The formulas given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained.

By Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

The following is a translation of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s Bengali commentary on the third and fourth verses of the Siksastakam which was published in Sri Sajjan-tosani, Volume 3.

When a faithful soul chants the primary Names of the Lord without offence, four natural qualities are seen within them. Therefore, Sriman Mahaprabhu has said, “O souls! One who knows oneself to be lower than a blade of grass, practises tolerance more so than a tree, and, although free from desire for honour, honours all souls as is appropriate, is qualified to chant the Name.”

Although a blade of grass is a very insignificant thing in the material world, for it to have the ego of being a thing of this world is not unpleasant, but a soul—an atomic particle of consciousness—should not have any ego related to this material world at all, as a soul’s ego is spiritual, and, logically, for the soul, a material ego is only imposed—it is completely false.

Even if trees are cut with an axe, they do not become averse to giving shade and fruit. For the soul, which is by nature superior to matter, being compassionate towards both friends and foes is natural, as compassion for others is a quality inherent in devotion, the natural aptitude of the soul.

Those who chant the Name should be free from meaningless ego related to the social classes (brahman, ksatriya, and so on), the social orders (sannyas, vanaprastha, and so on), wealth, beauty, strength, prowess, power, and position, and give the highest honour only to pure Vaisnavas. They should also honour, as is appropriate, the qualified pious souls who, by the mercy of the Lord, have attained the positions of Brahma, Siva, and so forth.

If we do not see these four qualities [humility, tolerance, modesty, and respectfulness, in one who chants the Name], then we have to think that still now they have not left behind the previously mentioned offences [to the Name—criticising devotees, considering the demigods to be independent of the Supreme Lord, disobeying Sri Guru, and so on]. (3)

When a soul who has these four qualities chants the Name without offence, they have devotion which is endowed with the quality described by adjectives such as unconditional, perfect, exclusive, pure, unalloyed, surrendered, and transcendental.

For souls in the conditioned state, however, there are two secondary qualities [within devotion]. When devotion has these two qualities, it is pure. Being free from desirousness (anyabhilasa-sunyata) and being uncovered by worldly knowledge and action (jnana-karmady-anavrtata) are the two secondary qualities of devotion. To clearly teach this principle, Sriman Mahaprabhu said, “O Lord of the universe, I do not pray for wealth, companions, beautiful women, or learning. Rather, may I have unconditional devotion to You, the Lord of my heart, birth after birth.”

I do not want wealth—the piety, fortune, and enjoyment (dharma, artha, and kama) produced by adhering to one’s occupational duty (varnasram-dharma). I do not want companions: the body or those who go along with it—a wife, son, daughter, or other relatives. Except for knowledge which is nourishing to devotion to Krsna, I do not want the ability to write poetry, drama, or other forms of literature based on ordinary grammar and ornamentation (I do not want any knowledge opposed to Krsna). My prayer is only for devotion that is pure—free from any pursuit of results. For devotees, the removal of worldly suffering, and liberation in the form of self-realisation, are easily attained, inherent results [of practising devotion]. So, devotion should not be contaminated by endeavour or prayer for them. When a soul becomes qualified for deliverance from matter, Krsna will certainly grant these results by His mercy. Therefore, devotees, desire this alone: “May I have unconditional devotion birth after birth.” Do not desire anything else. (4)

About the Author:

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur is the foremost pioneer of progressive modern Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Scholarly and systematic yet compassionate, loving, and joyful, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has succeeded in spreading the divine love brought to the world by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world through his prolific literature, profound forethought, and devout followers. For more information on Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, please visit his biography page.

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