Srila Prabhupada Transcript with Audio

Three Kinds of Devotees

Pradyumna: (reading) “Generally, neophyte devotees are anxious to see Kṛṣṇa, or God, but God cannot be seen or known by our present materially blunt senses.

Prabhupāda: Hmm.

Pradyumna: The process of devotional service as it is recommended in The Nectar of Devotion will gradually elevate one from the material condition of life to the spiritual status, wherein the devotee becomes purified of all designations. The senses can then become uncontaminated, being constantly in touch with bhakti-rasa.

“When the purified senses are employed in the service of the Lord, one becomes situated in bhakti-rasa life, and any action performed for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa in this transcendental bhakti-rasa stage of life can be relished perpetually. When one is thus engaged in devotional service, all varieties of rasas, or mellows, turn into eternity.

“In the beginning one is trained according to the principles of regulation under the guidance of the ācārya or spiritual master, and gradually, when one is elevated, devotional service becomes automatic and spontaneous eagerness to serve Kṛṣṇa. The . . . there are twelve kinds of rasas, as will be explained in this book, and by renovating our relationship with Kṛṣṇa in the five primary rasas, we can live eternally in full knowledge and bliss.”

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So there are three kinds of devotional stages: kaniṣṭha adhikāra, lower stage; and the madhyama adhikāra, middle stage; and uttama adhikāra. So the kaniṣṭha adhikāra means:

arcāyām eva haraye
ya pūjāṁ śraddhayahate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ
(SB 11.2.47)

In the lower stage, the devotee is engaged in Deity worship. It is not that Deity worship is lower than meditation. We don’t mean that. Deity worship is the beginning of devotional service, as it will be mentioned in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, how to approach the Deity, how to cleanse the floor, how to change the dress, flowers, how to make ārātrika. Everything in detail there are.

So in the beginning, certainly one who is not advanced, he cannot see Kṛṣṇa properly. Kṛṣṇa, when we speak of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is not alone. Just like if we speak of king, “The king is coming,” it does not mean the king is coming alone. The king is coming—his ministers, his secretaries, his military commanders, his queens, his servants, so many other servitors of the king, they are also coming. Similarly, when we speak of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa does not mean alone Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8). Kṛṣṇa is the root of all emanations. Kṛṣṇa’s energies, Kṛṣṇa’s expansion, Kṛṣṇa’s different types of energies, parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8, CC Madhya 13.65, purport). He has got multi-energies, out of which the ācāryas have taken three principal energies: the external energy, the internal energy, the marginal energy. Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation, expansion, all together means Kṛṣṇa.

So the kaniṣṭha adhikārī, in the lower stage, he thinks that he’s worshiping the Deity very nicely, he has realized Kṛṣṇa. No. Na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ (SB 11.2.47). We have to make further advancement. Kṛṣṇa does not mean alone. Especially Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, they are always with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore when we can recognize a devotee of Kṛṣṇa and offer him the respect as devotee of Kṛṣṇa, that is further advancement. In the madhyama adhikārī, or in further advancement of devotional service, one can see four categories.

īśvare tad-adhīneṣu
bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca
sa bhakta madhyamaḥ
(SB 11.2.46)

Īśvara. When we are further advanced, we do not see only Kṛṣṇa, but we see His devotees also. We can recognize, “Here is a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa.” But in the lower stage, a . . . the devotee is concerned with the Deity worship, but he does not take much care of the devotees. But when one is advanced further, he can see Kṛṣṇa and His devotee also. Īśvara tad-adhīna. Tad-adhīna means devotees. Devotees are always under the service of Kṛṣṇa.

So anyone who is giving service to Kṛṣṇa, we should take care of them also. We should offer our respect in . . . you’ll find in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, it is stated somewhere that if . . . if a devotee is coming, then another devotee who is engaged in worship of the Deity may stop Deity worship for the time being and should go immediately to receive the devotee.

So Kṛṣṇa also says, mad-bhakta-pūjā abhyadhika. Kṛṣṇa is satisfied more when a devotee worships His devotee. Kṛṣṇa says: “If one is worshiping Me and one is worshiping My devotee, then the person who is worshiping the devotee, he’s more important than the person who is worshiping Kṛṣṇa.”

Therefore in . . . in the Gurvaṣṭaka by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, it is said there, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasya aprasādād na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi. The best devotee is the spiritual master. Unless one is devotee, pure devotee, how he can be spiritual master? Spiritual master means representative of God. So who can become representative of God? Unless he is twenty-four hours engaged in the service of God, Kṛṣṇa, how he can be spiritual master?

This is also explained by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. The spiritual master is described as good as Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because the, the spiritual master is representative of Kṛṣṇa because he’s most confidential servant of Kṛṣṇa. Kintu prabhor ya priya eva tasya. Yasya pra . . .

Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ. The spiritual master is worshiped as good as the Supreme Person. Sākṣād dharitvena. This is not artificial, but in all the śāstras, this is recommended. Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ. Those who are learned devotees, advanced devotees, they also accept this, that spiritual master should be treated as good as Hari, the Supreme Person.

Why? Now . . . but the spiritual master does not think of himself as Hari. Although he’s offered the respect of Hari, he thinks himself as humble servant of Hari and all others. A spiritual master takes his devo . . . disciples as his spiritual master. That is the position. He thinks that, “Kṛṣṇa has sent me so many spiritual master.” He does not think himself as spiritual master, he thinks himself their servant. Because they have to be trained. Kṛṣṇa has appointed him to train them. Therefore he thinks himself as the servant of the disciples. This is the position. So when one is advanced, he can see the importance of devotee.

Advanced devotee never disobey or disrespect another devotee. Disrespect to another devotee is a great offense, vaiṣṇava-aparādha. Vaiṣṇava-aparādha is very serious offense. Therefore we teach to address amongst the devotees, “Prabhu,” “Prabhu,” “Such and such Prabhu.” This should not be simply spoken by the lips; it should be realized. Everyone should think other devotee as his prabhu, master, not he should try to become master.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena . . .
(CC Adi 17.31)

Mānadena. We should be always ready to offer respect to all, not only devotees, but everyone. Everyone.

Because every living entity is originally a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. But circumstantially, being covered by the coat of māyā, he’s playing like demon. But his original nature is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇera dāsa (CC Madhya 20.108-109). Everyone is eternally servant of Kṛṣṇa. But being influenced by māyā, when he gets this body, given by māyā . . . Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27), when he’s conducted by the three guṇas of māyā, he thinks himself otherwise. He thinks himself independent of Kṛṣṇa. But actually, nobody is independent of Kṛṣṇa.

I have given this example that the prisoners, the criminals in the jail, they go to jail thinking themselves to be independent of the state laws, outlaws. A criminal thinks, “I don’t care for the state laws.” But after all, for his activities, criminal activities, he’s put into the jail. So at that time he’s forced to obey the state laws. Outside the state laws, he disobeyed. But within the prison, he’s forced by punishment. Similarly, those who are defying the authorities of the Supreme Lord, they are all criminals, and they are being punished by Durgā-devī. Chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā (Bs. 5.44).

So nobody is independent of the laws of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone is under the obligation of the laws of the Kṛṣṇa. But one is voluntarily accepting and one is whimsically rejecting. Rejecting means to be under the control of māyā, and voluntarily accepting the service of the Lord means to be under the protection of spiritual energy. Daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ (BG 9.13): “Those who are mahātmā, they are under the protection of the spiritual energy.And those who are not mahātmās, durātmās, they are under the protection of the material energy.” And the living entity is called marginal energy, because he has to remain under the control or under the supervision of one of these two energies, material energy and spiritual energy. And he can select whether to remain under the control of material energy or under the control of spiritual energy. Therefore he’s called marginal. The living entity’s position is marginal, in between the two energies. So he can select. So Kṛṣṇa therefore comes to canvass that, “You are working under material energy . . .”

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
karta aham iti manyate
(BG 3.27)

Those who are under the material energy, they are pulled by the ear of the person by the material energy. Bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā (BG 18.61). Yantrārūḍhāni. This body is a yantra, is an automobile, mechanical car. Just like I . . . we are placed on the motorcar, and the driver moves us in different places, similarly, according to our karma, we are given a certain type of body, cat’s body, dog’s body, human body, this body, that body—8,400,000 species. So we are moving. Bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā.

So actually, we are under the control of the material nature. But ahaṅkāra-vimūḍha ātmā, those who are fools and rascals, they are thinking “I am independent,” “I am God,” “I don’t care for God,” this or that . . . so many. So this is called mati-cchanna, madness. The Vaiṣṇava Kavi says therefore:

piśācī pāile yena mati-cchanna haya
māyā-grasta jīvera se dāsa upajaya
(Prema-vivarta 6.2)

Just like when a man is ghostly haunted—in Bengal it is called bhute pava—and he speaks nonsense, even his father is before him, he wants to attack his father without any respect. Madman, crazy. So anyone under this protection of the material energy—more or less crazy. More or less.

It is not only our words; it is scientifically true. I know, there was one case, a man was condemned to death, and his pleader presented that “This man was in . . . in insanity condition; therefore he committed this act. He may be excused.” So the, a civil surgeon was invited to examine him, whether he’s, actually he was in sanity condition. The civil surgeon gave evidence that so far he had treated so many patients, he saw everyone is more or less crazy. (laughter) “Under the circumstances, if this man is crazy, that depends on your judgment, what to do. But in my opinion, every man is a crazy man.”

So this is a fact. This is a fact. Anyone who is under the control of the material energy, he’s a crazy man. He’s thinking, “I am this, I am that, I am this,” “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am a Muslim,” “I am so on, so on,” so many things. But he’s nothing of all this. These are all creation of māyā.

Just like if I am sitting on a certain type of motorcar, does it mean I am that motorcar? If I am . . . suppose I am sitting on a Rolls-Royce motorcar. If I say, “I am Rolls-Royce,” is that my identification? (laughter) No. Actually . . . and this is a fact. If a man is driving a very nice car, and if in his front there is a ṭhelā-walla . . . I’ve seen it. The driver says, “He ṭhelā,” as is if that man has become ṭhelā, and he has become motor. (laughter) So actually, this is the fact. Piśācī pāile yena mati-cchanna haya (Prema-vivarta 6.2). Neither he’s ṭhelā, nor he’s motorcar. He’s living entity, pure living entity.

Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is said, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). When one actually is self-realized, that “I am not American, not Indian, not Hindu, not Muslim, not man, not woman. I am spirit soul. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi,” at that time, he does not lament. Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. We are fighting with one another, lamenting and hankering due to this misidentification of the self with this body.

yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
svadhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij . . .
sa eva go-kharaḥ
(SB 10.84.13)

The Bhāgavata says that any person who is misidentifying himself with this body, kuṇape tri-dhātuke . . . yasya ātma-buddhiḥ. This body is made of three dhātus—kapha pitta vāyu—and if we identify that, “I . . . I am kapha pitta vāyu,” then certainly he’s a go-kharaḥ. He’s nothing more than a cow and an ass.

So bhakti, devotional service, begins when one is actually self-realized. Before that, sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ (SB 11.2.47). Anyone who has got the identification of this body, he is engaged in Deity worship, but he does not actually realize his self, he does not know who is a devotee, and he does not know his duty to other persons, he remains a prākṛta-bhakta. Prākṛta-bhakta means he’s situated on the material platform, but under the direction of spiritual master, under the direction of the śāstra, he’s trying to improve his condition of material existence. That is called prākṛta-bhakta, sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ.

So we should not remain perpetually a prākṛta bhakta. We must improve: madhyama-bhakta. Madhyama-bhakta means he knows what is God, what is Kṛṣṇa; he knows what is Kṛṣṇa’s devotee; he knows the people in general; and he knows the atheistic persons. Four categories of persons manifest before him. It is not that the . . . artificially, if we say that, “In my view, everyone is the same . . .” That is, of course, higher stage, paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ (BG 5.18). But we should not imitate that stage. Because we are in the neophyte stage, we should not imitate the vision of mahā-bhāgavata.

Mahā-bhāgavata does not see anyone nondevotee. He sees everyone better devotee than himself. Just like Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. He writes in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

purīṣera kīṭa muñi se lagiṣṭha
jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
(CC Adi 5.205)

So he’s not pretending. Actually, a mahā-bhāga . . . bhāgavata, thinks like that, that “I am the lowest.” But he’s the highest. One who thinks like that, humble . . .

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena . . .
(CC Adi 17.31)

He wants to give respect to everyone, but he doesn’t expect any respect for him, himself. That is mahā-bhāgavata. And if one wants respect for him, that means he’s still in kaniṣṭha adhikārī. A mahā-bhāgavata is ready to give respect to . . . even to the ant. And for himself he doesn’t any, want any respect. That is mahā-bhāgavata. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu teaches, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā. For himself, he doesn’t require any respect. Mānadena. But he’s ready to give respect to everyone, even to the ant. That is mahā-bhāgavata.

So generally, we are in the lower stage of devotional service. Just like generally, people come to res . . . offer respect to the Deities in the temple, but one does not know how to give respect to the devotee, how to help others to become devotee. They are in the lowest stage. A devotee should not only give respect to the devotee, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching. Preaching.

The preaching . . . what is the meaning of this preaching? People are engaged in material activities, and the preacher should approach them that, “You are spoiling your time, my dear sir. You become devotee of Kṛṣṇa.” This is preaching. “You are simply spoiling. You have got this human form of life, but you are utilizing like animals—eating, sleeping, mating and defending. You may be very great political leader, but your engagement is like animal.” That is the fact.

What these politicians do? They make arrangement for eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. They promise that, “I shall give you nice eating. You give me vote. I’ll . . . make me minister of food. I shall give you enough food.” Or so many things they falsely promise, or rightly promise. They know. So actually, minister or minister’s father cannot give you food. The food is supplied by Kṛṣṇa. Eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13).

So anyway, the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is just learning how to become devotee, and he is, by regulative principles, engaged in Deity worship, and gradually he’s raised to the platform of madhyama adhikārī. And madhyama adhikārī means he knows what is the position of God, Kṛṣṇa, what is the position of devotee, what is the position of people in general and what is the position of a, of an atheist. Atheists, there are. So īśvare tad-adhīna, or the devotees, īśvara tad-adhīna bāliśa. Bāliśa means innocent person. And īśvare tad-adhī . . . bāli, dviṣatsu. Dviṣat means envious. There are many persons—you have experienced—as soon as they hear something about God, they become immediately irritated. That is called dviṣatsu, demon.

So a madhyama adhikārī devotee can see these four kinds of persons: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, His devotees, and innocent persons, and the atheist class, demons. So he treats all these four classes . . . so he, īśvare tad, tad-adhīna . . . so prema. He tries to love God. He sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore his business with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is how to increase his love for the Supreme Personality. That is one business of the madhyama adhikārī. And how to make friendship with the devotees. Loving God, Kṛṣṇa, and making friendship with devotees, who is devotee. Not to become envious of the devotees, but to make friendship.

If the devotee is uttama adhikārī, he should take lessons from him. If he’s equal, then he should make friendship with him. And if he’s lower, then he should try to help him to become higher devotee. This is the business of devotee. Īśvare tad-adhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca. Īśvara, to love Kṛṣṇa, how to increase . . . yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). Simply to increase: “How I can better . . . render better service to Kṛṣṇa.” This is one business.

The another business is to make friendship. Anyone who is devotee, to make friendship with him. And other, bāliśeṣu, those who are innocent, those who are not offender, but innocent persons—just like child, simple—they should preach amongst them Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because they are innocent. And those who are dviṣat, demons, simply against God, they should avoid them. Avoid them. Don’t go there for preaching. Neither to love them. Of course, everyone should be loved, but according to the time and circumstances.

So for a preacher who is trying to do good to the innocent persons, who, one who does not know how to love God, what is God, a preacher’s business is to teach him, and not to waste his time with the demons, one who is not interested in the matter of God.

But when you are raised to the highest platform of devotional service, then there is no more dviṣatsu. No more friend, no more dviṣat. Everyone, a mahā-bhāgavata sees that, “Everyone is engaged in the service of the Lord except myself.” That is mahā-bhāgavata’s vision. But we should not imitate that. Just like I was, I was giving the example of Caitanya-caritāmṛta author, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. He’s speaking that:

jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
purīṣera kīṭa muñi se lagiṣṭha
(CC Adi 5.205)

He’s not imitating or he’s speaking falsely. He feels like that. A mahā-bhāgavata feels like that, that “I am the lowest.”

Just like Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, āmāra jīvana sada pāpe rata nāhika puṇyera leśa. He says like that, that “My life is always engaged in sinful activities. I’ve not a trace of pious activity.” Āmāra jīvana sada ape rata nāhika puṇyera leśa. “I have given so much distress to all other living entities.” He’s representing common man, but he’s feeling like that. It is not that artificially speaking. He’s feeling like that.

Just like Rādhārāṇī. She thinks always Herself as the lowest of the devotees. She thinks always. She sees always that the gopīs, other gopīs, they are better qualified to serve Kṛṣṇa, and She is not qualified, so much qualified. Therefore in Vṛndāvana, you’ll find the devotees approach Rādhārāṇī: “Jaya Rādhe,” because if Rādhārāṇī advocates for him to Kṛṣṇa, it is very easily accepted. And Rādhārāṇī says . . . if Rādhārāṇī’s pleased, then He (She) represents the devotee’s case that, “Here is a devotee. He’s better than Me. Kindly accept his service, Kṛṣṇa.” So Kṛṣṇa cannot deny. So mahā-bhāva. Rādhārāṇī is mahā-bhāva.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu displayed that mahā-bhāva. That mahā-bhāva is not possible for ordinary man. It is especially prerogative of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and who played the part of Rādhārāṇī, although He’s Kṛṣṇa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So mahā-bhāva, the ecstasies, that is not to be imitated by us, but to be aware of this fact that how mahā-bhāgavata, mahā-bhāva, they treat with Kṛṣṇa.

So generally, advancement, especially those who are preachers, they should remain on the second platform. Even a mahā-bhāgavata, when he becomes preacher, he comes down to the second platform. He does not remain on the topmost platform. He plays the part of second platform. Sometimes it is stated in the Bible, I think, that Jesus Christ said, “I had many things to say, but I am not saying.” Is it not? Yes. So actually, the mahā-bhāgavata, he has many things to say, but because he’s preacher he does not say everything to the neophyte devotees. Because they are not competent to accept that.

Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu . . . the best example is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He’s Kṛṣṇa Himself, but He’s playing the part of mahā-bhāgavata. He never discussed Kṛṣṇa’s rasa-līlā publicly. Never discussed. You won’t find any time that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is discussing rasa-līlā publicly. No. Never. He was . . . He simply dealt with ordinary persons by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and whenever there were scholars, there were philosophers—just like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī—He talks with some philosophy, Vedānta-sūtra. And when there was high-class devotee like Rāmānanda Rāya, He discussed about Kṛṣṇa’s līlā. You’ll find this. Not that with everyone He discussed Kṛṣṇa’s līlā. No.

Neither He discussed philosophy with everyone. But for the general public, so long He remained at Jagannātha Purī, every evening He was simply organizing great saṅkīrtana party. And for four hours, at least, He was going on saṅkīrtana in four parties. We have studied this thing from Caitanya-caritāmṛta, or Teachings of Lord Caitanya, that from the dealings of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, because although He’s Kṛṣṇa Himself, He’s playing the part of ācārya, playing the part of devotee.

namo mahā-vadānyāya
kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-
nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ
(CC Madhya 19.53)

Bhaktākhyaṁ bhaktāvatāraṁ namāmi bhakta-śaktikam, pañca-tattvātmakaṁ kṛṣṇam (CC Adi 1.14).

So we should follow Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the six Gosvāmīs, and gradually let us learn what is devotional service, how to execute it. Everything is very nicely explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu which we have presented herewith as The Devo . . . Nectar of Devotion, “The Complete Science for the Bhakti-yoga.” So first of all, we should take advantage of these granthas, and then gradually make progress. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore said that kabe hāma bujhabo śrī yugala-pīriti.

rūpa-raghunātha-pade haibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhabo śrī yugala-pīri . . .

Without understanding Rūpa-Raghunātha, or without going through the literatures given by Rūpa-Raghunātha, if we jumpingly, all of a sudden, try to become a devotee of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa . . . of course, our aim is to become devotee of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, but how to become Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa we must study these books, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu especially.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Haribol!

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