Did the Pancha Tattva Deities shed tears of ecstasy due to the ecstatic kirtan mela?
On whatsapp, photos of Pancha Tattva Deities with some moisture are being circulated. How do we know whether this is an authentic miracle?
Whenever any claim of such miracle is made, we should see —
1) Did it actually happen?
2) Is there any natural explanation for it
3) can it be ascribed to divine cause
Yes we have seen pictures of Panchatattva with tears circulating and the natural explanation for this goes that it might have happened due to condensation of moisture droplets on their metal surface..
Sri chaitanya mahaprabhu himself performed and spoke of many miracles but he never gave credibility to the rumour that krishna was dancing on the hood of kaliya that was being spread when mahaprabhu was in vrindavan
In this particular incident we have to have to understand that do we need miracles of this sort as evidence that the deity is really KRSNA or that our kirtans are really p potent ?
Yes, Krsna can perform such miracles to reciprocate but in such cases focus is not on the miracle happening (e.g. Madhavendra puri & kheer chor gopinath)
but on the subsequent reciprocation or dedication of the devotees.
* Miracles is not something that violates the law of nature *
Krishnadas kaviraj goswami emphasises that we can see miracle (krsna’s potency) in the inspiring services that the devotees perform.(e.g. Success of SP mission is no less than a miracle)
We shouldnt claim such miracles in a sense of supernatural happening bcz that can result into sceptics getting more reason for dubbing religious people as gullible,naive, foolish…even if we say we are not bothered about sceptics, but also among devotees, thoughtful devotees who take stand against such miracles , often get sidelined and may start feeling alienated..
More importantly, THERE MAY DEVELOP A CULTURE OF EXPECTING THESE KIND OF MIRACLES WHICH RESULTS INTO SHIFT OF FOCUS FROM WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR KRISHNA IN HIS SERVICE TO HOW KRISHNA IS GOING TO RECIPROCATE..
TEST OF OUR DEVOTION IS not in a miraculous way in which krishna appears but in the tireless way in which we serve krishna..
Krishna can indeed perform miracles in exceptional situations; in this particular case senior devotees have given natural explanation of this incident, so there is NO NEED of any supernatural explanation to be thought about..
Jesus said ,”faith developed without seeing miracles is better than the faith developed after seeing the exhibition of miracle..
SP said that his miracle was that he transformed peoples lives ; and that transformation is a miracle that is possible for each one of us through the extent we absorb ourselves in krishna through kirtans, through studies, through seva-to that extent miracle will surely happen in our lives.our heart will be redirected from worldly attachment to supreme devotional attachment to krishna and that is the miracle that is going to bring lasting fulfilment in our lives.
The claims of miracles like this may be true and most of the times they may not be true, THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TRANSFORM OUR LIVES
It is our increased inspiration and our increased dedication to loving & serving krishna, that is going to transform our heart.
The miraculous recuperation that SP demonstrated in our lives is his tireless ddedication & krsna’s reciprocation in extraordinary ways without necessarily doing miracles..
The loving reciprocation that we experience with krsna even in natural ways -when we chant, sing and dance , offer obeisances to deities-if our hearts become more and more attracted to krishna, that is extreme miracle and that will grant us love of God
Transcribed by: Argha Maji
Question: Did the Pancha Tattva Deities shed tears of ecstasy due to the ecstatic kirtan mela?
Answer: Whenever any claim of a miracle is made we can consider three simple questions to evaluate the authenticity of the miracle.
First is: Did it happen?
Second: Is there any natural explanation for it?
Third: Is there divine cause for it, if there is not a natural explanation?
So, now first of all many places both within our tradition associated with great saints and outside our tradition associated with saints and people in general, there are many claims of miracles. So the first and foremost question is, did it actually happen? So, now what this means is sometimes some claims are made, Oh the deities are dancing or something like that, so did it actually happen? It may not have happened itself but somehow somebody came up with a story and started claiming it. Now we may say that, Ok in this particular case, we can see that there is moisture on the face of deities and there are pictures which depict that. So now we have to look is there a natural explanation for this. We shouldn’t immediately jump to the idea that it has happened because of something miraculous.
We see that in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes when rumour started circulating when Mahaprabhu was in Vrindavan that Lord Krishna has come and he is dancing on Kaliya at night in Yamuna. So, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately didn’t give credibility to it. Although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself performed miracles and he recited pastimes wherein devotees performed miracles. For example, Kheerchor Gopinath stealing kheer. He himself narrates that pastime in the fourth chapter of Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila. But here Chaitanya Mahaprabhu doesn’t accept this. And in fact when Balabhadra Bhattacharya says that this is what has happened, then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu slapped him lovingly, and said that Krishna doesn’t appear in the Kali Yuga. So then is there natural explanation? So later, on the next day when some people come along, they tell that actually there was a boatman who was going on his boat, and because it was dark, he had a lamp. So people thought that the boat was Kaliya , the lamp was the jewel on the hoods of Kaliya. And they mistook the boatman to be Krishna. So essentially we can look for natural explanations. And quite often, what are claimed as miracles have natural explanations.
And there is a tradition of healthy scepticism that is exhibited by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Narottam das Thakur in one of his songs says there are many pseudo holy places, that means some miracle is claimed to have happened in a particular place and then that place is made into a holy place and then the people who come there often they give donations and they purchase products and a big business fries over there. So he says a Vaishnava should be careful about not getting caught with pseudo holy places. So this an example of healthy scepticism. So if we want to look at Srila Prabhupada’s example. One time a newcomer asked Srila Prabhupada, “When I am chanting Hare Krishna, at that time I see some white light in my head.” So Prabhupada told him to keep chanting and it will go away. Prabhupada didn’t even bother about what the cause was. In Prabhupada Nectar, there is also another pastime wherein some devotee started circulating the rumour that when some devotees were having darshan of Prabhupada in his room, suddenly Prabhupada started expanding his body just like say Hanuman expanded his body and Prabhupada’s form filled the whole room and the devotees were so thunder struck that they offered obeisances and like mice crawled out of the room. So when the devotees brought this to Prabhupada, he just laughed and said, “Just see, what all they are saying.” So, Prabhupada didn’t give credibility to this kind of miraculous claims much. So in general, did the miracle happen and if it happened, is there any natural explanation for it.
Now in this particular incident where it is claimed that the deities are shedding tears of ecstasy, then we have to look, are there any natural explanations. The senior devotees who’ve been contacted over there informed because there were so many devotees, and they were all singing and dancing in kirtan, there was lot of sweat that was shed and that sweat increased the moisture in the atmosphere and that moisture was everywhere and it settled on the deities also. And the drops of moisture that were there, they appeared to be like tears which the deities had shed. So now this is a fairly reasonable explanation. And do we need miracles of this sort as evidence that the deity is really Krishna or that our kirtans are really potent.
Now if we look at our philosophy. Now we will go to the third part of what happens in miracles. So third question which we will discuss is if something has happened and something is not explainable by natural cause then can it be ascribed to divine cause? Is it Krishna acting. So, we at our level cannot know and quite often it happens that, sahajiyas ascribe to Krishna, that which is actually coming from their own sentiments. In principle, from philosophical perspective, yes Krishna can shed tears. And we have Krishna doing wonderful pastimes. Like I mentioned Krishna stealing kheer for Madhavendra puri. Or Krishna eating half of the laddu when Raghunandan begged to the deities, please eat this. So there are many stories of miracles, where devotees find extraordinary reciprocation from Krishna. But at the same time, we will see in these pastimes, emphasis always is not so much on the miracle happening, but on the subsequent reciprocation or dedication of the devotees. We see that Madhavendra Puri, the Lord came many times in his dreams. First the Lord came as a boy, gave him kheer and disappeared. Second time he came in a dream and told, “I am over here in this thicket in the forest, please take me out of here and build a temple for me.” Now this particular dream brought glory to Madhavendra Puri. And he became celebrated among all the Vrajvasis in that area, near Govinda kunda. And they said, “Oh what a great saint, the Lord himsef revealed his presence.” In the Caitanya Charitamrita, further it is stated that when the magnificent festival was performed and hundreds of people came and offered bhoga and cooked and very opulent festival was done in just one day. And Krishnadas Kaviraj says in the Caitanya Charitamrita that this is gopāla-prabhāv. This is the potency, influence of Gopal. Now in one sense, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami doesn’t emphasise that Oh! How mysterious it is that Gopal revealed himself in a dream to Madhavendra Puri. He says the miraculous influence is that so many devotees came and served and such a wonderful festival happened in just one day. And in the purport, Srila Prabhupada states that actually Krishna Consciousness movement has spread rapidly in a few years. And this is also gopāla-prabhāv. This is the mercy of Lord Krishna. Now we will see in both these incidents, the focus is not literally in terms of miracle, in the sense of something violating the laws of nature. Prabhupada didn’t go on some mystical carpet to America, nor did he travel by supernatural, paranormal means. Prabhupada was simply preaching, by singing, by his example, so in one sense, Prabhupada did not do any miracle in the normal sense in which the word miracle is used. And yet the result was miraculous. And Prabhupada is ascribing this miraculous result in terms of over hundred temples being built, thousands and thousands of people becoming devotees and name of Krishna being practically chanted in every major city, in every country , in every continent in the world. So, this Prabhupada says is the mercy of Krishna.
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami shows and Prabhupada reiterates that we see miracle, we see Krishna’s potency in the inspiring services that the devotees perform. And now after this we will see that Gopalji comes once again in a dream and He tells,” I am feeling very hot, please get chandan for me.” Now this particular dream actually causes a lot of inconvenience, enormous trouble. Who will go from Vrindavan, Madhavendra Puri single handedly travelling hundreds and hundreds of miles is itself strenuous. And going through the areas where Mlecchas were ruling and there were a lot of hostilities. Travel itself is difficult but coming back with chandan was nearly impossible. But Madhavendra Puri didn’t think, “Oh that dream gave me credit, I will accept it as real and this dream I will not accept as real.” But he started off. And here we see again his tireless dedication, we have no idea how through the mleccha territories, he could get such huge quantity of chandan. But then Krishna performed a miracle by which Kheerchor Gopinath first manifested over there and Kheerchor Gopinath stole kheer for him and thus he became famous. And his fame ensured that when he went to Puri, he was given chandan very easily and when he came back, when he had to travel through Bengal ruled by Muslims, where he could be plundered, confiscated because of carrying a huge quantity of chandan, Gopinath said that He was non-different from Gopal and he could rub the chandan over here. So, now in the second case when Madhavendra Puri got a dream which caused him lot of inconvenience, lot of trouble and austerity and struggle, he didn’t reject that dream. And the speciality of Madhavendra Puri is not just that Lord appeared in his dream, but that he was so tirelessly dedicated.
And we see Srila Prabhupada didn’t claim any miracles, his miracle if any was that at such an advanced age, he was so extraordinarily dedicated to travelling around and tirelessly preaching, all day he would be talking about Krishna to people who met him and all night he would be talking about Krishna to those who didn’t meet him. He was speaking so that books would be written. He was dictating his books. So, this is actually the miracle that Srila Prabhupada has set as an example for us. And we shouldn’t ascribe to the deities, things which are explainable by material things. Now, we can also as that deities are acting through material phenomena, that is true. But we shouldn’t claim that as a miracle in the sense of supernatural happening. Because the result of such claims are many. First of all when such miraculous claims are made, skeptics get all the more reason for dubbing religious people as gullible, naive, foolish, who are ready to believe anything and everything without critically considering alternative natural explanations. Even of we say we are not worried about skeptics, but even among devotees, when this sort of ideas are circulated widely, intelligent thoughtful devotees who take a stand against such claims of miracles, often they get sidelined. And they start feeling alienated, they feel an air of hostility coming towards them. More importantly if we don’t consider such devotees, the result is that we start developing a culture of expecting these miracles and once we start expecting these kind of miracles then the result is that the focus shifts from what we are doing for Krishna in his service to how Krishna is going to reciprocate.
In Chaitanya Bhagvat, there is a story of snake charmer who was ecstatic by hearing kirtan and he was appreciated by vaishnavas. But then somebody else came and he started dancing similarly and the devotees went and beat him because he was pretender. So one time one life member came to Srila Prabhupada and he said, “Swamiji, Krishna came in my dream yesterday.” Prabhupada said, “Alright, serve Him today.” The test of devotion is not in the miraculous ways in which Krishna appears. But the test of our devotion is in the tireless way in which we serve Krishna. So when this sort of miracles are given undue importance, then focus shifts from the dedication that the devotees are exhibiting to the miracles that are claimed to have been performed by Krishna. Now we can say that Krishna can indeed perform miracles. And there may be exceptional situations in which Krishna may perform miracles. So in this particular situation where senior devotees who have been there and who are explaining things in terms of natural explanations, there is no need for any supernatural explanations to be brought about. And even when miracles have been performed and even when we can reasonably infer that something which the action of the deities, the focus should not be on that, focus should be on the way we reciprocate in terms of our dedication and we see that across the religious traditions miracles have not been given too much importance. Jesus said, “Faith developed without seeing miracles is better than faith developed after seeing the exhibition of miracles.” We see in one sense the mystic siddhis are like miracles. And our acharyas have downplayed mystic siddhis. One can walk across water but I can do the same thing with 20 paisa by hiring a boat. What is so great in spending 20 years to get a particular siddhi like this?
So Srila Prabhupada said his miracle was that he transformed people’s hearts and lives. And that transformation is a miracle that is possible for each one of us. To the extent we absorb ourselves in Krishna through kirtans, through studies, through seva , through deity worship to that extent the miracle will surely happen . Our heart will be redirected from worldly attachments to the supreme devotional attachment, attachment to Krishna. And that is the miracle that is going to bring lasting fulfilment in our life. The claims of miracles like this sometimes may be true, most of the times they may not be true, but irrespective of their being true or not being true, the important thing is that they are not going to transform our lives. It is our increased inspiration, our increased dedication to loving and serving Krishna that is going to transform our hearts. And that opportunity is always there with us. So the miraculous reciprocation that Srila Prabhupada demonstrated in his life is his tireless dedication and Krishna’s reciprocation in extraordinary ways without necessarily doing any miracles.
That Prabhupada single-handedly went to America and tirelessly tried to share Krishna Consciousness is a miracle. And how people from so many different cultural backgrounds came and started relishing Krishna Consciousness and assisting him in sharing Krishna Consciousness, that’s a miracle. This miracle happened entirely from the literal miraculous point of view in a non-miraculous way. But the result is phenomenally miraculous. And similarly the loving reciprocation that we experience with Krishna even in natural ways, even if we go to the deities and offer obeisance, even if we chant kirtans and there is nothing miraculous that happens in the normal sense of the word miracle, but if our heart becomes more and more attracted to Krishna, that is the supreme miracle, which will grant us love of God. It is not that seeing the tears of the deities is going to grant us love of God. If the deities have really shed tears and if we are able to behold that, then that’s wonderful. But even after that happens, if the rest of our life we are performing bhakti expecting when next time I will be able to get darshan of deities with the tears in their eyes then we are shifting our focus from what we are offering to Krishna to what Krishna is going to do, in some special way for us. And that shift will actually deprive us of the sustained dedication that would bring purification and elevation to the level of love of God. So the purification of the heart that comes from sustained dedication is the supreme miracle and that miracle is possible for all of us to experience if we absorb ourselves in the practice of bhakti. Thank you. Hare Krishna