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Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) :: Conto 11

On Respecting the Form of God

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Srimad Bhagavatam » Conto 11   

 On Respecting the Form of God

(1) S'rî Uddhava said: 'Please explain the yoga of the service unto You as a deity, o Master. Who is of that worship, in respect of what form is one of worship and in what manner are You worshiped then, o Master of the Sâtvatas [see also mûrti and 11.3: 48-55]? (2) The sages Nârada, Bhagavân Vyâsa and my preceptor the son of Angirâ [Brihaspati] repeatedly say that there is nothing as conducive to one's welfare. (3-4) The words that emanated from Your lotus mouth about this were expressed by the great unborn Lord [Brahmâ] speaking to his sons who are headed by Bhrigu, and by the great Lord S'iva speaking to the goddess [Pârvatî, see B.G. 3: 9-10]. This [service to Your deity form] is approved by all classes and spiritual orders of society and is, I think, most suitable for women and the working class, o Magnanimous One. (5) O Lord with the Lotus Eyes, please, o Controller of All Controllers in the Universe, speak to your bhakta, who is so full of attachment, about this means of liberation from the bondage of karma.'

(6) The Supreme Lord said: 'There is indeed no end to the innumerable prescriptions for acting in [bhakti-]yoga [see e.g. B.G. 1-6]; so, Uddhava, let Me in brief explain it nicely one step at a time. (7) One should properly be of worship by choosing for one of the three kinds of processes of sacrifice: according to the Vedas, according to the explanatory literatures [tantras like the Pañcarâtra] and according to a combination of them. (8) Please take faithfully notice of the way a person, who to the for him relevant sacred precepts [*] achieved the status of a second birth, with devotion should be of worship for Me. (9) With the necessary material he must, connected in bhakti, free from ulterior motives worship Me, his worshipable guru, with the help of an idol, or with an altar, a fire, the [position of the] sun, with water or with Me as being present in the twiceborn heart itself [**]. (10) Concerning the two kinds of purification one should first bathe and brush one's teeth and secondly bathe in mantras with the application of clay and such [see tilaka, kavaca and 6.8: 3-10]. (11) To be freed from his karma he who is perfectly fixed in his determination should engage in My ritual worship [pûjâ] with performing duties as prescribed in the Vedas [see also 11.14: 35 ] like being of ceremonial respect and such at the three junctures of the day.

(12) There are eight types of forms with which one remembers Me: in stone, wood, metal, smearable substances [like clay], being painted, in sand, in jewels and as an image kept in the mind. (13) The individual form which is thus of two varieties - viz. subject and not subject to change - does, when it is installed in a temple for permanent, o Uddhava, not have to be brought forward (âvâdana) or brought away (udvâsa). (14) When the form is temporarily installed one has these two options, but assigned a fixed place do the following options occur: not of a smearable substance [or of paint or wood] it is washed but in all other cases it is cleansed without water. (15) There is My worship of the different forms with excellent paraphernalia and the worship of a devotee free from material desire using whatever that's readily available, as well as certainly the worship in the heart by what was mentally conceived.

(16-17) Customary bathing and decorating is most appreciated for an idol [in the temple], Uddhava, for an altar that is an exercise of respect in mantras [tattva-vinyâsa] and for fire are oblations [of sesame, barley etc.] drenched in ghee considered the best. For the sun that is a respectful greeting with a meditation in âsanas [see Sûrya-namskar] and for water are offerings of water and such most dear [to Me]. (18) When even a bit of water that is presented by My bhakta with faith is most dear [to Me, see also B.G. 9: 26], then how much more would foodstuffs, flowers, lamps, fragrances and incense mean? By contrast the many that is being offered by non-devotees will not bring about My satisfaction [see also B.G. 16]. (19) Being clean, having collected the necessary items, with the blades [of kus'a] of the seat that was arranged to the east, and sitting down facing the east or the north, or else directly facing the deity, he should then be of worship [compare 1.19: 17, 4.24: 10, 8.9: 14-15]. (20) Chanting mantras and assigning them to his own and to My deity body should he with his hand wipe clean [the altar and deity] and properly prepare the sacred pot and vessel for sprinkling the water. (21) With the water of the vessel sprinkling the area of the deity, the utensils and his own body, he should next prepare three vessels with water and arrange for the necessary auspicious items as far as they're available [like flowers, grains, blades of grass, sesame seeds etc., see ***]. (22) With the three vessels of water present for His feet [pâdya], His hands [arghya], and His mouth [âcamana] the worshiper then should be of purification with the mantras for [respectively] the heart [hridayâya namah], the head [s'îrase svâhâ] and the tuft of hair [s'ikhâyai vashath] as also with the Gâyatrî. (23) He is expected to meditate on the Original Individuality of all Expansions, the very subtle transcendental form of Mine that, within his body that was fully purified by air and fire, is situated on the lotus of the heart and is experienced in the end vibration of the Pranava [see also 2.2]. (24) With the help of that by his own realization conceived, meditated form perfectly being of worship within his body that got charged in being pervaded by His presence, he should conscientiously carry out the worship with inviting Him by [nyâsa] touching His limbs with mantras in order to establish Him within the deity and all that is respected along with it. (25-26) One should for the achievement of both [enjoyment and liberation], in respect of both the Vedas and the tantras, together with the items of worship make the offerings of the pâdya, arghya and âcamana water to Me, after having imagined My seat with the nine s'aktis and the [deities of] dharma etc. [*4] as an effulgent lotus with eight petals with saffron filaments in its whorl. (27) He should one after the other respect the Lord His disc-weapon [the Sudars'ana cakra], His conch [the Pâñcajanya], His club [the Kaumodaki] and His arrows and bow [the S'arnga], His [Balarâma items of the] plow and pestle [hala and mushala], his gem [the Kaustubha], His garland [the Vaijayantî] and His chest mark curl of white hairs [the S'rîvatsa]. (28) Garuda, Nanda, Sunanda, Pracanda and Canda, Mahâbala, Bala, Kumuda and Kumudekshana [are the names of His carrier bird and eight associates]. (29) Durgâ, Vinâyaka [Ganes'a], Vyâsa, Vishvaksena [see 6.8: 29, 9.21: 25-26], the spiritual masters, the godly, should each in their own place facing the deity be worshiped with the sprinkling of water and other rituals [*5]. (30-31) Using waters scented with sandalwood, us'îra root, camphor, kunkuma and aguru the worshiper should every day bathe [the deity] as far as his means permit; also he should chant hymns, such as the one from the vedic chapter known as Svarna-gharma, the incantation called Mahâpurusha, the Purusha-sûkta [from the Rig Veda] and songs from the Sâma Veda such as the Râjana and such. (32) My devotee should with love decorate Me with clothing, a sacred thread, ornaments, marks of tilaka, garlands and fragrant oils as is enjoined. (33) The worshiper should present to Me with faith pâdya and âcamana water, fragrances and flowers, whole grains, incense, lamps and such items. (34) According to one's means one should arrange for offerings of foodstuffs like candy, sweet rice, ghee, rice flour cake [s'ashkulî], sweet cakes [âpûpa], sweet rice flour dumplings with coconut [modaka], spicy sweet wheat cake of ghee and milk [samyâva], yogurt and vegetable soups. (35) Massaging with ointment, cleaning the teeth before a mirror, bathing, food to be chewed and not to be chewed, singing and dancing one should have on special days or else every day. (36) In a sacrificial area set up as prescribed one should, wearing a girdle, using a fire pit and an elevation for sacrificing, by hand build and bring to a blaze a fire that is equally piled up. (37) Spreading [kus'a grass, mats] and then sprinkling and ceremonially [anvâdhâna] placing wood in the fire the way it is prescribed he should, having arranged for the âcamana water, sprinkel the items to offer and meditate on Me as residing in the fire. (38-41) Meditating in worship on Him as being brilliant with a color of molten gold, with His conch, disc, club and lotus, His four arms and tranquility; His garment with the color of the filaments of a lotus, shining helmet, bracelets, belt, the ornaments on His arms, the S'rîvatsa on His chest, the effulgent Kaustubha and a flower garland; throwing pieces of wood soaked in ghee into the fire and in the course of the arghya ritual making the two offerings of sprinkling ghee [in two ways called Âghâras] and [two different] oblations of ghee [called Âjyabhâgas], the intelligent one should offer into the fire, with root mantras and the [sixteen lines of the] Purusha-sûkta hymn, the oblations to Yamarâja and the other demigods called Swishthakrit in due order using a mantra for each [see also 11.14: 36-42, 11.19: 20-24, 11.21: 15]. (42) Thus having been of worship next offering obeisances unto His associates, he should present offerings chanting the basic mantra for the deity in question and remember the Absolute Truth as being the Original Self of Nârâyana. (43) After offering the âcamana water and giving the remnants of the food to Vishvaksena, he should present prepared betel nut and fragrant water for the mouth [see also 11.3: 48-53, 11.25: 28]. (44) He should [next] for some time [see kâla, 11.21: 9] become absorbed in celebration by listening himself and make others listen to My stories, by acting out My transcendental activities and by dancing, chanting loudly and singing along with others [see also e.g. 11.5: 36-37, 11.14: 23-24]. (45) With prayers from the Purânas, with large or small prayers from other ancient scriptures and with prayers written by others [see bhajans] and prayers from more common sources, he should prostrate and pay homage saying: 'O Lord, please show Your mercy'. (46) Placing one's head at My feet with one's palms brought together [he may say a prayer like:] 'O Lord, please protect this surrendered soul who in this material ocean is afraid of being devoured by death' [compare B.G. 11: 19]. (47) Praying thus he should put the remnants granted by Me to his head and he should do this prayer once more when the deity respectfully is to be bidden farewell so that the light [of the deity] finds its place within the light [of his heart *6].

(48) Whenever one develops faith in Me in whatever deity form or other manifestation, one should for that form be of worship since I, the Original Soul of All, am situated within all living beings as well as in oneself [see also B.G. 6: 31 and *7]. (49) This way by the processes of acting in yoga a person with respect for the Veda and more specialized texts will both in this life and the next by My grace achieve the desired perfection. (50) In order to properly establish My deity the devotee should build a strong temple and maintain beautiful flower gardens meant [to provide flowers] for daily pûjâ, festivals and yearly occasions. (51) He who puts at My disposal land, shops, cities and villages in order to assure the continuance of the daily worship and the special occasions, will achieve an opulence equal to Mine. (52) Installing the deity brings sovereignty over the entire earth, building a temple gives rulership over the three worlds and performing pûjâ and likewise services will deliver one the realm of Brahmâ. When one does all three one will attain a status equal to Mine. (53) [But] he who free from ulterior motives engages in bhakti-yoga reaches that what is the result of devotional yoga: thus being of worship he gets Me [see also 5.5: 14, 11.12: 24 and B.G. 6: 44]. (54) He who steals away the property of the gods and the brahmins that was donated by oneself or by others, is a stool-eating worm bound to take birth for a hundred million years [compare 10.64: 39]. (55) The perpetrator [of that kind of theft] as well as his accomplice, as also he who prompted it and the one who approved it, all will share the karmic reaction in the life that follows in which they, depending their commitment, will have to face the consequences.'

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SOURCE: Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/

Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html

The sourcetexts, illustrations and music to this translation one can find following the links from: http://bhagavata.org/