Home > Spiritual discourses > Raganuga-bhakti - How to attain spontaneous devotion to God

"You should know the Acarya or Guru to be myself, you should never think of Him to be a common mortal, you should never show any disrespect to Him, you should never find any fault in Him in a mistaken belief that He is a common human being, because the Guru is the embodiment of all the Gods in Himself."
(from Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu)


Sri Vishvanatha Thakur has observed that the passage: You should know the Guru as myself means that the Guru is one who is dear to me. In Manah Shiksha in Stavavali it is said that the Guru is to be thought of as preshta, most dear to Lord Mukunda.

The transcendental science of devotional service has been very nicely explained by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. This transcendental book gives us a very clear description of the different developments in the heart of somebody who is truly walking along that sacred path. My spiritual Master has edited, translated and explained this book for our benefit and published it as the Nectar of Devotion. There are other editions also done by other Acaryas. The Nectar of Devotion, the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is a book which is a guidline into the higher realms. We are hearing alot about different ideas how to go very fast to the inner feelings of the bhakti development specifically referring here to bhava, what to speak of prema. There is a path described as vaidhi-bhakti and there is a path described as the raganuga-bhakti. There are so many different steps and symptoms described along. Sometimes very clearly the conversation is describing the condition of the beginners, then it is quite easy to follow. Then again sometimes descriptions are given towards the perfect sentiments of the parshadas, what they experience when the transcendental symptoms of love inundate them and manifest in them - then of course it goes beyond our comprehension, and it is just something there to be known of its existence. Just like my spiritual Master, when He introduced the concept of the Nectar of Devotion, He said: I am not writing this thinking that somebody will understand it. I am just writing this and presenting this so that people will know that such a thing exists.

So holding His lotus feet upon my head and upon my heart and praying to Him that I may not commit any mistake in this presentation, I want to give some guidlines or helping considerations for those who are very eager to quickly achieve the desired result. There is no happiness and no success in spiritual life without the blessings of the spiritual Master, and without going on His instructions to actually transform our life from an egoistic life into a transcendentally dedicated life to His sweet will. That is a fundamental principle and Lord Krishna Himself makes it clear that if you want to understand the truth you have to approach a spiritual Master. tad vidhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya, upadekshanti te jnanam, jnaninas tattva darsinah. And you have to render service unto Him, you have to ask submissively and you have to offer your obeisances. Submitting, inquiry, service these are very beautiful things come into a person when he is actually eager to learn something from a spiritual Master. There is a very famous saying which says Familiarity breeds contempt. This is very dangerous, that we think after we know a person for 2 - 3 years I already know everything he says, I know he is also a human being and he has his frailties and then you start minimizing and judging and doing other things in your mind with that person. If that happens to you in relationship with your spiritual Master then your relationship will be severely jepardized.

Vaidhi-bhakti means the path of rules and regulations. That means the path of following all the recommendations which your spiritual Master has given to you. In this connection please note that the Hari Bhakti Vilas of Srila Sanatan Goswami is a book which is giving many, many, many rules and regulations which are describing the different moods and the different understandings which should be derived from the several different recommendations and steps along the path. But actually Hari Bhakti Vilas is so extensive, not to say so complex and complicated that virtually nobody has received from his spiritual Master the order, to my knowledge, to follow everything the Hari Bhakti Vilas says. So what is the understanding. The relationship to the spiritual Master is the one and all and He gives to us what is to be followed. He is giving us the guidlines. If we are reading these transcendental books and what to speak of books going further in the topics of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. There are other books like Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu bindhu for example. There are so many descriptions of the sentiments and of the different symptoms, the stimulance which go along on the path of bhava and which are symptomatic for the different rasas as they develop. Whether there is shanta-rasa, dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa or madhurya-rasa respectively. All these descriptions they are in the rasa-literature. Actually Srila Rupa Goswami in his description, he has also taken steps of development found in other literature of rasik description or the description of the fine sentiments and he has shown how they are applying in the transcendental science of the spiritual love relationship of the soul with God. Srila Jiva Goswami in his Sandarbhas he creates the backing for all the literature written by the predecessor Goswamis to him. So all in all this is quite a complex science and we may not ingnore in that connection that there are many things which are describing the transcendental feelings arising within Krishna and the Gopis towards each other which are declared literature and information only material to be read by those who actually have some development of bhava in their own heart. As long as this remains to be theoretical. As long as this is just something we are hearing and we are still in a quite contaminated consciousness, we are warned not to go into this type of literature because we will get a mundane concept of it. We will arose material sentiments within us and it will not bring about bhava or prema. It will probably bring about some type of offensive mentality, lusty mentality, or something like that.

Because it is true that the loving pastimes between Krishna and the Gopis, they are very beautiful pastimes, and they are very enchanting, and they are very high. When you consider the basic understandings given by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita and then you find the description of the loving dealings between Krishna and the Gopis, you will find that this is a very different approach, a different topic. Even though Lord Krishna makes indications in the Bhagavad-gita which point out direct to that direction as Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaja has pointed out in several shlokas of the Bhagavad-gita. Like even the famous sarva-dharmam parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva pabhebyo mokshaysyami ma sucah - where he points out that in the land of Vraja, he is putting a double meaning to that word, there the dharma has to be abandoned. That same dharma tought by the Supreme Lord yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bharati bharata, that same dharma He is rejecting now, he is saying give it up and just surrender unto me. Do not fear I will protect you. So it is a very amazing shloka. What does that mean ? Krishna is so high, He is beyond everything. So if He invites the young girls of Vraja to His love dance in Vrindavan, it is the perfection of their life and it is the perfection of all lilas and rasa. But if anybody else would do that then it would become very degraded, very deplorable. If anybody invites somebody to dance into some kind of similar setting, if he would do that, we would be very upset. As a matter of fact Bhaktivinoda Thakur he persecuted one of the so called Vishnu incarnations who was inviting others wifes and girls to dance with him at night, to play rasa-lila. It has happened, it has been heard of. Some of the sahajia-groups they actually promote similar things like that. So we have to be very on our watch, we have to be very careful. This is not a joke. The transcendental science of love for Krishna can easily be misused by someone who is simply interested in the mundane field, the mundane experience. So we have seen that and therefore our spiritual Masters have made great caution regarding this. Just because in this material world the cheaters will always be cheaters and therefore they will even cheat and meddle into the most confidental topics.

Raganuga, the path of spontanuous love, the following into the footsteps of great devotees, the following into the footsteps of the transcendental spontanuous sentiments arising within our heart, that is something very special. And we should not speculate about it. For example, one time my sannyas-Guru gave a nice description. He said: What is raga-bhakti or raganuga ? what is that ? And he gave a story. Once there was an examination in school, the final examines. And one of the students he was a very genius student. So he went into the exams and there were six questions given. And they had five hours time to respond to the six questions in writing. So that student he started with the first answer and he forgot time. And when the five hours were over he was just finishing the first question. And when teacher said ok everybody gives his paper the time is over. He thought Oh my God I forgot to answer the other 5 questions. So he was very depressed and he went to his home and said I failed the exam. He did not even go back to school to receive the exams. He was convinced that well there was a big failure from my side, I spaced out. A few weeks later he walked by his school and he thought let me go and look at the billboard to see how my classmates did in the course. So he went there where it was announced how everybody had graduated from his course and he found his name as the first, the best graduate. Then he thought what is this ? I didnt answer the questions, how can I be on the first ? So he became very confused, but he went to the teacher and he asked: my dear teacher I didnt answer all the questions and I found that I was put as the best student of the exams, how is that possible ? Now that teacher was a very broadminded person we have to include here. He wasnt an ordinary teacher. Yes, you only answered the first question, but your answer was the answer of a research scholar. So how can I conceive of you not knowing the answers to the other questions ? Thats why I have given best notes to you. Then Srila Sridhar Maharaja said that this is raganuga. This is the level of spontanuous devotional service where some things or one particular thing becomes so important that you neglect to follow other things because you were too much captured in doing that what you were doing. Not because you are lazy, not because you are negligent, not because you wanted to avoid anything. No, because your heart was captured in something so nicely that there is no question of any negativity entering into this. Then the path of vaidhi-bhakti starts to have less importance. Even though also clearly pointed out that those who are on the level of raganuga-bhakti, who are following in a very intense way their heart as far as going about with what their Guru has told them, they still give the example of the vaidhi-bhakti. They will teach the vaidhi-bhakti. They will do all the different things which are part of our devotional process, such as the deity-worship, the sadhana-bhakti in the temples and so many other aspects. Even though everything is finally in consciousness, everything are the levels of consciousness. The vaidhi-bhakti rules are very important because first of all we should always consider ourselves as beginners. That is a very important thing. If anybody thinks I have love for Krishna, now I am about to graduate to the next bhakti level, then it is not very humble at all and it is most proberly the beginning sign of a deviation. So therefore to follow the basic spiritual program and to follow the sadhana-bhakti this is something which is perennial, it will always go on. If anybody in his individual path is going further, is going higher that will be known to him in his heart that there has been a craving for something more, that something is blocking his way. Like for example Prabhodananda Saraswati prayed: my dear morning bath, my dear rules and regulations, my dear mantras and tapas, I am so sorry that I could not attend properly to you, I have been totally captured by the service by the boy cravling in the courtyard of Nanda Maharaja. So please forgive me if any negligence has come from my side. Thats not the precise quote but thats the spirit of that declaration.

So Mahaprabhu, Nityananda and all the different instructions given, they are so immense. As a matter of fact very often you read a book like the Bhagavad-gita mahatmya and so many others shlokas and stotras and very often it says that if you sing this song every day you will get this wonderful result, if you line up all those recommendations given by the great acaryas you will be singing and dancing all day and reciting stotras, you will reach the end of the day you have not been able to do all that what they have recommended. In other words its impossible, there is too much nectar, there are too many wonderful books to be read. There are too many wonderful sacrifices to be made, there are too many temples to visit, there are too many parikramas we can do, there are too many Vaishnavas to offer obeisances to, there are too many people who can bless you. And then again where am I going to be situated in all that ? What is my safe position ? Sometimes people say come here because we have more krishna-lila nectar. And another person may say come here because we have the biggest campaign in the world. Another person may say come here because we have Vraja-mandal parikrama for so many days and we don't miss out one spot and we only go barefoot and thats the only way that you can really get that bhakti nectar from it etc. So, so many campains, soliciting or invitations are there in this world, just like so many books to be read.

But our only safe position is at the lotus feet of our spiritual master, doing exactly what he says. Thats why I read from the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu this verse that we should always remember the spiritual master as being choosen by Krishna, he is sent to us to guide us in the inner spirit of this understanding of bhakti which means to take your spiritual masters order as your heart and soul. To make that your heart and soul that is a very high level of bhakti, that is not vaidhi-bhakti actually.

One time a person was talking about vaidhi-bhakti and he said yes and it is so difficult to follow all the rules and regulations. Then I heard a commentary given in this connection that actually all our initiations in this line after Srila Prabhupada or Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur they are all in the spirit of raganuga. Why ? Because by the rules and regulations we are all disqualified to begin with even with vaidhi-bhakti. We are simply disqualified. But the mercy of Krishna is so great, the spontanuous surrender to Krishna, the prayer given to Lord Krishna by His pure devotee Srila Prabhupada to please bless these young boys and girls from the western countries or from India from any lower birth to come to such a high understanding as to embrace Krishna-bhakti from the depth of your heart. All this is not within the realm of vaidhic rules. It is actually motivated and the impulse comes from the higher spontanuous level of devotional service and from there our mantras are coming and from there the divine call is coming to go to the divine world of spontanuous loving devotional surrender and this is only possible to be maintained as the life connection in our life through the service to Sri Guru, through the actual inner understanding of what he wants us to do.
When Srila Prabhupada sent me to preach in different places in my life, I was so disqualified to convey all this message. As a matter of fact in those days we did not have any books either. In the beginning when I joined the movement just the first Ishopanishad was coming out from the printer. Meaning nobody new anything. Not like you today. You can go to the Vrinda-Bookstore and find a host of Vaishnava literature far more then you can read. Or you can go to our Web-site, the first Internet-library on the Web, with 220 different books of Vaishnava literature. It is just amazing the amount of books available on these Vaishnava topics. As I said we have nothing really, but we had faith in our spiritual Master. And that faith was enough for him to send us out to represent himself in another place, to simply pray to him, think about him and repeat what he has told us. And what was the magic impact ? That those who were able to meet us and take that message serious had the same transformation as we had - they became Gaudiya Vaishnavas until today. Their transformation was not only for a week or for a month or so. They were actually becoming Gaudiya Vaishnavas and following in the footsteps of the predecessor Acaryas and coming in contact with so many divine secrets. Like when I first read the Nectar of Devotion that you should follow an eternal associate of Krishna in Vrindavan, my heart was dancing in joy. I got one, I got one, I got one, I got my Srila Prabhupada, I will just follow him. Because how I am going to follow somebody I don't know ? I never met personally ? Thats a pretty tuff one. Anyhow, as you hear about the Gopis, Gopas and you hear their transcendental sentiments from the source of your Gurudeva, some particular emotion will arise within you and you will have a certain inclination. I know one of my Godbrothers he was adament about that he only was interested in the Krishna-lila with His cowherd boyfriends. He was very attached to them. Well Srila Sridhar Maharaja answered him when he asked well Radharani is in charge of all the rasas. So when you worship and pray to Her, but you have another inclination, she can also happily accomodate you. And from there also the statement comes that Vaishnavism means proper adjustment. To understand the different situations and to make everybody happy in the family of Krishna-consciousness, that is a very high level of bhakti. Not neophytes one jumping on top of each other and each one wants to point out his own superiority, that is not what we have understood to be the activity desirable for us. So the different levels of devotional service which we can achieve as we go further ahead, they have been clearly inumerated in the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and also in the Caitanya Caritamrita.

And we know that everything starts with the jnata-sukriti. Before the jnata-sukriti there is the ajnata-sukriti. This is really the foundation. Ajnata sukriti means you do something wonderful for a devotee you may not even know. And that gives you a great blessing. But jnata-sukriti means conscientiously you are helping a Vaishnava. You like him, something happend and you offer some service. From that jnata-sukriti the door to bhakti opens. Because you have a positive attitude, you want to go there, but still you need so much help, so the best thing you can get is sraddha. Sraddha, Faith. So actually jnata-sukriti and sraddha they are going together because how do you get the idea you want to help a Vaishnava ? That is a faith which is born there because of a positive inclination of yours. And if you have that faith which is the beginning of bhakti, Bhaktidevi herself is Sraddhadevi, she is giving you that initial faith, then you get Sadhu-sanga, association with devotees. Because the association of devotees is so fundamental, without the association of devotees you can never become a devotee. It is in their association that all these things become natural and wonderful and happy, joyfull. And that Sadhu-sanga will but you in contact with Guru karana, that you will find your spiritual Master. You will find a person were you will want to submit. Usually the siksha-Guru later becomes the diksha-Guru as Srila Sridhar Maharaj explains.

The one who is instructing me, the one who is giving strength to me, the one who is taking care of me, the one who loves me, the one who Krishna has sent to look after me, well I will accept him as my Guru. I want that person to guide me. I consider that person to be sent into my life by the sweet will of Krishna. I am so happy about that connection and because I feel so strongly about it then I can accept a spiritual Master. You can only accept a spiritual Master if you feel strongly about that. If you feel that is a great gift. That Krishna has been kind with you to come into your life and to take care of you through that person. So how can you give up his service afterwards ? That is inconceivable. After you got help and you get all the strength and happiness and all the family, how can you give that up ? Even there may be another Guru who may be a great sanskrit scholar. There may be another Guru who has other things which your Guru personally doesn't seem to know or to have, still will you give up his service ? That is not natural. Besides that, yasya deve para bhaktir....whoever has faith in Guru and shastra to him it will be revealed in his heart. In one way we have to be practical and see what is Krishnas way of interaction, how does He make his appearance in the life of a devotee. Well through the Guru. And he teaches him, and if you surrender then you can understand the Krishna book, and then you can understand Nectar of Devotion and then you can understand Caitanya Caritamrita because it will be revealed into your heart what it really means, when you become a humble servant of the Vaishnavas. That is really the path of devotional service.

Then bhajana kriya. After you accept a spiritual master he is going to come and say, come here, now you please chant these mantras, and you get up, and this is your service, and this service you try to perfect it. You see sometimes the Guru may switch your service, everyday give you a different service. Thats kind of easy, then everyday you are told what to do. But sometimes your Guru gives you one service for the rest of your life. He will say one thing and thats what you are going to live on, thrive on. Thats your nuitrition. Your spiritual surrender nuitrition is what he has said. Therefore Srila Guru Maharaja said if we get a letter from our spiritual Master, that is so meaningful. There is his message for our life, possibly, put right there. The substance is very intensive in Krishna-consciousness, because it is a descending process. So when the mercy descends, thats where it is. Its not an ascending process where I, with my own power, am going to the reach of the higher, transcendental region and I pick one fruit from there, I pick one fruit from there and I pick one fruit from there and then I make a little tutti-frutti in my brain, and that is my great spiritual realization. It just doesn't happen that way. It descends. The mercy descends when Krishna wants it to descend, when you are ripe, when you are opening your heart to receiving it. This is how prema and bhava and ruci and asakti and all these transcendental things, they descend. Nishta spiritual firmity, totally strict and clearly set in your spiritual path, even that can only happen by mercy. Ruci, mercy. What to speak about them, sraddha is mercy. Jnata-sukriti is mercy. Ajnata-sukriti is also mercy, although it is unconscious but still it is mercy. So is there any participation of us really there ? Of course there is. There is your inner craving. And that inner craving can lead you up if you are following the footsteps of the cataka bird.

Cataka bird is being described by Srila Sridhar Maharaja, as that bird who is only looking upwards for mercy. It will not take any water from the ground, from any pool. It will only take the water from the cloud and it will pray to the cloud please give me mercy, give me water. Even though the cloud may come and give thunderstorm and lightning. But the cataka bird will only take from above the nectar. So this is the guiding principle of our raganuga-Acaryas, raga-marga, ragatmikas, means those who are totally absorbed in the eternal service of their Guru. Those who have also understood their eternal relationship with Krishna. Those who are fully immersed in their nitya-lila, nitya-siddha, in their eternal perfection. We want from them the mercy to come down. We pray for that. We can only pray for it, we cannot insist, we cannot demand. We can only pray for that. Srila Narottam das Thakur prays to Srila Lokanath Goswami: when you are going to take me by your hand and take me to Sri Rupa Goswami, who is Rupa Manjari. Please take me there by your mercy. If you are not going to take me there I don't go. So the connection, the divine field, the divine realities, this is all revealed in due course of time. And we know we should follow the basic, we should not think our self: Oh I am a great devotee, now I should only hear advanced topics. No. Srimati Radharani who is definetely the greatest she thinks she is not a devotee, she doesn't want to go and say: Krishna I want to dance with you. She says: I want to do the menial service for Krishna. The most simple and lowest service. Not that she says: Oh I am not good for cooking and anything else, no. Srimati Radharani wants to do all the menial service, but Krishna wants to dance with Her. Krishna wants to hold Her to His chest. That is Krishnas sweet will, and then when she understands Krishnas will then She wants to satisfy His hearts desire. So the real path of vaidhi-bhakti it will gradually turn into raganuga-bhakti as we are progressing and as we understand within ourselves that there is higher priorities then simply the rules. But these priorities you will not set in a mental frame of mind. You will simply be drawn into them . You will be drawn there and you will find yourself in a different world of spiritual concerns. And those concerns are unimaginable and they cannot be theoretically thought out. They are simply the concerns of those compassioned spiritual teachers we have had. Like when Prabhupada went to America some people told him don't go there Swamiji, you may die there. Now you are an old man, you stay in Vrindavan and make sure you die in a holy place. So they may have thought that mathura-vasa means to live in Mathura and to die in Mathura. But what did they know of Prabhupada, that wherever Prabhupada goes is Vrindavan. He is Vrindavan consciousness, he is Vrindavan personified. Whoever meets him anywhere in the world he met him in Vrindavan. Because he is Vrindavan, love for Krishna, love for Radha. So this is the level which cannot be understood theoretically. Prema-bhakti, the sadhya, the goal, that is so wonderful and so elevated that the devotee who is actually approaching that level of devotional service, he will be filled with ecstasies, and transcendental symptoms will appear on his body. But usually he will subdue such symptoms and not make them publicly visible. But we have seen cases were it has become impossible for our spiritual Master to hide the transcendental sentiments, such as tears or such as faltering of voice, or anything like that. We have seen with our own eyes such moments take place in the life of our spiritual Master, so therefore we are following those great souls who are totally in the mood of bhava, Krishna-prema. One day I went up to Srila B.R. Sridhar-dev Goswami Maharaja and he was very thoughtful. And one devotee went up with me and said: Good morning Guru Maharaja, its very cloudy today. And Guru Maharaja answered: Yes, and then you are depressed. But, he said, in Goloka Vrindavan everything enhances the bhava. When mother Yashoda sees it cloudy, and she is afraid that it will be raining then she thinks: Oh my dear little baby, He is going to be walking in the rain, and He is going to become wet, and He will be freezing, and she becomes so overwhelmed with sentiments of love for Krishna that she can hardly tolerate it. So he said in the spiritual world everything enhances love. In the material world we get frustrated: Oh doesn't look like I am gonna enjoy allot today, its gonna be raining. Immediately we take it from our enjoyment or consumer mentality. But in spiritual life, in real bhakti it is not like that. So when it comes to raganuga-bhakti, the principles of raganuga, the principles of following the advanced devotees and their sentiments, this is actually very confidential. This is something which takes place within ourselves. Their emotions, their transcendental emotions will drag us forward and we will feel that there is nothing more wonderful then Krishna and His devotees. And that feeling will increase and increase and increase and increase. So please do not come to the point in your life to conclude that you have transcended vaidhi-bhakti, but follow what your spiritual Master is telling you and take his instructions to heart. And there will not be one blessing which you will lack to get. Because as we go forward in our devotional activities, as I already mentioned to you we cannot do all of it. We cannot read all of it. We cannot chant all of the mantras, it is impossible. So if you follow what your spiritual master tells you and you are trying your 100 percent support to that you will be in the line of Haridas Thakur. Srila Haridas Thakur in his example as namacarya, he chanted the whole day and night, he hardly sleeped, he hardly ate, he just chanted and chanted and chanted and chanted. Our spiritual Master has never told us to imitate Haridas Thakur. As a matter of fact the nirjan-bhajan or the secluded bhajan in our particular school of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur has been discouraged. Rather they have been substituted with a very strong concern of giving the holy name to others. To be very concerned with the purity in purpose and the kindness and the compassion for all those who do not know about Krishna, which is the greater majority of humanity at large. And to go out of your way to make it possible for them to come into contact with divine sound and to be able to change their life. Spiritual life is not spiritual olympics. We are not competing with others, for showing off that we are more learned or we are more renounced or we have walked without shoes more kilometers or we have studied more books and we have more knowledge of sanskrit or like that. That is not a competition. Spiritual master may tell one devotee you become a sanskrit scholar. And he may tell another devotee you become an expert cook. Nayanandana das Babaji Maharaja he often tells us the story that his Gurudeva Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave him the order: you do not go out and preach. You stay here and build the temples and look after the construction. I need you for that. Now does that put him in a lower position then a preacher ? This is what we have to understand, whatever the Guru will tell to the disciple, that is his access to vaidhi-bhakti and later to raganuga-bhakti. It is not that I follow the orders of the Guru for a while and then I transcend the orders of the Guru to go further up. No. You will get from the spiritual Master so many instructions and you have to learn how to harmonize them into what we call your practical personal devotional program. And as I say, some devotees spend alot of time doing puja in the morning. And others spend alot of time learning verses. And others spend alot of time organizing rasa-yatras. The priority and the importance is what did your Guru tell you you should do, thats where you have to focus. Do not think that I have to focus, and I have to safeguard myself against the instructions of my Guru by finding out somebodies elses commentaries and ideas. Then you are ungrateful. Then you become bogus. You do not have to councel. Otherwise the verse acaryamam vijaniyam, consider the Guru to be myself, would be of no meaning. If the Guru is not going to be the authority in my life, and of course there were it is going to come in: familiarity breeds contempt, then you find different persons making different propagandas. And they will ask you: have you never been to kamyavan ? Maybe you were not. And then they say: Oh then you don't know anything about Vrindavan, or something like that. Then you get worried. But its not like that. The actual fact is that there is nothing more important then the Guru-seva in our spiritual life. And the Guru-seva is the Radharani-seva. Radha-dasyam comes there. And the spiritual Master he will teach you to become very attached to your spiritual responsability. Like I often meet devotees they want to get the technic, but they don't want to get the responsability. They say, what else I have to do to become humble ? What else do I have to do to get love for Krishna ? What else do I have to do ? But when I say you have to take your service to your heart and take big responsability, they go: Oh no my God. That means I am gonna be rapped up, and I am gonna be loosing my freedom, and my independence, and my this and that. And the answer is: YES. Thats what you are supposed to loose when you come into contact with Krishna and your beloved. What is that, or you want to get married but never be at home ? You wonna have children but you don't want to feed them. What is the concept ? If you are becoming Krishnas eternal servant then you want to get the Guru to come and to take over you life and to fill every moment of your life with devotional service. That is what you aspire for. Then again sometimes the Guru will give us so much freedom. For example if I say: You go to this country and start preaching there. Well what does that mean ? What the Guru means by that, go to this country and start preaching there ?. Well then he trusts you so much to be able to figure out what that means. That means he trusts you that you will get a place, establish an altar, start sadhana-bhakti, go out in the street, print an invitation card, start cooking prasadam, giving out prasadam. How did Srila Prabhupada start prasadam distribution ? After every class he took an apple, cut it with a knife in little pieces, put it on a plate an sent it to all the people who were sitting there, they were all taking a piece of apple and putting a donation on the plate. Thats how prasadam distribution started in the west by our beloved Gurudeva. So he did what he could according to time, place and circumstances. Devotional service changes according to time, place and circumstances. But the sweet will and the order of the spiritual Master, the substance of it, will not change. If my spiritual Master tells me go and preach in Colombia, then all of a sudden they invite me to make a course in the University. So then I may offer teaching in University bhakti-yoga. So this is another version. There are so many versions. One time I went to a television talk show and in the talk show there supposed to be a christian priest arguing with me about different things about vedic culture. So it was a 2 hour talk show in brasil. And the priest didnt show up. It was life transmition. The talkshowhost he said: you see the person who was supposed to come to debate with the Swami, he didnt show up. Then he hands me the microphon and he said: the next two hours are yours ! I went wow gee, thats something, 2 hours of life air-time on the television, now to tell something about Srila Prabhupada. Well that was Prabhupadas service he gave me, 2 hours speak about Krishna. Now this is something you cannot apply all the rules and regulations to such circumstances. Devotional service will come and it will pull on you, like: who is your Guru ? Well it is very clearly stated that for the spiritual Master his Guru comes to him in the form of the disciples. His disciples will come and say: what we have to do ? what we have to do ? How can we serve Krishna and what am I going to do here ? What I am going to do in Argentina ?, what I am going to do in Mexico ? And the Guru is sitting there: Oh Prabhupada, oh Prabhupada how I am going to engage all these people now ? What am I going to tell them ? They want to be engaged in your divine service. You told me something, you showed me something. And one is a painter, and one is a politician, and one is a business-man, and one is married and one is a brahmachari. And all of them have different questions. And all of a sudden you find: Oh Krishna, oh Prabhupada this is responsability what you wanted from me. And that is in the line of raganuga-bhakti. You cannot do that just in the level of vaidhi-bhakti. Because vaidhi-bhakti means you are busy all day following rules in the temple. If I follow Hari-bhakti vilas strictly I wont have time to talk to anybody, I will be just reciting mantras. So spiritual life is a living thing. And all this levels described in the Nectar of Devotion, yes there are tons of words and sentiments, they are very good, but you have to grow inside, you have to feel it, you have to live it. You have to go the way. Go that way. And along the way you will find, like there is a saying in south-america: We arange the load along the way. Like you can't arrange the load on your shoulder for the whole way. Because it starts hurting on one side. Sometimes you have to move it shift it, do something. So whatever really comes in a real spiritual path, that will be arranged along the way. But you will be guided by Gurudeva and Krishna in your heart. Like if Prabhupada writes whats happening when the spiritual Master leaves this world, then are we bancrupt ? He says, NO, if the disciple sincerely cries in despair at the departure of the spiritual Master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the Guru in everyones heart will take over and guide him further on in his life so he can go on that difficult path. And he will find out. So Sri Guru is our life and soul, his order is our life and soul. We can only go his way if we want to go back to gome back to Godhead. And we appreciate all the Vaishnavas who follow their respective spiritual Masters. And fortunately Krishna has done it in such a way that they do all kinds of different things, so that Krishna-Consciousness will spread to every nook and corner and in so many different ways. Because in this way there will be a far, far more outreaching presence of the Vaishnavas in this world. And that we are actually seeing is taking place. We just have to make sure that we remain humble in our own spiritual life and appreciative of the so many different ways Krishna-Consciousness is being spread and always carefully guard the sacred memory of our spiritual Masters. Therefore we sometimes do not associate with anybody who has a minimizing consideration of our Guru. We do not think that everybody has to follow our Guru, that is a ridiculous idea. But if somebody minimizes him or thinks that he is not capable of giving me something in particular then we will not feel very much couraged in that type of company. And it is actually very offensive to discourage anybody about his spiritual master, because what help do you give ? Like Srila Guru Maharaja said: to get faith into a Vaishnava in this age of kali-yuga is so difficult, actually so difficult to get faith in a Vaishnava. So if you do anything to destroy the faith of somebody in his spiritual Master that will hit back on you. That will just come back. Srila Guru Maharaja was heavy he said it is just like spitting into a fan. It will come right back on you. You cannot disturb the faith of somebody in his spiritual Master. And last not least don't forget that Krishna is in control, Krishna is incharged. Krishna is the supreme controller and lover, and kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktya pranasyati, Krishna says it personally: Arjuna you declare it that my devotee will never perish, my devotee will never be destroyed. And you know the reason why He said that ? Because Krishna Himself in order to protect His devotees sometimes brakes His own words, but His devotee doesn't. When His devotee says something Krishna will back it up and He will protect, He will protect what His devotee has said. So what Prabhupada told us that we will be able to go back home back to Godhead by dedicating ourselves to Krishna-Consciousness and by helping others to become Krishna-Consciouss, that is TRUE. That is real, Krishna will never brake the promise of His pure devotee. You can have your full trust in that. Now the story was that once Krishna, He was aware that there was a very great danger for the Pandavas. Duryodhana went to the great general Bhisma, and he said: Bhisma you are not fighting like the general, we are loosing this war, so please help me. I think you are favoring the Pandavas. And Bhisma was very upset, he said: Duryodhana, this is not fair. I am fighting very hard !. But I have a special boon here. I have five arrows. And those arrows they are mystical, and they will not fail their destination. And with this five arrows I will kill the five Pandavas, tomorrow. Oh, Duryodhana was so happy, thats great ! We are going to win the war ! We are going to win the war ! So he said: Bhisma, I am so happy about that, please give me the five arrows, I am going to take care of them over night. Personally I am gonna guard them. And nothing can happen to them. Krishna is the Supersoul, so He knows everything. So he told Arjuna, hey Arjuna there is a great danger coming towards you tomorrow. This Duryodhana has five arrows from Bhisma, and Bhisma promised that with these five mystical arrows he will kill the Pandavas. Do you remember when you were a young boy, you saved Duryodhanas life. And he told you: I will give you a boon. Yes Arjuna said, I remember. Now you go to his tent and you ask for the boon. And then he will say I will give you. And then you will ask for the five arrows. So Arjuna, followed Krishnas instructions, because Krishna is incharged. He went to the tent. In those days even when there was war, at nightime the different parties could meet and discuss different things. A little different style then today. Anyhow, so he went to the tent of Duryodhana and Duryodhana said: Who is there ? Arjuna. Arjuna ? You come to see me ? What is it, what can I do for you ? Oh, Duryhodhana I have to remind you of something. When we were children you gave a boon to me, and I never reclaimed that boon. Oh, yes Arjuna, I remember very well. Now what is it what you want ? Do you want me to give you half of the kingdom ? Do you want me to stop the war ? What is it what you want ? No, I don't want this, I don't want that. Ok Arjuna, what is it what you want ? I will do it certainly. Then Arjuna said: I want the five arrows of Grandfather Bhisma. Duryodhana thought how did he know that ? This is terrible. But as a kshatriya Duryodhana gave him the five arrows. Arjuna said thank you very much, and went back to Krishna. And Krishna broke the arrows. He broke them. So in this way, next day there was the battle and immediately Bhisma came up to Duryodhana: Duryodhana ! my arrows. And Duryodhana looked to the ground. My arrows ! No answer. What happened to my arrows ? I don't have them anymore. What ? You don't have them anymore ? What did you do with them ? I gave them to Arjuna. Oh, OH why did you give them to Arjuna ? Oh, because he had a boon open with me and he came last night and he asked me for those arrows. What else could I do ? I couldnt go back on my kshatriya word. Ohhhh, Bhisma said, this is Krishnas rascal arrangement, He wants me to brake my promise. I promised to kill the Pandavas today, now he took away my arrows. I will keep my promise anyway and I will kill the Pandavas without these mystical arrows. Bhisma with an anger went into the battlefield and he fought and fought, and he got on Arjunas case, and he destroyed Arjunas chariot. And Arjuna had no more defense, and Bhisma was just coming to shoot Arjuna, the last fatal arrow into the chest, when Krishna saw that, Krishna had promised not to participate in the battle, but when He saw His beloved Arjuna in that danger Krishna picked up one of the broken chariot wheels and He ran towards Bhisma, Now you are gonna get it from me. And Bhisma said, Oh my Lord, that is nice. If you can brake your promise I have no problem braking mine. So now you can hit me, no problem. In that moment the counchell sounded, and the battle of the day ended. So because of that when Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita, He says kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktya pranasyati, He says you don't believe in my words, because I do brake my words, but you say that my devotees never perish because then everybody will believe it because they know that I keep the word of my devotees. So in this way we can understand that everything which is promised by Krishna it will come true. And the spiritual Master is the representative of Krishna, and he is guiding us how to serve Krishna. So we should focus on his instructions. Guru, shastra and sadhu. We should read the books very carefully. We should chant the holy names of Krishna from the depths of our hearts. Counting carefully on our mantras. Doing everything carefully. And at the same time not forgetting that the real spirit of this movement is to give it to others. Just like Nityananda and Haridas were sent out to give it to others. So wether in Argentina or in Vrinda-kunja, our job is to give Krishna to others. To everything possible that any person who comes into your surrounding, that he is actually getting Krishna-consciousness as it is. Because in this way you will really be blessed by the gift Srila Prabhupada has come to give in this world. Jay Srila Prabhupada, Jay Srila Guru Maharaja, Vaishnava vrinda ki jay, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu ki jay, Srimad Bhagavatam ki jay, all the assembled Vaishnavas in Vrindavan kartik 2000 ki jay, Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha ki jay, Gaurapremanande ! Haribol !

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