atyāhāraḥ prayāsaśca prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ janasańgaśca laulyaḿ ca ṣaḍbhirbhaktirvinaśyati
One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
The second verse of Sri Upadeshamrita warns one against the six activities that spoil devotional service. By carefully avoiding these six activities, one can ensure a smooth journey on the path of devotional service. On close consideration we can see that by avoiding these activities, the urges mentioned in the first verse can easily be overcome. By not eating more than required, one can control the urge of the tongue, and by not over accumulating, one can overcome the urge of anger which is born out of attachment. By not over endeavouring for mundane things, one can overcome the fickle mind. Talking about subject matters other than Krishna is called Prajalpa and avoiding such mundane talks rids one of Vacho vega, or the urge of speech. Following the rules and regulations just for the sake of following them or not following them at all can both prove to be hindrances in the performance of one’s Sadhana. Therefore it is advisable that one should follow rules and regulations to the extent that it is favourable for our Krishna consciousness, but trying to advance in bhakti without following any rules of the srutis, smritis and puranas is merely a cause of disturbance for both the practitioner and the general people as stated by Srila Rupa goswami in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. By associating with devotees only, and completely avoiding association of those who are averse to Bhakti or those who are too materialistic, most of ones materialistic propensities will diminish and making advancement will become easier. The urges of the genitals can also be controlled by avoiding association with those who are too attached to sense gratification and family life. In the shastras also it has been said that giving up all bad association, one should practice bhakti in association of the devotees of the Lord. Greed again is the cause of anger and agitation of the mind and giving up greed for materialistic achievements helps one on the path of bhakti.
It has been said ‘mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ’. One should follow the path laid out by the Mahajans, for it is the best path. Therefore, knowing Srila Rupa goswami to be our greatest well wisher and an expert at the art of Bhakti, we should certainly follow his instructions and try to refrain from these six activites in order to make rapid advancement in our spiritual lives.