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Cracking Nuts with a Salagrama
A landlord once appointed a professional priest for regular offerings to his family Salagrama. The landlord used to arrange for the daily offering of some chestnuts for the satisfaction of Shri Narayana.
The priest accordingly used to take the chestnuts inside the Deity room and close the door as if he were going to offer them to the Deity. In fact the priest would use the Salagram as an ordinary stone, convenient for cracking the chestnuts. After cracking them with the Salagrama and keeping them on the sandalwood stone, he ate many of them even before offering.
In course of time, his mischief came to light and the landlord then threw him out by the neck.
Those who desire for some sense gratification with self-interest or for liberation without devotional service, or for women, wealth and prestige, usually take recourse to such habits as “cracking the nuts with a Salagrama”.
One who plans to earn money and fame by performance of Gita and Bhagavatam lectures relating to religion, through publication and compilation of religious treatises, organising congregational sankirtana or offering esoteric mantras simply for his own sense gratification, may very well be indicated as one who makes an attempt “to crack nuts with a Salagrama”.
In fact, all professional narrators of scriptural and mythological anecdotes, and businessman-like glorifiers of the Lord are trying to crack nuts with a Salagrama, which means that they are using everything offered to the Lord simply for their own sense gratification.
There are persons who pretend to be living in association with devotees in a math, but are simply looking for facilities for their own self-interest and actually make personal use of the society of devotees instead of offering services to such society, and enjoy Lord Shri Krishna’s property without the slightest interest in offering services for the satisfaction of the Lord.
These so-called devotees are similar to the professional priests who try to crack nuts with a Salagrama, and they practise devotional services that are not considered sincere or honest. It is thus said that any prayer to the Lord for religion, wealth peace or liberation is tantamount to “cracking a nut with a Salagrama”.