Humility and Prema

As Mahaprabhu was absorbed in rasa, feelings of separation from Krishna erupted and he raved like a madman in anxiety, remorse, and humility.(1) His love intensified such that his sthayi-bhava reigned like an emperor over all other attendant bhavas, tasting them, nourishing itself, and immersing him in an ocean of bhakti-rasa. Sri Kaviraja Krishnadasa uses the word rasantaravese to describe Mahaprabhu’s condition—internally absorbed in aesthetic rapture. In doing so he highlights how this verse signals the onset of Mahaprabhu’s prema, for internal absorption in rasa indicates that one has attained prema. As we shall see, prema makes its initial appearance in the dark night of the soul’s unbearable pain of love in separation.

It is difficult to describe the depth of the emotive experience of prema. In Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Narada, while attempting to explain the nature of Radha’s love for Krishna, concludes that prema cannot be fully described. However, if we look to Radha’s dearmost, Sri Rupa, we find a wealth of words on this most esoteric subject. In the beginning of his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Caitanya’s chosen spokesperson defines prema thus: “The wise say that prema is bhava intensified. It softens the heart completely and fosters a sense of possessiveness.”(2) Prema’s svarupa-laksana is intensification of bhava, which as we learned from the previous Siksastakam verse is but a ray of the sun of prema. The complete softening of the heart and awakening of the sense that “Krishna is mine” are prema’s tatastha-laksana.

Intensification of bhava transports the devotee from being influenced by Krishna’s svarupa-sakti to being entirely situated within it. This is known as svarupavesa, full absorption in one’s inner spiritual identity, or svarupa-siddhi, the perfection of identifying with one’s svarupa, wherein one experiences the highest happiness. Rupa Goswami writes that this happiness exceeds the happiness of Brahman realization just as an ocean exceeds a mere drop of water.(3) Higher than the eternal peace and quietude of brahmananda is the svarupananda of Bhagavan, in which he takes pleasure in his own eternal perfection. Higher still is svarupa-saktyananda, in which Bhagavan’s devotees take pleasure in him. It is this happiness, brought about by the intensification of bhava, that prema-bhaktas taste. Thus Sri Rupa refers to the happiness prema affords as sandrananda-visesatma, a condensation of happiness (sandrananda) experienced by one who is completely enveloped in Sri Krishna’s svarupa-sakti (visesatma).(4)

This extraordinary spiritual happiness is strengthened by prema’s power to completely charm Sri Krishna, sri-krishnakarsini.(5) Only prema has this power to bring Krishna under one’s control. Prema is directed not to Krishna alone but to Krishna along with his entourage. According to Sri Jiva Goswami , this is the significance of the word sri in the phrase sri-krishnakarsini. It refers to his entourage, which is constituted of his svarupa-sakti. As prema captivates Krishna, so too does it captivate his merciful associates. As it does so, it secures the prema-bhaktas’ happiness in svarupa-saktyananda or sandrananda-visesatma.

Thus with the intensification of bhava, the nama-sankirtana that was previously a form of sadhana becomes the sadhya, as bhava becomes prema—prema-sankirtana. Prema-sankirtana is not static but a dynamic, ongoing experience of ever-escalating love that flows like an ocean of nectar, sometimes retreating as the low tide of separation, causing waves of anxiety, and sometimes returning as the high tide of union, causing waves of jubilation.

Although love in separation is a theme that runs throughout Krishna’s Vraja lila, it is highlighted in the case of Radha.(6) In his Padyavali compilation of verses, Sri Rupa has placed this seventh stanza of Siksastakam in the context of illustrating Radha’s love in separation from Krishna. In doing so Sri Rupa tells us that from this verse of Siksastakam we can understand that Gaura’s sthayi-bhava is that of a lover—Radha’s love for Krishna. Thus after a six-verse preface, it is here in this verse that Krishna as Gaura begins to actually confess his act of thievery. He tried to steal Radha’s bhava, and just see what difficulty it caused him!

Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami describes Gaura’s prema in separation as being filled with anxiety (udvega), remorse (visada), and humility (dainya). Anxiety is the second of ten conditions of separation experienced by all the inhabitants of Vraja. Thus it is not exclusive to romantic love, or madhurya-rasa, although it is certainly heightened therein. Remorse is a vyabhicari-bhava that serves to augment one’s sthayi-bhava. Humility can also be experienced as a vyabhicari-bhava, but to limit our discussion of it to this particular manifestation of humility will not do justice to its overall importance in relation to prema-bhakti. Sri Sanatana Goswami writes about the relationship between humility and prema in his Brhad-bhagavatamrta:

Wise men define dainya as the state in which one always thinks oneself exceptionally incapable and low, even when endowed with all excellences. An intelligent person should carefully cultivate speech, behavior, and thinking that fix him in utter humility, and anything that stands in the way of it he should avoid. Dainya at its most exalted comes forth when prema, pure love of God, reaches full maturity, as it did in the women of Gokula when they were separated from Krishna. When dainya fully matures, prema unfolds without limit. And so we see dainya and prema acting in a relationship in which each is both cause and effect.(7)

True spiritual humility is found in those well endowed with spiritual excellences, for the poor are humble only out of circumstance. There is no wealth greater than prema, and when we see humility in those who have it, we witness humility’s full face. Mundane humility can be developed by human effort, but spiritual humility results only from receiving God’s blessing. The gopis exhibited this kind of humility in viraha-bhava, or the ecstasy of love in separation. It is through feelings of love augmented by separation that this intense humility is experienced. Such humility is an integral component of prema, for just as humility fosters prema, prema in turn fosters humility.


(1) Cc. 3.20.38.
(2) samya-masrnita-svantomamatvatisayankitah
bhavah sa eva sandratma
budhaih prema nigadyate (Brs. 3.4.1)
(3) Brs. 1.1.38.
(4) Brs. 1.1.38.
(5) Brs. 1.1.41.
(6) All of the Vrajavasis experience love in union (yoga) and separation (ayoga). Ayoga is divided into utkantha (anxiety) and viyoga (estrangement). Viyoga is further divided tenfold.
(7) Sanatana Goswami, Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, trans. Gopiparanadhana Dasa (Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 2005), 2.5.222–25.

Source Harmonist

The Way to Serve Sri Guru

Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur explains the importance of worshipping Śrī Guru before the Lord.

The following is an excerpt from Śrī Hari-nāma-chintāmaṇi (6.31–38, 50–59) which was published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan, Volume 1, Issue 4, 15 November 1955, and Volume 14, Issue 2, 1 December 1970.

Guru-tattva: the position of Śrī Guru

dīkṣā-guru śikṣā-guru du̐he kṛṣṇa-dāsa
du̐he vraja-jana kṛṣṇa-śaktira prakāśa

The Dīkṣā-guru and Śikṣā-guru are both servants of Kṛṣṇa; they are both residents of Vraja and manifestations of Kṛṣṇa’s potency.

guruke sāmānya jīva nā jānibe kabhu
guru kṛṣṇa-śakti kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha nitya prabhu

Never consider Śrī Guru an ordinary soul. Śrī Guru is Kṛṣṇa’s potency, Kṛṣṇa’s favourite, and one’s eternal master.

Commentary: Do not consider Śrī Guru an ordinary soul. Serve Śrī Guru considering him an associate of Kṛṣṇa who is empowered by Kṛṣṇa’s personal energy (svarūp-śakti). Thinking that Guru is Kṛṣṇa is a conception of the māyāvādīs. It is not the conception of the pure Vaiṣṇavas. Sincere devotees should be especially careful about this. If māyāvād even subtly enters one’s practice (sādhana), then one’s entire practice becomes contaminated.

ei buddhi saha sadā guru-bhakti kare
sei guru-bhakti-bale saṁsārete tare

With this conception, always serve Śrī Guru. By the power of one’s devotion to Śrī Guru, one crosses over saṁsāra.

Guru-pūjā: worship of Śrī Guru

agre guru-pūjā pare śrī-kṛṣṇa-pūjana
gurudeve śrī-kṛṣṇa-prasāda samarpaṇa

One should first worship Śrī Guru, then worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and then offer Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s prasād to Śrī Guru.

Commentary: After worshipping Śrī Guru with a seat, water to wash his feet, arghya, a bath, clothes, and ornaments, one should take his permission and worship the Divine Couple. One should offer Their prasād first to Śrī Guru and then to the other Vaiṣṇavas.

guru-ājñā laye kṛṣṇa pūjibe yatane
śrī-guru smariyā kṛṣṇa balibe vadane

After taking permission from Śrī Guru, one should carefully worship Kṛṣṇa. Remembering Śrī Guru, one should chant Kṛṣṇa’s Name.

Gurute ki rūpe śraddhā karā uchita: how should one have faith in Śrī Guru?

gurute avajñā yā̐ra tā̐ra aparādha
sei aparādhe tā̐ra haya bhakti-bādha

One who disrespects Śrī Guru commits an offence, and by that offence, one’s devotion is obstructed.

guru-kṛṣṇa-vaiṣṇavete sama-bhakti kari’
nāmāśraye śuddha-bhakta śīghra yāya tari’

Being equally devoted to Śrī Guru, Kṛṣṇa, and the Vaiṣṇavas, a pure devotee who takes shelter of the Name is quickly delivered.

gurute achalā śraddhā kare yei jana
śuddha-nāma bale sei pāya prema-dhana

One who has unwavering faith in Śrī Guru attains, through the pure Name, the wealth of divine love.

Guru-sevāra prakriyā: the way to serve Śrī Guru

guru-śayyāsana āra pādukādi yāna
pāda-pīṭha snānodaka chāyāra laṅghana

One should not lay on the bed of the Guru, sit on his seat, wear his shoes, use his vehicle, use his footrest, touch his bathwater, or step on his shadow.

gurura agrete anya pūjādvaita jñāna
dīkṣā vyākhyā prabhutvādi karibe varjana

In front of Śrī Guru, one should not worship others, give initiation, offer explanations, or show mastership in any way.

yathā yathā gurura pāibe daraśana
daṇḍavat paḍi’ bhūme karibe vandana

Wherever one sees him, one should bow down and offer obeisance.

guru-nāma bhaktite karibe uchchāraṇa
guru-ājñā helā nā karibe kadāchana

One should pronounce Śrī Guru’s name with devotion, and one should never disregard his order.

gurura prasāda sevā avaśya karibe
gurura apriya vākya kabhu nā kahibe

One must honour Śrī Guru’s prasādam, and should not speak words that are unpleasant to him.

gurura charaṇe dainye la-ibe śaraṇa
karibe gurura sadā priya ācharaṇa

One should humbly take shelter at Śrī Guru’s feet, and always act in a way that is pleasing to him.

e rūpa āchāre kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtane
sarva siddhi haya prabho bale śruti gaṇe

By practising in this way, one attains all perfection through the chanting of Kṛṣṇa’s Name. So say the scriptures, O Lord!

nāma-guru prati yadi avajñā ghaṭaye
duṣṭa saṅge duṣṭa śāstra mata samāśraye
tabe sei saṅga sei śāstra dūra kari’
vilāpa kariba sei guru-pade dhari’

If, by associating with condemned persons or accepting conceptions given in condemned books, one happens to disrespect the Guru who initiated one into the Name, then one should leave that association and such books, and lament at the feet of Śrī Guru, grasping his feet.

Commentary: He who teaches one the truth about the Name, reveals the supremacy of the Name, and gives one the Name, or the mantra made up of the Name, is the Nām-guru. The Dīkṣā-guru is the Nām-guru, as the mantra is the Name. If one separates the Name from the mantra, the quality of the mantra is lost. Moreover, only by chanting the Name is the mantra chanted.

kṛpā kari’ gurudeva ha-ibe sadaya
nāme prema dibe se vaiṣṇava dayāmaya

Śrī Gurudev will kindly be merciful. As an all-merciful Vaiṣṇava, he will give one love for the Name.


The commentaries are part of the text of Śrī Hari-nāma-chintāmaṇi and written by Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur himself.

Overcoming Jealousy by Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains the importance of appreciating the Vaiṣṇava.

vaiṣṇavera guṇa-gāna karile jīvera trāṇa
śuniyāchhi sādhu-guru-mukhe

It has been broadly advertised that if we can sing in praise of the Vaiṣṇava, then we can have higher promotion in the line of devotion. It is easy to praise and sing songs or poems written about the Supreme Lord, but it is difficult to praise—to be able to really praise—the servitors of the Absolute. The possibility of jealousy (matsāratā) comes to interfere: “He is a man. I am of the same status. Why should I submit to him?” This sort of pratiṣṭhā, egoism, opposes and hinders us, to call a spade a spade.

Nirmatsārānāṁ sataṁ [“Bhāgavat-dharma is only for sādhus who are non-envious”]. The Lord also says, “If you are My devotee, then you are not really a devotee of Mine, but if you are devotee of My devotee, then you are My real devotee.” Jealousy has its test there. Nirmatsārānāṁ sataṁ. We may not naturally have any competitive position in comparison with the Supreme Lord, but a competitive superiority complex possibly comes in the case of the Vaiṣṇava: “I can’t submit to them. It is difficult.” But when we are really captured and conquered by the svarūp–śakti, the yogamāyā of Kṛṣṇa, then the realistic view comes within us; it grows naturally with the development of our own purification, of our own progress: “I am nothing, but he is everything. He is a Vaiṣṇava, a Guru. Guru and Vaiṣṇava really hold Kṛṣṇa-bhakti. They are the stockists; I am empty handed. I have nothing.” This is the nature of the association between the finite and the Infinite.

As much as we shall have a real approach towards the Infinite, so much so we cannot but consider ourselves to be the meanest of the mean.The standard, the measurement of Vaiṣṇavatā [one’s development as a Vaiṣṇava] is in this way.  It is not lip-deep; it is the sincere feeling of the innermost heart. When Kaviraj Goswāmī says, “Purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha: [‘I am lower than a worm in stool’]”, this is not mere imitation. It is his heartfelt truth.

Āchārya abhimān is different. It is assertion only for the service of the Vaiṣṇava. So, sincerity is maintained there. It is assertion, but it is not selfish assertion; it is assertion  only to save the public and save the prestige of the Vaiṣṇava in reality. So, that is proper adjustment with reality in two senses: (1) to establish the real position of a Vaiṣṇava, and (2) to save the ordinary person from false attempts and false thoughts. Saving others from such dangers and their reactions is a sort of assertion, but it is not egoistic. Rather, it is sacrifice in the dynamic sense. We are to consider this.

At the Viśva Vaiṣṇava Rāja Sabhā, our Guru Mahārāj tactfully managed by asking one of his disciples to speak something in praise of another, to perform guṇa-gān, express appreciation. Especially his disciples who were a little antagonistic towards one another, he asked, “Speak something in praise of your friend.” Why? To try to mark the bright side, the svarūp, and ignore the apparent side. He would order, “Say something in praise of your friend, whom you consider, apparently, to be your opponent.” Necessity is the mother of invention, and when someone has to speak something in praise of another, he has to dive deep into the bright side of the person and bring that out. Thereby, the Vaiṣṇava layer is aroused, and the apparent, the māyic side, is ignored. So, kīrtan is powerful. Why? When I am requested to speak something, I cannot but utilise my highest, best attention. In kīrtan, we have to assert ourselves to the best of our ability in our attempt to gather and say something. As we do this for the Lord, so also we must do this in the case of the Vaiṣṇava.  The svarūp, the inner side, the inner aspect, the bright side should be appreciated, and the apparent side ignored. By doing this, you will thrive. Through this, the real relationship between two Vaiṣṇavas will be aroused. This was the practice of our Guru Mahārāj, especially at the Viśva Vaiṣṇava Rāja Sabhā in Mahāprabhu’s Dhām. He had his seat there, and this was his method: to try to praise the Vaiṣṇava, try to appreciate the nobility of a Vaiṣṇava. It is difficult, but if we can do so, then we can reach the proper standard of devotion and dedication, to a certain extent.

The Lord has said, “One who loves Me, does not love Me really, but one who loves My devotees, My servitors—his love for Me is more real. It is of true, absolute character.” So, we shall try to appreciate the character and conduct of the Vaiṣṇava, and thereby we can raise the standard of our own life of dedication.


Spoken on 30 April 1982 in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām.

Ebook available: "Radha Govinda Meditation Techniques"

By Mahanidhi Swami

This book teaches one the easiest and the most powerful form of meditation. By practicing these meditation techniques you will increase your mental power, experience inner peace and attain a profound vision of God.

First Ratha Yatra in Rome, Italy (ISKCON)


The route approved for the festival, Via del Corso, right in the prestigious center of the city, has never been assigned to any event , even famous mundane events! Lord Krishna surely used His powerful yoga-maya energy to all those who were to grant the various permissions, and finally it’s done!
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Houston ISKCON Temple Grand Opening

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The New Temple

Already a unique architectural landmark in Houston, the 24,000 square foot Vedic stile temple features a gran teakwood altar hand-carver in Kerela, India, elegant marble work, exquisite devotional art, and a central dome that stands 72-feet high. Inspire by the teachings and vision of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), ISKCON of Houston offers this state-of-art facility for the cultural & spiritual enrichment of all Houstonians and visitors by educating people in the ancient spiritual practices of Bhakti-yoga through devocional music, food, meditation and philosophy.

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All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Daily Chandan Yatra Pastimes
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip, 2014

Sriman Mahaprabhu's daily water Pastimes in Sri Govinda Kunda taking place since 2 May, the beginning of the 21 days Chandan Yatra of Sri Sri Jagannathdev.
Photos taken on Sri Nrsimha Chaturdashi, 14 May 2014.