‘Instructions of the week’ are short selections from Srila Romapada Swami's lectures and writings which capture essential, inspirational messages for progressive spiritual development. These Instructions are especially personal, practical, and universal in their relevance to devotional aspirants, and they are intended to help remind, guide, and be applied by the reader/recipient.

Association

"How does one get the favor of the Supreme Lord?Favor of the Supreme Lord means that He is particularly kindly disposed... A personality who was particularly bestowed some mercy because of his nice qualities was Narada. In his former life as the son of a maidservant, he received the association of the sages, or the bhakti-vedantas, while they were in residence at the inn where he and his mother were residing. He had the opportunity to serve those bhaktivedantas, and through that service rendered, the way that Narada conducted himself, they were pleased with him.

Preaching
July 18, 2006

Who are those who are so fortunate to have the rare opportunity to get good association, and through that good association to become completely relieved of the modes of nature? Only those persons who have received a previous fortune – namely that of being unknowingly engaged in devotional performances. One way to process that truth is to understand that as devotees we have different responsibilities in relation to people in general. One of those responsibilities is to give very, very concentrated association -- to hear and chant in a very concentrated, intensive way, so that we can become free from the modes of material nature through that association and activity of hearing and chanting. But is that it? Is that the beginning and ending of our duty? What about all the other people?

Association
August 6, 2007

Faith is created in the association of devotees. Actually, faith is already there, and faith comes out in the association of devotees. In a chapter of Bhagavad-gita called Divisions of Faith, Arjuna wants to know, "My dear Lord Krsna, if someone does not have faith in Your words, do they not have faith in something?" And the answer is yes, indirectly. Faith is intrinsic to the soul. It's already there. But if you don't have faith in Krsna, you'll have faith in something non-Krsna, or illusions, or divisions according to the modes of nature. The modes of nature will rule, instead of Krsna ruling in one's life. So faith is already there. Specifically, faith means faith in Krsna. It's already there. Love for Krsna is already there.

Preaching
September 10, 2007

Bhajana-kriya: Kriya means activity. Bhajana means worship, specifically, glorifying the name, fame, and activities of the Personality of Godhead and the spiritual world through the process of hearing and chanting. Bhajana-kriya is a kind work, but it is spiritual work. That is what follows having the association of devotees. We engage in preaching activity in Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement in order to engage others in the opportunity to hear about Krsna, to have some contact with Krsna in one form or another: Hearing the harinama party, or receiving some recorded message about Krsna in the form of printed literature, or sadhu-sanga, having even brief association with a devotee, because the devotees are carrying the mercy of Krsna to others.

Association
October 18, 2007

You get spiritual qualities by associating with one who has spiritual qualities. If you want to get warm, stand near a fire. If you want to get spiritual qualities, stand close to, or stay in close affectionate association with one who has spiritual qualities. You'll find that spiritual qualities will start to manifest, which means unwanted qualities will be more readily discarded than you can imagine….certainly not just by trying to refraining from the don'ts. That's not a spiritual quality. That's a religious principle, but it's not being situated from the heart and being moved from the spirit of connection with Krsna dispelling darkness..

-- adapted from Part 4 of the Festival of the Holy Name, presented by Srila Romapada Swami on June 30, 2007 in Chicago

Guru Maharaja Dancing
November 30, 2007

Without the attractiveness of loving activities in the association of devotees, how will others be attracted? When coming into the association of those who are engaged in the process of devotional service, it will only be natural to examine the nature of the relationships that exist among them.

Guru Maharaja w SP1
January 30, 2008

The representative of Krsna can be seen as good as Krsna. He is surcharged with Krsna's potencies. That person's association is so valuable. That is why we should very very very very attentively hear whatever instructions come, because the potency is there. If we just happen to muster up enough attentiveness and humility to hear Prabhupada's purports, or his lectures, messages, or instructions in some way, and take them to heart…it's sufficient to liberate one completely, just in that moment! What to speak of regularly hearing?!

Guru Maharaja in Puri
June 26, 2008

If there is basic faith in the principle of receiving transcendental knowledge in the method of disciplic succession, and you allow the messages to enter deeply into the heart, and you let go of the material bondage of life, the abandonment of self and the tight hold on illusion… then the transformation effect upon the heart will take place. When you act from that spiritualized place within your heart, all kinds of wonderful things start to happen: Krsna realization starts to unfold! That is how the process of bhakti through hearing is made effective. The whole process of realizing transcendental knowledge is by hearing – not by scholarship – but by hearing in the association of like-minded souls. It's very effective.

HH Romapada Swami in Hyderabad 2009
August 31, 2009

What a great acharya Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was! What a great family we are a part of! When the birth place of Lord Caitanya was a jungle, Bhaktivinoda Thakura envisioned that people from around the world would come here chanting ‘Gaura Hari’. He used all his material endowments in the service of Krsna. We should feel great indebtedness to Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Srila Prabhupada once said that Bhaktivinoda Thakura did not make everyone Krsna conscious because he wanted to leave something for us to do. Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave us principles, teachings, the holy name, opportunities, faith...and now we have a lifetime to do this service. We must be eager to receive this gift by trying to make Krsna consciousness available to others.

HH Romapada Swami in Washington DC, Mar 2010
March 19, 2012

Hearing and chanting leads to constant remembrance. Hearing and chanting is done in the association of those who like to hear and chant, but even more so in the company of those who like to hear and chant because they understand the purpose behind that hearing and chanting. The purpose behind hearing and chanting is to re-establish, in a profound way, our loving exchange with the Supreme object of love, the Personality of Godhead, whom we have forgotten, although we have an eternal relationship with Him. The association of devotees is imperative for aspiring devotees. It is not optional. One can’t learn this process on one’s own. It’s not to be done that way. By design, it’s not to be done that way. It won’t be effective that way.