Q/A: should prasāda be offered to everyone?

Q: It is said that distributing Bhagavat-prasāda to others is equivalent to distributing bhakti for Bhagavān. What are your views on this?

A: If that is true, then every person who gets prasāda should become a devotee. But that is not seen to happen.

Q: These people could become devotees in the future. Maybe even in the next life.

A: It depends on the attitude of the person who is receiving the prasāda. If they are disrespectful or disinterested in bhakti to begin with, just giving them prasāda is not going to have any beneficial effect.

Q: Is there any pramāṇa for this?

A: An example of this principle can be seen in Śrī Jīva Goswami’s Harināmāmṛta vyākaraṇam. In the kāraka prakaraṇam, sūtra 1050 goes like this:

अशिष्टव्यवहारे संप्रयच्छतेः संप्रदाने तृतीया

Before translating the sūtra, I will translate the Bala-toṣaṇī commentary on it:

अशिष्टस्य व्वयहारोSशिष्टव्यवहारस्तस्मिन् गम्ये संपूर्वस्य यच्छतेः प्रयोगे सम्प्रदाने तृतीया भवति।

aśiṣṭa-vyavahāra means the behavior of an aśiṣṭa. When the behavior of an aśiṣṭa is understood, in the use of prayachhate combined with the prefix saṁ, the sampradāna is in instrumental case.

So the sūtra can be translated as:

The sampradāna of saṁprayachhate is in the instrumental case when aśiṣṭa behavior is understood.

Generally the sampradāna, or the recipient of the act of giving in charity, is supposed to in the dative case. The Bala-toṣaṇī commentary further explains that the act of giving is captured by the root dāṇa dāne from which the yacchate form is developed. But, an exception is made when aśiṣṭa behavior is understood- then the instrumental case is to be used for the recipient. The word ‘aśiṣṭa’ means ‘ill-behaved’ or as Bala-toṣaṇī glosses it, ‘mūrkha’ or foolish (अशिष्टः मूर्खः।)

The point of all this is to understand the example below given by Śrī Jīva Goswami of aśiṣṭa behavior. He writes:

विष्णोर्बहिर्मुखैस्तत्प्रसादं संप्रयच्छते, तेभ्यो ददातीत्यर्थः।

[An example of such behavior is] [Someone] gives the prasāda of Śrī Viṣṇu to those whose awareness is turned away from Śrī Viṣṇu (bahir-mukhas). saṁprayachhate means gives to them.

Here the word bahirmukha is declined in the instrumental case instead of the normal dative. The Bala-toṣaṇī commentary confirms:

बहिर्मुखेभ्यो विष्णुप्रसाददानम् अशिष्टव्यवहारः The giving of prasāda of Śrī Viṣṇu to the bahirmukhas is aśiṣṭa behavior.

This shows that prasāda must only be given to antar-mukhas, that is, devotees of Śrī Viṣṇu.

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  1. off topic, but I have a question . Please take away my distress superior one. I am learning Sanskrit well…. I am trying to atleast. This is the distress, as far as I am learning Sanskrit I don’t understand how you can understand Sanskrit words. You were able to translate a verse from gita for me. Please tell me how I can learn or what is this called so my distress can go away. If I didn’t know what the word Namaskaram meant, then how would Sanskrit teach me how to figure out what it meant? Radhe Radhe.

    • There are two aspects to understanding Sanskrit words. One is vocabulary. As you hear more and more Sanskrit everyday and read the English translations, your vocabulary will increase. this does not need knowledge of grammar – but just knowing meanings of words. The second is grammar. There are rules by which Sanskrit words are formed. Sanskrit is a very algorithmic language. It is precise. But there are a huge number of rules – so you have to just learn and then learn some more. If you learn steadily for years, you will be able to translate verses and commentaries. Radhe Radhe.

      I suggest you start with Sargeant’s Bhagavad Gita. He has translated every word and also analyzed its grammar. It will help you greatly. It is also useful to start memorizing some verses, so that your vocabulary will improve.

      • Did you have to read vocab in order to understand words? Cause I feel like you are just able to read words and know what they mean…. Like I believe babaji didn’t need to read an vocabulary, he just learned from his gurudeva maharaj

      • Babaji grew up in India and Hindi is his native tongue. Many words in Hindi are related to Sanskrit and have similar meanings. He also learned Sanskrit for many years – both Panini and HNV, and has a PhD in Sanskrit.

      • For reading, you have to learn Devanagari. Learning Devanagari is not so difficult. There should be lessons online in youtube- you can teach yourself to read Sanskrit.

    • Like would I have to learn how words are formed and these words have a meaning and when combined they create a meaning. If so, how I learn how a word is formed? I don’t understand… I don’t know how to explain….

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