Hare Krsna, Dear Gurudev,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
Shraddha is the first level in the development of Bhakti. What I want to know from Gurudev is that how can one enhance one's Shraddha to the point that it becomes unaffected by any externalities?
HpS - ASA -- Thank you so much for this letter... AGTSP!!!!! paoho....
Nectar of Instruction (NOI) - 7, paragraph starting, "The conclusion is..", Srila Prabhupada paraphrases the verse "adau sraddha, sadhu sanga...", with all the stages. This is one of the most principle verses in all of SP's books! Study it. Learn the stages. Find your stage. See BG 4.10 purport for the Sanskrit!
Then in NOI-5 SP cites, "Sraddhavan jana...". This verse points out that every one of the different levels: Sraddha, sadhu sanga, bhajana kriya..." etc, are just different levels of Sraddha. Sraddha is another name for Bhakti. When our Sraddha is unaffected by externals it is at the Nistha stage, no? Read the NOI-7 text above to see how to get to that stage. Of course the basic principle is chant 16-enthusiastic rounds per day, and follow the 4-principles strictly, under SP's authority. All the details are in NOI in the first level.... Then SB, CC, NOD!! Asking devotee Bhagavatas.
We can advance in devotional life only through Krsna's and guru's mercy. What makes one worthy of mercy?
HpS - If we had to be "worthy" then it would not be "mercy", it would be "earned". We get the mercy by accepting it when Krsna sends it. He sends a boat to take us out of our flooded house, but we are too vain and proud, and expect a helicopter with red cushions. Look for the mercy that Krsna is sending, and then TRY to accept it. Maybe is is austerity. Maybe it is resting.... Beyond that, yes, we can try to become qualified to earn the mercy. Apply the process to the best of our ability.
Vedas have to learnt through aural reception from self realised souls. One also has to do self study at home. So how can one approach that?
ASA - Attend classes with devotees. Discuss Srila Prabhupada's books with them for an hour or so in the morning and evening and then do, an hour or so of your own private study, association, with Srila Prabhupada.
We read CC before Mangala arati online but don't discuss it, just share our screen, Then we tweet our location and study question.
Then we read ISO etc in Spanish with devotees on line after Mangala arati with some comments. Then 6.30-7.30AM pepare SB class and writing projects, 7.30-8.30AM Class with devotees. Evening program. You develop your program based upon your association, service.
A Vaisnava is one who is compassionate, empathetic, kind,humble, peaceful and very tolerant. In today's world, how can one develop these qualities but at the same time not become a doormat to other opportunistic people?
HpS - By recognizing who is a demon and who is an innocent person. Avoid the demons (Aikido) and teach the innocent! Of course these two will be mixed in the same bodies usually.
Gurudev, in Bg 18.66,Krsna says to Arjuna to abandon all varieties of religion. This is explained in the purport but couldn't gain a proper understanding of it. Please explain what does "all varieties of religion"mean.
ASA - Conventional social duties eg Good Mother, Good Police man, Good Artisan.
Also what is complete surrender?
HpS - We smile and say, "As much as you can." . . . Just surrender to Krsna as much as you can, as much as you can't, then try to cultivate Dhyana, Jnana, and Karma. Chant your rounds, do your service with attention (Dhayana), understanding. logic and intelligence (Jnana), according to the rules (Karma)
Cc Madhya Lila 22.62,Text 62. "By rendering transcendental loving service to Kṛṣṇa, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. This confident, firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service, is called śraddhā. What do 'all subsidiary activities' mean?
ASA - Same as above: Venerated public duties (Karma), Janana and yoga. Hanuman didn't make much of a plan or collect special tools when he went to Lanka to find Sita. He just said, "Jaya Rama!", and jumped. Of course he is Hanuman. Maybe we should pack a GPS.
Gurudev, I am 3 months into this journey, so still a novice.
HpS - We are over 40-years and still neophyte in many ways. Also, we are attracted because we have been doing this is a previous life, thus we take birth in a certain community.
Spiritual life has captured all my interest and attention. I am fascinated by every aspect of devotional life and also would love to be a part of it. I want to take initiation as soon as possible and can't wait to embark on this path of transcendence.
Your humble servant wants to know your advice on how I should go about in making this big step.
A guru is the representative of God and Guru will take us back to Godhead. Seeking a spiritual master is the most important step in self realisation. How can we choose a spiritual master and how to seek him? How can one muster up the courage to have complete dependence on Krsna.
HpS - Is an unlimited topic. Balarama is the orignal Guru and He is every expanding. Read NOI-5. That will help a lot. I am trying to function as Vartmana praparsika Siksa guru, now, show you the path, then some one initiates you according to the rituals and that is Diksa guru. Now you are a Matriculated student. Then there is more Siksa (advice, but now it is how to travel the path). If you engage in whatever practical devotional service that you know you should do, then all the knowledge about how to progress will be revealed.
Lastly,Gurudev, spiritual path has been 'a road not taken' among my near and dear ones. So I sometimes feel a little bit uneasy and oddly different following an unconventional path although I completely trust the whole process. Please shed some light on how to develop nishtha with respect to the said concern.
HpS - Look at the example of Arjuna, Prahlada, Vibhisana, they all had to adjust their association, reject family members, accept others, to progress in spiritual life. It is not new. It is the common confrontation!
Thank you, Gurudev.Please accept my humble obeisances unto your lotus feet.AGTSP
Your insignificant servant
Nilanda Ningthoujam from Manipur
HpS - Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Chandra, Ki Jai. Please write again after you have some time to apply these discussions. Respectst to all in Manipura.