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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




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(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, 11.01. 2014, morning, Sofia)
 
(continues from the previous Monday)
 
Next point: “When a deity is being borne for a stroll in the street, a devotee should immediately follow the procession.”[1] Because Krishna is dancing. He is dancing on the altar, but from time to time He likes to look around also. Just like in Jagannath temple – He has His summer vacation in Gundicha temple. If we have a vacation, He might also have one, isn’t it? The procession, when they take the deities out, means that more people can join and see and be part of this happy event. 
Shrila Prabhupad says, this is interesting to see the tradition a little bit: “In this connection it may be noted that in India, especially in Vishnu temples, the system is that apart from the main deity, who is permanently situated in the main area of the temple, there is a set of smaller deities, which are taken in procession in the evening. In some temples it is the custom to hold big procession in the evening with a band playing, a nice big umbrella over the deities, who sit on decorated thrones on a cart or palanquin, which is carried by devotees. The deities come out on to the streets and travel in the neighborhood, while the people of the neighborhood come out to offer prasadam. The residents of the neighborhood all follow the procession, so it is a very nice scene. When the deity is coming out, the servitors in the temple put forward the daily accounts before them: so much was the collection, so much was the expenditure. The whole idea is that the deity is considered to be a proprietor of the whole establishment. And all the priests and other people taking care of the temple are considered to be the servants of the deity. This system is very-very old and still is followed. Therefore it is mentioned here that when a deity is on a stroll, the people should follow behind.” 
So, they treat Krishna, the deities also in a very personal way – They are the owners of the temples. It is possible – legally registered real estate on the names of the deities. The property belongs to the deity. Isn’t that beautiful? He is a person, so He can own the place. It would be very difficult to explain it here. The officer might ask: “And who is the owner of this place?” “God. So, in case you have to collect your taxes, go to Him.” 
Point number eight: “A devotee must visit a Vishnu temple at least once or twice per day – morning and evening. In Vrindavana this system is followed very strictly. All the devotees in the town go every morning and evening to visit different temples. Therefore during these times there are considerable crowds all over the city. There are about 5 000 temples in Vrindavana city. Of course it is not possible to visit all the temples, but there are at least one dozen very big and important temples, which were started by the goswamis and which should be visited.” 
 
(to be continued)
 
1.   Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 6
 


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