The Twenty-Six Qualities of a Devotee
Sometimes I ask myself “are you making any spiritual advancement?. Are you becoming free from lust anger and greed? And are you developing the qualities of a devotee?”. So, from time to time I go to the “qualities of a devotee”, which I have listed in my sadhana notebook, and do a reality check.
The qualities of a devotee, twenty-six in number, are listed below:
1.) Kind to everyone, 2.) Does not quarrel with anyone, 3.) Fixed in the Absolute Truth, 4.) Equal to everyone, 5.) Faultless, 6.) Charitable, 7.) Mild, 8.) Clean, 9.) Simple, without material possession, 10.) Benevolent, 11.) Peaceful, 12.) Completely attached to Krsna, 13.) Has no material hankering, 14.) Meek, 15.) Steady, 16.) Self-controlled, 17.) Does not eat more than required, 18.) Sane, 19.) Respectful, 20.) Humble, 21.) Grave, 22.) Compassionate, 23.) Friendly, 24.) Poetic, 25.) Silent, 26.) Expert
1. KIND TO EVERYONE
The devotee is merciful because he is the well-wishing friend of all living entities. He is not only favorably inclined to the human society but also to plants and animals. He treats all living entities in such a way that they can ultimately become free from material bondage and go back home, back to Godhead.
2. HUMBLE, DOES NOT QUARREL WITH ANYONE
To be humble means that one is not hankering to be worshiped by others. Humility should not be artificial but honest, deep, and natural. It will develop when the conditioned soul admits its wrong attitude towards Krsna and prays to Him for forgiveness and to be allowed to always engage in His devotional service.
3.TRUTHFUL, FIXED IN THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH
The primary truthfulness for a disciple to keep his vow of following the regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds of japa every day. Also, a devotee should not perform any illegal activities and he should always act in Krsna’s interest and not in his own in order to remain fixed in the absolute truth.
4.EQUAL TO EVERYONE
A devotee sees the soul and the Supersoul in everyone’s heart and treats every living entity according to its position and in a way that is most beneficial for its spiritual progress.
A devotee, who in words, deeds, and mind is always surrendered to Krsna and who executes Krsna’s desire to the best of his ability is considered to be faultless.
A devotee is charitable because he knows that love for Krsna is the best, and he distributes it without selfish motives. His charity has no limits, just like the happiness someone experiences who got the gift of Krsna consciousness.
A devotee avoids illusory, materialistic happiness, and thus is spared from the suffering which is bound to it. He always remains peaceful, because he is satisfied within Krsna consciousness.
The Krsna conscious movement is meant for purifying the world in a revolutionary way-by hygienic external principles as well as by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra which purifies the heart.
9.SIMPLE, WITHOUT MATERIAL POSSESSION
The highest realization is to see everything as Krsna’s property. The sincere devotee is not only satisfied to see everything as Krsna’s property, but also to engage everything in a proper way in Krsna’s service.
Since Krsna-consciousness effects the heart of every living entity, the welfare work of a devotee is not restricted to a specific race, species, etc., but for the benefit of all living entities.
To be peaceful does not mean to physically maintain idyllic peace but to experience real peace in one’s relationship with Krsna. Only someone who has realized that there is nothing beyond Krsna can achieve real peace and fearlessness.
12.COMPLETELY ATTACHED TO KRSNA
Devotion to Krsna is neither sentimental nor whimsical but authorized and scientific. By practicing devotional service we can learn to surrender properly. Complete surrender to Krsna is the goal of every devotee because he wants to become free from material desires in order to serve Krsna more and more. Complete surrender to Krsna is the most important of all qualities to be developed.
When one is fully engaged in devotional service, one realizes that all one’s desires are satisfied. Thus one does not have any material desire anymore. One only desires to serve guru and Krsna.
14.INDIFFERENCE TOWARDS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
A devotee may use things in Krsna’s service but he does not become attached to or dependent on them. He may serve Krsna with millions of dollars by opening temples, printing books, etc. However, he is also satisfied when he does not have any material assets and then simply chants Hare Krsna.
The realizations of a devotee should be so profound that his dedication to his spiritual master and Krsna cannot be influenced anymore by various temptations, suffering or opposing philosophies.
There are six bad qualities, namely lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy. A pure devotee controls these bad qualities by engaging in Krsna’s service. These qualities cannot be left behind in an artificial way by can be easily counteracted with transcendental knowledge and transcendental taste arising from one’s devotional service.
17.DOES NOT EAT MORE THAN REQUIRED
Lord Krsna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that a yogi does not eat too much nor too little. This means practically exactly as much as he can easily digest. According to Ayurveda, one’s stomach should be filled with 1/2 food, 1/4 water, and 1/4 air.
A devotee is never intoxicated by material enjoyment. He reduces his requirements to a minimum and offers his whole life to Krsna. In this way he is completely balanced.
A devotee offers respect to others without expecting anything in return. He respects everyone as part of Krsna and treats them accordingly.
20.HAS NO MATERIAL HANKERING
A devotee is not attracted by material possessions which help us to gain a prestigious position. He sees everything attractive in this world as a reflection of Krsna, the all-attractive cause of all causes.
Although we lead a happy life in Krsna consciousness, we are always conscious that the material existence can be finished at any time and that the way back home, back to Godhead is not cheap. To be grave means that the devotee is constantly thinking of Krsna and the ultimate goal of life.
The essence of compassion is the distribution of transcendental knowledge. The basis of it are Srila Prabhupada’s books and the force behind it is our purity.
A devotee is friendly because he leads everyone to Krsna, who is the best friend of all living entities.
A devotee is even poetic if he is not literarily active because he is able to connect everything with Krsna’s transcendental nature.
Silence means that one only speaks about Krsna and not about material topics.
The essence of the expertise of a devotee is that he can do anything for Krsna. The best expertise is to surrender to Krsna.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada exhibits these super excellent qualities of a devotee. He is the acarya (one who teaches by example) and is exemplary in showing us how to develop the qualities in order to benefit all living beings and to serve Krsna.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!