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The Real Feeling in the Heart

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains progress in spiritual life.

Student: When you get stuck and feel you are nowhere in spiritual life, when you see the same things all the time and feel yourself to be just an ordinary person, when you are full of doubts, when you can’t see, hear, or understand Kṛṣṇa, what can you do to progress?

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj: This is a very nice question, and it is very important for everyone—all practitioners. Many are practising but not progressing, and the vital point is: why are they not progressing? Many are trying to practise Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and many have already been practising for a long time, but feelings do not come to them in the proper way. So, everyone has to think, “Why is the real feeling not coming?”

In this regard, there are two feelings. One is very perfect, and if it is within you, then you have no problem at all: really you are progressing. But the other type means that really you are not progressing.

Śrīman Mahāprabhu said,

na prema-gandho ’sti darāpi me harau
krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 2.45)

[“I do not have even a trace of love for Kṛṣṇa. Still, I cry to show others I have a great fortune.”]

And in the Śikṣāṣṭakam He said,

nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 20.16)

“O Lord, You appear as the Name of Kṛṣṇa and many other Names: Govinda, Mādhava, Hari, Mukunda, Murāri, and so on. You gave many of Your Names to this world, and Your full power is within Them. I am chanting Your Names, but really I am not getting the association of Your Name. Why? I do not know. It is My great misfortune.”

If the real Name of the Lord is revealed in our heart, then we will immediately get the proper feeling, but we are not getting that. When Mahāprabhu speaks this verse, then we must think, “Mahāprabhu has full feeling, and He is getting full association with Kṛṣṇa. But He needs more and more; He is not satisfied with that revelation. He is very unsatisfied with what He is getting and thinking, ‘It is My misfortune that I could not get the real thing, I could not get more.’”

Mahāprabhu is speaking in this way, but for ourselves also, because we are also not getting the proper feeling. We are worshipping Kṛṣṇa, we are chanting Kṛṣṇa’s Name, and we are thinking that we must progress, but it is not happening. How are we to understand that? Joy is not coming into our heart. Our mind is not feeling fulfilled by the mood of devotion. We are not developing strong faith. In this condition, what should we do? This is the question. And the answer is that we should try to get the association of a good Vaiṣṇava. We should search for a real practitioner who is practising Kṛṣṇa consciousness twenty-four hours a day and try to get their association.

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛchchhati
bhuṅkte bhojayate chaiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam
(Śrī Upadeśāmṛta: 4)

Associating with them means getting their advice, talking with them, giving them things, and so on. We should try to associate respectfully and affectionately with a good Vaiṣṇava in the same way that we associate with our relatives in this mundane world. By the mercy of a good Vaiṣṇava, we can understand and feel why we are not getting inspiration.

Everyone is worshipping the Lord. At someone’s house there may be a Deity, at someone else‘s house there may be Tulasī Devī, and somewhere else someone may be simply chanting the Holy Name on beads. Everyone is trying to progress, but the real feeling may not be coming into their heart. This is not good for us, and the cause of it is  some sort of offensive mood within us. But with the association of a good Vaiṣṇava, it must be washed away. Then feelings, happiness, and detachment from mundane attraction will come to us.

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra chaiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo ’nughāsam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.2.42)

When someone eats, they first feel some happiness, and then, as their belly is filled, their hunger goes away. As we progress in spiritual life, hunger for this mundane world will leave us, feelings of Kṛṣṇa consciousness will be revealed in our hearts, devotional activities will happily develop within us. Then we can feel that we are progressing. Otherwise, we cannot feel it. It is necessary to get a good practitioner’s association. That must be good for us.

An egotistical person may say, “I am a devotee. I have been practising Kṛṣṇa consciousness for fifteen years.” Somebody may say they have been practising for twenty years, somebody may say twenty-five, and somebody may say forty. But the association of such persons will not be good for us. The association of someone who, with humility, tolerance, and honour for others, is practising Kṛṣṇa consciousness under the guidance of a sādhu must be perfect for us. If you try to get their association, that will be good. If you cannot get that type of Vaiṣṇava’s association, then you can read the questions and answers given in the books of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj and Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāj. If you read carefully, you will get strength within your mind, and that will be very helpful for you.

Reference

Spoken on 28 June 1992 in San Jose, California.

Verses

na prema-gandho ’sti darāpi me harau
krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum
vaṁśī-vilāsy-ānana-lokanaṁ vinā
bibharmi yat prāṇa-pataṅgakān vṛthā

“I do not have even a trace of love for Kṛṣṇa. Still, I cry to show others I have a great fortune. Without a glimpse of the face of that Flute Player, I carry on my meaningless, insect-like life.”

nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ

“O Lord, You have manifested Your many Names, put all Your power in Them, and made no rules regarding the time for remembering Them. Such is Your great mercy. My misfortune, however, is that I have no attachment to Your Names.”

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛchchhati
bhuṅkte bhojayate chaiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam

“Giving and accepting gifts, discussing and enquiring about confidential matters, and giving and partaking of foods are the six forms of loving association.”

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra chaiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo ’nughāsam

As one who eats feels satisfaction, nourishment, and relief from hunger with each mouthful, so a surrendered soul simultaneously develops devotion, realisation of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from all else.”

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