Prabhupada commented that “flowers are the jewels of Kali-yuga” in relationship to Deity worship. He didn’t want us to use valuable jewels as that would encourage people to steal from the Deities. In fact many of the British “crown jewels” were taken from Temple Deities in India. This is another of the many reasons for the demise of the British “empire” which is a huge topic.
In another sense we can see flowers as jewels because they are very priceless in terms of their beauty, inspiring our awe and sense of aesthetics and connection to Krishna as the Source of all opulent, beautiful and mighty things. We can’t make flowers that can compare with those that are grown, and for that we have to depend on Krishna’s natural laws.
Mother Sarasvati after years of research studied various venues of approaching the public with spiritual culture.
“We need something that simply attracts the heart, and what is more attractive that a cute little miniature pygmy goat”
We have heard the expression to “stop and smell the roses”. This is an old expression, perhaps from before the industrial age, yet it is even more important today, because we may ask, "What roses?". The pace and pressures of the modern, lighting fast world make us dependent on electronic devises that obscure our connection with Nature and the Source of Nature, God or Shri Krishna. Our attention is channeled into man-made arenas which have little relevance to life’s significant existential questions. In many cases we live primarily in a virtual world where virtual things are what we think are important. Of course it depends on us if we can use the things of the world for some higher purpose or are used by them. What determines this is our orientation toward life, the reason for our existence and what we give our attention to.
Although Lord Chaitanya is the combined form or Radha and Krishna, coming to give Krishna prema for the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, he also contains all other incarnations of God within him, including Lord Rama. Therefore, Lord Chaitanya is Universal. Anyone desiring to make spiritual advancement and increase their devotion toward any real incarnation of God can obtain that goal by taking shelter of him—he is so merciful and accessible.
For instance, if we see death as the end of our existence we will tend to be selfish, greedy, and self-absorbed. After all, with this world view, the only thing we have is today, so morality is only utilitarian—to get what I want and to look good, since if we don’t get caught doing something against morality or the law, we have succeeded. From this perspective there is no accountability other then the here and now! So go for it. As the saying goes, “Live for today, for tomorrow you die”. What an unfortunate illusion this is, with no spiritual understanding!
This is a quote from Georg Wilhelm Hagel, a German philosopher of the 19th century which has been used by some Gaudiya acharya’s to emphasize the necessary attitude in which to embrace our spiritual practices. Christians have a similar perspective with their idea of being “born again”—which is what our sense of spiritual initiation is (second birth--first by the parents and then by the guru into a life of spiritual practice).The words of Saint Francis give us a similar message that “it is in the dying that we are born to eternal life”.