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"Instructions for 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.

Krsna Balaram
August 27, 2007

Q: Are we removing anarthas, or is Krsna the remover of anarthas?
A: Krsna gives us the strength. But that strength is also Krsna. The potency and the potent are nondifferent. It's not that we're doing…Just like Arjuna killing all the persons on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. Krsna showed Arjuna that He (Krsna) had already done it, but He was giving Arjuna the credit. He wanted to give Arjuna the credit, and He did. He empowered Arjuna. The power was Krsna's power. Krsna was doing, and Arjuna was the instrument. So Krsna gives us the strength.

August 20, 2007

"Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discusses the idea that every practicing devotee should make periodic or regular evaluations of themselves. It's also good to have evaluation from peers and others, the whole way around – a 360 evaluation. But minimally, on a regular basis, one should evaluate: 'How am I progressing?' One of the standards that Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives is this condition of the development of faith. When there is development of faith, we will also find the condition of detachment from worldly things. We don't need to make a long list of worldly things. But I'm sure that everyone here has experienced that things one's life was previously made up of just fall away at some point in time. It's not a matter of gritting your teeth and giving them up. They just fall away.

August 13, 2007

The following Instruction for the Week is adapted from a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam given by Srila Romapada Swami in Los Angeles. After discussing the principles upon which material energy works -- from the process of reproduction to the creation of the material world -- Srila Romapada Swami succinctly emphasized the purpose of all such analysis found within the scriptures, whether presented in simplicity or expanded into complex detail:

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.

August 6, 2007

"Spiritual life, religious life, means to gradually progress through different stages of understanding very clearly not only that a Supreme entity exists, but what and who that Supreme is, and how I am to develop my understanding and my relationship with that Supreme Being. Starting with that initial faith, sraddha, then sadhu-sanga or association with saintly persons follows. Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes that that seed of sraddha accompanies the jiva all the way to the stage of love of God. In other words, it's just like a seed that you would plant in the ground. Within that little seed is the potentiality of a whole tree. That is God's arrangement. Similarly, within sraddha there is the potentiality of love of God. That sraddha, as well as love of God, is intrinsic to the soul.

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?

July 13, 2006

"When Lord Brahma came to appreciate the quality of Priyavrata, his business was not as a flatterer. 'I want you to do something Priyavrata, therefore I'll flatter you to pieces. Then you'll like me and do what I want.' No. One has to be very careful. The proper etiquette must be there, and the proper social dealings, with the right purpose or interest. If one is deserving some appreciation for their execution or expression of devotion, that should be given, but not as the means of extracting some service. Nor should one avoid it if some criticism or correction is due. 'If I give this correction, then this person who I'm wanting service from may not do it. So better not instruct them.' That's an impure position.

Devotional service
May 6, 2006

"The Lord becomes very pleased by seeing the quality in His devotee that the devotee is not interested in finding temporary happiness in this material realm, but rather is placing exclusive hope or expectation for happiness found in one's relationship with the Personality of Godhead."

-- from a lecture by Srila Romapada Swami entitled "How to View Tribulations", given on December 3, 1989 in Houston, TX

Sanatana Goswami Chanting
April 25, 2006

"If one sees a serpent, automatically one would be afraid. But if one knows that the fangs of the serpent are broken, what can the serpent do?

April 1, 2006

There's a nice instruction that Lord Caitanya has given, found in Caitanya-caritamrta. Lord Caitanya describes that the process of hearing is not a mechanical process. Rather, the type of hearing that one has to take up requires different ingredients in order to get the proper understanding. One ingredient emphasized is hearing in disciplic succession. Another that Lord Caitanya presents is hearing with one's active intelligence -- with the senses and the intelligence fully activated, fully engaged. Hearing is not a passive process.