• Sri Gurvastakam

    Sri Gurvastakam

    I want to give an explanation of Sri Guru – what are the symptoms of a bona fide guru – and to show you examples that have been given in the epics [Vedic scriptures]. You can apply this to your own guru. Our Sri Guru is akhanda-guru-tattva, Sri Baladeva Prabhu or Sri Nityananda Prabhu, so all teachings should be applied to him and to others who are following this... Read More
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bhakti discourses
  • Our Master - His Life

    A most endearing hallmark of his preaching was the heart-stealing affection he showed to all. As an uttama-bhāgavata, he entered the deepest recesses of the heart to give the unmistakable reassurance that he is one's eternal well-wisher. The depth of his affection is a tangible reality for all who have experienced it, and this in itself bears subjective testimony to the fact that he was a true emissary of the Supreme Lord.

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  • Namah

    As long as Śrīla Gurudeva, the beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is physically manifest, it is wise to render intimate service to him, and thereby attain perfection. But if we are not able to attain perfection because we have failed to develop attachment to him, attachment wherein we consider him to be the lord of our heart; if we have failed to serve him by giving him our full heart in complete sincerity and selflessness, then we have certainly been deprived...

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  • The Most Compassionate

    Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is certainly more intelligent than each and every one of us, and He knows how to make the fallen souls of Kali-yuga best understand His high-level teachings. Indeed, His teachings are comprehensible by all. Still, our misfortune prevails. First, we do not accept His teachings. Second, to impress others with our prowess we mix something of our own with them...

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Rays of The Harmonist

  • Vaisnava Philosphy and Vedanta
  • Sri Raghunatha - the Pinnacle of Abnegation
  • Krsna-nama, Krsna-dhama and Krsna-kama

tn srila bhakitsiddhantaby Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

To be brief, the difference between the followers of Māyāvāda, or absolute monism, and the Vaiṣṇava Vedantists is that the former has a bias for the idea of nirviśeṣa, or non-distinction, whereas the latter accepts the eternality of Personal Godhead. The monists are atheists in disguise. On the other hand, the Vaiṣṇavas are sincere theists...

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tn srila bhakitsiddhantaby Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

In his Vilāpa-kusumañjali (102), Raghunātha prays to Śrī Rādhā: “Somehow I have spent my life in high expectations of the ocean of nectar. If even You do not show kindness toward me, then what need is there for me to continue living? What, then, is the benefit of my residence in Vraja or even being with Kṛṣṇa?”

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tn srila bhakitsiddhantaby Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

Those who attend to the service of God’s name (nāma), His abode (dhāma) and His desire (kāma) are the only really adorable ones in the world. No being can extricate himself from wrong understandings due to māyā without engaging in service to śrī nāma. As the result of service to śrī nāma...

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Featured: Jagannatha Ratha-yatra

Jagannath Rathayatra 200

Śrī Jagannātha Ratha-yātrā is bound to take one’s appreciation of Ratha-yātrā to new heights, beyond the thrill of an extraordinary cultural or religious experience. Annually, in Purī, India, approximately a million people attend the ancient Ratha-yātrā festival, to take darśana of Lord Jagannātha on His chariot, and at least three times that view it from other places in India and around the world. Still, the deep significance of Ratha-yātrā, being most confidential, is not widely known...



sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year-5, Issue 11
Posted: 3 December 2012

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja


by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

(Portrait of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)

Question 1: What is the meaning of the word namaḥ in our mantras?

Answer: The word namaḥ means to renounce one’s pride, or independence, and bow down in heartfelt surrender. “O Gurudeva! O Kṛṣṇa! From today, I am Your servant and You are my only shelter. Please be merciful to me and guide me; engage me in Your service. From today onward I have renounced my pride and my ahaṅkāra – my false, egoistic conception that I am the active agent. My only prayer is that from now on Your instructions, and Your advice and direction be my only focus – the Pole Star and governing element of my life.”

Namaskāra’ means to renounce all material ego, all pride in our delusion that ‘I am the active agent’, ‘I am the enjoyer’, ‘I am the seer’, ‘I am the maintainer’. When the corruption of our intelligence – the misconception that ‘I am the active agent’ – is finally removed by the mercy of Śrīla Gurudeva, then alone do we attain true dīkṣā, or transcendent knowledge.

As long as Śrīla Gurudeva, the beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha), is physically manifest, it is wise to render intimate service to him, and thereby attain perfection. But if we are not able to attain perfection because we have failed to develop attachment to him, attachment wherein we consider him to be the lord of our heart; if we have failed to serve him by giving him our full heart in complete sincerity and selflessness, then we have certainly been deprived... we have certainly been deprived.

Although I had my only saviour, the only deliverer of my soul – my only unconditional, true friend – so close to me, due to my bad fortune I lost him. Such is my misfortune! After coming to the bank of the celestial river to collect water, I turned away and headed towards the desert. Even after I discovered a mine of precious jewels, I again became allured by a glass shop, glittering with imitation jewels. What a piteous disaster! Those who are alert and intelligent should be totally determined to live a life of complete surrender to the lotus feet of Śrīla Gurudeva, devoid of duplicity and any type of separate interest, lest they shall certainly be deprived.

Question 2: How can one attain darśana of the Supreme Lord?

Answer: The Supreme Lord Śrī Hari is the original, self-manifest entity. He is the ocean of mercy. When we are inclined to render service, He bestows His mercy and manifests Himself, His form, His complexion, and everything about Him, in one’s consciousness.

The worldly enjoyer is busy with the conception that he is the active agent. All his attempts to attain darśana of the Supreme Lord through his mood of ‘I am the active agent’ will be fruitless. The darśana of the Lord is feasible only through a pure heart, and only by the grace of the process of submissive hearing. No material skill can lead one to have darśana of the Supreme Conscious Being. That Conscious Being can be seen only through the eyes of pure consciousness, through the faculty, or function, inherent in pure consciousness. Only the true servant shall actually see the Lord. The Lord mercifully gives darśana to his genuine servant alone – first, internal darśana; and then darśana wherein He appears directly before him.

Question 3: How long shall the conditioned state of the jīva persist?

Answer: So long as the ānanda-dharma or bhakti-dharma of the soul has not manifest, the living being cannot know himself to be the servant of the Supreme Lord. Until that time, his conditioned state of mind, the conception that he is the active agent, will persist. How can one’s material self-identification disappear as long as his transcendental self-identification has not yet manifested to replace it?

Question 4: Why am I unable to depend completely on Bhagavān?

Answer: As atomic conscious beings, our only nature is to be surrendered – to accept the shelter of the infinite conscious being. If we pay heed to the topics of the external world, we will be unable to place our full faith in the Supreme Lord. Those who do not wish for anything from this external sphere, those who consider themselves most insignificant, and do not seek support from any corporeal object – they alone can repose their faith in the Supreme Lord. They alone can truly and completely depend on Him. By faithfully hearing the powerful harikathā that emanates from the lotus lips of the divine saint, he who is living scripture, we can come to completely depend on the Supreme Lord.

Question 5: When will we achieve true welfare?

Answer: Only upon hearing bhagavata-kathā from great saintly devotees, and then following in their footsteps and remaining under their guidance, will we attain true welfare. When one first sets out to engage in pottery, he must initially hear from a skilled potter. Thereafter he can actually begin his work. Before a cook prepares delicious sandeśa (a traditional Indian milk-sweet), he must first learn the recipe and the process from a confectioner. In the same way, if we do not follow in the footsteps of a great, knowledgeable guide, if we try to attain our welfare independently, then we will likely face many difficulties along the path to success. Instead of becoming knowledgeable of the true essence of the revealed scriptures, we will become disciples of our own mental concoctions.

Our only duty is to take shelter of the lotus feet of śrī guru. There are no means to attain the Supreme Truth apart from accepting the path prescribed in the revealed scriptures. There is no possible way for us to attain any form of darśana of the Absolute Truth, apart from bathing in the dust of the lotus feet of the niṣkiñcana mahājanas (great saints whose only possession is Śrī Kṛṣṇa). Only these great personalities can save us from our bhogya-darśana or ku-darśana – our vivid communion with the perceived objects of our own enjoyment, or our faulty perception of the world in general. The real truth becomes known only when we take shelter at the lotus feet of śrī guru, make ourselves his property, and accept service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa as our very life.

Question 6: Is there any other way to attain welfare besides surrendering one’s very self?

Answer: No. The jīva cannot attain complete welfare until he completely surrenders unto Śrī Kṛṣṇa. If Lord Kṛṣṇa does not remain within the scope of my attention or remembrance at every step – while roaming about or while performing any other activity – then I shall definitely be lead down the wrong track.

We will not be benefited in any way if our fixation on “I” and “mine” remains dominant on account of knowledge acquired by our material senses. To be governed by the conception that ‘I am the enjoyer, and this material world is for my enjoyment’, shall lead us to our doom. We are conscious entities, but this material world is an unconscious thing. That which can be enjoyed by us here is known as jaḍa, or inert. We have forgotten our true identity and have become influenced by our false pride, epitomized by the belief that “temporary things are to be enjoyed by me, for I am the enjoyer.” When that pride becomes strong enough, it leads to the misconception that “I am Supreme Spirit; I am God.” The result is complete disaster. When we are overcome by the thought that “I shall become great,” then the path to our spiritual welfare is totally closed.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta 
Questions re-numbered for this on-line presentation

Śrīla Prabhupādera Upadeśāmṛta is a compilation of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda’s instructions in question-and-answer form.



Rays of The Harmonist On-line; Year-5, Issue 11, "Namaḥ", by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.