Your spiritual progress lies in the mirror of your heart

By Aniruddha Dasa
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This Aniruddha Dasa, who is the most fallen of human beings, lower than the lowest, offers his sastanga-dandavata pranamas to the lotus feet of his most worshipable instructing spiritual master and the best of the devotees, Bhaktisarvasva Niskincana Maharaja, with the prayer that I develop relish for chanting hari-nama. The mirror to evaluate the level of one’s devotional service

(This narration regarding seeing one’s progress in the mirror of the heart was inspired by Bhagavan)

  1. Does your mind become naturally absorbed in devotional service to Bhagavan?
  2. Does your mind remain steady in noisy, distracting situations?
  3. Does your mind become elated when you achieve honour, fame, or prestige?
  4. Does your mind remain steady during calamities?
  5. Are you enthusiastic to engage in devotional service?
  6. Do you feel that you have control over the senses?
  7. Are you able to remember Bhagavan during distressful situations?
  8. Do you feel distress in your heart upon observing distress in other living entities?
  9. Is your mind agitated upon hearing criticism of yourself or others?
  10. Are you anxious to hear discussions about Bhagavan?
  11. Do you wish for the well-being of all living entities?
  12. Do you feel bliss upon meeting a saintly personality?
  13. Do you experience severe distress when separated from saintly persons?
  14. Are you inclined to stay at the lotus feet of saintly personalities for long periods of time?
  15. Is your greed for the bliss of devotional service increasing?
  16. Does your heart feel distressed when there is a decline in your devotional servic
  17. Do your dreams include Bhagavan, saintly persons, temples, and holy places?
  18. Do the eight spiritual ecstatic transformations ever manifest during your dreams?
  19. Are you inspired to get up at 2am or 3am to engage in devotional service?
  20. Does a wave of intoxication and playfulness arise in your mind during devotional service?
  21. Are you averse to mundane talks?
  22. Have the urges of the senses been subdued?
  23. Have you surrendered all of your prescribed duties to Bhagavan?
  24. Have you recognised material existence to be an ocean of misery?
  25. Have you realised that death is fast approaching?
  26. Do you offer respect to devotees situated at a lower level than you by bowing down?
  27. Do you remain absorbed in devotional service by regarding Srila Gurudeva to be an eternal loving associate of Bhagavan?
  28. Do you desire the well-being of even an enemy? Has the mood tṛnad api sunicena—humbly thinking oneself to be lower than the straw in the street—manifested in your heart?
  29. Are you earning your money honestly, without desiring to usurp the rights of others?
  30. Do you desire to live simply?
  31. Are you satisfied with whatever you have?
  32. Do you experience emotional ecstasy when you have darsana of the Deity in the temple?
  33. Do you experience the eight spiritual ecstatic transformations (asta-sattvika vikaras) while remembering and singing the holy names and glories of Bhagavan?

According to the degree that the above-mentioned moods have awakened in one’s heart, one can evaluate his position in devotional service. It is like looking in a mirror. These moods are aspects of the true nature of surrender to Bhagavan.

Seeing Sri Bhagavan in just two minutes

Here are three daily prayers

The Srimad-Bhagavata Purana describes a story in which King Khatvanga had darsana of Bhagavan in only a few minutes. My most worshipable spiritual master Nitya-lila-pravista Oṁ Visnupada Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti-dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja said that if any person daily offers the following three brief prayers, which takes only a few minutes, he will certainly obtain the lotus feet of Bhagavan in this very lifetime. These three prayers are the essence of all religious books, including the Vedas and Puranas.

The first prayer: At the time of going to sleep, pray to Bhagavan as follows: “O prana-natha Govinda, my sweet Lord who is more dear to me than my own life, when I am about to die, You should leave my body along with my last breath. At that time, You should make me chant Your holy name. Please do not forget; please do not make a mistake.”

The second prayer: As soon as you wake up, pray to Bhagavan as follows: “O prana-natha, Lord of my life, may I consider as Yours whatever activities I do from now until I take rest at night. If I forget to do this, please remind me.”

The third prayer: After a bath in the morning and putting on gopi-candana tilaka, pray as follows: “O prana-natha, Govinda, please favour me with Your merciful glance so that I will see You, and only You, in every atom and within every living entity.”

Important instruction: It is essential to offer these three prayers daily for three months. After this good practice, offering them will become second nature. Those who print or photocopy these three prayers and distribute them will automatically receive the mercy of Bhagavan Sri Kṛsna, so please do so.

VAISHNAVA PRATHANA! (Prayer): Doing this prayer 11 x times every day will help in removing obstacles in life and will help in increasing faith in Holy names.

ananta-koti vaisnava-jana, ananta-koti bhakta-jana anata-koti rasika-jana tatha, ananta-koti mere gurujana main janma janma se apake, caranoṁki dhula kana mujhako le lo apani sarana, mere mana ki hata do bhatakana.

O innumerable devotees, realised souls, and spiritual masters, I am a dust particle at your lotus feet life after life. Please give me shelter and stop the wanderings of my mind.

laga do mujhako kṛsna-carana, laga do mujhako gaura-carana yadi aparadha mujhase bana gaye, apake caranaravinda mein jane mein ya anajane mein, kisi janma mein ya isi janma mein ksama karo mere gurujana, main hun apaki sarana

Please affix me at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛsna and Gaura. If I have committed any offense at your lotus feet, knowingly or unknowingly, in this lifetime or some other lifetime, O spiritual masters, please forgive me! I am under your shelter.

papi hun, aparadhi hun, khota hun ya khara hun accha hun ya bura hun , jaisa bhi hun, main to apaka hun meri ora niharo! kṛpa-dṛsti vistaro, he mere prana-dhana, nibhalo aba to apanapana main hun apake carana-sarana, he mere janma-janma ke gurujana

I may be sinful, offensive, dishonest, good, or bad. Whatever I may be, I am still yours. Please cast your merciful glance at me. O wealth of my life, O my spiritual masters lifetime after lifetime, please allow me to maintain my feeling of belonging to you! I have surrendered to your lotus feet.

Top five items out of 64 items are very important — by Srila Prabupada

“Out of these sixty-four items, five items—namely, offering water to the tulasi tree, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, associating amongst the devotees, sankirtana and living in Mathura—are very important”

CC Antya 3.137, Although Kṛsna wants everyone to surrender to His lotus feet, because of people’s sinful activities they cannot do this.

Na maṁ duskṛtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah: (BG 7.15) rascals and fools, the lowest of men, who engage in sinful activities, cannot suddenly surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛsna. Nevertheless, if they begin chanting the Hare Kṛsna mantra and rendering service unto the tulasi plant, they will very soon be able to surrender. One’s real duty is to surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛsna, but if one is unable to do so, he should adopt this process, as introduced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His most confidential servant, Namacarya Srila Haridasa thakura. This is the way to achieve success in Kṛsna consciousness. Therefore She worshiped the tulasi plant, following in the footsteps of her spiritual master.

The conclusion is that associating with a Vaisnava, chanting the holy name of the Lord and offering obeisance to the tulasi plant or a Vaisnava all lead one to become a transcendental devotee who is completely cleansed of all material contamination.

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