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Glories of Sadhu Sanga or Devotee Association

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: Glories of Sadhu Sanga or Devotee Association
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-03-13 15:26:44

Q. I have seen several pictures of ancient temples and shrines in the Holy Dhamas. On the altar stand the Deities and below Them sometimes there are pictures of Krishna. I did not see any guru-photos on any of these altars. Also, I read that in the tradition of Vaishnavism food has always been offered directly to Bhagavan. So I wonder if offering food to the spiritual master and putting picture of gurus on the altar is a kind of new innovation? Also, these guru-pujas where devotees worship a guru sitting on the vyasasan and distributing cookies, is that a correct process? When we read the biographies of exalted maha-bhagavatas, we see that the more advanced they were, the more they protested when someone tried to worship or even serve them.
    
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:

mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.19.21):


"The worship of my devotees is higher than even My own worship."


Thus is many cases the pure devotees are even worshiped more than the Lord Himself because they are most merciful and free distributors of pure love and the Lord's mercy.


The pure devotees may not accept or desire the worship but it is our pre-eminent duty to do so. Even Lord Gauranga Himself served and worshiped His own devotees.


There is a verse quoted in the Hari Bhakti Vilasa that the Lord does not accept bhoga directly, He only eats when the devotees actually put it in the mouth.


Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada quotes:


Sri Ramanujacarya has stated:


srimad bhagavatarcanam bhagavatah puja-vidher uttamam
sri-visnor avamananad guru-taram sri-vaisnavollanghanam
tirthad acyuta-padajad guru-taram tirtham tadiyanghri-jam
pujanad visnu-bhaktanam purusartho 'sti netarah
tesu tad-dvesatah kincit nasti nasanam atmanah
sri-vaisnavair maha-bhagaih sallapam karayet sada
tadiya-dusaka-janan na pasyet purusadhaman
sri-vaisnavanam cihnani dhrtvapi visayaturaih
taih sardham vancaka-janaih saha-vasam na karayet


"The worship of Vaisnavas is greater than the worship of the Supreme Lord. Insulting a Vaisnava is more offensive than insulting Lord Visnu. The water that has washed the feet of a devotee is more pure than the water that has washed the feet of Gauranga-Krsna. There is no higher achievement than to worship a Vaisnava. There is nothing more offensive than being envious of a Vaisnava, which results in one's utter ruination. One should always converse with maha-bhagavata Vaisnavas, and one should never see the lowest of mankind who criticizesVaisnavas. One should never reside with a duplicitous person who is attached to sense gratification and decorated with the signs of a Vaisnava."


Adi Purana:


ye me bhakta-janah partha
na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas
te me bhakta-tama matah


" `Those who are My direct devotees are actually not My devotees, but those who are the devotees and worshipers of My devotees are factually My devotees.'


Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila 11.31:


aradhananam sarvesam
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
tadiyanam samarcanam


" `My dear Devi, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord Visnu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord Visnu is the rendering of worshipful service to the Vaisnavas, who are devoted to Lord Visnu.'


SOME GLORIES OF WORSHIPING PURE DEVOTEES FROM HARI BHAKTI VILASA:


SADACARA RATAH SISTAH SARVA BHUTANU KAMPAKAH
SUCAYAS TYAKTA RAGA YE SADA BHAGAVATAHI TE


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/12 from SKANDA PURANA Markandeya Rsi speaks to KingBhagiratha)


Any person whose etiquette is best and proper, who lives according to the
scriptures, who is very merciful to all living entities, who is pure and whose
actions are offered to the Supreme Lord, are said to be Bhagavata devotees(very advanced devotees).


TITIKSAVAH KARUNIKAH SUHRDAH SARVA-DEHINAM
AJATA-SATRAVAH SANTAH SADHAVAH SADHU-BHUSANAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.25.21)


The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all
living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the
scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime.


MAHAT-SEVAM DVARAM AHUR VIMUKTES TAMO-DVARAM YOSITAM SANGI-SANGAMMAHANTAS TE SAMA-CITTAH PRASANTA VIMANYAVAH SUHRDAH SADHAVO YE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 5.5.2)


One can attain the path of liberation from material bondage only by rendering service to highly advanced spiritual personalities. The personalities areimpersonalists and devotees. Whether one wants to merge into the Lord' sexistence or wants to associate with the Personality of Godhead, one shouldrender service to the mahatmas. For those who are not interested in suchactivities, who associate with people who are fond of women and sex, the pathto hell is wide open. The mahatmas are equipoised. They do not see any difference between one living entity and another. They are very peaceful andfully engaged in devotional service. They are devoid of anger and they workfor the benefit of everyone. They do not behave in any abominable way. Suchpeople are known as mahatmas.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.29.29-31)


YESAM BHAGAVATA SASTRAM JIVITAD ADHIKAM BHAVET
MAHA BHAGAVATAH SRESTHA VISNUNA KATHITA NARAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/33 from SKANDA PURANA)


Anyone who has made the Srimad Bhagavatam better or more valuable than hisown life, those ideal personalities are considered to be mahabhagavata
devotees.


RUKSA AKSARA GIRAH SRNVAN TATHA BHAGAVATA TRITAH
PRANAMA PURVAKAM KSANTVA YO VADED VAISNAVO HI SAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/35 from LINGA PURANA)


Any devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, after hearing the harshand dry words from another devotee, tolerates them and pays obeisances to sucha devotee, they are certainly said to be real Vaisnavas.


MAT KATHA SRAVANE YESAM VARTATE SATVIKI MATIH
TAD VAKTARI SUBHAKTIS CA TE VAI BHAGAVATOTTAMAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/40 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA conversation between theSupreme Personality of Godhead and Markandeya Rsi)


Anybody, after hearing My transcendental glories becomes jubilant and
situates himself in goodness and becomes devoted to that speaker of Krsna'sglories and serves him, such a person is known as abhagavatottama, or highclass devotee.


MAD-ASRAYAH KATHA MRSTAH SRNVANTI KATHAYANTI CA
TAPANTI VIVIDHAS TAPA NAITAN MAD-GATA-CETASAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.25.23)


Engaged constantly in chanting about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filledwith thoughts of My pastimes and activities.


YE'BHINANDADATI NAMANI HAREH SRNVANTI HARSITAH
ROMANCIT SARIRAS CA TE VAI BHAGAVATOTTAMAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/44 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA)


Anyone whose heart becomes jolly just by hearing the transcendental holy
names of Lord Hari with a pleased mind and just by hearing these holy names,his hairs stand on end, he is considered a bhagavata (best devotee).


NA CALATI YA UCCAIH SRI BHAGAVAT PADARAVINDE
SITMANAS TAMA VEHI VISNU BHAKTAM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/46 from VISNU PURANA Yamaraja instructs his
messengers)


Any person who does not get disturbed by lusty desires and who is always
rigidly attached to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, heis said to be a Visnu devotee.


Srila Sanatana Gosvami gives his Digdarsani-tika commentary on this verse,
saying anybody who is really attached to the transcendental subjects of Krsna,he becomes very purified and becomes free from all kinds of personal sense gratification, etc. Any person who wants to hear the transcendental message ofthe Supreme Lord and who wants to chant them with a loud voice and who feels this message is very rarely achieved, one who is attached to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna and one who wants his mind to be tied at His lotus feet, all of these personalities are to be known as Visnu bhaktas or devotees of the Supreme Lord. The sign of a clean devotee is that the devotee's mind is not disturbed. One who is engaged in pure devotional service does not become disturbed in any condition. He sees friends and enemies equally. He naturally develops a desire to not usurp somebody else's property. Everything that he needs is provided by the Supreme Lord, therefore it is said that one whose mind is not disturbed, he is said to be a properly minded person. Thus, he is said to be a Visnu devotee. He does everything. He does his own occupational duty without depending on others. Whatever is possible, he depends on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


BHAGAVATA URU VIKRAMANGHRI SAKHA
NAKHA MANI CANDRIKAYA NIRASTA TAPE
HRDI KATHAM UPASIDATAM PUNAH SA
BHAVATI CANDRA IVA UDITE 'RKA TAPAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/54 from SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.2.54)


When the moon shines in the sky, at that time, there is no heat available
from the sun. Similarly, if somebody's heart is shined by the soothing rays of the diamond of the toenail of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Trivikrama, how can the burning sensation of material desires arise against in him?


SARVA-DHARMAN PARITYAJYA MAM EKAM SARANAM VRAJA
AHAM TVAM SARVA-PAPEBHYO MOKSAYISYAMI MA SUCAH


(BHAGAVAD-GITA 18.66)


Abandon all kinds of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you
from all kinds of sinful reactions.


TA ETE SADHAVAH SADHVI SARVA-SANGA-VIVARJITAH
SANGAS TESV ATHA TE PRARTHYAH SANGA-DOSA-HARA HI TE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.25.24)


O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men, for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment.


YASYA KRCHRA GATASYAPI KESAVE RAMATE MANAH
NA VICYUTA CA BHAKTIR VAI SA VAI BHAGAVATO NARAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/67 from SKANDA PURANA)


Any person who remains attached to Lord Hari within his mind, even if many
obstacles come on his path and he does not deviate from his service, it can becertainly understood that he is a devotee of the Supreme Lord.


YE VA MAYISE KRTA-SAUHRDARTHA
JANESU DEHAMBHARA-VARTIKESU
GRHESU JAYATMAJA-RATIMATSU
NA PRITI-YUKTA YAVAD-ARTHAS CA LOKE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 5.5.3)


Those who are interested in reviving Krsna consciousness and increasing their love of Godhead do not like to do anything that is not related to Krsna. They are not interested in mingling with people who are busy maintaining their bodies, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They are not attached to their homes, although they may be householders. Nor are they attached to wives, children, friends or wealth. At the same time, they are not indifferent to the execution of their duties. Such people are interested in collecting only enough money to keep the body and soul together.


MAYY ANANYENA BHAVENA BHAKTIM KURVANTI YE DRDHAM
MAT-KRTE TYAKTA-KARMANAS TYAKTA-SVAJANA-BANDHAVAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.25.22)


Such a sadhu engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord without
deviation. For the sake of the Lord he renounces all other connections, such as family relationships and friendly acquaintances within the world.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.2.46)


IDRK LAKSANA VANTAH SYUR DURLABHA VAHAVO JANAH
DIVYA HI MANAYO VYAKTAM NA VARTERANN ITASTATHAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/80)


All of the above mentioned symptoms are available in very few devotees
because a priceless gem such as cintamani is not available everywhere.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.2.46-47)


INDRO MAHESVARO BRAHMA PARAM BRAHMA TADAIVA HI
SVAPACOPI BHAVATY EVA YADA TUSTA'SI KESAVA
SVAPACAD API KASTATVAM BRAHMA ISAN ADAYAH SURAH
TADAIVA' CYUTA YANTYETE YADAIVA TVAM PARANMUKHAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/88,89 from SKANDA PURANA Lord Brahma speaks)


Oh Lord Kesava, if You are pleased upon someone, even if he is a low born, he is equal to Indra, Siva and Brahma and anybody who is against You, even if he is Indra, Siva or Brahma, he is said to be the lowest of mankind.


ISVARAM SARVA BHUTANAM JAGATAH PRABHAVAPYAYAM

BHAKTA NARAYANAM DEVAM DURGANY ATI TARANTI TE


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/108 from MAHABHARATA RAJA DHARMA)


The devotees of the Supreme Lord, the source of all living entities and the
source of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, these
devotees easily cross this universe without any difficulty.


SUDRAM VA BHAGAVAD BHAKTAM NISADAM SVAPACAM TATHA
VIKSATAM JATI SAMANYAT SA YATI NARAKAM DHRUVAM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/119 from ITIHASA SAMUCCAYA Lomasa Rsi speaks)


A Vaisnava, even if he is born in a sudra, dogeater or even lower class
family than that, if somebody sees such a devotee in bad behavior (due to
being born in that kind of family), he is certainly said to be going to hell.


YE NRSANSA DURATMANAH PAPACARA RATAH SADA
TE'PI YANTI PARAM DHAMA NARAYANA PARASRAYAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/121 from ITIHASA SAMUCCAYA conversation between Narada Muni and Pundarika)


Any person who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of a devotee who has taken shelter at the feet of Lord Narayana, if somebody takes shelter of him, even if he is of bad character and a sinner, such a person does not become implicated with sin and getting purified, they purify the whole world.


NA ME PRIYAS CATURVEDI MAD BHAKTAH SVAPACAH PRIYAH
TASMAI DEYAM TATO GRAHYAM SA CA PUJYO YATHA HY AHAM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/127 from ITIHASA SAMUCCAYA spoken by the Supreme Lord)


If someone is not My devotee, even if he is expert in the four Vedas, he is
not dear to Me. If someone is My devotee, even if he is lowborn, he is dear to Me. Therefore, one should give charity to such a low born person and accept charity from him. Even a low born devotee is equally worshipable as Me.


HARI BHAKTI PARO YATRA TATRA BRAHMA HARIH SIVA
TATRA DEVAS CA SIDDHADYA NITYAM TISTHANTI SATTAMAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/143 from MARKANDEYA PURANA Suta Gosvami speaks)


Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, all the demigods and the Siddhas (perfect
personalities) stay in a place where a devoted devotee is situated.


YATINAM VISNU BHAKTANAM PARICARYA PARAYANAIH
IKSITA API GACCHANTI PAPINO'PI PARAM GATIM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/147 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA spoken by the
Visnudutas)


One who serves a sannyasi and a devotee of the Supreme Lord Hari, if such a devotee sees someone else, even if that person (the one he sees) is sinful, he achieves the supreme abode, Vaikuntha.


YE VISNU NIRATAH SANTA LOKANUGRAHA TAT PARAH
SARVA BHUTA DAYA YUKTA VISNU RUPAH PRAKIRTITAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/152 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA spoken by Sri Suta Gosvami)


Any person who is very attached to Lord Sri Visnu, who is very peaceful, who is merciful to other living entities, who is kind to everyone, they are equal to Lord Sri Hari.


AHO BHAGYAM AHOBHAGYAM VISNU BHAKTI RATATMANAM
YASMAM MUKTIH KARASTHAIVA YOGINAM API DURLABHAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/156 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA spoken by Srila Suta Gosvami)


Oh what great luck to the devotees of Lord Sri Hari because by their
compassion, anyone can achieve liberation which is rarely achieved even by
yogis.


DARSANA DHYANA SAMSPARSAIR MATSYA KURMA VIHANGAMAH
PUSNANTI SVANYAPATYANI TATHA AHAM API PADMAJA
MUHUR TENAPI SAN HARTUM SAKTAU YADYAPI DANAVAN
MAD BHAKTANAM VINODARTHAM KOROMI VIVIDHAH KRIYAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/161,162 from PADMA PURANA the Supreme Personality of Godhead speaks to Lord Brahma)


Oh Brahma, just as the fish, turtle and birds take care of their of their own
offspring by seeing, meditating and touching, respectively, I also take care
of My devotees in that very way. Even though I can kill all of the demons
within ninety-six minutes (muhurta), still, just to please My devotees, I
engage in many kinds of activities in many forms.


SADA SANTO' BHIGANTAVYA YADYAPY UPADISANTI NA
YA HI SVAIRA KATHA TESAM UPADESA BHAVANTI TE


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/174 from YOGA VASISTHA)


One should always associate with saintly persons. Even if they do not narrate or preach, their talking itself is a great instruction.


API CET SUDURACARO BHAJATE MAM ANANYA-BHAK
SADHUR EVA SA MANTAVYAH SAMYAG VYAVASITO HI SAH


(BHAGAVAD-GITA 9.30)


Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in
devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly
situated.


KSIPRAM BHAVATI DHARMATMA SASVAC-CHANTIM NIGACCHATI
KAUNTEYA PRATIJANIHI NA ME BHAKTAH PRANASYATI


(BHAGAVAD-GITA 9.31)


He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti,
declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.


MAM HI PARTHA VYAPASRITYA YE'PI SYUH PAPA-YONAYAH
STRIYO VAISYAS TATHA SUDRAS TE'PI YANTI PARAM GATIM


(BHAGAVAD-GITA 9.32)


O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth
women, vaisyas , as well as sudras  - can approach the supreme destination.


YOGINAM API SARVESAM MAD-GATENANTARATMANA
SRADDHAVAN BHAJATE YO MAM SA ME YUKTATAMO MATAH


(BHAGAVAD-GITA 6.47)


And of all the yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me,
thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me
he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.
That is My opinion.


YESAM SAMSMARANAT PUMSAM SADYAH SUDDHYANTI VAI GRHAH
KIM PUNAR DARSANA-SPARSA- PADA-SAUCASANADIBHIH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 1.19.33)


Simply by our remembering you, our houses become instantly sanctified. And what to speak of seeing you, touching you, washing your holy feet and offering you a seat in our home?


YA NIRVRTIS TANU-BHRTAM TAVA PADA-PADMA-
DHYANAD BHAVAJ-JANA-KATHA-SRAVANENA VA SYAT
SA BRAHMANI SVA-MAHIMANY API NATHA MA BHUT
KIM TV ANTAKASI-LULITAT PATATAM VIMANAT


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.9.l0)


My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus
feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that is
far beyond the stage of brahmananda, wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme. Since brahmananda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time? Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time.


SVA-DHARMA-NISTHAH SATA-JANMABHIH PUMAN
VIRINCATAM ETI TATAH PARAM HI MAM
AVYAKRTAM BHAGAVATO 'THA VAISNAVAM
PADAM YATHAHAM VIBUDHAH KALATYAYE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.24.29)


A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Siva. A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krsna, or Visnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Siva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of the material world.


RAHUGANAITAT TAPASA NA YATI
NA CEJYAYA NIRVAPANAD GRHAD VA
NA CCHANDASA NAIVA JALAGNI-SURYAIR

VINA MAHAT-PADA-RAJO-'BHISEKAM


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 5.12.12)


My dear king Rahugana, unless one has the opportunity to smear his entire
body with the dust of lotus feet of great devotees, one cannot realize the
Absolute Truth. One cannot realize the Absolute Truth simply by observing
celibacy , strictly following the rules and regulations of
householder life, leaving home as a vanaprastha, accepting sannyasa, or
undergoing severe penances in the winter by keeping oneself submerged in water or surrounding oneself in summer by fire and the scorching heat of the sun.There are many other processes to understand the Absolute Truth, but the Absolute Truth is only revealed to one who has attained the mercy of a great devotee.


RAJOBHIH SAMA-SANKHYATAH PARTHIVAIR IHA JANTAVAH
TESAM YE KECANEHANTE SREYO VAI MANUJADAYAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.14.3)


In this material world, there are as many living entities as atoms. Among
these living entities, very few are human beings, and among them, few are
interested in following religious principles.


PRAYO MUMUKSAVAS TESAM KECANAIVA DVIJOTTAMA
MUMUKSUNAM SAHASRESU KASCIN MUCYETA SIDHYATI


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.14.4)


Oh best of the brahmanas, Sukadeva Gosvami, out of many persons who follow religious principles, only a few desire liberation from the material world. Among many thousands who desire liberation, one may actually achieve liberation, giving up material attachment to society, friendship, love, country, home, wife and children. And among many thousands of such liberated persons, one who can understand the true meaning of liberation is very rare.


MUKTANAM API SIDDHANAM
NARAYANA-PARAYANAH
SUDURLABHAH PRASANTATMA
KOTISV API MAHA-MUNE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.14.5)


O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and in perfect knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krsna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare.


NARAYANA-PARAH SARVE
NA KUTASCANA BIBHYATI
SVARGAPAVARGA-NARAKESV
API TULYARTHA-DARSINAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.17.28)


Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.


NAISAM MATIS TAVAD URUKRAMANGHRIM
SPRSATY ANARTHAPAGAMO YAD-ARTHAH
MAHIYASAM PADA-RAJO 'BHISEKAM
NISKINCANANAM NA VRNITA YAVAT


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 7.5.32)


Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination.


VIPRAD DVI-SAD-GUNA-YUTAD ARAVINDA-NABHA-
PADARAVINDA-VIMUKHAT SVAPACAM VARISTHAM
MANYE TAD-ARPITA-MAN0-VACANEHITARTHA-
PRANAM PUNATI SA KULAM NA TU BHURIMANAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 7.9.10)


If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications [as they are
stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-eater but who has dedicated everything mind, words, activities, wealth and life - to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.


EKANTINO YASYA NA KANCANARTHAM
VANCHANTI YE VAI BHAGAVAT-PRAPANNAH
ATY-ADBHUTAM TAC-CARITAM SUMANGALAM
GAYANTA ANANDA-SAMUDRA-MAGNAH
TAM AKSARAM BRAHMA PARAM PARESAM
AVYAKTAM ADHYATMIKA-YOGA-GAMYAM
ATINDRIYAM SUKSMAM IVATIDURAM
ANANTAM ADYAM PARIPURNAM IDE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 8.3.20,21)


Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction. I, however, am in danger. Thus I pray to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is eternally existing, Who is invisible, Who is the Lord of all great personalities, such as Brahma, and Who is available only by transcendental bhakti-yoga. Being extremely subtle, he is beyond the reach of my senses and transcendental to all external realization. He is unlimited, He is the original cause, and He is completely full in everything. I offer my obeisances unto Him.


SRI-BHAGAVAN UVACA
AHAM BHAKTA-PARADHINO
HY ASVATANTRA IVA DVIJA
SADHUBHIR GRASTA-HRDAYO
BHAKTAIR BHAKTA-JANA-PRIYAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 9.4.63)


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brahmana: I am completely
under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me.


MAYI NIRBADDHA-HRDAYAH
SADHAVAH SAMA-DARSANAH
VASE KURVANTI MAM BHAKTYA
SAT-STRIYAH SAT-PATIM YATHA


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 9.4.66)


As chaste women bring their husbands under control by service, the pure
devotees, who are equal to everyone and completely attached to Me in the core of the heart, bring Me under their full control.


SADHAVO HRDAYAM MAHYAM
SADHUNAM HRDAYAM TV AHAM
MAD-ANYAT TE NA JANANTI
NAHAM TEBHYO MANAG API


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 9.4.68)


The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in
the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me and I do not know anyone else but them.


DUSKARAH KO NU SADHUNAM
DUSTYAJO VA MAHATMANAM
YAIH SANGRHITO BHAGAVAN
SATVATAM RSABHO HARIH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 9.5.15)


For those who have achieved the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of the pure devotees, what is impossible to do, and what is impossible to give up?


Therefore, Yamaraja says to his messengers:


TE DEVA-SIDDHA-PARIGITA-PAVITRA-GATHA
YE SADHAVAH SAMADRSO BHAGAVAT-PRAPANNAH
TAN NOPASIDATA HARER GADAYABHIGUPTAN
NAISAM VAYAM NA CA VAYAH PRABHAVAMA DANDE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.3.27)


My dear servants, please do not approach such devotees, for they have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are equal to everyone, and their narrations are sung by the demigods and inhabitants of Siddhaloka. Please do not even go near them. They are always protected by the club of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore Lord Brahma, I, and even the time factor are not competent to chastise them.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 10.2.33)


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 10.9.21)


AHAM AMARA GANARCITENA DHATRA
YAMA ITI LOKA HITAHITE NIYUKYAH
HARI GURU VIMUKHAN PRASASMI MARTYAN
HARI CARANA PRANATAN NAMASKAROMI
NA HI SASA KALUSA-CCHABIH KADACIT-
TIMIRA PARABHAVATAM UPAITI CANDRAH
BHAGAVATI CA HARAVA ANANYA CETA
BHRSA MALINO'PI VIRAJATE MANUSYAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/223,225 from NRSINGHA PURANA and VISNU PURANA Yamaraja speaks)


The Supreme Lord Visnu, Who is praised by everyone, has created me for the benefit of the whole world to discriminate the heavenly planets which are meant for meritorious persons, and hellish planets which are meant to torture the sinful people. Therefore, I control and manage those people who are against the lotus feet of Lord Hari. I pay my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Hari.


As the moon which has a rabbit mark on its chest cannot be defeated by
unlimited darkness, similarly, any person who has developed pure devotion to Lord Sri Hari, even if he is very dirty, he is still worshipable. In other
words, if an unalloyed devotee accidentally engages himself in sinful
activities, he is not considered a sinful person.


VAISNAVO YAD GRHE BHUNKTE YESAM VAISNAVA SANGATIH
TE'PI VAH PARIHARYAH SYUS TAT SANGA HATA KILBISAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/228 from PADMA PURANA spoken by the Yamadutas according to Yamaraja's instruction )


We leave such a person alone who lives in the house of a Vaisnava. Due to
association with a Vaisnava, they have become free of all implications.


SRIYAM ANUCARATIM TAD-ARTHINAS CA
DVIPADA-PATIM VIBUDHAMS CA YAT SVA-PURNAH
NA BHAJATI NIJA-BHRTYA-VARGA-TANTRAH
KATHAM AMUM UDVISRJET PUMAN KRTA-JNAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.31.22)


Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, He becomes
dependent on His devotees. He does care for the goddess of fortune, nor for the kings and demigods who are after the favor of the goddess of fortune. Where is that person who is actually grateful and will not worship the Personality of Godhead?


NAHAM BRAHMAPI BHUYASAM TVAD BHAKTI RAHITO HARE
TVAYI BHAKTAS TU KITO'PI BHUYASAM JANMA JANMASU


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/246 from NARAYANA VYUHA)


Oh Lord Hari, if I am bereft of Your pure devotional service, I do not even
desire the post of Lord Brahma. If devotional service is available birth after
birth, I do not mind taking birth even in the form of moths. This is desirable
to me.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 10.14.30 Lord Brahma prays)
YE TYAKTA LOKA DHARMARTHA VISNU BHAKTI VASAM GATAH
BHAJANTI PARAMATMANAM TEBHYO NITYAM NAMO NAMAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/248 from NARAYANA VYUHA)


Any person who is not attached to sons, wife, varnasrama system, wealth and even liberation, and worships Lord Sri Visnu properly with devotion, to such a devotee, I pay my obeisances again and again.


HARI BHAKTI PARANANTU SANGINAM SANGA MATRATAH
MUCYATE SARVA PAPEBHYO MAHA PATAKAVAN API


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/252 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA)


Any person who associates with a devotee of Lord Sri Hari, or who engages
himself in the service of Lord Sri Hari, just by his association, one becomes
completely liberated from unlimited grievous sinful activities.


VINASAYATI APAYASO BUDDHIM VISADAYATY API
PRATISTHA PAYATI PRAYO NRNAM VAISNAVA DARSANAM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/253 from PADMA PURANA)


Just by looking at a Vaisnava (a devotee of Lord Visnu) one's infamy goes
away. By associating with a devotee, one increases and cleanses his
intelligence and makes oneself eligible to attain great respect.


GANGADI PUNYA TIRTHESU YO NARAH SNATUM ICCHATI
YAH KAROTI SATAM SANGAM TAYOH SATSANGAMO VARAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/255 from PADMA PURANA)


The association of the devotees of Lord Visnu immediately and completely
removes one's sins. It gives all auspiciousness and spreads one's glories
everywhere.


SANGO YAH SAMSRTER HETUR
ASATSU VIHITO 'DHIYA
SA EVA SADHUSU KRTO
NIHSANGATVAYA KALPATE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.23.55, spoken by Devahuti)


Association for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. But the
same type of association, performed with a saintly person, leads to the path of liberation, even if performed without knowledge.


PRASANGAM AJARAM PASAM
ATMANAH KAVAYO VIDUH
SA EVA SADHUSU KRTO
MOKSA-DVARAM APAVRTAM


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.25.20, spoken by Kapiladeva)


Every learned man knows very well that attachment for the material is the
greatest entanglement of the spirit soul. But that same attachment, when
applied to the self-realized devotees, opens the door of liberation.


TE NA SMARANTY ATITARAM PRIYAM ISA MARTYAM
YE CANV ADAH SUTA-SUHRD-GRHA-VITTA-DARAH
YE TV ABJA-NABHA BHAVADIYA-PADARAVINDA
SAUGANDHYA-LUBHA-HRDAYESU KRTA-PRASANGAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.9.12, spoken by Dhruva Maharaja)


O Lord who have a lotus navel, if a person happens to associate with a
devotee whose heart always hankers after Your lotus feet, seeking always their fragrance, he is never attached to the material body or, in a bodily
relationship, to offspring, friends, home, wealth and wife, which are very,
very dear to materialistic persons. Indeed, he does not care for them.


TESAM VICARATAM PADBHYAM
TIRTHANAM PAVANECCHAYA
BHITASYA KIM NA ROCETA
TAVAKANAM SAMAGAMAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.30.37, spoken by the Pracetas)


Dear Lord, Your personal associates, devotees, wander all over the world to
purify even the holy places of pilgrimage. Is not such activity pleasing to
those who are actually afraid of material existence?


ASARA BHUTE SANSARE SARAM ETAD AJATMAJA
BHAGAVAD BHAKTA SANGO HI HARI BHAKTIM SAMICCHATAM


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/270 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA conversation
between Narada Muni and Sanat Kumara)


Oh son of Lord Brahma, any person who is systematically interested in
devotional service of Lord Sri Hari, he should understand that the only solace within this suffering world is to associate with devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


ASAGAROTTHAM PIYUSAM ADRAVYAM VYASANA AUSADHAM
HARSAS CA ALOKA PARYANTAH SATAM KILA SAMAGAMAH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/271 from PADMA PURANA King Maharata speaks)
The association of devotees is a nectar which has not emanated from the ocean and is an easily available medicine. It is the only remedy to give pleasure to every living entity.


YATRA BHAGAVATA RAJAN
SADHAVO VISADASAYAH
BHAGAVAD-GUNANUKATHANA-
SRAVANA-VYAGRA-CETASAH
TASMIN MAHAN-MUKHARITA MADHUBHIC-CARITRA-
PIYUSA-SESA-SARITAH PARITAH SRAVANTI
TA YE PIBANTY AVITRSO NRPA GADHA-KARNAIS
TAN NA SPRSANTY ASANA-TRD-BHAYA-SOKA-MOHAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.29.39,40)


My dear King, in the place where pure devotees live, following the rules and
regulations and thus purely conscious and engaged with great eagerness in
hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in
that place if one gets a chance to hear their constant flow of nectar, which is exactly like the waves of a river, one will forget the necessities of life namely hunger and thirst - and become immune to all kinds of fear,
lamentation and illusion.


YATROTTAMASLOKA-GUNANUVADAH
PRASTUYATE GRAMYA-KATHA-VIGHATAH
NISEVYAMANO 'NUDINAM MUMUKSOR
MATIM SATIM YACCHATI VASUDEVE


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 5.12.13)


Who are the pure devotees mentioned here? In an assembly of pure devotees, there is no question of discussing material subjects like politics and sociology. In an assembly of pure devotees, there is discussion only of the qualities, forms and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is praised ad worshiped with full attention. In the association of pure devotees, by constantly hearing such topics respectfully, even a person who wants to merge into the existence of the Absolute Truth abandons this idea and gradually becomes attached to the service of Vasudeva.


BHAKTIS TU BHAGAVAD-BHAKTA-SANGENA PARIJAYATE
SATSANGAH PRAPYATE PUMBHIH SUKRTAIH PURVA SANCITAIH


(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 10/279 from BRHAN NARADIYA PURANA)


By the association of the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
one's devotion to the Lord arises within his heart. The association of
devotees is only available to those who have acquired unlimited merits in
different previous lives.


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 11.12.1,2 conversation between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Uddhava)


YAT-SEVAYA BHAGAVATAH
KUTA-STHASYA MADHU-DVISAH
RATI-RASO BHAVET TIVRAH
PADAYOR VYASANARDANAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.7.19, spoken by Vidura Maharaja)


By serving the feet of the spiritual master, one is enabled to develop
transcendental ecstasy in the service of the Personality of Godhead, Who is
the unchangeable enemy of the Madhu demon and whose service vanquishes one's material distresses.


TULAYAMA LAVENAPI
NA SVARGAM NAPUNAR-BHAVAM
BHAGAVAT-SANGI-SANGASYA
MARTYANAM KIM UTASISAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 1.18.13, spoken by Saunaka Rsi and 4.30.34, spoken by Pracetas)


The value of a moment's association with the devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which are for those who are meant for death.


KSANARDHENAPI TULAYE
NA SVARGAM NAPUNAR-BHAVAM
BHAGAVAT-SANGI-SANGASYA
MARTYANAM KIM UTASISAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 4.24.57, spoken by Lord Siva)


If one by chance associates with a devotee, even for a fraction of a moment, he no longer is subject to attraction by the results of karma or jnana. What interest then can he have in the benedictions of the demigods, who are subject to the laws of birth and death.Lord Caitanya spoke to Sanatana Gosvami (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.61) (it was also quoted in Hari Bhakti Suddhodaya, spoken by Mother Earth to Prahlada Maharaja)


DURAPA HY ALPA-TAPASAH
SEVA VAIKUNTHA-VARTMASU
YATROPAGIYATE NITYAM
DEVA-DEVO JANARDANAH


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 3.7.20, spoken by Vidura Maharaja)


Persons whose austerity is meager can hardly obtain the service of the pure devotees who are progressing on the path back to the kingdom of Godhead, the Vaikunthas. Pure devotees engage one hundred percent in glorifying the Supreme Lord, who is the Lord of the demigods and the controller of all living entities.


TASMAD AMUS TANU-BHRTAM AHAM ASISO 'JNA
AYUH SRIYAM VIBHAVAM AINDRIYAM AVIRINCYAT
NECCHAMI TE VILULITAN URUVIKRAMENA
KALATMANOPANAYA MAM NIJA-BHRTYA-PARSVAM


(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 7.9.24, spoken by Prahlada Maharaja)


My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them.My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.



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