Redundant Rituals

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata—Worldwide, 13 September 2020, part 5


Question: Is it appropriate to put a Tulasi leaf into the mouth of someone who has died to protect this person from Yamadutas?

It is not necessary to do that because if it is a devotee, they already have a kanthi-mala. If someone is not a devotee, here in India, in Hinduism, they put Tulasi leaves onto the eyes. I saw that once and I asked Gurudev, "Why do they put Tulasi leaves on the eyes of a dead body?" Gurudev told a very funny story. He said that when somebody in the family dies, the family members think that there is ghost there, so if they look at the dead body and the eyes are open, they become afraid, so they put some weight on the eyes and a Tulasi leaf. Sometimes also, when people die, you can see the dead body's eyes are open, and it looks like a ghost—it is very difficult for others to bear such a sight. For this reason, they close the eyes and put Tulasi leaves there...

That is why, you must always wear Tulasi neckbeads (kanthi-mala)—do not lose your kanthi-mala, always keep Tulasi mala on your neck. If the kanthi-mala is there, it is good for you.

Question: This month now is for pitru-paksha, what is the Vaishnava way of performing sraddha for pitru-paksha?

Hindu people do this, but we are:

সর্ব্বধর্ম্মান্ পরিত্যজ্য মামেকং শরণং ব্রজ ।
অহং ত্বাং সর্ব্বপাপেভ্যো মোক্ষয়িষ্যামি মা শুচঃ ॥

sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo, moksayisyami ma suchah

"Give up all kinds of religion and surrender to Me alone. I will liberate you from all sins, do not despair."

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)

We do not do any pitri-paksa. Some Hindu people do it—they pray to the Ganges, do some puja, give an offering for their father or forefathers. That is called pitri-paksa. However, this is not our culture. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, our Gurudev, Guru Maharaj never told us about it, they never told us to do it. We worship the Lord every day, we offer bhoga to the Lord every day, we take prasadam every day, so it is not necessary for us to do any anything for pitri-paksa. Those who do not follow Krishna consciousness, who are not devotees, can do it, they can follow as many Hindu rituals and rules as they like, but we do not do it. We know that we are jiva souls—we are eternal servants of the Lord, and we always remember that. So, we should not do any special puja for forefathers.

...Sometimes it happens so that we had done so many things before because we did not know any better.

অপি চেৎ সুদুরাচারো ভজতে মামনন্যভাক্ ।
সাধুরেব স মন্তব্যঃ সম্যগ্ব্যবসিতো হি সঃ ॥

api chet suduracharo, bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah, samyag vyavasito hi sah

"If even a very sinful person serves Me exclusively with devotion, he should be regarded as saintly, for his resolve is perfect."

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 9.30)

We had become quite wicked (durachar)—we had done so many bad things; but when you surrender to Krishna, Krishna will always protect you, and He will rescue you from that illusory environment, from that karma. Krishna always accepts us as His servitor once we surrender to Him. This is the main thing. If you are fully surrendered to the Lord, you do not need to worry. That is why, it is necessary to have a full surrender (sad-anga saranagati).


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Ei-Bara Karuna Kara
Vaisnava Gosani
'O worshippable Vaishnava, be merciful to me this time. O saviour of the fallen, without you there is no one. If one comes to you, one's sins go away. Where can such a merciful master be found?'


Jaya 'guru-maharaja'
'Your lofty, delightful form is an abode of divine emotion and filled with divine lustre. Your eyes are illumined with divine knowledge.'
জয় ‘গুরু-মহারাজ’

He takes us by our sikha and throws us to the lotus feet of Gurudev, Krishna, but we are like insects—he takes us out of stool, and we again go to the stool.