Associate with the advanced devotees, go beyond the neophyte stage
Posted on October 11, 2016
So you have to uncover. You have to discover. That discovering process is devotional service. The more you are engaged in devotional service, the more your senses become pure or uncovered. And when it is completely uncovered, without any designation, then you are capable to serve Krsna. This is apprenticeship. Vaidhi-bhakti, that is apprenticeship. Real bhakti, para-bhakti, that is raganuga-bhakti. This raganuga-bhakti, we have to come after surpassing the vaidhi-bhakti. In the material world, if we do not try to make further and further progress in devotional service, if we are simply sticking to the shastric regulation process and do not try to go beyond that... Shastric process also regulation, that is required. Without shastric process you cannot go to that platform. But if we stick to the shastric process only and do not try to improve ourself... The shastric process is kanistha-adhikara, lowest stage of devotional service.
arcayam eva haraye
pujam yah sraddhayehate
na tad-bhaktesu canyesu
sa bhaktah prakrtah smrtah
Generally, people come to this temple, they are very devoted to the Deity. They offer their respects, flowers and other things, make the regulative process, circumambulate. This is nice beginning, but one has to go above this. One has to know who is actually bhakta, who is ac... Na tad-bhaktesu canyesu. One has to do good for others. That is madhyama-adhikari. If I become satisfied only with these regulative principles for worshiping the Deity in the temple and following the regulative principle daily, but if I have no other idea, then sa bhaktah prakrtah smrtah. Prakrta means on the material platform. Such devotee can fall down at any moment, because he's on the prakrta stage. And prakrta means this gunamayi, prakrti. It is very strong.
So any devotee can fall down if he remains prakrta-bhakta. So he has to raise himself above this in the madhyama-adhikara. So here it is said that sva-nirmitesu nirvisto bhunkte bhutesu tad-gunan. So we are not enjoying actually. We are enjoying the interaction of the three modes of material nature. And we are thinking... The same thing, as my Guru Maharaja used to say, that licking up the bottle of honey. That is not real honey. You have to open the bottle of the honey and lick up the real honey, then you'll get taste. That is advancement of spiritual knowledge.
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah...
Therefore, if we do not associate with the advanced devotees, uttama-adhikari, if we simply want to remain in the lowest stage of devotional service, then we are not making progress. Then we shall simply enjoy the material field, without entering into the spiritual platform.
From Srila Prabhupada's lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.33 — November 12, 1972, Vrndavana