Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna

Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna
Gopis performing Devotional Service to the Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna

Purchased by love




(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 25 June 2019, New York, United States of America, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.20)

Duryodhana was working very hard to win people over to his side and he was successful in some cases. Some karmi leaders were coming along with their armies and they were being received very nicely. They thought that they were going to fight for Yudhisthira and Yudhisthira made all such arrangements for them, but it turned out that it was Duryodhana. So then they felt so indebted, that they instead fought on Duryodhana’s side.
He tried to do the same with Krsna. When Krsna was coming as the messenger of the Pandavas, Duryodhana arranged a wonderful palace for Him to stay. And when Krsna came, He was offered an extraordinary treatment, a wonderful palace and a great reception. Then Krsna simply said, “No, I will never stay in the house of one who is envious of the Pandavas.” He refused whatever was offered by Duryodhana. Instead, He went to stay with Vidhura, which was something that even Vidhura did not expect. Vidhura was a dasi putra – he was not really a prince in that sense. He was certainly a son of the king, but with a maidservant. And therefore, although he was treated respectfully within the kingdom, he was not in a royal position and was also considered as a sudra.
So first of all, to stay with Vidhura was considered a bit awkward and second of all, Vidhura was not prepared whatsoever. At this time, all that Vidhura could arrange to offer Krsna were bananas. Then as his wife got the bananas ready, Vidhura offered the peels instead of the bananas. He was so overwhelmed by love of God, that he was so ecstatic, “Krsna is in my house!“, that he was grabbing the peels instead of the bananas. This of course shows why Krsna chose to stay in the house of Vidhura. So in this way, we appreciate that Krsna is purchased by love.


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A gradual progress





(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 March 2012, Prague, Czech Republic, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.9.8)
Question: When it comes to stumbling blocks in spiritual progress, with things like lust, pride and disturbances of the mind, I can clearly see them coming or even realise that they are there. Yet still they remain in my mind and I realise that by simple knowledge and awareness, they do not disappear. How do I deal with this, noting that we are conditioned and are aware of it, but we still continue to be conditioned by it?
Kadamba Kanana Swami: Krsna says:

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

(Bhagavad-gita 18.66)


Krsna says that He will take away all the impurities! We cannot take them away ourselves. It means 
we have to surrender to Krsna’s system of devotional service as it is passed down by the disciplic succession, and then Krsna will take away our impurities gradually. That is how it works. So if we are confronted by our own impurities, and we cannot put them aside with our knowledge, then this means that Krsna wants us to increase the quality and quantity of our devotional service!


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His loving mercy





(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 February 2019, New York, United States of America, Bhagavad-gita 7.7)
In the tenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, ahaà sarvasya prabhavo mattaù sarvaà pravartate (Bhagavad-gita 10.8), we can see that Krsna is the origin of all that is spiritual and all that is material, and the wise who notice this, they perfectly worship Him with love. That is ultimately where we want to come. Because we are seeing how kind Krsna is… how unlimitedly kind He truly is! He is the Supreme, the topmost personality, all powerful, all beautiful, all perfect, yet He takes interest in insignificant creatures like us. He specifically notices our individual existence and that is something special. Every living being means something to Krsna and thus Krsna takes a personal interest in every single living being. That is something extraordinary! Suhrdam sarva dehinam (bhutanam) (Bhagavad-gita 5.29) – heartfelt suhrdam, heartfelt friend and well-wisher of every living being. So to think about that, that is the most amazing thing! And I meditate on things like this and can only imagine how kind Krsna really is. In this way, we can appreciate Krsna consciousness and when we leave this temple, we can look everything we see with a fresh perspective because we can see how Krsna is actually manifesting all these things for us and how He is behind everything. Everything is simply an arrangement of His kindness; sometimes aimed to frustrate us and sometimes aimed to encourage us. But nevertheless, it is all by His loving mercy. That is Krsna!


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Moving forward




(Kadamba Kanana Swami, March 2018, Durban, South Africa, Human Relationships Lecture)
Krsna is always showing us the next step in our spiritual lives. So if it is clear that the next step is that you should be doing more, then we should take that step. If you feel, “Krsna is showing me that the next step is to develop love for him“, then do it!
You have these karate movies where the young karate character come out and makes all these moves and he is going really fast on all sides. But then an old Kung-Fu master comes out and does not make all these moves, but instead just has this one concentrated move. And then all of a sudden, everyone is flying in all directions and gets knocked out. (laughter) So in the beginning, we are like these young karate guys trying to run around, but we lack depth and we lack the real concentration and focus. We are trying to be busy for Krsna, trying to always chant, read and so on. But what we really need to work on is to deepen ourselves through our relationships and go deeper in our commitment to Krsna. This is the beginning step and it helps us in making Krsna the real priority. After all, he is the Supreme!
Nothing is really important except Krsna. We must truly understand this. Even in our relationships – our marriage, our friends and our families – if it does not help us go deeper in our relationship with Krsna, then what is the point of it!? Otherwise, we are just creating a beautiful illusion for ourselves, which is totally meaningless. If we are not trying to make our children Krsna conscious, then what is the point of having them? If we want to give our children Krsna consciousness, we cannot do it by dictation. We cannot do it by rules, “You must do this. You must not do that.” Such harshness will not work in the long run. Instead, we must pass Krsna consciousness through inspiration, by setting an example. Kids never do what you say, but they do what you do. So we must attempt to the best of our ability to be a devotee and conquer them with devotion; only then they will be amazing devotees.
If somebody has nice qualities, it impresses us. A thousand lessons from a book about moral behaviour would not work as much as the impressions from an inspiring person would. Relationships are a big thing! So if you are looking to engage in relationships and starting a family, you have to aspire to be spiritually advanced. 


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The nature of friendship


(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 08 March 2015, Stockholm, Sweden, Srimad Bhagavatam 3.1.4)
Transcribed by Nama-rupa dd
Question: Guru Maharaj, you mentioned that in the material world, there is no love. I am thinking about friendship, is there friendship in this material world and what is the nature of friendship?

Love, friendship, society, togetherness, one-for-all and all-for-one, does not exist. Kavi Karnapura describes friendship in the Caitanya Candrodaya Nataka and he points out that for friendship to exist, there is a need for certain conditions to be met.
First, one has to receive the mercy of the Lord so that he gets in touch with transcendental knowledge, Krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 19.151). You have to get in contact with devotees otherwise where else is there real friendship!?
Materialistic friendship is always mixed with some material motive, some personal motive so real friendship must be based on receiving the mercy of the Lord.  When you receive the mercy of the Lord then you come into the association of devotees and attachment to devotees must develop, and from being in that association, gradually you evolve.
Then Kavi Karnapura explains the next level that you get – it is the level of thoughtfulness and discrimination. You begin to kind of reflect on the meaning of life and in that way, you mature as a person and you don’t just respond with outbursts and this and that. NO! You respond more thoughtfully and in a deeper way. Then you get to the non-envious platform.
After this thoughtfulness and discrimination becomes strong, in the association of devotees, then you get equanimity – a state of mind which becomes balanced. You become balanced in the mind. At that state, you can realize non-envy and it says that then you can actually be a friend. Then friendship is possible!
Kavi Karnapura explains it like that. So it is interesting; he gives conditions before real friendship can develop and to the degree that these conditions are not met, to that degree we are lacking in friendship.
Sometimes even when you are married, you wonder, “Is this person actually my friend?” You are married but you are wondering, “Are we friends? Are we at least friends? What to speak of love! I mean friends! Is this person actually my friend, through-and-through, you know, through thick and thin… Is this person really my well-wisher??

There are different Sanskrit definitions for friendship. Maitri is a word used which is more general. Another word that is used is suhrit, close to the heart. That gives a higher aspect, very intimate. So among vaishnavas, it must become like that.
But before we can have friendships, we have to go through these stages: we need the mercy of the Lord, we need to develop attachment to serving the devotees, and we need to be with devotees in proper etiquette. Then we become thoughtful and then we get discrimination from these devotees.
In this verse (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.1.4), it says sadhu-vada, things approved by the learned circles, so that we understand what is approved by saints and sages and then it becomes our second nature. It is happening. Like certain foodstuffs are obviously not approved by saints and sages, and we don’t even think of touching them. We don’t have to tell ourselves, it becomes a part of our second nature.
So this discrimination and thoughtfulness becomes a part of our nature, and when we have absorbed it to that extent then you have non-envy and equanimity, a balanced state of mind. Then, you can be a friend all the time!
Like that, friendship takes some time. When you are dealing with someone under the modes of nature, today he is your friend and tomorrow not so much because tomorrow he is the friend of his mind. Tomorrow he is controlled by his senses, tomorrow he is riding on the back of that inner boar and then he is maybe not your friend.
When I had a Vedic marriage, it was done by Bhavananda and he made us promise, he said to me, “You must always bring your wife to devotional service, to Krsna.”  And he said to her, “But when he deviates then you become like a lion, like a tiger and you just somehow or other pull him back.” So that was something I remembered.
So friendship also means that with our weaknesses, we are still trying to help each other and that is nice but Kavi Karnapura takes it to a higher level for friendship to really flourish.


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