Rasa-graha; One Who Has Tasted the Sweetness of the Lord

Lotus Feet

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There are so many beautiful verses in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and I guess everyone has his favorite. I think the following verse and purport is perhaps my very favorite, because it speaks directly to me.

My dear Vyāsa, even though a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again.

A devotee of the Lord automatically becomes uninterested in the enchantment of material existence because he is rasa-graha, or one who has tasted the sweetness of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

…even though he falls down, a devotee is never to be considered the same as a fallen karmī. A karmī suffers the result of his own fruitive reactions, whereas a devotee is reformed by chastisement directed by the Lord Himself. The sufferings of an orphan and the sufferings of a beloved child of a king are not one and the same.

..Such foolish devotees are sometimes put into difficulty by the Lord Himself. As a special favor, He may remove all material paraphernalia. By such action, the bewildered devotee is forsaken by all friends and relatives, and so he comes to his senses again by the mercy of the Lord and is set right to execute his devotional service.

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The Perfection of Human Life

human body

…The perfection of human life is attained by following three principles of civilization: protecting the cows, maintaining the brahminical culture and, above all, becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. Without becoming a devotee of the Lord, one cannot perfect one’s human life. The perfection of human life is to be elevated to the spiritual world, where there is no birth, no death, no disease and no old age. That is the highest perfectional aim of human life. Without this aim, any amount of material advancement in so-called comforts can only bring the defeat of the human form of life. (from purport SB 3.3.28)

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Qualities of a Vaiṣṇava Devotee of the Lord

Krishna and His Pure Devotee Srila Prabhupada

I like this picture very much and it became my meditation this morning. I began to think what it was, that first attracted me to Srila Prabhupada and the Hare Krishna Movement, or Krsna Consciousness. And it was the idea of becoming a better person, that first attracted me.

…Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods, whereas the nondevotee, however advanced he may be in material qualifications by education and culture, lacks in godly qualities (from purport Bg. 1.28)

Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, says that all good qualities become manifest in the body of a Vaiṣṇava and that only by the presence of these good qualities can one distinguish a Vaiṣṇava from a non-Vaiṣṇava. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja lists the following twenty-six good qualities of a Vaiṣṇava: (1) He is very kind to everyone. (2) He does not make anyone his enemy. (3) He is truthful. (4) He is equal to everyone. (5) No one can find any fault in him. (6) He is magnanimous. (7) He is mild. (8) He is always clean. (9) He is without possessions. (10) He works for everyone’s benefit. (11) He is very peaceful. (12) He is always surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. (13) He has no material desires. (14) He is very meek. (15) He is steady. (16) He controls his senses. (17) He does not eat more than required. (18) He is not influenced by the Lord’s illusory energy. (19) He offers respect to everyone. (20) He does not desire any respect for himself. (21) He is very grave. (22) He is merciful. (23) He is friendly. (24) He is poetic. (25) He is expert. (26) He is silent. (from purport to SB 5.18.12)

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The Symptoms of a Sādhu

Srila Prabhupada

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The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (SB. 3,25,21)

A sādhu, as described above, is a devotee of the Lord. His concern, therefore, is to enlighten people in devotional service to the Lord. That is his mercy. He knows that without devotional service to the Lord, human life is spoiled. A devotee travels all over the country, from door to door, preaching, “Be Kṛṣṇa conscious. Be a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Don’t spoil your life in simply fulfilling your animal propensities. Human life is meant for self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” These are the preachings of a sādhu. He is not satisfied with his own liberation. He always thinks about others. He is the most compassionate personality towards all the fallen souls. (from purport)

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Sanātana Gosvāmī

Sanatana Goswami

This morning I was inclined to do a post about the special mercy of the devotee of the Lord, by whose mercy one can make spiritual advancement. So we chose the chapter from “Teachings of Lord Caitanya” entitled “Sanātana Gosvāmī”

The instructions and teachings of Lord Caitanya are very important for people in general. He teaches the process of devotional service, which is the constitutional occupation of every living entity, for it is every man’s duty to advance in spiritual science. Many subjects were thoroughly discussed in the talks between Lord Caitanya and Sanātana Gosvāmī. Due to the mercy of Lord Caitanya, Sanātana was able to put important questions before Him, and these questions were replied to properly.

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, by whose mercy even a person in the lowest form of life can find direction in transcendental devotional service to the Lord.” (Cc. Madhya 20.1)

…when Sanātana entered the courtyard, Lord Caitanya hurriedly came to see and embrace him. When the Lord embraced him, Sanātana became overwhelmed with spiritual ecstasy, and he said, “My dear Lord, please do not touch me.” But both of them embraced each other and began to cry. Seeing Sanātana and Lord Caitanya acting thus, Candraśekhara was struck with wonder. At length, Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked Sanātana to sit down with Him on a bench. He was touching the body of Sanātana with His hand, and Sanātana asked Him again, “My dear Lord, please do not touch me.”

“I am touching you just for My purification,” the Lord replied, “for you are a great devotee. By your devotional service you can deliver the whole universe and enable everyone to go back to Godhead.”

The Lord proceeded to quote a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to the effect that a person who is a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa and is one hundred percent engaged in devotional service is far better than a brāhmaṇa who is versed in all the Vedic literatures but who does not engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Because he is carrying the Supreme Lord within his heart, the devotee can purify everyplace and everything.

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Everyone is Eligible for the Supreme Destination

Krishna leaves Hastinipur

This I found this extremely interesting from my reading this morning, how even the prostitutes some 5,000 years ago in the time of Lord Krsna were accepted as necessary citizens for the proper upkeep of society. They were not condemned by the Lord, but rather He greeted them with the proper etiquette. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita… “even the low-born caṇḍālas and those who are born in a family of unbelievers, and even the prostitutes, shall attain perfection of life if they take shelter of unalloyed devotional service to Me, because in the path of devotional service there are no impediments due to degraded birth and occupation. The path is open for everyone who agrees to follow it.”

At the same time, many hundreds of well-known prostitutes began to proceed on various vehicles. They were all very eager to meet the Lord, and their beautiful faces were decorated with dazzling earrings, which enhanced the beauty of their foreheads.(SB 1.11.19)

…We may not hate even the prostitutes if they are devotees of the Lord. Even to date there are many prostitutes in great cities of India who are sincere devotees of the Lord. By tricks of chance one may be obliged to adopt a profession which is not very adorable in society, but that does not hamper one in executing devotional service to the Lord. Devotional service to the Lord is uncheckable in all circumstances.

Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, a great ācārya of the Viṣṇusvāmī Vaiṣṇava sect, in his householder life was overly attached to a prostitute who happened to be a devotee of the Lord. One night when the Ṭhākura came to Cintāmaṇi’s house in torrents of rain and thunder, Cintāmaṇi was astonished to see how the Ṭhākura could come on such a dreadful night after crossing a foaming river which was full of waves. She said to Ṭhākura Bilvamaṅgala that his attraction for the flesh and bone of an insignificant woman like her would be properly utilized if it could be diverted to the devotional service of the Lord to achieve attraction for the transcendental beauty of the Lord. It was a momentous hour for the Ṭhākura, and he took a turn towards spiritual realization by the words of a prostitute. Later on the Ṭhākura accepted the prostitute as his spiritual master, and in several places of his literary works he has glorified the name of Cintāmaṇi, who showed him the right path. (SB 1.11.19 Purport)

It is clearly declared by the Supreme Lord, that in devotional service, there is no distinction between the lower or higher classes of people. In the material conception of life, there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord, there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination. (Bg 9.32 Purport)

In the second part of the post there is a conversation with Allen Ginsberg on the life of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura

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