14 Jan 2015

South India Pilgrimage: Day 8 - The Importance of Dakshina and Prasad

In the bus Pramod was talking about two very important things which we have to be aware during this pilgrimage. The first one is Guru Dakshina.

At the end of this journey we will give to our Guru the envelope with Dakshina in the form of money and we have to say "Krishna Arpan" which means “Everything to God”. Guru Dakshina is very common to hear of in India, but for western people it might be odd. It is what we give back to the Guru for his teaching. It is very important. The time may come when a disciple might ask his Guru what the Guru dakshina will be when the education is finished, for example, or the Guru can ask the disciple to give dakshina at any time in between.

Pramod was pointing out a nice story of Eklavia, a member of a tribe in India, and a Guru called Drona, who was a guru of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

The guru Drona made Arjun the best archer in the world. One day, they found out that there is another amazing archer around, and they wanted to know who he was. So they find Eklavia, a young archer, who was living in the cave, who had made a statue of guru Drona and worshiped it. He gets all his skills of archery just through concentration on that statue, and not from Guru Drona in person. He was so good in archery that he was maybe the equal of Arjun - or even better! Guru Drona had already promised to Arjun that he would be the best archer in the world! They found Eklavia and wanted to know how he learned to be so good at archery. Eklavia said that he learned from the guru Drona. Drona said if you learned from me, I ask you for the guru dakshina. Eklavia said "What is it?" Guru Drona answered it will be the thumb of your right hand. Eklavia took the knife and cut his thumb, which means that archery was finished for him, but he was still happy to have pleased his Guru.

Arjuna, Dronacharya, and Ekalavya

The guru always knows what dakshina is proper for his disciple and it also should be paid because of karmic balance. We received from the Guru and we also give back to the Guru. You should not leave the Guru without giving dakshina. Pramod also said what I remembered that Swami Vishwananda never takes from dakshina for his personal needs, he always give what he received to ashram or for spreading his mission. Even that there can be dakshina envelopes for one year, left, and when it comes the time, then they will be open.

The second important thing is about prasad. During this pilgrimage Pramod said that we will get a lot of prasad from the temples and from the swamis, and that it is very important how our attitude is for what we get for eating.

Narada Muni
Another story was about Narad muni, who was a son of Brahma in his previous life, but he worshipped demigods which brought him a curse. So, he was born again but in the lower caste and during this incarnation he was living with his mother. It happened that one day the brahmins stayed in his place for some time and he was eating the food left over. So he was so infused with that energy from the blessed food of the saints, that he had a vision of the Lord Narayana. That happened only once in his lifetime and he wanted that to last forever. The Lord said that he will get his liberation at the end of his life, but the feeling and bliss of the Lord, he will have always when will sing his name and praise him.

Pushpami from Croatia