The following is a transcription of a discourse delivered by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Eugene, USA on April 29, 2001


(Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja asked Śrīpāda Gopavṛndapāla dāsa Adhikārī, one of the senior disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda, to say something in Prabhupāda’s glorification. After his glorification, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja began his lecture.)

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I offer my humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of my guru, oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and the same unto the lotus feet of my śikṣā-guru, oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja.

We have been discussing the bhakti creeper. First of all, we should know what is real bhakti. Pure bhakti is called uttama-bhakti. We must know this. Nowadays, some persons here, also in India but especially in Western countries, want to jump at once without any sādhana and without any bhajana. They don’t practice the limbs of bhakti as explained in Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu. At once they want to jump – to see naked Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Their niśānta-līlā (pre-dawn pastimes).

You should not do this; it is an offence. You should not be mad. First, you should hear what uttama-bhakti is and what its limbs are. When genuine greed comes from practising uttama-bhakti, then you can follow rāgānuga-bhakti. We do not give up the limbs of bhakti. We practice the same principles that we are practising in vaidhī-bhakti, regulative bhakti. Only some moods are changed.

Nowadays the disciple does not want to hear his gurudeva. Very rare disciples are hearing, and most think that they are the guru of their guru. This habit will take them to hell. So many think that they know everything – who he is in his spiritual form, who that person is, and who someone else is. He will say, “He is Śivānanda Sena, he was Rāmānanda Rāya, he is that person, and he is this person.” Such persons don’t want to practice practically; they only want to travel in a dream. Why not practice bhakti-yoga? Don’t follow your imagination. Your feet should be on the ground and not here and there in a dream.

If you want to practice bhakti-yoga, you should follow Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Don’t go here and there and think, “I know more than Rūpa Gosvāmī.” Don’t try to follow Kṛṣṇabhāvanāmṛta and Govindalīlāmṛta at once; otherwise, you will go to hell.

Who is qualified to hear and speak about the sweet pastimes of aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā – the twenty-four-hour-a-day pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa? Those who are first practising totally the principles of śravaṇam, kīrtanam, viṣṇu-smaraṇam, pāda-sevānam, arcanam, vandanam, dāsyam, sakhyam ātma-nivedanam, and also sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa, mathurā-vāsa and śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana. Mathurā-vāsa means always living at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Śyāma-kuṇḍa, Girirāja Govardhana, Navadvīpa, and also in Nīlācala.

If one has even a little relationship with these five principles and is not offending anyone, he will attain Vraja-prema. We should try to practice from the very beginning. If you are not practising uttama-bhakti, how can you think that you see naked Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and all these things? How can you tell everyone, “I am this”, “I am that”, “He is this” or “He is that”? “I am Kṛṣṇa”, “I am Śivānanda Sena”, or “I am Rūpa Gosvāmī or Sanātana Gosvāmī.” This is a bogus idea. It is Māyāvāda. We should first hear from our gurudeva. If gurudeva is qualified, he will first tell us about uttama-bhakti.

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.167)

Prema-prayojana dāsa: Gurudeva has ordered me to give just the outline of this verse composed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī by the inspiration of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu he gives the most excellent definition of uttama-bhakti, transcendental bhakti. It is the continuous unbroken cultivation of all the endeavours of your body, mind, words, and internal spiritual sentiments, which are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa, totally devoid of any desires other than the desire to serve Kṛṣṇa, not covered or mixed with karma, jñāna, dry renunciation, yoga, astrology, and all other kinds of philosophies which are not conducive to bhakti.

Such endeavours should be like honey flowing from a jar. When we pour honey from a jar it does not come out in drops. It comes out in one thick stream. When cittavṛtti, the tendency of the heart, along with the activities of the body, mind, and words, are flowing without any break in the service of Kṛṣṇa, this is called uttama-bhakti.

Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: As Śrīpāda Prema-prayojana Prabhu mentioned, this verse is written in Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu, but where did he first get it? He heard it from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself. Mahāprabhu had given him instructions for ten days at Prayāga. Uttama-bhakti is the uninterrupted flow of all activities performed with the body, mind, intelligence, all the activities of the senses, and the spiritualized sentiments towards Kṛṣṇa. It is only for the purpose of pleasing Kṛṣṇa, without knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation, and without being covered by the desire to enjoy the fruit of our activities.

Karma must be there, activities must be there, but those activities should be under the influence of bhakti – not covering bhakti. In āropa-siddha bhakti, karma covers bhakti: “I like arts and crafts, I like to make pretty clothing. I worship the Deity so that I can be satisfied with how I design clothing.” This is not pure bhakti because the devotee has some personal desire. He is superimposing the word bhakti on an activity he wants to do for his own happiness.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu are saying, ‘jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam.Āvṛtam means covered. Bhakti should be uncovered. It should be the controller of our karma and our jñāna. Even jñāna, the knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, gradually has to be changed to some relationship with Kṛṣṇa in one of the five rasas – like that of the residents of Vṛndāvana – in order to come to the highest platform of uttama-bhakti.

Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe and the first spiritual master in our line, has stated that ultimately one has to give up jñāna, the knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by hearing about His sweet pastimes from a pure devotee who has realized Kṛṣṇa.

Our Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Prabhupāda, has said that there are three stages. The first is ‘under-knowledge’, which is less than knowledge, and that is atheism and Māyāvādīsm. Then there is the ‘knowledge’ that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When I have that faith through the association of a self-realized soul, then I gradually come to the stage ‘above knowledge’, the stage where I realize my relationship with Kṛṣṇa as my friend, my master, as my son, or my beloved.

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

Anuśilānam means cultivation – of the physical, mental, intellectual, and sentimental activities – only for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa. Canura and Musṭīkā, the wrestlers in Mathurā, were giving Kṛṣṇa pleasure, because by their fighting they were giving Him a sense of heroism, and that made Him happy. But their activities were not bhakti. They wanted to kill Kṛṣṇa. Bhakti depends on the motivation. In uttama-bhakti, not only does Kṛṣṇa get pleasure, but the motivation is to give Kṛṣṇa pleasure. The wrestlers gave Kṛṣṇa pleasure, and mother Yaśodā made Kṛṣṇa cry, but she is the topmost uttama-bhakta. Why? Because her motive is, “I should punish Kṛṣṇa so He won’t be a thief and steal everyone’s butter, and so that He’ll grow up to have very good character.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Has anyone any question about this? Have you understood the meaning?

Devotee: In kṛṣṇa-līlā, when the cowherd boys were in the forest fire and they asked Kṛṣṇa, “O Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa save us, Balarāma save us.” Was this just their līlā? Is this going against uttama-bhakti?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No, they are beyond uttama-bhakti. You cannot imagine their position. They are beyond uttama-bhakti. They are manifestations of Kṛṣṇa Himself, and they are eternal associates. They came to this world only to fulfil the desires of Kṛṣṇa. They are playing like ordinary boys to teach us. They are above our consideration.

The gopīs, gopas, and all the associates of Goloka Vṛndāvana are above our consideration. They are like Kṛṣṇa.

Devotee: If a person is on the neophyte platform, and he is cultivating devotional service in practice and trying his best even though he is full of desires, is that considered in the class of uttama-bhakti? Or does he have to be on the spontaneous level to be classified as an uttama-bhakta?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This question is wrong. Uttama-bhakti is not for general persons. It is beyond the calculation of kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs. You are not even qualified to ask this question. Better to hear and serve gurudeva. By continually hearing, the proper questions will come. I request you to hear more and more, and first have an idea about bhakti – and then uttama-bhakti.

In bhakti, whatever you do is done for Kṛṣṇa. This is simple. This is bhakti, but not uttama-bhakti. When the two symptoms, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam and ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanam, are present, it is pure bhakti; otherwise, it is not.

You should try with all your senses and all your activities to please gurudeva, but gurudeva should be bona fide. You should continually hear, as Parīkṣit Mahārāja heard from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. In this age, you should especially try to follow Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in a practical way. You should read Jaiva Dharma from the beginning, from the first chapter, and especially the second part. Be like Vrajanātha and Vijaya Kumāra. Follow those who are really hearing everything from their gurudeva and are following. All questions are conclusively answered there in Jaiva Dharma.

We should not follow our uncontrolled minds. We should try to follow Vrajanātha and Vijaya Kumāra — how they were hearing and how they were totally engaged. Transcendental realization was coming into their hearts. If you are not fully hearing from your gurudeva and are engaged in many speculations, you cannot follow bhakti. You must first hear what the two disciples heard from their gurudeva.

Whatever Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī heard from Svarūpa Dāmodara, he practised, and what he heard from Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he also practised – he didn’t speculate. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī was totally following Svarūpa Dāmodara. Once, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī told Svarūpa Dāmodara, “I want to take guidance from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” Mahāprabhu told him, “I have placed you in the hands of your śikṣā-guru, Svarūpa Dāmodara, and I Myself am hearing his very sweet hari-kathā. However, if you still have some desire to hear from Me, then:

grāmya-kathā nā śunibe, grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe
bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 6.236)

[“Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely.”]

 amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 6.237)

[“Do not expect honour, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and within your mind render service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana.”]

How was Raghunātha dāsa maintaining his life? We should maintain our lives as he did, and then bhakti will come. If it is not coming, and we are only following our minds’ imagination, it will not come. Always hear first from your gurudeva, and then remember and follow what he has told you.

Follow what has been told in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Do not try to meditate on svārasikī-līlā. When you become qualified you can first meditate on mantra-mayī upāsanā (meditation and worship of a specific līlā), like Dāmodara-līlā. Each līlā is mantra-mayī upāsanā, but when all the līlās are continuing in a chain, from morning to morning, then it is svārasikī-līlā. This is only for the high-class devotee.

Here, we are discussing bhaktilatābīja. The sādhaka is here in this world. Where? In Vṛndāvana. If he is not physically there, then he is there by mind, but to be there by the body is better. Always be in Vṛndāvana, like Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī and others. You can also be in Navadvīpa or Nīlācala with Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You must be there, chanting the holy names continuously, like the honey that pours in an unbroken line – day and night. The sādhaka is here in this world, and he is hearing from gurudeva – not speculating.

You must note down in your heart what you have heard from gurudeva. What Śukadeva Gosvāmī heard from his gurudeva, he told Parīkṣit Mahārāja. He told nothing else, nothing from his imagination. We should think in a continuous line, without interruption, only of what we have heard from gurudeva.

The sādhaka is here in this world. And what is he doing?

kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-
bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā
nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya
prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.105)

[“When transcendental devotional service, by which love for Kṛṣṇa is attained, is executed by the senses, it is called sādhana-bhakti, or the regulative discharge of devotional service. Such devotion eternally exists within the heart of every living entity. The awakening of this eternal devotion is the potentiality of devotional service in practice.”]

What is sādhana? We should not follow our uncontrolled minds. Kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya. Kṛṣṇa has given everything in your constitutional body. Everyone has a transcendental body, and in this constitutional form, we have some relation with Kṛṣṇa. However, that is covered with māyā, and we have forgotten all these things. Let us hear about this from gurudeva and then practice uttama-bhakti.

You should know that the transcendental names and pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are all transcendental. Our body, senses, tongue, and ears are material. They can never reach transcendence. There is only one process by which they can touch it. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has revealed in his commentary on Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam how our material minds, ears, and senses can be tadātmā (one in quality), in oneness, with that transcendental realm. By praying, praying, praying to the lotus feet of gurudeva and Kṛṣṇa, they will come, and they will be tadātmā with our tongue, our ears, our senses, and hearts. Then we can have some relationship.

You should try to realize what I have said, otherwise you cannot develop properly. You will be a sahajiyā, sakhībhekī and Māyāvādī. Don’t be like that. Always follow your gurudeva. He is very powerful. This applies to your Śrīla Prabhupāda – Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja – and also to those in his line. It applies to me also. Try to follow. Don’t obey your uncontrolled mind.

Puṇḍarīka dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva is telling us about the process of śuddha-bhakti regarding the words:

kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-
bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā
nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya
prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā

This verse explains the actual process of bhakti.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written this point in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, in the very beginning, just after the definition of uttama-bhakti.

Puṇḍarīka dāsa: The actual process of bhakti is very simple. One does not need to speculate or invent any new methods. One simply has to tune one’s heart, endeavours, senses, and each atom with the words of gurudeva and other authoritative Vaiṣṇavas. As we heard at the beginning of the lecture, all their endeavours should be focused on one point. Nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā. With all the endeavours of hearing, chanting, and remembering, the goal is that I want to manifest that eternal relation which is dormant in my heart. Bhakti is eternal. It is not something which is present at one point in time, and therefore, by my endeavours, it will manifest. That would mean that bhakti is something temporary.

Bhakti is eternal, nityā; by making these endeavours, it will awaken. It is already there, and it will awaken.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Transcendental moods are beyond the limit of matter. Our tongue cannot touch the pure transcendental name, our ears cannot hear transcendental words, our mind cannot think about transcendental Kṛṣṇa or His pastimes. Then how can we connect with it? You should hear very patiently.

Prema-prayojana dāsa: First, it must be firmly established in our hearts. Ataḥ śrīkṛṣṇanāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes are all beyond the jurisdiction of the senses.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When you think, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa is very beautiful, and if He is naked, He is still more beautiful, and His feet are very beautiful,” it is your material idea. There is a process by which we can touch that transcendental realm; however, we should adopt that process by practising. Don’t use your uncontrolled mind. This is a very good point; you should try to realize it.

Prema-prayojana dāsa: Mahāprabhu explains that the transcendental subject matter never comes under the jurisdiction of the material mind, senses, and perceptions. On the one hand, we have to chant Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes, but on the other hand, the material senses cannot touch this. How, then, can we come in the line of bhakti?

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains that we should first do sādhana-bhakti. What is that sādhana-bhakti? Kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā. Kṛti-sādhyā means that you are using your senses. Your hearing, chanting, and remembering are coming from the senses. It is an affair of the senses. But what is bhakti? Bhakti is not an affair of the senses. Bhakti is the vṛtti, the function, of svarūpa-śakti – especially the essence of samvit and hlādinī – Kṛṣṇa’s knowledge potency, samvit, and Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency, hlādinī. When they are mixed together, this is called bhakti.

Bhakti is śuddhasattvaviśeṣātmā. This is called bhāva-bhakti, and it is the aim and object of our bhakti. First, the devotee should understand why I am doing everything. Why am I hearing? Why am I chanting? Why am I remembering? Oh, it is only to realize this transcendental bhakti.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: A boy’s father and mother wanted him to be educated, so they sent him to school. When they brought him, he wept and cried out, “I will not go to school! I will not read!” However, the father and mother were very expert, and he was admitted. The teachers were experts, telling him, “Oh, this boy is very intelligent. Good boy! Good boy! Bring a red book for him.”

One of the teachers showed the boy a picture of a very reddish apple and told him, “A is for apple. Just see the picture of this apple.” There was also a picture of a very colourful ball, and the teacher said, “B is for the ball.” There was also a cat and a dog, and so many things. The boy only saw them in pictures in a very shiny reddish book. The teacher said, “I have admitted you to this school. You see A, apple. You should read B, ball; C, cat; D, dog.” Later the teacher said, “You have passed all the exams. You are very smart.”

The boy then returned to his home, and he was very happy. He told his mother, “I studied so many things. Now I am a student. Mother, when will I again go to school?” His mother replied, “Oh, tomorrow, tomorrow.” Now the boy was ready to go to school, and he thought, “I am a student.” Actually, though, he was not yet a student.

Similarly, in the beginning, gurudeva initiates a devotee and tells him, “You should chant the name, and you should hear hari-kathā,” but actually, none of his senses touches those things. He is not educated, and he is not even a student. He is only going and coming and seeing pictures.

Here is another example: The guru tells his disciples, “Today we will hold a fire sacrifice. Bring some ghee and pañcāmṛtam. Bring some dried fruits, bring some bricks, sand, and many mango leaves, and bring this and that.” The disciples then bring the paraphernalia. Is this their participation in the fire sacrifice?

What is the fire sacrifice? It is only the offering of oneself to Kṛṣṇa: “Oṁ kṛṣṇāya namaḥoṁ kṛṣṇāya svāhā, oṁ rādhikāyā svāhā.” I have heard that the carrying of the paraphernalia ‘is’ the fire sacrifice, but we say that it will help with the fire sacrifice.

In this way, although you are hearing and chanting, you are not related to Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental name and pastimes because your senses are all material. Uttama-bhakti is performed by the transcendental mind, transcendental senses, and transcendental hands and feet. What are we doing?

We use these material ears, material minds, material everything, and at that time, we are hearing gurudeva and addressing him, “O Gurudeva!” At that time, gurudeva says to us, “Oh, very good boy! Very good boy! You are a very good student and a very good devotee!” But really we are not devotees. When we are using these material senses, bodies, hands, and so on, performing arcana with these hands and seeing the Deity with material eyes is not actually arcana. This is not uttama-bhakti. By doing so, however, gradually, by the mercy of gurudeva and Kṛṣṇa, a fraction of transcendental bhakti descends.

By the mercy of gurudeva and Kṛṣṇa, svarūpa śaktisamvit and hlādinī – will come into your heart, and they will become tadātmā with these senses, body, and mind. The example is given of the iron rod. On its own, it cannot burn. However, if you put it in a fire it will become red-hot, and if you will touch it, you will be burnt. What burns? The fire. Iron cannot burn, but here iron is one with the fire. Just as fire has some power, so this fraction of bhakti has some power to be one with our senses. When, by this process, bhakti will come, then you will gradually have all transcendental things.

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17.136)

[‘Therefore material senses cannot appreciate Kṛṣṇa’s holy name, form, qualities and pastimes. When a conditioned soul is awakened to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and renders service by using his tongue to chant the Lord’s holy name and taste the remnants of the Lord’s food, the tongue is purified, and one gradually comes to understand who Kṛṣṇa really is.’]

What is sevonmukha? To serve gurudeva, harināma, mahāprasādam, and hari-kathā. Don’t eat anything. Rather, you should serve mahāprasādam. Mahā-prasāde govinde nāma-brahmaṇi vaiṣṇave. You should not chant. Rather, you should serve harināma. You should not hear hari-kathā. Your senses cannot hear it. It is, therefore, better that you serve hari-kathā.

In this way, transcendental bhakti will come gradually, and this is the only process. Follow Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s process. Then, in a practical way, bhakti will come. Don’t depend on your own strength. You should only pray. There is a śloka in the Vedas which explains how, if one is fixed in a service mood, he will become a realized soul.

nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo
na medhayā na bahunā śrutena
yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām

(Kaṭha Upaniṣad, 1.2.23)

[“The Supreme Lord is not obtained by expert explanations, by vast intelligence, nor even by much hearing. He is obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form.”]

Nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo na medhayā na bahunā śrutena. We should wait and pray, “When will Kṛṣṇa’s mercy come? O Kṛṣṇa, be merciful. O Gurudeva, please be merciful to me.” Then, when Kṛṣṇa thinks the devotee is qualified, He will say, “Now I should go and help.” When Kṛṣṇa wishes, at once the devotee will realize everything. By our efforts, we cannot do anything. Mother Yaśodā wanted to bind Kṛṣṇa, but she could not. Then, when she prayed to Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa knew it. He is Mūla-nārāyaṇa, the origin of Nārāyaṇa. At once, He became merciful and was bound by only one small rope.

I wanted to tell you so many other things, but I also thought it more important that you first understand these things. No one else will tell all these things to you. You must think about this first. This will be a platform, and upon this platform, all transcendental things will automatically come.

After this, I will speak about the sādhaka who is here in this world but whose kīrtana has gone to Goloka Vṛndāvana. What is doing here? He is sitting here in transcendental Vṛndāvana. If not by his body, he is there by his mind, under the guidance of any rasika and tattva-jña Vaiṣṇava. He is always chanting and remembering the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. All the pastimes are coming automatically, like a chain.

Puṣpadanta dāsa: You said bhakti will come gradually by the grace of guru and Kṛṣṇa. Does it also come at once?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It may come as it came in the heart of Kāliya, Aghāsura, and Bakāsura. They had not been under the guidance of any guru, but they had a special situation. Pūtanā was the sister of Aghāsura and Bakāsura, and Kāliya’s wives were very high-class devotees. Only by their mercy was Kṛṣṇa pleased. Without any other cause He was bound to be merciful.

If your guru is like the wives of Kāliya, or if you have any tendency to serve, then your gurudeva will be merciful. If Nārada tells you, “You will be a tree, and Kṛṣṇa will come to liberate you”, then Kṛṣṇa is bound to do so. Nārada Ṛṣi was the guru of Prahlāda, Dhruva, Vyāsadeva, Pracetā, and so many others. If your gurudeva is like Nārada, he can also show that mercy. Bhakti is kṛpā-siddhi. It is always kṛpā-siddhi. This kṛpā is of two kinds – the causeless mercy of Kṛṣṇa and the causeless mercy of gurudeva – but Kṛṣṇa’s mercy always follows gurudeva’s mercy. Without the devotee’s mercy, Kṛṣṇa’s mercy will not come. We should know all these things.


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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Prabhupāda (

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