Practical advice for pursuing the goal of human life.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj



What is good and what is bad depends on the nature of a person. The same rules and regulations are not applicable for everyone. What is good is what is in particular agreeable to a devotee.

anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam uchyate
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 2.255)

[“The earnestness of detached devotees who utilise objects appropriately in their relationship with Krishna is known as yukta-vairagya (proper renunciation).”]

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur quoted this verse in the headline on the front page of every issue of his magazine Gaudiya, and he himself also gave the  meaning of the verse:

‘asakti-rahita’ ‘sambandha-sahita’
visaya-samuha sakali ‘madhava’

[“Be free from attachment and in connection (with the Lord). All objects belong to Him.”]

You should try to live in this mundane world without attachment. You are looking at everything in front of you, but you should not see everything as for yourself; you should see everything as for the service of Krishna and take for yourself only what is suitable.

yatharham upayunjatah nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe

Without attachment, you can use anything for the service of Krishna, but you should take only what is suitable for yourself.

Your duty exclusively is service to Krishna, but you can say what is good for you within that. If you take some honey every day, then you will get relief from a cold and your health will be good so that you can happily serve Krishna or Guru and Vaisnava. In such a case, taking honey is not a luxury. Everything should be understood in this way. If your stomach cannot digest chapatis or ghee but you eat these things, then your health will be bad, you will suffer as a result, and you will not be able to do service happily. So, what should you take? You should take what is suitable for your health, be it flat rice and curd, or muri, or rice. Take whatever is suitable for your stomach and you will be able to live happily. But why will you live? You will live to serve.

nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe

You will maintain your body and live only for the service of Krishna, for that purpose particularly.

Family life must also run in this way. In a family, there are many facilities. We have seen Indian family life and Western family life. In Western family life, a husband and wife may be living somewhere and have a maidservant or servant with them. After they have a child, they both continue to go out working, and a maidservant or someone looks after the child or they put the child in school and then bring the child back after their work when they are returning home. Children grow up in the Western world in this way. We have seen this system in some places.

In the East, in India, if you have a child, then you actually have no responsibility for the child: your grandmother, your sister, your brother’s wife, and your other relatives all live together in a family, and they all look after the child. I have seen this. They are cleaning the child, feeding the child, and giving nourishment to the child. The whole family gives nourishment in this way. So, the same system is not present everywhere, but we can use in our life and for our maintenance whatever is suitable. We should use what we have, but without attachment. That is called yukta-vairagya.

Whatever comes in front of you is coming as the prasadam of Krishna. So, take that and live for the service of Krishna. You may be a brahmachari, you may be a sannyasi, or you may be grhastha. Whichever lifestyle is suitable for your maintenance, follow that and with that  proceed to your destiny. That is Indian philosophy, specially, Vaisnavism. Such yukta-vairagya is necessary.

Srila Rupa Goswami said in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.

yavata syat sva-nirvahah svikuryat tavad artha-vit
adhikye nyunatayam cha chyavate paramarthatah
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 2.108)

[“The sensible accept as much as is necessary for their maintenance. By accepting more or less, one fails to attain the highest goal.”]

This verse is also in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:

anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam uchyate


anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulya vivarjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa karpanye sad-vidha saranagatih

[“Accepting the favourable, rejecting the unfavourable, confidence that Krishna will protect you, embracing Krishna’s guardianship, offering yourself, and humility are the six limbs of surrender.”]

We shall try to live with a mood of full surrender.

anukulyasya sankalpah

The world anukul means ‘favourable to the service of Krishna’. We should try to find favourable facilities and proceed to our destiny, and it is possible to proceed anywhere we are by simply accepting whatever favourable facilities are there and proceeding towards Krishna consciousness. Our main goal is practising Krishna consciousness. That is the main goal of our life.

I think you have read this mantra:

yad astu hrdayam tava tad astu hrdayam mama

“My heart and your heart are together, and we will try to practise Krishna consciousness.” The meaning of this mantra is the same in Bengal or UP or Odissa or anywhere else. We will live together peacefully, we will not be attached to mundane things, and we will try to practise Krishna consciousness. This is the meaning of the mantram. That is, you are my wife, I am taking full responsibility for you, and you will favourably help me to practise Krishna consciousness. That is our religion. The meaning of the mantra comes to us in this way. Then, we have no problem if we can see the main goal,  the point of life, the light from the point of life. If we can see the light coming from there, then we can try to proceed without disturbances, without giving pain to others and taking things from others illegally. We can happily with a mood of humility and tolerance try to proceed to our destiny. This is best for our life, for the life of a practitioner.

What is suitable for your life you will take and go on. But you must proceed to your destiny, to your life’s goal. Srila Guru Maharaj gave many opportunities to us. Previously, our Indian religion was not like this. Actually, Indian religion in the past followed the Vedic culture, and Vedic culture is very hard. Also, we see that there are many faults around us. Especially in the Kali-yuga, it is not possible to follow the Vedic rules and regulations. But Sriman Mahaprabhu is very merciful, and Krishna is also very merciful: Krishna gave us the chance to chant His nondifferent form of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Then, chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra, reading the auspicious books, the scriptures, serving the sadhu, Guru, and Vaisnava, and earning money in a clean way—these activities mainly are the life of a grhastha. You know there are many histories in Mahabharata about how people live as grhasthas. Every day they are doing puja and then they are taking breakfast. Every day they are doing some Vaisnava-seva. Etc. etc. You know the rules and regulations. But if it is not possible always to follow that, that is also not harmful if you chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra without offence. Whatever deficiency you may have will be fulfilled by the chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra.

The last mantram the priest told at the wedding must have been this one:

yadasanga kriya karma janata vapy ajanata
purnam bhavatu tat sarvam sri-harer nama-kirtanat

“The sacrifice you have performed and the mantras you have read, with and without understanding, will all be fulfilled and successfully you will get the proper result from them when you chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.” Sri Harer Nama-kirtanat: according to someone’s religion they may say this means through the Name of Visnu, the Name of Krishna, or the Name of Narayan, but the main thing is that all deficiency can be fulfilled by Hari-nam-sankirtan, and Hari-nam-sankirtan is our life’s goal. Mahaprabhu said,

cheto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam
sreyah-kairava-chandrika-vitaranam vidya-vadhu-jivanam
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam

[“Sri Krishna-sankirtan cleanses the mirror of consciousness, extinguishes the raging forest fire of material existence, shines moonlight on the evening lotus of good fortune, is the life of those enlightened with paramour love for the Lord, expands the ocean of ecstasy, is the taste of full nectar at every moment, and soothes the entire self. May Sri Krishna-sankirtan be supremely victorious!”]

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare


Spoken in 1991 in Sri Govardhan Dham after a marriage ceremony of two devotees.


The following mantra referred to above is recited at wedding ceremonies:

yad etad hrdayam tava tad astu hrdayam mama
yad idam hrdayam mama tad astu hrdayam tava
(Sri Sat-kriya-sara-dipika: Bhojanadi-dhrti-homa, 2)

“May your heart be my heart, and may my heart be your heart.”