Saadhnaa ki aadhaar sheelaa
The Main support and Natural Disposition of Practical Devotion
This article in Hindi was the transcription of a discourse spoken by
Jagadguru Sri Kripaluji Maharaj and was published in the Quarterly
News letter of Sri Barsana dham. I hope my English translation of the
article could help the understanding of those who are not familiar
with Hindi language. I have added a few more scriptural quotes which
I felt appropriate for deeper reflection.
The first and foremost alert notice given to all seekers who desire
to perfect their Divine Love devotion is that one should be
completely devoid of selfpride and egoism, the 'I' ness, and always
one should be free of feelings of insult and untoward criticism.
This important beginning step should be considered as the main
support and core character of pure devotion and should never be
neglected even upto the final stage, until the seeker attains the
ultimate goal of God-realization.
Successful control of the five senses and absence of desires may even
be possible for the spiritual seeker but unless and until one
transcends all kinds of mental feelings, pleasant and unpleasant, not
only one can not achieve total disintegration of the self
identification but also one's self-ego contiues to expand more and
pareSAM doSAnuzrutim anu viloke'ndha-nayanaH |
zilAvan nizceSTaH para-vapuSi bAdhA-lava-vidhau
kadA vatsyAmy asmin hari-dayita-vRndAvana-vane ||2.16||
- Vrindavana Mahimamrita - Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati
"Undisturbed and becoming dumb
to others' jokes mocking myself,
deaf and blind even to others' evident faults, and
inactive like a stone in the matter of bringing others
even the slightest pain, When will I reside in this
Vrindavana forest, the garden of Hari's Beloved?"
Why doesn't the devotee shed humble tears during chanting, prayer and
while singing Lord's Divine names and glories? Only due the proud ego
of oneself and lack of humility.
Even if the tears come occasionally, the seeker becomes very proud of
himself or herself for progressing to higher stages of devotion.
This selfpride is so subtle that the aspirant by himself can not
grasp it as his or her own weakness and shortcomings.
sarva-tyAge'py aheyAyAH sarvAnartha-bhuvaz ca te
kuryuH pratiSThA-viSThAyA yatnam asparzane varam
Though one may be able to give up everything,
the desire for personal prestige and
worldly fame is the hardest thing to give up.
Since it is the source of all anarthas,
one should be carefully to keep as far from it
as he would from stool.
- 'Bhajana-rahasya' Bhaktivinoda Thakur
Only God-realized Mahapurusha are aware of these subtle difficulties
in a seeker and they can only identify the inner problems of the
devotee's heart, mind and intellect. That is why there is an absolute
need for the Divine preceptor who can recognize these difficulties on
the path of devotion and successfully correct them to perfection.
No devotee, being controlled by the power of Maya, the three material
modes of Nature can understand that he or she is acting under the
Mayic influence of his or her ego twenty four hours of the day. The
seeker can not determine for himself that whether he or she is being
carried away by the subtle emotions of worldly fame or shame. So
staying oneself aloof from these emotional weaknesses, subduing
one'ego as much as possible, one should always be alert in deciding
how one can truly feel humbler than a blade of grass.
are cetaH prodyat-kapaTa-kuTinATI-bhara-khara-
kSaran-mUtre snAtvA dahasi katham AtmAnam api mAm
sadA tvaM gAndharvA-giridhara-pada-prema-vilasat-
sudhAmbhodhau snAtvA tvam api nitarAM mAM ca sukhaya
O my mind! The hypocritical tendency to fault-find and backbite are
like an ass's urine in which I have drenched myself, burning my
entire being. Please bathe constantly in the ocean of nectar formed
of the love flowing from the feet of the Divine Couple, Gandharvika
and Giridhari. By so doing, you will bring joy to both yourself and
- ManaH-siksha 6
If the seeker had not honestly arrived at this state of complete
humility, but simply deceiving himself to be humble, he may just
display his meekness outwardly so that other seekers can appreciate
him as a truly humble evolved soul.
This is also known as 'ahamkar', self-identification as there is
still a desire for self-worth, self-glorification and self-respect.
pratiSThAzA dhRSTA zvapaca-ramaNI me hRdi naTet
kathaM sAdhu premA spRzati zucir etan nanu manaH
sadA tvaM sevasva prabhu-dayita-sAmantam atulaM
yathA tvAM niSkAzya tvaritam iha taM vezayati saH
The desire for worldly prestige wants to dance in my heart like a
brazen, outcaste whore, making it impossible for the pure, holy love
of Krishna to touch it. O mind! Serve the unparalleled devotees, the
Rasik Saints constantly, for since they are dear to the Lord, they
will quickly drive that low-born creature from my heart and enthrone
Krishna prema in it.
The seeker should correctly understand the natural position of the
soul and its relation to the Lord. The spirit soul is a pure eternal
servant of the almighty Lord. Knowing this fact well, if the seeker
accepts his true humble relation with his Master and wholeheartedly
surrenders to Him, the Lord can no longer remain indifferent towards
him. The Lord is incapable of doing so because He Himself has loudly
proclaimed in Gita 4.11
ye yathA mAM prapadyante
tAM stathaiva bhajAmyaham,
mama vartmAnu vartante
manuSyAH pArtha sarvazaH
According to the MANNER in WHICH they SURRENDER to ME,
I FAVOR them in that VERY SAME manner.
O son of Pritha, ALL human beings always FOLLOW MY PATH
in EVERY WAY!'
Here, Lord Krishna chose to use two specific words, 'tathA'
From one side one has to only fulfill the task of 'prapadyate' and
nothing else. On the other side the Lord will accomplish the task
His Divine Grace was also remembered by the great devotee Prahlada in
naisa paravara-matir bhavato nanu syat
jantor yathatma-suhrdo jagatas tathapi
samsevaya surataror iva te prasadah
sevanurupam udayo na paravaratvam
"Like the ordinary living entity, my Lord,
You have no such discrimination,
thinking like 'He is my friend; he is my enemy;
he is favorable; he is unfavorable.'
Such conception of low grade and high grade You have not got.
But according to one's level of attachment and dedication
You offer them benediction exactly like the desire tree offers
fruits according to the desire of the person.
The desire tree has no distinction of low grade and high grade
position of the recepient but simply fulfills his wish."
So Devotees have to become 'prapanna' - surrendered souls and the
Lord will do the part of 'bhajana' or 'seva', providing care and
welfare to them.
Lord Krishna has made His sublime promise (Gita 9.22):
ye janAH paryupAsate,
teSAM nityAbhi yuktAnAM
yoga kSemaM vahAmyaham
To those men who ADORE Me alone,
THINKING of NO OTHER,
who are earnestly and constantly
engaged in uniting their minds to Me,
I PROVIDE every gain and all security.
The seekers cannot provide even satisfactory service to their Guru,
the Spiritual master on the earth but how can they adequately serve
their eternal Father, the great Almighty?
Simply it is impossible.
That is why the Lord declares that devotees have only to surrender
themselves to Him and the Lord will take care of everything else.
Actually the unalloyed service and pure selflesslove are not simple
easy ways at all. No ordinary soul can serve and love its Master
perfectly. Even if one offers everything one has to the Lord, still
one would be short of serving the Lord and Guru fully.
The desciple can not be cleared of his debt to his Master for
receiving the knowledge of self-realization even by offering the most
valuable things of the entire world.
Because of such an immensely great offering, only the selfpride of
the desciple multiplies and that spoils the spirit of his humility
just like a bowl of delicious lentil soup with a small fly in it!
The offering simply becomes useless if tainted with ego. So there is
a great harm even in charity if given in pride.
The Lord and Master asks for the sacrifice of that to which the
seeker has greatest attachment. They would ask for the surrender of
the thing which has been a source of self-pride to the seeker. The
True Master may demand for an offering of all or any material object
or subject which has become an obstruction on the progressive path of
Divine Love for the seeker.
yasyAhamanugRhNami vittaM tasya harAmyaham,
karoti bandhu vicchedaM sa tu duHkhena jIvati.
santApeSvapi kaunteya yadi mAM na parityajet,
dadAmyahaM svIya padaM devAnAmapi durlabham.
Lord Krishna gave this message to Arjuna in Padma Purana:
"He on whom I am going to bestow My grace, I take away all his
wealth, separate him from his family and friends, so that he may live
his life in utter sorrow bereft of all his possessions.
Though fully distressed with his material conditions, if he doesnot
give up My devotion in this suffering state, I extend to that sincere
devotee My own abode which is impssible to attain even by celestial
But still desciples are unhappy and disappointed when they are asked
for simple service and their true hearts devoid of charity are
As long as a soul is under the control of Mayic power, the illusory
energy of the Lord, it is not praise worthy and does not even qualify
for good name or fame. Then where is the question of having any ego,
self-pride, self-superiority, self-respect etc.,?
If the soul has not yet accepted its eternal position of Divine
servitude and not surrendered to the Lord unconditionally, what it
should be proud of? The seeker has not yet attained his true Divine
form of an eternal servant of the Lord, then why should he feel
egoistic and selfworthy or praiseworthy?
Once the God-realized devotee attains his spiritual form as an
eternal servant of the Lord, even a trace of egoism or selfpride can
never appear in him again. It is simply impossible for him to be
identified in 'I' ness, the doer-ship, of the 'ahamkar'.
So all wise seekers should be alert in protecting themselves from
egoship, self-pride and self-identification. They should pay more
attention to their self-surrender. The practicing devotee believes he
or she is totally surrendered to the Master and the Lord.
But not really!
Lord Krishna said in Gita- 12.18,19 :
'He (She) who is the same to
the foe and friend and
also honour and dishonour,
who is the same in cold and heat,
in pleasure and pain,
who is free from attachment,
To whom censure and praise are equal,
who is silent, content with anything,
homeless, steady minded,
full of Loving Devotion for Me -
that person is dear to Me.'
When criticized by the Master or others, the devotee immediately gets
agitated and replies in anger even for small misunderstanding. Though
admits his wrong doing openly, his heart doesnot accept the mistake
he has committed.
sarvasya cA 'haM hRdi sanniviSTo
mattaH smRtir jnAnam apohanaM ca -B.Gita 15.15
Bhagavan Krishna said:
And I am seated in the hearts of all;
from Me are memory, knowledge, as well as their loss;
The devotee fails to recognize God and the Master are sitting in his
heart and noting down every minute his true thoughts and feelings.
And that is why They keep testing the progress of the devotee on the
path of self-surrender from time to time.
Even if the devotee fails to succeed in the tests, still he is given
more opportunities to better himself and tested again and again.
Of course the classes of devotees according to the evolution of their
devotion are many and different. And so are the tests!
Queen Kuntidevi prayed to Lord Krishna:
vipadaH santu naH zazvat tatra tatra jagadguro!
bhavato darzanaM yasyAd apunarbhava darzanam
O Teacher of all the worlds! Let Perils face us at every step;
for it is in dangerous situations that we feel the presence of You,
Whose vision bestows freedom from rebirth. - SB 1.8.25
Each one is given the test according to his class and capabilities.
There is no need for panic or discouragement. If the seeker is afraid
of examining the extent of his total self surrender he may never be
able to attain his desired goal of God-realization.
He on whom I am going to bestow my grace, I slowly deprive him of all
his wealth. When his wealth is gone, his friends, kith and kin desert
him, making him sink into utmost sorrow and despair.
- Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.8
When his further efforts to gain wealth also fail, thanks to My will,
he becomes filled with dispassion and gets associated with my
devotees. On such a one I bestow My grace.
- Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.9
So the sincere seeker has to keep conducting (self-search) many tests
on himself with the Divine Grace of his Master to make his true self-
surrender full and perfect.
prApya varAn nibodhata
kSurasya dhArA nizitA duratyayA
durgaM pathas tat kavayo vadanti
"Rise up! Awake! Seize the benefits of this human form of life
and become fully conscious! This path is a razor's edge,
sharp and difficult to tread." - Katha Upanishad. 1.3.14
Jaya Sri Radhey!