Manah Shiksha Verse 1

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gurau goṣṭhe goṣṭhālayiṣu sujane bhūsura-gaṇe
sva-mantre śrī-nāmni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-śaraṇe
sadā dambhaṁ hitvā kuru ratim apūrvām atitarām
aye svāntar bhrātaś caṭubhir abhiyāce dhṛta-padaḥ

O my dear brother, my foolish mind, taking hold of your feet, I humbly pray to you with sweet words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop deep, loving attachment for the spiritual master, Śrī Vraja-dhāma, the residents of Vraja, the Vaiṣṇavas, the brāhmaṇas, your dīkṣā-mantras, the holy names of the Supreme Lord, and the shelter of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, the eternally youthful Divine Couple of Vraja.

In the twelve verses of Sri Manah Shiksha, Srila Raghunath das goswami is giving various instructions to the mind. Although he himself is completely on the transcendental platform, beyond the jurisdiction of the material modes and the mind, yet for the benefit of the conditioned living entities, for whom controlling the mind is extremely difficult, he has given these verses.

In this first verse, he is addressing the mind as ‘my dear brother’, for the mind resides within the same body as the soul and is therefore like a brother, but there exists a clear distinction between the pure consciousness of the sat-chit-anand living entity and the materially contaminated mind, which is always endeavouring to bring the jiva to lower levels of consciousness. The mind can either be one’s best friend or worst enemy and therefore Raghunath das goswami is instructing us on how to make the mind our best friend, so that the mind may assist us on our path of bhakti. With sweet words and by taking hold of his feet, he is humbly praying to the mind to please take shelter of Sri Guru,Vraja dham, the residents of Vraja and so on. First and foremost, one must take shelter of the lotus feet of a spiritual master. In Bhagwat Gita also, Sri Krishna says that one must approach a spiritual master and enquire from him submissively, for a self realised soul can impart that knowledge of the Supreme upon the surrendered devotee. One must therefore develop attachment to the lotus feet of the Spiritual master. There are various kinds of spiritual masters, namely Diksha guru(initiating spiritual master), Shiksha guru(instructing spiritual master), Pathpradarshak guru(the one who shows the path), and Chaitya guru(Krishna in the form of paramatma, giving instructions from within the heart). One must have respect and attachment for all the Gurus. Next, Srila Raghunath goswami tells the mind to have attachment for Gosthe, Sri Vraja Dham and the Vraja-vasis. Further, one must show respect to all the Vaishnavas, both from our sampradaya and all other Vaishnava sampradayas. We must always remember that failure in showing appropriate respect towards all the vaishnavas can result in Naam Aparadh and therefore, guarding against negligence resulting in Aparadh, one should have respectful and affectionate dealings with all Vaishnavas. One should also give all respect to the Brahmanas, for they are the devas on this earthly planet. Furthermore, one must have deep attachment for the Holy names of the Lord, which are the only means of deliverance from the miseries of the material world; and for one’s diksha mantras, for they establish our relationship with Krishna. Above all one must develop unflinching attachment for the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar, the divine couple of Vrindavan. By thus developing attachment in accordance with Raghunath das goswami’s instructions, one’s mind can be fixed in the thoughts of the Lord and thus transformed into a best friend, conducive and helpful in the practice of bhakti.