Śrīla Bhakti Nirmal Āchārya Mahārāj stresses understanding the core of devotional practice.

Fundamental Principles

Śrīla Bhakti Nirmal Āchārya Mahārāj stresses understanding the core of devotional practice.

This post is a continuation of the post Understanding Anarthas.

The Five Diseases

(1) Avidyā: ignorance of one’s true identity as an eternal soul and servant of Kṛṣṇa.

(2) Asmitā: identification with the material body and possessiveness about one’s transitory body, wife, sons, and so on.

(3) Rāga: obsession with facilities for the body.

(4) Dveṣ: revulsion to anything opposed to one’s enjoyment.

(5) Abhiniveś: absorption in things favourable to oneself and incapacity to sacrifice them.

The Four Defects of the Conditioned Soul

(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmta)

(1) Bhrama: misunderstanding; mistaking one thing for another, such as a rope for a snake.

(2) Pramād: inattentiveness.

(3) Vipralipsā: deceit; the desire to cheat.

(4) Karaṇāpāṭava: sensory deficiency; being unable to see a long distance or a small object, being unable to hear something situated far away, or mistaking one colour for another.

The Threefold Miseries of Material Existence

(Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Anubhāya on Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmta)

(1) Ādhyātmika-tāp: miseries caused by the self.

(a) Bodily misery: fever, cold, and all other illnesses.

(b) Mental misery: separation from one’s companions and all other forms of anxiety.

(2) Ādhibhautika-tāp: miseries caused by other living beings.

(a) Miseries caused by living entities born from wombs.

(b) Miseries caused by living entities born from eggs.

(c) Miseries caused by living entities born from moisture.

(d) Miseries caused by living entities born from vegetation.

(3) Ādhidaivika-tāp: miseries caused by the forces of nature.

(a) Miseries caused by the demigods, such as Indra, Sūrya, and so on, such as severe cold, lightning, and so forth.

(b) Miseries caused by evil spirits, such as the Yakṣas and Piśāchas, such as inauspiciousness, distress, danger, and so on.

The Four Pillars of Dharma

(1) Truthfulness.

(2) Mercy.

(3) Cleanliness.

(4) Austerity.

The Four Pillars of Irreligion

(1) Falsehood.

(2) Pride.

(3) Selfish desire.

(4) Violence (envy).

The Five Places of Kali

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam)

(1) Dyūta: dice, cards, chess, horse racing, the lottery, and other sorts of gaming or gambling. Its basis is falsehood, and it destroys the virtue of truthfulness. (Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur notes that Kali is always creating newer and newer forms of games to lead people away from dharma.)

(2) Pāna: alcohol, wine, ganja, tobacco, opium, and any other intoxicant. Its basis is pride, and it destroys the virtue of mercy.

(3) Strī: illicit association with the opposite sex, attachment to one’s spouse, and association with those who engage in illicit association. Its basis is lust, and it destroys the virtue of purity.

(4) Sūnā: taking the life of an animal for the sake of one’s own body. Its basis is violence, and it destroys all virtues (truthfulness, mercy, cleanliness, and austerity). Anyone who kills an animal, as well as anyone who prepares, cooks, transports, sells, serves, or eats it, is implicated in such sin.

(5) Jāta: gold, silver, money, and other forms of wealth. Within these, falsehood, pride, lust, violence, and enmity are all present.

Unfavourable Urges

(Śrī Upadeśāmta)

(1) The urge to speak: using words in a way that disturbs others.

(2) The urges of the mind: various types of desires.

(3) The urge of anger: using harsh language, and so on.

(4) The urge of the tongue: desire for the six tastes: sweet, sour, pungent, salty, astringent, and bitter.

(5) The urge of the belly: excessive eating.

(6) The urge of the genitals: the desire for sex.

Obstacles to Devotion

(Śrī Upadeśāmta)

(1) Atyāhāra: excessive eating or accumulation.

(2) Prayās: materialistic endeavours or activities that are opposed to devotion.

(3) Prajalpa: unnecessary talk of village matters to pass the time.

(4) Niyamāgraha: attachment to regulations meant for persons in a lower stage or indifference to regulations that nourish devotion.

(5) Jana-saṅga: association with persons other than pure devotees and their followers.

(6) Laulya: being fickle-minded in the company of followers of other conceptions and being attracted to insignificant matters.

Favourable Qualities for Devotion

(Śrī Upadeśāmta)

(1) Utsāha: engaging in devotional practices with enthusiasm and adoration.

(2) Niśchay: firm faith.

(3) Dhairya: not slackening one’s practice upon seeing that a long time is needed to reach the goal.

(4) Bhakti-poṣaka karma: activities nourishing to devotion: hearing, chanting, making a sacrifice of one’s happiness for Kṛṣṇa’s sake, and so on.

(5) Saṅga-tyāga: avoiding bad association, that is, the association of the irreligious, those who associate inappropriately with the opposite sex, those who are excessively attached to their spouse, and non-devotees, namely materialists, illusionists, atheists, and religious hypocrites.

(6) Sad-vṛtti: following the disciplines and professions by which the sādhus practise and maintain their lives.

Nourishing Association for Devotion

(Śrī Upadeśāmta)

(1) Affectionately giving a devotee useful materials.

(2) Accepting materials given by devotees.

(3) Discussing confidential subjects with devotees.

(4) Asking devotees about confidential subjects.

(5) Eating rice and other foods given by devotees.

(6) Affectionately feeding devotees.