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(3/13) Strive for Spiritual Subsistence

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Ganga Sagar, evening class,
Deity Manifestation Anniversary day
12 January 2019, part 3
Translated from Bengali


Our society is called Krishna-anusilana Sangha: a place for practising (anusilana) Krishna consciousness. I always tell everyone that you must chant at least five kirtans in the morning and five kirtans in the evening. Even if you are staying alone, you can sit and chant with kartals. Wake up for the mangala-arati, do Tulasi parikrama, temple parikrama. Here, it is hard to circumambulate the temple because there is no path behind the temple, but you can do it in your mind then. You can still do it. You do not know what you should do, so I am explaining these things to you and teaching you. You do not have place to do parikrama of the temple here, so you do not circumambulate the Lordships. In this case, you can take a picture of the Deities. You can place it near a Tulasi tree on a pedestal or stool and do the parikrama of the temple in this way. But I have seen that nobody is doing it here – I have told you about it before, but you are not doing it. You can take a picture of any Deities from our temples, or even the picture of the domes of our temples. Keep the picture in one of the books, and when you do the parikrama, take it out. This is how you can do the parikrama of the temple.

When we go to Govardhan, we do the seven-mile (eighty-four-krosh) parikrama of Govardhan. Somebody even does it twice a day, but we go there once a year and do this parikrama during two days. When Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu became old and could no longer do this parikrama, Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu brought him one Govardhan-sila and said, 'Prabhu, please take this sila, you can do the parikrama of Govardhan now as many times as you can.' This is how Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu circumambulated Govardhan in his old age.

Our guru-varga is teaching us all these things, and you must learn from them. When I was doing the Tulasi parikrama today, I was thinking that we were not circumambulating the temple, but I still chanted Gurudev's kirtan (that is chanted during the parikrama) and did the parikrama in my mind. But rather than doing it in your mind, it is better if you keep a photograph of the Deities near Tulasi and circumambulate Them in this way. You can do the temple parikrama in this way.

Circumambulating the temple and Tulasi is one of the sixty-four limbs of devotion. Tulasi is the Adiswari (Mistress) of Vrindavan: she is there, so nobody stays hungry in Vrindavan. Tulasi Devi's pranam-mantra is this:

বৃন্দায়ৈ তুলসীদেব্যৈ প্রিয়ায়ৈ কেশবস্য চ ।
কৃষ্ণভক্তিপ্রদে দেবি সত্যবত্যৈ নমো নমঃ ॥

vrndayai tulasi-devyai priyayai kesavasya cha
krsna-bhakti-prade devi satyavatyai namo namah

'Again and again I offer obeisances to Vrinda Devi (Tulasi Devi), who is very dear to Lord Kesava, who bestows devotion to Krishna and is known as Satyavati.'

She is very dear to Lord Keshava, and she can give devotion to Lord Krishna. We were singing in the kirtan also: 'Bhakati dana dijiye maharani (ভকতি দান দীজিয়ে মহারাণি). May Tulasi Maharani she grant us devotion.' 'Dijiye' mean 'to give'. 'O Maharani! You are Bhakti Devi, you can give devotion to Krishna.' That is why we always keep her on anything we take. We always say that we must serve devotees of Lord Krishna, and she is also a devotee of Lord Krishna – she is Krishna-priyosi (a dear devotee of Krishna). We do not chant that kirtan, but there is a second kirtan of Tulasi Devi ('Namoh namah tulasi! Krsna-priyasi...'). In the kirtan that we chant at every temple, we say, 'Yako darase parase aghanasa hoi (যাঁকো দরশে পরশে অঘনাশ হোই). By seeing you or by touching you, all sins are destroyed.' 'Chhappanna bhoga, chhatrisa vyanjana vina tulasi prabhu eka nahi mani (ছাপ্পান্ন ভোগ, ছত্রিশ ব্যঞ্জন বিনা তুলসী প্রভু এক নাহি মানি). the Lord does not accept even one of fifty-six grain items or thirty-six vegetable items without Tulasi leaves.' Even if you cook fifty-six grain items and thirty-six vegetable items – if you do not put Tulasi leaves there, the Lord will not take it.

You must practise all these devotional practices, then you will have devotion. These are limbs (anga) of devotion (bhakti). Tulasi parikrama, mangala-arati, lectures, sravan, kirtan, and so on. If you do not practise these things, anaratha (unwanted elements, ill thoughts and behaviour) will come to you – anarathas will slowly come and start pressing you down. It means that desires will be growing in your heart. Once anarathas come, you will be dismissed, or removed, from the line of devotion to the Lord. We must always think about this – these thoughts must always be there inside us.

This is how you must practise your spiritual life (sadhana). Nobody can attain the object of their practise (sadhya-vastu) without practising (sadhana). If you want to get the object of spiritual life, you must practise spiritual life.




The Sixty-Four Practices of Devotion

(1) Taking shelter at the lotus feel of Sri Guru
(2) Receiving initiation into the mantra
(3) Serving Sri Guru
(4) Learning pure religion and making honest enquiry
(5) Following the path of the sadhus
(6) Giving up personal enjoyment out of love for Krishna
(7) Residing in a holy place of Lord Krishna
(8) Accepting only whatever allows you to carry on your life, and only as much as required
(9) Fasting on ekadasi
(10) Honouring the dhatri and asvattha trees, cows, brahmans and Vaishnavs
(11) Summarily giving up offences to service and the Holy Name
(12) Rejecting the association of non-devotees
(13) Not taking many disciples
(14) Not trying to become skilled in many scriptures (i.e. giving up haphazard reading or listening to parts of scriptures and attempts to philosophise about their meaning)
(15) Having the same attitude to loss and gain
(16) Not being overcome by grief and other undesirable feelings
(17) Not showing disrespect to other gods or scriptures
(18) Not listening to the criticism of Lord Vishnu and Vaishnavs
(19) Not listening to 'village talks' (family news and talks of husbands and wives that revolve around sense-pleasure)
(20) Not troubling the minds of other living entities, not behaving miserly and not feeling zealous when starting some material work
(21) Hearing about the Lord
(22) Chanting the Lord's Name and glories
(23) Remembering the Lord
(24) Worshipping the Lord
(25) Offering obeisances to the Lord
(26) Serving the Lord
(27) Serving the Lord in the mood of a servant
(28) Serving the Lord in the mood of a friend
(29) Self-submission to the Lord
(30) Dancing in front of Deities
(31) Singing in praise of the Lord
(32) Speaking humbly
(33) Offering prostrate obeisances
(34) Standing up when seeing the Lord or His devotee enter
(35) Walking behind to see off a devotee or the Lord when they travel or go away
(36) Coming to the holy place and homes of devotees and the Lord
(37) Circumambulating holy places
(38) Reciting verses in glorification of the Lord
(39) Chanting the Holy Name on beads
(40) Chanting congregationally
(41) Honouring the smell of incense and flowers that have been offered to the Lord
(42) Serving to mahaprasad
(43) Taking darsan of aratis and great fesitvals
(44) Taking darsan of the Lord's holy Deities
(45) Offering the Lord that which is dear to yourself
(46) Meditating
(47) Serving Tulasi
(48) Serving Vaishnavs
(49) Serving Mathura and other holy places
(50) Relishing Bhagavatam
(51) Dedicating all efforts to Krishna
(52) Hankering for the Lord's mercy
(53) Observing birthdays and other festivals together with devotees
(54) Surrendering in all ways
(55) Physically observing Kartik and other vratas
(56) Applying Vaisnav symbols on your body (tilak marks on twelve parts of the upper body and tulasi beads on the neck)
(57) Applying the Names of the Lord and His devotees, such as the 'Hare Krishna' maha-mantra or the Pancha-Tattva Names, on your upper body (when applying sandalwood)
(58) Maintaining purity ('tvayopabhuktah srag-gandha...')
(59) Drinking charanamrita
(60) Associating with saints (sadhu-sanga)
(61) Chanting the Holy Name (Nama-kirtan)
(62) Listening to Bhagavatam (bhagavat-sravan)
(63) Residing in Mathura (mathura-vas)
(64) Serving Deities with faith (sraddha-purvaka sri-murti-seva).


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Size: 44.5 Mb
Length: 89 min
Language: Bengali




1) Clean Your Heart and Cultivate Devotion
2) Seva-Dharma and Mano-Dharma
3) Strive for Spiritual Subsistence
4) Where There Is a Will There Is a Way
5) Excreting Visaya
6) Live in Domain of Mercy
7) The Side-Tracked and the Drowning
8) Servants' Wealth
9) Live Thinking about Lord
10) Turtle Consciousness
11) Learn and Practise
12) Sadhu's Duty
13) Internal Asuddha




Yamaduts and Ego:
How to Survive?
How to escape Yamaduts? Is it really necessary to wear Tulasi neck beads? Can a grihastha be totally surrendered? And what to do if along with a lot of service there comes a lot of ego?

We have to pray to our Gurudev, 'So many people are going to Goloka Vrindavan, there is
so much place there. If you can keep me there as a blade of grass, that would be good.'