Book excerpts Sri Upadesamrta Upadesamrta Verse 1: Six Urges Unfavourable to Bhakti

Upadesamrta Verse 1: Six Urges Unfavourable to Bhakti

śrī śrī guru-gauraṅgau jayataḥ


Six Urges Unfavourable to Bhakti and Worthy of Rejection

वाचो वेगं मनसः क्रोधवेगं
एतान् वेगान यो विषहेत धीरः
सर्वामपीमां पृथिवीं स शिष्यात् ॥१॥

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt


dhīraḥ – a wise and self-controlled person, free from desires for material enjoyment, liberation and mystic perfection; yaḥ – who; viṣaheta – can subdue; etān – all these; vegān – overwhelming passions; vācaḥ vegam – the impetus of speech; manasaḥ vegam – the agitation of the mind; krodha vegam – the onset of anger; jihvā-vegam – the vehemence of the tongue; udara-upastha-vegam – the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals; saḥ – he; śiṣyāt – can instruct; imām – this; sarvām – entire; pṛthivīm – world; api – even.


A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a selfcontrolled person.


I first of all offer repeated obeisances (praṇāmas) unto my most worshipful śrī-gurudeva, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī, unto my parama-gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who wrote the Anuvṛtti commentary, unto my parātpara-gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who wrote the Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī commentary, unto Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī, the servant of the Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa deity, who wrote the Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā, unto Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who wrote this Śrī Upadeśāmṛta and whose only wealth is the amorous mellow of devotion (śṛṅgāra-rasa), and to his worshipful deity, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is decorated with the inner sentiment and bodily complexion of Śrī Rādhā. Falling at their feet again and again, I am beginning this translation of the Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā.


by Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī

Let there be all victory for Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa. I offer prayers unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is accompanied by the unfettered ascetic (avadhūta) Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, the identical manifestation of Śrī Baladeva, by Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the incarnation of Mahā-Viṣṇu, by His potencies such as Śrī Gadādhara and by His associates like Śrīvāsa. I take shelter of that Mahāprabhu, who is the fountainhead of all potencies of the world. I offer prayers with great respect and affection unto Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, whose entire wealth is śṛṅgāra-rasa. This means that the sole purpose of his life is to describe śṛṅgāra-rasa, also known as unnatojjvala-prema-rasa, the highest and most radiant divine love of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He is always immersed in the service of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. He has purified all the living entities of this world by giving instructions on the methodology by which this type of prema may be obtained. I offer praṇāma unto Śrī Gopāla-bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who is very merciful to the destitute and wretched living entities, who are enamoured with the external energy. I offer praṇāma once more unto the ocean of mercy Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the incarnation who sanctifies this Kali-yuga, who distributes śrī-harināma and love of God (bhagavat-prema) and who delivers the souls (jīvas) of this Earth. I offer prayers unto Śrī Gopīnātha dāsa, a disciple of Śrī Gopāla-bhaṭṭa and servant of Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa, who has benedicted innumerable living entities by bestowing śrī gaura-bhakti. I offer praṇāma unto my gurudeva, Śrī Jīvana-lāla, of whom I am the grandson and servant. Offering praṇāma unto all of them, I am beginning this brief explanation of the verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, written by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī for the benefit of the sādhakas.

In Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined uttama-bhakti as the cultivation of activities for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed with a favourable mood, which is devoid of all other desires and which is not covered by knowledge aiming at the oneness of the jīvas with the Lord (jñāna) or by activity not meant exclusively for the Lord’s pleasure (karma). How can such uttama-bhakti manifest in persons whose hearts are filled with shortcomings such as lust and anger? In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:

śokāmarṣādibhir bhāvair
ākrāntaṁ yasya mānasam
kathaṁ tatra mukundasya
sphūrti-sambhāvanā bhavet

How can Śrī Mukunda ever be manifest to a person whose heart is invaded by lamentation, anger and other agitations?

The purport of this statement is that when contaminations such as lust, anger and greed arise within the mind, the six overwhelming passions mentioned in the original verse cause the mind to become thoroughly engrossed in fleeting objects of sensual gratification. The cultivation of unalloyed bhakti is never possible in such a contaminated heart. Therefore the instruction is given here to subdue these passions, which impede the development of bhakti. The sādhaka who can tolerate these passions can instruct the entire world. The conclusion is that a sādhaka who has conquered his senses and subdued these passions can purify all the jīvas of the world by his resolute and pure uttama-bhakti. Everyone may become the disciple of such a great personality.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.24) it is said:

vāg gadgadā dravate yasya cittaṁ
rudaty abhīkṣṇaṁ hasati kvacic ca
vilajja udgāyati nṛtyate ca
mad-bhakti-yukto bhuvanaṁ punāti

My dear Uddhava, My devotee whose voice becomes choked up with prema, whose heart softens and begins to flow with spiritual emotion, who cannot cease from crying even for an instant, who sometimes bursts into laughter, sometimes begins to sing very loudly, abandoning all shyness, and sometimes dances, purifies not only himself but the entire world.

It is essential to note here that by subduing the six passions described already, what is obtained is merely the qualification to enter the realm of bhakti. These are not direct limbs of devotional practice (sādhana-bhakti) but, rather, the doorway through which one may enter the realm of bhakti. Because bhakti is the self-manifest function of the Lord’s internal potency (svarūpa-śakti), when it makes its appearance these six passions automatically become pacified.


(Commentary in the form of a nectarean shower)

by Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

śrī godruma-candrāya namaḥ

Obeisance unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the moon of Śrī Godruma.

yat kṛpā-sāgarodbhūtam
upadeśāmṛtaṁ bhuvi
śrī-rūpena samānītaṁ
gauracandraṁ bhajāmi tam

I worship Śrī Gauracandra, the ocean of mercy from which arose a stream of nectar collected by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and brought forth in this world as Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

natvā grantha-praṇetāraṁ
ṭīkā-kāraṁ praṇamya ca
mayā viracyate vṛttiḥ

Bowing down with great humility, I offer praṇāma unto the author of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, and unto the commentator, Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī. Thus I begin this commentary, which is an offering of nectar.

jñāna-karmādy anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11)

The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas), which is not covered by knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation (jñāna) or by reward-seeking activity (karma), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.

Adopting all those things mentioned in the above verse as favourable and renouncing all that is unfavourable, one adopts the cultivation of activities meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is this cultivation, or bhagavad-anuśīlana, which is the primary objective of persons intent on bhajana. The acceptance of that which is favourable and the rejection of that which is unfavourable are not direct limbs (aṅgas) of śuddha-bhakti. Rather, they are aspects of that faith which is characterised by surrender (śaraṇāgati), which in turn bestows qualification for bhakti. This is expressed as follows in the Vaiṣṇava-tantra (quoted in Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 236)):

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ
prātikūlyasya varjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso
goptṛtve varaṇaṁ thatā
ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ

There are six symptoms of self-surrender: (1) Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpa – fully surrendered sādhakas should accept only those things that are favourable for prema-bhakti. (2) Prātikūlya-vivarjana – they should completely reject those things that are unfavourable to prema-bhakti. (3) Rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāsa – they have firm faith that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is their only protector, that there is no protector other than Kṛṣṇa, and that one cannot obtain protection by any other activity. (4) Goptṛtve varaṇa – surrendered devotees have absolutely no doubt that Kṛṣṇa is their only guardian and maintainer. (5) Ātma-nikṣepa – offering the self to the Lord is expressed in this attitude: “I am incapable of doing anything independently. Unless Kṛṣṇa desires, no one can do anything.” Devotees who have no other resort (ātma-nikṣepa) have this kind of faith. (6) Kārpaṇya – humility is expressed as follows: “I am very fallen and insignificant.” Unalloyed devotees are possessed of this very firm and simple faith. To possess all these attitudes is called śaraṇāgati.

In this verse the instruction is given to abandon that which is unfavourable. One who is able to tolerate the overwhelming passions of speech, mind, anger, tongue, belly and genitals can instruct the entire world. In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:

śokāmarṣādibhir bhāvair
ākrāntaṁ yasya mānasam
kathaṁ tatra mukundasya
sphūrti-sambhāvanā bhavet

How can Śrī Mukunda ever be manifest to a person whose heart is invaded by lamentation, anger and other agitations?

The purport of this verse is that lust, anger, greed, illusion, intoxication, envy and other irritations always arise within the mind and thus attract the mind towards material sense objects. This is effected through six agencies: (1) by the urge to speak or the use of words that create distress for others; (2) by the agitation of the mind or the innumerable desires and plans fabricated within the mind; (3) by anger or the use of harsh words; (4) by the vehemence of the tongue or the greed to relish six kinds of taste, namely sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty and astringent; (5) by the urge of the belly or the drive to eat more than necessary; and (6) by the agitation of the genitals or the desire for cohabitation between men and women. Thus agitated, the cultivation of śuddha-bhakti is not possible. In order to make the hearts of those who are pursuing the path of bhajana intent on bhakti, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has composed this verse first.

The attempt to restrain these six urges does not constitute bhakti-sādhana, rather it is a staircase to ascend to the platform of eligibility through which one may enter the temple of bhakti. On the paths of fruitive activity (karma) and the cultivation of knowledge (jñāna), one is instructed to curb these six urges. These instructions, however, are not applicable for pure devotees. In the scriptures, hearing, chanting and remembrance of the names, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are described as actual bhakti.

These six urges present various types of obstacles in the immature stage for the practitioner entering the path of bhakti. At that time the devotee, by taking shelter of the mood of exclusive śaraṇāgati and by avoiding the ten kinds of offences to the holy name (nāma-aparādha), becomes fit to dispel these obstacles through the power of harināma-kīrtana and so on. The association of spotless saints (sādhus) plays a very significant role in this matter. The Padma Purāṇa says:

śrutvāpi nāma-māhātmyaṁ
yaḥ prīti-rahito ’dhamaḥ
ahaṁ mamādi paramo
nāmni so ’py aparādha-kṛt

Those who, in spite of hearing the astonishing glories of the holy name, maintain the conception that “I am this material body” and that worldly objects are “mine” and who display no persistence in or love for the utterance of the holy name are also offenders to the holy name.

The devotees are intent on practical renunciation (yukta-vairāgya) and thus they remain aloof from dry renunciation. Therefore the regulation to abandon all contact with the sense objects does not pertain to them. When the agitation of the mind is withdrawn or, in other words, when one is devoid of thirst for material enjoyment, the impetuosity of the eyes, the life air, the hearing propensity and all other drives become pacified.

Therefore persons who have gained victory over these six overwhelming passions can conquer the entire world. The instruction to tolerate these urges is given only for householder devotees, because before giving up householder life one must first have abandoned all types of urges.


by Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda

The supremely compassionate Śrī Śacīnadana Gaurahari, who purifies the fallen souls, displayed unlimited mercy towards the jīvas, who are ravaged by the influence of Kali and averted from the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, by manifesting the instructions known as Śrī Śikṣāsṭaka. In these verses He has very succinctly propounded in the form of codes all the instructions regarding the truths of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana for the living entities. His most beloved Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī heard all these extremely confidential truths of devotional tenets (bhakti-tattva) from His lotus mouth at Jagannātha Purī and Prayāga. Not only did he hear these teachings, but the all-powerful embodiment of prema, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, invested his heart with the potency by which he could realise these confidential truths of bhakti. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī revealed these instructions in simple and straightforward Sanskrit language in his books such as Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Lalita-mādhava, Vidagdha-mādhava, Stava-mālā and others. These sacred jewels of literature are a mine of good fortune filled with the priceless gems of prema. Śrī Upadeśāmṛta is one such invaluable jewel of prema. It is a necklace for the devotees of Mahāprabhu (gaura-bhaktas). Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī collected the essence of all the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and offered it as a gift to the genuine sādhakas.

In Śrī Upadeśāmṛta two kinds of instruction are given. The first is to give up things that are unfavourable to bhakti, and the second is to adopt things that are favourable to bhakti. As long as the sādhaka fails to apply these two kinds of instruction in his life, there is no possibility that bhāva-bhakti will manifest in his heart, what to speak of prema-bhakti. At present there are many persons who adhere to various types of fabricated views, to doctrines that display only an external veneer of religion but are actually opposed to bhakti, to ideas that are contrary to the Vedas, to opportunistic views, and to the doctrines of imitationism (sahajiyā), impersonalism (māyāvāda) and other diverse and contrary opinions. All such persons fear the instructions given in the form of this Upadeśāmṛta, considering them to be the personification of Yamarāja, he who administers punishment to the deceased. But faithful persons who study and recite this Upadeśāmṛta with great love and apply it in their lives will become free from all kinds of doubt in regard to bhakti and will easily attain first bhāva-bhakti and finally the most rare prema-bhakti. Therefore, holding the dust of the lotus feet of the gurus following in the line of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī upon my head, this Śrī Varṣabhānavī-dayita dāsa, the servant of the lord of the life (prāṇanātha) of Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrīmatī Rādhikā, is setting down this commentary of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta named Anuvṛtti. The purpose of doing so is to immerse the jīvas in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was revealed by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and which was practised and preached by the Vaiṣṇava preceptors who follow Śrī Rūpa (rūpānuga-vaiṣṇava-ācāryas), such as Śrī Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī and Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.

There are three kinds of overwhelming passions observed in worldly living entities attached to material sense enjoyment: the urges of speech, mind and body. When one falls into the powerful current of these three impetuous demands, it is very difficult to gain deliverance. Falling into the stream of repeated birth and death, such living entities are deprived of their spiritual well-being. But self-controlled persons who tolerate these demands are not overwhelmed by material sense enjoyment. They are competent to vanquish this material world.

The demands of speech refer to the speculations of the followers of impersonalism (nirviśeṣa-vādīs), which are opposed to bhakti; to the logical deliberations of the resultoriented workers ensnared in material activities, which stress the fruits of action; and to all talk not related to the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa but related to varieties of desire for material enjoyment. The demands of speech do not refer to those words that apply to the service of the Lord. On the contrary, such talks should be considered as the fruit of tolerating the demands of speech. Sometimes, although one adopts a vow of silence, he expresses desires for material enjoyment and so on simply by his bearing or by writing. These are also included within the demands of speech.

The agitations of the mind are of two types: (1) avirodha-pritī – unimpeded attachment and (2) virodha-yukta-krodha – anger arising from impediments. Attachment for the faith of the māyāvādīs, veneration towards the adherence to result-oriented activity and belief in the ideas of those who have many desires not related to the service of Kṛṣṇa, are three kinds of avirodha-pritī. Mere indifference to the activities of the jñānīs, karmīs and persons possessing other desires is but the unmanifest or undeveloped stage of unimpeded attachment. When there is an impediment to the fulfilment of material desires, when one fails to obtain the cherished fruit of one’s work, and when in spite of all endeavour one does not obtain liberation (mukti), anger comes about. To meditate upon the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not a form of mental agitation, rather it is the means by which all mental agitation becomes pacified.

The demands of the body are also of three types: the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals. Anxiousness to relish any of the six kinds of taste and greed to enjoy animal flesh, fish, eggs, wine, excessive ghee, milk, rabaḍī (a condensed milk-sweet), cream and so on is known as the impetuosity of the tongue. Sādhus also avoid eating foods that are overly bitter or spiced with hot chili. Consumption of betel nut, the mixture of betel with various spices (pāna), cigarettes, marijuana, hemp, opium and other intoxicating substances, as well as onions and garlic, are also counted as impetuous demands of the tongue. Sādhakas of bhakti must never indulge in these intoxicants. One should very carefully save oneself from the vehemence of the tongue by honouring the food remnants (mahā-prasāda) of Bhagavān and His devotees. Although mahā-prasāda may be very tasteful, it is not included within the demands of the tongue. By honouring it with great faith one can conquer the demands of the tongue. But if on the pretext of accepting prasāda one desires one’s own enjoyment and cunningly relishes its taste, that is also included as the passion of the tongue. To eat very costly and delicious food items such as rabaḍī and cream offered to the demigods (devatās) at the houses of wealthy persons is detrimental for renounced (niskiñcana) Vaiṣṇavas. In order to satisfy the lust of the tongue one may become ensnared in various types of reprehensible behaviour and bad association. In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 6.227, 236) it is said:

jihvāra lālase jei iti-uti dhāya
śiśnodara-parāyaṇa kṛṣṇa nāhi pāya

bhāla na khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe

Persons who are prone to carnal pleasure and eating too much and who run here and there to satisfy the greed of the tongue never obtain Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should not wear elegant and expensive clothes, nor should one eat delicious food.

Sādhakas should very carefully avoid these things. Gluttonous persons usually suffer from different types of diseases. By eating too much, many difficulties ensue. Persons who eat excessively generally become subservient to the demands of the genitals and thus become debauchees. By accepting bhagavat-prasāda in a suitable manner, by observing Ekādaśī in accordance with the regulations and by serving Kṛṣṇa, the demands of the belly are mitigated. 

The demands of the genitals are of two types: in accordance with scripture and not sanctioned by scripture. When a person who has attained maturity marries in accordance with scriptural regulations and observes the prescribed dharma for a householder (gṛhastha) by following the proper behavioural codes for begetting good progeny, he regulates the demand of the genitals. This is classified as sex indulgence in accordance with scripture. There are many different types of illicit sexual indulgence, such as transgressing scriptural and social codes and accepting another man’s wife, lusting after eight types of conjugal exchanges and enjoying the senses by artificial and licentious means contrary to scriptural codes. Both householders and renunciant who are sādhakas of bhakti should always remain aloof from the demands of the tongue, belly and genitals.

In his book Prema-vivarta (7.3.1–4), the associate of Śrī Caitanyadeva, Śrī Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, has said:

vairāgī bhāī grāmya kathā nā śunibe kāne
grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe jabe milibe āne

svapne o nā kara bhāī strī sambhāṣaṇa
gṛhe strī chāḍiyā bhāī āsiyācha vana

yadi cāha praṇaya rākhite gaurāṅgera sane
choṭa haridāsera kathā thāke jena mane

bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe
hṛdayete rādhā-Kṛṣṇa sarvadā sevibe

O Vaiṣṇava mendicant, O brother, whomever you should meet, do not hear from him nor speak with him about mundane subjects. Do not speak intimately with a woman even in your dreams. O brother, you should give up your wife and household and retire to the forest. If you wish to develop love for the lotus feet of Śrī Śacīnadana Gaurahari, then you should always remember the example of Choṭa Haridāsa. If you desire bhagavad-bhakti, then you should not eat delicious food nor dress yourself very luxuriously. In this way you should always serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa within your heart.

Only one who is fully able to tolerate the six urges of body, mind and words that have already been described is fit to be addressed by the title of “Gosvāmī”, or one who is the master of his senses. Such Gosvāmīs are the true servants of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Those who, on the contrary, are controlled by these six demands should be called go-dāsa, servant or slave of the senses, and not Gosvāmī.

Those who are go-dāsa, servants of the senses, are actually servants of the illusory energy (māyā). If, therefore, they desire to become servants of Kṛṣṇa, they should follow in the footsteps of those who are truly Gosvāmīs. There is no means other than this. Those whose senses are not controlled can never become devotees of Śrī Hari. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.30) Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja has said:

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām

O Father, materialistic persons are simply milling over that which has already been milled and chewing that which has already been chewed. Because their senses are not controlled they are proceeding towards the dreadful hell of this material existence, repeatedly trying to enjoy that which has already been consumed. The intelligence of such materially attached persons cannot be turned towards Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa either by their own endeavour, by the instruction of others or by the association of similar materialistic persons.

 Sambandha is the principle regarding the mutual relationship between the Lord, the living entities and the material energy.

 Abhideya is the means by which the ultimate goal is achieved, in other words, the practices of sādhana-bhakti.

 Prayojana is the ultimate goal of devotional life, kṛṣṇa-prema.

 In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.1), bhāva is defined as follows: “Bhāva-bhakti is a special manifestation of the potency of unalloyed goodness (śuddha-sattva). In other words, the constitutional characteristic of bhāva-bhakti is that it is a phenomenon entirely constituted of śuddha-sattva. It is like a ray (kiraṇa) of the sun of prema and it softens the heart by various tastes (ruci).”

 In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.1), prema is defined as follows: “Bhāva-bhakti which melts the heart much more so than in its initial stage, which greatly augments the feeling of transcendental bliss, and which bestows a deep sense of possessiveness (mamatā) in relationship to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called prema by the learned.”

 The six kinds of taste are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.

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In 1975, India faced national crises as the government declared a state of emergency, suspended democracy, arrested thousands of dissidents and officials, and censored the press. The emergency period lasted from June 25, 1975, until January 23, 1977. In September 1976, the ruling party initiated a widespread compulsory sterilization program to control population growth in India. Certain groups were targeted. Over eight million men were sterilized in one year alone. Being antipathetic toward sādhus, the government mandated that all red-cloth bābājīs must be emasculated. Government leaders announced, “Sādhus are like red monkeys, only eating, sleeping, and causing mischief. They are a heavy burden and a disturbance to our country. Rather than doing work to help our society, they beg in the towns and villages and have illicit affairs with women; hence, we will force vasectomies to prevent them from creating unwanted population growth.” Mathurā and Vraja-maṇḍala were heavily targeted areas. Every year thousands of sādhus from different parts of India like Haridvāra and Citrakūṭa assembled in Mathurā to celebrate Janmāṣṭamī. During the Janmāṣṭamī of 1976 the government announced a one-lakh cash incentive for every 100 sādhus that a police officer processed. Policemen would attend temples incognito and invite sādhus for a feast. The sādhus were told they would be taken to a program where they would perform kīrtana, partake of mahā-prasāda, and then brought back. They were then escorted in buses to a local hospital where they were systematically processed with crude surgery and then thrown out on the streets bleeding. Many sādhus died because of infections or complications resulting from unsanitary surgeries and lack of medical attention. After these atrocities continued for several months, many of the remaining sādhus adopted ordinary dress or went into hiding, while others gathered together to protest. Śrīla Gurudeva instructed all red-cloth brahmacārīs to remain in the temple and only those in white would bring vegetables or water for the Maṭha. Because some of the local officials and policeman were favorably disposed to Śrīla Gurudeva and would come regularly to hear from him, there were no problems inside Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. But going outside always posed a threat. Eventually a group of influential sādhus approached Śrīla Gurudeva and requested, “Please protect us, only you can stop these atrocities.” Śrīla Gurudeva became furious because of this diabolical government policy and summoned secluded conclaves with all the sādhus in Vṛndāvana. There, Gurudeva advised the sādhus to practice their sādhana in āśrāmas rather than roaming about as destitute beggars; and he instructed them on how to properly follow the etiquette of spiritual life. Gurudeva said, “These atrocities to sādhus cannot last for long. In the beginning of Rāma’s līlā, Rāvaṇa sent many cannibalistic demons and rākṣasas to Daṇḍakāraṇya where thousands of sages practiced austerities. Khara, Duśaṇa, Tāḍakā, Mārīca, and many other rākṣasas harassed the ṛṣis—ruthlessly killing and eating them. So many sages were killed that hills formed from their bones. “Rāvaṇa sent his rākṣasas to the sages with the message, ‘You are staying in our King’s territory, therefore, you must pay tax.’ ‘We don’t have any business or agriculture,’ the sages responded, ‘how can we give tax?’ ‘You eat our fruit and drink our water, and from this your body has made a lot of blood. You can give us your blood as tax.’ ‘What will you do with our blood?’ ‘Our king will drink your blood and become more powerful.’ ‘If the sādhus are weak and not doing bhajana,’ the demons thought, ‘then our king will never be defeated, thus, we must kill them or take their blood as tax.’ “Rāvaṇa had conquered heaven, and was controlling the world, but he wanted more power and so he thought, ‘If I drink the blood of the sages, I will acquire the strength of their austerities.’ “The rākṣasas brought a gold pot, and the sages cut open their thighs and gave blood, saying, ‘Take this blood to Rāvaṇa and tell him it will destroy his dynasty!’ The rākṣasas took the pot to Laṅkā, but Rāvaṇa was not present at the time. Hearing of the curse, his wife Mandodari said, ‘Take this pot and bury it at once under the Himālayas! I will give Rāvaṇa animal blood in its place.’ “The pot was buried in the mountainous region of Mithilā where Janaka Mahārāja ruled. Henceforth, Mithilā became devastated by drought, and the women and animals became barren. Desperate to save his kingdom and people, Janaka Mahārāja consulted his brāhmaṇa advisors and planned to begin a sacrifice. While plowing the ground to clean the ceremonial area, they dug up a golden pot and, upon opening it, found a beautiful baby girl inside—Sītā-devī. Sītā was the embodiment of the sādhu’s curse on Rāvaṇa, and in due course she was the cause of the destruction of Rāvaṇa and his dynasty.” Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “Rāma went to the forest for 14 years. There He killed the demons that attacked the sādhus. And when He met the ascetics, He instructed them, ‘Your tapa-bala, strength from austerities, is lost when you become angry. At that me demons can easily devour you.’ “Sādhus that stayed in the āśramas of Gautama, Yājñavalkya, Viśvāmrita, and other great ṛṣis, were not tortured by the demons. Demonic people will torment sādhus that do not surrender to a pure guru and instead try to practice bhajana alone, without kīrtana or hari-kathā. Only those sādhus that were not under the shelter of powerful ṛṣis could be attacked by the rākṣasas. Some think, ‘If I’m alone then I can do bhajana without disturbance.’ Gurudeva concluded, “The sheltered soul who sincerely practices sādhana-bhajana, following the instruction of his Guru-pāda-padma, never falters in his spiritual practice, even if he is subjected to trial upon trial. However, one who gratifies his senses on the pretense of bhajana will surely suffer many tribulations.” The sādhus arranged a large procession to the government offices in Delhi in protest but their calls for justice were ignored. Later, a law was passed stating that sādhus must register with the government, only then would they be left in peace. The government leaders stated, “Rickshaw drivers, thieves, and rogues dress in saffron, either don dreadlocks or completely shave, and beg house-to-house. Posing as saints, they spoil ingenuous women, and thus many illegitimate children are spawned—causing a nuisance to society.” The government also began to charge a toll to enter Vṛndāvana and Govardhana. Checkpoints were set up on the roads and visors entering Vṛndāvana had to incur levies. The penniless sādhus were also expected to pay before they could enter Vṛndāvana. Violators were arrested and ordered to pay the fee. The sādhus became irate. Where were they supposed to get money for paying taxes? They complained to Śrīla Gurudeva about the situation and as a result he met with many high-ranking officials. Eventually, he registered a lawsuit with the magistrate, and by his influence this unjust regulation was terminated and the tax checkpoints shut down. Sādhus had to tolerate immense hardship in those years. Once there was an elderly disciple of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura named Govardhana dāsa Bābājī who came to Vraja to practice bhajana. He lived in an old stone tower at an obscure Ghāṭa of the Yamunā in Mathurā. One evening he was severely beaten by a rough bunch of local thieves, who stole his few belongings and then threw him in the river, assuming him dead. The dacoits of Vraja would accost sādhus in this way, thinking that they stockpiled donations from the public. Somehow the Bābā remained alive. He had been thrown face up in a shallow part of the Yamunā, and lay there unable to move because of his injuries. It was more than a day before Govardhana dāsa Bābājī was found and taken out of the water in a precarious condition. His wounds and bruises were infected and oozing pus, and his body was covered with worms and insects. Śrīla Gurudeva was called to the site, and he arranged for him to be taken to the hospital. His whole body appeared rotten, and no one wanted to take care of him. Śrīla Gurudeva called for one of his dear brahmacārīs. When he came, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Care for this sādhu, he is a disciple of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Help him.” The Bābā was senseless. His body was pale and worms were clinging to his sores. The brahmacārī removed the worms and washed his wounds with disinfectants. The doctors gave him medicine and many injections, while the brahmacārī regularly cleaned his wounds and body. Soon he regained consciousness and eventually was completely cured. As soon as he was well again he came to see Śrīla Gurudeva in Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. “By your mercy I have received new life,” he said. “I have some money in my bank account, please take it. “I did not serve you for selfish reasons,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “Just promise that you will not go back to that tower.” “I will go back,” the Bābā said boldly. “If Kṛṣṇa wants, He may kill me.” “Please stay here in the temple,” Śrīla Gurudeva requested. Despite Gurudeva’s requests, Govardhana dāsa Bābājī returned to his previous residence after staying for some time in the temple. In those days it was difficult for sādhus. People thought, “Why should we give money to sādhus? They are very rich.” Hence Śrīla Gurudeva never accepted money from people disinclined to bhakti. Most people doubted sādhus at the time and only a few people came to the temple. One time, a sādhu named Gopāla dāsa Bābājī, who did bhajana in a simple residence at Govardhana, was visited by some people who offered praṇāma and tried to give him many gifts. He did not accept their presentations, but that night some dacoits came and accosted him, saying, “You bogus old man! We saw those rich people come earlier today. How mu did they give you?” “I did not accept anything,” said the bābā. “I never do. Sometimes I accept incense and ghee-wicks to worship Girirāja, but only this.” The dacoits did not believe the poor bābā. “No!” they said, “you are lying! We know you have amassed a lot of wealth by your pretense of saintliness.” They beat the Bābā so brutally that he died and then threw his body in an old well. Afterwards, they trashed his hut in search of the presumed wealth, but found nothing. Realizing their sin, some of the group turned themselves in to the police. “We killed an innocent bābā,” they confessed. “Put us in jail. We are ready to suffer for this sin.” The police did not arrest them, and instead they left their case in God’s judgement. Later, the offenders suffered greatly as a result of their sin. People like this are great offenders to Vraja. Śrīla Gurudeva went from village to village meeting with the people of Vṛndāvana and Mathurā. He warned them, “Don’t disturb the bābājīs, they have come for bhajana. You should support them. They only need a small amount of flour and vegetables for their sustenance.” Gurudeva changed the minds of many doubtful people who assumed that all bābājīs and sādhus were imposters, cheaters, and thieves. He thus protected Vraja-maṇḍala and the real Vrajavāsīs. Śrīla Gurudeva began to print many books and as these books were distributed, people began to have more respect for sādhus. In this way, Gurudeva’s influence transformed the nature of the people living in Vraja-maṇḍala. Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )


Where will you go and hide? Anytime you pray to Paramātmā, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s followers, the Vraja-devīs, mañjarīs, sakhās, gopas, cows, peacocks, and remember, “How much love they have! How much service they do! How can I also go there and serve Kṛṣṇa!” If you have a little desire for this, then this is called service-tendency. This desire is given by Guru-pāda-padma. This steals all anarthas. Guru-pāda-padma and the Vraja-devīs clean and purify one, and fill the heart with rasa. In the summer one is dry, but when the rainy season comes there is only water, water, water. Similarly, the heart will be cooled. But first drying is necessary to clean. Chāyā-coraṁ vilāsa-bharālasaṁ. First Kṛṣṇa cleans, dries, and then waters. Who is this person? Mada-śikhi-sikhā-lilottaṁsaṁ. Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful lotus face spreads fragrance. How? Kṛṣṇa’s adharāmṛta and vacanāmṛta, nectarful voice, goes everywhere. He wears a peacock feather on His head and is the color of an indranīla-maṇī, blue sapphire. He is decorated by many jewelled ornaments from Yaśodā Mātā. He plays the flute and with this message He goes and distributes something. Anyone who hears His voice will have Him enter his heart and appear there. But first it is necessary to clean the heart. To clean hearts He arranges millions of Vraja-devīs and mañjarīs. How is ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam possible? Śreyah kairava candrikā vitaraṇam vidyā-vadhu. From where will the qualities of the vidyā-vadhus come from? How do the vraja-vadhūs serve Kṛṣṇa with their love? If a small ray of their love comes in anyone’s heart, the heart will automatically be cleaned and changed. (CLICK on the Title to read the full article)


Young people dream of what they will be when they grow up. They have high expectations, and think, “I will be a big barrister,” or “I will be a famous architect,” or “I will be a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court.” They have big hopes from their childhood. As ordinary people have greed for ordinary achievements, we must develop spiritual greed for extraordinary, spiritual achievements. If we have no spiritual greed or desire, nor any hope to achieve any aspiration, our life is only like an empty shell. We are not really human; we are impotent and like a stone or inert object.People cheat others, saying, “Mānasī-sevā is speculation.” When a baby is born, after some time it becomes natural for the baby to ask questions. They soak up information. Even before a baby goes to school, he starts inquiring from his parents about all kinds of things, saying, “Mama, what is this? Papa, what is that?”If we don’t go and pray to the Guru-varga for spiritual instruction, if we have no scent of greed, how can we be called students of the spiritual science? Are we humans? Are we trunks of wood or chunks of stone? Who are we? The soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Soul. It has consciousness, but in its perverted state, this consciousness is now absorbed in dull matter. When a ray of divine mercy touches the soul by earnest prayer, then greed arises for attaining the pure state of consciousness in love with the Supreme.Dāsa Gosvāmī is Rati Mañjarī in the spiritual world. She is sevonmukhi, always eager to serve the Divine Couple. This tendency is born naturally out of her love. She prays, “O Śrīmatī Rādhike, I am Your small maidservant. I will make a flower seat for You in the forest of Vṛndāvana. You will sit there happily and worship the sun. You will offer argha and other paraphernalia to the sun. You are sumukhi-sevonmukhi, always serving and teaching others how to serve.“I will make a jeweled seat for You. And from there, You can serve Mitradeva with the sakhīs. The sun is coming! He rises early. But He will take some time to reach here, therefore we must prepare for His arrival. O sumukhi, sevonmukhi! Be pleased with this dāsī and give her inspiration and instructions for service. This dāsī of Yours will arrange everything for the service of the Sun-god. When the sun-like Kṛṣṇa arises and comes here and accepts Your presentations, then the arrangement made by Your sakhīs will be successful. I will prepare all things for that worship. I have no good intelligence; I don’t know what is needed to perfect this worship. With Your inspiration, I will go to the sakhīs and mañjarīs and they will guide me in this service.”vraja-pura-pati-rājñyā ājñayā miṣṭam annaṁ     bahu-vidham ati-yatnāt svena pakvaṁvarorusapadi nija-sakhīnāṁ mad-vidhānāṁ ca hastair         madhumathana-nimittaṁ kiṁ tvayā sannidhāpyam Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 46O lovely-thighed one, when, employing the hands of Your friends such as myself, will You place before the killer of the Madhu demon the many delicious foods You very carefully cooked by the order of the queen of Vraja?“O Rādhike! On the request of Yaśodā Mātā, You arrange and cook many sweets, such as halavā, laḍḍu, kṣīra-sāgara, and kṣīri. I am Your Rati Mañjarī. I will take something for Kṛṣṇa and give it to Yaśodā Mātā, saying, ‘O Yaśodā Mātā, please give this to Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatījī has made this with Her own hands. It is very tasty, sweet, and helpful for Kṛṣṇa.’ ”Yaśodā Mātā gives the gopīs the chance to serve Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārānī cooks with Lalitā and all the sakhīs and mañjarīs in the kitchen of Nandagrāma. And She gives what She cooks to Rati Mañjarī, saying, “Go give this to Yaśodā Mātā.”Why does Śrīmatī Rādhārānī entrust this offering to Rati Mañjarī? Because anything Rati Mañjarī gives is completely filled with love. She is none other than the personified form of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s affection for Kṛṣṇa. Rati Mañjarī knows the process of offering the preparations. (click on the Title to read more)

Remember Gaura Nitai!

1. If you are remembering Gaura-Nitai, then there will be no aparadha in your chanting. 2. By serving the mahamantra like this, you will easily attain perfection. This is the power of gaura-nama. 3. Gaura-dhama means Nityananda Prabhu...


Everyone must progress through their own sādhana. So without the order of Rādhārānī or Her followers, you should not give this mood or wealth of vraja-rasa to anyone. Let it develop within yourself before you try to give it. Independent actions yield inauspicious results. Sādhakas who are eager to reach the service of Rādhārānī must always act under guidance and wait for confirmation of inspiration.

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