Not A Fossil: How About Lucky Stone?
BY BRAHMA DAS
EDITORIAL, Apr 26 (VNN) — On a devotee forum (Chakra) there is a discussion about whether it is acceptable to represent Salagrama-Sila to airport customs officials as a fossil. It appears that some devotees are offended by this idea but personally I don't find anything wrong with this representation as devotees ware just trying to avoid the unnecessary scrutiny of customs officials in order to carry on with their service. Other devotees going through customs with Salagrama might take the opportunity to preach to airport authorities about Salagrama as God but this is certainly not entry level preaching and could possibly result in delay. This is especially true in these times where there is so much paranoia centered on religious fanaticism in the airports.
Yesterday I discussed this issue with Vaisesika Prabhu a book distributor and devotee since the early 70s who just returned from his annual preaching tour to Japan. Vaisasika worships Salagrama and carries his Deity in a pouch around his neck that has a picture of Lord Jaganatha on the front. When going through customs he keeps the pouch hanging outside his shirt in order to avoid suspicion and when asked about the pouch tells officials it contains his "Lucky Stone".
More often than not authorities will ask to see what's in the pouch and upon hearing that it contains a "Lucky Stone" often treat the "Lucky Stone" (Visnu-Salagrama) with reverence hoping for good luck. On the occasion of his recent visit to Japan the custom official there raised his hands upon seeing Salagrama and then began to clap and dance repeating over and over "Lucky Stone-Lucky Stone".
Vaisasika Prabhu was not offended in the least by the "Lucky Stone" clapping and dancing and smiling broadly did a little dance himself. This type of happiness is in accordance with Mahaprabhu's own bhava when he accepted the playful chanting of little children or even the mock chanting of the Muslims and atheists as a type of Nama bhajan.
Vaisesika Prabhu said he learned this trick from Indradumna Swami who also travels with Salagrama and found that sometimes by representing Salagrama as "Lucky Stone" he experienced wonderful results.
Bowing, dancing, or clapping for the "Lucky Stone" Salagrama may not be the same as the venerable worship of devotees but still Mahaprabhu showed how the merciful Lord accepts such worship. In the least clapping and dancing for the "Lucky Stone" Salagrama can be understood as ajnata sukrti or unknowingly serving Visnu or Vaisnava.
In his Gita commentary Baladeva Vidyabhusana tell us that devotional piety is developed simply by the merciful glance of great devotees. This bhakti-unmukhi-sukrti takes two forms: ajnata sukrti which is sukriti gained without the recipient's knowledge and jnata sukriti or knowledgeable service to a devotee. Ajnata sukrti leads to jnata sukriti which leads to sraddha or faith that in turn leads to sadhu sanga, and bhajana kriya. Bhajana kriya or sadhana is the active quest for realization.
Bhakti devi resides in the heart of sincere devotees and through them takes the opportunity to distribute herself to even those who are uninterested in devotional service. Meeting a devotee and rendering even unknowing service (ajnata sukriti) begins the process of qualifying a person for bhakti and their progress back to home-back to Godhead.
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango'tha bhajana-kriya tato'nartha- nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah (BRS 1.4.15-16)
These are the secrets and tricks of devotees who go everywhere and take every opportunity to give Bhakti devi to others.
Krishndas Kaviraja tells us:
Seeing that the Mayavadis and others were fleeing, Lord Caitanya thought: I wanted everyone to be immersed in this inundation of love of Godhead, but some of them have escaped. Therefore I shall devise a trick to drown them also. Adi 7.33
Prabhupada says in the Purport that devotees should think of how to spread Krishna consciousness by adopting ways and means that are favorable for this purpose. Stereotyped methods will never help spread Krishna consciousness. Therefore, what we are doing is perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for it is He who proposed to invent a way to capture those who strayed from Krishna consciousness.
Is referring to Salagrama-Sila as a "Lucky Stone" an offense or is it adopting ways and means that are favorable for the purpose of spreading Krishna consciousness?
If we judge by how even faithless people are tricked into clapping or bowing before the Salagrama-Sila then we would have to say that the name "Lucky Stone" is brilliantly perfect by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.