(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 07 December 2016, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 3.26.46)
In deity worship, everything is prescribed from beginning to end e.g. one cannot chastise someone in front of the deity, one cannot cry in front of the deity except for tears of ecstasy, one should not eat in front of the deity except pure maha prasadam which should be honoured immediately because that is mercy and the nature of mercy is such that if we don’t take it straightaway, it may disappear!
Therefore when mercy comes, take it without delay! Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was woken up by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Straight from bed, Mahaprabhu gave him prasad of Jagannatha and he took it without brushing his teeth or anything… Maha prasadam is to be taken without delay!
We remember that in the early days of Iskcon, Brahmananda and Tamal Krsna Maharaj were seated next to each other at the time of taking prasad. Prabhupada had given a very big simply wonderful to Tamal Krsna Maharaj and Tamal Krsna Maharaj was saving it for the end of the meal. Brahmananda saw that simply wonderful and suddenly just grabbed it and swallowed it! Tamal Krsna Maharaj said to Prabhupada, “But… He just…” and Prabhupada just said, “That’s the nature of mercy!” If you don’t take it straightaway, it may disappear!
In this way, we can appreciate that we must be eager and awake. A vaisnava has a radar to detect mercy – always scanning everywhere and when we see it, we take it. And not only edible mercy but mercy in any form.
Once I did a study on mercy and I found throughout the Bhagavatam different words are used for mercy – sometimes daya, sometimes kripa, sometimes anukampa. But in the tenth canto, when it comes to Vrindavan and the transcendental situation of the eternal residents of Vrindavan, there is only one word for mercy: PRASAD! They see everything as prasad, as coming from Krsna and they are always looking for Krsna’s mercy.
But we are dull, Prabhupada often said that we are dull and not sensitive to the mercy; we are just not seeing it! Krsna is here in so many ways, right here in the material world – this is the amazing thing. The spiritual world is right here.