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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.

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.

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.

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

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

February 28, 2006

Accept that gift which Lord Caitanya came to give. Open your heart to Him, and to His associates, because ecstatic love of Godhead is the gift they came to give. Open your heart and receive it!

-- Srila Romapada Swami

February 24, 2006

The following is a continuation from Srila Romapada Swami's lecture on "The Ultimate Goal of Life", based on Lord Caitanya's talks with Ramananda Raya: "How are we to understand the position of varnasrama? Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura all address varnasrama in their writings. Prabhupada certainly gave us a very strong direction to establish varnasrama. So what is the element that Lord Caitanya is rejecting, and how are we to understand that the acaryas have also declared the importance of varnasrama?

LordCaitanya-Ramananda Raya
February 19, 2006

The essence may be couched in so many external activities. Lord Caitanya wasn't rejecting those actvities. Rather, He was objecting to the description of the perfection simply in terms of those activities. The second feature [of Ramananda Raya's suggestion] was yat karosi yad asnasi... An important part of the description why Lord Caitanya rejected this point was that one can continue -- not only can, one will continue -- to carry a material conception about the Supreme, unless one is instructed about the proper conception of the Supreme. More than instructed, one must be rightfully instructed in such a way that that instruction directly brings purification.