Question: I have been doing some research on deity installations and the idea of invoking the Lord directly into the fire and came across this verse from Bhakti Sandarbha, Volume 3, Text 11, which is referring to SB11.11.42-46 (where Kṛṣṇa described the worship of Himself in the following objects: sun, fire, brahmaṇa, cow, Vaiṣṇavas, sky, air, air, water, earth, self and all living beings):
atra-agni-ādau tad-antaryāmi-rūpasyaiva cintanam kāryam. na jātu nija-prema-sevā-viśeṣa-āśraya-svābhiṣṭa-rūpa-viśeṣasya. sa tu sarvathā parama-sukumāratva-ādi-buddhi-janitayā prityaiva sevanīyaḥ
“Here, in the fire, one should only think of the imminent form of God. But one should not meditate on one’s worshipable deity who is the object of one’s loving service [within the fire of sacrifice]. He indeed must be served with love, considering Him as having a very tender body.”
Is Śrī Jīva saying that we should not invoke the Lord into a homa fire or is this is more about the specifics of seeing the Lord as the supersoul in all of the material elements, fire, water, etc. like it states directly in the verse? Just as we would see the supersoul in marble, when it becomes a deity it becomes a different type of meditation, than regular marble, similarly in the homa when you invoke Kṛṣṇa, is it a different thing. Of course, this speaks also to a tradition according to pañcarātra of doing homas for Nṛsiṁha sudarśana, Dhanvantari, and others wherein that particular form is directly invoked into the fire.
Answer: Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says that we should not think of our iṣṭa-deva in fire, such as in a homa fire. We can meditate on Paramātma in fire but not on Nanda-nandana. He is to be meditated situated in Vraja, which is His natural abode. We should not even meditate on Nanda-nandana in our heart.
Question: In Tattva Sandarbha, Anuccheda 15, you have mentioned that Purāṇas are eternal and apauruṣeya based on their transcendental origin. Also Śrīmad Bhāgavatam being a Purāṇa is also eternal.
In the Purāṇas, there are different stories of many kings from different dynasties. If the Purāṇas are eternal, are these stories and names of the kings also eternal? We understand that the pastimes of the Lord are eternal. But are the names of these kings in different dynasties also eternal? How do we understand this?
Answer: Yes, the names are eternal. But the stories may be different in different kalpas.
This is the reason that we find difference in the stories in different Purāṇas.
Question: I am not clear whether there is a difference between varṇa and jāti. Could you please explain?
Answer: Varṇa and jāti are two separate things and should not be confused with each other. Jāti is based on birth, and varṇa on guṇas.
Brāhmaṇa is a varṇa as well as a jāti. So one can have a jāti of a brāhmaṇa and a varṇa of a kśatriya, as in the case of Paraśurāma. People in general are not clear about these distinctions.
We like to be naked because then we are free from the dress – the conditioning. That is why everyday we want to undress completely and experience dreamless sleep. Our clothes, our house, our possessions – these are all our dresses. Sometimes it is good to meditate on deep sleep. When we are in deep sleep, we are free from the dress. And when we wake up, we should deliberate that this is just my dress, so we don’t become too much attached to it. Deep sleep is an experience of our own inner self.
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