Upadeshamrita Verse 8

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After giving the first seven shlokas of instructions regarding various aspects of one’s devotional practice, Srila Rupa goswami is giving the essence of all instructions in the famous eighth verse of Sri Upadeshamrita:

smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanāmanasī niyojya 
tiṣṭhan vraje tadanurāgijanānugāmī 
kālaḿ nayedakhilamityupadeśasāram  

The essence of all advice is that one should utilize 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 Krishna 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.

Although there are many instructions given in the various shastras regarding what one should do and what not and similarly Srila Rupa goswami has given instructions about controlling the six urges, the six activities that destroy bhakti, six activities that nourish bhakti, how one should associate with vaishnavas and so on, but now he is giving the essence of all the instructions. Even though each one of his instructions is very important, the ultimate purpose of all those instructions is to direct one to attain the situation of being able to follow this particular instruction. Srila Rupa goswami is saying that one should engage all of one’s time in chanting and remembering the names, forms, glories, and pastimes of the Lord by engaging the tongue and mind in these devotional practice. One should do so while residing in the holy Land of Vraja and following in the footsteps of the advanced vaishnavas who have pure love of Godhead. In the Padma Puran also we find a verse which states that the remembrance of the Lord is the essence of all instructions:

smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇur
vismartavyo na jātucit
sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur
etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ

‘Krishna is the origin of Lord Viṣṇu. He should always be remembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the śāstras should be the servants of these two principles.’

The acharyas have further explained that if one is unable to live in Vrindavan physically, then one should do so mentally and in this way remain absorbed in the remembrance of the Lord. Therefore, along with following the initial instructions of Srila Rupa goswami, one has to ensure to follow this particular instruction with great faith and determination. One should engage all of one’s time and energy in chanting, hearing and remembering the most wonderful holy names, forms, pastimes and glories of the Lord. However, doing that whimsically or under the guidance of those who have no real love for the Lord shall not be very helpful in attaining the ultimate goal of life. Instead, doing bhakti without proper guidance can often result in major setbacks and offences. Therefore it is imperative that one performs the various limbs of Bhakti under the guidance of advanced devotees. Although the performance of Bhakti is not dependent on anything and living in Vraja mentally is as good as living here physically, yet one who is able to come and stay in Vrindavan should do so, for the very atmosphere of Vraja is conducive for Bhakti and there more chances that one will be blessed with the very rare association of pure devotees. Thus one should try to follow the instructions of Srila Rupa goswami given in this verse to the best of one’s ability. If one does so then that fortunate soul is sure to attract the mercy of Sri Krishna and attain all good fortune.