Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

How to Develop Appreciation for Deities? – By Radhanath Swami

By on September 20, 2010 in Insights with 88 Comments

Appreciation for DeitiesQuestion to Radhanath Swami: How to develop appreciation for deities?

Radhanath Swami: Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswathi Thakur, a prominent saint and our param guru, instructed us, “Do not try to see Lord Krishna. Try to serve Lord Krishna so that He wants to see you.” We should not think the deity as an object of our enjoyment. We should approach the deity thinking we are an object of His enjoyment.  We should not be trying to appreciate the deity. We should act in such a way that the deity will appreciate us, and through this process real appreciation for the deity will be born in our hearts. In other words, we should serve in the spirit of selflessness; that is how we will get the actual appreciation for the deity.

“Oh, Krishna is so beautiful today.” This could be sentimental appreciation. That is nice, it is purifying, but it is not real appreciation because the next day we might think, “Oh, I don’t feel like seeing Krishna today. I would rather watch television. Today the television will be my deity.” So this accepting and rejecting means that we haven’t really learnt to appreciate. We are appreciating on the mental platform. In the beginning we may try to atleast do that, but we want our appreciation to be actually on the level of the soul. And that can only come by the grace of Lord Krishna. When He sees that we are sincere to serve, we are attentive to chant his names, we are submissive to hear his glories, we are enthusiastic to teach his message to others, and we are enthusiastic to humble ourselves to help others on the path of devotion, he will be pleased. Then he will reveal within us real  and permanent appreciation. And that real appreciation is love, that comes through lifetime of sincere devotion. But we should not settle for anything less.

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