Newsletter: More About Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā

From talks with my readers, I have gleaned that Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi is the most popular of my works. There are courses given on it in the UK, Russia, and India, and not long ago, my god-brother Kṛpāmoya Prabhu told me it was “the most important” book I had written to date. However, in my opinion Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā will be equally popular, if not more so. While Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi described the stages of bhakti, Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā focuses on certain elements of sādhana that are relevant to every devotee’s spiritual progress. Moreover the book makes it clear that if we want to get there, it is essential to keep our goal, prema-bhakti, in mind.

My observation over the years is that there is an undercurrent of fear amongst devotees, young and old; fear that thinking, talking, and hearing about matters of transcendence are akin to sahajiyaism and a formula for fall-down. Such a fear is quite unfounded, because without knowledge of what transpires at transcendence, how will devotees have the suitable impetus to get there? While Śuddha-bhakti-cintāmaṇi describes the levels of qualification for acquiring knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s līlā, Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā helps devotees overcome this fear and take up the challenge of determined devotion.

Our collective aspiration is a lofty one and it takes courage, determination, and ultimately real humility to reach the stage where we are so attached to Kṛṣṇa and His associates that we can cry after them. Without hearing of Kṛṣṇa, such attachment cannot come; without attachment one cannot pine after the Lord; without longing one cannot attract the Lord’s attention; without the Lord’s attention one cannot become the object of His mercy; and without mercy one cannot qualify to become practitioners in transcendence.

Although Mahārāja Pratāparudra was a great devotee, it was his relentless desire to meet Caitanya Mahāprabhu that made him the object of devotees’ mercy and subsequently the Lord’s mercy. When in the Lord’s presence the king recited the songs of Gopī-gītā and finally the verse beginning with tava-kathāmṛtam, Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced and recognised him as a true bhūridā, a “most munificent” person.

Among other truths, this pastime reveals that hearing kṛṣṇa-kathā is the life of those suffering in the material world, tapta-jīvanam; that such hearing frees one of sinful reaction, kalmaṣāpaham; and that by such hearing one becomes the beneficiary of good fortune, mercy, śrīmat.

One reasons for my writing books like Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā is the hope that by doing so Lord Caitanya and His followers will be pleased with me and thinking me a bhūridā make me the object of their mercy.

“My Lord! The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those who are always aggrieved in this material world. These narrations are transmitted by exalted personalities, and they eradicate all sinful reactions. Whoever hears these narrations attains all good fortune. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Those who spread the message of Godhead are certainly the most munificent welfare workers.” (Bhāg. 10.31.9)