April 2020
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01. 2014, morning, Sofia)
(continues from the previous Monday)
Point number ten: “One must worship the deity in the temple according to regulative principles by offering arati and prasad, decorating the deity, etc.”[1]
Question of Hari Lila: It was mentioned that devotees offer to the deities prasadam. Is it prasadam or bhoga?
Swami Tirtha: Generally we offer bhoga and when it is accepted by Krishna, by the deities, then it is prasadam. In general bhoga means ‘foodstuff’ or ‘enjoyment’. So, all enjoyment is first for Krishna. And to offer our food to Krishna means that we don’t taste it, we cook it in a very clean mood, we follow the regulations, we ring the bell, we put the tulasi on the plate, etc. etc. But you know, when mother Yashoda is cooking for Krishna, she tastes: “Ah! A little more salt is necessary” and then she adds. She doesn’t care about the ritual offering, but her motherly care is for Krishna’s full satisfaction. Who was that Rama bhakta who started to chew and…
Madhava Sangini: Shabari.
Swami Tirtha: How was that?
Madhava Sangini: She was waiting for Rama to come and she was collecting fruits for Him. And when He came, first she was tasting whether it’s sweet or not and then she was offering to Him. And Rama was gladly accepting. 
Swami Tirtha: Yes. It is also said, whatever is given by a pure devotee or whatever is accepted by a pure devotee it is prasadam. If you ring the bell or you don’t ring the bell – it doesn’t matter. So, the general rule is: follow the regulations – and usually this is the method. But the vrajavasis[2] have a very-very special connection to Krishna. 
Let me share with you a very dear event. Radha-Raman temple, which is another famous temple in Vrindavan, is established in the goswamis’ times by Gopal Bhatta Goswami. They say that in this temple the fire in the kitchen has been burning for five hundred years permanently. They can pay so much attention to maintain the flow of the service that it’s permanently burning there. Every evening there is a beautiful musical offering in this temple, nice bhajans and kirtans. And when we visited this temple, we saw an elderly gentleman also visiting the temple – just as it was said that morning and evening you have to go and visit the temple. There the altar is a little elevated. And the deity is very small. So, you are very far away from the small little deity. And if you are elderly, it’s very difficult to see, right? So, when the curtain opened and the music started and devotees came around, this elderly gentleman took his monocle and he was checking: ‘Ah, yes!’ He was very satisfied. And what was his next gesture? He transferred it to others, so that they can also see. So beautiful! Sharing: “Here is my Lord dancing! You, also see!” Next day I also checked: he was there with his monocle again. So, this is their very intimate mood that they develop with their beloved ishtadev[3]. 
1. Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6
2. Residents of Vrindavana
3. deity


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