The Process of Devotional Service
In this Twenty-second Chapter, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu describes the process of devotional service. In the beginning He describes the truth about the living entity and the superexcellence of devotional service. He then describes the uselessness of mental speculation and mystic yoga. In all circumstances the living entity is recommended to accept the path of devotional service as personally explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The speculative method of the so-called jñānīs is considered a waste of time, and that is proved in this chapter. An intelligent person should abandon the processes of karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and mystic yoga. One should give up all these useless processes and take seriously to the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this way one's life will be successful. If one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness fully, even though he may sometimes be agitated due to having previously practiced mental speculation and yogic mysticism, he will be saved by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. The fact is that devotional service is bestowed by the blessings of a pure devotee (sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ). A pure devotee is the supreme transcendentalist, and one has to receive his mercy for one's dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness to be awakened. One has to associate with pure devotees. If one has firm faith in the words of a great soul, pure devotional service will awaken.
In this chapter Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has differentiated between a pure devotee and others. He also describes the characteristics of a pure devotee. A devotee's most formidable enemy is association with women in an enjoying spirit. Association with nondevotees is also condemned because it is also a formidable enemy on the path of devotional service. One has to fully surrender unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and give up attraction for women and nondevotees.
The six symptoms of fully surrendered souls are also described in this chapter. Devotional service has been divided into two categories-regulative devotional service and spontaneous love. There are sixty-four items listed in regulative devotional service, and out of these sixty-four the last five are considered very important. By practicing even one of the nine processes of devotional service, one can become successful. Speculative knowledge and mystic yoga can never help one in devotional service. Pious activity, nonviolence, sense control and regulation are not separate from devotional service in its pure form. If one engages in devotional service, all good qualities follow. One does not have to cultivate them separately. Spontaneous devotional service arises when one follows a pure devotee who is awakened to spontaneous love of God. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described the symptoms of devotees who are already situated in spontaneous love of God. He has also described the devotees who are trying to follow in the footsteps of the pure devotees
devaṁ taṁ karuṇārṇavam
kalāv apy ati-gūḍheyaṁ
bhaktir yena prakāśitā
vande—I offer my respectful obeisances; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-devam—unto Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; tam—unto Him; karuṇa-arṇavam—who is an ocean of mercy; kalau—in this Age of Kali; api—even; ati—very; gūḍhā—confidential; iyam—this; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; yena—by whom; prakāśitā—manifested.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is an ocean of transcendental mercy, and although the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is very confidential, He has nonetheless manifested it so niceIy, even in this Age of Kali, the age of quarrel.
jaya jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
jaya jaya—all glories; śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya nityānanda—to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu; jaya—all glories; advaita-candra—to Advaita Prabhu; jaya—all glories; gaura-bhakta-vṛnda—to the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! All glories to Nityānanda Prabhu! All glories to Advaitacandra! All glories to all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu!
eita kahiluṅ sambandha-tattvera vicāra
veda-śāstre upadeśe, kṛṣṇa--eka sāra
eita—thus; kahiluṅ—I have described; sambandha-tattvera vicāra—consideration of one's relationship with Kṛṣṇa; veda-śāstre—all Vedic literature; upadeśe—instructs; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; eka sāra—the only essential point.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "I have described one's relation with Kṛṣṇa in various ways. This is the subject matter of all the Vedas. Kṛṣṇa is the center of all activities.
ebe kahi, śuna, abhidheya-lakṣaṇa
yāhā haite pāi--kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-prema-dhana
ebe—now; kahi—I shall explain; śuna—please hear; abhidheya-lakṣaṇa—one's prime business (devotional service); yāhā haite—from which; pāi—one can get; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; kṛṣṇa-prema-dhana—and the wealth of transcendental love for Him.
"Now I shall speak about the characteristics of devotional service, by which one can attain the shelter of Kṛṣṇa and His loving transcendental service.
kṛṣṇa-bhakti--abhidheya, sarva-śāstre kaya
ataeva muni-gaṇa kariyāche niścaya
kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa; abhidheya—the real activity of life; sarva-śāstre—all Vedic literatures; kaya—say; ataeva—therefore; muni-gaṇa—all saintly persons; kariyāche—have made; niścaya—ascertainment.
"A human being's activities should be centered only about devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is the verdict of all Vedic literatures, and all saintly people have ascertained this.
śrutir mātā pṛṣṭā diśati bhavad-ārādhana-vidhiṁ
yathā mātur vāṇī smṛtir api tathā vakti bhaginī
purāṇādyā ye vā sahaja-nivahās te tad-anugā
ataḥ satyaṁ jñātaṁ murahara bhavān eva śaraṇam
śrutiḥ—Vedic knowledge; mātā—like a mother who is affectionate to her children; pṛṣṭā—when questioned; diśati—she directs; bhavat—of You; ārādhana—worship; vidhim—the process; yathā—just as; mātuḥ vāṇī—the instructions of the mother; smṛtiḥ—smṛti-śāstras, which explain the Vedic literatures; api—also; tathā—similarly; vakti—express; bhaginī—like a sister; purāṇa-ādyāḥ—headed by the Purāṇas; ye—which; vā—or; sahaja-nivahāḥ—like brothers; te—all of them; tat—of the mother; anugāḥ—followers; ataḥ—therefore; satyam—the truth; jñātam—known; mura-hara—O killer of the demon Mura; bhavān—Your Lordship; eva—only; śaraṇam—the shelter.
" 'When the mother Vedas [śruti] is questioned as to whom to worship, she says that You are the only Lord and worshipable object. Similarly, the corollaries of the śruti-śāstras, the smṛti-śāstras, give the same instructions, just like sisters. The Purāṇas, which are like brothers, follow in the footsteps of their mother. O enemy of the demon Mura, the conclusion is that You are the only shelter. Now I have understood this in truth.'
This quotation from the Vedic literature was spoken by great sages.
advaya-jñāna-tattva kṛṣṇa--svayaṁ bhagavān
'svarūpa-śakti' rūpe tāṅra haya avasthāna
advaya-jñāna—of nondual knowledge; tattva—the principle; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; svayam bhagavān—Himself the Supreme Personality of Godhead; svarūpa—personal expansions; śakti—of potencies; rūpe—in the form; tāṅra—His; haya—there is; avasthāna—existence.
"Kṛṣṇa is the nondual Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He is one, He maintains different personal expansions and energies for His pastimes.
The Lord has many potencies, and He is nondifferent from all these potencies. Because the potencies and the potent cannot be separated, they are identical. Kṛṣṇa is described as the source of all potencies, and He is also identified with the external potency, the material energy. Kṛṣṇa also has internal potencies, or spiritual potencies, which are always engaged in His personal service. His internal potency is different from His external potency. Kṛṣṇa's internal potency and Kṛṣṇa Himself, who is the potent, are always identical.
svāṁśa-vibhinnāṁśa-rūpe hañā vistāra
ananta vaikuṇṭha-brahmāṇḍe karena vihāra
sva-aṁśa—of personal expansions; vibhinna-aṁśa—of separated expansions; rūpe—in the forms; hañā—becoming; vistāra—expanded; ananta—unlimited; vaikuṇṭha—in the spiritual planets known as Vaikuṇṭhas; brahmāṇḍe—in the material universes; karena vihāra—performs His pastimes.
"Kṛṣṇa expands Himself in many forms. Some of them are personal expansions, and some are separate expansions. Thus He performs pastimes in both the spiritual and material worlds. The spiritual worlds are the Vaikuṇṭha planets, and the material universes are brahmāṇḍas, gigantic globes governed by Lord Brahmā.
vibhinnāṁśa jīva--tāṅra śaktite gaṇana
sva-aṁśa-vistāra—the expansion of His personal forms; catuḥ-vyūha—His quadruple form; avatāra-gaṇa—the incarnations; vibhinna-aṁśa—His separated forms; jīva—the living entities; tāṅra—His; śaktite—in the category of potency; gaṇana—calculating.
"Expansions of His personal self-like the quadruple manifestations of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Vāsudeva-descend as incarnations from Vaikuṇṭha to this material world. The separated expansions are living entities. Although they are expansions of Kṛṣṇa, they are counted among His different potencies.
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
Although the living entities are Kṛṣṇa's parts and parcels, they are prakṛti, not puruṣa. Sometimes prakṛti (a living entity) attempts to imitate the activities of the puruṣa. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, living entities conditioned in this material world claim to be God. They are thus illusioned. A living entity cannot be on the level of a viṣṇu-tattva, or the Personality of Godhead, at any stage; therefore it is ludicrous for a living entity to claim to be God. Advanced spiritualists would never accept such a thing. Such claims are made to cheat ordinary, foolish people. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement declares war against such bogus incarnations. The bogus propaganda put out by people claiming to be God has killed God consciousness all over the world. Members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must be very alert to defy these rascals who are presently misleading the whole world. One such rascal, known as Pauṇḍraka, appeared before Lord Kṛṣṇa, and the Lord immediately killed him. Of course, those who are Kṛṣṇa's servants cannot kill such imitation gods, but they should try their best to defeat them through the evidence of śāstra, authentic knowledge received through the disciplic succession.
sei vibhinnāṁśa jīva--dui ta' prakāra
sei vibhinna-aṁśa—that separated part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa; jīva—the living entity; dui ta' prakāra—two categories; eka—one; nitya-mukta—eternally liberated; eka—one; nitya-saṁsāra—perpetually conditioned.
"The living entities [jīvas] are divided into two categories. Some are eternally liberated, and others are eternally conditioned.
'nitya-mukta'--nitya kṛṣṇa-caraṇe unmukha
'kṛṣṇa-pāriṣada' nāma, bhuñje sevā-sukha
nitya-mukta—eternally liberated; nitya—always; kṛṣṇa-caraṇe—the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; unmukha—turned toward; kṛṣṇa-pāriṣada—associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa; nāma—known as; bhuñje—enjoy; sevā-sukha—the happiness of service.
"Those who are eternally liberated are always awake to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and they render transcendental loving service at the feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They are to be considered eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa, and they are eternally enjoying the transcendental bliss of serving Kṛṣṇa.
'nitya-bandha'--kṛṣṇa haite nitya-bahirmukha
'nitya-saṁsāra', bhuñje narakādi duḥkha
nitya-bandha—perpetually conditioned; kṛṣṇa haite—from Kṛṣṇa; nitya—eternally; bahiḥ-mukha—averse; nitya-saṁsāra—perpetually conditioned in the material world; bhuñje—enjoy; naraka-ādi duḥkha—the tribulations of hellish conditions of life.
"Apart from the ever-liberated devotees, there are the conditioned souls who always turn away from the service of the Lord. They are perpetually conditioned in this material world and are subjected to the material tribulations brought about by different bodily forms in hellish conditions.
sei doṣe māyā-piśācī daṇḍa kare tāre
ādhyātmikādi tāpa-traya tāre jāri, māre
sei doṣe—because of this fault; māyā-piśācī—the witch known as the external energy; daṇḍa kare—gives punishment; tāre—unto him; ādhyātmika-ādi—beginning with those pertaining to the body and mind; tāpa-traya—the threefold miseries; tāre—him; jāri'-burning; māre—gives pain.
"Due to his being opposed to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the conditioned soul is punished by the witch of the external energy, māyā. He is thus ready to suffer the threefold miseries-miseries brought about by the body and mind, the inimical behavior of other living entities and natural disturbances caused by the demigods.
kāma-krodhera dāsa hañā tāra lāthi khāya
bhramite bhramite yadi sādhu-vaidya pāya
tāṅra upadeśa-mantre piśācī palāya
kṛṣṇa-bhakti pāya, tabe kṛṣṇa-nikaṭa yāya
kāma—of lusty desires; krodhera—and of anger; dāsa—the servant; hañā—becoming; tāra—by them; lāthi khāya—is kicked; bhramite bhramite—wandering and wandering; yadi—if; sādhu—a devotee; vaidya—physician; pāya—he gets; tāṅra—his; upadeśa-mantre—by instruction and hymns; piśācī—the witch (the external energy); palāya—flees; kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; pāya—obtains; tabe—in this way; kṛṣṇa-nikaṭa yāya—he goes to Kṛṣṇa.
"In this way the conditioned soul becomes the servant of lusty desires, and when these are not fulfilled, he becomes a servant of anger and continues to be kicked by the external energy, māyā. Wandering and wandering throughout the universe, he may by chance get the association of a devotee physician, whose instructions and hymns make the witch of external energy flee. The conditioned soul thus gets into touch with the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and in this way he can approach nearer and nearer to the Lord.
An explanation of verses 8 through 15 is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. The Lord is spread throughout the creation in His quadruple expansions and incarnations. Kṛṣṇa is fully represented with all potencies in each and every personal extension, but the living entities, although separated expansions, are also considered one of the Lord's energies. The living entities are divided into two categories-the eternally liberated and eternally conditioned. Those who are ever-liberated never come in contact with māyā, the external energy. The ever-conditioned are always under the clutches of the external energy. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā:
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome." (Bg. 7.14)
The nitya-baddhas are always conditioned by the external energy, and the nitya-muktas never come in contact with the external energy. Sometimes an ever-liberated personal associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends into this universe just as the Lord descends. Although working for the liberation of conditioned souls, the messenger of the Supreme Lord remains untouched by the material energy. Generally ever-liberated personalities live in the spiritual world as associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and they are known as kṛṣṇa-pāriṣada, associates of the Lord. Their only business is enjoying Lord Kṛṣṇa's company, and even though such eternally liberated persons come within this material world to serve the Lord's purpose, they enjoy Lord Kṛṣṇa's company without stoppage. The ever-liberated person who works on Kṛṣṇa's behalf enjoys Lord Kṛṣṇa's company through his engagement. The ever-conditioned soul, provoked by lusty desires to enjoy the material world, is subjected to transmigrate from one body to another. Sometimes he is elevated to higher planetary systems, and sometimes he is degraded to hellish planets and subjected to the tribulations of the external energy.
Due to being conditioned by the external energy, the conditioned soul within this material world gets two kinds of bodies-a gross material body and a subtle body composed of mind, intelligence and ego. Due to the gross and subtle bodies, he is subjected to the threefold miseries (ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika), miseries arising from the body and mind, other living entities, and natural disturbances caused by demigods from higher planetary systems. The conditioned soul subjected to the threefold material miseries is ceaselessly kicked by māyā, and this is his disease. If by chance he meets a saintly person who works on Kṛṣṇa's behalf to deliver conditioned souls, and if he agrees to abide by his order, he can gradually approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā pālitā durnideśās
teṣāṁ jātā mayi na karuṇā na trapā nopaśāntiḥ
utsṛjyaitān atha yadu-pate sāmprataṁ labdha-buddhis
tvām āyātaḥ śaraṇam abhayaṁ māṁ niyuṅkṣvātma-dāsye
kāma-ādīnām—of my masters such as lust, anger, greed, illusion and envy; kati—how many; na—not; katidhā—in how many ways; pālitāḥ—obeyed; durnideśāḥ—undesirable orders; teṣām—of them; jātā—generated; mayi—unto me; na—not; karuṇā—mercy; na—not; trapā—shame; na—not; upaśāntiḥ—desire to cease; utsṛjya—giving up; etān—all these; atha—herewith; yadu-pate—O best of the Yadu dynasty; sāmpratam—now; labdha-buddhiḥ—having awakened intelligence; tvām—You; āyātaḥ—approached; śaraṇam—who are the shelter; abhayam—fearless; mām—me; niyuṅkṣva—please engage; ātma-dāsye—in Your personal service.
" 'O my Lord, there is no limit to the unwanted orders of lusty desires. Although I have rendered them so much service, they have not shown any mercy to me. I have not been ashamed to serve them, nor have I even desired to give them up. O my Lord, O head of the Yadu dynasty, recently, however, my intelligence has been awakened, and now I am giving them up. Due to transcendental intelligence, I now refuse to obey the unwanted orders of these desires, and I now come to You to surrender myself at Your fearless lotus feet. Kindly engage me in Your personal service and save me.'
This verse is also quoted in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (3.2.35). When we chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra we are saying, "Hare! O energy of the Lord! O my Lord Kṛṣṇa!" In this way we are simply addressing the Lord and His spiritual potency represented as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Sītā-Rāma, or Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa. The devotee always prays to the Lord and His internal energy (consort) so that he may engage in Their transcendental loving service. When the conditioned soul attains his real spiritual energy and fully surrenders unto the Lord's lotus feet, he tries to engage in the Lord's service. This is the real constitutional position of the living entity.
kṛṣṇa-bhakti haya abhidheya-pradhāna
kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa; haya—is; abhidheya-pradhāna—the chief function of the living entity; bhakti-mukha—of the face of devotional service; nirīkṣaka—observers; karma-yoga-jñāna—fruitive activities, mystic yoga and speculative knowledge.
"Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is the chief function of the living entity. There are different methods for the liberation of the conditioned soul-karma, jñāna, yoga and bhakti-but all are dependent on bhakti.
ei saba sādhanera ati tuccha bala
kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā tāhā dite nāre phala
ei saba—all these; sādhanera—of methods of spiritual activities; ati—very; tuccha—insignificant; bala—strength; kṛṣṇa-bhakti—devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa; vinā—without; tāhā—all these; dite—to deliver; nāre—are not able; phala—the desired result.
"But for devotional service, all other methods for spiritual self-realization are weak and insignificant. Unless one comes to the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, jñāna and yoga cannot give the desired results.
In Vedic scriptures, stress is sometimes given to fruitive activity, speculative knowledge and the mystic yoga system. Although people are inclined to practice these processes, they cannot attain the desired results without being touched by kṛṣṇa-bhakti, devotional service. In other words, the real desired result is to invoke dormant love for Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.6) states:
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
Karma, jñāna and yoga cannot actually awaken love of Godhead. One has to take to the Lord's devotional service, and the more one is inclined to devotional service, the more he loses interest in other so-called achievements. Dhruva Mahārāja went to practice mystic yoga to see the Lord personally face to face, but when he developed an interest in devotional service, he saw that he was not being benefited by karma, jñāna and yoga.
naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare
na cārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam
naiṣkarmyam—which does not produce enjoyment of the resultant action; api—although; acyuta-bhāva—of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; varjitam—devoid; na—not; śobhate—looks beautiful; jñānam—speculative knowledge; alam—exceedingly; nirañjanam—which is without material contamination; kutaḥ—how much less; punaḥ—again; śaśvat—always (at the time of practicing and at the time of achieving the goal); abhadram—inauspicious; īśvare—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na—not; ca—also; arpitam—dedicated; karma—activities; yat—which; api—although; akāraṇam—causeless.
" 'When pure knowledge is beyond all material affinity but is not dedicated to the Supreme PersonaIity of Godhead [Kṛṣṇa], it does not appear very beautiful, although it is knowledge without a material tinge. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities-which are naturally painful from the beginning and transient by nature-if they are not utilized for the devotional service of the Lord? How can they be very attractive?'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.12). Even after writing many Vedic literatures, Vyāsadeva felt very morose. Therefore his spiritual master, Nāradadeva, told him that he could be happy by writing about the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Up to that time, Śrīla Vyāsadeva had written the karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa sections of the Vedas, but he had not written about upāsanā-kāṇḍa, or bhakti. Thus his spiritual master, Nārada, chastised him and advised him to write about the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore Vyāsadeva began writing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
tapasvino dāna-parā yaśasvino
manasvino mantra-vidaḥ sumaṅgalāḥ
kṣemaṁ na vindanti vinā yad-arpaṇaṁ
tasmai subhadra-śravase namo namaḥ
tapasvinaḥ—those engaged in severe austerities and penances; dāna-parāḥ—those engaged in giving his possessions as charity; yaśasvinaḥ—those famous in society; manasvinaḥ—experts in mental speculation or meditation; mantra-vidaḥ—experts in reciting the Vedic hymns; su-maṅgalāḥ—very auspicious; kṣemam—real, eternal auspiciousness; na—never; vindanti—obtain; vinā—without; yat-arpaṇam—dedicating unto whom (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); tasmai—unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead; su-bhadra śravase—whose glory is very auspicious; namaḥ namaḥ—I offer my repeated respectful obeisances.
" 'Those who perform severe austerities and penances, those who give away all their possessions out of charity, those who are very famous for their auspicious activity, those who are engaged in meditation and mental speculation, and even those who are very expert in reciting the Vedic mantras, are not able to obtain any auspicious results, although they are engaged in auspicious activities, if they do not dedicate their activities to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I therefore repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose glories are always auspicious.'
kevala jñāna'mukti' dite nāre bhakti vine
kṛṣṇonmukhe sei mukti haya vinā jñāne
kevala—only; jñāna—speculative knowledge; mukti—liberation; dite—to deliver; nāre—is not able; bhakti vine—without devotional service; kṛṣṇa-unmukhe—if one is attached to the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa; sei mukti—that liberation; haya—appears; vinā—without; jñāne—knowledge.
"Speculative knowledge alone, without devotional service, is not able to give liberation. On the other hand, even without knowledge one can obtain liberation if one engages in the Lord's devotional service.
One cannot attain liberation simply by speculative knowledge. Even though one may be able to distinguish between Brahman and matter, one's liberation will be hampered if one is misled into thinking that the living entity is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, one falls down again onto the material platform because considering oneself the Supreme Person, the Supreme Absolute Truth, is offensive. When such a person comes in contact with a pure devotee, he can actually become liberated from material bondage and engage in the Lord's service. A prayer by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura is relevant here:
bhaktis tvayi sthiratarā bhagavan yadi syād
daivena naḥ phalati divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ
muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate 'smān
"O my Lord, if one engages in Your pure devotional service with determination, You become visible in Your original transcendental youthful form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As far as liberation is concerned, she stands before the devotee with folded hands waiting to render service. Religion, economic development and sense gratification are all automatically attained without separate endeavor."
śreyaḥ-sṛtiṁ bhaktim udasya te vibho
kliśyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye
teṣām asau kleśala eva śiṣyate
nānyad yathā sthūla-tuṣāvaghātinām
śreyaḥ-sṛtim—the auspicious path of liberation; bhaktim—devotional service; udasya—giving up; te—of You; vibho—O my Lord; kliśyanti—accept increased difficulties; ye—all those persons who; kevala—only; bodha-labdhaye—for obtaining knowledge; teṣām—for them; asau—that; kleśalaḥ—trouble; eva—only; śiṣyate—remains; na—not; anyat—anything else; yathā—as much as; sthūla—bulky; tuṣa—husks of rice; avaghātinām—of those beating.
" 'My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the only auspicious path. If one gives it up simply for speculative knowledge or the understanding that these living beings are spirit souls and the material world is false, he undergoes a great deal of trouble. He only gains troublesome and inauspicious activities. His endeavors are like beating a husk that is already devoid of rice. One's labor becomes fruitless.'
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.4).
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etaṁ taranti te
daivī—belonging to the Supreme Lord; hi—certainly; eṣā—this; guṇa-mayī—made of the three modes; mama—My; māyā—external energy; duratyayā—very difficult to surpass; mām—unto Me; eva—certainly; ye—those who; prapadyante—surrender fully; māyām—illusory energy; etām—this; taranti—cross over; te—they.
" 'This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.'
'kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa'--jīva tāhā bhuli' gela
ei doṣe māyā tāra galāya bāndhila
kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa—eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa; jīva—the living entity; tāhā—that; bhuli'-forgetting; gela—went; ei doṣe—for this fault; māyā—the material energy; tāra—his; galāya—on the neck; bāndhila—has bound.
"The living entity is bound around the neck by the chain of māyā because he has forgotten that he is eternally a servant of Kṛṣṇa.
tāte kṛṣṇa bhaje, kare gurura sevana
māyā-jāla chuṭe, pāya kṛṣṇera caraṇa
tāte—therefore; kṛṣṇa bhaje—if one worships Lord Kṛṣṇa; kare—performs; gurura sevana—service to his spiritual master; māyā-jāla chuṭe—gets free from the binding net of māyā; pāya—gets; kṛṣṇera caraṇa—shelter at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
"If the conditioned soul engages in the service of the Lord and simultaneously carries out the orders of his spiritual master and serves him, he can get out of the clutches of māyā and become eligible for shelter at Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet.
It is a fact that every living entity is eternally a servant of Kṛṣṇa. This is forgotten due to the influence of māyā, which induces one to believe in material happiness. Being illusioned by māyā, one thinks that material happiness is the only desirable object. This material consciousness is like a chain around the neck of the conditioned soul. As long as he is bound to that conception, he cannot get out of māyā's clutches. However, if by Kṛṣṇa's mercy he gets in touch with a bona fide spiritual master, abides by his order and serves him, engaging other conditioned souls in the Lord's service, he then attains liberation and Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa's shelter.
cāri varṇāśramī yadi kṛṣṇa nāhi bhaje
svakarma karite se raurave paḍi' maje
cāri varṇa-āśramī—followers of the four social and spiritual orders of life; yadi—if; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; nāhi—not; bhaje—serve; sva-karma karite—performing his duty in life; se—that person; raurave—in a hellish condition; paḍi'-falling down; maje—becomes immersed.
"The followers of the varṇāśrama institution accept the regulative principles of the four social orders [brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra] and four spiritual orders [brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa]. However, if one carries out the regulative principles of these orders but does not render transcendental service to Kṛṣṇa, he falls into the hellish condition of material life.
One may be a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, or one may perfectly follow the spiritual principles of brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, but ultimately one falls down into a hellish condition unless one becomes a devotee. Without developing one's dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one cannot be factually elevated. The regulative principles of varṇāśrama-dharma in themselves are insufficient for attainment of the highest perfection. That is confirmed in the following two quotations from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.2-3).
catvāro jajñire varṇā
guṇair viprādayaḥ pṛthak
mukha—the mouth; bāhu—the arms; ūru—the waist; pādebhyaḥ—from the legs; puruṣasya—of the Supreme Person; āśramaiḥ—the different spiritual orders; saha—with; catvāraḥ—the four; jajñire—appeared; varṇāḥ—social orders; guṇaiḥ—with particular qualifications; vipra-ādayaḥ—brāhmaṇas and so on; pṛthak—separately.
" 'From the mouth of Brahmā, the brahminical order has come into existence. Similarly, from his arms the kṣatriyas have come, from his waist the vaiśyas have come, and from his legs the śūdras have come. These four orders and their spiritual counterparts [brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa] combine to make human society complete.
ya eṣāṁ puruṣaṁ sākṣād-
na bhajanty avajānanti
sthānād bhraṣṭāḥ patanty adhaḥ
ye—anyone who; eṣām—of those divisions of social and spiritual orders; puruṣam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sākṣāt—directly; ātma-prabhavam—the source of everyone; īśvaram—the supreme controller; na—not; bhajanti—worship; avajānanti—or who neglect; sthānāt—from their proper place; bhraṣṭāḥ—being fallen; patanti—fall; adhaḥ—downward into hellish conditions.
" 'If one simply maintains an official position in the four varṇas and āśramas but does not worship the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu, he falls down from his puffed-up position into a heIlish condition.'
jñānī jīvan-mukta-daśā pāinu kari, māne
vastutaḥ buddhi 'śuddha' nahe kṛṣṇa-bhakti vine
jñānī—the speculative philosophers; jīvan-mukta-daśā—the stage of liberation even while in this body; pāinu—I have gotten; kari'-taking; māne—considers; vastutaḥ—factually; buddhi—intelligence; śuddha—purified; nahe—not; kṛṣṇa-bhakti vine—without devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.
"There are many philosophical speculators [jñānīs] belonging to the Māyāvāda school who consider themselves liberated and call themselves Nārāyaṇa. However, their intelligence is not purified unless they engage in Kṛṣṇa's devotional service.
ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
ye—all those who; anye—others (nondevotees); aravinda-akṣa—O lotus-eyed one; vimukta-māninaḥ—who consider themselves liberated; tvayi—unto You; asta-bhāvāt—without devotion; aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ—whose intelligence is not purified; āruhya—having ascended; kṛcchreṇa—by severe austerities and penances; param padam—to the supreme position; tataḥ—from there; patanti—fall; adhaḥ—down; anādṛta—without respecting; yuṣmat—Your; aṅghrayaḥ—lotus feet.
" 'O lotus-eyed one, those who think they are liberated in this life but do not render devotional service to You must be of impure intelligence. Although they accept severe austerities and penances and rise to the spiritual position, to impersonal Brahman realization, they fall down again because they neglect to worship Your lotus feet.'
kṛṣṇa--sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra
yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra
kṛṣṇa—Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sūrya-sama—like the sun planet; māyā—the illusory energy; haya—is; andhakāra—darkness; yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa—wherever there is Kṛṣṇa; tāhāṅ—there; nāhi—not; māyāra—of māyā, or the darkness of illusion; adhikāra—the jurisdiction.
"Kṛṣṇa is compared to sunshine, and māyā is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish.
ṛte 'rthaṁ yat pratīyeta
na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ
yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ
Wherever there is light, there cannot be darkness. When a living entity becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is immediately relieved of all material lusty desires. Lusty desires and greed are associated with rajas and tamas, darkness and passion. When one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, the modes of darkness and passion immediately vanish, and the remaining mode, sattva-guṇa (goodness), remains. When one is situated in the mode of goodness, he can make spiritual advancement and understand things clearly. This position is not possible for everyone. When a person is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he continuously hears about Kṛṣṇa, thinks about Him, worships Him and serves Him as a devotee. If he remains in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this way, the darkness of māyā certainly will not be able to touch him.
sthātum īkṣā-pathe 'muyā
mamāham iti durdhiyaḥ
vilajjamānaya—being ashamed; yasya—of whom; sthātum—to remain; īkṣā-pathe—in the line of sight; amuyā—by that (māyā); vimohitāḥ—bewildered; vikatthante—boast; mama—my; aham—I; iti—thus; durdhiyaḥ—having poor intelligence.
" 'The external illusory energy of Kṛṣṇa, known as māyā, is always ashamed to stand in front of Kṛṣṇa, just as darkness is ashamed to remain before the sunshine. However, that māyā bewilders unfortunate people who have no intelligence. Thus they simply boast that this material world is theirs and that they are its enjoyers.'
The entire world is bewildered because people are thinking, "This is my land," "America is mine," "India is mine." Not knowing the real value of life, people think that the material body and the land where it is produced are all in all. This is the basic principle behind nationalism, socialism and communism. Such thinking, which simply bewilders the living being, is nothing but rascalism. It is due to the darkness of māyā, but as soon as one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is immediately relieved from such misconceptions. This verse is quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.5.13). There is also another appropriate verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.7.47):
śaśvat praśāntam abhayaṁ pratibodha-mātraṁ
śuddhaṁ samaṁ sad-asataḥ paramātma-tattvam
śabdo na yatra puru-kārakavān kriyārtho
māyā paraity abhimukhe ca vilajjamānā
tad vai padaṁ bhagavataḥ paramasya puṁso
brahmeti yad vidur ajasra-sukhaṁ viśokam
"What is realized as the Absolute Brahman is full of unlimited bliss without grief. That is certainly the ultimate phase of the supreme enjoyer, the Personality of Godhead. He is eternally void of all disturbances, fearless, completely conscious as opposed to matter, uncontaminated and without distinctions. He is the principal, primeval cause of all causes and effects, in whom there is no sacrifice for fruitive activities and in whom the illusory energy does not stand."
This verse was spoken by Lord Brahmā when he was questioned by the great sage Nārada. Nārada was surprised to see the creator of the universe meditating, for he was doubting whether there was someone greater than Lord Brahmā. While answering the great sage Nārada, Lord Brahmā described the position of māyā and the bewildered living entities. This verse was spoken in that connection.
'kṛṣṇa, tomāra haṅa' yadi bale eka-bāra
māyā-bandha haite kṛṣṇa tāre kare pāra
kṛṣṇa—O my Lord Kṛṣṇa; tomāra haṅa—I am Yours; yadi—if; bale—someone says; eka-bāra—once; māyā-bandha haite—from the bondage of conditional life; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāre—him; kare pāra—releases.
"One is immediateIy freed from the clutches of māyā if he seriously and sincerely says, 'My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.'
sakṛd eva prapanno yas
tavāsmīti ca yācate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai
dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama
sakṛt—once only; eva—certainly; prapannaḥ—surrendered; yaḥ—anyone who; tava—Yours; asmi—I am; iti—thus; ca—also; yācate—prays; abhayam—fearlessness; sarvadā—always; tasmai—unto him; dadāmi—I give; etat—this; vratam—vow; mama—My.
" 'It is My vow that if one only once seriously surrenders unto Me, saying, "My dear Lord, from this day I am Yours," and prays to Me for courage, I shall immediately award courage to that person, and he will always remain safe from that time on.'
This is a quotation from the Rāmāyaṇa.
bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī 'subuddhi' yadi haya
gāḍha-bhakti-yoge tabe kṛṣṇere bhajaya
bhukti—of material enjoyment; mukti—of impersonal liberation; siddhi—of achieving mystic power; kāmī—desirous; su-buddhi—actually intelligent; yadi—if; haya—he is; gāḍha—deep; bhakti-yoge—by devotional service; tabe—then; kṛṣṇere bhajaya—worships Lord Kṛṣṇa.
"Due to bad association, the living entity desires material happiness, liberation or merging into the impersonal aspect of the Lord, or he engages in mystic yoga for material power. If such a person actually becomes intelligent, he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness by engaging himself in intense devotional service to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
yajeta puruṣaṁ param
akāmaḥ—a pure devotee with no desire for material enjoyment; sarva-kāmaḥ—one who has no end to his desires for material enjoyment; vā—or; mokṣa-kāmaḥ—one who desires to merge into the existence of Brahman; udāra-dhīḥ—being very intelligent; tīvreṇa—firm; bhakti-yogena—by devotional service; yajeta—should worship; puruṣam—the person; param—supreme.
" 'Whether one desires everything or nothing, or whether he desires to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is intelligent only if he worships Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by rendering transcendental Ioving service.'
anya-kāmī yadi kare kṛṣṇera bhajana
nā māgiteha kṛṣṇa tāre dena sva-caraṇa
anya-kāmī—one who desires many other things; yadi—if; kare—he performs; kṛṣṇera bhajana—devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa; nā māgiteha—although not asking; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāre—to him; dena—gives; sva-caraṇa—the shelter of His lotus feet.
"If those who desire material enjoyment or merging into the existence of the Absolute Truth engage in the Lord's transcendental loving service, they will immediately attain shelter at Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, although they did not ask for it. Kṛṣṇa is therefore very merciful.
kṛṣṇa kahe,--'āmā bhaje, māge viṣaya-sukha
amṛta chāḍi' viṣa māge,--ei baḍa mūrkha
kṛṣṇa kahe—Kṛṣṇa says; āmā bhaje—he worships Me; māge—but requests; viṣaya-sukha—material happiness; amṛta chāḍi'-giving up the nectar; viṣa māge—he begs for poison; ei baḍa mūrkha—he is a great fool.
"Kṛṣṇa says, 'If one engages in My transcendental loving service but at the same time wants the opulence of material enjoyment, he is very, very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up ambrosia to drink poison.
āmi--vijña, ei mūrkhe 'viṣaya' kene diba?
sva-caraṇāmṛta diyā 'viṣaya' bhulāiba
āmi—I; vijña—all-intelligent; ei mūrkhe—unto this foolish person; viṣaya—material enjoyment; kene diba—why should I give; sva-caraṇa-amṛta—the nectar of shelter at My lotus feet; diyā—giving; viṣaya—the idea of material enjoyment; bhulāiba—I shall make him forget.
" 'Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.'
Those who are interested in material enjoyment are known as bhukti. One who is interested in merging into the effulgence of Brahman or perfecting the mystic yoga system is not a devotee at all. Devotees do not have such desires. However, if a karmī, jñānī or yogī somehow contacts a devotee and renders devotional service, Kṛṣṇa immediately awards him love of God and gives him shelter at His lotus feet, although he may have no idea how to develop love of Kṛṣṇa. If a person wants material profit from devotional service, Kṛṣṇa condemns such materialistic desires. To desire material opulence while engaging in devotional service is foolish. Although the person may be foolish, Kṛṣṇa, being all-intelligent, engages him in His devotional service in such a way that he gradually forgets material opulence. The point is that we should not try to exchange loving service for material prosperity. If we are actually surrendered to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, our only desire should be to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That is pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Surrender does not mean that we demand something from the Lord but that we completely depend on His mercy.
satyaṁ diśaty arthitam arthito nṛṇāṁ
naivārthado yat punar arthitā yataḥ
svayaṁ vidhatte bhajatām anicchatām
satyam—it is true; diśati—He awards; arthitam—that which is desired; arthitaḥ—being requested; nṛṇām—by human beings; na—not; eva—certainly; artha-daḥ—giving desired things; yat—which; punaḥ—again; arthitā—request; yataḥ—from which; svayam—Himself; vidhatte—He gives; bhajatām—of those engaged in devotional service; anicchatām—even though not desiring; icchā-pidhānam—covering all other desires; nija-pāda-pallavam—the shelter of His own lotus feet.
" 'Whenever Kṛṣṇa is requested to fulfill one's desire, He undoubtedly does so, but He does not award anything which, after being enjoyed, will cause someone to petition Him again and again to fulfill further desires. When one has other desires but engages in the Lord's service, Kṛṣṇa forcibly gives one shelter at His lotus feet, where one will forget all other desires.'
kāma lāgi' kṛṣṇe bhaje, pāya kṛṣṇa-rase
kāma chāḍi' 'dāsa' haite haya abhilāṣe
kāma lāgi'—for fulfillment of one's material desires; kṛṣṇe bhaje—one engages in the transcendental service of Lord Kṛṣṇa; pāya—he gets; kṛṣṇa-rase—a taste of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kāma chāḍi'-giving up all desires for material enjoyment; dāsa haite—to be an eternal servant of the Lord; haya—there is; abhilāṣe—aspiration.
"When someone engages in Lord Kṛṣṇa's devotional service for the satisfaction of the senses and instead acquires a taste to serve Kṛṣṇa, he gives up his material desires and willingly offers himself as an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.
sthānābhilāṣī tapasi sthito 'haṁ
tvāṁ prāptavān deva-munīndra-guhyam
kācaṁ vicinvann api divya-ratnaṁ
svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi varaṁ na yāce
sthāna-abhilāṣī—desiring a very high position in the material world; tapasi—in severe austerities and penances; sthitaḥ—situated; aham—I; tvām—You; prāptavān—have obtained; deva-muni-indra-guhyam—difficult to achieve even for great demigods, saintly persons and kings; kācam—a piece of glass; vicinvan—searching for; api—although; divya-ratnam—a transcendental gem; svāmin—O my Lord; kṛta-arthaḥ asmi—I am fully satisfied; varam—any benediction; na yāce—I do not ask.
[When he was being benedicted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Dhruva Mahārāja said] " 'O my Lord, because I was seeking an opulent material position, I was performing severe types of penance and austerity. Now I have gotten You, who are very difficult for the great demigods, saintly persons and kings to attain. I was searching after a piece of glass, but instead I have found a most valuable jewel. Therefore I am so satisfied that I do not wish to ask any benediction from You.'
saṁsāra bhramite kona bhāgye keha tare
nadīra pravāhe yena kāṣṭha lāge tīre
saṁsāra bhramite—wandering throughout the universe; kona bhāgye—by some good fortune; keha tare—someone crosses the ocean of nescience; nadīra pravāhe—in the flow of the river; yena—just as; kāṣṭha—wood; lāge—sticks; tīre—on the bank.
"There are unlimited conditioned souls who are bereft of Lord Kṛṣṇa's service. Not knowing how to cross the ocean of nescience, they are scattered by waves, time and tide. However, some are fortunate to contact devotees, and by this contact they are deIivered from the ocean of nescience, just as a log, floating down a river, accidentally washes upon the bank.
kvacit tarati kaścana
mā—not; evam—thus; mama—of me; adhamasya—who is the most fallen; api—although; syāt—there may be; eva—certainly; acyuta-darśanam—seeing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hriyamāṇaḥ—being carried; kāla-nadyā—by the stream of time; kvacit—sometimes; tarati—crosses over; kaścana—someone.
"Because I am so fallen, I shall never get a chance to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead." This was my false apprehension. Rather, by chance a person as fallen as I am may get to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although one is being carried away by the waves of the river of time, one may eventually reach the shore.'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.38.5).
kona bhāgye kāro saṁsāra kṣayonmukha haya
sādhu-saṅge tabe kṛṣṇe rati upajaya
kona bhāgye—by fortune; kāro—of someone; saṁsāra—conditioned life; kṣaya-unmukha—on the point of destruction; haya—is; sādhu-saṅge—by association with devotees; tabe—then; kṛṣṇe—to Lord Kṛṣṇa; rati—attraction; upa-jaya—awakens.
"By good fortune, one becomes eligible to cross the ocean of nescience, and when one's term of material existence decreases, one may get an opportunity to associate with pure devotees. By such association, one's attraction to Kṛṣṇa is awakened.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explains this point. Is this bhāgya (fortune) the result of an accident or something else? In the scriptures, devotional service and pious activity are considered fortunate. Pious activities can be divided into three categories-pious activities that awaken one's dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness are called bhakty-unmukhī sukṛti. Pious activities that bestow material opulence are called bhogonmukhī, and pious activities that enable the living entity to merge into the existence of the Supreme are called mokṣonmukhī. These last two awards of pious activity are not actually fortunate. Pious activities are fortunate when they help one become Kṛṣṇa conscious. The good fortune of bhakty-unmukhī is attainable only when one comes in contact with a devotee. By associating with a devotee willingly or unwillingly, one advances in devotional service, and thus one's dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness is awakened.
bhavāpavargo bhramato yadā bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samāgamaḥ
sat-saṅgamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
parāvareśe tvayi jāyate ratiḥ
bhava-apavargaḥ—liberation from the nescience of material existence; bhramataḥ—wandering; yadā—when; bhavet—should be; janasya—of a person; tarhi—at that time; acyuta—O Supreme Personality of Godhead; sat-samāgamaḥ—association with devotees; sat-saṅgamaḥ—association with devotees; yarhi—when; tadā—at that time; eva—only; sat-gatau—the highest goal of life; parāvareśe—the Lord of the universe; tvayi—to You; jāyate—appears; ratiḥ—attraction.
" 'O my Lord! O infallible Supreme Person! When a person wandering throughout the universes becomes eligible for liberation from material existence, he gets an opportunity to associate with devotees. When he associates with devotees, his attraction for You is awakened. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the highest goal of the supreme devotees and the Lord of the universe.'
kṛṣṇa yadi kṛpā kare kona bhāgyavāne
guru-antaryāmi-rūpe śikhāya āpane
kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; yadi—if; kṛpā kare—shows His mercy; kona bhāgyavāne—to some fortunate person; guru—of the spiritual master; antaryāmi—of the Supersoul; rūpe—in the form; śikhāya—teaches; āpane—personally.
"Kṛṣṇa is situated in everyone's heart as caitya-guru, the spiritual master within. When He is kind to some fortunate conditioned soul, He personally gives one lessons to progress in devotional service, instructing the person as the Supersoul within and the spiritual master without.
naivopayanty apacitiṁ kavayas taveśa
brahmāyuṣāpi kṛtam ṛddha-mudaḥ smarantaḥ
yo 'ntar bahis tanu-bhṛtām aśubhaṁ vidhunvann
ācārya-caittya-vapuṣā sva-gatiṁ vyanakti
na eva—not at all; upayanti—are able to express; apacitim—their gratitude; kavayaḥ—learned devotees; tava—Your; īśa—O Lord; brahma-āyuṣā—with a lifetime equal to Lord Brahmā's; api—in spite of; kṛtam—magnanimous work; ṛddha—increased; mudaḥ—joy; smarantaḥ—remembering; yaḥ—who; antaḥ—within; bahiḥ—outside; tanu-bhṛtām—of those who are embodied; aśubham—misfortune; vidhunvan—dissipating; ācārya—of the spiritual master; caittya—of the Supersoul; vapuṣā—by the forms; sva—own; gatim—path; vyanakti—shows.
" 'O my Lord! Transcendental poets and experts in spiritual science could not fully express their indebtedness to You, even if they were endowed with the prolonged lifetime of Brahmā, for You appear in two features-externally as the ācārya and internally as the Supersoul-to deliver the embodied living being by directing him how to come to You.'
sādhu-saṅge kṛṣṇa-bhaktye śraddhā yadi haya
bhakti-phala 'prema' haya, saṁsāra yāya kṣaya
sādhu-saṅge—by the association of devotees; kṛṣṇa-bhaktye—in discharging devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; śraddhā—faith; yadi—if; haya—there is; bhakti-phala—the result of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; prema—love of Godhead; haya—awakens; saṁsāra—the conditioned life in material existence; yāya kṣaya—becomes vanquished.
"By associating with a devotee, one awakens his faith in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. Because of devotional service, one's dormant love for Kṛṣṇa awakens, and thus one's material, conditional existence comes to an end.
jāta-śraddhas tu yaḥ pumān
na nirviṇṇo nātisakto
bhakti-yogo 'sya siddhidaḥ
yadṛcchayā—by some good fortune; mat-kathā-ādau—in talk about Me; jāta-śraddhaḥ—has awakened his attraction; tu—but; yaḥ pumān—a person who; na nirviṇṇaḥ—not falsely detached; na atisaktaḥ—not attached to material existence; bhakti-yogaḥ—the process of devotional service; asya—for such a person; siddhi-daḥ—bestowing perfection.
" 'Somehow or other, if one is attracted to talks about Me and has faith in the instructions I have set forth in Bhagavad-gītā, and if one is actually detached from material things and material existence, his dormant love for Me will be awakened by devotional service.'
mahat-kṛpā vinā kona karme 'bhakti' naya
kṛṣṇa-bhakti dūre rahu, saṁsāra nahe kṣaya
mahat-kṛpā—the mercy of great devotees; vinā—without; kona karme—by some other activity; bhakti naya—there is not devotional service; kṛṣṇa-bhakti—love of Kṛṣṇa or devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; dūre rahu—leaving aside; saṁsāra—the bondage of material existence; nahe—there is not; kṣaya—destruction.
"Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, he cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of kṛṣṇa-bhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence.
Pious activities bring about material opulence, but one cannot acquire devotional service by any amount of material pious activity, not by giving charity, opening big hospitals and schools or working philanthropically. Devotional service can be attained only by the mercy of a pure devotee. Without a pure devotee's mercy, one cannot even escape the bondage of material existence. The word mahat in this verse means "a pure devotee." As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā:
mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha
daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
One also has to associate with such a mahātmā who has accepted Kṛṣṇa as the supreme source of the entire creation. Without being a mahātmā, one cannot understand Kṛṣṇa's absolute position. A mahātmā is rare and transcendental, and he is a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Foolish people consider Kṛṣṇa a human being, and they consider Lord Kṛṣṇa's pure devotee an ordinary human being also. Whatever one may be, one must take shelter at the lotus feet of a devotee mahātmā and treat him as the most exalted well-wisher of all human society. We should take shelter of such a mahātmā and ask for his causeless mercy. Only by his benediction can one be relieved from attachment to a materialistic way of life. When one is thus relieved, he can engage in the Lord's transcendental loving service through the mercy of the mahātmā.
rahūgaṇaitat tapasā na yāti
na cejyayā nirvapaṇād gṛhād vā
na cchandasā naiva jalāgni-sūryair
rahūgaṇa—O King Rahūgaṇa; etat—this; tapasā—by severe austerities and penances; na yāti—one does not obtain; na—neither; ca—also; ijyayā—by gorgeous worship; nirvapaṇāt—by renounced order of life; gṛhāt—by sacrifices while living in the home; vā—or; na chandasā—nor by scholarly study of the Vedas; na—nor; eva—certainly; jala-agni-sūryaiḥ—by those who worship water, fire or scorching sunshine; vinā—without; mahat-pāda-rajaḥ—of the dust of the lotus feet of a mahātmā; abhiṣekam—the sprinkling.
" 'O King Rahūgaṇa, without taking upon one's head the dust from the lotus feet of a pure devotee [a mahājana or mahātmā], one cannot attain devotional service. Devotional service is not possible to attain simply by undergoing severe austerities and penances, by gorgeously worshiping the Deity, or by strictly following the rules and regulations of the sannyāsa or gṛhastha order, nor by studying the Vedas, submerging oneself in water, or exposing oneself to fire or scorching sunlight.'
This verse appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.12.12). Jaḍa Bharata herein tells King Rahūgaṇa how he attained the paramahaṁsa stage. Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa, the King of Sindhu-sauvīra, had asked Jaḍa Bharata how he had attained the paramahaṁsa stage. The King had called him to carry his palanquin, but when the King heard from paramahaṁsa Jaḍa Bharata about the supreme philosophy, he expressed surprise and asked Jaḍa Bharata how he had attained such great liberation. At that time Jaḍa Bharata informed the King how to become detached from material attraction.
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
na—not; eṣām—of those who are attached to household life; matiḥ—the interest; tāvat—that long; urukrama-aṅghrim—the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is credited with uncommon activities; spṛśati—touches; anartha—of unwanted things; apagamaḥ—vanquishing; yat—of which; arthaḥ—result; mahīyasām—of the great personalities, devotees; pāda-rajaḥ—of the dust of the lotus feet; abhiṣekam—sprinkling on the head; niṣkiñcanānām—who are completely detached from material possessions; na vṛṇīta—does not do; yāvat—as long as.
" 'Unless human society accepts the dust of the lotus feet of great mahātmās-devotees who have nothing to do with material possessions-mankind cannot turn its attention to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Those lotus feet vanquish all the unwanted miserable conditions of material life.'
This verse appears in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.32). When the great sage Nārada was giving instructions to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, he narrated the activities of Prahlāda Mahārāja. This verse was spoken by Prahlāda Mahārāja to his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, the king of demons. Prahlāda Mahārāja informed his father of the nine basic processes of bhakti-yoga. Whoever takes to these processes is to be considered a highly learned scholar. Hiraṇyakaśipu, however, did not like his son to talk about devotional service; therefore he immediately called his teacher, Ṣaṇḍāmarka. The teacher explained that he did not teach devotional service to Prahlāda but that the boy was naturally inclined that way. At that time Hiraṇyakaśipu became very angry and asked Prahlāda why he had become a Vaiṣṇava. In answer to this question, Prahlāda Mahārāja recited this verse to the effect that one cannot become the Lord's devotee without receiving the mercy and blessings of another devotee.
'sādhu-saṅga', 'sādhu-saṅga'--sarva-śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
sādhu-saṅga sādhu-saṅga—association with pure devotees; sarva-śāstre—all the revealed scriptures; kaya—say; lava-mātra—even for a moment; sādhu-saṅge—by association with a devotee; sarva-siddhi—all success; haya—there is.
"The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.
According to astronomical calculations, lava is one eleventh of one second.
na svargaṁ nāpunar-bhavam
tulayāma—we make equal; lavena—with one instant; api—even; na—not; svargam—heavenly planets; na—nor; apunaḥ-bhavam—merging into the existence of the Supreme; bhagavat-saṅgi-saṅgasya—of the association of devotees who are always associated with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; martyānām—of persons destined to die; kim uta—what; āśiṣaḥ—the blessings.
" 'The value of a moment's association with a devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which is for those who are meant for death.'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.18.13). This verse concerns the Vedic rites and sacrifices performed by the great sages of Naimiṣāraṇya, headed by Śaunaka Ṛṣi. The sages pointed out that association with a devotee for even less than a second is beyond comparison to a thousand Vedic rituals and sacrifices, elevation to heavenly planets or merging into the existence of the Supreme.
kṛṣṇa kṛpālu arjunere lakṣya kariyā
jagatere rākhiyāchena upadeśa diyā
kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; kṛpālu—merciful; arjunere—Arjuna; lakṣya kariyā—aiming at; jagatere—the whole world; rākhiyāchena—has protected; upadeśa diyā—giving instructions.
"Kṛṣṇa is so merciful that simply by aiming His instructions at Arjuna, He has given protection to the whole world.
śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo 'si me dṛḍham iti
tato vakṣyāmi te hitam
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo 'si me
sarva-guhya-tamam—most confidential of all; bhūyaḥ—again; śṛṇu—hear; me—My; paramam vacaḥ—supreme instruction; iṣṭaḥ—beloved; asi—you are; me—My; dṛḍham iti—very firmly; tataḥ—therefore; vakṣyāmi—I shall speak; te—to you; hitam—words of benediction; mat-manāḥ—whose mind is always on Me; bhava—become; mat-bhaktaḥ—My devotee; mat-yājī—My worshiper; mām—unto Me; namaskuru—offer obeisances; mām eva—to Me only; eṣyasi—you will come; satyam—truly; te—to you; pratijāne—I promise; priyaḥ asi—you are dear; me—My.
" 'Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit. Always think of Me and become My devotee, worship Me and offer obeisances unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.'
pūrva ājñā,--veda-dharma, karma, yoga, jñāna
saba sādhi' śeṣe ei ājñā--balavān
pūrva ājñā—previous orders; veda-dharma—performance of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; karma—fruitive activities; yoga—mystic yoga practice; jñāna—speculative knowledge; saba sādhi'-executing all these processes; śeṣe—at the end; ei ājñā—this order; balavān—powerful.
"Although Kṛṣṇa has previously explained the proficiency of executing Vedic rituals, performing fruitive activity as enjoined in the Vedas, practicing yoga and cultivating jñāna, these last instructions are most powerful and stand above all the others.
ei ājñā-bale bhaktera 'śraddhā' yadi haya
sarva-karma tyāga kari' se kṛṣṇa bhajaya
ei ājñā-bale—on the strength of this supreme order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhaktera—of the devotees; śraddhā—faith; yadi—if; haya—there is; sarva-karma—all other activities, material and spiritual; tyāga kari'-leaving aside; se—he; kṛṣṇa bhajaya—serves Lord Kṛṣṇa.
"If the devotee has faith in the strength of this order, he worships Lord Kṛṣṇa and gives up all other activities.
tāvat karmāṇi kurvīta
na nirvidyeta yāvatā
śraddhā yāvan na jāyate
tāvat—up to that time; karmāṇi—fruitive activities; kurvīta—one should execute; na nirvidyeta—is not satiated; yāvatā—as long as; mat-kathā—of discourses about Me; śravaṇa-ādau—in the matter of śravaṇam, kīrtanam, and so on; vā—or; śraddhā—faith; yāvat—as long as; na—not; jāyate—is awakened.
" 'As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoh, one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions.'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.9).
'śraddhā'-śabde--viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
śraddhā-śabde—by the word śraddhā; viśvāsa—faith; kahe—is said; sudṛḍha—firm; niścaya—certain; kṛṣṇe—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; bhakti—devotional service; kaile—by executing; sarva-karma—all activities; kṛta—completed; haya—are.
"By rendering transcendental loving service to Kṛṣṇa, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. This confident, firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service, is called śraddhā.
Firm faith and confidence are called śraddhā. When one engages in the Lord's devotional service, he is to be understood to have performed all his responsibilities in the material world. He has satisfied his forefathers, ordinary living entities, and demigods and is free from all responsibility. Such a person does not need to meet his responsibilities separately. It is automatically done. Fruitive activity (karma) is meant to satisfy the senses of the conditioned soul. However, when one awakens to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he does not have to work separately for pious activity. The best achievement of all fruitive activity is detachment from material life, and this detachment is spontaneously enjoyed by the devotee firmly engaged in the Lord's service.
yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṁ
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā
yathā—as; taroḥ—of a tree; mūla—on the root; niṣecanena—by pouring water; tṛpyanti—are satisfied; tat—of the tree; skandha—trunk; bhuja—branches; upaśākhāḥ—sub-branches; prāṇa—to the living force; upahārāt—from offering food; ca—also; yathā—as; indriyāṇām—of all the senses; tathā—similarly; eva—indeed; sarva—of all; arhaṇam—worship; acyuta—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ijyā—worship.
" 'By pouring water on the root of a tree, one automatically satisfies the trunk, branches and twigs. Similarly, by supplying food to the stomach, where it nourishes the life air, one satisfies all the senses. In the same way, by worshiping Kṛṣṇa and rendering Him service, one automatically satisfies all the demigods.'
śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī
'uttama', 'madhyama', 'kaniṣṭha'--śraddhā-anusārī
śraddhāvān jana—a person with faith; haya—is; bhakti-adhikārī—eligible for discharging transcendental loving service to the Lord; uttama—first class; madhyama—intermediate; kaniṣṭha—the lowest class; śraddhā-anusārī—according to the proportion of faith.
"A faithful devotee is a truly eligible candidate for the loving service of the Lord. According to one's faith, one is classified as a topmost devotee, an intermediate devotee or an inferior devotee.
The word śraddhāvān (faithful) means understanding Kṛṣṇa to be the summum bonum, the eternal truth and absolute transcendence. If one has full faith in Kṛṣṇa and confidence in Him, one becomes eligible to discharge devotional service confidentially. According to one's faith, one is a topmost, intermediate or inferior devotee.
śāstra-yuktye sunipuṇa, dṛḍha-śraddhā yāṅra
'uttama-adhikārī' sei tāraye saṁsāra
śāstra-yuktye—in argument and logic; su-nipuṇa—very expert; dṛḍha-śraddhā—firm faith and confidence in Kṛṣṇa; yāṅra—whose; uttama-adhikārī—the topmost devotee; sei—he; tāraye saṁsāra—can deliver the whole world.
"One who is expert in logic, argument and the revealed scriptures and who has firm faith in Kṛṣṇa is classified as a topmost devotee. He can deliver the whole world.
śāstre yuktau ca nipuṇaḥ
prauḍha-śraddho 'dhikārī yaḥ
sa bhaktāv uttamo mataḥ
śāstre—in the revealed scriptures; yuktau—in logic; ca—also; nipuṇaḥ—expert; sarvathā—in all respects; dṛḍha-niścayaḥ—who is firmly convinced; prauḍha—deep; śraddhaḥ—who has faith; adhikārī—eligible; yaḥ—who; saḥ—he; bhaktau—in devotional service; uttamaḥ—highest; mataḥ—is considered.
" 'One who is expert in logic and understanding of revealed scriptures, and who always has firm conviction and deep faith that is not blind, is to be considered a topmost devotee in devotional service.'
śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne dṛḍha, śraddhāvān
'madhyama-adhikārī' sei mahā-bhāgyavān
śāstra-yukti—logical arguments on the basis of revealed scripture; nāhi—not; jāne—knows; dṛḍha—firmly; śraddhāvān—faithful; madhyama-adhikārī—second-class devotee; sei—he; mahā-bhāgyavān—very fortunate.
"One who is not very expert in argument and logic based on revealed scriptures but who has firm faith is considered a second-class devotee. He also must be considered most fortunate.
yaḥ śāstrādiṣv anipuṇaḥ
śraddhāvān sa tu madhyamaḥ
yaḥ—anyone who; śāstra-ādiṣu—in the revealed scriptures; anipuṇaḥ—not very expert; śraddhāvān—full of faith; saḥ—he; tu—certainly; madhyamaḥ—second-class or middle-class devotee.
" 'He who does not know scriptural argument very well but who has firm faith is called an intermediate or second-class devotee.'
yāhāra komala śraddhā, se 'kaniṣṭha' jana
krame krame teṅho bhakta ha-ibe 'uttama'
yāhāra—whose; komala śraddhā—soft faith; se—such a person; kaniṣṭha jana—a neophyte devotee; krame krame—by a gradual progression; teṅho—he; bhakta—devotee; ha-ibe—will become; uttama—first class.
"One whose faith is soft and pliable is called a neophyte, but by gradually following the process, he will rise to the platform of a first-class devotee.
yo bhavet komala-śraddhaḥ
sa kaniṣṭho nigadyate
yaḥ—anyone who; bhavet—may be; komala—soft; śraddhaḥ—having faith; saḥ—such a person; kaniṣṭhaḥ—neophyte devotee; nigadyate—is said to be.
" 'One whose faith is not very strong, who is just beginning, should be considered a neophyte devotee.'
ekādaśa skandhe tāra kariyāche lakṣaṇa
rati—of attachment; prema—and love; tāratamye—by comparison; bhakta—devotee; tara-tama—superior and superlative; ekādaśa skandhe—in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; tāra—of him; kariyāche—has made; lakṣaṇa—symptoms.
"A devotee is considered superlative and superior according to his attachment and love. In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the following symptoms have been ascertained.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has stated that if one has developed faith in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is to be considered an eligible candidate for further advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Those who have faith are divided into three categories-uttama, madhyama and kaniṣṭha (first-class, second-class and neophyte). A first-class devotee has firm conviction in the revealed scriptures and is expert in arguing according to the śāstras. He is firmly convinced of the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The madhyama-adhikārī, or second-class devotee, has firm conviction in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but he cannot support his conviction by citing śāstric references. The neophyte devotee does not yet have firm faith. In this way the devotees are typed.
The standard of devotion is also categorized in the same way. A neophyte believes that only love of Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very good, but he may not know the basis of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness or how one can become a perfect devotee. Sometimes in the heart of a neophyte there is attraction for karma, jñāna or yoga. When he is free and transcendental to mixed devotional activity, he becomes a second-class devotee. When he becomes expert in logic and can refer to the śāstras, he becomes a first-class devotee. The devotees are also described as positive, comparative and superlative, in terms of their love and attachment for Kṛṣṇa.
It should be understood that a madhyama-adhikārī, a second-class devotee, is fully convinced of Kṛṣṇa consciousness but cannot support his convictions with śāstric reference. A neophyte may fall down by associating with nondevotees because he is not firmly convinced and strongly situated. The second-class devotee, even though he cannot support his position with śāstric reference, can gradually become a first-class devotee by studying the śāstras and associating with a first-class devotee. However, if the second-class devotee does not advance himself by associating with a first-class devotee, he makes no progress. There is no possibility that a first-class devotee will fall down, even though he may mix with nondevotees to preach. Conviction and faith gradually increase to make one an uttama-adhikārī, a first-class devotee.
sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany
sarva-bhūteṣu—in all objects (in matter, spirit, and combinations of matter and spirit); yaḥ—anyone who; paśyet—sees; bhagavat-bhāvam—the ability to be engaged in the service of the Lord; ātmanaḥ—of the supreme spirit soul or the transcendence beyond the material conception of life; bhūtāni—all beings; bhagavati—in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātmani—the basic principle of all existence; eṣaḥ—this; bhāgavata-uttamaḥ—a person advanced in devotional service.
" 'A person advanced in devotional service sees within everything the soul of souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Consequently he always sees the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the cause of all causes and understands that all things are situated in Him.
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.45).
bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca
yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ
īśvare—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat-adhīneṣu—to persons who have taken fully to Kṛṣṇa consciousness; bāliśeṣu—unto the neophytes or the ignorant; dviṣatsu—to persons envious of Kṛṣṇa and the devotees of Kṛṣṇa; prema—love; maitrī—friendship; kṛpā—mercy; upekṣā—negligence; yaḥ—anyone who; karoti—does; saḥ—he; madhyamaḥ—a second-class devotee.
" 'An intermediate, second-class devotee shows love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is friendly to all devotees and is very merciful to neophytes and ignorant people. The intermediate devotee neglects those who are envious of devotional service.
arcāyām eva haraye
pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ
arcāyām—in the temple worship; eva—certainly; haraye—for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pūjām—worship; yaḥ—anyone who; śraddhayā—with faith and love; īhate—executes; na—not; tat-bhakteṣu—to the devotees of the Lord; ca anyeṣu—and to others; saḥ—he; bhaktaḥ—a devotee; prākṛtaḥ—materialistic; smṛtaḥ—is considered.
" 'A prākṛta, or materialistic devotee does not purposefully study the śāstra and try to understand the actual standard of pure devotional service. Consequently he does not show proper respect to advanced devotees. He may, however, follow the regulative principles learned from his spiritual master or from his family who worships the Deity. He is to be considered on the material platform, although he is trying to advance in devotional service. Such a person is a bhakta-prāya [neophyte devotee], or bhaktābhāsa, for he is a little enlightened by Vaiṣṇava philosophy.'
This verse is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.47). Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that one who has full love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who maintains a good friendship with the Lord's devotees is always callous to those who envy Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's devotees. Such a person is to be considered an intermediate devotee. He becomes a first-class devotee when, in the course of advancing in devotional service, he feels an intimate relationship with all living entities, seeing them as part and parcel of the Supreme Person.
sarva mahā-guṇa-gaṇa vaiṣṇava-śarīre
kṛṣṇa-bhakte kṛṣṇera guṇa sakali sañcāre
sarva—all; mahā—great; guṇa-gaṇa—transcendental qualities; vaiṣṇava-śarīre—in the bodies of Vaiṣṇavas; kṛṣṇa-bhakte—in the devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; guṇa—the qualities; sakali—all; sañcāre—appear.
"A Vaiṣṇava is one who has developed all good transcendental qualities. All the good qualities of Kṛṣṇa gradually develop in Kṛṣṇa's devotee.
yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
mano-rathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ
yasya—of whom; asti—there is; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; bhagavati—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; akiñcanā—without material desires; sarvaiḥ—all; guṇaiḥ—with good qualities; tatra—there; samāsate—live; surāḥ—the demigods; harau—unto the Lord; abhaktasya—of the nondevotee; kutaḥ—where; mahat-guṇāḥ—the high qualities; manaḥ-rathena—by mental concoction; asati—to temporary material happiness; dhāvataḥ—running; bahiḥ—externally.
" 'In one who has unflinching devotional faith in Kṛṣṇa, all the good qualities of Kṛṣṇa and the demigods are consistently manifest. However, he who has no devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no good qualifications because he is engaged by mental concoction in material existence, which is the external feature of the Lord.'
sei saba guṇa haya vaiṣṇava-lakṣaṇa
saba kahā nā yāya, kari dig-daraśana
sei saba guṇa-all those transcendental qualities; haya-are; vaiṣṇava-lakṣaṇa-the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava; saba-all; kahā nā yāya-cannot be explained; kari-I shall do; dik-daraśana-a general review.
"All these transcendental qualities are the characteristics of pure Vaiṣṇavas, and they cannot be fully explained, but I shall try to point out some of the important qualities.
kṛpālu, akṛta-droha, satya-sāra sama
nidoṣa, vadānya, mṛdu, śuci, akiñcana
sarvopakāraka, śānta, kṛṣṇaika-śaraṇa
akāma, anīha, sthira, vijita-ṣaḍ-guṇa
mita-bhuk, apramatta, mānada, amānī
gambhīra, karuṇa, maitra, kavi, dakṣa, maunī
kṛpālu—merciful; akṛta-droha—not defiant; satya-sāra—thoroughly true; sama—equal; nidoṣa—faultless; vadānya—magnanimous; mṛdu—mild; śuci—clean; akiñcana—without material possessions; sarva-upakāraka—working for the welfare of everyone; śānta—peaceful; kṛṣṇa-eka-śaraṇa—exclusively surrendered to Kṛṣṇa; akāma—desireless; anīha—indifferent to material acquisitions; sthira—fixed; vijita-ṣaṭ-guṇa—completely controlling the six bad qualities (lust, anger, greed, etc.); mita-bhuk—eating only as much as required; apramatta—without inebriation; māna-da—respectful; amānī—without false prestige; gambhīra—grave; karuṇa—compassionate; maitra—a friend; kavi—a poet; dakṣa—expert; maunī—silent.
"Devotees are always merciful, humble, truthful, equal to all, faultless, magnanimous, mild and clean. They are without material possessions, and they perform welfare work for everyone. They are peaceful, surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and desireless. They are indifferent to material acquisitions and are fixed in devotional service. They completely control the six bad qualities-lust, anger, greed and so forth. They eat only as much as required, and they are not inebriated. They are respectful, grave, compassionate and without false prestige. They are friendly, poetic, expert and silent.
titikṣavaḥ—very forebearing; kāruṇikāḥ—merciful; suhṛdaḥ—who are well-wishers; sarva-dehinām—to all living entities; ajāta-śatravaḥ—without enemies; śāntāḥ—peaceful; sādhavaḥ—following the injunctions of the śāstra; sādhu-bhūṣaṇāḥ—who are decorated with good character.
" 'Devotees are always tolerant, forebearing and very merciful. They are the well-wishers of every living entity. They follow the scriptural injunctions, and because they have no enemies, they are very peaceful. These are the decorations of devotees.'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.25.21). When the sages, headed by Śaunaka, inquired about Kapiladeva, the incarnation of Godhead, Suta Gosvāmī, who was the topmost devotee of the Lord, quoted talks about self-realization between Maitreya, a friend of Vyāsadeva, and Vidura. It was then that the topic of Lord Kapila came up and His discussions with His mother, wherein He stated that attachment to material things is the cause of conditional life. When a person becomes attached to transcendental things, he is on the path of liberation.
mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimuktes
tamo-dvāraṁ yoṣitāṁ saṅgi-saṅgam
mahāntas te sama-cittāḥ praśāntā
vimanyavaḥ suhṛdaḥ sādhavo ye
mahat-sevām—the service of the pure devotee spiritual master; dvāram—door; āhuḥ—they said; vimukteḥ—of liberation; tamaḥ-dvāram—the door to darkness; yoṣitām—of women and money; saṅgi-saṅgam—association with those who enjoy the association; mahāntaḥ—great souls; te—they; sama-cittāḥ—equally disposed to all; praśāntāḥ—very peaceful; vimanyavaḥ—without anger; suhṛdaḥ—well-wishers of everyone; sādhavaḥ—who are endowed with all good qualities, or who do not look for faults in others; ye—those who.
" 'It is the verdict of all śāstras and great personalities that by serving a pure devotee, one attains the path of liberation. However, by associating with materialistic people who are attached to material enjoyment and women, one attains the path of darkness. Those who are actually devotees are broadminded, equal to everyone and very peaceful. They never become angry, and they are friendly to all living entities.'
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-janma-mūla haya 'sādhu-saṅga'
kṛṣṇa-prema janme, teṅho punaḥ mukhya aṅga
kṛṣṇa-bhakti—of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; janma-mūla—the root cause; haya—is; sādhu-saṅga—association with advanced devotees; kṛṣṇa-prema—love of Kṛṣṇa; janme—awakens; teṅho—that same association with devotees; punaḥ—again; mukhya aṅga—the chief principle.
"The root cause of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa is association with advanced devotees. Even when one's dormant love for Kṛṣṇa awakens, association with devotees is still most essential.
bhavāpavargo bhramato yadā bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samāgamaḥ
sat-saṅgamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
parāvareśe tvayi jāyate ratiḥ
bhava-apavargaḥ—liberation from the nescience of material existence; bhramataḥ—wandering; yadā—when; bhavet—should be; janasya—of a person; tarhi—at that time; acyuta—O Supreme Personality of Godhead; sat-samāgamaḥ—association with devotees; sat-saṅgamaḥ—association with the devotees; yarhi—when; tadā—at that time; eva—only; sat-gatau—the highest goal of life; parāvareśe—the Lord of the universe; tvayi—to You; jāyate—appears; ratiḥ—attraction.
" 'O my Lord! O infallible Supreme Person! When a person wandering throughout the universes becomes eligible for liberation from material existence, he gets an opportunity to associate with devotees. When he associates with devotees, his attraction for You is awakened. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the highest goal of the supreme devotees and the Lord of the universe.'
ata ātyantikaṁ kṣemaṁ
pṛcchāmo bhavato 'naghāḥ
saṁsāre 'smin kṣaṇārdho 'pi
sat-saṅgaḥ sevadhir nṛṇām
ataḥ—therefore (due to the rareness of seeing pure devotees of the Lord); ātyantikam—supreme; kṣemam—auspiciousness; pṛcchāmaḥ—we are asking; ātyantikam—supreme; kṣemam—auspiciousness; pṛcchāmaḥ—we are asking; bhavataḥ—you; anaghāḥ—O sinless ones; saṁsāre—in the material world; asmin—this; kṣaṇa-ardhaḥ—lasting half a moment; api—even; sat-saṅgaḥ—association with devotees; sevadhiḥ—a treasure; nṛṇām—for human society.
" 'O devotees! O you who are free from all sins! Let me inquire from you about that which is supremely auspicious for all living entities. Association with a pure devotee for even half a moment in this material world is the greatest treasure for human society.'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.30).
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-samvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
satām—of the devotees; prasaṅgāt—by the intimate association; mama—of Me; vīrya-samvidaḥ—talks full of spiritual potency; bhavanti—appear; hṛt—to the heart; karṇa—and to the ears; rasa-āyanāḥ—a source of sweetness; kathāḥ—talks; tat—of them; joṣaṇāt—from proper cultivation; āśu—quickly; apavarga—of liberation; vartmani—on the path; śraddhā—faith; ratiḥ—attraction; bhaktiḥ—love; anukramiṣyati—will follow one after another.
" 'The spiritually powerful message of Godhead can be properly discussed only in a society of devotees, and it is greatly pleasing to hear in that association. If one hears from devotees, the way of transcendental experience quickly opens, and gradually one attains firm faith that in due course develops into attraction and devotion.'
'strī-saṅgī'--eka asādhu, 'kṛṣṇābhakta' āra
asat-saṅga-tyāga—rejection of the association of nondevotees; ei—this; vaiṣṇava-ācāra—the behavior of a Vaiṣṇava; strī-saṅgī—who associates with women for sense gratification; eka—one; asādhu—unsaintly person; kṛṣṇa-abhakta—one who is not a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa; āra—another.
"A Vaiṣṇava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaiṣṇavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
satyaṁ śaucaṁ dayā maunaṁ
buddhir hrīḥ śrīr yaśaḥ kṣamā
śamo damo bhagaś ceti
yat-saṅgād yāti saṅkṣayam
teṣv aśānteṣu mūḍheṣu
saṅgaṁ na kuryāc chocyeṣu
na tathāsya bhaven moho
yoṣit-saṅgād yathā puṁso
satyam—truthfulness; śaucam—cleanliness; dayā—mercy; maunam—silence; buddhiḥ—intelligence; hrīḥ—modesty; śrīḥ—beauty; yaśaḥ—fame; kṣama—forgiveness; śamaḥ—controlling the mind; damaḥ—controlling the senses; bhagaḥ—opulence; ca—and; iti—thus; yat—of whom; saṅgāt—by the association; yāti—goes to; saṅkṣayam—complete destruction; teṣu—among them; aśānteṣu—who are restless; mūdheṣu—among the fools; khaṇḍita-ātmasu—whose self-realization is spoiled; asādhuṣu—not saintly; saṅgam—association; na—not; kuryāt—should do; śocyeṣu—who are full of lamentation; yoṣit—of women; krīḍā-mṛgeṣu—who are like toy animals; ca—also; na—not; tathā—so much; asya—of him; bhavet—there may be; mohaḥ—illusion; bandhaḥ—binding; ca—and; anya—other types; prasaṅgataḥ—from association; yoṣit-saṅgāt—by association with women; yathā—as; puṁsaḥ—of the man; yathā—as well as; tat-saṅgi-saṅgataḥ—by association with persons attached to women.
" 'By association with worldly people, one becomes devoid of truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, spiritual intelligence, shyness, austerity, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind, control of the senses, fortune and all opportunities. One should not at any time associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of the knowledge of self-realization and who is no more than a toy animal in the hands of a woman. The illusion and bondage that accrue to a man from attachment to any other object are not as complete as that resulting from association with a woman or with men too attached to women.'
These verses, quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.31.33-35), were spoken by Kapiladeva, an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to His mother. Herein Kapiladeva discusses pious and impious activities and the symptoms of those who are devoid of devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. Generally people do not know about the miserable conditions within the womb of a mother in any species of life. Due to bad association, one gradually falls into lower species. Association with women is greatly stressed in this regard. When one becomes attached to women or to those who are attached to women, one falls down into the lower species.
puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho hi
bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya
According to Vedic civilization, one's association with women should be very much restricted. In spiritual life there are four āśramas-brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. The brahmacārī, vānaprastha and sannyāsī are completely forbidden to associate with women. Only gṛhasthas are allowed to associate with women under certain very restricted conditions-that is, one associates with women to propagate nice children. Other reasons for association are condemned.
varam—better; huta-vaha—of fire; jvālā—in the flames; pañjara-antaḥ—inside a cage; vyavasthitiḥ—abiding; na—not; śauri-cintā—of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or thought of Kṛṣṇa; vimukha—bereft; jana—of persons; saṁvāsa—of the association; vaiśasam—the calamity.
" 'It is better to accept the miseries of being encaged within bars and surrounded by burning flames than to associate with those bereft of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such association is a very great hardship.'
This is a quotation from the Kātyāyana-saṁhitā.
mā drākṣīḥ kṣīṇa-puṇyān kvacid api
mā—do not; drākṣīḥ—see; kṣīṇa-puṇyān—who are bereft of all piety; kvacit api—at any time; bhagavat-bhakti-hīnān—who are bereft of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service; manuṣyān—persons.
" One should not even see those who are bereft of devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and who are therefore devoid of pious activities.
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