We will be able to benefit from Deity worship or visiting pilgrimage places only when we develop our feelings of love and faith. There is no special benefit in just physically visiting these places. As it is, God Himself is seated in our hearts and we are not benefiting in the slightest from this. Then what could we expect to receive from a stone Deity?
If someone says, “What you are saying is preposterous!” Then answer this question. After you visited the four main pilgrimage places (Dvarika, Rameshvaram, Badrikashrama and Jagannatha Puri) and you returned home, did you become renounced from the world? Did your attachment to your loved ones and wealth go away? “No, it did not go away.” In fact, it increased. After returning to your home, when you saw your children and grandchildren, you joyfully gave them big hugs, “I’m back!” What happened? You were fine before you left. “Well, when I was gone, I was remembering them. I kept thinking, ‘I’ve been gone for twelve days. What if my accountant makes a mistake with the books . . . and my son was sick when I left. He may have gotten worse. My wife is alone; hopefully she has not become unfaithful in my absence . . .’” Your mind was filled with the world while you sat in the temple. This is the result of going on pilgrimage.
For this reason, understand that God - His names, His forms, His virtues, His pastimes, His abodes and His Saints are divine. If your mind remains attached among any of these through any kind of feeling you will attain the divine abode, Goloka. If your mind remains attached to the world with worldly feelings, you will attain a material result after your death that corresponds to whomever your mind was attached to during your lifetime. But if you love God through any material object, and feel that God is present in that object, you will also attain Goloka.
In this way, we can receive the same benefit from a true Saint that we could receive from God Himself. If we are not benefitted, this is our problem. We have seen Shri Krishna in the past. Even though we saw His actual form, we criticised Him, “He keeps on wandering after girls. Imagine, Sage Durvasa says He is God! He must be crazy too!” Even Sage Durvasa was included in our criticisms. As a result, we received no benefit.
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
9 January 2010
© Radha Govind Samiti