Rasikajana guide that there are three primary reasons why our mind dictates and troubles us badly, and we lose enthusiasm in our spiritual life, or are depressed and lose hope and go back to sinful life or activities.
Association either on phone, or in person with non-devotees. Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada guides in Nectar of Instruction to associate only that much which is required and not more than that.
Jesa sang wesa rang
(Whom we associate with, is who we become)!
If we associate with Rasika Vaishnavas, Gurujana Vani, Shuddha Nama Sankirtan, we will find ourselves to be immersed in the chintan (meditation) of our dearest Divine Couple without much endeavour.
It happens effortlessly while on the other hand if we associate with non devotees, people with materialistic desires, then the path of devotional service will seem to be difficult, even though it is easiest if the sadhaka (seeker) has taken complete ashray (shelter) of Guru Charan (Lotus Feet of Guru).
Srila Prabhupada guides us to accept things favourable for our devotional life and reject things which are unfavourable. When the association is not right, it is like a slow poison and our bhajan will stop without us being aware.
Gradually we will stop listening to Gurujana Vani (words and instructions of Guru) and will start running away from Bhakti Marg (devotional path). A seeker will start developing aruchi (lack of desire) for devotional service. Thus Rasika Vaishnavas again and again, for our benefit, tell us to be extremely careful of our association.
In Kali Yuga, smartphones are available to all, and a whole new artificial digital world is just one tap away. A sincere seeker, always feeling Divine Couple and his Guru to with him at all times, must try to avoid any association, videos, and content on smartphones which are prohibited by shastras (scriptures).
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Such images or videos grip the mind of sadhaka (seeker) and loop continuously. Images lead to thinking, and thinking gradually leads to action, so Gurujana instruct us to avoid watching these things at all cost. Srila Prabhupada says that one who is attracted to the beauty of Krishna cannot be attracted by maya.
If a seeker is in college or work front, or has family members who are non devotees, it is best to either avoid them completely and if that is not possible, then talk to them formally or barely.
If your so called friends (who like nuisance) come to your college hostel room, then start doing Nama internally. Don't treat them in too much welcoming manner, lower your head, avoid much eye contact, and pray to the Divine Couple that they may go away, or if possible, play kirtan or act cold or engaged in some work so that they will go on their own. Students have much better ideas than the above suggestion. If the friends too like devotional life, give them Srila Prabhupada’s original Bhagavad Gita.
If non devotees ring you up, avoid gossiping talks and hang up as soon as possible. Don't think what your friends or those relatives will feel about you. For a Vraj Pathik (seeker), what his Guru thinks about him is most important and not what the society thinks. A sincere seeker must not intermingle much with non devotees or try to please them. Our only focus as taught by Rasika Vaishnavas is to please our Yugal Sarkar Sri Radha Shyamsundar by chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Of course the above all line of thought has to be done not in too loud manner. A devotee of Radharani and Krishna should be clever, and use intelligence to avoid any conflicts with anybody, as well by doing it all silently and smartly, mentally offering obeisances to everyone (since within everyone resides Krishna as Supersoul).
The consciousness with which food is prepared is how the mind functions. Food cooked with the consciousness of pleasing the Divine Couple, and then mentally offered to Gurujana, who further offer it to our Swamini Ji and Krishna, is termed as Maha-Prasadam, and this works wonders for the seeker in Bhakti Marg. The mind is 90% satisfied just by having tasty prasad offered to Gurujana, Gaur Nitai and Divine Couple.
When ‘bhojan’ (food) is right, then ‘bhajan’ (devotional life) is automatically right.
A worldly example may be that a child finds the food cooked by his mother to be the best in the world. It’s because she pours her complete love, and her consciousness is that the food may help my child become healthy and strong.
Her thoughts while cooking the food acts as motherly nourishment for the child, and thus the child prefers food cooked by his mother. Many people living abroad or students living in hostel miss “Ghar ka khana” but in reality they miss the loving consciousness of their mother and not exactly the food!
Similarly when the consciousness of the one cooking the food is spoilt, the person eating the food will not feel satisfaction and this will affect his state of consciousness too in a very subtle manner.
In Krishna Consciousness, our main focus is to always be conscious of Krishna, His name, form, and pastimes. Thus having food which is not offered to Divine Couple, or food cooked by person who has no objective of pleasing Yugal Sarkar with their cooking will negatively affect our devotional life.
Food cooked in restaurants are majorly by people who have money as their objective, and they may be indulging in watching such videos or performing actions which are not supported by shastra. They may also be atheists thus by accepting that food we are accepting a part of their state of consciousness too. One must also avoid food in bhandaras (free food) for the same reason as we don't know the state of consciousness of the organiser, or the objective behind it. For a seeker who is extremely sincere, food cooked for anything apart from pleasing Divine Couple should be avoided.
There are various kinds of offences one can commit to Holy Names, Vaishnavas or Dham consciously or unconsciously. Mainly it is criticising, speculating and showing ourselves in better light and that we know more.
On contrary to what is general understanding, unintentional aparadha (offense) is easily nullified if one has a simple heart. The frank thing is that a mother never becomes angry in truth. Taking a parikrama of Sri Vrindavan Dham (even mentally), and more importantly, sincerely begging for forgiveness with tears nullifies the offences.
A bonafide Rasika Vaishnav never considers anyone to be doing aparadha. In initial days of spiritual life, a seeker is taught about aparadha just to facilitate the value of Swamini Ji, Krishna and their very own devotees.
The path is not idealistic but simple for simple - heart to heart thing. We are Kali Yuga rejects hence however we try, we will make mistakes and Krishna will help if we sincerely beg to Him.
Intentionally we should never try to commit any aparadha, and for unintentional things, we can beg forgiveness from Vrindavan Dham with sincere heavy heart. It will be nullified. As spiritual progress of a seeker takes place by mercy of Guru Tattva, intentional aparadha becomes negligible, or happens only when Krishna wants to teach the devotee of some important principles of devotional life. Accepting oneself as child of Gurujana helps bypasses this.
Out of all these above three reasons due to which our mind strays in spiritual path, the first two are more dangerous as compared to third. As the third one (aparadha) will instantly burn the heart and make a seeker repent, but the association (sang) is slow poison and affects bhajan for a long time. Prasad is also very very important but at later stage of bhajan, if one is strongly in remembrance of Divine Couple then it doesn’t affect that much, and bhajan will resume on own shortly. However, a sincere seeker who wants Sriji in this lifetime should not eat anything not offered to Lordships, and the consciousness of those foodstuffs that seems doubtful. The much better idea is to cook prasad on own, if possible.
Rasikajana give some more important points to help one keep mind in check:
- No talks except Radharani.
- No sang or association with vimukh (non-devotees), unless barely required.
- Taking shelter of Sri Vrindavan Dham (either physical or mental).
Constant chanting of Holy Names in any case, no matter what, whether favourable or unfavourable conditions externally, turns the seeker’s mind into a friend for the constant meditation of Divine Couple.
Disassociating from your mind if it troubles you (it will die naturally)
Also, Rasikajana guide that we should disassociate from the mind when mind troubles us.
In Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 6, Text 6), Krishna says to Arjuna that for those who have won over the mind, it is the best of friends, and for those who haven’t, it is a huge enemy.
Except for Rasika Vaishnavas, mind is not a friend to the normal Jiva Tattva (living entities). Mind often creates stories and makes one think of what not. In a moment, it makes one think of themselves as Rasika, and the next moment it hankers for sense gratification.
The very nature of mind is it’s fickle and restless nature when it focuses on material pleasure, and the same mind by solely taking shelter of Nama, Yugal (Divine Couple) and Guru Charan becomes a support in bhajan (devotional life).
When a sincere sadhaka (seeker) initially begins to chant Nama, the mind and heart feel a special calling and attraction towards it but as time progresses, it becomes difficult as thousands of thoughts and stories pop up in the mind.
Hence Rasikajana guide that after the daily 16 mandatory rounds of Nama Japa, a sincere devotee can engage in different seva (devotional service) as per their natural ruchi (inclination) to Divine Couple unless they reach a stage where they are absorbed in Nama constantly owing to Guru Kripa.
It is not necessary that a seeker will find interest in chanting Nama constantly over a long period of time. Constant Nama appears only on the lips of Rasikajana or their kripa patra devotees.
For us, Rasika Gurujana guide that depending on how Sriji inspires us (at that particular moment as per our natural inclination), we can sometimes go to the temple, read Srila Prabhupada books, sing kirtan, go for Vrindavan Dham Darsan if possible, serving in temple, making flower garlands, deity worship, washing plates, cleaning and sweeping the altar premises, cooking prasad for Yugal, listening to Katha etc., apart from engaging in whatever profession or work as an offering to Yugal and Gurujana.
The sadhaka (seeker) should not recognise themselves through their mind. They should simply think that they are not their mind, but are Sriji's and instead focus on other services as mentioned in last paragraph to trick their mind. This way, they will not succumb to the mind's wrong action in event of stress.
But Gurujana also guide that any seva or devotional activity should be clubbed with chanting Nama internally or externally or both. A devotee during the course of any seva should slowly train themselves to chant Nama internally.
How to chant Nama at all times internally? - Rasikajana guide that when you think about material stuff, your tongue touches the bottom of your mouth, and when you think about Krishna or are chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra internally, the lips will touch the top of your mouth. This needs to be practised while dealing with outside people or in your material dealings. You are talking externally to people or are engaged in something, but the tongue is chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra at all times.
Gurujana guide that it doesn’t matter if one likes doing Nama or not, if there is cintan (meditation unto Divine Couple) during Nama Japa or not. One should chant Nama like a robot. As iron cuts iron, Nama will reveal the real swarup (form) of Nama!
Nama will guide all, and one day all merciful Nama will run internally in the heart of sincere seeker on own owing to Guru Kripa.
Even though owing to material conditioning, chanting Nama might appear the toughest job, but by taking shelter of Gurujana and Yugal, it will turn out to be the easiest in matter of time! It is simple what Rasikajana say, “Be in the shelter of Yugal like a kid is carefree in the vicinity of his mother.” What is impossible for Yugal?
Jai Jai Shri Radhe!
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