell at the feet of Sri Gauranga and began to cry loudly. Seeing the condition of this brahmana, Lord Gauranga began to laugh. Sri Gaura Prabhu said, "He, Priyavara, listen. You are My servant for many births. You are always desiring my darsana, and in this way I am always giving you My darshana. In a previous birth, I gave you My darshana in just this way in the house of Nanda Maharaja. You don't remember this. When I appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja in Gokula, in that birth, you too appeared as a brahmana wandering from one holy place to another. By transcendental fate, you came to the home of Nanda Maharaja and offered bhoga in just this way. At that time, I tricked you and ate your offerings, giving you My darshana just as I have today. You are My servant birth after birth. How could you get the darshana of such a wonderful form if it were not so? The Lord then said, "Hey vipra! This is a very confidential matter. You should not disclose this to anyone. If you mention this to anyone, I will annihilate you! Listen, I have now appeared in this world for the purpose of spreading Krsna Sankirtana, and I will do this. I will go house to house giving out such devotional service as either Lord Brahma or Siva cannot desire.
In this way, Sri Gaurasundara
pacified the brahmana, and bestowing His mercy upon him left the room.
Becoming as if an ordinary baby again, He went to sleep
with His mother. No one was able to understand any of these activities because of the agency of Yogamaya. Having seen this wonderful form of the Lord, the
brahmana, his whole body filled with ecstasy, took the wonderful prasadam of the Lord and danced in ecstasy, crying, laughing, and singing, "Bala Gopala ki jaya!"
Repeated sounds of his calling
and crying woke the others in the house. They shook off sleep, said
achamana, and came to see the brahmana. Seeing him, everyone became very
happy. The brahmana in his mind again and again began to think, "If
I could only tell these people that Parameswara is living in their home,
they could become liberated from material existence and go back to Godhead."
Then he thought, "Oh, even Brahma and Siva cannot have such good fortune
to have the Supreme Lord living with them. They all simply think
that He is an ordinary child. If I could inform them of the real
situation, they could obtain the Supreme destination. But then he remembered
that the Lord told him not to reveal this to anyone. And he became
afraid, the Lord's request should not be broken. In this way the
brahmana said nothing to anyone. Having recognized Bhagavan, that
brahmana then stayed only in Navadvipa and resided there concealing his
feelings. That brahmana would go here and there to beg and every
day would come with the hope of seeing Lord Gaura Bhagavan.
Some wonderful letters sent in:
I'm not sure if you remember emailing many months ago (about 5-6). I had asked you how I could get salagrama silas for worship. Well, I did go to India, and went on a pilgrimage to South India (I know it seems like the wrong direction)... My grandmother and I went from temple to temple, asking if the pujari could give us a salagrama. Each time we asked, the pujari would refuse, and say, "Sorry, it's really difficult to get them. You have to go to Nepal to get them. It's difficult to worship them, and only Krishna or Rama murthis are suitable for worship." After seeing your website, I took what the pujaris said with a pinch of salt, and thought that if I was destined to serve silas, they would find me... so we kept on asking at every temple including Thirunarayanapuram (near Mysore), Srirangapatna (near Bangalore), until we finally reached Srirangam. While waiting in line, a pujari approached us and asked if we needed anything. We asked if we could get silas, and he said that he could. We got four silas, all open with chakras clearly visible and not forged in any way. The four murthis were Matsya murthy (the chakra has a split fish tail at the end), Sudharshana (blade-like and with lines that are double edged and sharp), Lakshmi Narayana (oval and with a fast opening spiral), and Lakshmi Narasimha (a chakra with a mane). We both felt very fortunate, and soon started to notice that only good things followed us on our way. We were late for our train by an hour because of the darshan crowd, but managed to watch the abhisheka (and thus lost track of time). The train unusually was one hour late that day, and we were right in time for the trip back to Madras. We visited a divya desa temple and had an archana performed for the salagrama silas. A few days later, before returning home to Bombay (where our pilgrimage began), my mother called up and said that I got admission to Harvard School of Dental Medicine!
I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful and inspiring site you have. Keep it up!
Krishna (my given name at birth :)
I came across your beautiful website on Saligrama silas and their worship, and the pictures and articles have inspired my interest. I am Hindu brahmin and was raised as such by a pious family. My grandmother has a saligrama sila (Santhana Gopala Krishna or "Infant Krishna").
It was last december and I had come
across your website. I was busy devouring the pictures of the various Salagrama
silas and I think over two days, I had met all the silas on your site!
I showed them to my mom and we looked at them together. I had wanted to
make murthis of Lord Jagannath with Lord Baladeva and Devi Subhadra. I
had even visited the St. Louis ISKCON for veg meals with my brother whose
name is Shreeram (my full first name is Shreekrishna). So I thought, that
since I'm an artist, and the St. Louis ISKCON isn't large, I'd make deity
murthis and donate them, as a gesture of good will (and for fun, because
of my brother's and my names). So when I was making deities of the Lords
for myself, the thought of wanting to make deities for the ISKCON crossed
my mind again... I was in a dilemma. If I ignored the thought, I knew the
deities I made for myself would break (somehow to stop my ego). However
I knew if I made deities for the temple, they would survive as They would
make me give up something precious to me. So I promised Krishna that I
would make another set of deities. If the second set survived, I promised
I would give the first set (which I thought only of myself when I made
these deities) to the ISKCON center. As it turned out, all of this came
to pass, and last Christmas, I showed up on their doorstep and gifted the
deities to them. They were extremely happy and promised to do prathista
for them. So what started out as a joke, ended in many blessings...
I was raised Hindu, but considered myself Tibetan Buddhist when in college, until 6 months ago. I found it hard to relate to Hinduism in a modern sense, while the rituals and traditions were wonderful and still meaningful. I particularly couldn't relate to Lord Vishnu as He seemed very distant, and the South Indian worshippers were really pompous and exclusionary. But when I came across your website, and saw the Silas, and then made the deities for the center, my heart changed. The only gift the center could give me in return for the deities was the Krsna book and prasada. Here I was, an Indian born and raised, being told to read the lilas of Lord Krishna by an American. I read the book, and Lord Krishna stole this Krishna's heart. In fact when I visited Tirupathi two years ago, the experience was so aweful (crowds and bribery) that I told the deity face to face in the garbagriha that I would never gaze up his face ever again... When I was having a down moment a few days ago because of a family disagreement, I realized that I had made such a vow a few years ago. I just realized in my sorrow that I had made a huge huge mistake. I realized that even if the Lord came to help me in person, I would never see Him because of my promise. I immediately felt foolish, and the Lord felt like a forgiving parent accepting yet one more mistake of this foolish child. I really feel that He left my heart and mind as Lord Venkateshwara of South India, and then danced right back into my heart as Lord Chaitanya of Kali yuga, where the Lord mercifully seeks out devotees... I heard a song describing the avatars of the Lord yesterday. Thinking of how the Lord incarnated time and time again when things were hopeless seems amazing to me, as I see again with new eyes what I learned and took for granted in my childhood.
But anyways... I could go on. The Lord is unbelievably generous and the Silas are now with me too. I just got a full tuition scholarship to Harvard, something which, when I interviewed they told me quite clearly will not happen (as all Harvard students are considered equally good). The scholarship letter said that this is first year they have started such a scholarship... I feel humbled when things like this come my way, and become even more grateful than I was before. People whom I talk to, who have no faith, explain these things away, but I see that most of these things could not have happened without His mercy, and compassion in the Salagram Sila form...
I could go on for ever and ever about this... I'll keep you posted and ask you any questions I have when I go over the stuff on the website you sent me. Keep up the good work with the website. The pictures are truly a treat. I bumped across the site and didn't leave before I had clicked on all the links of all the pictures! Take care and regards,
|)<>(|)<>(|)<>( A Grateful Word to our Supporters )<>(|)<>(|)<>(|
Personally we find that so many devotees are inspiring us in so many different ways, by the grace of the Lord. Especially I'd like to thank HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad for saving my very life, and to HH Jayapataka Swami and HH Indradyumna Swami for all the support and encouragement in seva pujan. There are literally hundreds who have helped in this humble service of ours here, Paramseva dasa was the catalyst for the web-site, Hrsikeshananda prabhu has kindly sponsored the site and maintains it financially, so without his help it wouldn't be, and similarly for the mirror site Tirtharaj prabhu allows us space and hosts www.hknet.org.nz to both these devotees we are so much indebted. There are so many others who have and are helping so much with articles, gifting Silas, books, and paraphernalia, and support; special thanks to Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP, Ramadasa prabhu ACBSP, Kurma prabhu ACBSP, Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP, Sukadev prabhu ACBSP, Bhaktisiddhanta swami JPS, Ameyatma prabhu PVS, Aisvarya prabhu HDG, Jvala Nrsimha prabhu IDS, Matsya Avatara prabhu BTS, Kailash mataji, Hamsa Avatara prabhu, Jagjeevan and Sudevi MVG, Vikram and Aasha Murthy, and mother Neeta Sharma and Mukunda Khatiwada, and my eldest daugther Kirtida Sundari to name but a few. Sarv-lok vaishnavebhyo namo namah so as not to miss anyone, as we so much appreciate all of you who are receiving this newsletter, otherwise we wouldn't do all this, thank you so much for just being part of it.
Indeed, many thanks to all the readers who have one way or another subscribed to Sri Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini newsletter. Your interest and support makes this service possible. Those wishing to contribute in any way to this 'Net-work, send articles, and or information please do so by contacting me here ... mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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After some feedback from our readers we are trying to maintain that the newsletter go out Quarterly, (four times a year - April, July, Sept, Dec). I hope that this is okay with everyone. See you in a couple of weeks.
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