Pure Devotees' Practice
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Devotees practise every day. Just as you eat every day, you go to toilet every day, you take a bath every day, the Deity also must have a bath, get an offering, etc. You must have an altar in your house—make an altar in a room. I have told one story about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, you know it:
Once, a couple, a husband and a wife, came to take initiation from Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur asked them,
"What for did you come to the tempe?"
"We have come to take initiation from you."
"And why do you want to take initiation? What benefit is it to you?"
"If we take initiation from you, then our children will get very good education, they will get a good job. We also have some monetary and other problems, we can solve everything..."
"I cannot give you initiation for this," replied Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. "It will be better if you can stay here instead—I can give you a room, stay here for seven days. I give class every morning and evening, come and listen to the classes."
So, the couple stayed at the temple and listen to Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's classes every morning and evening. After seven days, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur asked them,
"Are you ready to take initiation now?"
"Yes, Prabhupad," they replied, "We are ready. Can you give us initiation?"
"I can, but I have some condition."
"If you take initiation, you must give me a room and feed me five times a day. Will you do that?"
The couple was very surprised. They thought, "Prabhupad is staying in such a big building, and we live in a mud house... We are very poor people, how will we keep Prabhupad? How will we feed him?" They were silent. Prabhupad said, "Think about it and come later."
They came out and saw one sannyasi. He asked them, "What has happened? What are you thinking about? Is Prabhupad not giving you initiation?"
"He wants to give us initiation, but he has given some condition. He wants one room and he wants us to give him food five times a day. We are poor people, and Prabhupad lives in such a big building, he has a good room... How will we give him a room?"
The sannyasi told then, "You are foolish, you could not understand it! When Prabhupad gives you initiation, his servitor will give you a photograph of Prabhupad. You can make a small singhasan [altar], put the photograph there and offer bhog to the photograph of Prabhupad five times a day. This is what Prabhupad wanted."
"Oh, that is very easy! He spoke about this at the class also, we have heard it. Of course, we will keep his photograph, do arati every morning and evening, and offer what we cook and take that prasadam. That is what Prabhupad wanted to say!"
After they spoke to the sannyasi, they came back to Prabhupad and said, "We have understood it now. We were very foolish and could not understand anything, but now we understand and accept your condition. We can follow your condition."
That is initiation. Practising life is necessary. I tell all the devotees—remember and sing five songs every morning and five songs every evening. It is easy. It takes twenty minutes to sing five songs in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening. Forty minutes a day. You work all the time, but can you not give forty minutes to your Gurudev, to Krishna, Radharani, Gaura Nityananda? Your wife cooks something, she can offer it or you can cook and offer it to your Guru, and then take prasad. Put some prasad in a container and carry your lunch with you. Those who are pure devotees, they do like this here in India.
I tell everybody: wake up for mangal arati every day. Grihastha, householder devotees, do mangal arati every day. They follow the same programme as what we do at the temple. I tell everybody—you can turn your house into a temple. That is what Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur wanted. He said, "I want to make a temple in everybody's heart." You can make a temple in your house.
You can put the Deities' picture on your altar—it is not necessary to have a vigraha [Deity]. Gurudev says that if you have a Deity, then it is very difficult because you must sometimes come to India, you must visit some festivals, go to the temple, etc. who will offer bhog at that time? But if you have the Deities' picture on your altar, then whenever you cannot offer the bhog properly because you must go to the temple, it is not a problem, the Deities' picture is always worshipped. For example, if you take a picture of the Deities from this temple and cannot offer the bhog one day, it is not a problem because the Deities are offered bhog here every day; or if you take Nabadwip Deities' picture, the bhog is offered and the Deities are worshipped every day is Nabadwip properly, so it is all right if you cannot do it one day at home. If you think, "Oh, I have made an offence," it is not an offence actually because you have to go to different places for service—you go to the temple, you have to visit your family, you fly to India, etc. If you cannot worship the picture properly for one or two days and you think, "I do it every day, but I could not do it today," if some sadness or pain comes to you, it is a good feeling, but it is not a problem because the Deities' picture is always worshipped all over the world.
It is necessary to practise in this way.
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