How to Make Progress

Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami explains the attitude needed to progress quickly in Krishna consciousness.

Student: In the talks between Ramananda Raya and Sriman Mahaprabhu, so many levels of devotion are discussed, and varna-dharma is one of the first presented.

Srila Sridhara Goswami: Yes. Beginning from varnasrama-dharma, they go to higher and higher levels of realization.

Student: Would this necessarily take lifetimes for someone to realize?

Srila Sridhara Goswami: That depends upon the particular case. It is not a general thing. Someone may finish a long course in a few weeks or a few years, and someone else may take a long, long time. It depends upon the particular person.

Student: What is the cause of someone advancing quickly and someone else advancing slowly?

Srila Sridhara Goswami: You are asking the same question a thousand times.

Student: Oh, I see.

Srila Sridhara Goswami: Try to realize these things. Then, you yourself will be able to answer this question. There is no value in mere repetition of any one question in different colors and a hundred times. Try to realize deeply what is told. Try to understand deeply. Think. More than a thousand times, the same thing, the same question, is coming in different ways: “How to?” Only with the help of the sadhu and the sastra. We are told that to create change within us only these two things have been recommended always. Passive and active higher association. This is the cause. We must submit to them, and they must engage us to obey them. Then change will come. Then the anarthas will clear, and we will be able to know things. Only service can change us, that is, association with the sadhus, obeying them.

A patient can improve only with the help of the advice of a good doctor. The diet and medicine given by a bonafide doctor can help the patient get free from a disease. Similarly, we are patients, and our disease is bhava-roga, mortality. We are in the midst of mortality. Mortality has attacked us in and out. How are we to get free from this disease of mortality? This is the general question. So, according to the real doctor’s advice, we are to deal with it: we are to take medicine, follow a proper diet, and obey his instructions. Thereby, we can get free from the disease of mortality. The influence of the mortal environment has captured us in and out. To get out of that, and to have a clear atmosphere, to have pure consciousness, to have Krishna consciousness, to go towards Vaikuntha and then Goloka, that atmosphere, that consciousness, through renunciation of this mortal zone, we are to associate with the saints of that realm. In this way, we can come out of this unholy environment that has absorbed us within it. We are to get out of it with the help of the saints and the scriptures. Sometimes the scriptures and whenever available, the saints, by their association, their influence, we are to improve our condition.

At every second, every moment, we are to think: what am I about? Why have I come here? What is the real principle that I am looking towards? And am I going towards my aim? We must always make ourselves intensively busy for this. Even during sleep, we should be able to trace that influence. It must pierce into our innermost heart. It must capture our whole existence, including our dreams. Every aspect of our life must be colored with this religious feeling of Krishna consciousness. Talking, moving, eating, even passing stools, everything must be connected with it. The paramahamsa always has wholesale connection with Krishna consciousness. Every aspect of his life is connected with Krishna consciousness, even his passing stool and passing urine. That also can be connected with Krishna consciousness in the paramahamsa stage. We are to become Krishna-mayi, wholesale captured by Krishna consciousness. I will keep my health ready and proper for service, but day and night, I shall always aspire and hanker how my consciousness may be purified, how it may be acceptable by Gurudeva, and through Gurudeva by Krishna.

Not a tinge of selfish viewing of an object should be present in any sort of activity. Every step forward must be for Krishna’s cause, not for my comfort. But to keep up my health for the service of Krishna, I shall make also arrangements. I will not abruptly jump only to fall and die. Yukta-vairagya is practicable in my stage, and I shall be very much eager to try to transform myself wholesale for the utilization of every part of my existence—mental and physical, everything—for Krishna’s satisfaction. That will help us get out of this mundane environment very quickly and proceed towards the eternal blissfulness. We must be very much earnest about our conversion, our transformation.

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