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The Śikṣāṣṭaka Prayers

Hare Krsna,

The Siksastaka prayers are part of my daily devotional activities. I recite the prayers everyday just to remind myself about the glories of the Holy Name. Each verse is very deep in its meaning; our acaryas have provided innumerable commentaries on the Siksastaka prayers. These eight verses explain Lord Caitanya’s mission, and what He wanted to accomplish.

Below is my understanding of Siksastaka prayers.

Verse 1 glories the chanting of the Holy Name of Lord Krsna (param vijayate sri-krsna sankirtanam). It explains the benefits of chanting; the main benefit is that it cleanses the mirror of the heart. Our heart has been contaminated since time immemorial. As soon as the mirror of the heart is cleansed of all dust, we can understand who we truly are. We can understand that we are not the body, but the spirit soul. This is the beginning of our spiritual life.

Verse 2 explains all the names of the Supreme Lord have equal potencies. It says that there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them, and the Lord is merciful in teaching us the chanting of the Holy Name. But being so materially conditioned, we have no taste for the chanting of the Holy Name.

In response to above, the Lord says in Verse 3 that we can chant by cultivating humility and tolerance, by not expecting respects but to offer respect to everyone. In that mood, we can chant the holy name always (kirtaniya sada hari).

Verse 4 explains that as soon as our heart is cleaned of all material contamination, we come to the understanding that all the material desires that led us to a dirty heart are useless and futile. Thus the prayer says that material wealth, materialistic followers, beautiful wife, or fruitive activities are insignificant. Our only desire is to be situated in unmotivated devotional service to the Supreme Lord life after life.

Verse 5 is a sincere cry to the Supreme Lord to situate us in our eternal devotional position. Our position is that we are eternal servant of the Lord. Here the devotee feels sorry for turning away from the Lord, and begs the Lord to accept him again by considering Him a particle of dust at His lotus feet. Thus this verse establishes the sambandha-tattva.

From here on the mood of the Siksastaka prayers changes dramatically.

To my understanding, Verse 6 shows the symptoms of one in bhava. The devotee realizes that he has no love for Krsna, and hopes to see a day when his eyes will be filled with tears, his voice will falter, and the hairs on his body will stand erect in transcendental happiness as he chants the holy name. We all desire to reach that platform one day.

Verse 7 describes the mood of one is deep separation from the Lord. Because of separation, the devotee considers a moment a great millenium. Lord Caitanya’s final pastimes where He rubs His face against the wall exemplifies this mood of separation.

Finally in Verse 8, the devotee completely surrenders to Krsna. He prays to the Lord, “Do whatever you want. Trample me or break my heart. But You will still remain the worshipable Lord of my heart.”

My favorite verses are 2-5. I like verse 2 (namnam akari…) because it mirrors my struggles with chanting as I have no attachment yet for the holy name. Verse 3 tells me the qualities needed to chant the holy name – humility, tolerance and no desire for personal honor. With that mood, I can hope to chant the holy name constantly. Verse 4 reminds me the futility of material life. My one and only goal is to engage in pure devotional service unto the Lord. Verse 5 reminds me of my true identity. That I am an eternal servant of the Lord. My desire to be master of material nature made me fall into the horrible ocean of nescience where I am constantly drowning. Only Lord Krsna can pull me out of this ocean. Therefore I pray to Him to save me and accept me again.

As for the remaining verses, I am not qualified and advanced yet to experience them. For now, my goal is to appreciate the glories of the Holy Name, develop taste for it, and chant offenselessly. I pray to Lord Caitanya to help me in this regard.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna

Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

All glories to Lord Caitanya!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Lord Caitanya’s Latter Pastimes in Association of His Intimate Associates

Hare Krsna,

Writing this forum post took me longer than usual because I was trying to find the spiritual tapestry that our teacher mentioned in the forum topic. After few days of meditation, I gave up because I was unable to find a pattern in Lord Caitanya’s behavior and ecstatic emotions. However my meditation led me to the following realizations.

Lord Caitanya’s pastime is in the mood of intense separation from Krsna. So much so that He was trying to engage all His senses in remembering Krsna. His eyes longed to see the beautiful form of Krsna (CC Antya 19.35-41). His ears longed to hear the deep vibration of Krsna’s flute (CC Antya 19.42). His nose longed to smell the scent of Krsna’s transcendental body (CC Antya 19.91-98). By this behavior, Lord Caitanya showed that pure love of Godhead involves engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord.

In Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 19, Srila Prabhupada explains that the pure love of Godhead can be transferred to the Supreme Personality of Godhead under two conditions – out of ecstasy and out of the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Lord Caitanya’s behavior was under ecstatic conditions. In the Eleventh Canto, second chapter, verse 40 of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, this ecstatic love is explained: “A devotee, in the course of executing the regulative principles of devotional service, develops his natural Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and being thus softened at heart he chants and dances like a madman. While performing chanting of the holy name of the Lord, he sometimes cries, sometimes talks wildly, sometimes sings and sometimes – without caring for any outsider – dances like a madman.” Thus we see that Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are demonstrations of ecstatic love of Godhead.

What I find amazing about Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta is that Lord Caitanya personally demonstrated so many teachings in Srimad Bhagavatam by His personal examples and pastimes. A case in point is the Srimad Bhagavatam verse quoted above.

My other realization is about Lord Krsna Himself. Krsna means “all-attractive.” He is also called Madana-mohana because of His ability to conquer the minds of women with His five arrows called form, taste, smell, sound, and touch (TLC 10). This statement is proven through Lord Caitanya’s pastimes of trying to find Krsna through these five arrows.

CC Antya 15.14 — Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “ ‘Though the hearts of the gopīs are like high-standing hills, they are inundated by the waves of the nectarean ocean of Kṛṣṇa’s beauty. His sweet voice enters their ears and gives them transcendental bliss, the touch of His body is cooler than millions and millions of moons together, and the nectar of His bodily fragrance overfloods the entire world. O My dear friend, that Kṛṣṇa, who is the son of Nanda Mahārāja and whose lips are exactly like nectar, is attracting My five senses by force.’

I have read/heart somewhere (cannot find the reference) that when a devotee attains the stage of prema-bhakti, he/she is unable to function with his/her material body. The material body is not equipped to handle such intense transcendental ecstatic symptoms. At that point, the devotee gives up his/her material body to regain his/her eternal spiritual body. I can observe that Mahaprabhu’s giving up His body shortly after these pastimes (although His body is not at all material) proves this point.

My last realization of this topic is one related to the Siksastaka verse 7. Mahaprabhu’s deep separation from Krsna is a wonderful manifestation of the following verse:

yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa

cakṣuṣā prāvṛṣāyitam

śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ

govinda-viraheṇa me

CC Antya 20.39 — “ ‘My Lord Govinda, because of separation from You, I consider even a moment a great millennium. Tears flow from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I see the entire world as void.’

Separation from Kṛṣṇa awoke various mellows of distress, lamentation and humility. Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoke the above Siksastaka verse.

Coming back to the tapestry point I mentioned earlier in the post, I am not surprised by my inability to find that tapestry. To find so would mean that I am able to understand Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. But how could I when even the author -Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami – expressed his inability to comprehend the Lord activities.

CC Antya 19.102-104 — The pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa are uncommonly full of transcendental potency. It is a characteristic of such pastimes that they do not fall within the jurisdiction of experimental logic and arguments. When transcendental love of Kṛṣṇa awakens in someone’s heart, even a learned scholar cannot comprehend his activities.

CC Antya 19.105 — “The activities and symptoms of that exalted personality in whose heart love of Godhead has awakened cannot be understood even by the most learned scholar.”

Therefore I completely agree with the following statements by the author.

CC Antya 19.106-108 — The activities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are undoubtedly uncommon, especially His talking like a madman. Therefore, one who hears of these pastimes should not put forward mundane arguments. He should simply hear the pastimes with full faith. The evidence of the truth of these talks is found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. There, in the section of the Tenth Canto known as the Bhramara-gīta, “The Song to the Bumblebee,” Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī speaks insanely in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. The songs of the queens at Dvārakā, which are mentioned at the end of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, have a very special meaning. They are not understood even by the most learned scholars.

CC Antya 19.109-111 — If one becomes a servant of the servants of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Nityānanda Prabhu and is favored by Them, he can believe in all these discourses. Just try to hear these topics with faith, for there is great pleasure even in hearing them. That hearing will destroy all miseries pertaining to the body, mind and other living entities, and the unhappiness of false arguments as well. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta is ever-increasingly fresh. For one who hears it again and again, the heart and ear become pacified.

Rather than being disappointed with my inability to understand deeper meanings of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, I take solace in the fact that I have been able to hear/read His pastimes with faith and in the association of sincere devotees and teachers. I therefore consider myself extremely fortunate in this regard even though I hardly have any Vaisanava qualities, and feel ashamed to call myself a devotee. But Lord Caitanya is extremely merciful by allowing me to hear about His intimate pastimes. My faith and love for Him has grown steadily over time. I pray for a day when I can fully meditate on His lotus feet and surrender fully unto them.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

GLORIFICATION OF SRI CAITANYA-CARITAMRTA

After reading & hearing Antya lila chapter 17 (The Bodily Transformations of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu), I must confess that these supreme transcendental pastimes of Mahaprabhu are beyond comprehension of our dull material senses. It is difficult to understand how much intense separation from Lord Krsna can affect a pure devotee in intense love of Godhead. But I definitely appreciate them, have faith in them, and consider myself immensely fortunate that I am able to hear about these pastimes of the Lord.

But I do have several realizations from this chapter.

My first realization is that Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta is the top-most Vaisnava literature. I will even boldly proclaim that it is even higher than Srimad Bhagavatam. I will explain my reasoning. I am studying Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Sri Caitanya Caritamrta simultaneously. Bhagavad Gita study is for my Bhakti Sastri course. I started reading Srimad Bhagavatam since beginning of 2018 and currently I am in Fourth Canto. And of course, we are studying CC under the loving guidance of HG Dhruva Maharaj prabhu since 2017. My personal realization is that Bhagavad Gita is based on sambandha-jnana (the process of understanding our relationship with Lord Krsna). Srimad Bhagavatam is based on both sambandha-jnana and abhideya-jnana (acting according to our constitutional relationship with Krsna). There is another aspect called prayojana-jnana (ultimate goal of life, which is to develop love of Godhead – premā pum-artho mahān). It is wrong to claim that Srimad Bhagavatam has no aspects of prayojana. It has but in limited terms. Srimad Bhagavatam does not elaborate much on prayojana-jnana. However, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta is purely based on prayojana-jnana. Sri Caitanya Caritamrta starts from the point after sambandha and abhideya are conclusively established.

All the pastimes of Lord Caitanya and His devotees are based on pure love of Godhead. All the devotees in Gaur-lila are fully surrendered souls. Unlike Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta does not elaborate much on topics such as karma, jnana, dhyana, three modes of material nature, the four purusarthas (dharma, artha, kama, moksha), etc. Every aspect of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta is just pure love of Godhead. Of course, the author explains some philosophy in Adi lila but it is more to establish that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Sri Sri Radha and Krsna combined (Sri Krsna Caitanya Radha-Krsna nahin anya).

Since the goal of all devotees is to achieve love of Godhead, it is important for us to study Sri Caitanya Caritamrta in depth (not just once but again and again), meditate upon its teachings, and apply Mahaprabhu’s teachings to our practical life. Lots of things that Krsna said in Srimad Bhagavatam are actually enacted by Lord Caitanya as His pastimes. As an example, Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavat Gita are replete with Lord Krsna’s message that one should always think of Him, become His devotee, worship Him, offer Him obeisances, etc.) Lord Caitanya actually shows how this can be done by chanting the Hare-Krsna maha-mantra.

I do not remember reading or hearing about pure devotees undergoing bodily transformations due to intense separation from Lord Krsna in Srimad Bhagavatam. May be in 10th canto but I haven’t reached there yet. There are examples of bhava bhakti in Srimad Bhagavatam. In general, Srimad Bhagavatam establishes the glories of devotional service. But Sri Caitanya Caritamrta is purely based on prema-bhakti. Not only that, it teaches us how to attain that state of prema-bhakti. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally enacts it.

 

My second realization is about the mood of Lord Caitanya. We studied in Adi 1.6 that Lord Krsna appeared as Lord Caitanya in the mood of Srimati Radharani.

CC Ādi 1.6 — Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.

When I read this 17th chapter of Antya lila,  the verses spoken by Srimati Radharani in separation from Krsna, and Mahaprabhu’s explanation of the verses, I can actually feel as if Srimati Radharani is directly enacting the pastimes of Mahaprabhu. I could no longer feel distinction between Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna. I actually could realize that all these three personalities merged into one; I could see the superimposition of one personality upon another. Maybe the author (Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami) pealed the layers of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, one by one, to bring us to this final epitome of the topmost philosophical understanding of the whole creation (both material and spiritual). It is amazing how beautifully the author binds the book with the transcendental cloth of the concluding chapters.

Therefore, I now understand why Srila Prabhupada considered Sri Caitanya Caritamrta as the post-graduate study of spiritual knowledge. He quotes in the introduction of the book, “Actually, the Caitanya-caritāmṛta is not intended for the novice, for it is the postgraduate study of spiritual knowledge. Ideally, one begins with the Bhagavad-gītā and advances through Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Although all these great scriptures are on the same absolute level, for the sake of comparative study the Caitanya-caritāmṛta is considered to be on the highest platform. Every verse in it is perfectly composed.

It is mentioned somewhere that Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura read Sri Caitanya Caritamrta more than 108 times (I cannot cite the source). He said that if we are in danger and are in a position to just save one thing in this world, we should save Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. I can see why.

All glories to Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami for giving us the nectar of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for teaching us pure love of God!

All glories to Srila Prabhudapa!

May They all shower their mercy and blessings upon all of us so that we may achieve pure love of Godhead, and thereby, engage eternally in Their loving devotional service!

Linking Adi 1.6 with Descriptions in Topic 10

Hare Krsna,

I have re-read Adi 1.6 and found our current lesson (Antya lila chapter 14) a continuation of Adi 1.6. In CC Adi 4.107-112 which describes Adi 1.6 in detail, the author Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami mentioned that he would describe the pastimes of Lord Caitanya’s separation from Lord Krsna in greater detail later. Antya 14 picks up where the author left off in Adi lila.

There are a couple of verses from Adi-lila 4 that stand out for me. One is, of course, the famous verse

CC Adi 1.6 — “Desiring to understand the glory of Radharaṇi’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Srimati Saci-devi, as the moon appeared from the ocean.”

Other important verses are

CC Adi 4.106 — The heart of Lord Caitanya is the image of Sri Radhika’s emotions. Thus feelings of pleasure and pain arise constantly therein.

CC Adi 4.107-112 — In the final portion of His pastimes, Lord Caitanya was obsessed with the madness of separation from Lord Kṛṣṇa. He acted in erroneous ways and talked deliriously. Just as Radhika went mad at the sight of Uddhava, so Lord Caitanya was obsessed day and night with the madness of separation. At night He talked incoherently in grief with His arms around Svarupa Damodara’s neck. He spoke out His heart in ecstatic inspiration. Whenever a particular sentiment arose in His heart, Svarupa Damodara satisfied Him by singing songs or reciting verses of the same nature.

CC Adi 4.121 — Kṛṣṇa says, “I am the primary cause of all rasas. I am the full spiritual truth and am made of full joy, but the love of Srimati Radharaṇi drives Me mad. I do not know the strength of Radha’s love, with which She always overwhelms Me. The love of Radhika is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil. Her prema makes Me dance various novel dances.”

CC Adi 4.132-135 — “Sri Radhika is the highest abode of that love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object of love is entitled. But the pleasure of Radha, the abode of that love, is ten million times greater. My mind races to taste the pleasure experienced by the abode, but I cannot taste it, even by My best efforts. How may I taste it? If sometime I can be the abode of that love, only then may I taste its joy.”

When I link Adi lila and Antya lila, what stands out for me are the concepts of Asraya and Visaya. By tattva, the devotee is called asraya, and his beloved, Krsna, is the visaya.  In the loving affairs of Sri Radha and Kṛṣṇa, Srimati Radharaṇi is the aśraya feature and Kṛṣṇa the viṣaya. The transcendental consciousness of the Lord tells Him, “I am Kṛṣṇa, and I experience pleasure as the viṣaya. The pleasure enjoyed by Radharaṇi, the asraya, is many times greater than the pleasure I feel.” Therefore, to feel the pleasure of the asraya category, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. (CC Adi 4.132-135)

What we are seeing now in Antya 14 is the fulfillment of that inner desire of Lord Krsna. We see the role reversals here – Lord Krsna (visaya) has appeared as Lord Caitanya, and is manifesting the mood of Srimati Radharani as asraya (even though He is always the visaya). The Lord is experiencing the same pangs of separation that Srimati Radharani went through Krsna left Vrndavana.

What kind of separation is the Lord going through? We see them in the following verses.

CC Antya 14.36-39: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I found Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Vrndavana, but I have lost Him again. Who has taken My Kṛṣṇa? Where have I come?”

CC Antya 14.40-43: At night, Lord Caitanya would reveal to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya the ecstatic feelings of His mind. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu using a metaphor said, “At first My mind somehow achieved the treasure of Kṛṣṇa, but it again lost Him. Therefore it gave up My body and home because of lamentation and accepted the religious principles of a kapalika-yogi. Then My mind went to Vrndavana with its disciples, My senses.” Having lost His acquired gem, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with lamentation by remembering its attributes. Then, grasping the necks of Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, He cried, “Alas, where is My Lord Hari? Where is Hari?” Finally He became restless and lost all patience. “My dear friends,” He said, “please hear of Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness. Because of a great desire for that sweetness, My mind has given up all social and Vedic religious principles and taken to the profession of begging, exactly like a mystic yogi.

Now one may wonder that Lord Krsna wanted to taste the sweetness and happiness of Srimati Radharani’s love for Him. On the contrary, what we are seeing is Lord Caitanya going through extreme pain and distress due to the separation from Krsna. How do we understand this? My humble realization is that there is happiness and sweetness even in this separation. Because we are conditioned, we will not be able to understand this. Even the author has acknowledged this. He said that unless one is a very highly advanced devotee, he cannot understand these intricate feelings.

My dear readers, simply try to hear this description with faith and love. That will help you understand transcendental ecstasy, and at last you will achieve love of Godhead very easily.” (CC Antya 14.36-39)

Lord Caitanya’s heart was full of the feelings of Srimati Radharaṇi, and His appearance resembled Hers. Svarupa Damodara has explained His attitude as radha-bhava-murti, the attitude of Radharaṇi. One who engages in sense gratification on the material platform can hardly understand radha-bhava, but one who is freed from the demands of sense gratification can understand it. Radha-bhava must be understood from the Gosvamis, those who are actually controllers of the senses. From such authorized sources it is to be known that the attitude of Srimati Radharaṇi is the highest perfection of conjugal love, which is the highest of the five transcendental mellows, and it is the complete perfection of love of Kṛṣṇa.

These transcendental affairs can be understood on two platforms. One is called elevated, and the other is called superelevated. The loving affairs exhibited in Dvaraka are the elevated form. The superelevated position is reached in the manifestations of the pastimes of Vrndavana. The attitude of Lord Caitanya is certainly superelevated.

From the life of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, an intelligent person engaged in pure devotional service can understand that He always felt separation from Kṛṣṇa within Himself. In that separation He sometimes felt that He had found Kṛṣṇa and was enjoying the meeting. The significance of this separation and meeting is very specific. If someone tries to understand the exalted position of Lord Caitanya without knowing this, he is sure to misunderstand it. One must first become fully self-realized. (CC Adi 4.106 Purport)

I do not claim that I understand everything, not am I qualified to understand these deep pastimes of the Lord. But with all faith, devotion, and humility, I will accept whatever Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami Prabhupada has written. The fact that we I have got the opportunity to read and hear these pastimes, which are the highest philosophical truths of conjugal love, is nothing but Lord Caitanya’s and Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy upon us. I am eternally grateful to them and out teacher, HG Dhruva Maharaj prabhu.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Meditations on Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī

Hare Krsna,

Coming back to the lesson on Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, I could realize some key takeaway points for practicing Krsna consciousness. I could identify a combination of Mahaprabhu’s instructions and Raghunath Bhatta Goswami’s personal behavior and conduct.

 

 

  1. Humility: Even though he was an exalted vaisnava, he still considered himself very humble. When Ramadasa Visvasa tried to serve him, he felt some hesitation in accepting the services. He said to Ramadasa, “You are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar and a great devotee, please do not try to serve me. Just come with me in a happy mood.” (CC Antya 13.94-96)
  2. Devotional service to please the Lord: Real bhakti is to engage in some service for the Lord’s pleasure. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami displayed that by periodically cooking rice with various vegetables and inviting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home.  Whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would accept with great satisfaction all the food he prepared. After the Lord was satisfied, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa would eat His remnants. (CC Antya 13.106-108)
  3. Celibacy is conducive for spiritual life: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Bhatta not to marry and get entangled in family life. It is interesting to note the purport where Srila Prabhupada says that marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. In other words, marriage is a license for regulated sense gratification. If one can survive without getting married and is focused more on Krsna consciousness, his/her spiritual progress will be rapid. There is a very beautiful prayer by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. It says:

 

ramani-jana-sanga-sukham ca sakhe

carame bhayadam purushartha-haram

hari-nama-sudha-rasa-matta-matir

bhaja godruma-kanana-kuïja-vidhum

 

O friend! The joys of intercourse with beautiful women are ultimately a source of fear, for they prevent the achievement of life’s goals. Become intoxicated with the nectar of the Holy Names and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.

 

  1. Fulfill family responsibilities as best as one could: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Goswami to maintain his aged parents. If the parents are devotees, then all the more so. We should maintain our worldly responsibilities while practicing Krsna consciousness.
  2. Study Srimad Bhagavatam: This is the most important instruction of Lord Caitanya. He instructed Raghunatha Goswami to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaiṣṇava who has realized God. Studying/hearing Srimad Bhagavatam is one of the 5 more potent devotional services (the other four are association of devotees, Deity worship, chanting the holy name, and residing in a dhama). We are fortunate to receive translation of Srimad Bhagavatam from one of the greatest Vaisanavs – Srila Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam is the magnum opus on the Vedic civilization. I personally read Srimad Bhagavatam for at least 30 minutes every day. I started this a year ago and I am in 4th canto now. My realization is that reading Srila Prabhupada’s books means direct association with him. I can see the change in my consciousness since I started reading them. Just reading them purifies our heart. How much more purification can we obtain by discussing Srimad Bhagavatam in the association of devotees and preaching its teachings to others.
  3. Devotional service means taking shelter of advanced devotees: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Goswami to travel to Vrndavana and take shelter of Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. We are ragatmikas – to progress in spiritual life, we must follow advanced devotees and work under their guidance. We cannot jump the ship. We must follow the disciplic succession.
  4. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami is a prema-bhakta: Raghunatha Bhatta displayed signs of being a pure prema-bhakta. He would be overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna when reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the company of Rūpa and Sanātana. By the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he experienced the symptoms of ecstatic love — tears, trembling and faltering of the voice. His eyes filled with tears and his throat became choked, and thus he could not recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
  5. A pure devotee never causes anxiety to others: Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa never did anything harmful to a Vaiṣṇava. In other words, he was never inattentive in the service of the Lord, nor did he ever violate the rules and regulations of a pure Vaiṣṇava.
  6. Raghunatha Bhatta was a maha-bhagavata: Although a Vaiṣṇava preacher may sometimes criticize others, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa avoided this. Even if another Vaiṣṇava was actually at fault, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa would not criticize him; he saw only that everyone was engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service. That is the position of a mahā-bhāgavata.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Meditations On Jagadānanda Paṇḍita

Hare Krsna,

While reading the pastimes of Jagadananda Pandita and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I am amazed how upfront Jaganananda was in his behavior with the Lord. He would be angry at the Lord; he would be pick up fights with the Lord. I find it very usual. Usually a devotee is very meek, humble and submissive towards the Lord. I couldn’t think of someone like Ramananda Raya or Svarupa Damodar Goswami behaving in that way with the Lord. But Jagadananda’s relationship with the Lord is very unique. Of course, he was Mahaprabhu’s childhood friend and classmate. Therefore, I was thinking, “what special relationship does these two have?” At times it felt like their exchanges are very similar to those between a husband and a wife. Therefore, I wanted to dig deeper and wanted to find out what role Jagadananda played in Lord’s Krsna pastime.

One clue is given in CC Antya 12.151-154: The affectionate loving exchanges between Jagadānanda Paṇḍita and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued in this manner, exactly like the exchanges between Satyabhāmā and Lord Kṛṣṇa related in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

On further research, I found that in the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, Jagadananda Pandita is described as Satyabhama, one of the principal queens of Krsna in Dvaraka – Satyabhama prakaso pi Jagadananda Pandita. What I also found interesting is Jagadananda Pandita exhibiting a volatile nature sometimes towards Lord Caitanya. It is mentioned that just as Satyabhama possessed a ‘leftist’ mood and nature, so did Jagadananda Pandita. Among the queens of Krsna in Dvaraka, Rukmini and others were restraint; they were always ready to surrender to the will of the lover. But the ‘leftist’ mood is recalcitrant, argumentative, intransigent and always trying to impose her will on the lover. This ‘leftist’ mood was fully embodied in Jagadananda Pandita. And this is the same mood that we see in the pastimes between Jagadananda and Mahaprabhu.

We could see several such instances. In one instance, Jagadananda threw the jug of scented sandalwood oil that he brought for Mahaprabhu from Bengal because the Lord wouldn’t use them. He then angrily returned to his residence, bolted the door and lied down. Exactly as a wife in love would sometime show such tantrums to her beloved. Then the lover (Lord Caitanya) would come to him, pacify him and request her to cook for Him. In the Purport of CC Antya 12.155, it is mentioned that Jagadānanda Paṇḍita appeared very angry, but this anger was a manifestation of his great love for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

What is also very interesting is that Mahaprabhu never tried to confront Jagadananda Pandita or gave him any reason to believe that Jagadananda was offensive to the Lord. Like a husband totally in love and under control of the wife, Mahaprabhu accepted everything that Jagadananda said or did. He always submitted to the dictates of Jagadananda’s intense love for Him. This tells volumes about the intimacy of their relationships. The Lord fully knew that Jagadananda acted out of pure spontaneous love for Him.

For a conditioned soul like me, it is impossible to understand this highest form of love between Jagadananda Pandita and Mahaprabhu. Their dealings were enacted on the transcendental plane of pure divine consciousness. Their relationships had no speck of mundane hate, selfish motivations or evil intentions. This is the platform of pure love for Godhead.

I am, therefore, very eager to read Prema-Vivarta to get a better understanding and appreciation of Jagadananda Pandita’s loving dealings with Mahaprabhu.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Lord Nityananda kicking Sivananda Sena

Hare Krsna,

Sincere devotees yearn for the shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord’s lotus feet is not easily attainable. Yogis meditate on them for years but still His lotus feet is elusive to them. Only by pure unalloyed devotional service can one attain the shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord.

BG 18.55: One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.

Therefore for a pure devotee like Sivananda Sena, it is his good fortune that Lord Nityananda kicked him. Anyone who is not a devotee and does not have faith in the transcendental pastimes of the Lord will be agitated and disturbed by the Lord’s kicking pastime. The story is Lord Nityananda kicked Sivananda Sena because Sivananda could not arrange a suitable residence for the Lord in time. Now come to think of it. Lord Nityananda, in His form as Ananta Sesa, carries unlimited universes on His head. Why would the Lord, who is the shelter of all the universes, be bothered about His residence which is limited in space? The example is given that small lamps may be agitated by a slight breeze, but the greatest lamp or the greatest illuminating source, the sun, is never moved, even by the greatest hurricane. So do we think Lord Nityananda, who is Lord Balarama Himself, would be provoked by unavailability of a mere residential quarter?

A devotee will see Lord Nityananda kicking Sivananda Sena as the bestowing of His mercy. Which sincere devotee wouldn’t be liked to be kicked and touched by the Lord’s lotus feet? By the mere touch of His lotus feet, millions and millions of lifetimes of sins accumulated are eradicated; he becomes purified of all contamination and becomes qualified to engage in unalloyed devotional service.

Therefore Lord Nityananda’s kicking pastime must be perceived with the right mood and knowledge. Look at how different people perceived this differently. A jiva is bounded by three modes of material nature. Each one perceives an incident according to his/her dominant mode of nature.

Sivananda Sen’s nephew, Srikanta, displayed mode of ignorance by feeling offended and distressed.

CC Antya 12.34-36 — Śivānanda Sena’s nephew, Śrīkānta, the son of his sister, felt offended, and he commented on the matter when his uncle was absent. “My uncle is well known as one of the associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but Lord Nityānanda Prabhu asserts His superiority by kicking him.” After saying this, Śrīkānta, who was only a boy, left the group and traveled on alone to the residence of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Sivananda Sen’s wife displayed mode of passion by displaying signs of grief when Lord Nityananda cursed her sons to die. This happens because of attachment for one’s family.

CC Antya 12.21-22 — Hearing this curse, Śivānanda Sena’s wife began to cry. Just then, Śivānanda returned from the toll station. Crying, his wife informed him, “Lord Nityānanda has cursed our sons to die because His quarters have not been provided.”

However Sivananda Sen displayed mode of pure goodness by considering Lord’s kick as pure mercy upon him. He said: “Today You have accepted me as Your servant and have properly punished me for my offense. My dear Lord, Your chastising me is Your causeless mercy. Who within the three worlds can understand Your real character? The dust of Your lotus feet is not attainable even by Lord Brahmā, yet Your lotus feet have touched my wretched body. Today my birth, my family and my activities have all become successful. Today I have achieved the fulfillment of religious principles, economic development, satisfaction of the senses and ultimately devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa.” (CC Antya 12.25-30)

This is how a pure devotee like Sivananda Sen receives the mercy of the Lord. For him, there is nothing inauspicious or ill-intention when it comes to the Supreme Lord. Good or bad, he takes everything as Lord’s mercy. This is the right mood to have.

Lord Nityananda must have thought, “Here is my pure devotee Sivananda Sen who is going through so much trouble to arrange for the devotees meeting with Lord Caitanya. He is managing the payment of tolls at different places. He is maintaining all devotees by arranging their places of stay. He is bringing all the devotees from Bengal closer to Mahaprabhu. Therefore He is the true recipient of my pure mercy. Let me bless him by kicking Him.”

This kicking pastime of the Lord is meant to test the faith of the devotees. People who have less faith will be disturbed by the pastime. They will just look at the external manifestation of the pastime and will miss the inner meaning of it. But pure devotees will try to perceive the inner meaning of the pastime. Rather than their faith being disturbed, they faith will become stronger. Just as mine is just by reading this pastime. I would not only like Lord Nityananda to kick me, but crush me to pieces if that bring happiness to the Lord.

Who wouldn’t want to serve the lotus feet of the Lord? Forget the lotus feet of the Lord. Even the Supreme Lord gives so much value to the lotus feet of great sages and saints. Look at what Lord Krsna said to Bhrgu Muni, ““My dear lord, My chest has now become sanctified because of the touch of your feet, and I am now assured that the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, will be very glad to live there perpetually.”

Therefore when we read Lord’s pastimes, we should not be judgmental of the external behavior of the Lord’s and His devotees pastimes and behavior. We should always ask, “What is the inner meaning of this pastime? What is the Lord trying to teach us through this pastime? How can I build more faith through this pastime?” The pastimes of the Lord and His devotees are sometimes inconceivable. We should read and hear about them from the right bona-fide source and in the right mood.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Gopīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka’s Inner Character

Hare Krsna,

There are some standout characteristics of Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s inner character. The most amazing thing is that he was able to meditate upon the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the time of extreme distress. It is not easy to remember the Lord (or for that matter anything else) when one’s life is at stake. I have learned that one can constantly meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord when one reaches the stage of samadhi.

This concentration of the mind upon the lotus feet of the Lord is called samādhi. Until one reaches the stage of samādhi, or trance, he cannot understand the nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Krsna book, 14)

The fact that Gopinatha could meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord proves that he has attained samadhi stage. Samadhi is the last of the eight limbs of yoga; the other seven are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana. This proves that Gopinath was a very advanced devotee of the Lord.

Another aspect of Gopinath’s inner character is his understanding about the futility of material opulence. This is proven by the following statement of Gopinatha:

However, my Lord, these are not the principal results of meditating upon Your lotus feet. Material opulence is very flickering. Therefore it is simply a glimpse of the result of Your mercy. Your real mercy has been granted to Rāmānanda Rāya and Vāṇīnātha Rāya, for You have detached them from all material opulence. I think that I have not been favored by such mercy. Kindly bestow upon me Your pure mercy so that I may also become renounced. I am no longer interested in material enjoyment.” (CC Antya 9.135-139)

A fearless characteristic of Gopinatha’s inner character is his taste for the Holy Name. When he was arrested and put on the canga, he was fearless and incessantly chanting the maha-mantra –  Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. He counted the chants on the fingers of both hands, and after he had finished chanting one thousand times, he would make a mark on his body. (CC Antya 9.56-57). No matter what the conditions are, a pure devotee always takes shelter of the Holy Name. This shows his complete faith on the potency of the Holy Name. He has completely realized that there is no difference between the Holy Name and the Supreme Lord. No wonder, Lord Caitanya was pleased by this act of Gopinatha.

Gopīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka was a pure devotee who worships the Lord only for His satisfaction. He did not care about his personal happiness or distress, for that is the business of a materialist. One who engages in devotional service twenty-four hours a day, desiring only the Lord’s mercy, will very soon attain shelter at His lotus feet. And that is what Gopinath has attained. He has attained the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord and His mercy too.

It is because of Lord Caitanya’s mercy that Gopinath’s debt was excused, was reappointed to his post, was honored with silken cloth, and had salary doubled. But being a pure devotee of the Lord, he did not desire any of this. All he prayed to the Lord for is to attain detachment from material enjoyment. In essence, he showed characteristic of pure devotional service to the Lord (anyabhilasita sunyam…)

My realization is that this is the external display and pastime of Lord Caitanya but internally He loves Gopinatha. Through this pastime, Mahaprabhu is teaching us that we should be careful with our duties and responsibilities; we should not owe anything to anyone. Through the example of Gopinatha, the Lord is teaching us this important instruction that is very relevant in modern times. He is teaching us how to use material opulence without incurring reactions to sinful life. From this advice, it appeared that the Lord encouraged Gopīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka to enhance his material condition. Actually, however, He did not. In fact, this was but a manifestation of His great affection for His devotee. (CC Antya 9.145)

It is therefore true that Lord Caitanya’s pastimes are sometimes inconceivable. The deep meaning of this behavior is very difficult to understand.

CC Antya 9.151-152 — The intentions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are so deep that one can understand them only if he has complete faith in service to the lotus feet of the Lord. Whether or not one understands it, if one hears of this incident concerning the activities of Gopīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s causeless mercy upon him, certainly he will be promoted to the platform of ecstatic love for the Lord, and for him all dangers will be nullified.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Exclusive Devotion to the Lord

Hare Krsna,

My realization upon reading this lesson is that pure devotional service is very subtle and not so easily understood. The beauty about scriptures such as Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya Caritamrta is that they talk purely about pure devotional service. Pure devotional service, as a concept, is not so easy to get a grasp on. It has so many subtleties and fine nuances that it will take years and probably few lifetimes to realize it. A good analogy is vegetarian food. Different people have different conception of pure vegetarian food. For most Indians, onion and garlic fall under vegetarian food. Interestingly lots of Indians include eggs under vegetarian food. In extreme cases, some Bengalis in India and Bangladesh consider fish vegetarian. And what to speak about western people. They have a totally different idea about vegetarianism. I went to a restaurant once for breakfast and I asked what vegetarian items they have on the menu. The closest to something vegetarian they could guide me to is an omelet made of egg whites. If something so visible and physical object as vegetarian food could be so easily misunderstood, what to say about pure devotional service that is completely transcendental and not so easily perceived.

Most of us are engaging in devotional service unto the Lord, but how many of us are actually engaging in pure devotional service? Definitely not me. I am still trying to understand what pure devotional service it. My definition of pure devotional service is the following verse by Srila Rupa Goswami:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu- śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive activities. The devotee must constantly serve Krsna favorably, as Krsna desires.

In general, I have an idea that pure devotional service must be without material desires, speculative knowledge, and fruitive activities. But have I truly realized it? Superficially I may say that I have no material expectations from the Lord. But is it truly the case? Is my intention so pure? The fact that I desire a comfortable and stable life to engage in my sadhana practice is not pure devotional service. This means somewhere in my heart there is an hidden desire that I desire some level of material comfort and conveniences. This is not pure devotional service. Therefore pure devotional service is not an easy status to achieve. To understand pure devotional service, we should be meditating on: who are such pure devotees? How do they behave? How do they reciprocate with the Lord? What do they pray the Lord for? What is their level of surrender and faith upon Lord Krsna? What is their mood? How do such pure devotees deal with each other? How does the Supreme Lord reciprocate the loving devotion of His pure devotees? Only when we meditate on these aspects of pure devotional service that we may get some idea of it. This is why it is so wonderful to read Srila Prabhupada’s books. They are a minefield of pure devotional service. I therefore consider Srila Prabhupada’s books as pure nectar. They are out of this world. They are truly transcendental. I will forever be indebted to him for his books.

Coming back to the pastime of this lesson, the lesson shows what the Lord thinks about devotees who have material desires and expectations. Lord Caitanya clearly says, “If I hear about the activities of materialistic persons, My mind becomes agitated. There is no need for Me to stay here and be disturbed in that way.” This is one great clue to how the Lord thinks about such persons with material expectation. It is clear the Lord does not like it very much if people approach Him for material benedictions. Of course as a Supreme all-loving father, He cares about us and loves us. But the love is pure when there is no hidden motive and agenda. And that is one aspect of pure devotional service. The Lord wants to love Him with complete devotion, and He loves to reciprocate with us in the same manner. Material desires are simply distractions in the loving reciprocation between the Lord and His devotees.

Srila Prabhupada provided a very beautiful purport in CC Antya 9.67-68: “Becoming a devotee of the Lord to serve material purposes is a great mistake. Many people become showbottle devotees for material profits. Indeed, materialistic persons sometimes take to professional devotional service and keep Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as a means of livelihood. None of this, however, is approved. In the book known as Sapta-śatī, as mentioned by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, one can discover how a person worshiping the goddess Durgā begs her for different varieties of material profit. Such activities are very popular among people in general, but they are the attempts of foolish, blind people.  materialist does not actually know why one should become a devotee.”

And then Srila Prabhupada goes on to explain pure devotional service: “A devotee’s only concern is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead…One should be completely free from all material desires and should serve Kṛṣṇa simply to please Him. When people become interested in their own sense gratification, some of them desire to enjoy the material world to the fullest extent, some of them desire to be liberated and merge into the existence of Brahman, and others want to perform magic through mystic power and thus become incarnations of God. These are all against the principles of devotional service. One must be free from all material desires. The desire of the impersonalist to merge into the existence of Brahman is also material because such an impersonalist wants to gratify his senses by merging into the existence of Kṛṣṇa instead of serving His lotus feet. Even if such a person merges into the Brahman effulgence, he falls down again into material existence.”

We often talk about awakening our dormant love for Godhead. How do we do so? We can achieve this by pure devotional service.

If one engages in devotional service for Your satisfaction, this will result in his increasingly awakening his dormant love for You. But if one engages in Your devotional service for material purposes, he should be considered a number-one fool. It is only for Your sake that Rāmānanda Rāya resigned from the governorship of South India and Sanātana Gosvāmī gave up his post as minister. It is for Your sake that Raghunātha dāsa gave up all his family relationships. His father sent money and men here to serve him. However, because he has received the mercy of Your lotus feet, he does not even accept his father’s money. Instead he eats by begging alms from centers for the distribution of food.” (CC Antya 9.69-72)

Pure devotional service is such a great treasure that personalities such as Sanatana Goswami, Rupa Goswami, Ramananda Raya, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, etc. gave up all material things  to achieve that state of pure love of Godhead. But we try to forsake our rightful claim to dormant love of Godhead just to fulfill few material desires. What a misfortune?

If we can learn to engage in pure devotional service, then we can claim our rightful unalloyed love for Godhead. It is our rightful claim. No one can deny it to us.

“‘One who seeks Your compassion and thus 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.’ ” (SB 10.14.8)

This lesson explains the refined sentiment of exclusive devotion to the Lord in all circumstances so beautifully. Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s life was at stake; but he did not cry out to the Lord for help. Rather he was fearlessly, incessantly chanting the mahā-mantra — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. He counted the chants on the fingers of both hands, and after he had finished chanting one thousand times, he would make a mark on his body. It is the other devotees who showed concern for him. This is an example of pure devotional service – the ability to give up one’s life but not disturb the Lord for mitigation of material distress. Gopinatha is a pure devotee who worships the Lord only for His satisfaction. He does not care about his personal happiness or distress, for that is the business of a materialist.

One who engages in pure devotional service to the Lord twenty-four hours a day, desiring only His mercy, will very soon attain shelter at His lotus feet.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

The Essential Concept of Pleasing the Spiritual Master

Hare Krsna,

The pastime between Lord Caitanya and Ramachandra Puri is very instructive to understand the concept of pleasing the spiritual master. Madhavendra Puri had two disciples – Isvara Puri and Ramachandra Puri. Isvara Puri served and satisfied his spiritual master so wonderfully that he received the benediction from Madhavendra Puri that he would be a great devotee and lover of Krsna. And this is no ordinary benediction. Isvara Puri became the spiritual master of none other than the Supreme Personality Himself – Lord Caitanya. Could there be a better benediction than this?

On the other hand Ramachandra Puri, due to his offense to his spiritual master, received such a rebuke and rejection from Madhavendra Puri that became a dry speculator and a critic of everyone else. So much so that he started to find faults with Lord Caitanya. But Lord Caitanya is so merciful that He did not consider Ramacandra Puri’s offenses. Rather He treated him like his spiritual master. The Lord took Ramacandra Puri’s criticism of His eating habits as an instruction to control His eating. And the Lord duly complied.

CC Antya 8.99-100 — If one’s spiritual master rejects him, one becomes so fallen that he, like Rāmacandra Purī, commits offenses even to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not consider the offenses of Rāmacandra Purī, for the Lord considered him His spiritual master. However, his character instructed everyone about the result of offending the spiritual master.

I do not have an initiating spiritual master yet. I hope Lord Caitanya blesses me with one soon. Therefore I hardly have any realizations about serving my diksa-guru and pleasing him. But I will equate pleasing both instructing and initiating spiritual masters on the same level. We must note that we can serve our spirituals masters in two aspects – vapu and vani. Vapu means rendering physical service to the spiritual master. Vani means following the instructions of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada could not serve his spiritual master Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur personally. But he served him in words and spirit. This shows that vani is more important then vapu.  This is a very important concept to understand.

Just follow his order. Spiritual master is along with you by his words. Just like my spiritual master is not physically present, but I am associating with him by his words.” (Srila Prabhupada lecture on SB 1.1.2)

All the scriptures recommend that it is by pleasing the spiritual master and serving him directly that one can attain the highest perfectional stage of devotional service.

SB 4.28.34 Purport: Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. A disciple should always remember that by serving the spiritual master he can easily advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. All the scriptures recommend that it is by pleasing the spiritual master and serving him directly that one can attain the highest perfectional stage of devotional service.

By satisfying the spiritual master, one automatically satisfies Kṛṣṇa. Thus the devotee becomes enriched by both the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa. In CC Madhya 19.151, Lord Caitanya says guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja. One must first please the spiritual master, and then one automatically pleases Kṛṣṇa and gets the strength with which to cross the ocean of nescience. If one seriously desires to return home, back to Godhead, one must therefore become strong enough by pleasing the spiritual master, for thus one gets the weapon with which to conquer the enemy, and one also gets the grace of Kṛṣṇa.

Narada Bhakti Sutra 8, Purport: By the divine grace of the spiritual master, the seed of pure devotional service, which is completely different from the seed of fruitive activities and speculative knowledge, is sown in the heart of the devotee. Then, when the devotee satisfies the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, this seed of devotional service grows into a plant that gradually reaches up to the spiritual world. An ordinary plant requires shelter for growing. Similarly, the devotional plant grows and grows until it takes shelter in the spiritual world, without taking shelter on any planet in the material world. In other words, those who are captivated by pure devotional service have no desire to elevate themselves to any material planet. The highest planet in the spiritual world is Kṛṣṇa-loka, or Goloka Vṛndāvana, and there the devotional plant takes shelter.

The essential principle of pleasing the spiritual master is to follow his instructions closely. Srila Prabhupada has instructed us to chant sixteen rounds of Hare Krsna mahamantra, and follow the four regulative principles. We must first do that sincerely. His next instruction to us is to read his books regularly. I personally read his books every day. Besides the CC study, I read Srimad Bhagavatam every day at least for 30 minutes. I do not understand or remember everything that I read. But I hope that at least my endeavor and determination to read his books on a daily basis pleases Srila Prabhupada.

This lesson (on Ramacandra Puri criticizing the Lord) should be remembered by us always. It teaches us the basic and most fundamental concept of pleasing the spiritual master, and the risks of displeasing him.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Bitnami