Practise with Affection

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj,
10 March 2012


Achar and prachar: practising and preaching. First is practising: if you practise, you can preach.

What did Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur re-introduce saffron for? Why did Prabhupad and Mahaprabhu make tilak, kanthi-mala, following Ekadasi, and so on? It means that you must always practise properly: if you cook, offer the bhog; if you live in a house, make an altar with Gurudev's photo, Guru Maharaj's photo, and the temple photo.

Do you know what the devotees do here in India? I have seen it many times—when they do Tulasi parikrama they put a clay pot with Tulasi in the centre and put some books there. Maybe fifteen years ago, when I went to some house and saw it, I asked them, "Why do you put the books there?" (I knew why, but I wanted to see what their conception was.) They told me, "Maharaj, in the books there is a photo of the Nabadwip temple, so every day we do the parikrama of Nabadwip Dham." What a good conception! What a good heart! They cannot take Govinda Kunda to their house, but the photo is there, the temple photo is there in the books, and every day they do the parikrama.

So, to maintain your spiritual life means to practise and do everything properly—just as when you live in a temple, start the day from the mangal arati, have the morning class, and by 7 o'clock you are done.

namasraya kari' yatane tumi
thakaha apana kaje

"Carefully taking shelter of the Name, engage in your work."

What do it mean? Here, Bhakti Vinod Thakur gives the very first conception of karma-misra bhakti. It means, "You worship Me, you do service nicely, bow to Me, and you also ask Me for something, 'I want this'—but at least you worship Me. Something is better than nothing."

When Ramananda Ray told Mahaprabhu about this conception, Mahaprabhu said, "Eho bahya age kaha ara: go further, tell Me more." Then Ramananda Ray spoke about jnana-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with knowledge), but again, "Eho bahya, leave it." Then, he spoke about jnana-sunya bhakti (devotion without pursuit of knowledge), suddha bhakti (pure devotion), but again Mahaprabhu said, "Eho haya!" Then Ramananda Ray spoke about prema-bhakti (loving devotion), service in santa rasa, dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa, madhurya rasa. This is how slowly, slowly they brought it to the front, increasing the conception in this way.

Srimad Bhagavad-gita also showed the path from the first stage. Gita says there is karma-yoga (pursuit of material benefit), there is jnana-yoga (pursuit of knowledge), but what did Gita say lastly? Bhakti-yoga (devotional practise). Then, there is karma-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with material desires), jnana-misra bhakti (devotion mixed with pursuit of knowledge), jnana-sunya bhakti (devotion without pursuit of knowledge), suddha bhakti (pure devotion), and finally prema-bhakti (loving devotion). If you read Chaitanya-charitamrita, you can easily understand all this...


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Vigraha Is Not a Doll
'This is why it is told: sraddhaya sri murtir sevan. It is going on everywhere, but you must have sraddha, full faith, when you give an offering to the Deity.'


Sri Sri Damodarastakam
'To the Supreme Lord, whose form is the embodiment of eternal existence, knowledge, and bliss, whose shark-shaped earrings are swinging to and fro, who is beautifully shining in the divine realm of Gokula, who [due to the offence of breaking the pot of yogurt that his mother was churning into butter and then stealing the butter that was kept hanging from a swing] is quickly running from the wooden grinding mortar in fear of Mother Yasoda, but who has been caught from behind by her who ran after Him with greater speed—to that Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances.'

Saranagati is necessary, otherwise we cannot proceed in our spiritual life—we
cannot develop, cannot improve our spiritual life.