Prasad's Purifying Power

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
22 May 2018, Siliguri, part 6

 

Do you remember what is called prapancha? I have told it to you before many years ago. Prapancha means five diseases. First you must remove these five diseases, then you can take medicine. Suppose I make a guess and give you some random medicine—will it work? First you must diagnose the disease. First you do a blood test, then you can see if you have diabetes, if you have blood cancer or typhoid or something else. So, it is written that there are five prapancha (diseases). You can find this written in our calendar also.

Avidya means ignorance, ajnana. Almost everybody in this world is ignorant. People pass MA, MAC, PhD, MP—they get so many university degrees, but they are all unknowledgeable, they are caught in the net of ignorance. You can say, "What are you saying?" But I tell this in front of them also. They say, "We are great scholars, we are scientists! We are not ignorant, we are scholars." My reply to that is, "You cannot see yourself, you do not know who you are, that is why you are ignorant. As long as you do not have the conception of your real self, you are ignorant. Those who have the knowledge that they and this body are not the same, are true scholars, they know they are a spirit soul, and this body is merely made up of five gross elements."

Many people say that Brahman is the highest, for example Rabindranath Tagore also said it. He is a world-famous poet, everybody knows he is a good poet, a great thinker, but I would say he is ignorant. Why? Because he says Brahman is the highest and there is no atma—everything finishes when the body is finished.

So, avidya, or ajnana, means forgetfulness of one's own soul. We forget our own soul. We always think in terms of "me" and "mine"—my house, my room, my son, my family, etc. What does it mean? It means we forget the spirit soul. I am not this body, I am atma, a particle of the Lord. My name is such and such, but this is not me. It is necessary to understand this. Everything belongs to the Lord; there is a spirit soul within me that is a particle of the Lord, and this body is made of five material elements—those who have understood this are called jnani, they are not diseased.

The second prapancha (disease) is asmita—identification with the material body, strong attraction to one's wife, husband, child, little attraction towards the Lord, considering this body to be the self, always worrying what will become of this body, worrying about death. This is called asmita. Remember it, I will ask you later.

Next is raga. It is not anger (rag), it means attachment to the things favourable for the body. It means worrying, "Oh, when I lose this body, what will become of me? What if I die? Who will look after me when I get old?" (The Lord will take care of you.)

Dvesa means aversion to anything that goes against one's enjoyment. It means you have attachment to the material things and no attachment to the Lord.

Then, there is abhinivesa: being unable to give up unfavourable habits. You must accept what is favourable to devotion, but at the same time if you do not give up what is unfavourable to devotion, that is called abhinives. It is same as taking milk and taking tobacco—you take milk thinking of your health, but if you take tobacco, or pan, at the same time, then all the benefit of the milk is destroyed. I do something good, I chant the Holy Name, I serve the Lord, and in the meantime when I get time I sit and gossip, talk about this and that, listen to stories, talk bad about others, criticise others. What happens then? Then all these unfavourable things destroy the benefit of the favourable activities. If you do service for two hours and gossip for four hours, then the result of the unfavourable activities will be stronger, and in the end the sukriti you have come with will diminish.

Remember this. These are the five diseases called prapancha. How can this prapancha go away? By serving prasadam. You only need to take prasadam, then all these five will go away.

Suppose today they cooked eggplant, potato and patal (they do not cook karela), and you think, "It is Purushottom month now, I will not eat today!" so you go boil some karela on your own and take it mixing with rice. Taking something without offering it to the Lord—taking unoffered food—is not Vaishnava-dharma. You must give up taking unoffered food and take only what has been offered to the Lord. When you take food that has been offered to the Lord, you get relief from whatever sin that is committed while cooking. When you cook, so many souls (insects, etc.) die—when you burn fire, when you cook something, how many insects and plants suffer at that time! But if the plants are cooked for Govinda, they get some benefit. This is how one must live. "Prasada-seva karite haya, sakala prapancha-jaya (প্রসাদ-সেবা করিতে হয় সকল প্রপঞ্চ জয়): by honouring the Lord's prasad all material faults are removed."

Always remember this, always take prasad. Even if you stay at your home, cook and offer the bhog to Gurudev, and then take his prasad.

 

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