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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.

Faith
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.

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?

Gita
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?

Hearing
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.

Guur-disciple
March 29, 2006

One who is a truly learned person is one who has received their knowledge from another perfect source. Although the pages of the scripture are there, it still takes access to those pages of the scripture to come through the bona fide spiritual master. There's a nice analogy found in Jiva Goswami's Sat-Sandarbha. He gives the comparison of fire being started by rubbing together 3 pieces of wood -- an upper, middle, and lower piece of wood. By the rubbing action of the wood, then a fire is ignited. You require these diffferent pieces of wood. Although the wood is there, and fire is in the wood, it doesn't come out of its own. Something has to be brought in contact with it.

Lord Caitanya
March 14, 2006

The text of Caitanya-caritamrta presents topics in a code-like form. At the end of every chapter Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami prays at the lotus feet of Rupa and Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy. Rupa and Raghunatha are both the bestowers of the highest form of love. Krsnadasa Kaviraja is very much anxious for that same fruit of love of God that Rupa and Raghunatha are giving. They're giving because they've been given by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krsnadasa Kaviraja begins many chapters, particularly in Adi-lila, with this same type of invocation -- calling for the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, because only by that great, great mercy that Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to deliver is it possible even to describe Caitanya Mahaprabhu in any way. Krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana.

Faith
March 8, 2006

"I may be a very tiny and insignificant being, and this massive, powerful force of the material energy is acting upon millions of millions of persons...but hope against hope, I'm expecting the mercy of Krsna. By following very carefully, trying to execute the instructions that we find in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and the careful guidance that comes from the spiritual master, that is our hope against hope. This is sraddha, faith -- having the full expectation that by doing in that way, that is my only hope, that Krsna will deliver me. Not by any arrangement or endeavor I may make can I fight my way out of this material existence. No one is clever enough to do that."

--- from a lecture by Srila Romapada Swami entitled "Hoping Against Hope", 1/15/89 NY

Preaching
March 1, 2006

"Take stock of that which is giving you strength, RELISH that strength, feel gratitude within your heart for that strength, and then...with baby steps...share that realized methodology."

--- Srila Romapada Swami