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Three Levels of Devotees Which One Are You?

Friday, 04 February 2011 / Published in Articles / 11,083 views

By Abhaya Mudra Dasi

Kanishtha, madhyama and utthama adhikary: what are the characteristics of the three levels of devotees? In Bhagavad-Gita 2.54 Arjuna asks Shri Krishna a question aimed at narrowing down the distinctive features and external marks which could be helpful in recognizing a Vaishnava:

arjuna uvaca
sthita-prajnasya ka bhasha
samadhi-sthasya keshava
sthita-dhihih kim prabhasheta
kim asita vrajeta kim

Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in Transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?

Devotional Features

If we carefully follow further Bhagavad Gita, we can read how the Supreme Lord very eloquently describes the characteristics of His devotees but never really answers the question asked by Arjuna. This is the one question left unanswered in the epic conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. The reason is because a Vaishnava is never to be judged by his exterior manifestations. For example, the gopis were mere village girls, Lord Shiva is smeared by ashes of burnt bodies, Arjuna himself was a warrior. Shri Krishna personally came as His On devotee with the name of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The best of devotees can come in variety of forms. That is further confirmed by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Nectar of Instruction (text 6) where he compares the pure devotee to Mother Ganga. Despite the fact that her waters may appear to carry some polluted ingredients, no one should abstain from bathing in her holy stream. In the same way, if a pure devotee has external bodily drawbacks no one should refrain from following in his footsteps:

“Being situated in his original Krishna conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water.”

Following the sound spiritual intelligence of the acharyas, the wise conclusion is that a pure devotee cannot be judged merely by external characteristics. What then would be the criteria for unveiling the secret ingredient which sets apart the three progressive levels of devotional service?

Srila Prabhupada gives precisely the specifics of all three categories of devotees in the Bhaktivedanta Purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.12.17,

“Those who go to the temples of the Lord and offer worshipful respect to the Deity without sufficient knowledge in the theological science and therefore without any respect for the devotees of the Lord are called materialistic devotees, or kanishtha-adhikari, the third-grade devotees. Secondly, the devotees who have developed a mentality of genuine service to the Lord and who thus make friendships only with similar devotees, show favor to the neophytes and avoid the atheists are called the second-grade devotees. But those who see everything in the Lord or everything of the Lord and also see in everything an eternal relation of the Lord, so that there is nothing within their purview of sight except the Lord, are called the maha-bhagavatas, or the first-grade devotees of the Lord. Such first-grade devotees of the Lord are perfect in all respects.”

The Kanishta Adhikari

The basic understanding that the soul is eternal is sufficient for someone to embark on the journey of devotional service. Those who have a firm belief in this philosophy have practically realized the statement aham bramasmi. Thus the beginner in Krishna Consciousness, the kanishtha adhikari has a grasp of the sat or eternity feature of the Supreme Lord. This level of understanding has been clearly conveyed in the interaction between Jada Bharata and king Rahugana in the 5th canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

“…yet despite being criticized in this way, Jada Bharata had no bodily conception of the situation. He knew that he was not the body, for he had attained his spiritual identity. He was neither fat, lean nor thin, nor had he anything to do with a lump of matter, a combination of the five gross and three subtle elements. He had nothing to do with the material body and its two hands and legs. In other words, he had completely realized his spiritual identity [aham brahmasmi]…” (SB 5.10.6)

However, the kanishtha devotee approaches the Absolute Truth via the same vehicle of sat understanding used by the mayavadis. The kanishta adhikari platform is the border line between the impersonal and personal understanding of the Absolute Truth. This is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.9.35 Purport) where he says that the statement of self-realization aham brahmasmi is interpreted by the Mayavada philosophy to mean “I am the Supreme Lord.” Further clarification of this statement is given in the purport of Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.19, “…the so-called liberated persons are never satisfied by the repetition of the words aham brahmasmi. Such artificial realization of Brahman becomes hackneyed, and so to relish real pleasure they turn to the narrations of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Those who are not so fortunate turn to altruism and worldly philanthropy. This means the Mayavada philosophy is mundane, whereas the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental.”

What are the technicalities of the sat understanding which is the foundation for both the impersonal and personal understanding of the Absolute Truth? The aspect of the Supreme Lord which deals with the fact of eternal existence is called sat. Whoever has realized his being to be eternal automatically falls into the category of transcendentalist. On this platform we can meet both personalists and impersonalists. The Mayavadis take their realization about eternity as an opportunity to merge into the impersonal brahmajyoti effulgence of the Supreme Lord. However, those are the superior impersonalists. The others, who are not so advanced, continue to operate on the material platform. The brahmajyoti is spread unlimitedly, and the material world is but a covered portion of an insignificant part of the same brahmajyoti (SB 1.9.44 Purport).

But those who are sincere in their realization of eternity and look upon themselves like spirit souls who exist in the eternal time of “now”, they are the candidates for devotional service and they turn into the kanishta adhikaris we meet amongst the devotees of the Supreme Lord. One main distinction between the neophyte devotee and the Mayavadi is that the devotee does not intend to stay on this platform and his goal is to progress to the subsequent levels of devotional service. However, the unstable neophyte devotee can easily mistake a good material situation for spiritual advancement. Some other noted characteristics of the kanishta adhikari are that he favors the form of the Lord but he does not recognize the same devotion exhibited by others. In this way the neophyte devotee thinks that he is special and he needs to endeavor to gain humility which accelerates his progress to the next level of devotional service.

Madhyam Adhikari

The next level of spiritual realization leads to revelation of the chit potency of the Supreme Lords. Chit means knowledge. The madhyam adhikari gains access to the incessant absolute knowledge in the heart via the localized feature of the Supreme Lord called Paramatma. On this platform of realization impersonal philosophy is not allowed. But it is the real dividing point between yoga and bhakti. When a fortunate Mayavadi has realized that he is a separate entity from God, a rare transformation takes place: a jnani is turned into a yogi. But for most yogis there is underlying significance in this act. They accept that the separation from the Supreme Lord is only symbolic. The simple reason why they admit the power beyond themselves is because they intend to use it for gaining mystic powers. Ultimately, these cheap yogis aim at being transformed into supernatural creatures equal in opulence to the Supreme Lord. Far from this, the real meaning of yoga means ‘connection’ and the advanced yogis fix their mind on Paramatma. In this way they overcome the limits of the material world and can travel to the spiritual realm. The goal of the advanced practitioners of yoga is to gain liberation from the material world and go the Vaikunta planets where they can adopt a body similar to that of the Supreme Lord (sarupya mukti), live at the same planet as the Lord (salokya mukti), associate with the Lord on equal footing (samipya mukti) and have the same riches as the Lord (sarshti mukti.) Similarly, the madhyam adhikari has constant access to the Supersoul and he has already attained all the riches of the Vaikunta planets. The perfect madhyam bhakta has attained absolute knowledge because he can speak directly to Paramatma in his heart. His is the realization that the main relationship between the Lord and the living entity is that of submissive questioning. The madhyam adhikari knows that a perfect inquiry can only be answered by the Lord of the heart. The madhyam bhakta have realized that he and the Lord are separate identities but he is still lacking in understanding and appreciating the variety exhibited in the intimate pastimes of Shri Krishna.

In the material world Paramatma is situated in every atom and for this reason Vishnu is the all pervading expansion of the Supreme Lord in this world. Thus the madhyam adikari platform can be perfected in the material world without direct association with the Supreme Lord. The last, uttama, level of devotional service can be realized only in the direct presence of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. For this reason elevated devotees who preach the glories of the Supreme Lord in the material world have to come down on the madhyam platform. Like the yogis who derive their mystic powers from Paramatma, the perfect preachers of bhakti have exhibited many miracles while performing their missionary tasks.

Uttama Adhikari

The uttma platform is reserved only for the devotees. There is a mixture neither of jnana nor of yoga. Since the topmost devotional service is not accessible without the direct presence of the Supreme Lord it is available to those devotees who can think in all hours of the day only about Shri Krishna. At the uttama level, ananda, the last feature of the Absolute Truth is revealed. Bliss is experienced only in the direct presence of Shri Krishna. For this reason we are very lucky to have the opportunity to chant the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord which are non-different from the Lord Himself. Technically, we can recognize the different platforms of devotional service by the intensity in remembering the Holy Names of Shri Krishna. The kanishta adhikari chants from time to time and his chanting is mixed with material desires. As he continues to increase his faith in chanting he is turned into madhyam madhikari who has a firm believe in the Holy Name and knows that if he chants even more he will be purified from all material contaminations. Both kanisha adhikari and madhyam adhikari see some end-goal attached to chanting. The kanishta adhikari wants exclusiveness and some side benefits related to his material life. The madhyam adhikari seeks liberation which to him is the end-goal which is supposed to materialize his desire to connect and serve the Supreme Lord.

And since kanishta and madhyam devotee have not reached the topmost goal of devotional service they can be found even amongst the candidates for devotional service described in Bhagavad-Gita (7.16). The reason is because for someone to come to the perfect level of devotional service are required many lifetimes. Amongst the four kinds of pious man who are interested in devotional service the distressed is recognized as the shudra, the one who wants wealth is the vaishya, the one who is inquisitive is the kshatriya and the one who searches for knowledge is the brahmana. The first two categories technically provide the source for the knaishta level of devotional service as the latter two the madhyam platform candidates for spiritual advancement. Regardless of their origin, the four candidates for devotional service are members of the varnashrama system. The pure devotee is above the structure of society. Uttama ashikari cannot be found in the four-class society whereas the two preceding levels of devotees can still well function in the social system. The reason to stay for the kanishta adhikary is because he is still fighting with his material contaminations. The madhyam adhikary uses the social structure to preach to the fallen souls and by saving them that act helps his personal elevation.

Amongst all living entities, the pure devotee is designated by Shri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita as being very rare or sudurlabha mahatma. After many lifetimes when a devotee becomes so absorbed in the Lord that he cannot live without the Him, a devotee who thinks about the Supreme Lord at all times is called uttama adhikari. “As stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (5.6.18): muktim dadati karhicit. Shrila Shukadeva Gosvami told Maharaja Parikshit that Krishna readily grants liberation but does not very readily grant perfection in devotional service. This means that Krishna wants to see that a devotee is actually sincere and serious and that he does not have ulterior motives. If this is the case, devotional service can very easily be successful; otherwise it is very difficult to obtain from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This verse appears in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.1.35).” (Madhya 24.172 Purport)

From the platform of uttama adhikari the four rasas of servitude, friendship, parenthood and conjugal relations with the Supreme Lord are manifested. The neutral rasa is reserved for the madyam adhikaris. When a pure devotee is ordered by the Supreme Lord to come to the material world and spread the message of the Supreme Truth he adopts the madhyam adhikari platform. He understands that there will be many preaching activities which may distract his focus from direct thinking of the Lord. Externally he may be engaged in saving the fallen souls but internally he is connected and inspired only by Shri Krishna. We can practically witness how Srila Prabhupada was dealing with so many activities that on first sight appear unrelated to devotional service like banking or talking to important social figures. But ultimately all this was done with the single-minded intent of satisfying Shri Guru and Shri Krishna. The uttama adhikari who comes down to the platform of madyam madhikari knows that the highest altruistic activity is to give pleasure to the Supreme personality of Godhead Lord Shri Krishna. Arjuna was an uttama adhikary who was asked by the Lord to slay his relatives and he gladly took up the task. Or when asked by the Lord to offer protection, a devotee will do that. The main objective for the pure devotee is the pleasure of Shri Krishna.

Recognizing Devotional Level

Externally, all three platforms of devotional service may seem to operate on the same level provided we have an exclusive opportunity to meet all three levels of devotees at one place. Moreover their long-term goal is the same – to gain the favor of Shri Krishna. How will we be able to recognize each one of them? It is well-understood that only the one who is on the same level with another can recognize mutual equality. Recognizing other devotees comes easier if we follow the main instruction given by Srila Prabhupada in the purport of Shrila Rupa Goswani’s Nectar of Instruction, “The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform.” A devotee should not artificially attempt to usurp the position of another devotee who is on a higher level. Advancement to the next level hinges upon attentive sravanam and kirtanam. Overall, a kanishta adhikari tends to see himself as the center of devotional activity, the madhyam adhikari tends to try to please all other living entities and the Lord alike. But the uttama adhikari puts the satisfaction of the Lord in the center and in this way he is be able to serve everyone the best.

In practical terms there could be much confusion how to differentiate the three levels of devotees. How do the kanishta, madhyam or uttama adhikari operate? We meet all of them on their way back to Godhead. And to be on the save side we need to respect any one of them as servants of Shri Krishna by approaching them in mood of service. How exactly to approach the three categories of devotees is further elaborated by Rupa Goswami (Nectar of Instruction 5):

“One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Krishna, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation [diksha] and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that Pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others.”

And after all is said, the three levels of devotees are most easy to recognize by their engagement in the chanting of the Holy Name of Shri Krishna. It is only by the repetition of the Holy Name that one is considered to be kanishta, madyam or uttama adhikary. Kanishta chants sometimes, madyam chants most of the time and uttama chants all the time. This classification is uncomplicated.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishn Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Chant the mahamantra all the time and the uttama adkiraky level is within your reach. This chanting is so easy and can be repeated while walking, while sleeping, while doing all kinds of activities related to the material body. Chanting is not limited to any rule or regulation. It can be done on japa, silently, or while singing. There is absolutely no limit to the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord.

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38 Responses to “Three Levels of Devotees Which One Are You?”

  1. Sita Rama das says :

    Mother Abhay Mudra,

    You say the aham brhamasmi level is attained by kanistha devotees. And Juda Bharata conveyed the aham brhamasmi level to King Rahugana. I feel it is important to point out that, although Jada Bharata may have explained the concept of aham brahmasmi, he is certainly beyond that stage of realization; he is on the top most level of devotional service.
    The level of Maharaja Bharata is explained in S,B, 5,7,12 “That most exalted devotee, Maharaja Bharata, in this way engaged constantly in the devotional service of the Lord. Naturally his love for Vasudeva, Krishna, increased more and more and melted his heart. Consequently he gradually lost all attachment for regulative activities. The hairs of his body stood on end, and all the ecstatic symptoms were manifest. Tears flowed from his eyes, so much so that he could not see anything. Thus he constantly meditated on the reddish lotus feet of the Lord. At that time, his heart which was like a lake, filled with water of ecstatic love. When his mind was immersed in that lake, he even forgot the regulative service of the Lord. In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains that when one is advanced in ecstatic love for Krishna these symptoms become manifest in the body.
    Unfortunately Maharaja Bharata was reincarnated as a deer because he neglected his devotion and meditated on a deer instead. But in that body he remembered his past life and repented. It is explained in S.B 5, 14, 45 that at the time of leaving the body of the deer he remembered Lord Narayana.
    Thus as Jada Bharata he was on the platform of pure devotional service. In S.B. 5, 13, 23 King Rahugana glorifies Juda Bharata by saying that simply by the dust of his lotus feet one attains the platform of pure devotional service. In the purport Srila Prabhupada confirms, “The arguments offered by a pure devotee are so convincing that even a dull-headed disciple is immediately enlightened with spiritual knowledge.
    In S.B. 5,14,42 we read, “ Having summarized the teachings of Juda Bharata, Sukadeva Goswami Said: My dear King, the path indicated by Juda Bharata is like the path followed by Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, and ordinary kings are just like flies. Flies cannot follow the path of Garuda, and to date none of the great Kings and victorious leaders could follow this path of devotional service, not even mentally”. Thus Juda Bharata is a celebrated, exalted, pure devotee.

  2. ccd says :

    It is incorrect to assume that Arjuna asks the questions but Krishna does not answer them. The lord answers this first question in text 55 . And next to it he answers Arjuna’s second question in texts 56–57 (“How does he speak?” This question means: “How are his intelligence and words affected by another’s affection, anger or neutrality? In other words, how does he respond?”). The next question—“How does he sit?”—means: “How does he not engage his senses? What is his mentality when his senses are restrained from their objects?” Krishna answers it in the two verses 58 and 59, in the same chapter 2. Certainly this statement is incorrect:

    “If we carefully follow further Bhagavad Gita, we can read how the Supreme Lord very eloquently describes the characteristics of His devotees but never really answers the question asked by Arjuna. This is the one question left unanswered in the epic conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna. The reason is because a Vaishnava is never to be judged by his exterior manifestations.”

    While I agree that a Vaisnava should not be judged by external manifestations, it is not that it is because Krishna does not answer the questions about sthita-dhir-muni, which is a different thing. At least we can read the next 5 verses after the question before we conclude that the Lord “never really answers” something. vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijïe na bujhaya — that is the basis that is used by Prabhupada in this case, as to not try to second-guess the Vaisnava’s mind, and Prabhupada gives the source as well for this statment, Caitanya-bhagavata.

  3. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Hare Krishna Sita Ram Prabhu,

    Yes, Jadta Bharata is a topmost devotee. But in the beginning of the conversation he presents to king Rahugana the concept of aham bramasmi. Then he takes him further.

    We can notice that Srimad Bhagavatam is like the body of the Supreme Lord. The 5th canto is the middle of His body. This is the place where the conversation of Jada Bharata and king Rahugana takes place. We should also understand that although Jada Bharata is a topmost devotee there are still higher levels of devotion to come. There are still 4 cantos to go until we may be blessed to see Shri Krishna face to face in the 10th canto.

    We may think that kanishta adhikary is an ordinary level of devotional service but there are also grades in the kanishta adhkirary as well. We may consider the neophyte devotees and the new bhaktas as kanishta adhkirais but the single-minded pujari in the temple can also be kanishta adhkirary. Elevated devotion to the deity of the Lord is not easy to attain and yet this insurmountable attachment would also be classified as pertaining to kanishta adhikary.

    We should understand that classifications of devotional service are unlimited. Although there are these three basic levels of devotional service, they can be further classified by the level of purified taste and activity. Devotional service has as many classifications as many living entities there are because every living entity has its own unique way of relating to Shri Krishna.

  4. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    In answer to ccd Prabhu’ statement, “It is incorrect to assume that Arjuna asks the questions but Krishna does not answer them.”

    It is a fact that Shri Krishna never answers the question of Arjuna the way Arjuna has presented it. Shri Krishna has His own character and He has expertly satisfied the intelligence of Arjuna although He never specifically said that a devotee walks with big steps or he talks in deep voice. Shri Krishna took the question of Arjuna as an opportunity to explain the true inner characteristics of a devotee.

  5. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    One who is on the uttama adhikary platform can be referred to as one who has realized the kanishta and madhyam platforms of devotional service because the topmost level consists also the previous two levels of devotional service. This is is not to be confused with the assumption that such a topmost devotee is on the kanishta or madhyam platforms.

  6. This is a nice attempt to try and inform readers on this topic. But sometimes when we write statements in a definitive way there will always be differences from other perspectives.

    For instance, towards the end of the article it is mentioned that the kanisthas chants sometimes, the madhyamas chants most of the time, and the uttama chants all of the time. According to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his Jaiva Dharma he says that the kanisthas chants sometimes, the madhyamas all of the time and the uttamas convince others to chant, even by their very presence.

    As a matter of interest, this would appear to up the ante as far as our usual estimation of kanisthas, madhyamas and uttama goes. It should also be noted that chanting all of the time does not guarantee an uttama status unless some mercy has been bestowed and that at least some quality is there. Otherwise one can chant 64 rounds a day or more and feel not much more than the apparent chore of chanting.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

  7. ccd says :

    “uttama adhikary platform can be referred to as one who has realized the kanishta and madhyam” is again incorrect. Just as one should not think that in order to be an offenceless chanter, one needs to include both nama-aparadhas and nama-abhasa in his chanting.

  8. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Keshava Krishna Prabhu,
    Thank you for your contributive understanding.

    My answer:
    Chanting 64 rounds is not chanting all the time. We can even double these rounds and still they will not cover the entire day. A topmost devotee will chant all the time whether in waking or in dreaming condition. This platform calls for total not only surrender but insurmountable attachment and attraction to Shri Krishna.

    There is no contradiction in the statement of Bhaktivinode Thakur that a madhyam adhkikary chants all the time and my explanation. From our estimation of time If we physically see someone all the time engaged in chanting, he is a madhyam adhikary but the uttama will be engaged in chanting even when we cannot check on him, even in his sleep when time has a different characteristics. He can also have a direct assess to Shri Krishna in the spiritual world where time has not past or future. To say further uttama adhikary may function on a platform when there is no time as we know it. In this way the topmost devotee is a mystery for the onlooker but his constant contact with Shri Krishna directly and in the form of the Holy Name inspires everyone for devotional service to the Supreme Lord.

  9. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    To answer the folowing comment of ccd: “uttama adhikary platform can be referred to as one who has realized the kanishta and madhyam” is again incorrect. Just as one should not think that in order to be an offenceless chanter, one needs to include both nama-aparadhas and nama-abhasa in his chanting.

    My comment is: This means that uttama adhikary is realized in sat and chit platforms. Nobody can realized ananda without already knowing sat and chit . It has nothing to do with offensive chanting. The higher degree automatically means that you have already passed BA and MA.

  10. nrsingha8 says :

    Dear Abhaya Mudra dasi,
    I was hoping you could provide some sastric reference for your presentation that a kanistha adi-kary is one who has realised he is not the body.Interesting article.
    Thank you.

  11. Abhaya Mudra Dasi says :

    Dear Nrsingha Prabhu,

    Thank you for your appreciation of the article. Here are two quotes which clearly state that the kanishta adhikari is not on the bodily platform. You can find many more.

    “…the neophyte kanishtha-adhikari does not know much about shastra but has full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead…” SB 4.22.16 : PURPORT

    “Actually, one who is self-realized engages himself in the service of the Lord perpetually, both in this life and in the next. Indeed, for devotees there is no difference between this life and the next. In this life a neophyte devotee is trained to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in the next life he approaches that Supreme Person in Vaikuṇṭha and renders the same devotional service. Even for the neophyte devotee, devotional service is considered brahma-bhuyaya kalpate. Devotional service to the Lord is never considered a material activity. Since he is acting on the brahma-bhuta platform, a devotee is already liberated.” SB 4.23.9 : PURPORT

  12. nrsingha8 says :

    Is ‘acting’ on the brahma-bhuta platform synonymous with a brahma-bhuta ‘realised’ soul?
    For a neophyte in KC I would have thought not!
    Thank you for your previous reply Abhaya Mudra dasi.

  13. pustakrishna says :

    The discussion is trying to categorize the different statuses of various kinds of Krishna consciousness. Simply, as we know, to recognize God in the temple is kanistha, and to then recognize the importance of the bhaktas is madhyam. This is the stage that the Krishna conscious preacher must assume and it is also the basis for valuing association with devotees that leads to sankirtan. If one is uttama, then they will perceive Krishna in everyone and everything. Then there is less pressing necessity to help save the souls of those who are forgetful. And, importantly, one forget one’s very self being absorbed in Krishna’s love and devotional exchanges.
    These are stages of increasing dedication. That is the important point. The reason I am commenting on this article is that I was interested in comment #12 above regarding brahma bhuta stage. Krishna clearly says that the Brahma Bhuta stage is preliminary to bhakti of the higher nature. Nonetheless, bhakti must be practiced at EVERY step of one’s life. It is not very vital to contemplate one’s own status with regard to Krishna. It is more important to desire to please Krishna by your thinking, feeling, willing, and activities. For us, there may be some duality between matter and spirit, but for Krishna, everything is resting upon Him like pearls on a thread. Krishna consciousness is thus living in relationship with Krishna at every step of life. One must reject even the desire for liberation, as this is a distraction from the goal of love of God. Such realities are really not so much ‘heady or intellectual’ as they are the result of Krishna’s Causeless Mercy. And, at the very least, we must try to appreciate the association with good-hearted devotees. The service to the devotees is so vital to becoming free from the envy that separates us from Krishna. Srila Prabhupad used to say: ‘love me, love my dog.’ While we do not want to think of the devotee as a dog, we must appreciate that the devotees are dear to Krishna, just as a pet dog is dear to its owner. Strive for the association of devotees always, madhyam if you will, and you will grow in your appreciation of Krishna certainly. If we are so fortunate to have a good spiritual master and surrounded by good devotees, we must count ourselves as supremely blessed. How kind is Krishna to provide us with such good association. Hare Krishna. Pusta Krishna das

  14. nrsingha8 says :

    Thank you Pusta Krishna prabhu. Many interesting points.

    “One must reject even the desire for liberation.”

    True,I think. However one should not give up striving or pursuing liberation from ahankara. On the sublest level that is what surrender or atma-nivedhanam means,isn’t it. One who has surrendered ahankara and awoken Self is then at that moment at least qualified on the brahma-bhuta platform and eligible for Suddha-bhakti and suddha-Nama also.He eligible for direct mercy.

    So then internal self-surrender and liberation from ahankara is essential and that is what is meant by a liberated soul in the Vaisnava tradition. This is madhyama-adi kara,one who can distinguish between spirit and matter. Discriminate. Right?

  15. nrsingha8 says :

    770214r2.may Conversations

    Kanistha-adhikari means he must be a brahmana. That is kanistha-adhikari. The spiritual life, kanistha-adhikari, means he must be a QUALIFIED brahmana. That is kanistha. What is esteemed as very high position in the material world, brahmana, that is kanistha-adhikari. arcayam eva haraye pujam yah sraddhayehate na tad-bhaktesu canyesu sa bhaktah prakrtah smrtah The brahmana means from the material stage gradually he is elevated to the spiritual stage. AND BELOW THE BRAHMANA THERE IS NO QUESTION OF VAISNAVA.

  16. pustakrishna says :

    Dear Nrsingha8 (comment 14),
    Ahankara is the most subtle of the material energies of Krishna. It links the forgetful jiva soul to matter in an illusory manner, and the jiva soul then believes himself to be the “doer”. There is no necessity to make effort to become free from Ahankara independently. We are not practicing Sankhya discrimination (neti, neti, neti), but rather we go to Krishna for purification and everything else. Not only must one give up desire for liberation, but also for material (separate interest) sense enjoyment, and the desire for mystical perfections. Self-realization in Krishna consciousness comes automatically in the course of chanting the Holy Names. Thus, bhakti is means and end both. And, through the practice of bhakti gives us everything. Krishna is Pavitram Paramam (the Supreme Pure and the Purifying Principle), and Krishna is also Mukunda(the grantor of liberation, of all sorts). Those who want knowledge of Krishna also will have their desires met through bhakti (bhaktya mam abhijanati). Thus, bhakti is the direct method of yoga and the culmination of many lifetimes of pious activities and other yoga practices. If we are fortunate enough to take it directly, with deepening faith, then all of our aspirations will be realized…by Krishna’s grace. I hope this helps to clarify this point, and gives you more enthusiasm to chant and serve the Holy Names. Sincerely, Pusta Krishna das

  17. ccd says :

    Since liberation is mentioned in this context, one needs to note that Srila Prabhupada answers this question very clearly: “There are three divisions of devotees—first-class, second-class and third-class. Even the third-class devotees are liberated souls. It is explained in this verse that although they do not have knowledge, simply by seeing the beautiful decoration of the Deity in the temple, the devotee is absorbed in thought of Him and loses all other consciousness. Simply by fixing oneself in Krishna consciousness, engaging the senses in the service of the Lord, one is imperceptibly liberated.” Not to say that the use of words in this commentary of Srila Prabhupada is anything but perfect! We should remember that pure devotee can be at all three levels and all three levels of Vasnavas are liberated, while the kanistha is “imperceptibly liberated.”

  18. nrsingha8 says :

    Yes,thanks PustaKrishna prabhu. As well,also we have to become free of offences. 
      To maintain material attachments even after understanding so many instructions on this matter. What is ultimate material attachment ,attachment to egoic mind.That is ahankara.  
    Yes,we just chant Hare Krishna,but it is not so simplistic either. Don’t u think. 
    One must surrender. That means to surrender the mind at the lutus feet of the Lord. Giving up false ego. 
    There is an application on our part too. Grace and endeavor.Otherwise what does sarangati mean?

    The choice to let go of our most subtle attachment to the material world can not be  dismissed as some neti neti process. This choice is part of our eternal freewill. 
    This is the science of self-realisation.
    A subtle science even!
    One does not oversimplify the process, but tries to understand it from all angles of vision, 
    Thanks prabhu.  

    Ps-Also unless on the brahma-bhuta platform already then we are not practicing pure devotional service,rather we are experiencing Nama-abhasa or bhaktiabhasa.
    So freedom from false ego/false pride is what qualifies us to enter bhakti and suddha-Nama. For sure! :o)

  19. nrsingha8 says :

    760206mw.may Conversations

    Dayananda: But what about the persons who may be a little bit devoted but who have not achieved that unalloyed devotion?

    Prabhupada: Kanistha-adhikari. They are not devotees, but they are called bhaktabhasa. There is some signs of bhakti. Actually they are not bhakta. Bhaktabhasa. Abhasa. Abhasa means a simple, a little light.

    Hrdayananda: So devotee really means one who has love for Krsna.

    Prabhupada: Yes, unalloyed, without any condition. Anyabhilasita-sunyam, zero, all other, that I am this, I am that, I am jnani, I am yogi, I am karmi, I am minister, I am king,all these are thinking like that, they are all nonsense. I am servant of Krsna,that is greatness. Jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa. That is self-realization, atma-tattvam. …..,,.,…………………..

  20. ramavijaya says :

    Please consider following verses from Srimad Bhagavatam in regards to one’s level of devotion:

    SB 3.29.21: I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.

    SB 3.29.22: One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as Paramatma, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.

    SB 3.29.23: One who offers Me respect but is envious of the bodies of others and is therefore a separatist never attains peace of mind, because of his inimical behavior towards other living entities.

    SB 3.29.24: My dear Mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.

    SB 3.29.25: Performing his prescribed duties, one should worship the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until one realizes My presence in his own heart and in the hearts of other living entities as well.

  21. Prisni d.d. says :

    I like the part “The perfect madhyam bhakta has attained absolute knowledge because he can speak directly to Paramatma in his heart.”, since that is how you can see if you are a madhyama adhikari or not. You should have realized Paramatma in your heart, and have a direct dialog with Paramatma in the heart. Most other things are external things, that you can cheat yourself and others with and “play” advanced devotee, but not this one. Through and with the direct communication, you advance to higher stages.

    There are also other inner signs for the madhyama adhikari stages, so that you can know where you are.
    It is all a real thing, not something that happens without you knowing or noticing, and not something that you can attain one day, and “fall down from” the next day. It comes and never leaves.

  22. ccd says :

    It is interesting that bhakti is so powerful, that even a shadow of bhakti (bhakti-abhasa) gives liberation (and certainly for kanisthas). Just like the shadow of the holy name (not unalloyed, but even if mixed with material desires for liberation or enjoyment) will give moksa. “You may say that,” the man said, “but if the shadow of the holy name does not give liberation, then I shall cut off your nose.” So he lost his nose, as the story goes in CC Antya, 3 and the man’s name is Gopala Cakravarti.

  23. pustakrishna says :

    These are very sweet sentiments, and there seems to be an effort to identify what is liberation. We know that the bhakta rejects merging into the brahmajyoti, sayujya mukti. Other forms of liberation may be accepted for service. The point must be understood, realized, or appreciated that there is a non-material spiritual world. The form of that world, Vaikuntha and Goloka, are fully spiritual, and there is no tinge of material energy, or apara-prakriti. No ahankara exists there. All of the spiritual beings and environment is attracted to Krishna naturally, like iron filings draw toward a powerful magnet. That reality exists and is the true home of the jiva-soul in the course of Krishna consciousness.

    I think that it is unfortunate to try to stop one’s spiritual yearning with attempts to consider liberation as anything less than that spiritual perfection where Krishna personally interacts wonderfully with all of His devotees. Yes, it is certainly progress to feel some relief from the roller-coaster of action-reaction that characterizes material life. That is also possible through the progress in Krishna consciousness. All of the sweet perfections described above will manifest in due course of time by the grace of Krishna. But, so long we remain in the material environment, there is the risk of infection by association with the material energies. Dedication replaces exploitation, and that improves the prognosis for the infected jiva-soul. I believe that Srila Rupa Goswami’s descriptions of progress can be understood in the light of increasing dedication, and not obsessing about whether one is not liberated, partially liberated, fully liberated, and (Krishna forbide) liberated without Krishna. The goal (like the target that Arjuna is focused on with single minded determination) is love of Krishna. This is what the eternal jiva soul, part and parcel of Krishna, is seeking knowingly or unknowingly.

    Pusta Krishna das

  24. nrsingha8 says :

    In regards to the three categorys of devotees Srila  Bhaktivinoda Thakur made a distinction between those he considered madhyamas and komalas. In a nutshell, the komala shraddhas (those with tender faith) tend to be very literal and simplistic in their spirituality, cleaving to tradition and so forth. And the madhyamas, well they tend to require a rational basis for their beliefs. They find great appeal in statements such as “worships Me with his intelligence.” They get inspiration from things such as “speaks with logic and reason based on shastra and has faith that is not blind.” Therefore, Bhaktivinoda reckons that preaching that is inspiring to the komalas does not inspire the madhyamas, who find it somewhat infantile at least some of the time. And preaching that is inspiring to the madhyamas, may ruin the faith of the komalas. Moreover, Bhaktivinoda holds that most of the shastras and tikas (commentaries), etc. have been written for the komalas, or at least largely with them in mind. 

  25. nrsingha8 says :

    Bhaktivinode Thakur describe the kanistha bhakta in the Holy Name; 

    “Vaishnava praya (almost a vaishnava) is he who has mediocre faith in Krishna but has no service attitude to sadhus. Actually, such a person is not a Vaishnava but the dim image of a Vaishnava, vaishnava abhasa. However, if he is not a Vaishnava, how will he be permitted to associate with Vaishnavas, who do not associate with non-Vaisnava? Therefore, this person is considered to be at the beginning stage of a Vaishnava, kanishta Vaishnava, upon whom the actual fixed-up Vaishnavas will betow mercy so that he  purified.

    Also in reference to Hari-Nama bhaktivinode explains, ” The kanishta bhakta performs his devotional service at the stage of namabhasa.”

    This namabhasa of the kanishta is praiseworthy if he does not commit nama apradha.

  26. nrsingha8 says :

    So one realises that he is not the body and then  enters pure devotional service. Before that we experiencing the shadow of bhakti. 
         So this preliminary stage of self-realisation is our eligiblity to enter into those higher stages as mentioned by PustaKrishna prabhu. Or as Srila Prabhupada sometimes said understanding you are not the body is the ABC of spiritual life. Of course I think we would all agree that even this factual realisation is rarely attained and not so easy.
      Sometimes devotees might misunderstand or misinterpret this preliminary stage of self-realisation as some kind of impersonal liberation. That would be a mistake. For a Vaisnava there is no correlation.

    Gita Chp 18  Text 54 

    brahma-bhutah prasannatma
    na socati na kanksati
    samah sarveshu bhutesu
    mad-bhaktim labhate param 


    One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me. 

  27. nrsingha8 says :

    by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
    Chapter 1

    The Value of Devotion

    TEXT 1*

    athāto bhaktiṁ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ

    atha—now; ataḥ—therefore; bhaktim—devotional service; vyākhyāsyāmaḥ—we shall try to explain.

    Now, therefore, I will try to explain the process of devotional service.

    Devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, where the Lord says that a self-realized person is always in the transcendental state known as brahma-bhūta, which is characterized by joyfulness. When one is self-realized he becomes joyful. In other words, he is free from the material contamination of lamentation and hankering. As long as we are in material existence, we lament for the losses in our life and hanker for that which we do not have. A self-realized person is joyful because he is free from material lamentation and hankering.

    A self-realized person also sees all living entities equally. For him, there is no distinction between the higher and lower species of life. It is also stated that a learned man does not distinguish between a wise brāhmaṇa and a dog because he sees the soul within the body, not the external bodily features. Such a perfected, self-realized person becomes eligible to understand bhakti, or devotional service to the Lord…..

     Only after self-realization is attained does the stage of understanding devotional service begin. The conclusion is that one can begin the process of devotional service, or bhakti, when one is actually self-realized. One who is in the bodily concept of existence cannot understand the process of devotional service.

    It is for this reason that the Nārada-bhakti-sūtra begins, “Now, therefore, I shall try to explain the process of devotional service.” The word “therefore” indicates that this process of devotional service is for the self-realized soul, one who is already liberated. Similarly, the Vedānta-sūtra begins athāto brahma jijñāsā. The word brahma-jijñāsā refers to inquiry into the Supreme Absolute Truth, and it is recommended for those who have been elevated from the lower stage of addiction to the karma-kāṇḍa portion of the Vedas to the position of interest in the jñāna-kāṇḍa portion. Only when a person is perfectly situated in the realization that he is not the body but a spirit soul can he begin the process of bhakti, or devotional service.

  28. ramavijaya says :

    “The perfect madhyam bhakta has attained absolute knowledge because he can speak directly to Paramatma in his heart. ”

    Is this statement based on shastra?

  29. pustakrishna says :

    All of Krishna’s transcendental body parts (angani yasya sakalendra…) are capable of performing all the functions of Krishna. Krishna is a transcendental Person, and He is hiding Himself from our vision by His own sweet will. We are the cause of His hiding due to a poor fund of love for Krishna. But, nonetheless, Krishna is always there with us. Sarvasya ca aham hridi sannivistho…(BG 15.7). He is always there with us. We can always offer our prayers to Him, and He is aware of everything, abhijna. He can certainly hear our prayers. So, we must turn to Him. In fact, Srila Rupa Goswami has recommended that whether one is free of all mundane desires, or full of all material desires, or even desiring liberation, then they must approach Krishna. Krishna Himself highlights the fact (chatur vidhi bhajante mam) that individuals initially approach Him with separate interests. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that it takes some time for the seed of devotion sown in the heart by Sri Guru Vaishnava must be watered, protected, and then it will gradually manifest proper spiritual growth. We must be patient for ourselves, and patient for others. Whether one is newcomer, middle development, or higher development, it is important to realize the process, the means, and the goal, the so-called end, Krishna prema, is a continuum. When we think that we have arrived, we certainly have fallen short, without a doubt. When we feel with soft heart that we may be so far from the elusive goal, but with dedication that there is no other place to go, then we may be much closer to bhakti, lalasmayi, yearning for Krishna. In summary, we must not be proud of our accomplishments, but rather very grateful that we have been given entry by Sri Guru Vaishnava…and knowing Krishna as an ocean of mercy, we have confidence in Him. Pusta Krishna das

  30. nrsingha8 says :

    Yes,freedom from false pride and ahankara,absolutely essential,otherwise no kirtan.

    “Humility implies perfect submission to the truth and no sympathy for untruth. A person who entertains any partiality for untruth is unfit to chant the kirtana of Hari.”

    Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada.


  31. pustakrishna says :

    This is a very fine discussion. The angle of vision that I hope to present is the following: In the material environment, we are associating with the three modes of nature, and thus through this association we may meet with relative fortune or relative misfortune, good and evil, as we transmigrate through the species. Human life is the opportunity to associate with “brahman”, athato brahma jijnasa. Hence, so long we associate with the modes of nature, even with the mode of goodness, satva guna, we still are infected with false-ego or ahankara. Thus, under the direction of Sri Guru Vaishnava, we are advised to associate with Krishna and with Krishna’s devotees. Service under his direction protects one from the infection of material consciousness, by agreeing to associate with Krishna through devotional service. Even though we might be still situated within the material world, Krishna promises (BG 18.66) that He will protect us from any sinful reaction, and not to worry.
    The point is that association with Krishna is the only means of becoming free from ahankara. The goal, of course, is not merely to become free from ahankara, as we would promptly fall back into the material affairs, as stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, aruhya krcchena param padam patanti adah (forgive spelling please). Mayavadis try to ascend to brahman, but promptly fall back due to their lack of devotional attitude or predisposition. So, bhakti is the means, and bhakti is the end. One’s realization and clarity will come from Krishna ultimately. We cannot become free from ahankara without dedication to Krishna’s devotional service. What we need to cultivate is dedication, dependence upon Krishna and Sri Gurudeva’s instructions, and have patience. Krishna is ever-present, He is within and without. Enthusiasm is the request we pray for with the gayatri mantra, plea-ing for the divinity to grant us enthusiasm for devotional service in so many ways. If we can execute devotional service with faith, we shall succeed. Interestingly, I saw an interesting wall hanging in a store in Santa Cruz today. It was a quote: “When we care more about the power of love, than the love of power, then we can find peace.” The quote is attributed to Jimi Hendrix. You never know where you might find a pearl. Affectionately, Pusta Krishna das

  32. nrsingha8 says :

    Yes but it’s also more subtle and finer then that too prabhu.
    Try and understand that preliminary Self-realisation and  relinquishment false egoic mind is the difference between spontaeneous devotional service and regulated devotional service. The child becomes a man!

     In the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54), Lord Kṛṣṇa describes self-realization as follows:

    brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
    samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

     “Self-realization [the brahma-bhūta stage] is symptomized by joyfulness. One never laments for any loss, nor is one very enthusiastic when there is some gain. One sees everyone on an equal level through spiritual understanding. These qualities are preliminary to entering into pure devotional service.”

    Prabhupada: “God can be realized through bhakti, surrender. Otherwise even it is realized, it is partial, not complete.[…] Bhakti… Just like I have got some official servant, and I have got very confidential servant. So to my confidential servant everything is disclosed. He knows everything. But official servant, he may not know everything. Therefore bhakti is the confidential part of understanding God. Otherwise they understand vaguely, impartially, not sufficiently. In the Bhagavad-gita there is a verse, mayy asakta-mana partha yoga yunjan mad-asraya…” (October 21, 1975, Johannesburg)

  33. pustakrishna says :

    The bhakta has targeted prema as the goal of life. Efforts to acquire some kind of merit separately may dilute the intent of the bhakta. Knowledge will come effortlessly for the bhakta, self-realization will come effortlessly for the bhakta, everything is there with bhakti. Hence, sarva dharman parityajya…all else should be given up for the sake of loving service to Krishna. We must appreciate Who is Krishna, and who we are by hearing from shastra and Krishna. Whether one realizes this through experience or realizes this through sravanam, hearing, if one “gets it”, then there is no endeavour other than bhakti for the sake of awakening love for Krishna that is necessary or even desirable. It is, no doubt, thrilling to acquire the sense of being pure spirit. Krishna says in the GIta that ‘some look upon the soul as amazing, some hear of him as amazing…and some cannot understand.’ When one is very fortunate, and finished with separate endeavours for mystic realization, or to acquire knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge (jnani), then bhakti is the path that, being both means and end, is accepted as ones life goal, one’s sva-dharma, whether one is brahma-bhuta realized or not. Try not to underestimate Krishna. He is Mukunda, the giver of liberation. He is Krishna, All Attractive. He is the Proprietor of our soul and our very senses. He is Vasudeva sarvam iti. The glorious bhakti surpasses bhukti (material separate enjoyment), mukti (liberation), and siddhi (mystic realizations). I would recommend that one not worry about brahma-bhuta as a goal that precedes bhakti. For then, to satisfy your desire, Krishna might give one brahma-bhuta, but He might with-hold His loving ecstatic association. Rather, keep focused on the target, pray for it, serve with that goal, as Krishna can be purchased by bhakti, and nothing else. Pusta Krishna das

  34. nrsingha8 says :

    To again re-emphasise;
    Dayananda: But what about the persons who may be a little bit devoted but who have not achieved that unalloyed devotion?
    Prabhupada: Kanistha-adhikari. They are not devotees, but they are called bhaktabhasa. There is some signs of bhakti. Actually they are not bhakta. Bhaktabhasa. Abhasa. Abhasa means a simple, a little light.”

  35. nrsingha8 says :

    ” It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37):

    bhayam dvitiyabhiniveshatah syad
    ishad apetasya viparyayo ’smritih
    tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
    bhaktyaikayesham guru-devatatma
    The jiva’s innate tendency of unalloyed devotion towards the complete consciousness, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, is his nitya-dharma or eternal occupational duty. When the same jiva becomes opposed to Bhagavan, then he is gripped by fear and his intelligence is lost. Maya is the apara-shakti or external potency of Bhagavan. Considering the existence of this material world which has manifested from the external potency to be an independent element from Bhagavan, the unfortunate jiva falls into material existence. Intelligent people, accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a sad-guru, engage themselves in the exclusive bhajana of the para- ma-deva or supreme god, Shri Hari.
    From the above verse we can conclude that the jiva’s mayabhinivesha or absorption in the material energy imposes a false designation upon him. In such an adulterated stage, the bhakti of the jiva easily deteriorates and appears as bhakti-abhasa. Those who desire nothing other than entrance into shuddha-bhakti should completely cross over bhakti-abhasa and take shelter of kevala-bhakti, exclusive and uninterrupted devotion. For this reason we are reviewing the topic of bhakti-abhasa in great detail. This in-depth analysis of bhakti-abhasa is extremely con- fidential; only intimate devotees are qualified to hear it. This is because those who consider bhakti-abhasa to be bhakti will never be pleased upon reading this book until they become truly fortunate. I am feeling immense pleasure in presenting this topic before the intimate devotees…”

    – Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur
       Bhakti Tattva Viveka ( Chp 2.)

  36. pustakrishna says :

    Even Kanistha is a beginning, in the right direction. They have approached Krishna, they have sukriti. And, if one practices other forms of religiosity, without reaching Krishna, that is simply mundane dharma for some material gain. Those who have approached Krishna need encouragement in devotional service. We all are neophytes in so many ways. When full faith will come that Krishna will bring me what I need, both materially and spiritually, that I am “bhakta” or maintained by Krishna, that is a very good stage. If I think, however, that I will progress by my own strength and merit, that is ahankara. Consider these things and proceed. Pusta Krishna das

  37. nrsingha8 says :

    The Nectar of Devotion — Vrndavana, November 4, 1972. Devotee: Relapse. Prabhupāda: Relapse. If you do not relapse the disease, then you are nice. Similarly, to keep in Kṛṣṇa consciousness means you are not diseased condition, but do not allow the disease to relapse. That means do not deviate from the devotional service. Māṁ ca avyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate. Avyabhicāriṇi. Don’t misuse the devotional service. Then you are all right. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). Then you keep yourself always in transcendental position, brahma-bhūtaḥ position. And then from brahma-bhūtaḥ position, you can elevate yourself to the parā bhakti, spontaneous. Parā bhakti means spontaneously, spontaneous devotional service. Automatically, you will be loving Kṛṣṇa. brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (BG 18.54) The under, after being in the brahma-bhūtaḥ stage, that devotional service is very sound. Parā bhakti. Otherwise, if we stick to the devotional service of temple worship… Just like one is performing temple worship, regulative principles… That is also… We should go forward. This is kaniṣṭha-adhikārī. Sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ. So we must elevate ourself to the second class devotee position. To become first-class devotee, that is very difficult job. We can expect after executing devotional service as a madhyama-adhikārī. Then we can be promoted. But if we keep ourself simply on the lower stage of devotional service, then there is chance of falling down. Sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ. Simply… Just like, generally, they keep in the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī stage. Of course, there is no loss. In any adhikāra, in any position, you are benefited because you have taken to devotional service. But our attempt should be from kaniṣṭha-adhikāra to madhyama-adhikāra. Madhyama-adhikāra means preacher. Unless one comes to the madhyama-adhikāra, he cannot preach. Because in the uttama-adhikāra there is no need of preaching, because uttama-adhikāra, he sees everything good. He does not think anyone is lacking Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He says everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious, “Simply I am not Kṛṣṇa conscious.” Just like Kavirāja Gosvāmī says, purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi sei lagiṣṭha (CC Adi 5.205). He sees himself lower than the worm in the stool… But he’s not so, but he thinks like that. So uttama-adhikārī, it is not to be imitated. One must keep himself in the madhyama-adhikārī stage. Madhyama-adhikārī st

  38. nrsingha8 says :

    .— From the introduction to the Sri Krsna Samhita bySrila Bhaktivinode Thakur.

    On the nature of sectarianism;

    The people of India and other countries may be divided into two categories- the asslike and the swanlike. Of these two, the asslike are in the majority. The swanlike are in the minority. Swanlike people abstract the purport of the scriptures for their own advancement and thus benefit themselves…

    Everyone has the right to discuss spiritual topics. Yet people are divided into three categories according to their qualifications. Those who do not posses independent power of discrimination are in the first category and are called neophytes, or those with soft faith. They have no alternative to faith. If they do not accept whatever the compilers of the scriptures write as the order of the Lord, then they fall down. They are qualified only for understanding the gross meanings of the science of Krsna; they have no qualification for understanding the subtle meanings. Until they gradually advance by good association and instruction, they should try to advance under the shelter of faith.