smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
“The essence of all advice is that one should utilise one’s full time-twenty-four hours a day-in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord’s divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one’s tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja and serve Krsna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord’s beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.”
Anyone who is eager to make advancement on the path of Bhakti must follow this essence of all advice given by Srila Rupa goswami in the 8th verse of Sri Upadeshamrita. Here, he has clearly stated that one must utilise all of one’s time in chanting and remembering about Krishna. It can be understood that when one is thus situated in constant remembrance of the Lord, then that vaishnava is already completely liberated and situated on the transcendental platform, even while remaining within this material world. That is because the name, form, qualities and pastimes are all beyond the jurisdiction of the material nature, and when one is absorbed in them the material nature cannot touch such a staunch practitioner of Bhakti. In that situation, whatever the bhakta does is for the pleasure of Krishna, such that all activities, which may appear to be on the bodily platform are actually purified and thus not a cause for bondage. When one cooks for the pleasure of the Lord, rather than for one’s own sense gratification and later accepts the remnants of the Lord, that is within the jurisdiction of bhakti and therefore will not be a cause of bondage for the devotee. This chanting and remembrance of the Lord is done by making use of the tongue and the mind, which are the most difficult senses to control. Once the tongue and the mind are accustomed to tasting the sweet nectar of Krishna Katha, they shall no longer be attached to the worldly objects of the senses, which are the ropes binding us to the vicious cycle of birth and death. However, it is not easy to engage oneself completely in Krishna’s service, due to the strong influence of the material modes of nature, and therefore Srila Rupa goswami has advised that one should always reside in Vraja-mandala, under the guidance of the advanced devotees, and perform bhajan in accordance with their instructions. However, although it is most beneficial to reside to Vrindavan with the physical body, even more important is to live in Vrindavan in consciousness. One may reside in Vraja physically but, not knowing the glories of the dham, not be able to take full benefit of one’s good fortune. Rather, one should always try to remember the eternal associates of the Lord, the true Vrajavasis, and by such remembrance one can reside in Vraja in consciousness. This is the very essence of all instructions. Therefore, one should always strive to chant and remember the eternal, blissful, transcendental, rasa-laden, sweet names, forms, qualities and pastimes of the Lord by utilising the tongue and the mind, while being in the association of advanced vaishnavas and residing in Vraja, if not physically then mentally.