yamair akämair niyamaiç cäpy anindayä
niréhayä dvandva-titikñayä ca
ahiàsayä—by nonviolence; päramahaàsya-caryayä—by following in the footsteps of great äcäryas; småtyä—by remembering; mukunda—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; äcarita-agrya—simply preaching His activities; sédhunä—by the nectar; yamaiù—by following regulative principles; akämaiù—without material desires; niyamaiù—by strictly following the rules and regulations; ca—also; api—certainly; anindayä—without blaspheming; niréhayä—living simply, plain living; dvandva—duality; titikñayä—by tolerance; ca—and.
A candidate for spiritual advancement must be nonviolent, must follow in the footsteps of great äcäryas, must always remember the nectar of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must follow the regulative principles without material desire and, while following the regulative principles, should not blaspheme others. A devotee should lead a very simple life and not be disturbed by the duality of opposing elements. He should learn to tolerate them.
The devotees are actually saintly persons, or sädhus. The first qualification of a sädhu, or devotee, is ahiàsä, or nonviolence. Persons interested in the path of devotional service, or in going back home, back to Godhead, must first practice ahiàsä, or nonviolence. A sädhu is described as titikñavaù käruëikäù (SB 3.25.21). A devotee should be tolerant and should be very much compassionate toward others. For example, if he suffers personal injury, he should tolerate it, but if someone else suffers injury, the devotee need not tolerate it. The whole world is full of violence, and a devotee’s first business is to stop this violence, including the unnecessary slaughter of animals. A devotee is the friend not only of human society but of all living entities, for he sees all living entities as sons of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He does not claim himself to be the only son of God and allow all others to be killed, thinking that they have no soul. This kind of philosophy is never advocated by a pure devotee of the Lord. Suhådaù sarva-dehinäm: a true devotee is the friend of all living entities. Kåñëa claims in Bhagavad-gétä to be the father of all species of living entities; consequently the devotee of Kåñëa is always a friend of all. This is called ahiàsä. Such nonviolence can be practiced only when we follow in the footsteps of great äcäryas. Therefore, according to our Vaiñëava philosophy, we have to follow the great äcäryas of the four sampradäyas, or disciplic successions.
Trying to advance in spiritual life outside the disciplic succession is simply ludicrous. It is said, therefore, äcäryavän puruño veda: one who follows the disciplic succession of äcäryas knows things as they are (Chändogya Upaniñad 6.14.2). Tad-vijïänärthaà sa gurum eväbhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] in order to understand the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master. The word småtyä is very important in spiritual life. Småtyä means remembering Kåñëa always. Life should be molded in such a way that one cannot remain alone without thinking of Kåñëa. We should live in Kåñëa so that while eating, sleeping, walking and working we remain only in Kåñëa. Our Kåñëa consciousness society recommends that we arrange our living so that we can remember Kåñëa. In our ISKCON society the devotees, while engaged in making Spiritual Sky incense, are also hearing about the glories of Kåñëa or His devotees. The çästra recommends, smartavyaù satataà viñëuù: Lord Viñëu should be remembered always, constantly. Vismartavyo na jätucit: Viñëu should never be forgotten. That is the spiritual way of life. Småtyä. This remembrance of the Lord can be continued if we hear about Him constantly. It is therefore recommended in this verse: mukundäcaritägrya-sédhunä. Sédhu means “nectar.” To hear about Kåñëa from Çrémad-Bhägavatam or Bhagavad-gétä or similar authentic literature is to live in Kåñëa consciousness. Such concentration in Kåñëa consciousness can be achieved by persons who are strictly following the rules and regulative principles. We have recommended in our Kåñëa consciousness movement that a devotee chant sixteen rounds on beads daily and follow the regulative principles. That will help the devotee be fixed in his spiritual advancement in life.
It is also stated in this verse that one can advance
by controlling the senses (yamaiù). By controlling the senses, one
can become a svämé or gosvämé. One who is therefore
enjoying this supertitle, svämé or gosvämé, must
be very strict in controlling his senses. Indeed, he must be master of
his senses. This is possible when one does not desire any material sense
gratification. If, by chance, the senses want to work independently, he
must control them. If we simply practice avoiding material sense gratification,
controlling the senses is automatically achieved.
Another important point mentioned in this connection is anindayä—we should not criticize others’ methods of religion. There are different types of religious systems operating under different qualities of material nature. Those operating in the modes of ignorance and passion cannot be as perfect as that system in the mode of goodness. In Bhagavad-gétä everything has been divided into three qualitative divisions; therefore religious systems are similarly categorized. When people are mostly under the modes of passion and ignorance, their system of religion will be of the same quality. A devotee, instead of criticizing such systems, will encourage the followers to stick to their principles so that gradually they can come to the platform of religion in goodness. Simply by criticizing them, a devotee’s mind will be agitated. Thus a devotee should tolerate and learn to stop agitation.
Another feature of the devotee is niréhayä, simple living. Niréhä means “gentle,” “meek” or “simple.” A devotee should not live very gorgeously and imitate a materialistic person. Plain living and high thinking are recommended for a devotee. He should accept only so much as he needs to keep the material body fit for the execution of devotional service. He should not eat or sleep more than is required. Simply eating for living, and not living for eating, and sleeping only six to seven hours a day are principles to be followed by devotees. As long as the body is there it is subjected to the influence of climatic changes, disease and natural disturbances, the threefold miseries of material existence. We cannot avoid them. Sometimes we receive letters from neophyte devotees questioning why they have fallen sick, although pursuing Kåñëa consciousness. They should learn from this verse that they have to become tolerant (dvandva-titikñayä). This is the world of duality. One should not think that because he has fallen sick he has fallen from Kåñëa consciousness. Kåñëa consciousness can continue without impediment from any material opposition. Lord Çré Kåñëa therefore advises in Bhagavad-gétä (2.14), täàs titikñasva bhärata: “My dear Arjuna, please try to tolerate all these disturbances. Be fixed in your Kåñëa conscious activities.”
(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam. 4:22:24. purport)
The Life of His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta
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