The following is a transcription of a morning walk discussion with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Alachua, USA on May 28, 2001


Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: There are two Lakṣmīs. One is very near and dear to Nārāyaṇa, and Her carrier is Garuḍa. She rides on Garuḍa with Nārāyaṇa. The shadow of that Lakṣmī is the deity of wealth, and she rides on an owl carrier. Why? Owls cannot see during the day. That Lakṣmī, on that carrier, goes to any bad, unqualified, lusty, or wicked person. She may go anywhere. And, if she will go to any qualified person, she will make him blind. He will not be able to see anything that is paramārtha, that which is transcendental. Those who are very wealthy will always be blind, and that shadow of Lakṣmī will take him here and there. The fact that you are worshipping wealth shows that you are fond of that owl. However, if that wealth comes to you, you will become blind. We should always be careful about these things.

Devotee: Gurudeva, you gave me the name Lakṣmī-pati. What about this?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja:  That was your name before, and you wanted to keep it. That is why I have kept it. Otherwise, I would not have done so.

Mahā-buddhi dāsa: This is Sudarśana Prabhu. He has come from Miami.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Where are you from originally?

Sudarśana dāsa: Guyana.

Rāmeśa dāsa: It is in South America, near Trinidad. In Guyana, 70% of the population is Indian, and in Trinidad, too.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Have you been initiated by anyone?

Mahā-buddhi dāsa: He has come to hear from you.

Sudarśana dāsa: I was initiated when I was twelve, but I don’t know if it was from any sampradāya or not.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Why don’t you take initiation here and be in our line and be happy forever? You are Indian and I am also. So we should be in one line. You should have some relationship with us; you can become advanced in bhakti in the future.

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: He has been very carefully studying the Bhagavad-gītā for many years. He has been studying himself with no guidance from anyone.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This will not be enough. Do you remember one śloka, tad viddhi ?

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

(Bhagavad-gītā 4.34)

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.]

Sudarśana dāsa: I don’t recall so many. I just read it.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do you remember the name of your father?

Sudarśana dāsa: Yes.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: How can you remember this? This shows that your remembrance is there. You have the capacity to remember. What is the purport of the whole Gītā? Can you say? What have you learned from Gītā?

Sudarśana dāsa: I am just reading it off and on.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You should know. If you are in high-class association, they can tell you the purport of the Gītā. Very easily, in one second, they can tell you.

(To the other devotees) What are the symptoms of a madhyama-adhikārī Vaiṣṇava? I will give you a very big slap if you don’t answer.

Rāmeśa dāsa: He has very strong faith in his spiritual master, and he follows higher class Vaiṣṇava uttama-adhikārīs.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Bogus answer. You?

Kṛṣṇa-bhajana dāsa: He sees the different gradations of devotees. He sees the innocent, and he preaches to them; he sees those who are envious and avoids them; he associates and inquires confidentially with devotees of equal qualification, and he sees the uttama-adhikārī and surrenders his life completely and follows under his guidance.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: More?

Vrajendranandana dāsa: I was going to say that they are completely attached to an uttama-adhikārī and always seek out his association.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I am asking about the madhyama-adhikārī. What are his symptoms?

Vrajendra-nandana dāsa: They can discriminate between the different categories of devotees and always seek the association of the uttama devotee.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: More. More. I have told this a hundred times – a hundred times. All of you want to jump to rādhā-dāsya. You never think of these things.

Kṛṣṇacandra dāsa: He is expert in all forms of siddhānta and can counter any opposing arguments.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Ten percent. Ten points out of a hundred. Who can give more? Vrajanātha Prabhu?

Vrajanātha dāsa: The madhyama Vaiṣṇava has love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he deals with different devotees accordingly. He serves with his heart and soul the uttama Vaiṣṇava, he has so much friendship with those who are equal, and he listens and inquires from those who are more advanced than him about practising his sādhana and bhajana. He is very merciful to those who are less advanced and who have less faith in kṛṣṇa-bhakti, he helps the innocent, and he avoids those who are against bhakti and who are offenders.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Fifty percent. Not more than that. Not repeating what they have said…

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: No, I will not touch what they have said. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said:

śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne dṛḍha, śraddhāvān
‘madhyama-adhikārī’ sei mahā-bhāgyavān

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.67)

[“One who is not very expert in argument and logic based on the revealed scriptures but who has firm faith is considered a second-class devotee. He also must be considered most fortunate.]

The madhyama-adhikārī is very fortunate because even though he does not know all the scriptures perfectly, he has a very strong faith. Now that he is madhyama-adhikārī, his sambanda-jñāna has come. He is chanting his mantras and realizing something.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No sambandha-jñāna?

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: Yes, he has. I said it is coming now. He has thick a relation with Kṛṣṇa and he knows tattva-siddhānta: jīva-tattva, māyā- tattva, śakti-tattva, and sādhana-tattva.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: But his knowledge is not so strong.

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: It is not perfect like that of the uttama.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: But?

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: Śāstra-yukti nāhi. His knowledge is not perfect.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: But the word dṛḍha is there.

Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Śraddhāvān.

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: He has dṛḍha (not an expert in scriptural subjects but is wholly faithful) in both aspects. [Dṛḍha means firm or strong. In this verse, in connection with the word śāstra-yukti nāhi, dṛḍha means not strong knowledge. In connection with the word śraddhāvan, it means strong faith.]

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes.

Śrīpāda Araṇya Mahārāja: His doubts have gone away, and his mood that “I am the doer and enjoyer” is all going away. He respects his seniors all the time, and he follows them.

Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: When the residents of Kulīna-grāma asked Mahāprabhu about the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava, Mahāprabhu told them:

“kṛṣṇa-nāma nirantara yāṅhāra vadane
sei vaiṣṇava-śreṣṭha, bhaja tāṅhāra caraṇe

 (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 16.72)

 “A person who is always chanting the holy name of the Lord is to be considered a first-class Vaiṣṇava, and your duty is to serve his lotus feet.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Without anarthas.

Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Yes, he is free from anarthas and is always chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If he does not always have a taste in Kṛṣṇa’s name, then he is not a madhyama-adhikārī. Gradually, he will have so much attachment to high-class Vaiṣṇavas and become uttama after some time. You should try to be like that. You should know all these things and try to be at least a madhyama-kaniṣṭha. At least come to this stage. After that, madhyama-madhyama, after that, madhyama-uttama, and then uttama. What can I say if you are not doing this and only coming with me but not hearing or following? You can drag my feet also. [This expression means trying to drag a higher personality down to one’s own level.] So try to be like that.

Is that Prabhu here?

Devotee: No, I think he is not feeling well, Gurudeva. He just passed by in a car.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When Gurudeva is coming, and one does not stand and do praṇāma, then he is bogus, and he is against bhakti. He has no etiquette at all. He is bogus. If any very advanced Vaiṣṇava is coming, one should stand up and one should do kīrtana. Even if one is performing arcana, still one should stand up. It is a very big offence if one doesn’t respect Vaiṣṇavas and guru. How can one preach if one doesn’t know all the various Vaiṣṇava sadācāra (pure behaviour of the sādhus)?


Image(s) made possible by, and/or
Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Prabhupāda (

error: Content is protected !!