(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 August 2017, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.4.5-6)
Another point that I find is very nice in the purport of Gajendra, the elephant, is how Srila Prabhupada speaks of when Gajendra assumed a spiritual body, when his body was touched by the Lord. We see how Srila Prabhupada’s mind works as he describes, “Gajendra assumed a spiritual body when his body was touched by the Lord,” and immediately he writes, “Similarly, Dhruva Maharaj assumed his spiritual body in this way,” and then goes to the arcana-paddhati, the process of deity worship. He is thinking of the deity and we can see that he is so much appreciating that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he immediately makes the association that in deity worship, we are allowed to touch the lotus feet of the Lord. For example, when waking up the deity, one can touch the lotus feet of the Lord and thus attain a spiritual body. Prabhupada is consistent. When one touches the deity, one touches the Lord; the deity is non-different from Krsna – there is no hesitance in Srila Prabhupada on this matter.
Whereas in our case, although we know that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are not fainting! Maybe we would faint if Krsna personally would step in front of us. We are just taking darshan in this kind of casual way. Do we really believe that the deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Yes and no, if we really think about it. But for Srila Prabhupada, there is absolutely no question, there is no hesitance in Gajendra being touched by the Lord is similar to arcana-paddhati – touching the deity’s feet in devotion. I thought it was nice to see here how Srila Prabhupada’s mind worked and how the purity is just coming through; these things have just struck me in that way. Then Prabhupada expands on it and says, “Not only by touching the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but also hearing his pastimes, chanting his glories, offering worship and any other type of devotional service is sufficient to purify us from material contamination. And we might again attract the mercy of the Lord.” So, this is wonderful!