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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktyaloka > Six Qualitis That Enhance Bhakti > Sadhu-Vrtti


Following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas


I have already written separate essays regarding utsaha, nishcaya, dhairya, tat-tat-karma-pravartana, and sanga-tyaga. Now I am writing this essay on sadhu-vritti. There are two kinds of sadhus—householders and renunciates. I will separately describe the vritti, or occupation, of each. Although householders and renunciates have different occupations, there are some they have in common. These will be discussed separately. There are two meanings of the word occupation—propensity and lifestyle. Propensity means one's nature, or svabhava. Those natural propensities are the living entity's dharma. It is said in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.11.31):

prayah sva-bhava-vihito        nrinam dharmo yuge yuge

veda-drigbhih smrito rajan        pretya ceha ca sharma-krit

“My dear King, brahmanas well conversant in Vedic knowledge have given their verdict that in every age [yuga] the conduct of different sections of people according to their material modes of nature is auspicious both in this life and after death.”

By passing life in one's natural occupation, one can attain devotional service free from the modes of nature. Otherwise one will fall into irreligion and be unable to make gradual advancement. It is said in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.11.32):

vrittya sva-bhava-kritaya        vartamanah sva-karma-krit

hitva sva-bhava-jam karma        shanair nirgunatam iyat 

“If one acts in his profession according to his position in the modes of nature and gradually gives up these activities, he attains the transcendental position.” Nirgunata, or the transcendental position, means devotion to Krishna. As stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.25.33):

tasmad deham imam labdhva        jnana-vijnana-sambhavam

guna-sangam vinirdhuya        mam bhajantu vicakshanah

“Therefore, having achieved this human form of life, which allows one to develop full knowledge, those who are intelligent should free themselves from all contamination of the modes of nature and engage exclusively in My loving service.” It has been ascertained by the Lord's use of the two words nirgunam and mad upashrayam3 that whatever is performed out of devotion is called nirguna, or transcendental. The Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.25.34-35) states:

rajas tamash cabhijayet        sattva-samsevaya munih

sattvam cabhijayed yukto        nairapekshyena shanta-dhih

“He should conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by engaging himself only with things in the mode of goodness. Then, being fixed in devotional service, the sage should also conquer the material mode of goodness by indifference toward the modes.” Therefore people can become free from the modes of nature if they pass their lives dovetailing everything—sattvika objects, activities, time, and place—with the devotional service of the Lord. Only human beings are eligible for propensities in the mode of goodness, and remaining in that state they gradually become free from the modes. The general propensities of human beings in the mode of goodness are described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.11.8-12) as follows: satya—speaking the truth without distortion or deviation; daya—sympathy to everyone suffering; tapah—austerities (such as observing fasts at least twice in a month on the day of Ekadashi); shauca—cleanliness (bathing regularly at least twice a day—morning and evening—and remembering to chant the holy name of God); titiksha—toleration (being unagitated by seasonal changes or inconvenient circumstances); iksha—distinguishing between good and bad; shama—control of the mind (not allowing the mind to act whimsically); dama—control of the senses (not allowing the senses to act without control); ahimsa—nonviolence (not subjecting any living entity to the threefold miseries); brahmacarya—continence or abstaining from misuse of one's semen (not indulging in sex with women other than one's own wife and not having sex with one's own wife when sex is forbidden, like during the period of menstruation); tyaga—giving in charity at least fifty percent of one's income; svadhyaya—reading of transcendental literatures like Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Ramayana and Mahabharata; saralata—simplicity (freedom from mental duplicity); santosha—being satisfied with that which is available without severe endeavor; samadarshi-janera-seva—rendering service to saintly persons who make no distinctions between one living being and another and who see every living being as a spirit soul; gramya-ceshta haite nivritti—not taking part in so-called philanthropic activities; viparyayeheksha—distinguishing unnecessary activities; vrithalapa-nivritti (maunam)—being grave and silent; atma-vimarshana— research into the self (as to whether one is the body or the soul); annadira-vibhaga—equal distribution of food and drink; sakala-loke bhagavat-sambandha-buddhi—accepting all living entities as related to the Lord; as well as shravana—hearing; kirtana—chanting; smarana—remembering (His words and activities); seva—service; ijya—worship; nati—offering obeisances; dasya—accepting the service; sakhyam—to consider as a friend; atma-nivedana—surrendering one's whole self. According to the differentiations of these thirty characteristics, the four varnas—brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra—and the four ashramas—brahmacari, grihastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa—are born. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.18.42) it is said:

bhikshor dharmah shamo 'himsa        tapa iksha vanaukasah

grihino bhuta-rakshejya        dvijasyacarya-sevanam

“The main religious duties of a sannyasi are equanimity and nonviolence, whereas for the vanaprastha austerity and philosophical understanding of the difference between the body and soul are prominent. The main duties of a householder are to give shelter to all living entities and perform sacrifice, and the brahmacari is mainly engaged in serving the spiritual master.” The life occupations of the four varnas are stated as follows: Study, teaching, worship, teaching worship, giving charity, and accepting charity—these six are the brahmanas' occupations; out of these they should maintain their life by teaching, teaching worship, and accepting worship. The kshatriyas' occupations are protecting the praja by punishing miscreants and maintaining the life by taxation. Farming, protecting cows, and business are the vaishyas' occupations; only serving brahmanas is the livelihood of the shudras. The traditional occupation of those who are lower than shudras are their means of livelihood.

From all these conclusions of Shrimad Bhagavatam it should be understood that performing devotional service to Shri Hari is the only purpose of life, there is no other purpose. Unless one makes the gross and subtle bodies favorable for devotional service, one cannot engage in such. There is a need for some arrangements in order to attain a favorable condition in those two bodies. First in order to maintain the gross body there is a need to accumulate a house, household items, grains, and drinks. For the prosperity of the subtle body one needs proper knowledge and a proper occupation. In order to make the bodies completely favorable for devotional service, there is a need to situate them above the modes of nature. Due to the results of fruitive activities from time immemorial, whatever nature and desires a living entity develops is certainly a mixture of goodness, passion, and ignorance. By first enriching the mode of goodness, one should diminish and defeat passion and ignorance and make goodness prominent. When the mode of goodness is completely under the control of devotional service, then it becomes nirguna. By following this gradual process one's body, mind, and environment become fit for devotional service.

There is a need for varnashrama-dharma while a human remains in the stage of piety and impiety that are born of his nature. The main purpose of varnashrama-dharma is this: By gradually following varnashrama-dharma a human being will become eligible to perform devotional service. Shriman Mahaprabhu has quoted the following verses from Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.2-3) to Sanatana Gosvami:

 mukha-bahuru-padebhyah        purushasyashramaih saha 

catvaro jajnire varna        gunair vipradayah prithak

ya esham purusham sakshad-        atma-prabhavam ishvaram

na bhajanty avajananti        sthanad bhrashtah patanty adhah

“'From the mouth of Brahma, the brahminical order has come into existence. Similarly, from his arms the kshatriyas have come, from his waist the vaishyas have come, and from his legs the shudras have come. These four orders and their spiritual counterparts [brahmacarya, grihastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa] combine to make human society complete. If one simply maintains an official position in the four varnas and ashramas but does not worship the Supreme Lord Vishnu, he falls down from his puffed-up position into a hellish condition.” Shrila Ramananda Raya said that the process for achieving the supreme goal of life is given in the Vishnu Purana as follows:

varnashramacaravata        purushena parah puman

vishnur aradhyate pantha        nanyat tat-tosha-karanam

“One can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, by proper discharge of the principles of varna and ashrama. There is no alternative to pacifying the Lord by execution of the principles of the varnashrama system.” Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, rejected this process as external and requested him to give a higher conclusion. The purport of Shri Chaitanya's statement is this: “O Ramananda! Varnashrama-dharma is meant to regulate the gross and subtle bodies. If someone is satisfied only in that, without engaging in devotional service of Krishna, then what is his gain? Therefore, although the process of varnashrama is the only means of purification for a conditioned soul, still it is external.” As stated in Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.8):

dharmah svanushthitah pumsam        vishvaksena-kathasu yah

notpadayed yadi ratim        shrama eva hi kevalam

“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” From this one should not conclude that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has ordered us to discard varnashrama-dharma. If that would have been the case, then He would not have instructed all living entities through His pastimes of completely following the orders of grihastha and sannyasa. As long as one has a material body the system of varnashrama-dharma must be followed, but it should remain under the full control and domination of bhakti. Varnashrama-dharma is like the foundation of one's supreme occupational duty. When one's supreme occupational duty is matured and one achieves his goal, then the process is gradually neglected. Again, it is also abandoned at the time of death.

In the last half of the verse quoted by Shrila Ramananda Raya, it says: vishnur aradhyate pantha nanyat tat-tosha-karanam—“One should know that without following the process of varnashrama-dharma, a materialist has no alternative to pass his life favorably for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.” This is the only way to achieve the life of a devotee.

Human beings are divided according to their nature into the following divisions: brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, shudra, sankara, and antyaja. Even though the system of varnashrama is not clearly present in some countries, still it exists in a seedling form. According to one's nature, he develops his occupation and, accordingly, his means of livelihood. By accepting the livelihood and occupation of others, one meets with misfortune. What to speak of misfortune, it especially obstructs one's devotional service. Birth is not the only criteria; the only criteria is one's nature. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.11.35) it is stated:

yasya yal lakshanam proktam        pumso varnabhivyanjakam

yad anyatrapi drishyeta        tat tenaiva vinirdishet

“If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, or shudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.” In his commentary, Shridhara Swami has written: shamadibhir eva brahmanadi vyavaharo mukhyah, na jati matrad ity aha—yasyeti. yad yadi anyatra varnantare 'pi drishyeta tad varnantaram tenaiva lakshana nimittenaiva varnena vinirddishet, na tu jati nimittenety arthah—“The brahmanas' main characteristics are qualities such as peacefulness, not birth. If these main characteristics are seen in persons other than those born as brahmanas, then such persons should be considered brahmanas. They should not be considered according to their caste by birth.” This kind of eternal varnashrama-dharma is always to be followed. It is often useful for devotional service. Members of the four varnas and the lower castes should be eager to progress their sattvic nature. If an outcaste becomes fortunate due to his pious deeds, then he should progress his cultivation of goodness while following the conduct of a shudra. Everyone should give prominence to devotional service and progress the cultivation of goodness to the platform of nirguna, transcendence, by the mercy of the devotees. These are the stages of sanatana-dharma. With devotion, the member of any varna is considered the best of the brahmanas; without devotion, the life of a brahmana fixed in goodness is useless.

For example, let us consider the statement: Some mahatma has said (Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura from Prema-bhakti-candrika): mahajanera yei patha, ta 'te ha 'ba anurata, purvapara kariya vicara—“I will be attached to the path chalked out by the previous and later mahajanas.” The rishis and mahatmas who have taught conduct before the appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are counted among the previous mahajanas. The conduct seen in the mahajanas after the appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the conduct of later mahajanas. The conduct of the later mahajanas is superior and should be adopted. The conduct of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers is meant to teach people, so that conduct should be followed in all respects.

What is proper occupation? To know this, one should see the behavior of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's followers. As far as possible I will try to briefly compile them in this essay. First I will write about the behavior and occupation of the grihastha, as found in the character of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees.

As a support for his devotional service, a householder should find a suitable wife. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 15.26-27) the Lord says:

grihastha ha-ilama, ebe cahi griha-dharma

grihini vina griha-dharma na haya shobhana

“Since I am remaining at home it is My duty to act as a grihastha. Without a wife, there is no meaning to householder life.”

While living with one's wife and maintaining religious family life, Krishna's servants and maidservants are born in the form of sons and daughters. Nourishing them is called maintaining the family. The pious acquisition of wealth is required in these activities. In this regard Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 5.41) and Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.96):

prabhu bale,—parivara aneka tomara

nirvaha kemate tabe haibe sabara?

`grihastha' hayena inho, cahiye sancaya

sancaya na kaile kutumba-bharana nahi haya

“The Lord said: There are so many members in your family. How will you maintain everyone? Being a householder, one needs to save some money. Because he is not doing so, it is very difficult for him to maintain his family.”

One must be educated at a proper age. But he should not study atheistic literatures. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 12.49 and Madhya 9.241-242) the Lord says:

pade kene loka?—krishna bhakti janibare

se yadi nahila, tabe vidyaya ki kare?

vishaya-madandha saba kichui na jane

vidya-made, dhana-made vaishnava na cine

bhagavata padiyao ka 'ro buddhi nasha

“Why do people study? Education is only for understanding devotional service of Lord Krishna. If you miss this point, then what is the use of your education? Everyone is blinded by pride and sense gratification. Being proud of their education and wealth, they fail to recognize a Vaishnava. If one studies Shrimad Bhagavatam improperly his intelligence is polluted.”

Serving guests is the principle duty of a grihastha—this is the Lord's instruction. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.21, 26) it is stated:

grihasthere mahaprabhu shikhayena dharma

atithira seva—grihasthera mula-karma

akaitave citta-sukhe ya 'ra yena shakti

taha karilei bali atithite bhakti

“In this way the Lord satisfied all His guests and taught the world how to behave as a perfect householder. The foremost duty of a householder is to serve his guests. If a householder happily serves his guests without duplicity and according to his ability he is considered hospitable.”

A grihastha should act with simplicity in his dealings with people; he should not allow any kind of cheating or duplicity in his heart. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.142) the Lord says:

ataeva grihe tumi krishna bhaja giya

kutinati parihari' ekanta haiya

“Therefore go back to your home and worship Lord Krishna with full attention, giving up all duplicity.”

It is the principle duty of a grihastha to serve senior persons. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 15.21) the Lord says:

grihastha ha-iya kariba pita-matara sevana

ihate-i tushta habena lakshmi-narayana

“Later I shall become a householder and thus serve My parents, for this action will very much satisfy Lord Narayana and His wife, the goddess of fortune.”

A householder should take the principles of renunciation to heart; but he should not simply dress as a renunciate. As stated by the Lord in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 16.237-239):

sthira hana ghare yao, na hao vatula

krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula

markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana

yatha-yogya vishaya bhunja' anasakta hana

antare nishtha kara, bahye loka-vyavahara

acirat krishna tomaya karibe uddhara

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: Be patient and return home. Don't be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence. You should not make yourself a showbottle devotee and become a false renunciate. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it. Within your heart, you should keep yourself very faithful, but externally you may behave like an ordinary man. Thus Krishna will soon be very pleased and deliver you from the clutches of maya.”

A householder is duty-bound to work for the benefit of everyone. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 9.41, 7.92) the Lord said:

bharata-bhumite haila manushya-janma yara

janma sarthaka kari' kara para-upakara

naca, gao, bhakta-sange kara sankirtana

krishna-nama upadeshi' tara' sarva-jana

“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India (Bharata-varsha) should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people. My dear child, continue dancing, chanting, and performing sankirtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting krishna-nama, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.”

In this practice of devotional service, duplicitous association has been prohibited. Even in street sankirtana one should chant and dance in the association of pure devotees. One should not chant in the association of nondevotees.

A householder should fully depend on the will of the Lord in all his activities. The Lord says in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 28.55):

shuna mata, ishvarera adhina samsara

svatantra haite shakti nahika kahara

“Listen, dear mother, the whole world is under the control of the Lord. No one has the power to become independent.”

A householder should cautiously give up the association of nondevotees, women, and uxorious people. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.87) the Lord said:

asat-sanga-tyaga,—ei vaishnava-acara

`stri-sangi'—eka asadhu, `krishnabhakta' ara

“A Vaishnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaishnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krishna.”

By following his prescribed duties a grihastha Vaishnava should accumulate wealth for his maintenance. He should not accumulate wealth by sinful means. Lord Nityananda Prabhu has stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 5.685-688):

shuna dvija, yateka pataka kaili tui

ara yadi na karis, saba nimu muni

parahimsa, daka, curi—saba anacara

chada giya, iha tumi na kariha ara

dharma pathe giya tumi laha hari-nama

tabe tumi anyere kariba paritrana

yata saba dasyu, cora dakiya aniya

dharma-pathe sabare laoyao tumi giya

“Now listen carefully, O brahmana. I will take responsibility for all your previous misdeeds if you do not repeat them. No more aggression, violence, looting, or murder; give them up forever. Lead a religious life and chant the holy names of the Supreme Lord. Then later you can also save others. Go and meet other dacoits and murderers and bring them to the path of pure religious life.”

A householder should not hanker for another's wife or prostitutes. This is exhibited in the Lord's dealings with Krishnadasa in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 9.227-228):

gosanira sange rahe krishnadasa brahmana

bhattathari-saha tahan haila darashana

stri-dhana dekhana tanra lobha janmaila

arya sarala viprera buddhi-nasha kaila

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was accompanied by His servant, Krishnadasa. He was a brahmana, but he met with the Bhattatharis there. With women the Bhatöatharis allured the brahmana Krishnadasa, who was simple and gentle. By virtue of their bad association, they polluted his intelligence.”

The Lord protected that brahmana from the women's clutches by pulling him by the hair. The words sarala vipra mean a weak-hearted young brahmana.

He is a real householder who chants one hundred thousand names every day. Pure devotees should accept prasada in the houses of such grihasthas. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (9.121-2) the Lord said:

prabhu bale,—jana, `laksheshvara' bali kare?

prati-dina laksha-nama ye grahana kare

se janera nama ami bali `laksheshvara'

tatha bhiksha amara, na yai anya ghara

“The Lord replied: Do you know who is a laksheshvara? He is someone who chants one laksha, or one hundred thousand, holy names everyday. I call such a person a laksheshvara. I only take meals in that person's house, no one else.”

There is no difference between smartas and Vaishnavas regarding following the codes of religion. The Lord has said in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 9.388-9):

adhama janera ye acara, yena dharma

adhikari vaishnaveo kare sei karma

krishna kripaye se iha janibare pare

e saba sankaöe keha mare, keha tare

“Sometimes an exalted Vaishnava exhibits the same activities as a materialistic person. One can understand this by the mercy of Krishna; otherwise in this dilemma one may be liberated or destroyed.”

The purport is that the conviction in the heart of a Vaishnava is independent. If one is a Vaishnava, then he can understand the conviction in the heart of another Vaishnava who is engaged in the same activities as those of the smartas. One who cannot understand this cannot respect Vaishnavas, and he thereby goes to hell.

The Lord has explained the duties of householders in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.104):

prabhu kahena—`krishna-seva', `vaishnava-sevana'

`nirantara kara krishna-nama-sankirtana'

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied: Without cessation continue chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna. Whenever possible, serve Him and His devotees, the Vaishnavas.”

It is the duty of a grihastha to constantly chant the holy names of the Lord and serve the Vaishnavas and the Lord with the help of his relatives and by the wealth he has earned through his pious life. Regarding serving the Vaishnavas, one should know that there are three types of nonduplicitous devotees. Serving such Vaishnavas is called vaishnava-seva. There is no need to gather many Vaishnavas by invitation. Whenever a Vaishnava comes for any purpose he should be properly served with care. By gathering many Vaishnavas, one may commit offenses. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.198):

bahuta sannyasi yadi aise eka öhani

sammana karite nari, aparadha pai

“If all the sannyasis come together, it would not be possible for me to pay them proper respects. Therefore I would be an offender.”

It is the duty of a grihastha Vaishnava to show mercy on the poor and fallen. As stated in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 3.238):

dine daya kare,—ei sadhu-svabhava haya

“It is a characteristic of all saintly persons to be kind toward the poor and fallen.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should not desire to give up his body merely out of some sentiment or anger. As stated by the Lord in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.57):

deha-tyagadi yata, saba—tamo-dharma

tamo-rajo-dharme krishnera na paiye marma

“Acts such as suicide are influenced by the mode of ignorance, and in ignorance and passion one cannot understand who Krishna is.”

There is no consideration of superior or inferior status due to social position in regard to worshiping Krishna. In worldly occupations there are different activities according to the different social divisions, which are due to superior and inferior grades of intelligence. There are no such distinctions in the process of devotional service. As confirmed by the Lord in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.66-67):

nica-jati nahe krishna-bhajane ayogya

sat-kula-vipra nahe bhajanera yogya

yei bhaje sei bada, abhakta—hina, chara

krishna-bhajane nahi jati-kuladi-vicara 

“A person born in a low family is not unfit for discharging devotional service to Lord Krishna, nor is one fit for devotional service simply because he is born in an aristocratic family of brahmanas. Anyone who takes to devotional service is exalted, whereas a nondevotee is always condemned and abominable. Therefore in the discharge of devotional service to the Lord, there is no consideration of the status of one's family.”

Also in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.84) it is said:

sannyasi pandita-ganera karite garva nasha

nica-shudra-dvara karena dharmera prakasha

“To vanquish the false pride of so-called renunciates and learned scholars, He spreads real religious principles, even through a shudra, or lowborn fourth-class man.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should feel satisfied with whatever food and clothing he gets without difficulty. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 4.293):

saba' haite bhagyavanta—shri shaka, vyanjana

punah punah yaha prabhu karena grahana

“The spinach and vegetables are the most fortunate of all, for the Lord accepts them again and again.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should perform devotional service with undeviated attention, knowing Krishna as the Lord of all. He should not disrespect the demigods worshiped by the smarta-sampradaya. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 2.243):

na mane' chaitanya-patha, bolaya `vaishnava'

shivere amanya kare vyartha ta 'ra saba

“If one claims to be a Vaishnava, but he disrespects Lord Siva and does not strictly follow the path exhibited by Lord Chaitanya, all his efforts are futile.”

It is the duty of a grihastha to work for the benefit of others even by giving up his own self-interest. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 3.365) it is said:

apanara bhala hau yete jana dekhe

sujana apana chadiyao para rakhe

“Some people expect only benefits for themselves, but a gentleman cares for others while giving up his own interest.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should respect and worship tulasi. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 8.159-160):

sankhya nama laite ye sthane prabhu vaise

tathai rakhena tulasire prabhu pashe

tulasire dekhena, japena sankhya-nama

e bhakti-yogera tattva ke bujhibe ana?

“Wherever the Lord sits to chant His rounds, He keeps tulasi before Him. He gazes at tulasi while He chants His rounds. Who can understand the science of devotional service?”

A householder with devotion is glorious, while a householder without devotion is insignificant. Whatever social dealings a householder has to perform should be done while taking shelter of the holy name of Krishna. Regarding the character of the mahajana Shri Kalidasa, the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 16.6-7) states:

maha-bhagavata tenho sarala udara

krishna-nama-`sankete' calaya vyavahara

kautukete tenho yadi pashaka khelaya

`hare krishna' `krishna' kari' pashaka calaya

“Kalidasa was a very advanced devotee, yet he was simple and liberal. He would chant the holy name of Krishna while performing all his ordinary dealings. When he used to throw dice in jest, he would throw the dice while chanting Hare Krishna.”

Everyone is prohibited from corrupt earning or spending, and workers are prohibited from accepting bribes. As stated by the Lord in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 9.90, 142-144):

rajara vartana khaya, ara curi kare

raja-dandya haya sei shastrera vicare

`vyaya na kariha kichu rajara mula-dhana'

rajara mula-dhana diya ye kichu labhya haya

sei dhana kariha nana dharme-karme vyaya

asad-vyaya na kariha,—yate dui-loka yaya

“One who serves the government but misappropriates the government's revenue is liable to be punished by the king. That is the verdict of all revealed scriptures. Do not spend any of the King's revenue. First you should pay the revenue due the King, and then you may spend the balance for religious and fruitive activities. Don't spend a farthing for sinful activities for which you will be the loser both in this life and the next.”

A grihastha should accept a spiritual master who is full of devotion and of pure character. As stated in Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 21.65):

guru yatha bhakti-shunya, tatha shishyagana

“As the guru is without devotion, so are the disciples.”

A householder should be particularly careful not to commit offenses against the Vaishnavas. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 22.33) the Lord says:

ye vaishnava-sthane aparadha haya ya 'ra

punah sei kshamile se ghuce, nahe ara

“When someone offends a Vaishnava, he is not relieved until he is forgiven by that same Vaishnava.”

Serving devotees is a householder's main duty. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 16.57, 60):

vaishnavera shesha-bhakshanera eteka mahima

kalidase paoyaila prabhura kripa-sima 

bhakta-pada-dhuli ara bhakta-pada-jala

bhakta-bhukta-avashesha—tina maha-bala

“Taking the remnants of the Vaishnavas' food is so valuable that it induced Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to offer Kalidasa His supreme mercy. The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances.”

In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.20.27-8) Lord Krishna describes how a householder should act until his natural propensity for enjoying sense objects is overcome and he fully attains the characteristics of a pure devotee:

jata-shraddho mat-kathasu        nirvinnah sarva-karmasu

veda duhkhatmakan kaman        parityage 'py anishvarah

tato bhajeta mam pritah        shraddhalur dridha-nishcayah

jushamanash ca tan kaman        duhkhodarkamsh ca garhayan

“Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee remains happy and worships Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities.”

When a householder has faith, he should take initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.64):

shraddhavan jana haya bhakti-adhikari

`uttama', `madhyama', `kanishöha'—shraddha-anusari

“A faithful devotee is a truly eligible candidate for the loving service of the Lord. According to one's faith, one is classified as a topmost devotee, an intermediate devotee, or an inferior devotee.”

A grihastha Vaishnava must gradually acquire all the qualities mentioned in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.78-80):

kripalu, akrita-droha, satya-sara sama

nidosha, vadanya, mridu, shuci, akincana

sarvopakaraka, shanta, krishnaika-sharana

akama, aniha, sthira, vijita-shad-guna 

mita-bhuk, apramatta, manada, amani

gambhira, karuna, maitra, kavi, daksha, mauni

“Devotees are always merciful, humble, truthful, equal to all, faultless, magnanimous, mild, and clean. They are without material possessions, and they perform welfare work for everyone. They are peaceful, surrendered to Krishna, and desireless. They are indifferent to material acquisitions and fixed in devotional service. They completely control the six bad qualities—lust, anger, greed, and so forth. They eat only as much as required, and they are not inebriated. They are respectful, grave, compassionate, and without false prestige. They are friendly, poetic, expert, and silent.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should be eager to associate with advanced devotees. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.83) it is stated:

krishna-bhakti-janma-mula haya `sadhu-sanga'

“The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees.”

Out of all the processes of devotional service, one should give earnest attention to the five limbs mentioned in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.128-129) as follows:

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-shravana

mathura-vasa, shri-murtira shraddhaya sevana

sakala-sadhana-shreshöha ei panca anga

krishna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga

“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura, and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krishna.”

Gradually one should diminish the following of prescribed rules out of obligation and cultivate spontaneous attachment. When spontaneous attachment to the Lord is awakened, many prescriptions are automatically discarded and atonement becomes needless. The difference is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.140, 142-143) as follows:

kama tyaji' krishna bhaje shastra-ajna mani'

deva-rishi-pitradikera kabhu nahe rini 

vidhi-dharma chadi' bhaje krishnera carana

nishiddha papacare tara kabhu nahe mana 

ajnane va haya yadi `papa' upasthita

krishna tanre shuddha kare, na karaya prayashcitta

“If a person gives up all material desires and completely engages in the transcendental loving service of Krishna, as enjoined in revealed scriptures, he is never indebted to demigods, sages, or forefathers. Although the pure devotee does not follow all the regulative principles of varnashrama, he worships the lotus feet of Krishna. Therefore he naturally has no tendency to commit sin. If, however, a devotee accidentally becomes involved in a sinful activity, Krishna purifies him. He does not have to undergo the regulative form of atonement.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should not endeavor for any knowledge or renunciation other than knowledge of one's relationship with the Lord in devotional service and renunciation born from devotional service. If one begins the worship of Krishna with special care and eagerness, then he achieves all auspiciousness. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.145):

jnana-vairagyadi—bhaktira kabhu nahe `anga'

ahimsa-yama-niyamadi bule krishna-bhakta-sanga

“The path of speculative knowledge and renunciation is not very essential for devotional service. Indeed, good qualities such as nonviolence and mind and sense control automatically accompany a devotee of Lord Krishna.”

The gradations of devotion to Lord Krishna are stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 23.10-13). One should cultivate them as follows:

sadhu-sanga haite haya `shravana-kirtana'

sadhana-bhaktye haya `sarvanartha-nivartana'

anartha-nivritti haile bhaktye `nishöha' haya

nishöha haite shravanadye `ruci' upajaya

ruci haite bhaktye haya `asakti' pracura

asakti haite citte janme krishne prity-ankura

sei `bhava' gadha haile dhare `prema'-nama

sei prema—`prayojana' sarvananda-dhama 

“When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing. When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens. After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Krishna grows in the heart. When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life's ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should constantly chant the holy names while carefully giving up the ten offenses. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.70-71):

bhajanera madhye shreshöha nava-vidha bhakti

`krishna-prema', `krishna' dite dhare maha-shakti 

tara madhye sarva-shreshöha nama-sankirtana

niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana

“Among the ways of executing devotional service, the nine prescribed methods are the best, for these processes have great potency to deliver Krishna and ecstatic love for Him. Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.”

A householder should accept pure devotional service that is not based simply on religious sentiments. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 23.41) the Lord states:

mora nritya dekhite uhara kon shakti?

payah pan karile ki mote haya bhakti?

“What qualification does he have to watch My dancing? By drinking milk can one attain devotion for Me?”

The mood of servitude is proper for a living entity, and the mood of being lord is detrimental. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 23.480, 482):

udara-bharana lagi' ebe papi saba

laoyaya `ishvara ami'—mule jaradgava

kukkurera bhakshya deha—ihare laiya

balaye `ishvara' vishnu-maya mugdha haiya

“All sinful persons claim to be God in order to fill their bellies, although factually they are idiots. Accepting the material body, which is meant to be eaten by the dogs, they call themselves God under the influence by Lord Vishnu's external energy.”

A grihastha Vaishnava should model his character after that of Lord Chaitanya and His followers. A householder should follow the ways of life and obtain his means of livelihood as exhibited by Lord Chaitanya and His followers. If one desires Krishna in all his activities, then those activities are auspicious. By endeavoring to gratify one's senses and attain irrelevant fruits, one becomes a materialist. For a devotee, to remain a householder or to become a renunciate is the same thing. Shrila Ramananda Raya, Shri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Shri Shrivasa Pandita, Shri Shivananda Sena, Shri Satyaraja Khan, and Shri Advaita Prabhu were all grihasthas and have shown us the way of faultless living. The difference between a householder and a renunciate is due to their different means of livelihood. If the home is favorable for a devotee's devotional service, then he should not leave. It is his duty to remain a grihastha with detachment. But when the home becomes unfavorable for his service, he then becomes eligible to leave home. At that time the detachment he develops for his house through his devotional service is accepted. For this reason, Shrivasa Pandita did not leave home. For this reason, Svarupa Damodara took sannyasa. All genuine devotees have remained either at home or in the forest due to this consideration. Whoever has left home due to this consideration is called a genuine renunciate. He is always careful not to commit offenses against the holy name. Now let us consider the occupation of a renunciate. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.222-227, 236-237) Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke to the renunciate Raghunatha dasa Gosvami as follows:

bhala kaila, vairagira dharma acarila

“Raghunatha dasa has done well, he has acted suitably for a person in the renounced order.

vairagi karibe sada nama-sankirtana

magiya khana kare jivana rakshana 

“A person in the renounced order should always chant the holy name of the Lord. He should beg some alms to eat, and he should sustain his life in this way.

vairagi hana yeba kare parapeksa

karya-siddhi nahe, krishna karena upeksha

“A vairagi [a person in the renounced order] should not depend on others. If he does so, he will be unsuccessful, and he will be neglected by Krishna.

vairagi hana kare jihvara lalasa

paramartha yaya, ara haya rasera vasha

“If a renunciate is eager for his tongue to taste different foods, his spiritual life will be lost, and he will be subservient to the tastes of his tongue.

vairagira kritya—sada nama-sankirtana

shaka-patra-phala-mule udara-bharana

“The duty of a person in the renounced order is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra always. He should satisfy his belly with whatever vegetables, leaves, fruits, and roots are available.

jihvara lalase yei iti-uti dhaya

shishnodara-parayana krishna nahi paya”

“One who is subservient to the tongue and who thus goes here and there, devoted to the genitals and the belly, cannot attain Krishna.

gramya-katha na shunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe

bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe

“Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely.

amani manada hana krishna-nama sada la'be

vraje radha-krishna-seva manase karibe 

“Do not expect honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Krishna, and within your mind render service to Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.

A sannyasi or a renunciate should not live in his village with his relatives. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 3.177):

sannyasira dharma nahe—sannyasa karina

nija janma-sthane rahe kuöumba lana 

“After accepting sannyasa, it is not the duty of a sannyasi to remain at his birthplace, encircled by relatives.”

A renunciate should not meet a king or woman. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 11.7) the Lord said:

virakta sannyasi amara raja-darashana

stri-darashana-sama vishera bhakshana

“Since I am in the renounced order, it is as dangerous for Me to meet a king as to meet a woman. To meet either would be just like drinking poison.”

A renunciate should remain faultless. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 12.51, 53):

shukla-vastre masi-bindu yaiche na lukaya

sannyasira alpa chidra sarva-loke gaya 

prabhu kahe,—purna yaiche dugdhera kalasa

sura-bindu-pate keha na kare parasha

“As soon as the general public finds a little fault in the behavior of a sannyasi, they advertise it like wildfire. A black spot of ink cannot be hidden on a white cloth. It is always very prominent. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said: There may be much milk in a big pot, but if it is contaminated by a drop of liquor, it is untouchable.”

The behavior of a renunciate is explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 17.229):

preme garagara mana ratri-divase

snana-bhikshadi-nirvaha karena abhyase

“His mind was absorbed in great ecstatic love day and night. He ate and bathed simply out of habit.”

The symptoms of a psuedo-renunciate are stated by the Lord in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 2.117-118, 120, 124, 5.35-36):

prabhu kahe,—vairagi kare prakriti sambhashana

dekhite na paron ami tahara vadana

durvara indriya kare vishaya-grahana

daravi prakriti hare muner api mana

kshudra-jiva saba markaöa-vairagya kariya

indriya carana bule `prakriti' sambhashiya

prabhu kahe,—mora vasha nahe mora mana

prakriti-sambhashi vairagi na kare darshana

ami ta' sannyasi, apanare virakta kari' mani

darshana rahu dure, `prakritira' nama yadi shuni

tabahin vikara paya mora tanu-mana

prakriti-darshane sthira haya kon jana?

“The Lord replied: I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life but who still talks intimately with a woman. So strongly do the senses adhere to the objects of their enjoyment that indeed a wooden statue of a woman attracts the mind of even a great saintly person. There are many persons with little in their possession who accept the renounced order of life like monkeys. They go here and there engaging in sense gratification and speaking intimately with women. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: My mind is not under My control. It does not like to see anyone in the renounced order who talks intimately with women. I am a sannyasi, and I certainly consider Myself renounced. But not to speak of seeing a woman, if I even hear the name of a woman, I feel changes in My mind and body. Therefore who could remain unmoved by the sight of a woman? It is very difficult.”

Again, detachment in the heart of a householder is greatly appreciated. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.80) the Lord says:

`grihastha' hana nahe raya shad-vargera vashe

`vishayi' hana sannyasire upadeshe

“Although Ramananda Raya was a householder, he was not under the control of the six kinds of bodily change. Although apparently a pounds-and-shillings man, he advised even persons in the renounced order.”

A renunciate should not eat foods or accept goods from materialistic people, nor should he invite other renunciates to eat foods or accept goods from such people. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.274-275) Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami concludes as follows:

vishayira dravya lana kari nimantrana

prasanna na haya ihaya jani prabhura mana

mora citta dravya la-ite na haya nirmala

ei nimantrane dekhi,—`pratishöha'-matra phala

“I invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by accepting goods from materialistic people. I know that the Lord's mind is not satisfied by this. My consciousness is impure because I accept all these goods from people who are interested only in pounds, shillings, and pence. Therefore by this kind of invitation I only get some material reputation.”

The Lord replied in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.278-279):

vishayira anna khaile malina haya mana

malina mana haile nahe krishnera smarana

vishayira anna haya `rajasa' nimantrana

data, bhokta—dunhara malina haya mana

“When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one's mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Krishna properly. When one accepts an invitation from a person contaminated by the material mode of passion, the person who offers the food and the person who accepts it are both mentally contaminated.”

It is not proper for a renunciate to expect unasked for charity. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.284, 286) it says:

prabhu kahe,—bhala kaila, chadila simha-dvara

simha-dvare bhiksha-vritti—veshyara acara

chatre yai yatha-labha udara-bharana

anya katha nahi, sukhe krishna-sankirtana”

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: He has done very well by no longer standing at the Simha-dvara gate. Such begging of alms resembles the behavior of a prostitute. If one goes to the booth where free food is distributed and fills his belly with whatever he obtains, there is no chance of further unwanted talk and one can very peacefully chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”

A renunciate should not construct big temples or residences. By doing so, he becomes entangled in household activities. He should meditate on the service of worshiping govardhana-shila. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 6.296-297) it is stated:

eka kunja jala ara tulasi-manjari

sattvika-seva ei—suddha-bhave kari

dui-dike dui-patra madhye komala manjari

ei-mata ashöa-manjari dibe shraddha kari'

“For such worship, one needs a jug of water and a few flowers from a tulasi tree. This is worship in complete goodness when performed in complete purity. With faith and love, you should offer eight soft tulasi flowers, each with two tulasi leaves, one on each side of each flower.”

Devotees accept the sannyasa order of life only in special situations; it is not always required. A Vaishnava born in a brahmana's family can take such sannyasa when he leaves home, but he should not accept the limbs that are averse to his devotional service. Regarding the characteristics of Svarupa Damodara Prabhu, it is stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 10.107-108):

`nishcinte krishna bhajiba' ei ta' karane

unmade karila tenha sannyasa grahane

sannyasa karila shikha-sutra-tyaga-rupa

yoga-paööa na nila, nama haila `svarupa'

“He was very enthusiastic to worship Shri Krishna without disturbance; therefore it was almost in madness that he accepted the sannyasa order. Upon accepting sannyasa, Purushottama Acarya followed the regulative principles by giving up his tuft of hair and sacred thread, but he did not accept the saffron colored dress. Also, he did not accept a sannyasi title but remained as a naishöhika-brahmacari.”

Someone may accept sannyasa in the form of minimizing his needs. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.78, 81) there is the following statement regarding the character of Shri Sanatana Gosvami:

tabe mishra puratana eka dhuti dila

tenho dui bahirvasa-kaupina karila

sanatana kahe,—ami madhukari kariba

brahmanera ghare kene ekatra bhiksha laba?

“When Tapana Mishra gave Sanatana Gosvami a used dhoti, Sanatana immediately tore it in pieces to make two sets of outer cloth and underwear. Sanatana replied: I shall practice the process of madhukari. Why should I accept full meals in the house of a brahmana?”

The Lord's response is found in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.92):

tina mudrara bhoöa gaya, madhukari grasa

dharma-hani haya, loka kare upahasa

“It is contradictory to practice madhukari and at the same time wear a valuable blanket. One loses his spiritual strength by doing this, and one will also become an object for jokes.”

Regarding the association of a Vaishnava sannyasi, the character of Shri Madhavendra Puri is described in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Antya 4.419-421, 423-424, 426, 428):

vishnu-maya vashe loka kuchui na jane

sakala jagat baddha maha tamo-gune

“People were conditioned by the mode of ignorance and had lost all knowledge due to the influence of vishnu-maya.

loka dekhi' duhkha bhave shri madhavapuri

hena nahi, tilarddha sambhasha ya're kari

“Shrila Madhavendra Puri was deeply pained by the godlessness of the people, and he found no one to speak to.

sannyasira sane va karena sambhashana

seha apanare matra bale `narayana'

“Sometimes he would speak to the sannyasis, but to his dismay he found that they claimed to be Narayana.

jnani, yogi, tapasvi, sannyasi' khyati ya'ra

ka'ra mukhe nahi dasya mahima pracara

“Jnanis, yogis, tapasvis, and famous sannayis never spoke about the glories of serving the Supreme Lord.

yata adhyapaka saba tarka se vakhane

ta'ra saba krishnera vigraha nahi mane'

“All the teachers and professors were only interested in logic and argument. They refused to accept the spiritual form of Lord Krishna.

loka madhye bhrami kene vaishnava dekhite

kothao `vaishnava' nama na shuni jagate

“Shrila Madhavendra Puri thought: Why am I roaming amongst people searching for a Vaishnava? Wherever I go I don't even hear the word `Vaishnava'.

eteke se, vana bhala e saba haite

vane katha nahe avaishnavera sahite

“Therefore he considered it better to stay in the forest where he did not have to speak with nondevotees.”

A Vaishnava sannyasi should give up the use of Mayavadi markings. Concerning the character of Shri Brahmananda Bharati, the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 10.154) says:

brahmananda pariyache mriga-carmambara

taha dekhi' prabhu duhkha paila antara

“When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees approached him, they saw that he was covered with a deerskin. Seeing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very unhappy.”

Regarding the pure grihastha Vaishnavis, the lady devotees, the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 12.42) describes the procedure for seeing a sannyasi:

purvavat prabhu kaila sabara milana

stri-saba dura ha-ite kaila prabhura darashana

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received them all, just as He had in previous years. The women, however, saw the Lord from a distance.”

A renunciate Vaishnava is prohibited from all kinds of enjoyment. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 12.108):

prabhu kahe,—sannyasira nahi taile adhikara

tahate sugandhi taila—parama dhikkara!

“The Lord replied: A sannyasi has no use for oil, especially perfumed oil such as this. Take it out immediately.”

A renunciate Vaishnava is forbidden from hearing the singing of a woman. As described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 13.78, 80, 83-85):

eka-dina prabhu yameshvara-öoöa yaite

sei-kale deva-dasi lagila gaite

dure gana shuni' prabhura ha-ila avesha

stri, purusha, ke gaya—na jane vishesha

stri gaya' bali' govinda prabhure kaila kole

stri-nama shuni' prabhura bahya ha-ila

prabhu kahe,—govinda, aji rakhila jivana

stri-parasha haile amara ha-ita marana

“One day when the Lord was going to the temple of Yameshvara, a female singer began to sing in the Jagannatha temple. Hearing the song from a distance, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic. He did not know whether it was a man or a woman singing. Just then Govinda caught the Lord in his arms and cried: It is a woman singing! As soon as He heard the word `woman,' the Lord became externally conscious. My dear Govinda, He said, you have saved My life. If I had touched the body of a woman, I would certainly have died.”

Concerning a renunciate's bedding, the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 13.5-7, 10, 12, 14-15, 17-19) states as follows:

kalara sharalate, shayana, ati kshina kaya

sahite nare jagadananda, shrijila upaya

sukshma vastra ani' gaurika diya rangaila

shimulira tula diya taha puraila

tuli-balisa dekhi' prabhu krodhavishöa ha-ila

govindere kahi' sei tuli dura kaila

prabhu kahena,—khaöa eka anaha padite

jagadananda cahe amaya vishaya bhunjaite

sannyasi manusha amara bhumite shayana

amare khaöa-tuli-balisa mastaka-mundana

svarupa-gosani tabe shrijila prakara

kadalira shushka-patra anila apara

nakhe ciri' ciri' taha ati sukshma kaila

prabhura bahirvasa duite se saba bharila

ei-mata dui kaila odana-padane

angikara kaila prabhu aneka yatane

“The Lord was very thin, and He would lay down to rest on the dry bark of plantain trees. Jagadananda could not tolerate this, so he devised a remedy. He acquired some fine cloth and colored it with red oxide. Then he filled it with cotton from a shimula tree. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the quilt and pillow, He was immediately very angry. The Lord asked Govinda to put aside the quilt and pillow. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: You should bring a bedstead here for Me to lie on. Jagadananda wants Me to enjoy material happiness. I am in the renounced order, and therefore I must lie on the floor. For Me to use a bedstead, quilt, or pillow would be very shameful. Then Svarupa Damodara Gosvami devised another method. First he secured a large quantity of dry banana leaves. He then tore the leaves into very fine fibers with his nails and filled two of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's outer garments with the fibers. In this way, Svarupa Damodara made some bedding and a pillow, and after much endeavor by the devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted them.”

Regarding a renunciate's food, the Lord has said in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 8.84-85):

prabhu kahe,—sabe kene purire kara rosha?

`sahaja' dharma kahe tenho, tanra kiba dosha?

yati hana jihva-lampaöya—atyanta anyaya

yatira dharma,—prana rakhite ahara-matra khaya

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied: Why are all of you angry at Ramacandra Puri? He is expounding the natural principles of sannyasa life. Why are you accusing him? For a sannyasi to indulge in satisfying the tongue is a great offense. The duty of a sannyasi is to eat only as much as needed to keep body and soul together.”

All the above mentioned items are accepted as the proper occupations of renunciate Vaishnavas.

Now the proper occupations for all Vaishnavas—householders and renunciates—will be explained. There is no duty in the age Kali other than chanting the holy names and mantras of Krishna. It is necessary for everyone to take initiation into the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 7.73-74, 97 and 17.30, 75):

krishna-mantra haite habe samsara-mocana

krishna-nama haite pabe krishnera carana

“Simply by chanting the holy name of Krishna one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.

nama vinu kali-kale nahi ara dharma

sarva-mantra-sara nama, ei shastra-marma

“In this Age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.

krishna-name ye ananda-sindhu-asvadana

brahmananda tara age khatodaka-sama 

“Compared to the ocean of transcendental bliss that is tasted by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, the pleasure derived from impersonal Brahman realization [brahmananda] is like the shallow water in a canal.

sada nama la-iba, yatha-labhete santosha

eita acara kare bhakti-dharma-posha

“One should strictly follow the principle of always chanting the holy name, and one should be satisfied with whatever he gets easily. Such devotional behavior solidly maintains one's devotional service.

jnana-karma-yoga-dharme nahe krishna vasha

krishna-vasha-hetu eka—prema-bhakti-rasa

“By following the paths of speculative philosophical knowledge, fruitive activity, or mystic yoga to control the senses, one cannot satisfy Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Unalloyed devotional love for Krishna is the only cause for the Lord's satisfaction.”

The proper procedure and proper instruction for accepting a spiritual master is given in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.128, 221, 229) as follows:

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, shudra kene naya

yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei `guru' haya

raganuga-marge tanre bhaje yei jana

sei-jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana

siddha-dehe cinti' kare tahanni sevana

sakhi-bhave paya radha-krishnera carana

“Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a shudra—regardless of what he is—he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krishna. If one worships the Lord on the path of spontaneous love and goes to Vrindavana, he receives the shelter of Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Nanda Maharaja. After thinking of Radha and Krishna and Their pastimes for a long time and after getting completely free from material contamination, one is transferred to the spiritual world. There the devotee attains an opportunity to serve Radha and Krishna as one of the gopis.”

One needs to always associate with devotees. One should associate with affectionate devotees who are more advanced, yet of the same temperament. As explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.251):

shreyo-madhye kona shreyah jivera haya sara?

krishna-bhakta-sanga vina shreyah nahi ara

“Out of all auspicious and beneficial activities, which is best for the living entity? Ramananda Raya replied: The only auspicious activity is association with the devotees of Krishna.”

Although a Vaishnava comes from a bona fide sampradaya, his association should be considered according to the Lord's statements in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 9.276-277):

prabhu kahe,—karmi, jnani,—dui bhakti-hina

tomara sampradaye dekhi sei dui cihna

sabe, eka guna dekhi tomara sampradaye

satya-vigraha kari' ishvare karaha nishcaye 

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: Both the fruitive worker and the speculative philosopher are considered nondevotees. We see both elements present in your sampradaya. The only qualification that I see in your sampradaya is that you accept the form of the Lord as truth.”

One should not remain in a place where incompatible mixtures of mellows or contradictions in the conclusions of devotional service are presented. The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 10.113) has the following statement:

bhakti-siddhanta-viruddha, ara rasabhasa

shunite na haya prabhura cittera ullasa

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was never pleased to hear books or verses opposed to the conclusive statements of devotional service. The Lord did not like hearing rasabhasa, the overlapping of transcendental mellows.”

One should carefully gather the good qualities needed for devotional service. The nature of a devotee is described in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 7.72) as follows:

mahanubhavera cittera svabhava ei haya

pushpa-sama komala, kaöhina vajra-maya

“This is the nature of the mind of an uncommon personality. Sometimes it is soft like a flower, but sometimes it is as hard as a thunderbolt.”

The welfare activities of a devotee are described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 8.39) as follows:

mahanta-svabhava ei tarite pamara

nija karya nahi tabu yana tara ghara

“It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business there.”

In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 11.4) the Lord gives an example of how a devotee should pledge:

prabhu kahe,—kaha tumi, nahi kichu bhaya

yogya haile kariba, ayogya haile naya

“The Lord gave the Bhaööacarya assurance that he could speak without fear, but added that if his statement was suitable He would accept it, and if it were not, He would reject it.”

The benefits of dealing affectionately with a devotee are described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 11.26) as follows:

prabhu kahe,—tumi krishna-bhakata-pradhana

tomake ye priti kare, sei bhagyavan

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said: My dear Ramananda Raya, you are the foremost of all the devotees of Krishna; therefore whoever loves you is certainly a very fortunate person.”

Firm determination for one's attachment is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 12.31) as follows:

kintu anuragi lokera svabhava eka haya

ishöa na paile nija prana se chadaya

“Still, isn't it the nature of an attached man to give up his life if he does not attain his desired object?”

Teaching others by one's good example is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 12.117) as follows:

tumi bhala kariyacha, shikhaha anyere

ei-mata bhala karma seho yena kare

“The Lord would say: You have done well. Please teach this to others so that they may act in the same way.”

The need for care and eagerness in the execution of devotional service is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 24.171) as follows:

yatnagraha vina bhakti na janmaya preme

“Without sincere endeavor in devotional service, one cannot attain love of Godhead.” The need for giving up the association of logicians is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 12.183) as follows:

tarkika-shrigala-sange bheu-bheu kari

sei mukhe ebe sada kahi `krishna' `hari'

“In the association of the jackals known as logicians, I simply continued to bark a resounding `bheu bheu.' Now, from the same mouth I am chanting the holy names Krishna and Hari.”

An example of unhappiness by seeing the distress of others is given in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.162-163) as follows:

jivera duhkha dekhi' mora hridaya bidare

sarva-jivera papa prabhu deha' mora shire

jivera papa lana muni karon naraka bhoga

sakala jivera, prabhu, ghucaha bhava-roga

“My Lord, my heart breaks to see the sufferings of all conditioned souls; therefore I request You to transfer the karma of their sinful lives upon my head. My dear Lord, let me suffer perpetually in a hellish condition, accepting all the sinful reactions of all living entities. Please finish their diseased material life.”

The need for a pure heart is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.274) as follows:

sahaje nirmala ei `brahmana'-hridaya

krishnera vasite ei yogya-sthana haya

“The heart of a brahmana is by nature very clean; therefore it is a proper place for Krishna to sit.”

One must give up envy, or the distress arising from seeing other's prosperity. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 15.275) this is described as follows:

`matsarya'-candala kene ihan vasaile

parama pavitra sthana apavitra kaile

“Why have you allowed jealousy to sit here also? Because of this, you have become like a candala, the lowest of men, and you have also contaminated a most purified place—your heart.”

One must be a staunch follower of Lord Chaitanya. As described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 16.148):

prabhu lagi' dharma-karma chade bhakta-gana

bhakta-dharma-hani prabhura na haya sahana 

“All the devotees would abandon all kinds of duties for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's sake, yet the Lord did not like the devotees' giving up their promised duties.”

The need to completely abandon faults is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.91) as follows:

se kene rakhibe tomara shesha vishaya-bhoga?

roga khandi' sad-vaidya na rakhe shesha roga

“Why should Krishna allow you to maintain a last bit of material attachment? After vanquishing a disease, a good physician does not allow any of the disease to remain.”

The devotee's faith in the conclusions of devotional service is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.62) as follows:

`shraddha'-shabde—vishvasa kahe sudridha nishcaya

krishne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krita haya

“By rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. This confident, firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service, is called shraddha.”

The need for total surrender is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.102) as follows:

sharana lana kare krishne atma-samarpana

krishna tare kare tat-kale atma-sama

“When a devotee thus fully surrenders unto Krishna's lotus feet, Krishna accepts him as one of His confidential associates.

One must give up atheistic philosophies with repentance as described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 25.43):

paramartha-vicara gela, kari matra `vada'

kahan mukti paba, kahan krishnera prasada

“The atheists, headed by the Mayavadi philosophers, do not care for liberation or Krishna's mercy. They simply continue to put forward false arguments and counter-theories to atheistic philosophy, not considering or engaging in spiritual matters.”

A devotee should always be neutral. As described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 3.23):

`nirapeksha' nahile `dharma' na yaya rakshane

“Without being neutral one cannot protect religious principles.”

The devotee should be afraid of insulting other Vaishnavas. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 3.164):

mahantera apamana ye desha-grame haya

eka janara doshe saba desha ujadaya

“Wherever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man's fault the entire town or place is afflicted.”

The devotees' duty is to practice forgiveness and show mercy. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 3.213, 237) and the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 13.182):

bhakta-svabhava,—ajna-dosha kshama kare

dine daya kare,—ei sadhu-svabhava haya

prabhu bole,—vipra saba danta parihari'

bhaja giya krishna, sarvabhute daya kari'

“A characteristic of a pure devotee is that he excuses any offense by an ignorant rascal. It is a characteristic of all saintly persons to be kind toward the poor and fallen. The Lord said: O brahmana! Give up all pride and serve Krishna by showing mercy to all.”

The devotee's duty is to preach by setting a good example. As explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.103):

`acara', `pracara',—namera karaha `dui' karya

tumi—sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya

“You simultaneously perform both duties in relation to the holy name by your personal behavior and by your preaching. Therefore you are the spiritual master of the entire world, for you are the most advanced devotee in the world.”

The devotee's duty is to follow Vaishnava etiquette. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.130):

tathapi bhakta-svabhava—maryada-rakshana

maryada-palana haya sadhura bhushana

“Still, it is the characteristic of a devotee to observe and protect Vaishnava etiquette. Maintenance of Vaishnava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee.”

One should consider a Vaishnava's body spiritual. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.191) it is said:

prabhu kahe,—vaishnava-deha `prakrita' kabhu naya

`aprakrita' deha bhaktera `cid-ananda-maya'

“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: The body of a devotee is never material. It is considered to be transcendental, full of spiritual bliss.”

There is a need for worshiping Krishna in a solitary place after completing one's activities of household life and sense gratification. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 4.214-216) it is described:

eka-vatsara rupa-gosanira gaude vilamba haila

kuöumbera `sthiti'-artha vibhaga kari' dila

gaude ye artha chila, taha anaila

kuöumba-brahmana-devalaye banöi' dila

saba manah-katha gosani kari' nirvahana

nishcinta hana shighra aila vrindavana

“Shrila Rupa Gosvami was delayed in Bengal for a year because he was dividing his money among his relatives to situate them in their proper positions. He collected whatever money he had accumulated in Bengal and divided it among his relatives, the brahmanas, and the temples. Thus after finishing all the tasks he had on his mind, he returned to Vrindavana fully satisfied.”

The devotee must give up the desire for fame. As stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.78):

mahanubhavera ei sahaja `svabhava' haya

apanara guna nahi apane kahaya

“This is a natural characteristic of those advanced in devotional service. They do not personally speak of their own good qualities.”

A devotee should have no faith in worldly poetry. As described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 5.107):

gramya-kavira kavitva shunite haya `duhkha'

vidagdha-atmiya-vakya shunite haya `sukha'

“Hearing the poetry of a person who has no transcendental knowledge and who writes about the relationships between man and woman simply causes unhappiness, whereas hearing the words of a devotee fully absorbed in ecstatic love causes great happiness.”

It is an offense to disobey the order of the spiritual master. The result is described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 8.99):

guru upeksha kaile, aiche phala haya

krame ishvara-paryanta aparadhe öhekaya

“If one's spiritual master rejects him, one becomes so fallen that he, like Ramacandra Puri, commits offenses even to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

A devotee should give up the desire for liberation and pride of learning. As described in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 13.109-110):

ramadasa yadi prathama prabhure milila

mahaprabhu adhika tanre kripa na karila

antare mumukshu tenho, vidya-garvavan

“When Ramadasa Vishvasa met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord did not show him any special mercy, although this was their first meeting. Within his heart, Ramadasa Vishvasa was an impersonalist who desired to merge into the existence of the Lord, and he was very proud of his learning.”

Humility is essential for a devotee. In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Antya 20.28) it is described:

premera svabhava—yahan premera sambandha

sei mane,—`krishne mora nahi prema-gandha'

“Wherever there is a relationship of love of Godhead, the natural symptoms are that the devotee does not think himself a devotee, but always thinks that he has not even a drop of love for Krishna.”

A devotee should give up the desire for conquest. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 13.173):

`dig-vijaya kariba'—vidyara karya nahe

ishvare bhajile, sei vidya `satya' kahe

“Conquering the world by means of material education is not desirable. If one engages himself in devotional service, his education is perfected.”

A devotee should know the Lord is one without a second and understand His relationship with all living entities. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.76-78, 80-81) it is said:

shuna, bapa, sabarai ekai ishvara

nama-matra bheda kare hinduye yavane

paramarthe `eka' kahe korane purane

eka shuddha nitya-vastu akhanda avyaya

paripurna hana vaise sabara hridaya

se prabhura nama-guna sakala jagate

balena sakale matra nija-shastra mate

ye ishvara, se punah sabara bhava laya

himsa karilei se, tahana himsa haya

“My dear Sir, there is only one God for all living entities. The difference between the Moslem God and the Hindu God is in name only. According to all scriptures—Koran or Purana—God is one. He is the nondual, eternal, transcendental Absolute Truth, infallible and perfectly complete, and in that capacity He resides in everyone's heart. The Supreme Lord's transcendental name and qualities are glorified throughout the world according to the respective scriptures. The Lord accepts everyone's individual mood of surrender. By committing violence to others, you commit violence to Him.”

How a devotee should be always firmly fixed on the path of devotional service is seen in the following verse from Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.94):

khanda khanda hai' deha yaya yadi prana

tabu ami vadane na chadi hari-nama

“Even if my body is cut into pieces and I loose my life, I will never give up chanting the Lord's holy name.”

How a devotee should deal with an enemy is described in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.113):

e saba jivere krishna! karaha prasada

mora drohe nahu e sabara aparadha

“O Krishna! Be merciful on these living entities! Forgive their offense of torturing me.”

A devotee must give up the symptoms of pride such as desire for fame and cheating. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.228-229) it is said:

bada loka kari' loka januka amare

apanare prakaöai dharma-karma kare

e sakala dambhikera krishne priti nai

akaitava haile se krishna-bhakti pai

“He is presenting himself as a important person by imitating some religious sentiments. Actually this arrogant and deceitful brahmana has no love for Krishna. To achieve the devotional service of Lord Krishna one has to be free from duplicity.”

A devotee must reject caste consciousness in his spiritual life. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.238-239) it is stated:

adhama kulete yadi vishnu-bhakti haya

tathapi se-i se pujya—sarva-shastre kaya

uttama kulete janmi' shri krishne na bhaje

kule tara ki karibe, narakete maje

“If a devotee of the Lord is born in a low-class family, he is still worthy of worship; that is the injunction of the scriptures. And if someone is born in a high-class family but does not worship the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, then his high birth is useless and he falls to hell.”

The benefits of loud congregational chanting of the holy names is described in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 16.284-286) as follows:

japa kartta haite ucca-sankirtana-kari

shata-guna adhika se puranete dhari

shuna vipra! mana diya ihara karana

japi' apanare sabe karaye poshana

ucca kari' karile govinda sankirtana

jantu-matra shuninai paya vimocana

“The Puranas say that a person who chants the Lord's name loudly is a hundred times more pious that the person who chants to himself. O brahmana, listen carefully to the reason behind this. One who chants softly liberates only himself, but one who loudly chants the names of Govinda liberates himself along with all living entities who hear him.”

A devotee should not carry the burden of the scriptures like an ass; rather, he should understand their purport. The Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 1.158) confirms this in the following words:

shastrera na jane marma, adhyapana kare

garddabhera praya yena shastra bahi' mare

“One who teaches the scriptures without knowing their purport is like an ass carrying the load of all the scriptures.”

How a devotee should give up enviousness is explained in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 1.240) as follows:

bhakti-hina karma kona phala nahi paya

sei karma bhakti-hina—parahimsa yaya

“Activities that are devoid of bhakti produce no result. Such activities result in violence to others.”

A devotee should give up seva-aparadhas, or offenses in serving the Deity. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 5.121):

seva-vigrahera prati anadara ya `ra

vishnu-sthane aparadha sarvatha tahara

“One who has no respect for the Deity form of the Lord is constantly committing offenses at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.”

If a person is internally situated as a Vaishnava even though externally he maintains attachment for sense gratification, then he is counted as a devotee. As described in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 7.22, 38):

vishayira praya tan 'ra paricchada saba

cinite na pare keha tinho ye vaishnava

asiya rahila navadvipe gudharupe

parama bhogira praya sarvaloke dekhe

“Pundarika Vidyanidhi dressed like a materialistic. No one was able to recognise that he was a great Vaishnava. He came to Nabadvipa and remained there incognito. Everyone saw him as a grossly materialistic person.”

A devotee should not maintain false pride due to material education and so on. In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 9.234) it is explained:

ki karibe vidya, dhana, rupa, yasha, kule

ahankara badi' saba padaye nirmule

“What is the use of education, wealth, beauty, fame, and high birth? They only increase one's pride to the point of his falldown.”

A devotee should remain fixed in the principles of Vaishnavism, he should not support various opinions for social reasons. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 10.185, 188, 192):

kshane dante trina laya, kshane jaöhi mare

o khada jaöhiya veöa na dekhibe more

prabhu bale,—o veöa yakhana yatha yaya

sei mata katha kahi' tathai mishaya

bhakti-sthane uhara haila aparadha

etake uhara haila darashana badha

“Sometimes he takes straw in his mouth, and sometimes he beats Me with a stick. Therefore he is not fit to see Me. The Lord continued: Wherever he goes, he mixes with those people and talks like them. He is an offender at the feet of Bhakti, that is why he is forbidden to see Me.”

The fault of taking sides against a Vaishnava is described in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 13.160) as follows:

ye papishöha eka vaishnavera paksha haya

anya vaishnavere ninde, sei yaya kshaya

“A sinful person who takes the side of one Vaishnava and condemns another is vanquished.”

A devotee should not commit sinful activities after accepting the holy name of the Lord. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 13.225):

prabhu bale,—tora ara na karis papa

jagai madhai bale,—ara nare bapa

“The Lord said: Do not commit further sins. Jagai and Madhai replied: Never again, O Lord.”

How a devotee should remain aloof from the rules and regulations is explained in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 16.144, 147):

yata vidhi, nishedha—sakalai bhakti dasa

ihate yahara duhkha, sei yaya nasha

vishaya madandha saba e marma na jane

suta dhana kula-made vaishnava na cine

“All the rules and regulations are servants of Bhakti. One who has trouble accepting this is destroyed. One who is blinded by false pride can never understand this secret. Being proud of his children, wealth, and high birth, he fails to recognize a Vaishnava.”

A devotee should avoid conversing with an atheist. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 17.19):

nagare haila kiba pashandi sambhasha

ei va karane nahe prema parakasha

“Did I speak with an atheist in town? Is that why love of God is not manifesting today?”

Giving up relationships with nondevotees is most essential; Shrila Advaita Prabhu gives the following statement in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 19.175):

yadi mora putra haya, haya va kinkara

vaishnavaparadhi muni na dekhon gocara

“Even if he is My son or servant, I will never see the face of a person who offends Vaishnavas.”

There is no comparison between bhakti and pious activities. As explained in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 23.54):

prabhu bale,—tapah kari na karaha bala

vishnu-bhakti sarva-shreshöha janaha kevala

“The Lord said: Don't think you have become powerful by performing austerities. Know for certain that devotion to Lord Vishnu is the highest goal.”

The hypocrites and cheaters sometimes advertise themselves as incarnations and thus increase their pride. A devotee should cautiously avoid their company. As stated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.82-83):

madhye madhye matra kata papi-gana giya

loka nashöa kare apanare laoyaiya

udara bharana lagi' papishöha sakale

`raghunatha' kari' apanare keha bale

“Sometimes a group of evil persons would try to mislead people in general from the spiritual path with wrong advice. These sinners simply cheat people in order to fill their bellies by claiming to be Lord Rama.”

Devotees should constantly take shelter of the holy names while passing their lives without duplicity or sin. Their is no greater religious principle than this. The Chaitanya-bhagavata (Adi 14.139-140) gives the following conclusion:

ataeva kali-yuga nama-yajna sara

ara kona dharma kaile nahi haya para

ratri dina nama laya khaite shuite

tahara mahima vede nahi pare dite

“Therefore, in Kali-yuga chanting the holy name is the essential religious principle; no other religious practice can help one cross the material ocean of nescience. Even the Vedas are unable to sufficiently glorify one who chants the Lord's holy name day and night in all situations.”

Human beings should worship Krishna by considering the natural qualities and accepting the livelihoods of the previous and later mahajanas. Pure devotional service is proportionately enhanced by following a proper occupation, otherwise it is never achieved.