Sent to you from Tirupati, provided to the GBCs attending a GBC meeting at ISKCON Tirupati by the Temple President Revati Raman Prabhu -
Some pastimes of Lord Balaji and His devotees.
SRI VENKATESWARA KALYANAM:
On the banks of the Ganges, the rishis headed by Kasyapa began to perform a sacrifice. Sage Narada visited them and asked them why they were performing the sacrifice and who would be pleased by it and to whom the yagna phala to be offered. Some of rishis said it is for Lord Vishnu, some said it is for Lord Shiva and some said it is for Lord Brahma, not being able to answer the question, the rishis approached Sage Bhrigu. To reach a solution after a direct ascertainment of reality, Sage Bhrigu first went to Satyaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma.
You can give Krishna conscious association to your friends just by being a person of good character. When you are in school, in the workplace, or with your friends, what's inside shouldn't change. And even if you don't see clearly what the opportunity is, if there is a desire within you -- “Let me somehow, my dear Lord Krishna, somehow give something of spiritual value to these friends, these people in the workplace, these people I am with”-- it may not happen or be so evident right away, but if that desire is there, you will be protected.
2nd initiates only to worship temple deities and cook in temple kitchens.
Srila Prabhupada's letter to: Yamuna -- Los Angeles 2 March, 1970 : 70-03-02 :
Regarding an assistant Pujari, Ilavati may be trained to assist you, but she may not conduct Arcana without being dvija. The system is that only one who is qualified with Gayatri initiation may directly worship the Deities (i.e. bathing, offering bhoga and aratrik, cooking for the Deities, etc.). But she may assist you by helping in all other respects. If for some reason you are unable to perform aratrik, there are other devotees, initiated brahmanas, who can make the offerings there.
Q. Srimad Bhagavatam starts by introducing Krishna as the creator of the universe and introduces him as 'Bhagavan', the Supreme Godhead. Is this a pre-supposition that there is an actor who created the material world? I am not sure we will get an answer following the 'Bhakti' philosophy, since this philosophy is built on assumptions which I am questioning! We should ask why would Vedavyas composed something like Bhagavatam after consolidating all of the vedas and the Upanishads. Why is he introducing Krishna, whose reference is not found in the Rig and the other vedas and upanishads? What was the real need?
Q. Are we mis-interpreting our books by giving a physical form to the concept of Brahman, the supreme source of energy? Krishna and Rama are characters in a story written by ancient philosophers who wanted to bring some standards for living, stories written to explain the concept of good living. Are Hindus losing their scientific acumen by worshiping their texts instead of really understanding the concepts? Isn't it enough that I lead a good life, helping others, being honest?
Q. Is there a 'person' or 'entity' called God? If yes, why is God not visible to us like other entities?
Yes, there is a Person, who is described by Vedas and learned persons as the summum bonum and cause of all causes. The Vedas describe this Summum bonum, or Absolute Truth, as not just an energy or entity, but categorically as a Person, with definitive non-material form, name, characteristics, activities, personal associates and abode.
If one takes up the direct process and directly connects with the Supreme by a very merciful teacher and very merciful teachings, that’s the best method of progressing from the platform of attachment to matter to the platform of attachment to the Supreme, through sadhu-sanga.
Adapted from a lecture by His Holiness Romapada Swami on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.32.29-32, entitled “Detachment from Matter is a By-Product of Attachment to Krsna”, given in May 2012 in Washington, DC.