Serving Gaura Nitai Deities
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Question: I heard they were going to use elephants at the Ratha-yatra this year.
No, they did not. At first, the Supreme Court did not give permission to hold Ratha-yatra this year, but after that Prime Minister and Home Minister appealed and gave pressure to the Odisha government, they filed a petition with the Supreme Court saying that if Ratha-yatra did not happen this year, there would be no Ratha-yatra for the next twelve years, it would have to be stopped for the next twelve years. So, the government became afraid and allow to hold Ratha-yatra, but with one-two hundred people attending. All pandas were tested for coronavirus and only after everyone made sure they all tested negative did they get the permission.
Question: Did they pull the carts?
Yes, with ropes. I watched the full telecast on Odisha channel, up to 5-5:30 p.m. It was very nice, but actually I have no eyes to see Lord Jagannath because my eyes are full of dust of maya, illusory environment.
Are there any other questions from anybody?
Question: What should be the correct vision of the Colombian devotees regarding the service to Their Lordships Sri Sri Guru Gaura Nityanandajiu?
Gurudev always says to those who serve Sri Sri Guru Gaura Nityananda that it is actually a little difficult to serve Radha Krishna and Mahaprabhu and it is easier to serve Nitai Gauranga because They are always merciful and do not take any offence. We are fallen souls, we are mlechhas, we have no quality or qualification to serve Deities, we do not know so many mantras, that is why it is much easier for us to serve Lord Nityananda, Gauranga, and Gurudev. Nityananda Prabhu is non-different from Gurudev, that is why we worship Lord Nityananda and Gurudev.
Actually, what is the question? The correct vision regarding Deities is "sraddhaya sri murtir sevan"—you must serve with love and affection and with full faith. Gurudev saw those Deities, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj saw those Deities, then you must serve those Deities properly, give Them proper love and affection. This is how you will serve Them. Here, we have Gaura Nitai in Puri, we have Nitai Gauranga in Nrisingha Palli and Ekachakra. Having Gaura Nitai rather than Radha-Krishna and Mahaprabhu is not a problem. In another way also, Gauranga Mahaprabhu is Radha-Krishna's combined form, and Nityananda is Gurudev. This is how you can serve these Deities.
Question: I have been reading that in Mahaprabhu's time there were two kinds of rice. One kind of rice is made for Deities (they took the paddy and husked it mechanically, sometimes this rice came out a little broken), and the other kind of rice is what many people took (parboiled, it is pre-boiled in some hot water and then husked). The second, parboiled, type of rice is not considered suitable for offering to the Deities because it has been partially cooked by somebody. I was wondering about this because when we buy rice, it is husked and each grain is perfect, not broken...
I also see that there are two kinds of rice in Nabadwip, one is parboiled rice and the other is atop rice. Atop rice means the paddy is husked without boiling it, it goes to the rice mill and comes out as atop rice. For example, we use this type of rice (Govinda bhog rice) to make sweet rice. Mostly Western devotees like this rice because it is white. This rice is called atop rice. It is not parboiled (pre-boiled). Gurudev could not tolerate this rice, he would get dysentery from it, and I also cannot tolerate it for the same reason. That is why every time Gurudev went abroad, he would carry his own rice, you know that. I also do the same—wherever I go to, I always search there for parboiled rice.
Other than this, it is not a problem, you can offer any kind of rice. If devotees like atop rice, you can offer that. Some other missions, like babaji missions, offer only atop rice, not parboiled rice, because it has not been pre-boiled. Now, they boil rice first at rice mills, then dry it (not in the sun, but inside a machine), and then sell it. All rice is now machine produced. So, there are two kinds of husking mills—one produces atop rice, and the other produces parboiled rice. Every year I go to maybe five hundred rice mills to collect rice, and I see all kinds of mills. Devotees can offer whichever rice they like.
Question: Do they give you parboiled rice when you go collecting?
Yes, of course. Almost all rice we collect is parboiled. We also get some atop rice, but Bengali people here do not take white atop rice, they like parboiled rice.
Question: What is that parboiled rice called in the market place?
Siddha chal, boiled rice, and the other one is atop rice.
Question: Sometimes, devotees say that they do not eat so much rice, they like pasta.
It is not a problem. They can offer pasta, they can offer arepa, it is not a problem. When Nitai Chaitanya go to Venezuela, America, etc., They become like children, so They take pasta, chowmein, cakes, etc.
Question: Is it OK to cook pre-packaged pasta and rice available in the market?
Yes, but some noodles have onion and garlic inside. Do not use that.
Question: No, I means dry pasta without flavour that you cook by itself in water.
Yes, it is not a problem. I went to the market today and also bought that kind of pasta. There are some castes where there are many restrictions. For example, at the temple of Jagannath they do not use any foreign things like potato, tomatoes, chilis, etc.—they say that all these things have come from abroad, so they do not use it when making Jagannath prasadam, not even chilli. Also, they do not use all kinds of dal—they only use urad dal. There is some difference at the temple of Lord Jagannath, but when Jagannath goes to Malaysia, He easily eats potato, tomato, tofu, etc. there.
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