Nectar of Instruction – Sri Upadeshamrita

These verses of Srila Rupa Goswami, a great 16th Century Saint, a direct disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, condense the essence of all Bhakti gems into 11 short verses. Please relish. For the full text including purports by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, please see here Nectar of Instruction.

NOI 1

वाचो वेगं मनसः क्रोधवेगं जिह्वावेगमुदरोपस्थवेगम् ।
एतान्वेगान्यो विषहेत धीरः सर्वामपीमां पृथिवीं स शिष्यात् ॥ १ ॥

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ 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.

NOI 2

अत्याहारः प्रयासश्च प्रजल्पो नियमाग्रहः ।
जनसङ्गश्च लौल्यं च षड्भिर्भक्तिर्विनश्यति ॥ २ ॥

atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca
prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca
ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati

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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.

NOI 3

उत्साहान्निश्चयाद्धैर्यात्तत्तत्कर्मप्रवर्तनात् ।
सङ्गत्यागात्सतो वृत्तेः षड्भिर्भक्तिः प्रसिध्यति ॥ ३ ॥

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

NOI 4

ददाति प्रतिगृह्णाति गुह्यमाख्याति पृच्छति ।
भुङ्क्ते भोजयते चैव षड्विधं प्रीतिलक्षणम् ॥ ४ ॥

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva
ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam
Translation

Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.

NOI 5

कृष्णेति यस्य गिरि तं मनसाद्रियेत दीक्षास्ति चेत्प्रणतिभिश्च भजन्तमीशम् ।
शुश्रूषया भजनविज्ञमनन्यमन्यनिन्दादिशून्यहृदमीप्सितसङ्गलब्ध्या ॥ ५ ॥

kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta
dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhiś ca bhajantam īśam
śuśrūṣayā bhajana-vijñam ananyam anya-
nindādi-śūnya-hṛdam īpsita-saṅga-labdhyā

One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation [dīkṣā] and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others.

NOI 6

दृष्टैः स्वभावजनितैर्वपुषश्च दोषैर्न प्राकृतत्वमिह भक्तजनस्य पश्येत् ।
गङ्गाम्भसां न खलु बुद्बुदफेनपङ्कैर्ब्रह्मद्रवत्वमपगच्छति नीरधर्मैः ॥ ६ ॥

dṛṣṭaiḥ svabhāva-janitair vapuṣaś ca doṣair
na prākṛtatvam iha bhakta-janasya paśyet
gaṅgāmbhasāṁ na khalu budbuda-phena-paṅkair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nīra-dharmaiḥ

Being situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water.

NOI 7

स्यात् कृष्णनामचरितादिसिताप्यविद्यापित्तोपतप्तरसनस्य न रोचिका नु ।
किन्त्वादरादनुदिनं खलु सैव जुष्टा स्वाद्वी क्रमाद्भवति तद्गदमूलहन्त्री ॥ ७ ॥

syāt kṛṣṇa-nāma-caritādi-sitāpy avidyā-
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocikā nu
kintv ādarād anudinaṁ khalu saiva juṣṭā
svādvī kramād bhavati tad-gada-mūla-hantrī

The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Kṛṣṇa are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidyā [ignorance] cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.

NOI 8

तन्नामरूपचरितादिसुकीर्तनानुस्मृत्योः क्रमेण रसनामनसी नियोज्य ।
तिष्ठन्व्रजे तदनुरागिजनानुगामी कालं नयेदखिलमित्युपदेशसारम् ॥ ८ ॥

tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānu-
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram

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 [Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma] and serve Kṛṣṇa 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.

NOI 9

वैकुण्ठाज्जनितो वरा मधुपुरी तत्रापि रासोत्सवाद्वृन्दारण्यमुदारपाणिरामणात्तत्रापि गोवर्धनः ।
राधाकुण्डमिहापि गोकुलपतेः प्रेमामृताप्लावनात्कुर्यादस्य विराजतो गिरितटे सेवां विवेकी न कः ॥ ९ ॥

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ

The holy place known as Mathurā is spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathurā-purī is the transcendental forest of Vṛndāvana because of Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vṛndāvana is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa stands supreme, for it is overflooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Where, then, is that intelligent Person who is unwilling to serve this divine Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?

NOI 10

कर्मिभ्यः परितो हरेः प्रियतया व्यक्तिं ययुर्ज्ञानिनस्तेभ्यो ज्ञानविमुक्तभक्तिपरमाः प्रेमैकनिष्ठास्ततः ।
तेभ्यस्ताः पशुपालपङ्कजदृशस्ताभ्योऽपि सा राधिका प्रेष्ठा तद्वदियं तदीयसरसी तां नाश्रयेत्कः कृती ॥ १० ॥

karmibhyaḥ parito hareḥ priyatayā vyaktiṁ yayur jñāninas
tebhyo jñāna-vimukta-bhakti-paramāḥ premaika-niṣṭhās tataḥ
tebhyas tāḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas tābhyo ’pi sā rādhikā
preṣṭhā tadvad iyaṁ tadīya-sarasī tāṁ nāśrayet kaḥ kṛtī

In the śāstra it is said that of all types of fruitive workers, he who is advanced in knowledge of the higher values of life is favored by the Supreme Lord Hari. Out of many such people who are advanced in knowledge [jñānīs], one who is practically liberated by virtue of his knowledge may take to devotional service. He is superior to the others. However, one who has actually attained prema, pure love of Kṛṣṇa, is superior to him. The gopīs are exalted above all the advanced devotees because they are always totally dependent upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the transcendental cowherd boy. Among the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. Her kuṇḍa [lake] is as profoundly dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa as this most beloved of the gopīs. Who, then, will not reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings [aprākṛta-bhāva], render loving service to the Divine Couple Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, who perform Their aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā, Their eternal eightfold daily pastimes. Indeed, those who execute devotional service on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa are the most fortunate people in the universe.

NOI 11

कृष्णस्योच्चैः प्रणयवसतिः प्रेयसीभ्योऽपि राधा कुण्डं चास्या मुनिभिरभितस्तादृगेव व्यधायि ।
यत्प्रेष्ठैरप्यलमसुलभं किं पुनर्भक्तिभाजां तत्प्रेमेदं सकृदपि सरः स्नातुराविष्करोति ॥ ११ ॥

kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ preyasībhyo ’pi rādhā
kuṇḍaṁ cāsyā munibhir abhitas tādṛg eva vyadhāyi
yat preṣṭhair apy alam asulabhaṁ kiṁ punar bhakti-bhājāṁ
tat premedaṁ sakṛd api saraḥ snātur āviṣkaroti

Of the many objects of favored delight and of all the lovable damsels of Vraja-bhūmi, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is certainly the most treasured object of Kṛṣṇa’s love. And, in every respect, Her divine kuṇḍa is described by great sages as similarly dear to Him. Undoubtedly Rādhā-kuṇḍa is very rarely attained even by the great devotees; therefore it is even more difficult for ordinary devotees to attain. If one simply bathes once within those holy waters, one’s pure love of Kṛṣṇa is fully aroused.