Seeing one’s spiritual progress in the mirror of your heart

By Aniruddha Dāsa
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

This Aniruddha Dāsa, who is the most fallen of human beings, lower than the lowest, offers his sāṣtāṅga-daṇḍavata pranāmas to the lotus feet of his most worshipable instructing spiritual master and the best of the devotees, Bhaktisarvasva Niṣkiñcana Mahārāja, with the prayer that I develop relish for chanting hari-nāma. 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 Bhagavān)

  1. Does your mind become naturally absorbed in devotional service to Bhagavān?
  2. Does your mind remain steady in noisy, distracting situations?
  3. Does your mind become elated when you achieve honor, 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 Bhagavān 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 Bhagavān?
  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 service?
  17. Do your dreams include Bhagavān, 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 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM 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 Bhagavān?
  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 Śrīla Gurudeva to be an eternal loving associate of Bhagavān?
  28. Do you desire the well-being of even an enemy? Has the mood tṛṇād api sunīcena—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 darśana of the Deity in the temple?
  33. Do you experience the eight spiritual ecstatic transformations (aṣṭa-sāttvika vikāras) while remembering and singing the holy names and glories of Bhagavān?

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 Bhagavān.

Seeing Śrī Bhagavān in just two minutes 


The Śrīmad-Bhāgavata Purāṇa describes a story in which King Khaṭvāṅga had darśana of Bhagavān in only a few minutes. My most worshipable spiritual master Nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti-dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja 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 Bhagavān in this very lifetime. These three prayers are the essence of all religious books, including the Vedas and Purāṇas.

The first prayer: at the time of going to sleep, pray to Bhagavān as follows: “O prāṇa-nātha 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 Bhagavān as follows: “O prāṇa-nātha, 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 taking bath in the morning and putting on gopī-candana tilaka, pray as follows: “O prāṇa-nātha, Govinda, please favor 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 Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, so please do so.

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

ananta-koṭi vaiṣṇava-jana, ananta-koṭi bhakta-jana anata-koṭi rasika-jana tathā, ananta-koṭi mere gurujana main janma janma se āpake, caraṇoṁki dhūla kaṇa mujhako le lo apanī śaraṇa, mere mana kī haṭā do bhaṭakana

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.

lagā do mujhako kṛṣṇa-caraṇa, lagā do mujhako gaura-caraṇa yadi aparādha mujhase bana gaye, āpake caraṇāravinda mein jāne mein yā anajāne mein, kisī janma mein yā isī janma mein kṣamā karo mere gurujana, main hun āpakī śaraṇa

Please affix me at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa 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.

pāpī hun, aparādhī hun, khoṭā hun yā kharā hun acchā hun yā burā hun , jaisā bhī hun, main to āpakā hun merī ora nihāro! kṛpā-dṛṣṭi vistāro, he mere prāṇa-dhana, nibhālo aba to apanāpana main hun āpake caraṇa-śaraṇa, 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.

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