We need to have the urge to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord's name, form and pastimes and it is the only perfect method to cleanse our heart of all contaminations. The beauty of this process of devotional service beginning with shravanam, kirtanam etc. is that we do not have to extraneously do all the cleansing work. The Lord Himself will take over the service of cleaning our heart.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never pointed out any mistakes in Shankaracarya and He only pointed out the faults in the philosophy, ie.,hate the sin not the sinner. This is a sign of a maha-bhagavata. Person bhagavatas never carry any malice toward any personalities.
Srila Prabhupada's books are so full of deep devotion. Meditating on the transcendental purports of His Divine Grace is non-different from meditating on the lotus feet of Krishna. The bliss of studying and discussing the transcendental books of Srila Prabhupada with like-minded devotees is incomparable to any other form of bliss.
Everything begins with our thoughts. The words should follow our thoughts and then the actions should follow our words. This is called integrity. Only those who speak what he thinks, and does what he speaks, are respected in this world.
Mahaprabhu teaches us here by His personal example that preaching means to speak from the heart, and the heart must be absorbed always in service to Krishna. And then, there should be a genuine compassion in our heart for all the living entities. With such a soft and pure heart, we can attract Krishna to take residence in it.
The mayavadi sannyasis thought, "All these days, we have been calling each other as Narayanas, even though we very well know we do not have a tinge of qualification to be called as Narayana. However, here is the original Narayana standing before us, but astonishingly He never called Himself as Narayana, even though He is Narayana Himself."
We have to ingrain this point strongly in our mind that the primary goal of reading the shastras is not to preach to others, but to cleanse the dirt that has accumulated in our hearts for so many lifetimes. The aim of shastric study is not to make someone a devotee (we are no one to make devotees, it is only Krishna who makes them devotees), but it is simply to sing the glories of Krishna for everyone's pleasure and purification.
The original purpose of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs of Benares in meeting Caitanya Mahāprabhu was to defeat His personal conception of God. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, as a preacher, turned the minds of the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs. They were melted by the sweet words of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and thus became friendly and spoke to Him also in sweet words.
Our Spiritual Master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj would say, "Your Krishna Consciousness is tested by how long you can sit alone in a corner of a room with your japa mala and chant or how long you can sit alone with Bhagavatam and study." We may have our excuses in the past, but fortunately or unfortunately, Krishna has descended Himself in the form of the deadly corona virus now.
A sincere devotee never wants name, fame, followers etc. He runs away from them because he thinks they are extremely dangerous to his bhakti. He is simply satisfied with offering his unmotivated and unflinching service to the Lord and His devotees. But it is Krishna's special desire that He wants His devotees to become famous all over the three worlds.
While chanting japa, most of the times our fingers try to find out if we reached the end of the mala, or try hard to remember which round we are in, or all the other important chores for the day etc, while we were actually supposed to remember Krishna's nama, guna, rupa and lila during japa.
Firm faith (dṛḍha viśvāsa) in the spiritual master's words is an absolute must to take even a single step forward in Krishna consciousness. In the history of bhakti marg, if we see anybody who has achieved success in their spiritual life, we can trace the root cause of that success to their unflinching faith in the words of their spiritual master.
The words evam vratah is very significant. It is not that anyone and everyone can experience the ecstatic symptoms. One has to take a vow to chant the holy name and dance in joy. Taking a vow means, with great determination and focus. And in order to do this, he has to really love the holy name very dearly as much as one can love the Lord (sva-priya-nāma-kīrtyā).
At this challenging moment, the vicious atmosphere of kali is spreading its wings thick and fast around the world in the form of panic, desperation and depression due to the epidemic disease that has engulfed the humanity. No one is the cause of this disease except our own selves. Nature and mother earth are strongly reacting to all the horrendous sins committed for hundreds of years against the ecosystem.
When Srila Prabhupada went to the West, he had only kartal, Srimad Bhagavatam and Hare Krishna mahamantra. None of them in the US knew what these are! But as soon as they heard the chanting of the mahamantra in the New York city Tompskin Square Park from the mouth of the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada, naturally without any inhibition they all started chanting in ecstasy.
When a disciple very perfectly makes progress in spiritual life, this gladdens the spiritual master, who then also smiles in ecstasy, thinking, “How successful my disciple has become!” He feels so glad that he smiles as he enjoys the progress of the disciple, just as a smiling parent enjoys the activities of a child who is trying to stand up or crawl perfectly.
The process of chanting the holy names is deceptively simple. Its simplicity and ease of access makes one wonder how can we attain spiritual perfection by such an easy process, but on the contrary the most merciful Lord Caitanya has given us this most powerful process of self-realization to the most unqualified souls of kali yuga because He is maha vadanyaaya - the most munificient Lord.
Maharaj used to make a very interesting statement, "If you tell someone, 'you are a rascal', that person will beat you up or in the worst case will chastise you in return. But if you tell the same person, 'I am a rascal', he will tell everyone how great and humble person you are!" This is how, by a humble attitude we can win over other's heart.
A spiritual master knows very well how to engage each disciple in a particular duty, but if a disciple, thinking himself more advanced than his spiritual master, gives up his orders and acts independently, he checks his own spiritual progress.
Due to renunciation, Vedānta study, meditation and the strict regulative principles of their daily routine, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs are certainly in a position to execute pious activities. Thus Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, on account of his piety, could understand that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not an ordinary person but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sākṣāt nārāyaṇa: he considered Him to be Nārāyaṇa Himself.
The respectful behavior of Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī toward Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very much to be appreciated. Such behavior is calculated to be ajñāta-sukṛti, or pious activities that one executes unknowingly. Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very tactfully gave Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī an opportunity to advance in ajñāta-sukṛti.
After making Him sit in the midst of the assembly, Prakashananda Saraswati asked Mahaprabhu, "You are a sannyasi like us and are living in Varanasi. Why don't you associate with us?" This is a significant point for us to note.
The mayavadis who focus mainly on the study of vedanta philosophy won't pay heed to the holy names and consider the devotees as some mad and illiterate people. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after deep consideration, decided to take sannyas even though he stayed in the householder life only till he was twenty-four years old.
As we live in this world struggling to come to terms with our day-day miseries and relief from them, we somehow or other cope up with manageable ones, but Krishna time and again shows us His devastating form through unbearable calamitous situation that can shake our faith in Him. During such calamities, our natural human mind thinks, "Why is Krishna giving so much pain?", "What is His plan?".
The words prasanna is translated by Prabhupada as satisfaction; dṛṣṭyā means glance and akhila tāpa-śoṣaṇam in the above verse means, vanquishing the universal miseries. The Lord's lotus face is decorated by His sundara-hāsa - beautiful smile and by His glance all miseries vanish.
Residents of Srirangam call this east tower as the Vellai (meaning white) Gopuram. It is generally believed that the tower is so called since it has been painted white by the temple authorities. But the tower has actually been named after a Devadasi called Vellayi who had sacrificed her life to protect the deity of Namperumal (utsava murthy) from the Sultanate forces who had invaded the temple.
The opposite of the sun is the darkness, and similarly the opposite of Kṛṣṇa is māyā, or illusion. The devotees of the Lord can see everything in true perspective due to the light disseminated by Lord Kṛṣṇa. By the grace of the Lord the pure devotee cannot be in the darkness of ignorance.
Lord's lotus feet is the Supreme shelter for His pure devotees. In this material world also, we may travel to many places, but we feel "at home" only when we go to our own homes. Likewise the ultimate rest for all those who want it, is the Lord's lotus feet.
In India, even today in pilgrim places like Vrindavan, Pandarpur etc, we can find many people - though very old and sick - medically unfit also, simply by taking shelter of Lord's Holy names - effortlessly do parikrama and take darshan of the Lord and experience great bliss.