Upadeshamrita Verse 1

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vāco vegaḿ manasaḥ krodhavegaḿ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvāmapīmāḿ pṛthivīḿ sa śiṣyāt  

 A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.

Srila Rupa Goswami, the foremost of all the followers of Sri Sachinandana Gaurahari and the one who established in this world the mission to fulfill the inner heart’s desire of his most worshipable Lord Sri Gaura, has given eleven invaluable instructions for the benefit of the Sadhakas on the path of Bhakti which are to be followed by all those devotees who are desirous of making advancement in their spiritual lives. Famous as the Upadeshamrita, nectar of Instructions, these verses chalk out the path of rapid advancement and help the devotees avoid unnecessary obstacles.

This first verse of Sri Upadeshamrita tells us about the six urges that one is supposed to control. It may seem that Srila Rupa goswami is giving these instructions about controlling the various urges for the benefit of the renounced vaishnavas, however, the previous acharyas have very clearly said that it is not so. The renounced vaishnavas are expected to already have all these qualities, and it is actually for the sake of the grahasta vaishnavas that he has given these instructions, so that by regulating and controlling the six urges one can gradually give up all material attachments and progress on the path of devotional service. One must also clearly understand that whether one is entangled in material life or is renounced is not decided on the basis of the ashram that one is in or on the outer appearance, rather on the level of advancement in Krishna conciousness and one’s detachment from the sense objects. A Sanyasi who is eager to accumulate wealth and followers is not a renounced person in truth but is rather still very much attached to the objects of the senses, and such a sanyasi would do good to follow these instructions. Where as there may be some exalted grahasta vaishnavas who, although still surrounded by the objects of the senses, are not at all attached to them and are completely controlled and engaged in bhakti, such devotees have already attained victory over the six urges. Srila Rupa goswami states that anyone, regardless of any consideration about varna and ashram, who is capable of subduing these six urges is eligible to accept disciples throughout the world. These Six urges are:

1. Vacho Vega: The urge to speak. This often doesn’t occur to us, but each and every person engrossed in material life is constantly using the tongue to speak about various unnecessary subject matters. In any conversation, we eagerly wait to be able to say something and are always desirous that others should hear us even though we may ourselves not be very attentive when others are speaking. This urge to speak constantly without any restraint and about unnecessary subject matters often leads us to saying untruthful, hurtful, exaggerated, harmful and useless words. There is a saying that an arrow that has left the bow and words that have been spoken can never be returned. One must therefore by very careful when speaking. Sri Krishna himself has given instructions on austerity of the speed in the Bhagawat Gita as follows:

anudvega-karaṁ vākyaṁ
satyaṁ priya-hitaṁ ca yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ caiva
vāṅ-mayaṁ tapa ucyate

Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.

However, as instructed by the Gurujan, the best way of controlling the urge of speaking is to constantly speak about Sri Krishna and of nothing and no one else. Many sadhus keep a vow of silence, however that is not advisable as the power of speech should be used in the service of the Lord. Therefore, in order to overcome this extremely difficult urge, one should try to always converse about topics related to the Lord and avoid all other unnecessary discussions.

2. Mano Vega: The urge of the mind. What more can be said about the turbulent mind, when Arjun himself states that the mind is restless and difficult to control. In the Bhagwat gita, Arjun says to Sri Krishna:

cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa
pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye
vāyor iva su-duṣkaram

The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.

This is indeed very true. The mind is the controller of all the other senses, and it is due to the agitation of the mind that one is forced to act in various ways to fulfil the demands of the senses. Srila Prabhupad also stated that the mind can either be one’s best friend or worst enemy. The activities of the mind, namely thinking, feeling and willing, are what induces one to act with the body. If the mind can somehow be engaged in the thoughts of the Lord, then one is sure to achieve the best results in a very short time. In answer to Arjun’s question about how to control the mind, the Lord replies:

asaṁśayaṁ mahā-bāho
mano durnigrahaṁ calam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya
vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate

O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.

One should therefore practice to fully engage the mind in the service of the Lord by thinking about the Lord, desiring to serve him and dovetailing all of one’s feelings towards the Lord. In this way one is sure to overcome the urge of the mind.

3. Krodha Vega: In the Bhagawat gita, the cause of anger and the result of such anger has been mentioned in the following verses:

dhyayato visayan pumsah
sangas tesupajayate
sangat sanjayate kamah
kamat krodho ‘bhijayate

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

krodhad bhavati sammohah
sammohat smrti-vibhramah
smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso
buddhi-nasat pranasyati

From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.

It is therefore to be understood that attachment to the objects of the senses is the root cause of anger and therefore such attachment should be certainly given up. This is possible when one develops a higher attachment for the chanting of the holy names of the Lord and hearing and describing about his qualities, forms, pastimes, associates and so forth. The acharyas have advised that one should dovetail all such propensities in the service of the Lord, and therefore one should engage their anger against those who are unfavourable and offensive towards the Lord and his devotees. In this way one can gain victory over the urge of Anger.

4. Jihva vegam udar upastha vegam: The urge of the tongue, belly and genitals. Of all the senses, the tongue is considered to be the most greedy. In order to control the urge of the tongue one should completely give up all sorts of unauthorised food stuffs and partake only that which is advised in the scriptures. Even such satwik food must be first offered to the Lord and only the prasad or remenants of the Lord should be accepted. By doing so, even the act of eating becomes an act of service to the Lord and one is able to control the urge of the tongue. The urge of the belly can be automatically controlled when one controlls the tongue. It is advisable to not eat too much and also to not eat too little. One should eat just enough to keep the body in a healthy situation so that one can easily carry out one’s service to the Lord. The urge of the genitals is also very difficult to overcome, for it is on the basis of this urge that the whole material world is going on. Blinded by the urge of the genitals, one produces many offsprings and gets caught up in maintaining the family. For this the shastras have given the provision of the sacred sacrifice of marriage. By properly following the principles of married life and engaging in devotional service, one is able to overcome the very powerful urge of the genitals. The acharyas have also said that the tongue, belly and genitals being in one straight line on the body can be controlled by properly controlling the urge of the tongue.

Srila Rupa goswami then says that a sober person who is capable of controling these six urges is eligible to make disciples all over the world for such a person will not be inclined towards fulfilling any selfish motives, as he is not controlled by the senses, but will rather be able to properly guide his disciples in their respective spiritual lives. Therefore, all the vaishnavas should endeavour to subdue these six urges by always engaging all the senses and all the various propensities in the service of the Lord and thus make advancement on the path of devotional life.