August 30, 2003
Des Plaines Mandira

In religion, if one understands the reason behind the many rituals and practices, their application becomes more clear and appropriate. There is the example of a priest who brought a lantern, cat, and walking cane to the temple everyday. He did this for years simply because his father and forefathers had kept these items with them. In reality, the lantern was used because electricity was not available at the time, the cat kept the mice from eating the temple food, and the walking cane assisted the old father in walking. All these issues were no longer applicable, but the priest clung to former ways without proper understanding.

Many also wonder that despite their devotion, why do they still not see results or gain happiness? In Swami Ni Vato 12/148, Gunatitanand Swami gives the story of a blind man from the town of Dhari who asked Gunatitanand Swami why, after giving 18 months of salary to God, did he become blind? When the blind man explained that he earned the money by hosting entertainers (for the townspeople), Gunatitanand Swami revealed that his becoming blind was like marking one's forehead with hot ash, while the branding iron was yet to come (i.e., becoming blind was only a preview of what was in store)! Thus, even acts of devotion should be done with proper understanding.



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