15th August, 2016. Gurgaon
“The best way to search for the truth is to follow the path that has previously been gone over by saintly persons and devotees, and by which they have attained the supreme goal of life. Such a path is always free from all kinds of obstacles and hindrances to our progress, and by following it one very quickly attains the desired result.”
By Lord’s mercy I was very fortunate to get association of HG Priti Vardhana Prabhuji while coming back from Vrindavan to Gurgaon few days back. During our two and half hour ride I had some amazing discussions with prabhuji. During that discussion I shared with prabhuji how I am struggling on a particular aspect of being conscious of Krishna and requested Prabhuji to kindly help me how to practice it. Prabhuji replied for that I will have to read Upadesamrta (Nectar of Instruction). I was surprised because as far I knew Srila Rupa Goswami did not touch the particular topic I was struggling in this book. I asked Prabhuji in which verse or purport I can find this topic. Prabhuji’ reply further stumped me- the first four verses! Seeing the puzzled expression on my face, Prabhuji clarified: you have to first start practicing these first four verses of Upadesamrta and only then I can hope to develop a consciousness to help me understand and practice the area I am currently struggling with. It was a wake up call for me to start practicing what I was reading and not merely understanding it philosophically.
Today is the disappearance Day of Srila Rupa Goswami
I was thinking what to read on the disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami today. After some thinking I felt inspired to check what HG Priti Vardhana prabhuji had told me few days back. I started writing what are the qualities in each of the first four verses of Upadesamrta and where do I stand vis-à-vis each of them. It was a mixture of embarrassment and some hope!
On the auspicious occasion of disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami we can do this exercise to write down these qualities on one side of a paper and then in front of each quality we can write down how are we situated and compare, say 1 year back, and see how is our progress under each quality. It might turn out to be a good reality check!
Here the first four verses:
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualiﬁed to make disciples all over the world.
atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati
One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difﬁcult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with conﬁdence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.
dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in conﬁdence, inquiring conﬁdentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.
(Verses 1-4, Upadesamrta)
We may list down the qualities described in these four verses as below
Verse 1 : Becoming a sober person by tolerating these six urges
- Urge to speak
- the mind’s demands
- the actions of anger
- urge of tongue
- urge of belly
- urge of genitals
Verse 2: Not to get too entangled in the below six activities
- Eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required
- over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difﬁcult to obtain
- talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters
- practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically
- associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness
- being greedy for mundane achievements.
Verse 3: Six principles favourable to devotional service
- being enthusiastic
- endeavoring with conﬁdence
- being patient
- acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Krishna]
- abandoning the association of non-devotees,
- following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas.
Verse 4: Practicing six symptoms of love shared between devotees
- Offering gifts in charity
- accepting charitable gifts
- revealing one’s mind in conﬁdence
- inquiring conﬁdentially
- accepting prasāda
- offering prasāda
Let’s read few gems Srila Prabhupada wrote on the process given by Srila Rupa Goswami in Upadesamrta
The Krishna consciousness movement is conducted under the supervision of Srila Rupa Goswami.
In all spiritual affairs, one’s ﬁrst duty is to control his mind and senses.
Upadeśāmṛta constitutes the ﬁrst instructions for neophyte devotees. (!!)
(Nectar of Instruction, preface)
Self-realisation is not so cheap!
Yoga means training the mind and the senses to be fixed on the Self. This is not possible by meditating only fifteen minutes a day and then going out and doing whatever the senses dictate. How can the problems of life be solved so cheaply? If we want something precious, we have to pay for it.
(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)
From go-däsa to goswami…
The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogi has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. At the present moment, the mind is controlling us (go-däsa). The mind is telling us, “Please, why not look at that beautiful girl?” and so we look… “Why not go to this restaurant for such palatable food? Why not do this? Why not do that?” In this way, the mind is dictating, and we are following. Material life means being controlled by the senses, or the mind, which is the center of all the senses. Being controlled by the mind means being controlled by the senses, because the senses are the mind’s assistants. The master mind dictates, “Go see that,” and the eyes, following the directions of the mind, look at the sense object. The mind tells us to go to a certain place, and the legs, under the mind’s directions, carry us there. Thus, being under the direction of the mind means coming under the control of the senses. If we can control the mind, we will not be under the control of the senses. One who is under the control of the senses is known as go-däsa. The word go means “senses,” and däsa means “servant.” One who is master of the senses is called goswami, because swami means “master.” Therefore, one who has the title goswami is one who has mastered the senses. As long as one is servant of the senses, he cannot be called a goswami or swami.
(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)
How would I know I am following it properly?
After eating, a man can understand that his hunger has been satisfied; similarly, by following the principles of Krishna consciousness, one can understand that he has advanced in self-realization.
(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)
Each one of us can follow the process given by previous acharyas and make our present life successful by simply endeavoring for it, perfection is not required. And on special days, like today, we can receive extra mercy. So it may not be such a bad idea today to pray to Srila Rupa Goswami with a sincere and honest heart and seek his mercy to help us follow the instructions he left for us.
All glories to the auspicious occasion of disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.