Cracking Nuts with a Saligram

A landlord engaged a professional priest to worship the family Saligram-sila. Daily he brought chestnuts to the priest that he might offer them to the Deity. The priest received the nuts, took them onto the altar and closed the door, and–as far as the landlord knew–offered them to Sri Saligram.

But what actually happened would have certainly shocked the landlord, could he but see behind the altar door. The priest picked up the Saligram stone and used it to smash the hard shells of the chestnuts. He then ate the nuts himself, leaving just enough to distribute to the landlord’s family as “prasad.”

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This story illustrates the quality of the so-called devotion of those who take up the worship the Lord solely with the aim of enjoying facilities meant for the Lord. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur had especially the professional reciters of Srimad Bhagavatam in mind when he told this story. They attract women and wealth, prestige and followers to themselves by mouthing the sacred texts. But their purpose is far from sacred, however: they merely want to enjoy sense gratification.

Similarly, there are those who enter the Krsna consciousness movement with a view to enjoy the conveniences of temple life in return for a minimum of perfunctory service to the Deity, spiritual master, and devotees.

All such manifestations of self-interest in devotional service may be compared to cracking nuts with the Saligram-sila.


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