My report card in Krishna consciousness for 2014.

Hare Krishna.

23rd June, 2014. Gurgaon


Since last many days I am reading 23rd chapter of Madhya Lila CC. This chapter ends with verses from Bhagavad Gita (12.12-20). These verses get quoted after Mahāprabhu explains what is proper renunciation to Sanatana Goswami, which I copied in my last blog.

At first I was surprised to see so many verses from Bhagavad Gita together as, in whatever little chapters I have read in CC, the reference verses are generally quoted from Srimad Bhagavatam. I read these verses quickly and then reread them and then read again but somehow I could not read further, as if something is amiss in my reading. Yesterday night, while I was again trying to force myself to read further, I realised that these verses hold the key to what qualification a devotee should have for him to be liked by the Lord. I felt that I can test myself, by benchmarking against these qualities, and check the result. Am I dear to Lord ? It was quick work and here is the result. I call it my report card for year 2014, similar to what we used to get in the school.

I broke the lines of the verses and have written my current status against each quality mentioned by the Lord

CC Madhya 23.107: “‘

One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, – Some improvement but mostly at surface level as I chose with whom to be kind and with whom to behave cold, I am judgmental and get envious especially where I should not.
who does not think himself a proprietor – Most of the times I consider myself as the proprietor be it with my family or at work.
is free from false ego- I am completely in bodily consciousness, frankly I don’t think I have ever dealt with anyone thinking that I am a soul, barring some exceptional circumstances.
who is equal in both happiness and distress, – very little progress, I have a disease of liking it when get things done my way.
who is always satisfied, : some progress as I am not unsatisfied materially but spiritually very much unsatisfied.
forgiving and self-controlled – a little better on this front but still many a times I get unforgiving internally while maintaining a cool facade outside. I also lose self-control at home sometimes and at work too, slow progress.
who is engaged in devotional service with determination, : no devotional engagement other than sending some messages, mails and writing childish blogs.
his mind and intelligence dedicated to Me — I beg everyday to Srila Prabhupada to give me some intelligence so that I can participate in his mission and serve ISKCON.
such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.

marks : 1/8

CC Madhya 23.108: “‘
He by whom no one is put into difficulty or anxiety : I know I give anxiety to my wife many a times and I am sure there must be many others as well, I am half blind in such matters.
who is not disturbed by anyone, : again a little better on this front but still it easy to disturb me, specially by those who are close to me.
who is liberated from jubilation, : a littler progress here,at least in some cases I remember Krishna at times of jubilation and thank Him for making it possible.
anger, : it has reduced but I still get angry many a times.
fear – a little progress here
anxiety, : some progress here
is very dear to Me.

marks : 2.5/6

CC Madhya 23.109: “‘
A devotee who is not dependent on others but is dependent solely on Me, – I still, mostly, live with a notion that I am the doer. I am not be dependent on others but yet not fully dependent on Krishna as well.
who is clean inwardly and outwardly: outwardly a little clean but inwardly filled with envy, selfishness, hidden material desires & accustomed to material comforts
who is expert, : complete failure here
indifferent to material things, : a little progress here.
without cares and free from all pains, and : very little progress here
who rejects all pious and impious activities : I don’t even understand this stage properly so implementing is very far.
is very dear to Me.

marks : 1.5/6

CC Madhya 23.110: ”
One who is free of all material jubilation, : a little progress
hatred, : a little progress.
lamentation and : some progress here
desire, : some progress
who renounces both materially auspicious and materially inauspicious things: I have no proper understanding of this statement so again implemetation is far.
who is devoted to Me : no devotion, mostly a show off, neither good in Vaidhi Bhakti nor in spontaneous Bhakti.
is very dear to Me.

marks : 2/6

CC Madhya 23.111-112: “‘
One who is equal to friends and enemies, : a little progress here
who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, : small progress here
heat and cold, : still get affected
happiness and distress, : small progress
fame and infamy, : small progress
who is always free from attachment to material things and : a little progress but I think my material desires have just shifted from conscious level to a subconscious level.
always grave and satisfied in all circumstances, : I am a naive person
who doesn’t care for any residence, : a little progress here but it all may just be all at surface level as I haven’t practiced it diligently.
and who is always fixed in devotional service : I can only dream for such a stage.
— such a person is very dear to Me.

marks : 3/9

CC Madhya 23.113: “‘Devotees who follow these imperishable religious principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness with great faith and devotion, fully accepting Me as the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.’

If I count all the parameters and give one mark to each parameter then I score 10/35 !! This too when I liberally gave myself 0.5 marks wherever I made some progress, the right marking would be 0.25 for a small progress. In that case my correct score would be a grand 5 out of 35 !

I thought hard and looked at my score and thought `is this a failure’ ? Have I failed in Krishna consciousness. The answer, surprisingly, was not a yes. Was this test depressing ? Again a no. Let me share why not

1. First it shows that I have indeed made some progress since I started practicing bhakti yoga and took shelter under ISKCON.

2. This unique test tells me, broadly, where I stand today in my spiritual journey today. Lately, mostly due to praise from ever generous and softhearted devotees, I had started believing that I am doing quite fine as a devotee. This test shattered the myth created by my dear mind.

3. This test tells me that if I can walk this much with whatever little efforts I have put in then what awaits me if I put more of my heart into Krishna consciousness then I will be able to take further baby steps beyond this stage. I have to definitely improve my chanting.

4. It tells me the power of causeless mercy and how important the role of prayers has been in my spiritual journey. How my long list of disqualification has indeed become my qualification to receive mercy of Mahāprabhu and guru parampara, so I should pray more and serve ISKCON.

5. Lastly, it tells me that Krishna consciousness indeed is a science. And it is working for me! And this is in spite of my lack of steadfastness, intelligence and complete lack of enthusiasm to serve Vaishanavas.

I pray at the lotus feet of all the Vaishanavas to have pity on this most fallen soul, please show me the right way and bless me so that my consciousness improves and I can serve in the sankirtan movement of Mahāprabhu.

I am copying the famous `Ohe Vaishanava Thakura’ song by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura for the pleasure of the devotees below.

ohe! vaiñëava öhäkura, dayära sägara, e däse karuëä kari’
diyä pada-chäyä, çodha he ämäre, tomära caraëa dhari

O worshipable Vaishanava Thäkura! Ocean of mercy! Be merciful upon this servant and, giving me the shade of your feet, purify me. I am taking hold of your lotus feet!

chaya vega dami’, chaya doña çodhi’, chaya guëa deha’ däse
chaya sat-saìga, deha’ he ämäre, bosechi saìgera äçe

Help me subdue the six urges and purify my six faults, please bestow upon me the six qualities of a devotee, and offer me the six kinds of devotional association. I am sitting in your association, hoping to receive this.

ekäké ämära, nähi päya bala, harinäma-saìkértane
tumi kåpä kari’, çraddhä-bindu diyä, deha’ kåñëa-näma-dhane

Alone, I do not have the strength to perform my harinäma-sankirtana. Please be kind and give me one drop of faith. Please bestow upon me the priceless treasure of Krishnanama!

kåñëa se tomära, kåñëa dite pära, tomära çakati äche
ämi ta’ käìgäla, ‘kåñëa kåñëa’ bali’, dhäi tava päche päche

Krishna is yours! You have the power to give Krishna! I am nothing more than a beggar running behind you, calling out “Krishna! Krishna!”

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to the association of devotees who encourage me everyday by their sheer beahviour.

Yukta Vairagya vs dry renunciation

Hare Krishna.
21st June, 2014, Gurgaon


Q: What is `Yukta Vairagya’ and what is false renunciation. Also explain `niyamāgraha’.

Ans :

yukta-vairāgya-sthiti saba śikhāila
śuṣka-vairāgya-jñāna saba niṣedhila (CC Madhya 23.105)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then told Sanātana Gosvāmī about proper renunciation according to a particular situation, and the Lord forbade dry renunciation and speculative knowledge in all respects.

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport :
This is the technique for understanding śuṣka-vairāgya and yukta-vairāgya. In the Bhagavad-gītā (6.17) it is said:

yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-ceṣṭasya karmasu
yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā

“He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.”

To broadcast the cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to learn the possibility of renunciation in terms of country, time and candidate. A candidate for Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the Western countries should be taught about the renunciation of material existence, but one would teach candidates from a country like India in a different way. The teacher (ācārya) has to consider time, candidate and country. He must avoid the principle of niyamāgraha — that is, he should not try to perform the impossible. What is possible in one country may not be possible in another. The ācārya’s duty is to accept the essence of devotional service. There may be a little change here and there as far as yukta-vairāgya (proper renunciation) is concerned.

Dry renunciation is forbidden by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and we have also learned this from our spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The essence of devotional service must be taken into consideration, and not the outward paraphernalia.

Sanātana Gosvāmī wrote his Vaiṣṇava smṛti, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which was specifically meant for India. In those days, India was more or less following the principle of smārta-vidhi. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī had to keep pace with this, and his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa was compiled with this in mind. According to smārta-brāhmaṇas, a person not born in a brāhmaṇa family could not be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa. Sanātana Gosvāmī, however, says in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.12) that anyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa by the process of initiation.

yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

“As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa.”

There is a difference between the smārta process and the gosvāmī process. According to the smārta process, one cannot be accepted as a brāhmaṇa unless he is born in a brāhmaṇa family. According to the gosvāmī process, the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and the Nārada-pañcarātra, anyone can be a brāhmaṇa if he is properly initiated by a bona fide spiritual master. This is also the verdict of Śukadeva Gosvāmī in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18):

ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye ‘nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ
śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ

“Kirātas, Hūṇas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pulkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”

A Vaiṣṇava is immediately purified, provided he follows the rules and regulations of his bona fide spiritual master. It is not necessary that the rules and regulations followed in India be exactly the same as those in Europe, America and other Western countries. Simply imitating without effect is called niyamāgraha. Not following the regulative principles but instead living extravagantly is also called niyamāgraha.

The word niyama means “regulative principles,” and āgraha means “eagerness.” The word agraha means “not to accept.” We should not follow regulative principles without an effect, nor should we fail to accept the regulative principles. What is required is a special technique according to country, time and candidate. Without the sanction of the spiritual master, we should not try to imitate. This principle is recommended here: śuṣka-vairāgya-jñāna saba niṣedhila. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s liberal demonstration of the bhakti cult. We should not introduce anything whimsically, without the sanction of the bona fide spiritual master. In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments on these points by quoting two verses by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.255-256).

anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
prāpañcikatayā buddhyā hari-sambandhi-vastunaḥ
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate

When one is not attached to anything but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Kṛṣṇa, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Kṛṣṇa is not as complete in his renunciation.”

To preach the bhakti cult, one should seriously consider these verses.

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

What are the 64 different qualities of Krishna ?

Hare Krishna.

19th June, 2014. Gurgaon.


Q: Please explain in short what are the different qualities of Krishna ?

Ans : Mahāprabhu briefly describes various qualities of Lord Krishna to Sanātana Gosvāmī in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, Chapter 23. These verses are also found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (NoD)

CC Madhya 23.70 – Krishna, the supreme hero, has the most beautiful transcendental body. This body possesses all good features. It is radiant and very pleasing to the eyes. His body is powerful, strong and youthful.

CC Madhya 23.71 — Krishna is the linguist of all wonderful languages. He is a truthful and very pleasing speaker. He is expert in speaking, and He is a very wise, learned scholar and a genius.

CC Madhya 23.72 — Krishna is very expert in artistic enjoyment. He is highly cunning, expert, grateful and firmly determined in His vows. He knows how to deal according to time, person and country, and He sees through the scriptures and authoritative books. He is very clean and self-controlled.

CC Madhya 23.73 — Lord Krishna is steady, His senses are controlled, and He is forgiving, grave and calm. He is also equal to all. Moreover, He is magnanimous, religious, chivalrous and kind. He is always respectful to respectable people.

CC Madhya 23.74 — Krishna is very simple and liberal, He is humble and bashful, and He is the protector of the surrendered souls. He is very happy, and He is always the well-wisher of His devotees. He is all-auspicious, and He is submissive to love.

CC Madhya 23.75 —  Krishna is very influential and famous, and He is the object of attachment for everyone. He is the shelter of the good and the virtuous. He is attractive to the minds of women, and He is worshiped by everyone. He is very, very rich.

CC Madhya 23.76 — Krishna is the Supreme, and He is always glorified as the Supreme Lord and controller. Thus all the previously mentioned transcendental qualities are in Him. The fifty qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead mentioned above are as deep as an ocean. In other words, they are difficult to fully comprehend.

CC Madhya 23.77  These qualities are sometimes very minutely exhibited in living beings, but they are fully manifested in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’

CC Madhya 23.78 — Apart from these fifty qualities, there are five other qualities found in the Supreme Personality of Godhead that are partially present in demigods like Śiva.

CC Madhya 23.79-81 — ‘These qualities are (1) the Lord is always situated in His original position, (2) He is omniscient, (3) He is always fresh and youthful, (4) He is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and (5) He is the possessor of all mystic perfection. There are another five qualities, which exist in the Vaikuṇṭha planets in Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Lakṣmī. These qualities are also present in Krishna, but they are not present in demigods like Lord Śiva or in other living entities. These are (1) the Lord possesses inconceivable supreme power, (2) He generates innumerable universes from His body, (3) He is the original source of all incarnations, (4) He bestows salvation upon enemies He kills, and (5) He has the ability to attract exalted persons who are satisfied in themselves. Although these qualities are present in Nārāyaṇa, the dominating Deity of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, they are even more wonderfully present in Krishna.

CC Madhya 23.82-83 — Apart from these sixty transcendental qualities, Krishna has an additional four transcendental qualities, which are not manifested even in the personality of Nārāyaṇa. These are:

(1) Kṛṣṇa is like an ocean filled with waves of pastimes that evoke wonder within everyone in the three worlds. (Lila-madhurya)
(2) In His activities of conjugal love, He is always surrounded by His dear devotees who possess unequaled love for Him. (Bhakta-madhurya)
(3) He attracts the minds of all three worlds with the melodious vibration of His flute. (Venu-madhurya)
(4) His personal beauty and opulence are beyond compare. No one is equal to Him, and no one is greater than Him. (Rupa-madhurya)

Thus the Personality of Godhead astonishes all living entities, both moving and non-moving, within the three worlds. He is so beautiful that He is called Krishna.

CC Madhya 23.84-85 — “  ‘Above Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa has four specific transcendental qualities — His wonderful pastimes, an abundance of wonderful associates who are very dear to Him [like the gopīs], His wonderful beauty and the wonderful vibration of His flute. Lord Kṛṣṇa is more exalted than ordinary living beings and demigods like Lord Śiva. He is even more exalted than His personal expansion Nārāyaṇa. In all, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has sixty-four transcendental qualities in full.’

Before the above description Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī quotes an utterly sweet verse from Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura’s Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, CC Madhya 23.35

madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuram
madhu-gandhi mṛdu-smitam etad aho
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuram

O my Lord, the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. But His soft smile, which has the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still.’

All glories to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

How to attain love of God ?

Hare Krishna.

5th June, 2014, Gurgaon.


Q: What is the process to achieve the ultimate goal of life-love of God ? Please explain each step in this process.

Ans : Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu describes the symptoms of emotion and love and the awakening of one’s original loving relationship with the Lord, as well as the characteristics of a devotee who has actually attained that stage, in Madhya Lila chapter 23.

CC Madhya 23.9: “If, by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Kṛṣṇa, he begins to associate with devotees.

CC Madhya 23.10: “When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing.

CC Madhya 23.11: “When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens.

CC Madhya 23.12: “After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Kṛṣṇa grows in the heart.

CC Madhya 23.13: “When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life’s ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.

Srila Prabhupada quotes Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who summarizes this growth of love of Godhead as a gradual process.

A person becomes interested in devotional service by some good fortune. Eventually he becomes interested in pure devotional service without material contamination. At that point, a person wants to associate with devotees. As a result of this association, he becomes more and more interested in discharging devotional service and hearing and chanting. The more one is interested in hearing and chanting, the more he is purified of material contamination. Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivṛtti, indicating a diminishing of all unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service. If one actually develops the devotional attitude, he must be freed from the material contamination of illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. These are the preliminary symptoms. When one is freed from all material contamination, his firm faith in devotional service awakens. When firm faith develops, a taste arises, and by that taste one becomes attached to devotional service. When this attachment intensifies, the seed of love of Kṛṣṇa fructifies. This position is called prīti or rati (affection) or bhāva (emotion). When rati intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. This love of Godhead is actually life’s highest perfection and the reservoir of all pleasure.

Thus devotional life is divided into two stages — sādhana-bhakti and bhāva-bhakti. Sādhana-bhakti refers to the development of devotional service through the regulative principles. The basic principle for the execution of devotional service is faith. Above that, there is association with devotees, and after that there is initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. After initiation, when one follows the regulative principles of devotional service, one becomes freed from all unwanted things. In this way one becomes firmly fixed and gradually develops a taste for devotional service. The more the taste grows, the more one desires to render service to the Lord. In this way one becomes attached to a particular mellow in the Lord’s service — śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or madhura. As a result of such attachment, bhāva develops. Bhāva-bhakti is the platform of purified goodness. By such purified goodness, one’s heart melts in devotional service. Bhāva-bhakti is the first seed of love of Godhead. This emotional stage is there before one attains pure love. When that emotional stage intensifies, it is called prema-bhakti, or transcendental love of Godhead. This gradual process is also described in the following two verses, which are found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.15-16).

ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyā
tato ‘nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
tataḥ premābhyudañcati
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ

CC Madhya 23.14-15: “‘In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sādhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’

Q: What are the nine symptoms which manifest in one’s behaviour when the seed of ecstatic emotion for Krishna fructifies ?


CC Madhya 23.18-19: “‘When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Kṛṣṇa fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one’s behavior: forgiveness, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides — that is, a temple or a holy place like Vṛndāvana. These are all called anubhāva, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.’

Love of God is transcendental to liberation [mukti], and thus it is called the fifth stage of spiritual realization, above the stage of liberation. (Srimad Bhagavatam Introduction)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.