tvam bhakti-yoga-paribhävita-hrit-saroja
ässe shrutekshita-patho nanu nätha pumsäm
yad-yad-dhiyä ta urugäya vibhävayanti
tat-tad-vapuh pranayase sad-anugrahäya

"O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there. You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3:9:11.)

The statement here that the Lord manifests Himself before the devotee in the form in which the devotee likes to worship Him indicates that the Lord becomes subordinate to the desire of the devotee—so much so that He manifests His particular form as the devotee demands. This demand of the devotee is satisfied by the Lord because He is pliable in terms of the transcendental loving service of the devotee. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gitä (4.11): ye yathä mäm prapadyante täms tathaiva bhajämy aham. We should note, however, that the Lord is never the order supplier of the devotee. Here in this verse it is particularly mentioned: tvam bhakti-yoga-paribhävita. This indicates the efficiency achieved through execution of matured devotional service, or premä, love of Godhead. This state of premä is achieved by the gradual process of development from faith to love. On faith one associates with bona fide devotees, and by such association one can become engaged in bona fide devotional service, which includes proper initiation and the execution of the primary devotional duties prescribed in the revealed scriptures. This is clearly indicated herein by the word shrutekshita. The shrutekshita path is to hear from bona fide devotees who are conversant with Vedic wisdom, free from mundane sentiment. By this bona fide hearing process, the neophyte devotee becomes cleansed of all material rubbish, and thus he becomes attached to one of the many transcendental forms of the Lord, as described in the Vedas.

This attachment of the devotee to a particular form of the Lord is due to natural inclination. Each and every living entity is originally attached to a particular type of transcendental service because he is eternally the servitor of the Lord. Lord Chaitanya says that the living entity is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. Therefore, every living entity has a particular type of service relationship with the Lord, eternally. This particular attachment is invoked by practice of regulative devotional service to the Lord, and thus the devotee becomes attached to the eternal form of the Lord, exactly like one who is already eternally attached. This attachment for a particular form of the Lord is called svarüpa-siddhi. The Lord sits on the lotus heart of the devotee in the eternal form the pure devotee desires, and thus the Lord does not part from the devotee, as confirmed in the previous verse. The Lord, however, does not disclose Himself to a casual or unauthentic worshiper to be exploited. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gitä (7.25): näham prakäshah sarvasya yoga-mäyä-samävritah. Rather, by yoga-mäyä, the Lord remains concealed to the nondevotees or casual devotees who are serving their sense gratification. The Lord is never visible to the pseudodevotees who worship the demigods in charge of universal affairs. The conclusion is that the Lord cannot become the order supplier of a pseudodevotee, but He is always prepared to respond to the desires of a pure, unconditional devotee, who is free from all tinges of material infection. (Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam 3:9:11. purport)

Courtesy of used with permission

Artificial and Genuine Svarupa Siddhi
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvat Thakura Prabhupada

Sri Gaudiya Matha, Kolkata
17 November 1930

Best of virtuous women,

I became aware of the news through your letter dated the 28th that you went to Vrindavana and, from the Vaishnavas there, heard about meditating upon the astakaliya-lila (divine eightfold daily pastimes) of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna. While there can be no doubt about the fact that this topic is highly venerated, those who conceive of this subject matter while their consciousness is riddled with anarthas do not conceive what it truly is.

All those esoteric truths that are revealed solely through one’s advancing practice of chanting the holy names are to be considered the introduction to one’s svar pa, one’s true spiritual identity. When one becomes free from anarthas, or the unwanted desires of the heart, one’s svarupa manifests. When one’s svarupa awakens, one’s perception is automatically admitted into eternal subject matters.

This is not something that can be deceitfully taught to or determined for someone else. In contrast, the revelations one has while submerged in chanting the holy names with a sincere heart should be humbly presented to sadhu and guru (the saintly persons and the spiritual master) so that one’s conception may be refined and approved. This is the genuine process for receiving the eleven aspects of one’s eternal spiritual identity, or svarupa.

In many places, undiscriminating gurus artificially impose these “revelations” on unqualified sadhakas (practicing devotees). This process cannot be considered a true depiction of svarupa-siddhi. Those who attain svarupa-siddhi, or realization of their eternal spiritual form and identity, come to realize their eternal identity of their own accord (svatat -siddha); Sri gurudeva merely assists them in making progress in realizing these topics on the path of bhajana (direct, loving devotional-service). I have nothing more to say on this subject. While the sadhaka progresses on the path of perfection, his heart becomes disposed toward service and free from duplicity. All these subjects naturally manifest in such a heart.

With eternal blessings,
Sri Siddhanta Sarasvati

From: "Inquiries Into the Absolute" <>
To: jtcd
Subject: Inquiries Into the Absolute: Digest 176,
Revelation of siddha-svarupa (Constitutional relationship with Lord Krishna)

Digest 176, July 10th, 2006. Answers by His Holiness Romapada Swami Maharaja
**You are welcome to send in your questions to His Holiness Romapada Swami at with the word "Question" included in the subject line.

Revelation of siddha-svarupa

Question: During one of our recent discussions in our study group there was a discussion on siddha svarup.

One of the devotees said that the spiritual master would reveal one's svarup at some point of time when such a disciple has reached such a stage. My humble opinion is that such a practice is not there in ISKCON and as and when a devotee reaches such a stage of advancement it will be known to him naturally.

Can I humbly request you to kindly clarify this?

Answer: Every living entity has an eternal constitutional relationship with Krishna, and when one attains the liberated platform he automatically understands this relationship. It is not the system supported by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur that one's spiritual identity be artificially declared before the stage when Krishna reveals this, especially when one is still affected by the modes of nature. Srila Prabhupada clearly taught that just as we cannot force the sun to rise at our convenience or by our pronouncements, but it rises of its own accord at the right time, similarly our constitutional position becomes manifest at the right time.

Sometimes less mature devotees are misled by a false sense of enthusiasm to prematurely understand their relationship with Krishna. They may consider this justifiable as a means that would enable them to practice and cultivate the eagerness for such a relationship. Unfortunately, however, this is not the recommended process given by our founder-acharya, and almost always proves dangerous for the tender devotional creeper of less qualified sadhakas. Without cultivating the fundamental spiritual qualities of submission to one's spiritual master, a selfless service mood, sense-control and completely uprooting one's materialistic conceptions, one is certain to impose some material conceptions upon one's so-called svarupa or eternal nature. The Nectar of Devotion confirms that this type of longing or prayer for some spiritual perfectional stage, technically called the 'lalasamayi' stage of submission, actually comes in the stage of perfect liberation and spiritual advancement, and is not to be artificially induced
. (Cf. NOD Ch 9, Submission)

You are correct when you indicate that the procedure of HOW the revealing of one's svarupa takes place is not spelled out in great detail. However, the other BV member is also correct: the fundamental faith of a sincere devotee is that their spiritual master connects them with Krishna via the disciplic succession, and by the collective descending mercy of the guru parampara all truths become naturally revealed. This is our natural process, without having before us the micro-technology of this mystical process.