tabe yāya tad-upari 'goloka-vṛndāvana'
'kṛṣṇa-caraṇa'-kalpa-vṛkṣe kare ārohaṇa

"Being situated in one's heart and being watered by śravaṇa-kīrtana, the bhakti creeper grows more and more. In this way it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the Lotus Feet of Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally situated in the planet known as Goloka Vṛndāvana in the topmost region of the spiritual sky." (C-c,Madhya, 19.154) (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 2) + (see also ślokas 279, 378, 531 & 504)

tad dāsa-dāsa-dāsānāṁ dāsatvaṁ dehi me prabho

I may engage myself in the lower form of service. Tad dāsa-dāsa-dāsānāṁ dāsatvaṁ dehi me prabho. My faith may be so firm and may be of such quality that the least offer of His Divine Service may satisfy me. I may not be ambitious to run high, to get the chance there in the higher officer class. In my lowest connection with the Divinity I may go on, satisfied with my life. - This is not a figurative thing, this is not mere poetry. (SGD, '96, p 32) + (see also ślokas 75, 286, 306 & 384)

For bhajana or internal service, such a temperament should always be followed. Tad dāsa-dāsa-dāsānāṁ dāsatvaṁ dehi me prabho. Promotion is inevitable if we always try to adhere to the lower duty. Eagerness for promotion is the enemy. That is for pratiṣṭhā (renown), and that will undermine everything. Śrīla Prabhupāda (Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) said that imitation arises from the attraction for pratiṣṭhā or the desire to hold the superior position and acquire a name for oneself. That is the great enemy. Don't fall prey to that pratiṣṭhā, eagerness to hold the higher position. Rather, dainyam - humility, is the healthy sign of a devotee. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 34) + (see also śloka 425)

tad viddhi praṇipātena,
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ,
jñāninas tattva darśinaḥ

"You will be able to attain all this knowledge by satisfying the enlightened spiritual master with prostrate obeisances, relevant enquiry, and sincere service. Great souls who are most expert in scriptural knowledge and endowed with direct realisation of the Supreme Absolute Truth will teach you that divine knowledge." (B-g, 4.34)

So in the Upaniṣads, in Bhāgavatam and in Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly mentioned what should be the symptom of a guru and also what should be that of a disciple. If such a qualified disciple comes to a qualified guru then the real transaction begins. Otherwise there may be so many bogus transactions; such black-marketing is going on in this world in the name of religion. But from the association of the real devotee comes devotion. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 58-9) + (see also ślokas 88 & 507)

"To learn knowledge above mortality you must approach a self-realised soul, accept him as your spiritual master and take initiation from him. Enquire submissively, and render service unto him. Self-realised souls can impart knowledge unto you, for they have seen the truth." (B-g, 4.34)

We have to approach the domain of knowledge with self-surrender, honest enquiry, and a serving attitude. We have to approach that plane with the mentality of slavery. Higher knowledge will not serve a person of lower status. If we want perfect knowledge at all, we will have to serve the Supreme Lord. He will use us for His own purpose; not that we will use Him. We may be subjects in this mundane world, but we will have to become objects to be handled by the super-knowledge of that plane. If we want to connect with that higher knowledge, we must approach with this attitude.

Praṇipāta means that I have finished my experience here; I have no charm or aspiration for anything in this world. Then there is paripraśna, or honest, submissive, and humble enquiry with sincere eagerness, and not with a challenging mood; otherwise perfect knowledge won't care to descend to us.

Kṛṣṇa is already full in Himself, so we have to enter His domain only to fulfil His purpose. He can't be subservient to us, for we are tiny persons with meagre experience and a conception of mean fulfilment. We cannot handle Him; we can approach Him only if we like to be handled by Him. So, such a favourable environment should be created where real knowledge is to be created. That knowledge is supreme, and cannot be subservient to the mundane conception, the world of mortality. It is sac-cid-ānanda. Sat means unassailable existence, cit means consciousness, and ānanda means beauty and pleasure. "I must try to relieve myself of my present material miseries and enquire after a proper land where I can live happily." Having come to this conclusion, we will have to search for a person who is a bona fide agent of the higher world and consult with him about how we can be relieved from this present undesirable environment. (TSFSK, p 42-3) + (see also śloka 507)

One should approach the spiritual master for general guidance, to get the proper standpoint in life. That is the most important thing we can get from guru. The standpoint we get from our ordinary lives may come from anywhere and everywhere, but that may mislead us and misguide us. So we must be very particular about getting the proper direction. That direction is given in Bhagavad-gītā: tad viddhi praṇipātena, paripraśnena sevayā.

The Lord has given us this general guidance of where we should try to get the standpoint or measure through which we are to understand. The standard by which we come to measure truth, untruth or anything must come from a real plane, not a vitiated plane, an ordinary plane, or vulnerable plane. It must come from that plane which has two qualifications: jñāni and tattva darsi, the conception of the thing and also the practical benefit. The proper standard will allow me to measure what is right and what is wrong.

Also the qualification of the seeker of truth is given. His attitude must be of this type: praṇipāt, paripraśna and sevayā. Praṇipāt means surrender to such knowledge. The knowledge we are approaching is not an ordinary class of knowledge. It is a subject which we cannot make an object to our subjective self. We must understand it to be a supersubjective thing, which is superior to me. So praṇipāt means I must surrender to that superior thing. I want Him, He is not an objective thing which I can make an object with myself as subject. This sort of attitude must be there. Praṇipāt also means that I have finished my interest in the outside world of experience. I have no charm for anything in the world where I have already travelled. I am offering myself exclusively at Your altar and I want to have Your Grace. In such a mood we shall approach the higher knowledge.

Then paripraśna, honest enquiry is always allowed, but not with any tendency for discussion or in the way of argument. All efforts should be concentrated in a positive line, leaving aside the state of doubt and suspicion. With all attention we shall try to understand because it is coming from a higher plane with which I am unfamiliar and which is ever new.

But the most important thing is seva. Not that I am going to get knowledge, that I shall get the help of that plane and use it for the persons living here. Higher knowledge won't come to serve the interests of the lower plane but I must pledge to serve that plane. With this attitude I shall approach that plane and that knowledge. I shall serve Him and I won't try to make Him serve me or my lower plane. That idea won't allow me to enter that domain. Rather, I shall have the fullest tendency that if I get that knowledge I must serve. I must offer myself to be utilised by Him, and I shall not try to utilise it in my way, to satisfy my lower animal purposes. With seva vṛtti I shall seek the plane of real knowledge, to have the standard from there of what is to be understood and to have a proper estimation of the environment we are in. Praṇipāt, paripraśna, sevayā - This is Vedic culture. It is always imparted by this submissive process and never by intellectual approach.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Prabhupāda used to give this analogy. The honey is in a bottle and a bee is sitting on the glass and trying to lick the bottle. Some foolish person may say the bee is licking the honey. In the same way the intellect cannot approach spirit. I may think that I have got that by such approach, but is it possible? A barrier is there, like a glass barrier. So intellectual understanding is not real achievement of the higher knowledge or higher plane. Only through faith, sincerity and dedication can we approach to be a member of that higher plane. Only if we are admitted, if we get the visa, then we can enter that country, the plane of higher, divine living. So the candidate shall approach with these three qualifications: praṇipāt, paripraśna and seva. Then he can approach the truth which is the higher plane of reality. It is always found in the Gītā that we should approach with this sort of attitude - humility, sincerity and dedication. (GOD, p 15-16) + (SGAHG, p iv, 3-5) + (see also śloka 501)

"One can learn the truth only by submissively approaching and enquiring from those who have seen and experienced the truth. And by rendering service to them, one becomes initiated into transcendental knowledge."

What is required? Praṇipāt, submission, and seva, service. Then the enquiry will be bona fide; otherwise it is a false transaction: it may have no value. It may all be a waste of energy. Genuine faith does not allow us to think ourselves at liberty to do anything and everything. If it is a real transaction, there must be some guidance from above. So śraddha, faith, is the most important thing for a devotee.

When one develops faith, he will do anything to approach the higher subjective realm. One who has faith wants to connect with that higher substance which is composed of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Faith moves in consideration of existence, knowledge, and love. And when these three main points are realised, our existence is fully satisfied. Faith asks us to approach the higher world, not the lower. And to think: "In every way Kṛṣṇa is superior, He is our guardian and well-wisher." Is the basis of faith.

The rationalists are always searching with their scientific brains for different ways to utilise and command the things that they have discovered in their research. But faith is concerned with a substance far higher in all respects than even the searcher himself. One who is an enquirer about a higher substance must enquire with what is generally known as faith. Proper guidance in faith is also necessary, and that guidance is given by the higher plane. That must be the attitude of our enquiry or search if we are to be successful. So, Bhagavad-gītā advises: praṇipāt, paripraśna, sevayā - "Surrender, enquiry, and serve." (LSFTLS, p 6-7) + (see also śloka 501)

tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit paniḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham

"One who wants scientific knowledge about the Supreme Truth must approach a bona fide guru and offer him everything required for sacrifice. The guru must be fixed in the truth, having heard it from a genuine source." (MU, 1.2.12 )

"In order to learn transcendental knowledge, one must approach a genuine spiritual master coming in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth."

In this verse, the word tata means "after this." When one's calculation is finished, he thinks: "Life is not worth living here in this world of birth, death, old age, and disease. I must have a better world in which to live, where I can live as a gentleman. At every moment death is devouring everything. Birth, death, old age, and disease - all these troubles prevent me from fulfilling my ambitions here. I want something categorically different." At that time, taking the responsibility on his own shoulders, without giving any trouble to the guru, and at risk of poverty, ill-feeding, and so many other hard-ships, he will approach the guru. It is a free transaction. Not that he will give something to gurudeva, but he will collect what is necessary for sacrifice, for education, and at his own risk he will approach the spiritual master.

And what will be the position of the guru? He will be well-versed in the scriptures, the śruti-śāstra, or that knowledge which can only be acquired through the medium of sound, by attentive earnest hearing (śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham ). Brahma niṣṭham means, "One who is established in brahman, spirit, and who is acquainted with the causal position of the universe." (TSFSK, p 43-4) + (see also ślokas 483 & 603)

"To understand the Absolute Truth, one must approach a guru who is fixed in spiritual knowledge and well-versed in the scriptures. And he must approach the guru being prepared for sacrifice." This is the general instruction of the Upaniṣads. (LSFTLS, p 7) + (SGAHG, p ii) + (see also ślokas 483 & 507)

I have come to serve and to be utilised for the cause of the subject about which I have enquired. I have not come to take anything from here. I have come only to serve, with no other motive. abhigacchet means samyak-gacchet - 'not with a return ticket.' abhi - means samyak, 'fully.' Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura used to say: "You have come here cutting a return ticket." We must not approach the spiritual master with that attitude. Rather, we should think that we have full experience of this mortal world, and that we have nothing to aspire after here. "I have completely lost my charm for the previous life; I have come to surrender to śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham, one who can teach me, being already in a position in the divinity and possessing both theoretical and practical knowledge about the objective." With this earnestness, the disciple will bring their spiritual master the necessary materials for sacrifice. They won't go to their spiritual master only to trouble the guru, but will approach him with their own necessities already supplied. Without this process, everything will be futile. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 55) + (see also ślokas 483 & 507)

tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ
sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ
divīva cakṣur ātatam

If we want our shelter, it must come from overhead. Āśraya or shelter is not under our feet - shelter should be over the head. The principal Vedic mantra says: tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ: "The Holy Feet of Viṣṇu who is pervading everywhere (yaḥ idaṁ vyāpnotīti viṣṇuḥ) - His Feet, His lowest portion, is towards us. Paramam means 'very highly qualified, from all standpoints.' That is not to be neglected. From the standpoint of fine existence - knowledge as well as sweetness, the Absolute is paramam padaṁ. Sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ - the scholars are always conscious of the fact; this is the real basis of their life.

Man is not an animal, wandering over the earth, mountain or jungle, but the real man is in his consciousness, and he is always conscious of a higher entity. He is always seeing or conscious of that ideal. Divīva cakṣur ātatam - vaguely or in a mystic way? No. As conspicuous, as clear and as real as the sun we see in the sky. tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ. So we should really live and move in that consciousness. We are children of that conscious world." (Ṛg Veda, 1.22.20) (SOTGOD, v 2, p 69-70) + (SGD, SGP, '97, p 19) + (see also ślokas 351 & 527)

ta eva vantam anuvārga sarvam
tasya vāsa sarvam idam vivāti

"The existence, real existence, of the truth is this, and the existence is wholesome. Not only nothing - not even injurious - but it is wholesome existence. Everything is good. All is great movement; waves of grace of the Lord. Everything! Try to find out, that everything, every wave, is favourable to you - the solution is there. Have no apprehension of unfavourable circumstances about anything. Adjust yourself in such a way. That is what is necessary for you and for all." (U ) (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 3) + (see also śloka 512)

504 tāhāṅ vistārita haṣā phale prema-phala
ihāṅ mālī sece nitya śravaṇādi jala

"The creeper greatly expands in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet, and there it produces the fruit of love for Kṛṣṇa. Although remaining in the material world, the gardener regularly sprinkles the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19.155) + (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 2) (see also ślokas 279, 378, 531 & 498)

tapasā brahmacaryyeṇa,
śamena ca damena ca
tyāgena satya-śaucābhyāṁ,
yamena niyamena vā
deha-vāg-buddhijaṁ dhīrā,
dharmmajñāḥ śraddhayānvitāḥ
kṣipanty aghaṁ mahad api,
veṇu-gulmam ivānalaḥ

"Austerity or one-pointed attention, exclusive celibacy, subjugation of the internal and external senses, charity, truthful speech, cleanliness, sensual discipline (yama) headed by nonviolence, mental regulation (niyama) headed by regular utterance or concentration on mantras - by the strength of such practices, faithful liberationists (jñānīs) who know the mysteries of religion drive away even the most grievous sins committed in thought, word, or deed, as bamboo clusters are destroyed by fire." (S-B, 6.1.13-4)

The landscape may be clear for a whole year, but next year with the coming of the rainy season, many shrubs will inevitably sprout again. But the type of purity we shall attain when coming in connection with the service of Vāsudeva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is of eternal factor and peculiarly purest nature. We cannot hope to attain this by any other method than our submission to, and acceptance of, the service of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 94-5) + (see also śloka 228)

tapasvino dāna-parā yaśasvino,
manasvino mantra-vidaḥ sumaṅgalāḥ
kṣemaṁ na vindanti vinā yad-arpaṇaṁ,
tasmai subhadra-śravase namo namaḥ

"I offer my repeated obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, who is all-famous as the Supreme Good. Without offering their actions unto Him, neither the liberationists (jñānīs) who are dedicated to austerities, not the charitable worldly workers (karmīs), nor the world famous, nor the performers of Aśvamedha sacrifices, nor the sages or yogīs, nor persons dedicated to chanting mantras, nor persons of virtuous behaviour-none of them can attain any auspiciousness in life." (S-B, 2.4.17)

Here in his inaugurating speech before delivering Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī says to the scholars: "I know that in this assembly there are many scholars, yogīs, and tapasvīs of different types, but I present my case before you all: tapasvino - there are many penance-making ascetics; dāna-parā - there are those who are famous for their big donations; yaśasvino - there may be many famous for their writings or their sacrifice; manasvino - there are many great thinkers; mantra-vidaḥ - there are those who are well-versed in the application of the mystic words, and so on. But you must realise that none of them can be successful in life without surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. Understanding with the highest central truth can give you your peaceful and harmonious life, and no partial attainment can compare with such an acquisition." (SOTGOD, v1, p 96-7)

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta,
jijñāsuḥ śreyaḥ uttamam
śabde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ,
brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam

"Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realised the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of those conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters." (S-B, 11.3.21)

"One seriously inquisitive to search for his highest prospect should take complete shelter of a guru who has deep realisations of the Supreme Lord and the inner meaning of the scriptures. Such spiritual masters have left aside all relative considerations in favour of the supreme absolute consideration."

We should be very attentive to these things. We should try to understand through self-searching whether we are really approaching divinity through faith. We must also see to it that our faith is real. Proper faith and credulity are not the same. Whether one is a bona fide searcher with real faith or one whose faith is adulterated must be considered. And there are symptoms of real faith. We have to consult higher authorities to guide us, because faith is the most important thing.

If we are searching for truth, we are dissatisfied with our present acquisition. We are taking a risk to jump into a higher prospect. We must therefore take guidance carefully. We must be attentive as far as possible. We are told that our present reason is not sufficient to help us; that more than reason, śraddhā is needed, and śraddhā also has its symptoms. Still, as far as possible we shall apply our reason.

When I first came to the mission, I thought: "The transcendental truths that I hear from these devotees do not come within the clutches of worldly intelligence, but still, when I want to throw myself into that association, I shall use my reason and intellect as far as possible, understanding that I am going to jump into something which will be beyond my control, beyond my calculation." So we must carefully understand what śraddhā is, with guidance from saints, scriptures, and gurus. (LSFTLS, p 7-8) + (see also śloka 226)

Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta, jijñāsuḥ śreyaḥ uttamam. Everything around me is mortal. It will all vanish, and it is all a source of deception. We are living in the midst of misconception (māyā ). Whatever conception we have got about the environment is based on misconception of things in the absolute sense. All our conceptions are relative since it is only our provincial selfishness which has been imposed on the environment and we are living under that. Within such circumstances we shall feel the necessity of approaching guru, the guide or preceptor, with the purpose of enquiry (jijñāsa ). And what is our enquiry? śreyaḥ uttamam. What is the highest good for us? We shall approach the guide with this enquiry. (GOD, p 17)

What is the conception of real good, and who is considered to be a bona fide agent of the truth? One who has knowledge of the scripture that has descended from the upper domain, who has theoretical as well as practical knowledge of higher truth, must be approached by a bona fide enquirer, for such a qualified spiritual master can impart proper knowledge to the sincere student. (TSFSK, p 43) + (see also śloka 501)

Māyā means misconception. We are living in the midst of misconception. Our understanding of the environment is based on a completely misconceived set of ideas and thoughts. We have no proper conception of anything in the absolute sense. Our ideas are all relative. Provincial selfishness has been imposed on the environment, and we are living under that misconception. When one comes to the conclusion that everything around him is mortal and that everything will vanish, then, with that mood, he will feel the necessity of approaching the guru, the divine guide and preceptor, with the purpose of enquiry. "What is the highest good for me?" With this enquiry, he will approach the spiritual master.

And who will he approach? One who is not only well-versed in the precepts of the revealed scriptures, but who has also come in contact with the revealed truth. One who is conversant with the very object of the scriptures and who has practical experience, who is established in pure consciousness, is a genuine guru. One should approach such a guide for his own relief, to understand what is the highest benefit in the world and how to attain it. This is necessary. It is real. It is not imaginary. At the same time, it is difficult. The Absolute Truth must be sought out through a real process, otherwise we shall go the wrong way and then say: "Oh, there is nothing here; it is not real." So, only if we follow this real process of understanding the truth will we experience the real nature of divinity. (SGAHG, p 6-8) + (see also śloka 131)

Tasmāt means 'consequently' - because the candidate has lost all charm for the world of his previous experience - he has consequently approached with the sole object of seeking an honourable place here for his future life. Prapadyeta means prapannam, 'surrender'; he will exclusively devote himself for the cause. Jijñāsuḥ śreyaḥ uttamam: he has come in search of a higher life. "The lower lives are over; can I have an elevated life here?" He is therefore surrendering to one who is versed in both aspects of the truth - the reality (pare) as well as the literary description of that reality (śabde, or śruti-śāstre), which is revealed truth extended from the higher quarter, beyond this world of sensual experience." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 55-6) + (see also śloka 322)

One should have some conception, as with consulting a map. "Here is America, here is Australia, here is Japan, east, west, etc." If travelling by ship, a map and so many references show the path. Also, practical knowledge is more reliable than theoretical emblems: "Yes, this beacon and landmark verify that we have reached the Indian Ocean." Practical application is superior to mere theory. Śabde pare ca niṣṇātam, a guru of theoretical knowledge cannot help us. One who has practical experience of the way is reliable, and able to save us and give us the real position. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 94)

"A person in search of the ultimate good should surrender to the guru who knows well the Vedic scriptures (Śabda-brahman) and the Supreme Absolute Lord (Para-brahman), and for whom the mundane world holds no charm whatsoever." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 58) + (SSPJ, p 42) + (see also ślokas 411 & 500)


tasmād idaṁ jagad aśeṣam asat-svarūpam svapnābham
asta-dhiṣaṇaṁ puru-duḥkha-duḥkham dukhabodhan

"By an illusion created by the Lord the universe appears to be real, although it is not, just as miseries we suffer in a dream are only imaginary." (S-B, 10.14.22) + (SEOC, p l)

tato bhajeta māṁ prītaḥ
śraddhālur dṛḍha-niścayaḥ
juṣamāṇaś ca tān kāmān
duḥkhodarkāṁś ca garhayan

"But the śraddhā or pure attraction he has acquired for Me is of eternal nature. It cannot be subdued or cut off by any mundane or ordinary attempt. Despite undergoing so many sufferings, he goes on remembering Me. His thinking, aspiration and earnestness is for Me, and the more he is compelled to suffer from the pressure of the environment, a firmness in Me becomes more and more sure, and finally, invulnerable. And by standing the test of all these trials, he will stand - stand and grow beyond the jurisdiction of these mundane forces. The more pressure comes from outside, the more firmness he feels in the necessity of My help to him."

"At that time, he turns his back to all the pains of the world, and he keeps Me in front. He begins to move onward: 'Whatever happens to me, I can't complain. It is in my Master's jurisdiction whether He sees fit for me to undergo these trials or not. I won't leave my new ideal - I can't. Whatever may come, it may happen, never mind."

"Still, he abuses himself: 'What have I done? What have I done? It is rather justice that I should be tormented and troubled in such a way! It is not wrong! Really, just dealings have come to be exercised over me. Why should I have committed this wrong? I entered this wrong alliance, entered into the tribe of the goondās for exploitation. The reaction that is coming to me is well and good.' He blames himself. He does not blame the environment for troubling him, but he sees a concentration camp within. He blames his own self, his own free will and fate. That becomes the nature of his temperament at that time. He does not look to place the fault on the shoulders of others, but he takes the whole burden: 'Yes, the environment is doing justice to me, the traitor, the ambitious, the ppressor of the environment.' When he's in such consciousness, his bhakti-yoga or Devotional Engagement becomes more and more intense. The intensity of his progress accelerates." (S-B, 11.20.28) + (SSPJ, p 164) + (SOTGOD, v 2, p 77) + (see also ślokas 382, 198 & 93)

tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ

What sort of wave comes to touch you from the infinite, the centre of the infinite, of love, of beauty. Wait and see, remain clear, open, and unbiased. Don't go to measure with your tiny examples of this finite world of nasty nature. Tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ. It is your hankering only that can help you to have a touch of that magnanimous divine thing. If you go to challenge, He'll not care to come. What is the loss to Him? You are deceived. Go with your heart willing, but go forward. (C, v 1, #5, Sum. '93, p 10)

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ,
kriyatāṁ yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ,
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate

"Pure devotional service to Kṛṣṇa cannot be obtained by performing pious activities even for millions of births. It can be purchased only by paying one price: intense eagerness. Wherever it is available, one must purchase it immediately." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.70) + (see also ślokas 247 & 206)

tat sādhu manye 'sura-varya dehināṁ,
sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt
hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ,
vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta

Prahlāda Mahārāja replied: "O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest (vana). More clearly, one should go to Vṛndāvana, where only Kṛṣṇa consciousness is prevalent, and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (S-B, 7.5.5)

Prahlāda's trouble began from here. His father replied: "Viṣṇu is my enemy eternally, and who has taught you that to cultivate love for Him in different ways is the best understanding of human life?" The torture began. We must also be prepared for that torture. Torture will increase our enthusiasm in an indirect way. Anything may come, anything may go on. Wherever that impetus, that intense tendency to serve Kṛṣṇa is to be found, there we must go. But it is nowhere, it is unknown and unknowable, and in this way transcendental. (GOD, p 23) + (see also śloka 456)

tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo,
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidhadhan namas te,
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya bhāk

"One who, in the hope of achieving Your grace, goes on enduring the inauspicious fruit of his own karma, and passes his days practising devotion unto You in every thought, word, and deed - such a person is heir to the land of freedom: he attains to the plane of positive immortality." (Lord Brahmā) (S-B, 10.14.8) + (SSPJ, p 41)

Many years ago, a German scholar expressed his opinion that Bhagavad-gītā is the highest spiritual literature. His point was that Bhagavad-gītā clearly advises us not to try to correct our environment but to correct ourselves, to adjust with the environment. That is the key to the advice of Bhagavad-gītā: "Cure thyself." We have no power to bring about changes in the environment. That is arranged by the divine will. Our environment, the sum total of all the forces acting outside us, is irremovable. We have no ability to interfere with our environment; that will only be a useless loss of energy. Rather, we must try to correct ourselves so that we can adjust with the circumstances outside us: this is the key to our success in life (tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo ). (TSFSK, p 16) + (see also śloka 225)

With the help of the guru, the scriptures, and the previous experienced persons (the saints), I shall try to stand the test, that "Yes, because I am afflicted with the bile of materialism, everything tastes bitter to me. But this process will remove that bile. I shall have to wait for some time, and when the bile is gone, I shall taste the sugar candy as sweet. (C, # 1, Spr. '91, p 5) + (see also śloka 24)

"One who, praying for Your compassion, tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for becoming Your unalloyed devotee." (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 2)

The cause is within and not in any external place. If we can understand that the cause of our problems is within us then we will be able to get out of that very quickly. It is difficult as we are accustomed to complain. According to our suffering we complain against others, that they are responsible for my misery, but this is misunderstanding. When we are able to realise that misery comes from within, sometimes individually, sometimes collectively; when we see that it comes from within and not from the outside, then we will get relief very quickly. The experts are of such opinion.

In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said: "When misery comes to visit you, you should know it is the grace of the Lord, not only the negative side - to tolerate the misery that I am experiencing, the result of my past bad actions; not only that but with some positive tinge of nectar - it is the grace of the Lord. His sanction is connected with this particular incident and He is the All-good, the Unquestionable-good, so there must be some good object in this." tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo.

It is His grace. He wants me to be purified as soon as possible, to release me as soon as possible from the results of my own actions. This is His grace. If you can feel this to be so then very quickly and easily you can get out of the misery which comes from within us. Nothing can come without His sanction and when His sanction is there He is connected there, and His connection means His grace. He is all gracious and we are to look for that. We are to invite that element from the great world above and thereby promote our fortune, our fate to be connected with that wave of daya (kindness). No chaos; everything is cosmos, and the cosmos is connected with the All-good." (C, # 4, Win., 92-3, p10-11) + (see also śloka 282)

Sincerity is invincible. Even obstacles may improve our position if we can take them in the right way. From a higher angle of vision it may be seen that everything is coming to help us. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.8) gives us a most hopeful suggestion for all stages of life: blame yourself and no one else. Maintain your appreciation for the Lord, seeing everything as His grace. At present we think our circumstances undesirable because they do not suit our present taste. But medicine may not always suit the taste of the patient. Still it is conducive to health. This verse is the highest type of regulation given by the śāstra. If you can follow this law, then in no time you will have a very good position. We must be careful not to blame the circumstances, but to appreciate that Kṛṣṇa is behind everything. Kṛṣṇa is my best friend; He is in the background of everything. Everything is passing through His attentive eyes. So there cannot be any defect there. (LSFTLS, p 18)

Be optimistic, don't be pessimistic. You are good and all around you is bad, and withdrawal from everything and everyone will give you real bliss? Don't be so selfish thinking. That is your environment; they should be relied on - they also have goodness in them. So try to adjust yourself with them. tat te 'nukampāṁ. All our situations in life occur by His grace. Especially try to adjust with the Guardian who is at the bottom of all movement and all creation. Have faith in Him, and through Him, approach your environment. Then everything will be properly adjusted. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 173) + (see also śloka 433)

According to the result of our karma we shall be placed in a particular environment, and we must start our spiritual life from wherever we are placed; we must begin our work of conquering all those saṁskāras that comprise the mental encasement we are living in. Tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo. We should not only live in our present position without complaint, but moreover, we shall have to consider it as really necessary for our upliftment. In this way, we have to accept whatever adversities that come to us as the Grace of the Lord. We must cope, with this positive angle of vision of goodness:

"This is my real necessity. There is no error in the calculation of the Lord. This test has been extended to me for my benefit. To stand, to face and cross this opposition is my chance to have my progress in life. The test has been given by Kṛṣṇa to facilitate my progressive life."

In the Bhāgavatam we are advised to face all adverse circumstances in such an optimistic way. Then very easily and swiftly we shall cross these walls of misunderstanding, this Māyā, and we will be liberated, and more - we will have participation in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the life of dedication. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 143-4)

When the environment comes to attack us we shall try to find out the Supreme Will there. We should feel: "I have done something wrong, so this is coming to control me and to exact the reaction for my offences. Tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo. In the perfect vision, we are not to quarrel with the environment. "Not even a straw can move without the Supreme Will, without the order of the Supreme Will. So, whatever is coming to attack me is my necessity. Just that is necessary for me, to correct me."

Just as when the mother is punishing the child, she does so only with the good will to correct the child. Similarly, the Absolute has got no vindictive nature to punish me, but His dealings are only for my correction. We shall have to see and approach in that way.

Whatever undesirable I find here is the result of my previous karma, and by the good will of the Supreme, that previous karma is going to be finished. I will be relieved. I will be made fit for higher service to Him, so this has come." That is the advice in Bhāgavatam. Don't quarrel with the environment. Try to be adjusted with it; correct your own ego. Everything is all right.

Your ego is demanding some sort of comfort from the environment. That is the cause of this hitch. There's no hitch in the outside, no ailment; but within, your ego creates the problem. That false ego should be dissolved, and the liquid nectar will flow and place you within the highest plane, the plane where there is no complaint. The smooth movement, affectionate movement of the most fundamental plane: your soul will find yourself standing and walking in that plane. And the false friends - the circumstances we think to be friends but which are really all false - those false friends will be withdrawn. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 189-90) + (see also śloka 476)

tāvad brahma-kathā vimukti-padavī tāvan na tiktī-bhavet
tāvac cāpi viśṛṅkhalatvam ayate no loka-veda sthitiḥ
tāvac chāstra-vidāṁ mithaḥ kala-kola nānā-bahir-vartmasu
śrī-caitanya-padāmbuja-priya-janoyāvan na dṛg-gocaraḥ

"The discussion of impersonal salvation attained by means of the path of negation will not become bitter, the social and Vedic convention will not be disrupted and the intense controversy between the Vedic scholars on the importance of various external spiritual paths will continue as long as a pure devotee who is beloved to Śrī Caitanycandra and constantly engaged in relishing the nectar of His Holy Feet does not appear before their eyes." (C-Cand, 19) + (SBRBM, p 11)

tava kathāmṛtaṁ tapta-jīvanaṁ,
kavibhir īḍitaṁ kalmaṣāpaham
śravaṇa-maṅgalaṁ śrīmad-ātataṁ,
bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūridā janāḥ

"O Kṛṣṇa, the nectar of Your words and the narrations of Your pastimes give life to us, who are always suffering in this material world. This nectar is broadcast all over the world by great souls, and it removes all sinful reactions. It is all-auspicious and filled with spiritual power. Those who spread this message of Godhead are certainly doing the greatest relief work for human society and are the most magnanimous welfare workers." (S-B, 10.31.9)

This is what is necessary and this is what is universal. Everyone can be satisfied to the highest degree in their hearts only by the nectar of Kṛṣṇa's words and the nectarine descriptions of His activities. This is because Kṛṣṇa is also raso vai saḥ, the reservoir of all pleasure, and akhila rasãmṛta murtiḥ, ecstasy Himself. Kṛṣṇa's very nature is sweet. (SGAHG, p 53) + (see also śloka 276 & 287)

"O Kṛṣṇa, we are always suffering in this world, but just hearing the nectar of Your words and pastimes gives us life and as a by-product it removes all of our sinful reactions. This sort of hearing is all-auspicious and fills us with spiritual wealth. Those who deliver this message of Godhead are doing the highest relief work for human society and are actually the greatest humanitarians."

The gopīs tell Kṛṣṇa: "We are suffering from this pang that is created by You. But the messages about Your pastimes give us life and sustenance. We are eager to hear this, and then we may feel that we are getting our life back. There is no other medicine but Your assurance and consolation: that alone can save us from these pangs of the burning heart." This is their statement in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. (SEOC, p 153)

tebhyas tāḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas-tābhyo 'pi sā rādhikā

"Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is categorically different from that of all the gopīs. The type of service found in Her is practically unaccountable, inconceivable." (TSFSK, p 87) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 113) + (see also śloka 226)

teṣām evānukampārtham,
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho,
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

"Out of compassion for them, I, situated within the hearts of all living beings, dispel the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge." (B-g, 10.11)

"I am so indebted to those devotees that whenever they feel the pain of My separation, I cannot tolerate it. I immediately run to co-operate with them in accepting My service. Such is the intensity of the demand I feel from them." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 48)

"When sometimes the feeling of separation from Me is very acute in My devotees, I suddenly appear before them and quench their thirst for My company." (TGVODL, p 149) + (see also śloka 273)

"To show them special mercy, I enter their hearts and destroy their ignorance with the lamp of knowledge." The inner meaning of this verse is more difficult to draw out. The words teṣām evānukampārtham may be interpreted in two ways. The external interpretation is that Kṛṣṇa favours His devotees, and the internal explanation is that Kṛṣṇa is saying: "I want their favour: I aspire after the favour of the devotees of the highest order." (see also śloka 295 )

Still the paradox is that Kṛṣṇa seems to say that after such grief and continued engagement with Kṛṣṇa, the He gives these higher devotees pure knowledge, and by that knowledge they get salvation by attaining Brahman. That is the point of argument made by the followers of Śaṅkarācārya. But I have taken it in another direction. jñāna-dīpena is a troublesome expression - "I enlighten them with knowledge" - so I have given another interpretation: When the pangs of separation felt by Kṛṣṇa's devotees comes to its extreme stage, Kṛṣṇa suddenly comes and shows Himself. For example, Śacī Devī feels extreme separation when she cooks for Nimāi, and then by His mercy she can see clearly that Nimāi has come and taken prasādam. Similarly in Vṛndāvana, when the pangs of separation reach their highest degree, then suddenly the devotees can see that "Kṛṣṇa is here in our company."

Here Kṛṣṇa is saying: "I can't tolerate the pangs of separation felt by My devotees. I must run towards them and show them, 'I am here, My mother. You see? I am here taking food.'"

Sometimes Śacī Devī prepares food for the Deity, and after offering it, she sees that it is all gone. At that time, she thinks: "Was this a dream? I saw Nimāi. He was taking Prasāda, and of course nothing was left in the pot. But Nimāi has gone long ago. But then who has taken this Prasāda ? What was it I saw? Was it a dream, or has some dog taken the food? Or is it that I forgot, I have not cooked today? Perhaps I did not give the bhoga to the Bāla Gopāla Deity. What did I do?"

In this way, Śacī is confused. This may be seen as her ajñāna, her "ignorance." Then Śrī Caitanya sends some devotee to her, saying: "You tell all this to My mother: on those days when such things occur I actually go there; I take food from her hand. It is not a dream. Remind My mother of this and console her. Tell her that I come to her and I take her cooked Prasādam. Remind her that this has occurred."

So when Kṛṣṇa says that out of His mercy He appears and removes their ignorance, their ajñāna, He means that when the devotees are experiencing separation from Him, He appears before them and removes the darkness they feel from separation. Out of His mercy, He gives them sustenance. And when that sort of medicine has been applied, they can go on further. In Vṛndāvana, when His devotees felt separation, sometimes He had to come and show His friends: "I am amongst you. I have not left you." This is what is meant by dispelling darkness with the light of divine knowledge: jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā. Here the word ignorance or ajñāna means jñāna-śunya-bhakti, knowledge-free devotion. Devotees do not think that they are part and parcel of the līlā, the pastimes of the Supreme God. No; their devotion is free from such calculation. It is jñāna-śunya-bhakti, most innocent.

So this is the meaning of the fourth nutshell verse (see also ślokas 14, 273 & 517) from Bhagavad-gītā: by His mercy Kṛṣṇa removes the darkness of separation from His devotees. And those that remind us of Kṛṣṇa, and thus remove the darkness born of separation from Him, are the real humanitarians. They are distributing the highest cure. (SEOC, p 150-3) + (see also śloka 514)

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ,
bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ,
yena mām upayānti te

"To those devotees who are constantly dedicated to Me, and who engage in My service out of their love for Me, I bestow the internal divine inspiration by which they can approach Me and render various intimate services unto Me." (B-g, 10.10)

"And again I give them a further instalment, an illumination of new light (dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ ), and they take a new course and are promoted into the 'suicide squad,' that squadron which is eligible for every type of service." That particular type of 'soldier' is competent to fight on the land, in the water, in the sky, or in any circumstances, and he is prepared for any form of fighting, any form of service. "I direct them to that section." yena mām upayānti te "Unconditional service; they are ready for any service demanded of them. They are ready to sacrifice their lives for any form of service, and that peculiar group is in Vṛndāvana.

I mentioned to Śrīpāda A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swāmī Mahārāja that in Gītā, after ramanti (10.9) comes buddhi-yoga and then upayānti (10.10); according to me, the meaning is that ramanti or divine service in madhura-rasa progresses through buddhi-yoga or yoga-māyā, up to upayānti, or the highest plane of service in Vṛndāvana. Śrīpāda Swāmī Mahārāja responded: "What more could it mean than this!"

Hence, upayānti means kāma-rūpā. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī has mentioned sambandha-rūpā and kāma-rūpā, the two types of rāgātmikā-bhakti, or devotion rendered by the Eternal Associates of the Lord, headed by the residents of Vraja. In sambandha-rūpā the Lord's Associates co-operate according to their fixed relative positions of dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or madhura, whereas in kāma-rūpā they come forward to serve any necessity that is demanded of them. They are ready to serve any and every desire of the Absolute. They are like that group of soldiers who have been trained to do any service in the war without being limited to fighting only in a particular division such as the army, navy, or air force. They are prepared for all sorts of service, anywhere. Such is the kāma-rūpā group. This is upayānti te; they are awarded the instruction (dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ ) by which they earn such capacity in the service of the Supreme." (SOTGOD, v1,p 46-8)

"To those who constantly worship Me with devotion, I give the intelligence by which they can come to Me." This is the ordinary meaning of this verse, but there is a deeper meaning. Here, Kṛṣṇa says: "Those persons who are continuously engaged in Me without interruption (satata-yuktānāṁ ), who are always in Me, who are connected with Me, who serve Me with great love and respect with their heart, dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ - I inspire them with the intelligence by which they will come to Me. They will come to Me in a closer connection." But I found that this is redundant. Kṛṣṇa has already said satata-yuktānāṁ: "Their devotion is continuous; they are always there in My connection." If they are already in connection with Kṛṣṇa, then we must ask why He would again say: "They will come to Me."

Kṛṣṇa has already said that these devotees talk only of Him, think only of Him, take pleasure in Him, and are always engaged in His service. He says: "They are always connected with Me without interruption, and they are serving Me with heartfelt love." They are already serving with heartfelt love, and then Kṛṣṇa says: "I shall give them the inspiration by which they will come to Me." (mām upayānti te). This is redundant. It has already been said that they are connected to Kṛṣṇa; how is it that again they will "come to Him"? How is Kṛṣṇa's statement "they come to Me" to be harmonised?

So I found a deeper meaning to the words mām upayānti te. I took here the word upayānti, which ordinarily means "they come to Me," to indicate upapati, or "paramour." So upayānti - "they come to Me," - means they consider Kṛṣṇa as upapati, as a paramour. In society there is the lawful husband, or pati, and there is the paramour, or upapati. In Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa is not considered by the gopīs as their lawfully married husband, but as master, as the Lord of their hearts.

Here Kṛṣṇa says: "I inspire those who are constantly engaged in devotional service to come to Me." Which devotees does Kṛṣṇa here inspire? Those who are ramānti, the highest group of devotees, those who are related to Him in consorthood, in full rasa - mukhya rasa. Kṛṣṇa says here: "I inspire them to come to Me, considering Me as paramour, upapati. Here Kṛṣṇa says bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam: this means prema, which is generally found in mādhura rasa, consorthood. So the real meaning of this verse is that Kṛṣṇa inspires those who are in consorthood to come to Him, seeing Him as paramour, upapati. And how do they come to Him? He inspires them to come without any consideration of social and scriptural demands. And so, inspired by Him from within, crossing the line of scriptural and social regulations, and even deceiving their own husbands, the gopīs are united with Kṛṣṇa in paramour consorthood (parakīya ).

Kṛṣṇa's position is absolute, and He relishes more the devotion of those who can cross everything for Him. And He inspires His devotees from within with this message: "Externally you have to fulfil social and scriptural demands, but My position is over and above the scriptures. My position is above whatever the social laws and scriptural laws tell you to do. I am above the Vedas and everything else. The Vedas are My instructions for the ordinary people. Their instructions are meant for those who are deviated from Me. Society is also under the guidance of those instructions which were given to the fallen. But My connection with everything is intrinsic; it is independent of the laws of scripture and society. I do not require recognition from anyone. My connection with everything is the constant in all equations. It can never be avoided. So you must neglect all the demands from your previous life's connections and come to Me. You have no freedom to do anything else. When your devotional nature will come to demand you come to Me, you are not free. Your heart must come towards Me."

That is upapati. Paramour devotion. The devotion of Vṛndāvana, vṛndāvana bhajana, means paramour devotion: yena mām upayānti te. So here Kṛṣṇa says that to those who are ramanti, who are already inclined to come in connection with Him in consorhood as husband and wife, He gives some special feeling and inspiration within their hearts, and they shall come to Him as upapati, as paramours. Here Kṛṣṇa is saying, in effect: "This paramour devotion is so great that it crosses the rules of both society and scripture. It is independent of everything. Connection with Me is independent of everything that you can conceive. It is most innate and natural. It does not require any scriptural or any social sanction. You may live in society showing formal respect to scriptural and social convention, but from your inner heart of hearts you are Mine. That is yena mām upayānti te, the special instruction or nature or insight I give to these devotees." (SEOC, p 138, p 144-7) + (see also ślokas 14, 273 & 516)

te vaiṣṇavaḥ bhuvanamāśu pavitrayanti

So, through the godliness in his (or her) heart, everyone must be a purifying agent. God is on the throne of the heart, and from there He will emanate such a fine ray which will purify not only that person's heart, but also the environment. 'Vaiṣṇava' means a purifying agent who emanates goodness, absolute goodness, everywhere - through his movements, his words, his actions, everything: deed, thought and word, kāya, mana, vākya. A Vaiṣṇava is an agent of auspiciousness; te vaiṣṇavaḥ bhuvanamāśu pavitrayanti. There are so many Vaiṣṇavas, and by their chanting the Holy Name, by all their practices and by their whole lives, they are like so many purifying agents.

By proper knowledge, proper dealings and proper conduct they set everything in it's proper position and create adjustment in the domain of maladjustment. This world is maladjusted, and the balancing agents, the unifying factors, are the Vaiṣṇavas. Just as there is a germ, a virus which spreads a particular contagious disease, so there must be the opposite of that, something which emanates only a pure and healthy atmosphere, and that is the Vaiṣṇava. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 12)

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour;
The path of glory leads but to the grave.

Elegy written in a country churchyard. (1751)
(Thomas Gray, 1716-71, English poet)

The whole world - sun, stars, moons, oceans, mountains - all are vanishing and again coming and going. You may be the lord of all you survey, but you are a lord in the cremation ground, only to deplore: "Oh, everything is passing away. Every second everything is passing away!" (SEOC, p 114)

The sun, the moon, the ether, the air - everything will vanish in wholesale dissolution. Only faith will live, even at that stage. Faith is eternal substance within us, and we are told that with favourable circumstances of faith we can go back to God, back to home. Back to home sweet home! Such highest prospect is given to us who are in this world of mortality, which is a burial ground and cremation ground. Here, everything is bound to be buried. This is the world of experience - everything leads but to the grave. But faith is not treacherous. It will remain within, with the soul, and grant hope, prospect, and sustenance. And what kind of sustenance? Home comfort. Back to God, back to home. When there is the proposal of such an alternative, who would be such a fool to run after the experience of this 'civilised' atomic world? Experience and science are all the jaws of death. Faith is nothing vague. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 19) + (see also śloka 585)

tīrtha-yātrā pariśrama,
kevala manera bhrama,
sarvva-siddhi govinda-caraṇa

Caution is needed in attending Kṛṣṇa-Dhāma, as much as it is required for attending Kṛṣṇa-līlā. But if we are not sincere we may commit offences, and that will hurl us down. Rather, Nabadwīpa-Dhāma is more accommodating. There also aparādha is possible, but it may be minimised. Nabadwīpa will help us, as sādhakas (aspirants) to feel, "I am not so high; I am not holding such a high position as those of Vṛndāvana." In chanting the Name or residing in the Dhāma - with everything there is consideration of offences; and less consideration of offences is found in Nabadwīpa-Dhāma. It is more liberal. Still, the most important factor is sādhu-saṅga - the superior guide." (Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura) (SOTGOD, v 2, p 168)

tomātma ātmā buyāya kalpate
ātmā buyāya vidyate tad anantaram

"As if they are My own soul, they enter into Me." "My devotee belongs to Me."

One who has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa is accepted as His own. And just as Kṛṣṇa has rights over everything and is never a trespasser, so His own man should never be considered a trespasser at any time. This is confirmed elsewhere, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 11.29.34, ātmā buyāya ca kalpate: "My devotee belongs to Me." So one who works by inspiration from Kṛṣṇa should never be considered a trespasser. He can enjoy anything on Kṛṣṇa's behalf if he is really a surrendered soul. He should be considered as Kṛṣṇa's. He has free access to everything that belongs to Kṛṣṇa. (SEOC, p 129-130) + (see also śloka 289)

Where is God? In an unknown quarter? His every ways are unknown. We are very, very far off in the lower position, but the prospect; such a prospect we have got that , as a family man, we can live with Him and serve Him. Want more could we want? This appeals to the core of my heart and I came out: "I want that; I want to live with Him as a family man - with God." So Kṛṣṇa consciousness of Godhead can accommodate our family life with Him. What more is there we may want? I have got such a right? tomātma ātmā buyāya kalpate: "As if they are My own soul: -

ātmā buyāya vidyate tad anantaram: they enter into Me." To enter into that conception of Godhead? That means His parent. Family life with Him. How? How could this be? All of our enquiries and inner aspirations may be satisfied with Him - akhila rasāmṛta mūrtiḥ - all different kinds of aspirations within can find fulfilment in Him. (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 6)

tṛṇād api sunīcena,
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena,
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

"One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives due honour to others without desiring it for himself is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa." (S, 3)

We should mainly couch ourselves in this mood: we should think of ourselves as the meanest of the mean. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given his analysis of the meaning of this verse as follows: even a blade of grass has its value, but we do not even have as much value as a blade of grass. We have no positive value. It is one thing if a man is not educated, but a madman is worse than uneducated. He can think - but only abnormally. Therefore, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "I have some consciousness, some intelligence, but it is all misdirected. A blade of grass has no misdirection. When trampled upon, it has no tendency to spring back in the opposite direction. A blade of grass can be blown here and there by a storm, or by the external environment, but I will always be reluctant to go in a particular direction. If the waves of the environment want to take me in a particular direction, I'll try to oppose them. If you really consider my value, my position is lower than a blade of grass because I have an opposing tendency.

When we want to bring ourselves in a closer relationship with the infinite goodness, we should think: "I have no value. Rather, my value is negative. It is my tendency to oppose the Lord's grace. If Kṛṣṇa wants to grace me, I try to resist. I am constituted of such an element that I commit spiritual suicide. Kṛṣṇa comes to grace me, but I oppose Him: the energy that is within me tries for suicide. This is my position, but a blade of grass won't oppose anyone. I have such a nasty position." We must realise that we are in such a predicament. With this concern we may accept the goodness of the Absolute Truth in the form of His Holy Name.

We should not think that the path will be very smooth; so many troubles may come from outside. When the devotees go to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa in the street, many people come and shout: "Hey, you monkeys! Red-faced monkeys!" So many forms of hindrances and opposition will come and try to affect us, to dissuade us from this path, but we must practice forbearance like that of a tree. Why has the example of a tree been given? It has been analysed in this way: if no one pours any water on a tree, it does not protest: "Oh! Give me water!" If anyone comes to disturb the tree, snatching its leaves, cutting its branches, or even chopping it down, a tree remains silent; it gives no opposition. We should try to see how insult, poverty, punishment, or other unfavourable dealings are necessary to purify us, and with minimal punishment we shall be released from material existence. Through Kṛṣṇa consciousness we have connected with the highest object of life, the highest fulfilment of life - what price are we ready to pay for that? It is inconceivable. Whatever little demands may be exacted from us, we must accept with a smiling face, considering the highest goal. If we are really confident, if we have faith in our bright future, then we can gladly pay what little price nature wants to take from us. (TGVODL, p 111-3)

And we must show our respect to others. Prestige is the greatest and most subtle enemy of the devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Pride is the worst enemy for the devotee of Kṛṣṇa. And pride ultimately takes one to the conclusion of the māyāvādīs, the monists. They say: so 'ham - "I am!" Not dāso 'ham - "I am subordinate," but "I am the Supreme Element; I am That: I am He," eliminating from their consideration the fact that we are tiny and suffering in misery. All these practical things are ignored by the māyāvādīs, the impersonalists, but position, or ego (pratiṣṭha ), is our worst enemy. In this verse, we are advised to deal with prestige and position in a special way.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "You must not desire respect from anyone or even from the environment itself; at the same time, you must give prestige to everyone and everything in the environment according to its position. Show respect, but don't desire any respect from outside." We must be very particular about this, for pride is our hidden enemy. If we can somehow avoid or conquer this enemy, we will be able to enter into the slave area of Kṛṣṇa and join those who have given their lives wholesale in sacrifice to Him. The general meaning of this verse is: "Never seek position or prestige from any quarter. At the same time, give honour to one and all according to your understanding." (TGVODL, p 114-5) + (see also śloka 164)

If we increase the quality of our negativity, or the feeling that we are so mean, the positive will automatically be attracted. Try to increase the power of your position as a negative unit. tṛṇād api sunīcena (by feeling oneself lower than the grass), dainyam, (humility), ātmanivedana (surrender). Hankering in surrender is our wealth. We are the śakti, the potency, and potency refers to the negative unit of the positive, the Potent. Increase your negative side, your hankering. The positive will be automatically attracted to you. In the impartial judgement, taṭastha-vicāra, we must find that the more humility, dainyam, we possess, the more devotion and intimacy we possess. Health depends on hunger. The more one feels hunger, the better his health may be; that is, real, natural hunger. It is something like this. And humility is to feel: "I am the lowest." So in this comparison, the more one has realised the Infinite, the more s/he thinks: "I am the lowest." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 108) + (see also śloka 574)

It is the nature of one who appreciates the highest that he will think himself to be in the lower position. We find this in the practices and sayings of the great men. It is a question of tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā, and this is a necessary qualification of a devotee. We must have that sort of qualification, that sort of heart. That must not be an artificial thing but if we are not ready to think ourselves lower, we cannot come in connection with the higher. tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ.

Your attitude towards the search will be such that you are almost unfit to search for such a goal, yet you sincerely want to begin your new life. To feel you are so unqualified is the qualification for the finite to approach the Infinite. If you think that you are something, that is a disqualification in your search for the Infinite.

With humility you are to take the Name of the Lord, that Divine Sound. But the process is that you must be mindful of this necessity of humility otherwise the search will be in vain and your attempt will be lost. So what will be the proper attitude? Tṛṇād api sunīc - you are to think yourself to be the meanest of the mean and the humblest of the humble. Sincerely you must feel that way. Taror api sahiṣṇunā - your forbearance must not have any limit. You must not feel: "So many days, so many ages I have passed in this search but I haven't reached there yet - I shall give up." Be sure that you have come to search for the Infinite. So there is no time limit and no room for any vanity that you shall think yourself to be master of that higher realm, for that is a disqualification and must be given up from the beginning. Amāninā mānadena - your highest enemy is your self-seeking nature: to think that you have some standing, some greatness in you. That sort of vanity must be abandoned. Amāninā - you must never seek any honour for yourself: no reward. Mānadena - at the same time you must be modest in your dealings with all others, then your amāninā will be genuine.

If you do not like to give the honour to others then your own self-seeking will be present and traceable. But when you can give honour to others without wanting any for yourself, you will be qualified to search for Govindam, for the Centre, the Infinite, the Absolute. You are a qualified student if you can give up all these bad and unfavourable prejudices. If you come to search after the Absolute then you must have such qualifications otherwise you will fail. So we find that the great devotees always condemn themselves to the extreme, beyond what we can conceive even for ordinary persons. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 40-1) + (see also śloka 193)

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the vitality of the vitality. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda did his best to give Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the people of India, and Śrīla A.C Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja distributed that vitality all over the world. It is by their grace and by the grace of Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself that so many have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Haridāsa Ṭhākura once told Caitanya Mahāprabhu: "By Your chanting of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, both the animate and inanimate world has been supplied with the food of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Whatever position they may occupy, their life is fulfilled. I heard of how, when You travelled through the jungle and chanted and danced, the elephants and tigers also danced and chanted the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. What wonder, then, should there be if I say that the stones and trees have also attained their highest end - Kṛṣṇa consciousness - when You are chanting. What an intense degree of Kṛṣṇa consciousness has been produced here by Your chanting."

But in order to chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, something is required from our side also. amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ. We should resort to kīrtana always, but our attitude should be as Mahāprabhu recommends: tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena. Our attitude should be one of humility, and if we think that we are being done wrong, still we should be patient, and under no circumstances should we work for our own position and prestige; that should not be our aim.

When the lower stands against the higher, offence arises. That tendency should be shunned. Primary education is also education, but that should not compete with higher education; we must be careful about that. At the same time, the differentiation between higher education and lower education must be genuine. Still, primary education must not be thought of as the highest education. That will be dangerous. There is a saying in Bengali - alpavidyā bhayaṁkorī - "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." We must be careful about that, otherwise our attitude will be suicidal. The question of offence arises whenever primary education stands against higher education. That sort of assertion is offensive.

Slow and steady wins the race. Our march towards the Infinite is a long journey, not a journey to be finished within a few hours, a few days, or a few years. And we have to adjust accordingly. It is not that we shall run quickly to make progress and then stop and sleep. It is a long way we shall have to go. We will only be successful if we develop humility - tṛṇād api sunīcena. We should not create any circumstance that invites resistance. Still, if any resistance unexpectedly approaches us, we should try our best to forbear. And we must always be conscious that our guardian's eye is always over us, eager to help us in our campaign. We are not alone. We may go on confidently: there is a person above us to redress the wrong that may be shown to us, so we should not take the initiative.

We must not allow any ulterior purpose or temptation to induce us to give up our search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Let the satisfaction of guru, Gaurāṇga, Kṛṣṇa, and the Vaiṣṇavas be our only objective. Let no other element enter upon our path. Our purity of purpose must always be very scrupulously maintained. We should think: "Alone I shall go on with my duty. I won't always be searching for someone to come and help me. Let them do their own duty. This is my duty."

With this sort of attitude we shall go on. With this sort of adjustment our concentration may become more intense, our confidence in Kṛṣṇa will be increased, and our duty will be pure and clear. We should be conscious that hindrances and obstacles are almost sure to attack us, but we must deal with them with humility and forbearance. So this life is not a life of comfort. But in order to develop this kind of humility and forbearance, we must learn to see the Lord's hand in everything. And therefore the Vedas tell us to remember that the glance of the Lord is always upon us. (LSFTLS, p 31-3) + (see also ślokas 351 & 502)

The cause of our disease is not outside us, but within us. A paramahaṁsa Vaiṣṇava, a saint of the highest platform, sees that everything is all right. He finds nothing to complain about. When one can see that everything is good and sweet to the furthest extreme, he comes to live in the plane of divinity. Our false ego creates only disturbance, and that ego should be dissolved. We should not think that the environment is our enemy. We must try hard to detect God's grace in whatever comes to us, even if it comes as an apparent enemy. Everything is the grace of the Lord, but we can't see it; rather, we see the opposite. The dirt is in our eyes. Actually, everything is divine. It is all the grace of the Lord. The disease is in our eyes. We are diseased, and if the disease is cured, we shall find that we are in the midst of a gracious world.

Only the coverings of desire deceive us from having a real estimation of the world. A bona fide student of the devotional school will accept such an attitude towards the environment and towards the Lord. We have to think that God's will is everywhere. Even a blade of grass cannot move without the sanction of the Supreme Authority.

Every detail is detected and controlled by Him. We have to look upon the environment with optimism. The pessimism is within us. Our ego is responsible for all sorts of evil. This is Vaiṣṇavism. If we can do this, then in no time, our disease will be cured, and we'll be in the midst of infinite blissfulness. Our tendency at present is to cure what we see on the outside. We think, "I want everything to follow my control, my sweet will. When everything obeys me, then I will be happy." But we must take just the opposite attitude. As Mahāprabhu has said: tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ. We should create no resistance against our environment. Still, if some undesirable things come towards us, we should tolerate that with our utmost patience. And even if someone attacks us we won't become violent; we must practice forbearance to the extreme. We shall honour everyone; we will seek no honour.

In this way, with the least amount of energy and time we can attain the highest goal: the plane where Kṛṣṇa Himself is living. That is the most fundamental plane of existence. At that time, all the encasements covering the soul will vanish and die, and the inner soul will awaken and find that he is playing in a sweet wave, dancing and merry-making in Vṛndāvana, with Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. And what is Vṛndāvana? It is neither a fable, nor a concocted story. The broadest and widest plane of the whole universe is beauty, sweetness and blissfulness, and that is present in Vṛndāvana in all its fullness. We have to dive deep into that plane of reality. Our ego has floated us on the surface of trouble in māyā, illusion. Concoction, and the search for selfish satisfaction have taken us here, and these must be dissolved once and for all. And then from within, our golden selves will come out, and we will find that we are in the plane of a happy dancing mood, with Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. (TSFSK, p 18-20)

Mahāprabhu has taught tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena, It is very difficult to conquer one's fame, or prestige. pratiṣṭhā, one's love for position is very difficult to give up. It is easier to give up attraction for females or money, but hankering for one's own position is most difficult. Prestige for position is our innermost enemy. So long as that remains we cannot offer ourselves in the service of a Vaiṣṇava. I may accept somewhat hesitatingly the service of God, but to serve a Vaiṣṇava would be like coming to a lower settlement. In fact, to become the servant of a Vaiṣṇava would actually be the be all and end all of my life. But how can I accept that idea? I may accept service under the Supreme Lord, that I may anyhow manage. But to become the servant of the servant of the servant - what is this? What is the fun? Should a man stoop so low as this? Therefore, pratiṣṭhā, position, the consciousness of prestige, is the greatest enemy of the conditioned soul. (GOD, p 25)

"Becoming humbler than a blade of grass," is never fastened or tied to the external dress of it - factually that is connected with the real spirit - that is inseparably existing with the real spirit, within the spirit." (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 6)

So we will have to become cent per cent optimistic and leave no room for pessimism. Our only apprehension will be that I may not commit any offence, especially towards a Vaiṣṇava. We shall have to become very alert to this. So precious, so valuable is the fortune for which we are aspiring. So we must be very, very careful to guard against jealousy, envy from arising in us from any place. We are connected with some great force, so as much as possible we must remain cautious, careful that no disturbance will come out from us to do away with our aspiration.

So Mahāprabhu has told us: tṛṇād api sunīcena - In one word - conscious. You must be conscious. Conscious that you are living in a plane that is ultimately worthless, no value. Tṛṇād api sunīcena - Don't go to oppose anyone. There is no meaning to any opposition. It is all fictitious so why should I give opposition to something that is all fictitious.

Taror api sahiṣṇunā - And if any opposition should come to you don't care for that either. That is also unreal. Their motivation is superficial. That should not affect your inner train of thought. So don't care about any opposition coming to you. Don't create any opposition to others, and still if any opposition will come to you try not to care for that. It is all futile.

Amāninā - And don't hanker after any appreciation from the ordinary public, for name and fame. They do not know what is what, and therefore their appreciation has got no value, don't hanker after that.

Mānadena - Still you must be alert to give them due respect, otherwise they will come to disturb you. Like a bribe, offer some respect to them and go on with your own company. Without being disturbed, as much as possible, try to make progress as rapidly as you can. You do not know, your future circumstances may cut off your opportunity, your connection. So as much as you are able to utilise your present circumstances, try to do that. (C, # 4, Win. '92 / '93, p 12) + (see also śloka 523)

I have come in the relativity of the infinite. So my behaviour must be according to that. Bhakti - tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena. Negative, the negative tendency should be increased to attract the positive; "I cannot but want You, I am unfit but Your least connection I must have," and thus we have to invite Him. "I am poor, I am mean, there is no meaner fellow than me." (C, v 1, # 5, Sum. '93, p 10)

Tatra sampatti-catuṣṭayaṁ paramānukūlam. - These four jewels are accepted as the greatest treasure favourable to the performance of Hari-kīrttana - Humility, tolerance, not accepting honour, and giving respect.

Humility: śrāddha (unalloyed faith and devotion), is the most valuable capital of a pure spiritual seeker. One great enemy of śrāddha is false ego. As long as the mind and heart possess false ego, they cannot feel any taste or experience the transcendental nature of the Holy Name. It is most important that Hari-kīrtana be performed with a mind free from false ego. Sincere humility, born from the knowledge of the jīvas infinitesimal position, is a great friend who protects and nurtures one's spiritual life. Therefore humility represents the noble principle of egoless approach to the Supreme Lord.

Tolerance: Being tolerant as a tree represents the spiritual qualities of forgiveness, non-violence, peacefulness, affectionate nurturing, giving no trouble to anyone and selfless happiness in helping others. This powerful quality of toleration and forbearance becomes a natural part in the life of a high class devotee. Cultivating this holy power in himself he remains unaffected by the disturbances created in general society and thereby stays firmly situated in the ideal performance of Hari-kīrtana.

Not accepting honour: The desire for receiving personal honour from others without the real interest of Kṛṣṇa, simply indulges selfish greed, false pride, and the superiority complex of underestimating others. As long as one's heart is possessed by such greed and anxiousness for mundane honour, one cannot feel peace and therefore cannot steadily devotee oneself to Kṛṣṇa and His Holy Name.

Giving respect: The devotee offers all respect to others knowing Kṛṣṇa is present in them as Supersoul. He does not become personally entangled, nor is he dependent on receiving any futile mundane honour in return. Having no separate, selfish motive, he becomes qualified to serve Kṛṣṇa and engage others in such service." (S, v 3) + (SBRBM, p 19-20) + (SSPJ, p 37) + (SOTVA, p 24)

Trust no future howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act, - act, in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-82, U.S. poet)

The quality of joy has variety, and it comes to help us in our serving attitude, so that at every moment we may feel new encouragement. So we have to enquire from a proper agent, follow his advice, and try to understand how to improve our condition. At the same time, we should be conscious that the chance we have to render devotional service is rarely found. It is not very cheap. Therefore, we must utilise every minute, every second, every moment. We should be very much alert that a moment not be lost, that our attempt to dedicate ourselves may continue constantly without being interrupted. That stage of dedication is called niṣṭhā, and when we attain that stage, our taste is further improved and we will be more and more encouraged to go forward and make progress towards ultimate fulfilment.

Śukadeva Goswāmī told Parīkṣit Mahārāja that seven days of longevity is enough to achieve perfection. He said: "You have only seven days left to live; do you think it is a short time? It is enough time. What is all-important is the proper use of every second." What time we have in our hands is uncertain, but we must try our best to properly use every second. This must not be neglected. We should not think: "The future is before me; any time I like, I can engage in the profitable affair of spiritual life." Not one second should be lost. The present is at our hand. We don't know about our future. We must try to use the time at hand to its best advantage. And how will our time be best used? In the association of saints and scriptures. (LSFTLS, p 2-4)

tuṇḍe tāṇḍavinī ratiṁ vitanute tuṇḍāvalī-labdhaye
karṇa-kroḍa-kaḍambinī ghaṭayate karṇārbudebhyaḥ spṛhām
cetaḥ-prāṅgaṇa-saṅginī vijayate sarvendriyāṅāṁ kṛtiṁ
no jāne janitā kiyadbhir amṛtaiḥ kṛṣṇeti varṇa-dvayī

"When the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa appears on the lips of a devotee, it begins madly dancing. Then the Name takes over and handles him as if the person to whom the lips belong loses all control over his lips, and the devotee says: 'With one mouth, how much can I gather the ecstasy of the Holy Name? I need millions of mouths to taste its unlimited sweetness. I'll never feel any satisfaction by chanting with only one mouth." (VM, 1.15)

When the sound "Kṛṣṇa" enters the ear, he feels that transcendental sound awaken in his heart. "What are two ears?" he thinks. "This is the greatest injustice of the creator - I need millions of ears! Then, if I could hear the sweet Name of Kṛṣṇa, my heart might be a little satisfied. I want millions and millions of ears to hear the sweet Name of Kṛṣṇa."

This is the temperament of a devotee when his (or her) attention is drawn towards the Holy Name. Then he faints; he loses himself, merging in an ocean of ecstasy and joy. And in great disappointment he says: "I failed to understand the quality and quantity of the substance of Kṛṣṇa's Name. I am perplexed. What sort of honey sweetness does this Name contain?" In this way, the chanter wonders.

This has been taught to us by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who said: "Properly chant the Holy Name, the sound representation of absolute sweetness." That sweetness is also to be found in the flute-song of the Lord. The sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute has the great mystic power of capturing and pleasing everyone and everything. Upon hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute, the Yamunā's current is paralysed. The sweet sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute attracts the trees, the birds, and the beasts. Everything is astounded by contacting the sweet vibration from Kṛṣṇa's flute.

Sound vibration can work miracles; sound has the highest capturing potency. Sound can make or mar. It can do anything; it has such intrinsic capacity. It comes from the subtlemost plane, beyond ether. That universal sound is absolute sweetness and goodness. How much power is there - how it can capture us! Like a blade of grass, we may be played by the current of that sweet sound in such a way that we cannot even trace out our own personality. We may lose ourselves there, but we do not die; the soul is eternal. Diving, up and down, we are played by the current of the sweet sound. We are less qualified than a straw, a blade of grass, and the Kṛṣṇa sound is so big and so sweet that it can play us in any way it likes. We cannot begin to conceive how much power is in the Name, the sound which is identical with absolute goodness and sweetness.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "Don't neglect the sound which is one and the same with Kṛṣṇa." Absolute sweetness and goodness - everything is there within the Holy Name. And the Holy Name is representing itself to us in a very cheap way: nothing is required to purchase it - no money, no physical energy. All these things are unnecessary. What is required? Sincerity.

One who simply takes this divine sound sincerely will be so enriched that no one will be able to conceive of so much goodness and development. And anyone may have it very cheaply, but one must chant sincerely with his (or her) whole heart. Of course, wholehearted sincerity presupposes going to a proper agent, a saint, and getting the Holy Name from him.

Śrī kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana is praised by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the inaugurator of the saṅkīrtana movement who came as Rādhā-Govinda combined. His advice is most valuable and necessary to tell us that with a sincere spirit we must come to join this śrī kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana, the most purifying transcendental sound, which effects liberation, gives all fulfilment, and grants us such a positive attainment that we lose ourselves in the ocean of joy and inconceivable sweetness.

This is Śrīman Mahāprabhu's grace, and He proclaims: "Let śrī kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana be expanded into this material world, that it may benefit everyone infinitely, for this is the highest and greatest benefit for the whole world. It is all-comprehensive. It releases us from all sorts of troubles, establishing us in the highest position of attainment."

And in this present degraded age of Kali, only nāma-saṅkīrtana can help us. Of course, nāma-saṅkīrtana is beneficial in all ages, but it is especially recommended in Kali-yuga, because in this age all other attempts will be opposed by many forces. Nāma-saṅkīrtana cannot be opposed by the troubles and waves of this material world, so one must adopt it. If we exclusively give ourselves to this, we will gain the highest fulfilment of life.

There is no necessity of any other campaign, for they are all defective and partial. But the most universal, captivating, and beneficial thing is nāma-saṅkīrtana, which takes us to the highest goal. That alone can satisfy everyone.

All souls that are now disconnected from Kṛṣṇa may be helped in this way. No other movement is necessary. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu tells us: "Exclusively devote yourself to this. It is all-embracing and all-fulfilling. And you can achieve it with the least trouble and least energy. Let it flourish in this Kali-yuga - let it flourish for the welfare of the whole universe, to reestablish all souls in their normal position." (TGVODL, p 95-99) + (see also ślokas 199 & 315)

"When the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa descends and captures the tongue and lips, it controls them so strongly that it engages them in chanting the Holy Name as if the lips and tongue have gone mad. In this way, the power of the Name descends in them, and one feels that only one tongue and one mouth are not enough; thousands of mouths are necessary to taste the Name. The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa enters the ear with such a great force and current that the ears are insufficient; he wants millions of ears to attend to the sweet current entering the ears. Two ears are nothing to him; he wants millions of ears. The nectar of the Holy Name is coming like a flood through his ears, pushing its way within the heart. It is so sweet that as it goes to capture the heart, the centre of all senses, everything is paralysed. Wherever that sweet aggressor touches, the whole thing is captured with such intensity that everything else is ignored. I don't know, I can't say, I fail to express how much nectar there is in the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. These two syllables contain so much sweetness, and such a high quality of sweetness. And this sweetness is so aggressive that it captures everything." (TSFSK, p 125) + (see also śloka 253)

"I do not know how much nectar the two syllables kṛṣ ṇa have blessed me with. When I chant the Holy Name Kṛṣṇa, I feel the exquisite nectarean taste of its ecstatic dance within my mouth, that taste makes me desire many, many mouths. When that Name enters my ears I desire millions of ears out of intense eagerness to relish its sweetness and finally, entering the courtyard of my heart, it reveals Kṛṣṇa's full bloomed form, beauty, qualities, glories and pastimes, captivating and conquering all of my mind, heart and senses by its unlimited, ambrosial pleasure." (SBRBM, p 20-1)

(Watts in a Name!) The highest section can never satisfy themselves that they have 'reached the standard,' of taking the Name - they are paralysed from the beginning. When Yaśodā takes the Name of Kṛṣṇa, or Rādhārāṇī takes the Name of Kṛṣṇa, how many 'volts' are present there? The magnitude of that voltage is inconceivable to us! (SCS, p 38) + (see also ślokas 145, 318 & 39)

tuyā dayā aichena parama udārā
atiśaya manda nātha bhāga hāmārā

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "Whatever may be lacking is on my part. There is no defect on Your side." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 15) + (see also śloka 317)

tvam aham veda sarvani
na tvam vetta parantapa

"It is impossible to know everything and be master of everything. It is not your business to know everything by your constitutional position." (GOD, p 25) + (see also śloka 206)

tvaṁ tu rājan mariṣyeti,
paśu-buddhim imāṁ jahi
na jātaḥ prāg abhūto 'dya,
deha-vat tvaṁ na naṅkṣyasi

"O King, give up the animalistic mentality of thinking: "I am going to die." Unlike the body, you have not taken birth. There was not a time in the past when you did not exist, and you are not about to be destroyed." (S-B, 12.5.2)

At the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī gives a warning to Parīkṣit Mahārāja to be conscious of the firm basis of his teachings. Deception is like a serpent that stealthily comes to bite and kill. Ignorance comes stealthily and takes the soul down to the world of animal consciousness, and we are all moving under the deception of this heavy flesh and blood; therefore heavier 'earth' is necessary to lift us above, up onto its lap.

Divīva cakṣur ātatam . . . mariṣyeti, paśu-buddhim imāṁ jahi: So do away with your animal consciousness that you are flesh and blood. No! You are not limited to flesh and blood, but you are a conscious unit, and you won't die. You are not a member of this dying world, where everything is sure to die on account of its malidentification. This is forced upon you - 'you must die, you must become infirm, you must be born, you must suffer from disease' - but all these are malidentification of your self with your body. This is animal consciousness: consciousness that you are an animal. But you are not so. You are a conscious unit, you are spirit, you are soul.

Not only is the soul immortal, not only does God exist, not only is He the Absolute Dispenser of good and bad - but we, ourselves, are units of the conscious world. So paśu-buddhim imāṁ jahi - separate yourself eternally from that mania, from that misconception and false identification with this material aspect which is the result of your degraded life. Be reinstated in your glorious position as soul. And how is this possible? You are taṭastha (marginal) by constitution, so you cannot stand on you own two feet. You must have some shelter - either mundane within your mundane identification, or above that, you must have some shelter above your head. O taṭastha-jīva, you must have shelter in the Śvarūpa-śakti land, the final land. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 70-1) + (see also ślokas 351 & 502)

After Śukadeva Goswāmī finished giving his Bhāgavata discourse, in his conclusion he gave warning to the audience, especially Parīkṣit Mahārāja: tvaṁ tu rājan mariṣyeti, paśu-buddhim imāṁ jahi. "Oh King, do not think you will die - give up this animal consciousness. Eliminate it fully from your thought and do not allow your attention to come down to any material conception. Remain in your own soul conception. Take your stand firmly there. Why do you allow yourself to come down to the conception of this matter: the world, your body and all these things? It is unnecessary. Don't allow your attention to come down to material consciousness, you are independent of that. Think of your soul, its higher achievement and prospect. Your transaction must be all upwards; stick to that. You, the soul, are independent of these. Free from matter you can live and move very happily. To think it not possible to stay without a body is animal consciousness, paśu-buddhi. What is this! Why do you allow yourself to come into this consciousness of matter which is mortal? Don't allow yourself to come down, to have experience of this material world. This is animal consciousness. You must kill it, butcher it! Tvaṁ tu rājan mariṣyeti, paśu-buddhim imāṁ jahi. To think, ` I shall die,' is animal consciousness. Just kill it once and for all. At the same time try to soar up from soul to over-soul, and beyond to the Nārāyaṇa conception and onwards to the Kṛṣṇa conception. Try to live in the connection of Vraja and the Divine Damsels there who are all serving Kṛṣṇa. Consider how they are so recklessly engaged in serving the sweet will of their Lord. Each one of them is always prepared and is the emblem of sacrifice." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 7) + (see also śloka 118)

vāso 'laṅkāra-carccitāḥ
ucchiṣṭa-bhojino dāsās,
tava māyāṁ jayema hi

Uddhava says: "Adorned with the articles that have been offered to You, such as garlands, fragrant clothing, and ornaments, we, Your personal servitors who partake of Your holy remnants alone, will certainly be able to conquer Your illusory energy (māyā)." (S-B, 11.6.46) + (SSPJ, p 40) + (SOTGOD, v 3, p 76) + (see also śloka 580)

tyaktvā su-dustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ
dharmiṣṭha arya-vacasā yad agād araṇyam
māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam anvadhāvad
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam

"O Supreme Lord, You gave up the goddess of fortune and Her great opulence, which is most difficult to abandon, and is sought after even by the gods. In order to perfectly establish the principles of religion, You left for the forest to honour the brāhmaṇa's curse. To deliver the sinful souls who chase illusory pleasures, You search after them and award them Your devotional service. At the same time, You are engaged in search of Yourself, in search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa: Reality the Beautiful." (S-B, 11.5.34)

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has given his explanation that although it seems that this verse applies to Lord Rāmacandra, who left His kingdom and went with Sītādevī to the forest to discharge the duties designed by His father, chased after the māyā-mṛgaṁ - Marīci, the golden deer. This also applies to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has drawn out the internal meaning of this verse and applied it in the case of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Tyaktvā su-dustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ means He left imperial prosperity which is hard to a bandon. Generally we find this in the case of Lord Rāmacandra, but Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ means the valuable devotional company of Viṣṇupriyā-Devī. That may not appear to be a materially big thing, but the dedication that Viṣṇupriyā has shown in Her heart for Śrīman Mahāprabhu is greater than any imperial standard. And He had to leave that behind. Such a standard of sacrifice is never found even among the great society of the gods. For the sake of public welfare, He had to ignore the serving, loving attitude of Viṣṇupriyā.

This verse mentions the curse of a brāhmaṇa. That brāhmaṇa told Śrīman Mahāprabhu: "I want to participate in Your nocturnal kīrtanas in which You taste Kṛṣṇa-līlā, but the doors are closed." When Śrīman Mahāprabhu used to perform kīrtana and taste the Vraja-līlā of Kṛṣṇa, He did so behind closed doors in deep night. But this brāhmaṇa thought himself a very qualified, religious person because he lived by only drinking milk and nothing else, so he said: "I must have entrance into that kīrtana. I do not eat anything but milk; why should I not be allowed?" Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied: "Milk drinking is no qualification for entering into Kṛṣṇa consciousness."

The brāhmaṇa said: "Then I curse you to lose your family life!"

"All right," Mahāprabhu said and accepted the curse. And later He took sannyāsa and chased after those who were misguided by Māyā-Devī in order to save them. At the same time, although He is Kṛṣṇa, He accepted the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. For these two reasons, He left His apparently worldly life: He acted for the welfare of the public and, after finishing that work, spent the next twelve years tasting the very inner aspiration of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and searching after His own inner sweetness. This is what He came to show to the world. In this mystic way, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has proclaimed the magnanimous appearance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (TGVODL, p 8-10) + (see also śloka 572)

This verse generally applies to Lord Rāmacandra, who left His kingdom, and after going with Sītā -Devī to the forest to discharge the duties designed by His father, chased after the māyā-mṛgaṁ - the golden deer. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, however, shows how this verse also applies to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He says that the word māyā-mṛgaṁ means that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ran after the souls that are enveloped by māyā or misconception. The word māyā-mṛgaṁ, when applied to Rāmacandra, means that He ran after Marīci, who had taken the form of a golden deer. When applied in the case of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the words māyā-mṛgaṁ anvadhāvat mean: "He chased after those souls who are in illusion in order to deliver them. He ran in pursuit of the fallen souls as a saviour, to deliver them from māyā, or illusion."

Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has also given another interpretation: he says that dayitayā ipsitam means "it is desired by the beloved," that is, the search for Kṛṣṇa. In this way, he identifies two qualities in the Caitanya avatāra: He relieves the fallen souls, and He searches out Kṛṣṇa in the mood of His beloved (dayitayepsitam anvadhāvat ). Inspired by the mood of dayita, His beloved, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He ran after the souls in bondage to deliver them. Here we find the scriptural reference, the seed of this conception. He is in quest of the lost souls, absorbed in a loving search for His lost servants. And throughout the whole life of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His other self, Nityānanda, it is very clear that They, being the Supreme Entity Themselves, are hunting after the fallen souls to deliver them. This will be the backbone of our conception of the Lord's loving search for His lost servants. (LSFTLS, p v-vi) + (see also śloka 572)

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ,
nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur,
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

"The living being must be delivered from the dark well of material life by means of the mind detached from sense objects, and he must never in any way be flung down into the material world by the mind enchanted by sense objects - because the mind is sometimes his friend, and in another situation the very same mind is rather the enemy." (B-g, 6.5)

Note that you are your own friend. But you are your own enemy also. You are your own enemy if you don't take good care of your own development for your real progress. But you can be your own friend, and none can give as much help to you as you, yourself, can do. (HC, p 22)

Bhakti does not depend on the environment or on the dealings of others. It is ahaituky apratihatā. Nothing can obscure that flow except our own ego. I am my own greatest enemy. "We can elevate ourselves or degrade ourselves. We are our own best friend or worst enemy." No force outside can check us if we are sincere. (LSFTLS, p 18) + (see also śloka 80)

upajiyā bāḍe latā 'brahmāṇḍa' bhedi' yāya
'virajā,' 'brahmaloka,' bhedi' 'paravyoma' pāya
tabe yāya tad upari 'goloka-vṛndāvana'
'kṛṣṇa-caraṇa'-kalpavṛkṣe kare ārohana

"The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Virajā river and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuṇṭha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vṛndāvana, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Kṛṣṇa's Lotus Feet." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19.153-4) (see also ślokas 279, 378, 498 & 504)

But the pseudo-devotees do not care to know what is Paravyoma, what is Brahmaloka, what is Virajā, what is the Brahmāṇḍa. Without caring to know about these things, they approach any guru, receive some mantram, and go on meditating. But in such a stage, if one goes on meditating on Rādhā-Govinda-līlā, instead of entering Rādhā-Govinda-līlā, he will rather entangle with the ladies and gents of this world. He will become entangled in the domain of lust and he will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 29-30)

One must first cross the different gross and subtle layers of the Brahmanda (mundane universe); then Virajā, the extremity of the jurisdiction of māyā or misconception; then the Brahman conception, the halo of the real or transcendental world; then, Vaikuṇṭha, which is Paravyoma, a sphere of consciousness. The jīva comes from taṭastha-loka, the marginal position or the abscissa, and he must go through higher planes where the soil is more valuable than he himself. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 172)

As one waters the bhakti-latā-bīja, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Virajā River between the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence, and, penetrating through that stratum, it reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vṛndāvana. (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 2)

ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham,
aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyāyam
chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni,
yas taṁ veda sa veda-vit

"The holy scriptures proclaim that this material world is like an unchangeable Banyan tree with its roots facing upwards and its branches down, known as an Aśvattha (transitory) tree. Its nutriments are the Vedic aphorisms, which are represented by its leaves. Whoever knows this tree in this way is a genuine knower of the Vedas." (B-g, 15.1)

"The tree of this material world has its roots upward, while its branches extend downward. The leaves of this tree are the Vedic hymns. One who understands this tree, and its origin, is a true knower of the Vedas." The scientists believe that everything moves upward. This is incorrect. It is coming down. ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham. So according to Vedic knowledge, everything moves from up to down, not from down to up. Matter does not produce soul; rather the soul contains in its one negligible portion the conception of matter. (TSFSK, p 31)

Scientists think that the subtle aspect of nature is coming from the gross. But their idea is upside down. We must realise that everything is coming from the higher to the lower, from up to down. It is not fossil fatherism but soul or God fatherism. The scientists say that everything is upward moving, but it is just the reverse. Everything is coming down. In Bhagavad-gītā it is mentioned ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham. One who knows the real purport of the Vedas is one who can understand that the material conception is upside down. One who can understand this has got some conception of the Vedic knowledge. Matter does not produce soul. It is rather that the soul contains within its negligent portion the conception of matter. This world exists like an eczema or a disease in a wholesome body. This is the Vedāntic vicāra (understanding). So we must observe everything with this attitude, that everything is coming from up to down. In this way we must approach knowledge with a submissive attitude and then we will understand everything in truth. (GOD, p 17)

Who is the knower of the Veda? He who has been able to take such a truthful conception all over the entire universe, he is the real veda-vit, the true knower of the Vedas." What sort of conception? Like the Aśvattha tree whose roots point upwards and branches down, so everything is coming down - flowing in a downward direction - from that upper platform. (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 7-8)

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt,
tat-tat-karma pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ,
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

"To endeavour for spiritual life with enthusiasm, to be certain that the Lord will give His Grace, and therefore to patiently continue to render devotional service. By following the practices prescribed by the saints, to give up the company of those who are averse to devotion, and to tread the path which has been chalked out by the true Vaiṣṇavas; these six practices will go a long way to help us be successful in our spiritual life." (U, v 3) + (SSPJ, p 39)

All these things are recorded for our benefit in Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. That has been given to us by Śrīman Mahāprabhu through Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. He has given us the details so that we may be very cautious about these animal tendencies that are within us. These different types of mentality are presently our masters and we are their slaves. They are my Lords and they use me as their slave. Such a helpless life I am living here.

So we must become independent of all these false masters. In the name of a human being I have so many shameful tendencies within me, so much so that even an animal would not come to such a low standard. This will be the conclusion of our self-analysis. We will see our present nature is really like this - a shameful nature within us. The enemies are within us, not outside. But even deeper within, the Lord is there. The conception of truth, reality - the Kingdom of the Lord is deep within us. That is our consolation, our hope and our prospect. The agents of the Lord are more powerful than all of these 'false masters.' Only, we must try to make a bond with them and try to keep up our promise, then the help will come from that deeper plane. That will drive away all these superficial enemies that are dancing like demons on the surface of our minds. They must be driven away, and help will come from within if we co-operate. If we invite them clearly then those sādhus, the agents of the Supreme Lord, will come and drive away this demonic demonstration on the surface of our mind. They will be driven away forever and we will find our happy engagement in the service of the Lord. We will be finally free from the slavery of these demonic masters, and that is no cheap achievement. Gaura Haribol! (C, # 2, Sum. '91, p 6)

uttiṣṭhataḥ jāgrataḥ prapya varāṇ nibodhataḥ
kṣurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā
durgaṁ pathas tat kavayo vadanti

"Awake, arise: Having obtained the human form of life, you must not sleep in the darkness of ignorance. Awaken knowledge of your real self by associating with great souls and obtaining their mercy. This material creation is as sharp as a razor's edge, for it is the cause of many miseries. It is impossible to cross over without transcendental knowledge. Therefore one must take shelter of the great learned transcendentalists who forever sing the praises of that Supreme Person who is the destroyer of birth and death." (K-U, 1.3.14)

We now have a human body, and this is the most valuable time for us, but it is being lost due to misapplication. Our most valuable energy is being lost through misappropriation. So, awake, arise, and engage yourself not only for you, but address others also to engage in this campaign, and that in turn will give you further help in a particular way. The main thing is that under the guidance of a higher agent we should engage ourselves in devotional activities and have a busy program so there may not be any spare time to go on with any trifling mundane matters. Such a busy program in the association of the devotees will be very helpful for us. (HC, p 23)

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ,
jihvā-vegam udaroprastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ,
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt

"A sober person who can control the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world." (U, 1)

Vāco vegaṁ - to not have control over our speech. I will say anything and everything and then I repent: "Oh what did I say? Did I say that only to pain the heart of that gentleman? Vāco vegaṁ - when the force from within comes to say something, I am unable to control it. I may even abuse a sādhu, a saint. We should consider before we say anything and everything to anyone and everyone. We must try to control that force that comes out in the form of speech. We must keep up the balance of our mind.

Manasaḥ vegaṁ - The mental wave. Sometimes some idea will rush into the mind and overtake me and it may lead me to do anything. As if forced, even against my better judgement, I will do something, perhaps to eat something which is not proper diet for me or whatever it may be. This is manasaḥ vegaṁ.

Krodha vegaṁ - The force of anger which may cause me to speak or act roughly, to abuse others, to lose my self control. Jihvā vegam - means to be a slave to what is very tasteful to the tongue. If something tastes very palatable, even if it may be detrimental to my health, I must eat that. I cannot control my tongue. I am the slave of my tongue. We should try not to be prey to that. Jihvā vegam means to be controlled by what is palatable to the tongue.

Uda vegam - means to feed one's full belly. Unless the belly is full then I think that I have not eaten. We should take only the type and amount of food that is necessary to keep up the health. Upastha vegam - One's earnest desire to be united with the opposite sex. This is a great tendency within us but it is a tendency we should try to check. It is only a mental tendency and is not found within the soul proper. It is only in the mind and that is the greatest cause of our wandering in this world. From the plants to the demigods this sort of tendency is flowing but we must be very cautious not to be prey to such a flow. It is a universal flow of great power. We must try our best to keep aloof from the flow of that plane as much as possible.

Etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ - One who can control all of these animal tendencies, sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt - He can be the master of the whole world. One who is the master of his own self - his own mind - he can be the master of the world. In other words he can very easily make progress towards his high ideal." (C, # 2, Sum. '91, p 6) + (see also śloka 533)

Upadeśāmṛtam is the substance of Mahāprabhu, in the language of Rūpa Goswāmī. (SGD, '96, p 31)

vaikuṇṭha haite śreṣṭhā mathurā nagarī,
janama labhilā yathā kṛṣṇacandra hari.
mathurā haite śreṣṭha vṛndāvana dhāma,
yathā sādhiyāche hari rāsotasava-kāma.
vṛndāvana haite śreṣṭha govardhana-śaila
giridhārī-gāndharvvikā yathā krīḍā kaila.
govardhana haite śreṣṭha rādhā-kuṇḍa-taṭa
premāmṛte bhāsāila gokula lampaṭa.
govardhana giri-taṭa rādhā-kuṇḍa chāḍi
anyatra ye kare nija kuñja puṣpa-bāḍī.
nirbbodha tāhāra sama keha nāhi āra
kuṇḍa-tīra sarvvottama sthāna - premādhāra.

"Higher than Vaikuṇṭha is Mathurā city,
since there occurred the Advent of Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra Hari.
Better than Mathurā is Vṛndāvana,
the holy place where Lord Hari enjoyed the joyous dance of amorous grace.
Above Vṛndāvana Dhāma is Govardhana Hill,
the lifter of the Hill, and His Consort, there did intimately revel.
Even higher than Govardhana Hill is the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa
that the Sweetheart of Gokula overfloods sweet love abound.
Who would select for his worship, any other place,
disregarding this sacred pond at Govardhana's base?
Such a foolish fellow surely can't be found!
The highest abode of divine love is the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa."

(Bengali verse by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura)
(SSPJ, p 49-50)

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ

"The holy place known as Mathurā is spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathurā-purī is the transcendental forest of Vṛndāvana because of Kṛṣṇa's rāsa-līlā pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vṛndāvana is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the super-excellent Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa stands supreme, for it is over-flooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Where, then, is that intelligent person who is unwilling to serve this divine Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?" (U, 9)

"Superior to the spiritual realm of Vaikuṇṭha is Mathurā, where Śrī Kṛṣṇa first appears. Superior to Mathurā is the Vṛndāvana forest where Kṛṣṇa enjoyed the rasa dance. Better still is Govardhana Hill, which was the site of even more confidential pastimes of love. But best of all is Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill, and holds the supreme position because it is overflooded with the nectar of the highest kind of divine love. Who is acquainted with the science of devotion who will not aspire for the divine service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī at Rādhā-kuṇḍa?"

We must place our faith in these subtle things. Only through faith of a finer order can we be led to a higher quarter. The highest conception is in the heart of Kṛṣṇa, and we have to enter into the heart of Kṛṣṇa, not any other place.

Although Kṛṣṇa's conjugal pastimes with the gopīs (mādhurya-līlā ) are supreme, they cannot stand alone: there are many other things which are present in His pastimes. Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with His friends and parents are essential in supporting His pastimes of amorous love. Conjugal love is, of course, the main thing, but still it is dependent on the other paraphernalia of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. There must be Kṛṣṇa's family and friends and all the different groups of servitors. Even the environment of Vṛndāvana itself also has its valuable part to play. (TGVODL, p 157-8)

Rūpa Goswāmī leaped from Vaikuṇṭha to Mathurā in one stride. In his Upadeśāmṛta, text 9, he writes: Vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād. "Mathurā is superior to Vaikuṇṭha because Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared there." It is there that everything is shown in a clear and substantial way. In Mathurā we find the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead. In one stride he has come from Vaikuṇṭha to the Kṛṣṇa conception, but Sanātana Goswāmī has filled up the gap. In his book, Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta, he says that on the way to Mathurā there is Ayodhya, the spiritual kingdom of Lord Rāma, and there we find sakhya and vātsalya rasa.

But Rūpa Goswāmī goes to Mathurā at once. He says: "Come to Mathurā; here you will find sakhya and vātsalya rasa clearly visible. He has shown how sakhya rasa service is present there. The devotees are playing with Kṛṣṇa, sometimes climbing on His shoulders, and perhaps sometimes even giving Him a slap. But, although they may mix with Him in this way, their heart is full of a peculiar type of service attitude. That is the criterion: they may give up their lives a thousand times to take a thorn out of His sole. They can sacrifice themselves a thousand times for the slightest satisfaction of their friend. They consider Him a thousand times more valuable than their own life. In vātsalya rasa also, the criterion is similar: for the slightest interest of the object of their veneration they can give their lives millions of times. Such affection is found there.

And then, from vātsalya, it progresses to conjugal love (mādhurya rasa ), the all-comprehensive rasa which includes adherence (śānta-niṣṭhā ), service (dāsya ), friendly confidence (sakhya ), and parental love (vātsalya rasa ). But the wholesale dedication of every atom of our existence for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction is found in mādhurya rasa, which includes all other rasas.

And mādhurya rasa is more enhanced when it is couched in the form of parakīya, ot paramour relationship. In parakīya rasa, the gopīs risk everything for the service of Kṛṣṇa. Parakīya rasa takes two forms: in one, there is no obligation of anything; the union may happen or may not happen. So, because their meeting is very rare, it becomes even sweeter. There is another kind of parakīya rasa: we are told that ordinary food is not palatable to Kṛṣṇa, but when He takes food by stealing, that is more tasteful to Him. If we can follow this art, that may also be applied in the case of parakīya rasa. "I am deceiving the party, getting what I want. I am stealing the property of someone else." That sort of posing becomes more tasteful to the subjective party.

So, vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād. Janito means vātsalya rasa and mādhurya rasa in Vṛndāvana: rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ. In the mādhurya rasa also, three groups are shown: Vṛndāvana in general, selected groups in Govardhana, and the highest group in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. All these things have been shown in the conversation between Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. After this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "Go further." (TSFSK, p 143-5) + (see also śloka 390)

vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy ādi sakala cinmaya
māyika bhūtera tathi janma nāhi haya

"The earth, water, fire, air and ether of Vaikuṇṭha are all spiritual. Material elements are not found there." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 5.53)

There the earth, water, etc. - everything is made of consciousness, spirit. And above that, there is ānandam or ecstasy, not only a matter of consciousness. Although medicine seems bitter in the beginning, in a healthy state one may taste its sweetness. Our approach to the Divine Realm may also be experienced in this way. So, in rāga-mārga, the path of Divine Love, and in Kṛṣṇa-loka, there is not only consciousness, but beauty is the prevailing element there. SOTGOD, v 2, p 74)

What is Vaikuṇṭha? There the soil, earth, water - everything is of purer consciousness than the person who is going to enter there. Can you imagine it? A land of gurus. They are all guru, they are all of superior value by nature; yet, we have to pass over them. I sometimes give an example that if it is necessary for the service we may even put our foot on the throne of the Lord (to place a crown on His head, etc.,) and afterwards come back down, offer our obeisance and then come out from the Deity room.

So we must enter and stay in a soil which is made of a stuff which is more valuable than our own selves. A slave when serving the emperor may come near the emperor's bed where even his near and dear cannot go or hesitate to go. He can, only for serving. So it is only for the Divine Service, for the necessity of the highest, that we can pass through that soil. It is not an easy thing. It is inconceivable. The fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy ādi sakala cinmaya. We must understand the conception properly. The jīva has emerged from the taṭasthā-śakti or marginal potency. He is a part of the marginal potency, and he must enter into the higher plane. This gross world is of gross potency, aparā-śakti; the jīva, although marginal, is of a potency superior to this gross world, or parā-śakti; and above both is the Internal Potency or antaraṅgā-śakti. We have to enter into the antaraṅgā-śakti. This marginal potency is to enter into antaraṅgā-śakti - and that is Paravyoma, and the highest quarter, Vṛndāvana, Goloka. It is not a light matter. It is the fact. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 173-4)

śikṣārtham ekaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ
kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye

"I surrender unto the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is an ocean of mercy. He is the original Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and has descended to teach us the real meaning of knowledge, renunciation, and devotion to Him." (C-c, Madhya-līlā 6.254)

(Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya composed this and śloka 215 - kālān naṣṭam bhakti-yogaṁ, (C-c, Madhya-līlā 6.255) after he was shown Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's spiritual position as Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa combined). (TGVODL, p 18) + (SSPJ, p 102)

vaiṣṇava nindaka jihvā hāta

Jīva Goswāmī says: "If someone repeatedly blasphemes a real Vaiṣṇava, or saintly person, then the king should enforce corporal punishment by banishing the offender from his state or by cutting out his tongue." (vaiṣṇava nindaka jihvā hāta ). That is not the duty for ordinary persons; if they act in such a way, there will be a riot. We should not be eager to inflict physical punishment upon anyone. Hanumān is a Vaiṣṇava, but he is seen to destroy so many lives. When it is necessary for Hanumān to burn the golden city of Laṅkā, his humility is not disturbed. He is as humble as anyone can be in carrying out the order of Lord Rāmacandra. The same is true of Arjuna and so many other devotees. Even Kṛṣṇa and Rāmacandra are also seen to kill so many demons in war. Simply a physical show of meekness does not constitute the real meaning of humility. When there is an insult to the guru or the Vaiṣṇava's, a devotee will oppose the blasphemers according to his might. (TGVODL, p 120)

vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiṣṇava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfil the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls. (SOTVA, p 7) + (SOTGOD, v 2, p 134)

vañcito 'smi vañcito 'smi,
vañcito 'smi na saṁśayaḥ
viśvaṁ gaura-rase magnaṁ,
sparśo 'pi mama nābhavat

Śrīla Prabodhānanda Saraswatī says: "Deceived, deceived, no doubt, deceived I am! The whole universe became flooded with love of Śrī Gaurāṣga, but alas, my fate was not to get even the slightest touch of it." (C-cand, 46)

The real fact is that this is only intelligible by faith, śrāddhā. Buddh-grāhyam atindriyam - no precedents will come to prove such things; it has no other verification. Faith alone can enter that domain. It is an infinite thing, but we are tiny people, so what capacity does our faith have? Even in this universe there is so much which seems far beyond the stretch of our faith. Our faith is in such tiny measure when compared with the Infinite, so how much can we boast to have in relation to Him? Therefore why should we be so miserly in our faith? To be miserly will be suicidal. Faith will come first, then research will follow. In this world also, it is the same: the intuition, the theory or idea of a thing comes first and research follows. So unbridled faith must be allowed to have its free movement there.

So, vañcito 'smi vañcito 'smi, that is a clear thing and it expresses the very nature of the devotee. That is, as much conception of the infinite as one has, s/he must feel within that s/he is insignificant to the same degree. It is the infinite conception from the view of relativity. It is a question of relativity. When you can see a bigger thing then relatively you cannot but think that you are very infinitesimal. When you look at a great thing, in comparison with that you are the smallest. Do you concede this? When you see the ocean you can perceive how tiny you are in relation to that great magnitude of water. In comparison you are very insignificant, is it not? So apply that principle in this instance also. One who looks at a great thing, whether in size, or knowledge, or love, when standing at the verge of a great thing, from the consideration of relativity one shall think, "I am very poor and very low." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 38-9) + (SSPJ, p 133) + (see also śloka 385)

vande 'haṁ śrī-guroḥ śrī-yuta-pada-kamalaṁ śrī-gurūn vaiṣṇavāṁś ca
śrī-rūpaṁ sāgrajātaṁ saha-gaṇa-raghunāthānvitaṁ taṁ sa-jīvam
sādvaitaṁ sāvadhūtaṁ parijana-sahitaṁ kṛṣṇa-caitanya-devaṁ
śrī-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pādān saha-gaṇa-lalitā-śrī-viśākhānvitāṁś ca

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and to all the other preceptors on the path of devotional service. I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiṣṇavas and unto the six Gosvāmīs, including Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, and their associates. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Advaita Ācārya Prabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and all His devotees, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura. I then offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and all the gopīs, headed by Lalitā and Viśākhā." (SOTVA, p 3)

Kavirāja Goswāmī prays vande 'haṁ śrī-guroḥ śrī-yuta-pada-kamalaṁ śrī-gurūn vaiṣṇavāṁś ca. First he offers his respects to the group of spiritual masters who are immediately in touch with the fallen souls. Then he says:śrī-rūpaṁ sāgrajātaṁ: He offers his respects to the śāstra gurus. Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana did not practically come in touch with the masses for preaching, but they gave scriptures for the preachers. The śāstras, the rules and regulations, and the ontological questions - all these things were given by Rūpa and Sanātana. Are they not uttama-adhikārīs? They did not come in direct touch with the people, but as they were meant to by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they laid the foundation for the preaching of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. They are the śāstra gurus, the spiritual masters who give the revealed scriptures.

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī first offers his respects to the recruiter gurus, then in a higher stage, to the śāstra gurus, and then to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu who came with His associates and paraphernalia to inaugurate a new truth to the world, and in the highest stages he offers his respects to the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Govinda, and all the gopīs, headed by Lalitā and Viśākhā. Śrī-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pādān saha-gaṇa-lalitā-śrī-viśākhānvitāṁś ca. So the śāstra gurus, are doing some work as they have been inspired by Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They are not coming in direct touch with the fallen souls. So, we cannot say that because they are not directly preaching to the fallen souls, they are not sparśa-maṇi, or touchstones. To say so would only be expressing our partiality to the preaching group. (SGAHG, p 131-2)

varhāpīḍaṁ naṭa-bara-vapuḥ karnayoḥ karnikāraṁ
bibrad vāsaḥ kanaka-kapiśam vaijayantīn ca mālām
randhrān venoradhara-sudhayā purayan gopavṛndair
vṛndāranyaṁ sva-pada-ramanaṁ prāviśad gīta-kīrtiḥ

"While the gopīs were describing the sweet vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute, they also remembered their pastimes with Him; thus their minds became enchanted, and they were unable to describe completely the beautiful vibrations. While discussing the transcendental vibration, they remembered also how Kṛṣṇa dressed, decorated with a peacock feather on His head, just like a dancing actor, and with blue flowers pushed over His ear. His garment glowed yellow-gold, and He was garlanded with a vaijayantī garland made of tulasī, kuṇḍa, mandāra, parījāta, and lotus flowers. Dressed in such an attractive way, Kṛṣṇa filled up the holes of His flute with the nectar emanating from His lips. So they remembered Him, entering the forest of Vṛndāvana, whose soil experiences the pleasure of consorthood upon being embraced by the touch of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet." (S-B, 10.21.5)

Śukadeva Goswāmī reveals something astounding to Parīkṣit Mahārāja. When Kṛṣṇa enters the forest of Vṛndāvana by the touch of the soles of His lotus feet, the earth feels the pleasure of His embrace - the personal embrace of the Sweet Absolute (vṛndāranyaṁ sva-pada-ramanaṁ ). This is inconceivable! By the touch of the Holy Feet of Kṛṣṇa, the sand and the earth feel the pleasure of consorthood! Glorified by His cowherd friends, He enters the forest of Vṛndāvana, and the earth, the forest, and everything that comes in connection with Him feels a higher, closer sense experience of pleasure to the happiest degree. (LSFTLS, p 23) + (see also śloka 81)

varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ,
kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ,
śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ

Śukadeva Goswāmī says: "Yes it is a real question because two inherent signs of enquiry are here. Firstly, it is a general question: to find the solution is necessary for every one of us, and the answer to it will help us all. Secondly, one who already has proper knowledge of his own self will also accept this question to be most relevant. So, one sanction comes from the subjective realm, and another sanction is that it is good for the whole public.

Such questions are real questions of universal interest, the solution of which will help every one of the enquirers, and not only with any partial or provincial solution, but with the absolute solution which will help solve the problem of the whole. It is the question that should be asked by anyone and everyone in this world. So, yes your question is bona fide. It will solve not only your problem but it will give the general solution to the whole problem of the entire world. This is the question to be solved, the only question.

The general population do not have any perfect knowledge and so do not know what is what, therefore their enquiry may be faulty. One may therefore conclude that the public are always wrong. Since the masses are ignorant their questions may not be the proper ones. The demand of the majority may be erroneous. It cannot be admitted that vox populi is vox dei." (S-B, 2.1.1) + (SOTGOD, v 3, p 1) + (see also śloka 565) (Śukadeva Goswāmī accepted Parīkṣit Mahārāja's questions, yac chrotavyam, this way)

varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam

"The only way to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is to worship Him by properly executing one's prescribed duties in the social system of varṇa and āśrama." (V P, 3.8.9)

This verse confirms the statement of Rāmānanda Rāya's when he told Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that the ultimate goal of life is to discharge one's own duty, without expecting anything in return. (see also śloka 407)

Here, Rāmānanda Rāya says that viṣṇu-bhakti, adherence to the Lord who is permeating everything, is the object and ultimate destination of our life. This is the Vāsudeva conception: everything is in Him, and He is everywhere. Rāmānanda explained that from our local interests, we must come to embrace the general interest, and that must reach the level of Viṣṇu consciousness: viṣṇu-bhakti. Our submission to Viṣṇu, the internal spirit who is everywhere, is the object of life. We must connect with Him and live accordingly; not a phenomenal life, but a spiritual life pertaining to a deeper, more subtle plane.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "This is superficial; go deeper." Of course, it may be thought that actual theistic life begins from here, giving up the special, local purpose, and acting for a universal purpose, as already ordered and programmed in the Vedas and Upaniṣads. But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "This is superficial; go deeper." (TSFSK, p 136) + (see also śloka 259)

vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṣ ca yad ahaitukam

"If somehow with the help of the scriptures and His agents, the devotees or saints, we can develop our devotion, bhakti, then, the proper knowledge and proper apathy towards worldly substances will follow us." (S-B, 1.2.7)

Healthy, proper knowledge and healthy energy will come to follow us if the reality within awakens and we become adjusted by it. This doesn't refer to the knowledge or energy found in this plane. This is entirely distinct. Energy is the capacity to work, to move. And knowledge is to have a conception. That will come in the retinue of devotion. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 211-2) + (SVT, v 2, # 1, Jan. Feb. '93, p 3)

vedaiś ca sarvvair aham eva vedyaḥ

"All the revealed Scriptures try to reveal Me alone - I am to be known." (B-g, 15.15)

Śruti means 'revealed truth.' We cannot expect to find any truth here, in this world. This world is all misunderstanding, in the field of provincial and local interest. Beyond that, nothing can be conceived here. So absolute knowledge must come from a quarter other than this world. Revealed truth is our only solace, our only support.

Veda means: 'Know this.' Simply, 'Know'; no rhyme, no reason. When a mother orders her child, she does not offer any reason: "Boy, do this." There is no rhyme, no reason, no nyāya, śāstra (logic or scriptural injunction), or anything of the kind. Similarly, Veda comes with a command, an affectionate command: "Do this - know this. I speak fact. Don't challenge. Your challenging equipment is all futile and false, so don't come, my child, to challenge what I say! Please know this!" This is Veda. Vedaiś ca sarvvair aham eva vedyaḥ. (SCS, p 35) + (see also ślokas 438 & 590)

Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo: Kṛṣṇa says: "The attempt of every Revealed Scripture is to show Me as the Highest Centre - I am the Absolute." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 124) + (see also śloka 162)

Kṛṣṇa says: Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo: "All the Vedas are intended to reveal Me, the infinite." They mean to show how the infinite is moving. If I analyse one atom within my fist, I can analyse it again and again and reanalyse it to no end. It is already within my fist, and yet it is infinite. So it has been said that we may get the maximum benefit by surrendering. Kṛṣṇa says: "Give up all your prejudices and the limitations drawn from the limited world and be open. Then it will be easy for the infinite to cast different shades of light on your soul and your knowing faculty. And then it will be easy for you also to cleanse your plane of understanding, cleanse your glass, the mirror of your heart." In connection with the infinite you will find that everywhere is the centre, nowhere circumference. But to realise this, you must try to live in eternity, in Vaikuṇṭha. Kuṇṭha means "measurement." Vaikuṇṭha means "no crookedness, no limit, no measure." That is Vaikuṇṭha. (LSFTLS, p 50) + (see also śloka 333)


veda nā māniyā bauddha haya' ta nāstika
vedāśraya nāstikya-vāda bauddhake adhika

"The Buddhists do not recognise the authority of the Vedas; therefore they are considered agnostics. However, those who have taken shelter of the Vedic scriptures yet preach agnosticism in accordance with the Māyāvāda philosophy are certainly more dangerous than the Buddhists." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 6.168)

In South India, and especially in Andhra Pradesh, there are many Buddhist scholars. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu met the Buddhists when He was passing through South India.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: veda nā māniyā bauddha haya' ta nāstika: Because the Buddhists do not accept the Vedic scriptures, they are considered atheists. Śaṅkarācārya, in a hidden way, also preaches on behalf of the Buddhists. The difference between them is that Śaṅkarācārya admits the existence of Brahman as the fundamental reality, whereas the Buddhists say that ultimately nothing exists.

The Vaiṣṇava ācāryas disagree with both Śaṅkarācārya and with Buddha. They say that the jīva is an individual eternal soul. This particle of spiritual energy known as the jīva or spirit is tiny, like the dust particles of earth or the pencil-rays of the sun. There is the Supreme Infinite Soul or Consciousness, and the finite sparks of consciousness. Their relationship may be compared to the relationship between a great fire and the sparks that emanate from the fire. The sparks that emanate from the fire may become covered by darkness, but when they re-enter the shelter of that great conflagration, they are again perfectly situated. (SEOC, p 64)

Vedāśraya nāstikya-vāda bauddhake adhika. Half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood. As in Śaṅkara's Māyāvāda, there is atheism in the garb of theism. They say so 'ham: "I am the highest substance." They take the authority or the law as non-differentiated like zero. It cannot assert. Therefore they cannot admit, "I am among the creation." They imagine it is possible for them to hold the higher position. There is no God. There is no such thing as God who automatically holds the highest power and all that be, because ultimately there is a region of unknown and unknowable substance, and wherever there is enlightenment as a human, a wise man, he holds the highest position. "We hold the highest position." But if we have to admit God, then we have nothing. As soon as we have admitted God, then we are dispossessed of everything! So much renunciation is impossible. To hold that "I am the absolute authority" means that I am nowhere. Such self-abnegation is not so cheap! (SOTGOD, v 2, p 210) + (see also śloka 547)

velāyāṁ lavaṇāmbudher madhurima-prāg-bhāva-sāra-sphural-
līlāyāṁ nava-ballavī-rasa-nidher āveśayantī jagat
khelāyām api śaiśave nija-rucā viśvaika-sammohinī
mūrtiḥ kācana kañcana-dravamayī cittāya rocate

"A form of molten gold delights my heart. On the shore of the salt water ocean that golden form manifests yet another ocean of the sweet mood of love pastimes between the young gopīs and Kṛṣṇa inundating the entire world of His devotees with that nectar. Ever since His childhood this golden form has enchanted the whole spiritual world." (C-Cand, 129) + (SBRBM, p 13)

veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ-
barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of cupids." (BS, 30) + (SBRBM, p 25)

vicakṣaṇa kari',
dekhite cāhile haya,
haya ākhi-agocara

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "Suddenly a flash came, but when I tried to see that, it disappeared. It was withdrawn."

In this way, in a negative way, we can have some idea. Whimsically He may come, and suddenly I may feel, "Oh! some experience of the higher kind of knowledge and love - but if I try to cast my eye that side? Nothing." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 175)

vicārite āobi,
guṇa nāhi pāobi,
kṛpā kara choḍata vicāra

"If You come to judge, You won't find anything in my favour, so kindly leave aside the way of judgement. In the way of justice I have no hope. If You come with mercy, then I can hope to enter into Your Domain." (TSOBT, p 8)

We shall try our best to know ourselves as sinners: "If You take the path of justice, I have no hope. I am an infinite sinner. Only if the door of mercy is opened - only if the line of mercy is extended to me, can I have some hope. I am so mean, so low - You are so high, so noble. Only through the doorway of Your mercy, Your affection, can I approach You to enter into Your shelter."

Śaraṇāgati - condemning one's own self to the extreme, sincerely of course, and feeling the greatness of the Master party. "Will You graciously accept me? I am not fit to render any service to You, my Lord." Only this kind of attitude may take us to Him. We must appeal to the mercy side. Affection, devotion. His Grace, His kindness - that subtle aspect is to be tackled by the souls, and then they may have some hope and prospect.

Vicārite āobi, guṇa nāhi pāobi, kṛpā kara choḍata vicāra. That is devotion proper, śaraṇāgati. And in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the plane of mercy, love and affection. Mercy is not as intense in Vaikuṇṭha; some justice, calculation or vidhi is mixed there. But Vṛndāvana is the land of mercy, love, and affection. And more, there is no want there - it is infinite; the mercy there is also infinite, so an infinite number of culprits can be accommodated there without the slightest difficulty. There is no possibility of pollution of the atmosphere if so many nasty souls like us are accepted. It's infinite.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so generous. It may be extended to the lowest, but the negotiation with Him must be sincere. Still, there is no fear of meanness of the negotiation. There is no sinner that cannot be purified by Kṛṣṇa. The greatest sinner may be purified in a second or less. There is so much dynamic power. But we must enter into those doors of mercy and affection, not of justice.

Vicārite āobi, guṇa nāhi pāobi, kṛpā kara choḍata vicāra.

"Take me by the door of mercy, my Lord." That is our real nature, and we should live in such an atmosphere. If we are to live in Vṛndāvana, no vanity can stand. There, all are of such temperament. We are all dependants, parasites. We may be cast away and rejected at any moment. (SCS, p 43-5) + (see also ślokas 67 & 200)

vidvadbhiḥ sevitaḥ sadbhir,
nityam adveṣa-rāgibhiḥ
yo dharmas taṁ nibhodhata

We can feel within our heart whether we are gainers or losers. That tasting machine is within us. As we progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our karma, our connection with this material world, will evaporate in no time, and spacious knowledge will come to satisfy us. At that time, we shall feel the object of our life everywhere (mayi dṛṣṭe 'khilātmani - see also śloka 93). When we can see that the fulfilment of life has embraced us, we shall see that everything within the environment is helping us, everything is sympathetic to us from all sides. In that spiritual domain, everyone shall take interest in loving us. We may be careless about our own interest, but the environment there is more favourable and affectionate to us than we can even estimate, just as a child cannot estimate the extent of his mother's affection. In this way, friends and home comforts will surround us, and with this realisation we shall go back to God, back to home. (M S, 2.1) + (LSFTLS, p 11)

"Accept Me, I am so and so." So, Veda, Upaniṣad: that is, the revealed scriptures are our only means and the agents - the sādhus. However great, no empirical scholar can be relied upon. No amount of finite can make infinite. Infinite is of its own nature. We are to understand that, and, if possible, give that to the outside world.

vidvadbhiḥ sevitaḥ sadbhir, nityam adveṣa-rāgibhiḥ

What is religion? It must have to come from up - the Infinite Quarter. And it may be extended to the finite - vidvadbhiḥ means veda-vidbhiḥ - by those who are proficient in the revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures are the basis. No man-made scripture. Uddhava was asking Kṛṣṇa why there is a jungle of religion in this religious world? So many types, so many sections?

Kṛṣṇa told him: "In the beginning, after pralaya, wholesale dissolution, again creation began. I explained pure religion to Lord Brahmā, the creator, and from the creator, it came to different disciples. According to their particular nature, each of them understood it in a different way. When they gave delivery to it, there was further modification. (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 6) + (see also śloka 152)

vidyāṁ cāvidyāṁ ca yas,
tad vedobhayaṁ saha
avidyayā mṛtyuṁ tīrtvā,
vidyayāmṛtam aśnute

"Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death, and enjoy the full blessings of immortality." (SI, 11)

One is negative and another is positive. Knowledge means to know what is false and to leave that, and to recognise what is true and to accept that. (SEOC, p 102)

vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito 'nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parām bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ

"One who hears with firm faith the supramundane amorous affairs of Lord Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, as described by a pure devotee of the Lord, soon becomes freed from mundane lust and achieves divine love of Kṛṣṇa." (S-B, 10.33.39)

Rāmānanda Rāya was a married man, but he was recognised by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as a master of his senses to the extreme degree. Once a brāhmaṇa priest named Pradyumna Miśra came to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and told Him: "I would like to hear about Kṛṣṇa from Your lips."

Mahāprabhu said: "I do not know anything about Kṛṣṇa, but Rāmānanda Rāya knows. Go to him and hear about Kṛṣṇa. Take My Name, and perhaps he will talk with you."

Pradyumna Miśra was hesitant, but he went and observed Rāmānanda Rāya for some time and then returned and reported to Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu asked him: "Have you heard about Kṛṣṇa from Rāmānanda?"

Pradyumna Miśra said: "No, I saw him engaged in something objectionable. I watched for some time, and then returned here. I saw Rāmānanda Rāya training some young dancing girls!"

Girls who are generally devoted to the service of the Jagannātha Deity from a young age are known as deva-dāsīs. They do not marry, and sometimes their character is not very good. Pradyumna Miśra saw Rāmānanda Rāya training deva-dāsīs in a very objectionable way. He was showing them how to go before the Jagannātha Deity and dance and sing. He showed them how their posture should be, how they should gesture, and how their looks should be enticing. And for such training he would sometimes even touch their private parts.

So Pradyumna Miśra told Mahāprabhu: "Seeing Rāmānanda do all these things, I had no regard for him, so for some time I saw him busily engaged in that matter, and then I went away."

Mahāprabhu told him: "Don't underestimate Rāmānanda Rāya. He is the master of his senses. There is not a tinge of craft in him. Even I feel trouble from sense disturbance within Me, but Rāmānanda has no such trouble.

We have no direct experience that a stage can be attained where it is possible to be above mundane sense pleasure, but we have only heard through the scriptures that there is a stage when a man may transcend all these gross attachments.

This is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, (10.33.39): vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ śraddhānvito 'nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ. "One who hears with firm faith the supramundane amorous affairs of Lord Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, as described by a pure devotee of the Lord, soon becomes freed from mundane lust and achieves divine love of Kṛṣṇa."

One may be engaged bodily in such activities, while his heart is elsewhere. And there is only one who is of that type: Rāmānanda Rāya. There are not big numbers of Rāmānandas; there is only one Rāmānanda, who has acquired such a stage because he is well versed in the kind of sentiment and realisation which is necessary for the service of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. His heart is completely dedicated to the cause of Kṛṣṇa; he has no selfish interest. He is always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and whatever he does is for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction, so don't think ill of him. Go there again."

Then Pradyumna Miśra again went to see Rāmānanda Rāya, and Rāmānanda began their conversation by saying: "Oh, on that day I could not oblige you. But again you have come to hear about Kṛṣṇa. How fortunate I am!" In the morning, Rāmānanda Rāya began to speak, and when the afternoon came, still he was madly talking about Kṛṣṇa. He completely forgot about eating, bathing, or anything else. He was mad, incessantly talking about Kṛṣṇa. Then, when it was late, his servants came twice, thrice, to ask him to take bath and eat his dinner, and finally, he had to leave the talk and go. Then Pradyumna Miśra returned to Mahāprabhu and said: "Yes, I have heard from Rāmānanda Rāya, and my heart is full from hearing about Kṛṣṇa from him."

Mahāprabhu Himself had heard from Rāmānanda Rāya, and He said: "Rāmānanda knows what is Kṛṣṇa. What I taught to Rūpa and Sanātana, I heard from Rāmānanda." (TSFSK, p 132-3) + (see also śloka 426)

It is mentioned that Mahāprabhu took dikṣa (initiation) from Īśvara Puri, a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī. When He was 24 yrs old, for preaching purposes He displayed His pastimes of accepting sannyāsa (the renounced order) from Keṣava Bhārati (a Śaṅkarite), at Gayā in the year 1431 śakābda; and for entrance into the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, He took rāga marga initiation from Rāmānanda Rāya.

vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat,
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanam yat syād,
apunar bhava-darśanam

Queen Kuntī Devī prayed to Kṛṣṇa: "I wish that all those calamities (poisoning, arson, cannibalism, the vicious assembly, exile in the forest, the battle), would occur again and again so that we could have Your darśana again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths." (S-B, 1.8.25)

In Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī's book the Bṛhad-bhāgavatamṛta, the gradation of transcendental realisation has been explained as Nārada Muni visits different places. There, the gradation of devotion is traced from the karma-kāṇḍa brāhmaṇa, to the devotee King Indradyumna, then to Indra, then to Brahmā, then to Śiva, from him to Prahlāda, then to Hanumān, then the Pāṇḍavas, then to the Yādavas, to Uddhava, and finally to the gopīs.

After Nārada Muni left Hanumān, he went to the Pāṇḍavas. There he found Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja seated on a throne and began to sing the glories of the Pāṇḍavas. He told Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja: "How friendly you are in your relationship with Kṛṣṇa! How fortunate you are!"

Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja said: "What are you saying Devaṛṣī? Of course Kṛṣṇa favours us, we can't deny that, but what is our position? We have no position at all. On the other hand, I feel now and then, that by seeing our example the people in general won't want to serve Kṛṣṇa, because they will calculate that being such intimate friends of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Pāṇḍavas had to pass through difficult troubles and dangers their whole lives. They will think that to be a devotee of Kṛṣṇa means that one must suffer troubles throughout their whole life. I am afraid that by thinking of us, people will not venture to approach Kṛṣṇa."

Devaṛṣī said: "No, no, I don't see it from that angle of vision. What is danger or affliction to the Pāṇḍavas? What is the meaning of that? When the Pāṇḍavas are in danger that is the message that Kṛṣṇa is coming to save you. So, your mother prayed:

Vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat, tatra tatra jagad-guro: 'Let dangers come: may they visit me always. I don't care for that, because that brings Kṛṣṇa much closer to us. We rather like the dangers that bring Kṛṣṇa into our intimate connection.' That famous statement of your mother, Kuntīdevī stands there."

The Pāṇḍavas, headed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said: "Yes, Kṛṣṇa visits us now and then, in the time of our dire need, but how fortunate are the Yadus! Lord Kṛṣṇa is always with them. They are so proud of their master, Lord Kṛṣṇa, that they do not care for any other power in the world. They are so fortunate that Lord Kṛṣṇa is always closely connected with them." So, Nārada Muni went to the Yadus and began chanting in praise of them. (TSFSK, p 84-5) + (see also śloka 329)

vipada uddhāraṇa bandhu-gaṇa

We are in the ocean of faith, and the devotees are the essential agents. Each helps the other. We are much relieved from the fatigue and trials of a long journey if we have a companion or the association of a group. Similarly, in this ocean, if we obtain the help of the devotees of similar nature to ours, that will be most conducive. Even our Guru Mahārāja (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) in a speech he delivered on Vyāsa-pujā day, his holy appearance day, addressed his disciples: "Vipada uddhāraṇa bandhu-gaṇa:" "Oh my friends, who can give me relief from danger. To me, you are my deliverers from danger. In the ocean of faith, it is very difficult to journey onward alone, so you have come to help me in my dangerous, ambitious journey in the infinite. You have come, and you are engaging me in talking about Him, and so, you have given me some engagement. Otherwise, to live and move alone in the infinite is very difficult, troublesome and dangerous. You have all come to hear something, and in this exchange of talks about Him the situation has been made very safe and easy to journey so far toward Vaikuṇṭha."

We must be conscious of our real position when we are searching for Kṛṣṇa. It is not so easy, and also, it is very easy - both simultaneously. Faith is the only capital by which we can make our journey towards the Infinite. Bhakti, devotion, has no beginning and no end (ahaituky apratihatā ). There is no beginning - it is there already. Before we came to know about it, it was there. It was there, it is there, it will be there. No one can resist it - that bhakti, that faith is irresistible. It is part of the eternal substance. Its very nature is eternity - none can oppose it. We only have to make contact and associate with it, and the wave will carry us towards our goal. And if we can have the company of the devotees, the journey becomes very easy and pleasant, whereas to go alone is very difficult.

In the progress of our contact with faith, when we come to take benefit from the devotees and have faith in them, we are more safe and our progress is also tangible - it comes to reality. From a vague, abstract position, faith becomes deeper within us. We can then recognise many others with the same objective in life, and the journey becomes easier. It becomes conceivable. It comes into measurement. When we have faith in the real devotees, we can come into contact with such a tangible thing.

Thus, the position of the devotees is very important in our journey, especially in the middle stage. In the primary stage, not much importance is given to the devotees. With only a vague conception from the scriptures and with the help of previous accumulated merits (sukṛti ), the journey is begun. But gradually, the beginners find that to journey onwards in the infinite is not an easy thing: "We thought that with a little progress we could attain the desired end, but now we find that it is not so." When we come to consider the real position of devotion, of what God is - He is universal, He is the ultimate goal - we may gradually become disappointed. But if along the way we take help from the devotees of similar objective, we shall feel much relief by their company, even though the destination may be far away.

The difficulties of the journey are more prominent in the second stage. In the primary stage, we are not very exclusive in our objective, and so, we do not experience much difficulty. Real difficulties begin when we enter into the journey exclusively, with no other objective than to engage our whole energy towards that high and elevated path. And if we actually achieve a touch of the highest stage, the mahā-bhāgavata stage, the journey again becomes easier. But the middle portion is difficult, and at that stage the devotees are very important to save us. This is the period of both tangible acquisition and difficulty; our failings on the path to realisation are to be rectified in this middle stage.

When we enter into war, in the beginning we have much hope. We feel confident. But the real test is when the fighting begins. And when we finally conquer, we again become very satisfied. But the middle - when the war is being conducted - that is the difficult period. At that time, our co-workers, our comrades who fight along-side us, are very, very important to us. "I am not alone, but there are many others battling alongside me in that middle fighting period of way." Those companions are important. Some may disappear from the field but there will be others to encourage me.

Similarly, on this journey, we may see that many stalwarts are falling. It may discourage us to see such respected persons going away - falling in the middle path. Nonetheless, in the midst of those unfavourable circumstances there are others who are bravely making progress with unflinching faith, and they will help us. To stick it out to the end is difficult - but important and valuable. The test comes and shows how much faith we have. Nothing comes in vain, and we must take everything that happens in that way.

There may be many stalwarts, like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who fall flat in the battlefield, but still we must go on (karmaṇy evādhikāras te, mā phaleṣu kadācana - Bhagavad-gītā, 2.47 + see also śloka 225). We are out to fight to the end. We must achieve our end of life, and we can imbibe such firmness from the character of the devotees. The śāstra will also offer helpful advice, but the association of the devotees is nonetheless of ultimate importance.

We need lasting faith, not flickering faith: "Oh, I attempted for some time but I did not find any tangible fruit from bhakti, so I left;" or, "To me, it seemed very, very vague. When I began, I thought this to be something tangible that I would quickly attain, but it is not so. It is uncertain. I am giving so much energy for the cause, but still the desired result is not achieved." Previous tendencies also draw from the negative side, and so we find that many stalwarts are falling.

Still, we have to persevere in this journey, and we shall have to take courage from those who are standing and who are deeply engaged. Though it is told hundreds of times that the Absolute is infinite, in the beginning we still tend to take it in the conception of the finite. We are accustomed to think of anything and everything in terms of finite. So, although we hear that it is infinite, it is Vaikuṇṭha, it has no limit - we nonetheless cannot grasp the proper meaning. But when we make practical progress, many new conceptions must come to our knowledge.

Now, when our Guru Mahārāja (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) addressed his disciples as vipada uddhāraṇa bandhu-gaṇa: "My dear friends who have come to deliver me from danger," we should, of course, recognise such a statement from both the relative and absolute standpoints. Students are a necessary part of a professor - when a professor has students, he feels the practical utility of his life has been successful. Thus, from the relative point of view, disciples can help the Ācārya. But from the absolute standpoint, Kṛṣṇa's will is everything, and the nitya-siddha or eternally perfect great souls who inwardly know the Lord's intentions cannot be disturbed by any danger in any respect, but outwardly such an appearance may be manifest in their dealings. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 39-45) + (see also śloka 273)

"You are my saviours. You are all saviours to me in my danger; in the real danger of my life. You are all my saviours. You have given me support. You have come to hear me, and so I have the chance of kīrtana, Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. So you have come to save me. You are supplying food to me, otherwise I would have died without engagement. In this eternal atmosphere we are helpless without the cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You have all come to give me engagement in Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana and so you have come to save me from my dangerous position. You are all my friends, you have come to release me from my danger; to save me from my danger."

He saw his disciples in such a great way - and this is reality. So Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is the only life-giving, life-saving thing in this world. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness the souls are going down deeper into the unknown quarter. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 69)

viracaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīnabandho dayāṁ vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kācid anyā mamāsti
nipatatu śata-koṭir nirbharaṁ vā navāmbhas
tad api kila payodaḥ stūyate cātakena

"O friend of the needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh waters shower down, the Cātaka bird (who drinks only the falling rainwater) perpetually goes on singing the glories of the raincloud." (SSPJ, p 118)

"The bird known as Cātaka always looks above for rainwater, but it will never take any water from the ground even if there is an abundance there. He waits only for whatever water will come from above. Sufficient rain may come, or thunder may come, yet he will not take even a single drop from the earth. Our attitude should be like that. We must follow whatever instruction and direction comes from above, and never try to fulfil any plan from the mundane world. "The Director, the Master, the Lord above - I am connected with Him." This sort of practice is conducive.(SR)+(SOTGOD, v 1, p 70)

"You may punish me, O cloud, you may punish me. If a thunderbolt comes, I'll be nowhere. You can throw down thunder or you can give me water. But how much can I drink with my small beak? A flood of rain may come. O, Lord of the poor, Lord of the helpless, You can give me a drop of Your devotion, or You may punish me like anything. My position is also like that bird. O, Kṛṣṇa, You may finish me, destroy me, efface me from the world, or You may save me by only a drop of Your grace. I won't search after my satisfaction in the mud. That is finished, I will never go back to search my fortune in the earth, in the mundane. I am already fixed to do or die. Either I must receive a drop of Your grace, or You may finish me." In this way, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī prays that Kṛṣṇa's mercy will descend like rain from the clouds, and not only quench his thirst, but bathe him, satisfy his utmost hankering, and fulfil his innermost necessity. So, we should never search for our fortune in the mud; we must always look to the high sky and pray for śrī guru and his grace. (SGAHG, p 159)

There is a kind of small bird named cātaka that only drinks rainwater. It never drinks any water from the earth, whether it is from a river, fountain, or lake. Its very nature is that with its mouth upward, it hankers after rainwater. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī gives this example to show how a devotee should always be waiting in expectation of the "rainwater" of Kṛṣṇa-love, and no other love. The devotee prays to the Lord: "You are the friend of the fallen, so I have some hope. You may grant Your Grace, or severely punish me - in either case, I have no other alternative but to wholly surrender to Your lotus feet."

Our attitude of surrender should be just like that of the cātaka bird, who always has his eyes fixed upward, praying for rainwater. Rainwater may come profusely - not only enough to fill up his small belly, but enough to drown his whole body. Thunder may come from above; a bolt from the blue may come and finish his small body, and send him to the nonexistent quarter, but still the nature of that bird is to pray exclusively for rainwater. He won't take rainwater from any other place under any circumstance. Our attitude towards Kṛṣṇa should be like that: whether or not He extends His gracious hand towards us, it is our duty to surrender unto Him. (TGVODL, p 145)

viśate tad anantaram
"My devotee enters into My family." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 139)

yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā,
viśate tad-anantaram

"Only through love and devotion can I be understood as I am. Thereafter, fully understanding Me, you can merge into My entourage." (B-g, 18.55)

This "merging" is explained by Kṛṣṇa: "They enter into Me to become a person in My family. Among the circles of My friends, he enters: viśate tad-anantaram. He becomes as if My own. That means that without losing your personality you can be fully My own." To enter into the Lord's family is a living merging, not a physical or dead merging into Brahman, spirit. That is the result of prema, divine love. That ideal is above the general conception of merging into the oneness of Brahman, where one loses oneself in the ocean of consciousness as if in a sound sleep. We are not interested in that. Rather, through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we become lost swimming in the ocean of sweetness. This has been accepted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (LSFTLS, p 58)

We should not the difference between a servant and a trader. Many approach with some trading purpose, but the character of the real devotee should be that of a servant. Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja has mentioned that one who associates with the sādhus, wanting something in return for his personal interest, is making 'trade' with the sādhus. He thinks: "How much can I gain, and how much shall I have to give?" But a pure devotee should not have any such separate interest.

Rather, he should try to merge within the interest of the Lord. In whatever position he is, it does not matter - whether he is a brahmacārī, a sannyāsī, a gṛhastha, a vānaprastha, or any other position - he must be willing to merge (viśate tad-anantaram). He will not like to keep any separate account. His sole objective will be to enter into the family of the Godhead. This is the very basis of pure devotion.

Tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā, viśate tad-anantaram. (B-g, 18.55 + see also śloka 91). We want to surrender, to be one of common interest with the Lord, and not to approach, ask some questions, pocket the answers, and then make trade with them elsewhere in any way. Once, when I was being asked many questions, I replied: "This is not an enquiry office." The inquisitive want to satisfy their idle curiosity; or, they want to be masters of many keys - that they will be able to give solutions to everyone's problems, and attain some status. They have many motives but they cannot understand the real necessity. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 53) + (see also śloka 501)

viṣayā vinivartante,
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya,
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

"Although the person of gross corporeal consciousness may avoid sense objects by external renunciation, his eagerness for sense enjoyment remains within. However, inner attachment to sense objects is spontaneously denounced by the person of properly adjusted intelligence, due to his having had a glimpse of the all-attractive beauty of the Supreme Truth." (B-g, 2.59)

Raso 'py asya, paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. By even slightly coming in contact with the dignified position of our own soul, all worldly charm will vanish; and even that will seem to be a negligible thing compared to the awakening of higher levels of realisations, up to the Super-soul - Paramātmā - then to Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa! There is so much ecstatic enjoyment on that side and it will be realised only when it will be revealed within us. Though to our present conception it is far away, still, that experiencer, that taster, is within us: it is the jīvātmā. And if we try to concentrate even for a second there, we will find what a dignified position the soul holds. We shall think, "Who are these thieves? The intellect, mind and senses are all thieves and plunderers. They are taking me into the land of misery as if through some intricate conspiracy." It will seem like that to us. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 46) + (see also ślokas 185 & 405)

Our heart's concern is with ecstasy, charm, and sweetness. And this is felt by the heart, not by the brain, so the heart has been given the most importance. The next effect is felt in the plane of knowledge. After getting a taste of divine sweetness, suspicion vanishes, (rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya, paraṁ dṛṣṭva nivartate - see śloka 405). When we have a taste of real ecstasy (rasa ), then all doubts are cleared. By getting a taste of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the heart is captured, and when the heart is captured, the ecstasy of love of Godhead, prema, begins to flow.

Being satisfied, the heart will say: "This is what I was searching for!" Then, the brain will follow, thinking: "Yes, there can be no doubt, this is the highest goal of our search. Dissolve everything else." The heart will say: "I have attained prema, divine love - this is the highest thing! Stop all works from now on." Then, karma will close all its workshops. After coming in contact with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the first result is that the heart awakens. When the heart is captured, the brain approves, and our karma, energising in the wrong direction, stops. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the real wealth of the heart. (TGVODL, p 22)

caraṇāśrita-reṇu-dharas tam aham
praṇamāmi sada prabhupāda padam

"He is the dearmost intimate follower of the Divine Daughter of Śrī Vṛṣabhānu, and I know myself to be most fortunate by taking the dust of his holy feet upon my head. I make my obeisance unto his invincible, wondrously purifying lotus feet. I perpetually bow to the wonderful effulgence emanating from the toenails of the holy feet of my Divine Master." (SPP ) + (ARO, p 10)

prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

"Leaving Rāmakeli, the Lord continued His journey towards Vṛndāvana. On the way He passed through Jhāḍakhaṇḍa forest where He inspired the jungle animals such as tigers, deer, elephants and other forest creatures to sing with Him the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa. Intoxicated by the wonderful nectarean experience of association of the Lord, the animals began to joyfully dance along with their newly found compassionate Master towards whom they were drawn by an irresistible love. While He was madly absorbed in deep devotional ecstasy, the Lord easily and happily proceeded down the dense and impenetrable jungle path of Jhāḍakhaṇḍa, accompanied only by Balabhadra Bhaṭṭācārya. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara, the beautiful divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 36) + (SBRBM, p 10)

vyāso vetti na vetti vā

There is gradation and there is room for progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We will say that one is chaste due to his own sincere progress, not due to adherence to the figure, the formal conception. vyāso vetti na vetti vā. Such a strong expression is also there. All rights reserved. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is unlimited. Still there is the possibility of conceiving its purity in its unadulterated form, and the Ācāryas are giving that to us. (SGD, GP, '94, p 12)

Mahāprabhu says to Sanātana Goswāmī: " Sanātana, Kṛṣṇa is very gracious to you, He is sending so many things for you through Me. I don't understand them, but for you so many things are passing through Me. The Grace of Kṛṣṇa is flowing through Me to you, I feel. I do not know all these things, it is not Mine."

It has also been mentioned: vyāso vetti na vetti vā: that Vyāsa who has written Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he may or may not know what is its meaning. It is coming for the others through him. (C, v 1, # 5, Sum. '93, p 11)