Advanced Knowledge

Nectar of Instruction

Continuing with our series on the Nectar of Inststuction (Upadeśāmṛta), we are posting Text 10, the very important instructions given by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī on advanced knowledge of the higher values of life.

…The gopīs are exalted above all the advanced devotees because they are always totally dependent upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the transcendental cowherd boy. Among the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. Her kuṇḍa [lake] is as profoundly dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa as this most beloved of the gopīs. Who, then, will not reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings [aprākṛtabhāva], render loving service to the divine couple Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, who perform Their aṣṭakālīya-līlā, Their eternal eightfold daily pastimes. Indeed, those who execute devotional service on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa are the most fortunate people in the universe. (The Nectar of Instruction Text 10)

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Ecstasy

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is also said that such fallen devotees are given a chance to take birth in a family of highly qualified brāhmaṇas or in a rich mercantile family. A devotee in such a position is not as fortunate as one who is chastised by the Lord and put into a position seemingly of helplessness. The devotee who becomes helpless by the will of the Lord is more fortunate than those who are born in good families. The fallen devotees born in a good family may forget the lotus feet of the Lord because they are less fortunate, but the devotee who is put into a forlorn condition is more fortunate because he swiftly returns to the lotus feet of the Lord, thinking himself helpless all around.

Srimad-Bhagavatam [Canto 1, Ch.5, Text 20] 1977 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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.

Purport
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. There are certainly many instances where devotees of the Lord have fallen down due to uncongenial association, just like fruitive workers, who are always prone to degradation. But 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. An orphan is really poor because he has no one to take care of him, but a beloved son of a rich man, although he appears to be on the same level as the orphan, is always under the vigilance of his capable father. A devotee of the Lord, due to wrong association, sometimes imitates the fruitive workers. The fruitive workers want to lord it over the material world. Similarly, a neophyte devotee foolishly thinks of accumulating some material power in exchange for devotional service. 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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