Calcutta, India — Friday, November 7th
Staying in the holy dham
There are so many good reasons to make a pilgrimage to the holy dham — Navadwip, Vrindavan, etc. — but just as with anything else in Krishna consciousness, there is also the potential to commit so many offenses if we are careless or unwary.
Before going on a pilgrimage, we should at least familiarize ourselves with the ten offenses against the holy dham (because forewarned is forearmed). The ten offenses to be avoided in the holy dham are:
1 To disrespect or insult the guru (the revealer of the holy dham).
2 To think that the holy dham is temporary.
3 To be violent towards any of the residents of the holy dham, or the pilgrims, or to think that they are ordinary or mundane.
4 To perform mundane activities while living in the holy dham.
5 To make money or otherwise try to profit from deity worship or the chanting of the holy name of Krishna in the holy dham.
6 To think that the holy dham is a measurable geographic location, or that it is equal to holy places connected with lesser demigods.
7 To commit sinful acts while in the holy dham.
8 To think that Vrindavan dham and Navadwip dham are different.
9 To blaspheme the shastras which glorify the holy dham.
10 To be faithless and to think that the glories of the holy dham are imaginary.
If we stay in the holy dham for too long — particularly if we are not with Srila Gurudeva or if we do not have a specific service duty — we will find it increasingly difficult to avoid these offenses (numbers four and seven especially!) as our temporarily repressed desires and bad habits inevitably begin to demand more and more satisfaction.
In the Brihad Bhagavatamrita (1:2:78-79), after Lord Brahma offers prayers to Lord Krishna and apologizes for kidnapping the cowherd boys and calves, he tells Narada Muni:
...bahu manye sma
syur iti trasan apasaram...
"I realized how fortunate I was to have visited the land of Vraja, which is so dear to [Krishna]. Feeling I would commit more offenses if I stayed there too long, I then went away."
If such exalted personalities like Lord Brahma and Hanuman exercise so much caution and are so careful not to overstay their welcome when they visit the holy dham, how much more circumspect should we be?
Layout by iMonk — November 7th, 2008.