Purification for Elevation in Bhakti

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.37 - Purification for Elevation in Bhakti (download mp3)
by Rasikacharya Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.17.37
athanantaram aveksyan
gurave daksinam dattva
 snayad gurv-anumoditah

A brahmacari who has completed his Vedic education and desires to enter household life should offer proper remuneration to the spiritual master, bathe, cut his hair, put on proper clothes, and so on. Then, taking permission from the guru, he should go back to his home.

This verse describes the process called samavartana, or returning to one’s home after finishing Vedic education in the asrama of the spiritual master. One who cannot concentrate all of his desires in the devotional service of the Lord is attracted to householder life, and if this attraction is not regulated, one will fall down. Being covered by the ignorance of fruitive activities and mental speculation, a living entity seeks enjoyment outside the devotional service of the Supreme Lord and becomes a nondevotee. One who takes to family life must rigidly follow the Vedic rules and regulations in order to avoid the collapse of his spiritual determination. One who enjoys intimate sense gratification with women must become duplicitous in his dealings with others and consequently falls down from the platform of simple, pure life. When the mind is disturbed by lust, one begins to resent the principle of submission to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pure devotee, and the dark clouds of one’s offensive mentality completely cover the light of spiritual knowledge. One should dovetail his propensity to love someone by serving the lotus feet of a pure devotee. As stated in Vedic literature, “One who worships Govinda, Lord Krsna, but does not worship His devotees is not to be considered an advanced Vaisnava; rather, he is to be considered a proud hypocrite.”

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