Nectar of Devotion Lecture

NOD Lecture in Vrndavan

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…Now our point was that how to see Kṛṣṇa in everything?… By these blunt, material senses, we cannot appreciate, or we can see, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It has to be purified… One must be relieved from all designations. So long one thinks that “I am Hindu. I am Christian. I am Muhammadan. I am this. I am brāhmaṇa. I am śūdra. I am kṣatriya. I am man. I am woman. I am black. I am white.” These are all designations. One has to become free from all these designations. That is called sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam. If you see God, Kṛṣṇa, from the Hindu angle of vision, if you see God from Christian angle of vision, then you cannot see God. That is not seeing God. You have to become freed from all these designations. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us, nāhaṁ vipra na ca nara-patir na yatir vā. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, “I am not a brāhmaṇa. I am not a kṣatriya. I am not a vaiśya. I am not a śūdra. I am not a sannyāsī. I am not a gṛhastha. I am not a brahmacārī.” Then “What You are?” Because within these eight categories, we are living. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, “I don’t belong to all these categories.” Then “What You are, Sir?”… “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa, the maintainer of the gopīs.” (The Nectar of Devotion Lecture Vṛndāvana, October 18, 1972)

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The Nectar of Devotion

The Nectar of Devotion - 1970 ISKCON press edition SCAN

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This morning I wanted to share with you all one of my most favorite books The Nectar of Devotion. I began re-reading it this morning, and feel very inspired to practice my bhakti yoga with new enthusiasm. You can click on following links to read or save to your computer the scanned version or the pdf version.

From Preface

…The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was written in Sanskrit by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. He was the chief of the six Gosvāmīs, who were the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. …The Nectar of Devotion is specifically presented for persons who are now engaged in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. I beg to offer my sincere thanks to all my friends and disciples who are helping me to push forward the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the Western countries, and I beg to acknowledge, with thanks, the contribution made by my beloved disciple Śrīman Jayānanda brahmacārī. My thanks are due as well to the directors of ISKCON Press, who have taken so much care in publishing this great literature. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

ISKCON Headquarters
Los Angeles, California

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The Nectar of Devotion Lectures

Nectar of Devotion Lectures Photo by Gurudas B18310

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..utilize everything for the purpose of Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Most scientific and authorized movement. Trying to place people in his original, constitutional position and cooperate for the service of Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

…So bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is to taste the mellow of serving Kṛṣṇa. That is the science of serving Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we have named this book, “Nectar of Devotion.” It is summary study of bhakti-rasa, the mellow, the transcendental mellow which one can taste. Everyone is tasting. Otherwise he cannot work. So yat karoṣi yaj juhoṣi. Kṛṣṇa says, “Whatever engagement you may have, kuruṣva tad mad-arpaṇam, do it for Kṛṣṇa.” Don’t take the result yourself. Give it to Kṛṣṇa. Then you’ll taste the rel…, relish the mellow, transcendental mellow, bhakti-rasa. And then you’ll be happy. (The Nectar of Devotion Lectures Vṛndāvana, October 17, 1972)

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The Nectar of Instruction

Click on link at bottom of post to download the entire “Nectar of Instruction” on pdf file.

The Nectar of Instruction
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Preface

The Krishna consciousness movement is conducted under the supervision of Srila Rupa Gosvami. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas, or Bengali Vaisnavas, are mostly
followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, of whom the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana are direct disciples. Therefore Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung:

rupa-raghunatha-pade ha-ibe akuti
kabe hama bujhaba se yugala-piriti

“When I am eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvamis, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Radha and Krishna.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in order to bestow upon human society the benediction of the science of Krishna. The most exalted of all the activities of Lord Krishna are His pastimes of conjugal love with the gopis. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the mood of Srimati Radharani, the best of the gopis. Therefore, to understand the mission of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and follow in His footsteps, one must very seriously follow in the footsteps of the six Gosvamis–Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta and Dasa Raghunatha.

Sri Rupa Gosvami was the leader of all the Gosvamis, and to guide our activities he gave us this Upadesamrta (The Nectar of Instruction) to follow. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left behind Him the eight verses known as Siksastaka, Rupa Gosvami gave us Upadesamrta so that we may become pure Vaisnavas.

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Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master

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The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was written in Sanskrit by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda. He was the chief of the six Gosvāmīs, who were the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and has since been translated into English by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

The author of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous ācāryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity. (From introduction to Nectar of Devotion)

Nectar of Devotion
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 7 “Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles”

Accepting the Shelter of a Bona Fide Spiritual Master

In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Chapter, verse 21, Prabuddha tells Mahārāja Nimi, “My dear King, please know for certain that in the material world there is no happiness. It is simply a mistake to think that there is happiness here, because this place is full of nothing but miserable conditions. Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. Everyone should try to find such a bona fide spiritual master in order to fulfill his mission of life, which is to transfer himself to the plane of spiritual bliss.”

The purport is that one should not accept as a spiritual master someone who is fool number one, who has no direction according to the scriptural injunctions, whose character is doubtful, who does not follow the principles of devotional service, or who has not conquered the influence of the six sense-gratifying agents. The six agents of sense gratification are the tongue, the genitals, the belly, anger, the mind and words. Anyone who has practiced controlling these six is permitted to make disciples all over the world. To accept such a spiritual master is the crucial point for advancement in spiritual life. One who is fortunate enough to come under the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master is sure to traverse the path of spiritual salvation without any doubt.

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How to Discharge Devotional Service

The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, or “the nectar that is derived from the ocean of devotion (bhakti).” It fully contains the complete science of bhakti-yoga, or linking with the Supreme by transcendental loving devotion. Bhakti-yoga is the highest path of attaining God consciousness, and it is simultaneously simple and sublime. It is recommended for everyone in this age.

The Nectar of Devotion 1970 Edition
By Hia Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 6

How to Discharge Devotional Service

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states that his elder brother (Sanātana Gosvāmī) has compiled Hari-bhakti-vilāsa for the guidance of the Vaiṣṇavas and therein has mentioned many rules and regulations to be followed by the Vaiṣṇavas. Some of them are very important and prominent, and he will now mention these very important items for our benefit. The purport of this statement is that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī proposes to mention only basic principles, not details. For example, a basic principle is that one has to accept a spiritual master. Exactly how one follows the instructions of his spiritual master is considered a detail. For example, if one is following the instruction of his spiritual master and that instruction is different from the instructions of another spiritual master, this is called detailed information. But the basic principle of acceptance of a spiritual master is good everywhere, although the details may be different. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī does not wish to enter into details here, but wants to place before us only the principles.

He mentions the basic principles as follows: 1) accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, 2) becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him, 3) obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion, 4) following in the footsteps of great ācāryas (teachers) under the direction of the spiritual master, 5) inquiring from the spiritual master how to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, 6) being prepared to give up anything material for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa (This means that when we are engaged in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, we must be prepared to give up something which we may not like to give up, and also we have to accept something which we may not like to accept.), 7) residing in a sacred place of pilgrimage like Dvārakā or Vṛndāvana, 8) dealing with the material world only as far as necessary, 9) observing the fasting day on Ekādaśī, and 10) worshiping sacred trees like the banyan tree.

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The First Stages of Devotion

Nectar of Devotion
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Two

We should always try to mold the activities of our lives in such a way that we will constantly remember Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Whether one concentrates his mind on the four-handed form of Viṣṇu or on the form of two-handed Kṛṣṇa, it is the same. The Padma Purāṇa recommends: somehow or other always think of Viṣṇu, without forgetting Him under any circumstances. Actually this is the most basic of all regulative principles. For, when there is an order from a superior about doing something, there is simultaneously a prohibition. When the order is that one should always remember Kṛṣṇa, the prohibition is that one should never forget Him. Within this simple order and prohibition, all regulative principles are found complete.

The First Stages of Devotion

The three categories of devotional service which Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu are listed as devotional service in practice, devotional service in ecstasy and devotional service in pure love of Godhead. There are many subheadings in each of these categories. Generally it is understood that in the category of devotional service in practice there are two different qualities, devotional service in ecstasy has four qualities, and devotional service in pure love of Godhead has six qualities. These qualities will be explained by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī later on.

In this connection, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī suggests that the person eligible for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotional service, can be classified by his particular taste. He says that devotional service is a continual process from one’s previous life. No one can take to devotional service unless he has had some previous connection with it. For example, suppose in this life I practice devotional service to some extent. Even though it is not one-hundred-percent perfectly performed, whatever I have done will not be lost. In my next life, from the very point where I stop in this life, I shall begin again. In this way there is always a continuity. But even if there is no continuity, if only by chance a person takes interest in a pure devotee’s instruction, he can be accepted and can advance in devotional service. Anyway, for persons who have a natural taste for understanding books like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, devotional service is easier than for those who are simply accustomed to mental speculation and argumentative processes.

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Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service

Nectar of Devotion
By: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter One

Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verses 12 and 13, Śrīla Kapiladeva, while instructing His mother, has given the following characteristics of pure devotional service: “My dear mother, those who are My pure devotees, and who have no desire for material benefit or philosophical speculation, have their minds so much engaged in My service that they are never interested in asking Me for anything—except to be engaged in that service. They do not even beg to live in My abode with Me.”

There are five kinds of liberation, namely to become one with the Lord, to live with the Supreme Lord on the same planet, to have the same features as the Lord, to enjoy the same opulences as the Lord and to live as a companion of the Lord. A devotee, what to speak of rejecting material sense gratification, does not even want any of the five kinds of liberation. He is satisfied simply by discharging loving service to the Lord. That is the characteristic of pure devotion.

In the above statement by Kapiladeva from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the actual position of a pure devotee is described, and the primary characteristics of devotional service are also defined. Further characteristics of devotional service are described by Rūpa Gosvāmī with evidences from different scriptures. He states that there are six characteristics of pure devotional service, which are as follows:

(1) Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.

(2) Pure devotional service is the beginning of all auspiciousness.

(3) Pure devotional service automatically puts one in transcendental pleasure.

(4) Pure devotional service is rarely achieved.

(5) Those in pure devotional service deride even the conception of liberation.

(6) Pure devotional service is the only means to attract Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, but pure devotional service attracts even Him. This means that pure devotional service is even transcendentally stronger than Kṛṣṇa Himself, because it is Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency.

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