Sri Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta with Illuminations of Srila B.R. Sridhara MaharajaMaṅgalācaraṇa (Auspicious Invocation) of Upadeśāmṛta
Sri Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta with Illuminations of Srila B.R. Sridhara MaharajaUpadeśāmṛta – Verse 2

Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta (Nectar of Instruction)

Verse 1

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वाचो वेगं मनसः क्रोधवेगं
जिह्वावेगमुदरोपस्थवेगम् ।
एतान् वेगान् यो विषहेत धीरः
सर्वामपीमां पृथिवीं स शिष्यात् ॥१॥

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthiviṁ sa śiṣyāt

Word for word
vācaḥ – of speech; vegam – the impulse; manasaḥ – of the mind; krodha – of anger; jihvā-vegam – the impulse of the tongue; udara upastha vegam – the impulse of the belly and genitals; etān – these; vegan – impulses; yaḥ – who; viṣaheta – can overcome; dhīraḥ – a self-controlled person; sarvām – whole; api – also; imām – this; pṛthivīm – world; saḥ – he; śiṣyāt – can instruct.

A self-controlled person who can overcome the impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to instruct the whole world.


Once our Guru Mahārāja (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura) arranged to preach in Vṛndāvana for the full month of Kārttika. At that time he asked Śrīpāda Bhāratī Mahārāja to explain the story of Prahlāda from the Seventh Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. He did not ask for narrations about Kṛṣṇa, Rādhā, Yaśodā or anything of Vṛndāvana. “Preach śuddha-bhakti of Prahlāda first. People are ripe in sahajiyā, imitation of devotion. Just try to make them understand, to enter the plane of bhakti. That is great; what to speak of kṛṣṇa-līlā – that is far, far above.” These were his words.

Guru Mahārāja himself spoke for several days on the boundary line between Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śyāma-kuṇḍa. He read and explained the Upadeśāmṛta of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Śrīla Prabhupāda explained Upadeśāmṛta and nothing of Govinda-līlāmṛta or Viśvanātha Cakravarti’s Śrī Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta. The higher topics of mādhurya-​līlā, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s amorous pastimes, were left aside. Pūjala rāga-patha gaurava-bhaṅge – the whole sphere is taken at a respectable distance on the head. Go on working in the lower level, to show proper respect to the highest thing, don’t venture to enter – fools rush in where angel’s fear to tread. With this idea, he dealt everywhere.

Upadeśāmṛta – the basic teachings. His attention was always focused on the basics, because the fruit will come naturally. Pour water onto the root and the fruit will come up by itself. Upadeśāmṛta contains the substance of Mahāprabhu’s teaching in the language of Rūpa Gosvāmī. These eleven verses of Upadeśāmṛta were inspired by the advice of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rūpa Gosvāmī put that advice into poetic language.

The Impulse of Speech and the Mind

Vāco-vegam means the urge to speak. One is habituated to speak too much. That tendency to speak is always there, whether it is good or bad. There is no time to discriminate – always talking and talking. I may speak anything and everything and then later repent, “Why did I say like this? I should not have said such a thing only to pain the hearts of others.” When the force comes from within to say something we cannot control it. “I am straightforward – I can say anything and everything to anyone and everyone! I may even abuse a sādhu.” This should not be. We must try to control that force coming from within in the form of speech.

Manasa means mental waves. Sometimes the rush of some idea may overtake me and manipulate me. It is very difficult to control the mind. The mind may be absent. We may engage our body but I may think something bad. To control the mind some responsibility is necessary. We must accept responsible actions and service – then we can control the mind. Otherwise the mind is independent. It may run hither and thither. We must take some responsibility to control the mind by engaging it in the service of Kṛṣṇa and His servants.

It is difficult to control the inner mind, but when we preach to others, we cannot but be all-conscious. We cannot talk irrelevantly. We can easily have concentration when we talk about Kṛṣṇa – that is kīrtana. I may begin with some japa but my mind wanders here, there and everywhere. But when I am engaged in kīrtana, I must be fully attentive. In that way we can control the mind, which is very difficult to capture and to utilise.

oṣṭha-spandana mātreṇa
kīrtanaṁ tu tato varam

Simply by moving the lips to chant the Lord’s Holy Name one can attain the greatest benefit. (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 11.453)

Special stress has been put on kīrtana by Mahāprabhu. Kīrtana means to preach. The environment is prepared to attack me, I should rather take up the offensive than the defensive – I shall attack the environment! Kīrtana means to take the offensive. The whole environment is surcharged with the offensive spirit. They are coming and attacking me from different directions, through different ideas that are like spies that are already within us – their agents. I shall take the offensive and attack the environment with the power that I have received from my Guru Mahārāja. That means kīrtana. That means preaching. This is what we are told by our Guru Mahārāja, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. Preaching means to attack the environment, not to lie down passively and allow others to take the position. Japa is very feeble, a weak thing. You will begin your japa and when you are aware you will find that your mind is marketing in some other place. But when you are talking about Kṛṣṇa to others, you will be fully attentive. That is automatic attention. Therefore you can control the mind by preaching.

The Impulse of Anger

Then krodha-vegam. Krodha means anger. When anger comes, it creates a disaster and a reaction is inevitable. We must try to check that sort of flow of the mind towards anger. We shall not try for that, but what we have got we shall try to utilise it for the service of Kṛṣṇa.

yad karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

O Kaunteya, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give in charity, whatever penances you may undertake – do that as an offering unto Me. (Bhagavad-gītā 9.27)

Good or bad, whatever is within you, that must be thrown away for the object of Kṛṣṇa’s service. It may be adjusted in this way – I have got anger and that anger should be utilised in favour of the service of the Lord. Krodha bhakta-​dveṣī-jane – whoever comes to attack the devotees, I will use my anger against him. We make the best of a bad bargain. So many tendencies are in my mind and when I want to transform them wholesale within my mental system I shall try to adjust them in such a way in connection with divine service. I shall try to utilise them in that stage.

In some stages it may seem that a devotee becomes angry even by a little cause, but that anger should not be classified to be ordinary anger. His anger will do good to the person with whom he is angry with – it is for the well being of the man with whom he is angry. They cannot be judged independently. Mahāprabhu was angry sometimes. When Mahāprabhu was going on with kīrtana, they closed the door and one brahmacārī who was only drinking milk and nothing else wanted to enter. He thought that, “I must be considered to be purest because I drink only milk, nothing else. Why they have closed the door to me?” Then at last when the door was opened, and he asked why the door was closed to him, Mahāprabhu replied, “Simply drinking milk is no qualification. The real qualification is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”

This has been seen many times. There was some misbehaviour against Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita. A tāntrika placed some wine and other things at the door of Śrīvāsa’s house at night in order to ridicule him. Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita opened the door and saw wine, meat and other nasty things. Then he went to his neighbors and said, “Please see how I am a tāntrika. Every night with the help of this meat and wine I worship Goddess Kālī.” Then those gentlemen felt very disturbed – “Who is the rogue who has done this thing?” When Mahāprabhu was informed He was very much enraged and said, “That man will have to suffer!” Later, that man whose name was Cāpāla Gopāla got leprosy. Sometimes in this world some anger is shown by the incarnation of God Himself, and some devotees also. But that is not harmful. It is for the good of the person. The excitement found in a devotee should not be taken as ordinary.

We have to quarrel. Sometimes we may have to engage in litigation; sometimes there are differences in our realisations concerning the proper meaning of the particular mantras of the scriptures, or a particular point. There may be differences and discussions. It is not undesirable. Sometimes it is necessary.

Generally we are to think that we are not in a perfect condition, our differences will be due to our realisation, our degree of realisation. Everything varies, but the difference amongst the main principles that is deplorable and will cause disturbance to the newcomers. It is a great catastrophe for the newcomers. They have come with open faith of a very mild standard; their faith is not so high, not so intense that they will be able to tolerate many things which seem to be like discord. The difficulty is with them. Whenever such things are happening, generally the madhyama-adhikārī Vaiṣṇava should try to keep the beginners outside. They should not be allowed to enter into these discussions and differences – the quarrel, litigation and all these things. This is only reserved for madhyama-adhikārīs. It is undesirable for the beginners to see the differences between those persons whom we consider to be upper rank. When they are quarrelling, the lower class cannot but be disturbed. This they try to avoid as much as possible. At that time they may give their attention towards the scriptures. There is less quarrelling, but in scriptures there is also quarrelling, because they recommend advises of different stages. Progress means quarrel. Elimination and acceptance, that means quarrel. One condemns another – progress means such. We can’t avoid it altogether, but still progress is there. We must not be afraid.

The Impulse of the Tongue

Jihvā-vegam – the urge for that which is very tasteful. I am a servant to that, a slave to tastefulness. Jihvā-vegam means our attraction to a particular taste. One may have attraction for pungent, bitter, sweet or sour. That is jihvā-​vegam. The tongue always wants to taste that sort of thing. Whatever is tasteful may be detrimental to my health, but I cannot control my tongue. Out of greed I may take something that may not be the proper diet for me. I take something, and then I take more but it is not necessary for my health. I should try not to fall prey to my tongue and become its slave. How to avoid jihvā-vegam? The process is that what I am taking, I should think, “How has the sādhu, the guru, or God tasted it?” The material thing should be subservient and our attention should be directed towards the subjective feeling of those who are higher – how they have tasted it. That is the key to escape from material taste.

Mahāprabhu tried to avoid sweet things, “I am a sannyāsī so I must keep a standard. If I take sweet things, then everyone will do like that. It is not proper.” Then Svarūpa Dāmodara said, “That is the negative side, but You will take prasāda. That is the positive side. Jagannātha kaichi karyachena bhojana. You must have direct experience of how Jagannātha tasted it.” From the objective world, to take it to the subjective, all feelings should be collected and applied towards the higher plane, and it must be drawn from the lower plane.

The Impulses of the Belly and Genitals

Jihvā-vegam means the urge for that which is palatable to the tongue, and udara-vegam means the urge to fill one’s belly. We think, “No, I have not eaten. I have not taken much food. The belly seems to be very vacant to me. I shall take more.” That is udara-vegam. More and more – then it will swell. We should only take that amount of food that is necessary to keep up the health.

Upastha-vegam is the urge to get a pleasing sensation from the ladies and the desire for the company of women – for the men, the women and for the women, the men. We should try to check that tendency within us. That is mental; it is not even in the soul. That is only in the mind and that is the worst cause of our wandering in this world. Even from the tree to the demigods this sort of tendency is flowing and we must be very cautious not to fall prey to such a flow. It is a universal and very powerful flow and we must try our best to keep aloof from the flow of that plane as much as possible.

tomāra kanaka bhogera jānaka
kanakera dvāre sevaha mādhava
kāminīra kāma nahe tava dhāma
tāhāra mālika kevala yādava

Your wealth is simply used for mundane pleasure but you should use it in the service of Mādhava. The desire for women is not your business because Kṛṣṇa is their only true master. (Vaisnava ke? Verse 3)

The enjoying aspect of women is not for you, it is only reserved for Kṛṣṇa – tāhāra mālika kevala yādava. Kṛṣṇa is the only enjoyer of the beauty of anything to be enjoyed from the women section. It is mentioned there, literally in that verse.

One gentleman came to our Guru Mahārāja in Calcutta and said, “What do you mean by this? Then who are we? Have you written this in the literal sense? That all the women are meant only for the enjoyment of Kṛṣṇa, only and none else?” Prabhupāda answered, “Yes, yes! That is the true naked meaning of this. Such a type of enjoyment is meant only for Kṛṣṇa, and all others are trespassers.” Kanaka – money. The master of money is Nārāyaṇa, Lakṣmīpati, and we are all His servants more or less in different ways. And Baladeva, the guru, is the master of name and fame. Kanaka, kāminī, pratiṣṭhā. Kāminī is to be adjusted for the Kṛṣṇa conception, otherwise we are lost. It must be adjusted with Him. Any lady consciousness must have connection with Kṛṣṇa.

Intelligent Adjustment

We are told that this jihvā-vegam, udara-vegam, and upastha-vegam are in a line. They all help each other. We must be very careful to be rid of them. They cause so much disaster in one’s life and have spoiled so many lives. We should be careful in our dealings with them.

We must be very cautious about all these animal tendencies within us. Rather we are slaves to them. These different types of mentalities are masters and I am their slave. We must be independent of all these ‘masters’.

kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā pālitā durnideśās
teṣāṁ jātā mayi na karuṇā na trapā nopaśantiḥ
utsṛjyaitān atha yadu-pate sāmprataṁ labdha-buddhis
tvām āyātaḥ śaraṇam abhayaṁ māṁ niyuṅkṣvātma-dāsye

For so long I have obeyed the wicked dictates of lust, anger, greed, madness, delusion, and hatred, yet they never took pity on me, and I have felt neither shame nor the desire to give them up. O Lord of the Yadu Dynasty, now that my intelligence has been awakened, I am leaving them behind. I surrender myself unto You who grants fearlessness. Please now engage me in Your service. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.16)

These are my lords and they are using me as their slave, and such a helpless life I am leading here. In the name of a human being I have got so many shameful tendencies within me that even an animal cannot come to such a low standard. This is our self-analysis; our real nature will be like this – a shameful nature within. Our real enemies are within, not without. And within, the Lord is there in the heart and the kingdom of the Lord is much higher. We have got that consolation, hope and prospect. We must give a bond and try to keep that promise, then help will come from that higher plane and it will drive away all these superficial enemies that are dancing like demons on the surface of our mind. They must be driven away. And help will come from within, if we seek it and if we cooperate.

The agents of the Lord are more powerful. If we really invite them, then the sādhus, the agents of the Supreme Lord, will come and drive away all these things. These demonic demonstrations on the surface of the mind will be driven away forever and we will have happy engagement in the service of the Lord. We will be free from all these demonic masters. That is not a cheap achievement.

Gradually it will be controlled. If you want to hunt an animal, it takes some time to kill it. These anarthas are there and to dispense with them, some time is necessary. But the energy to kill them, to remove them, should be gathered by us from higher sources. Then with less energy we can do away with them.

kibā se karite pāre, kāma krodha sādhakere
yadi haya sādhu-janāra saṅga

What can lust and anger do to the practitioner who takes shelter of saintly association? (Prema-bhakti-candrikā 2.11)

What harm can lust, greed and anger do to a seeker of the truth who is on the path of divine realisation if he can have the intimate association of a sādhu? In other words, they cannot do anything because something is being spent but it is another side income. If help is coming from the higher then it supersedes the expenditure and it cannot do any harm – kāma krodha sādhakere. And there is also kauśala. Kauśala means intelligent adjustment – we can get relief. It is such that Narottama Ṭhākura says,

kāma kṛṣṇa karmārpane, krodha bhakta-dveṣī jane
lobha sādhu-saṅga hari kathā
moha iṣṭa-labdha-vine, mada kṛṣṇa-guṇa-gāne
niyukta kariba yathā tathā

I will use lust in the service of Kṛṣṇa, anger against those who are inimical towards the devotees and greed for associating with sādhus and hearing kṛṣṇa-kathā. I will become bewildered only when I cannot attain my worshipable Lord. Madness will manifest when I intensely glorify the divine qualities of Kṛṣṇa. In this way I will utilise all of these. (Prema-bhakti-candrikā 2.10)

Kāma kṛṣṇa karmārpane – some impulse we feel within. Try to utilise that force and regulate it in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Krodha bhakta-dveṣi jane – try to use anger towards those who are antagonistic to the sādhus, the kṛṣṇa-bhaktas. Lobha sādhu-saṅga – you may try to engage greed by hearing from the lips of the sādhu. Moha iṣṭa-labha vine – sometimes depression comes. Try to utilise it when you are separated from the sādhu. Mada kṛṣṇa guṇa-gāne – sometimes overflowing energy appears within us. Engage that overflowing energy in dancing and chanting the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Niryukta kariba yathā tathā – try to regulate all these things in the service of Kṛṣṇa. If you do this you will be free from them in no time.

asaṅkalpāj jayet kāmaṁ krodhaṁ kāma-vivarjanāt
arthānarthekṣayā lobhaṁ bhayaṁ tattvāvamarśanāt

With strong determination, one should give up lusty desires and anger by rejecting the objective for sense gratification. One should give up greed by evaluation of the obstacles of accumulating wealth and by analysing reality one should abandon fear. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.15.22)

In Bhāgavatam it is mentioned by Devaṛṣi Nārada, asaṅkalpāj jayet kāmaṁ – you have so many designs and plans to carry out. Asaṅkalpa – don’t enter! Don’t allow yourself to enter such ambitious speculations. Don’t allow yourself to be busy with such big ambitious engagements in life. Krodhaṁ kāma-vivarjanāt – bad temper sometimes comes within you, so withdraw from the beginning. Don’t indentify yourself fully with a particular plan – if any hindrance comes to you, you will be fully entangled. If you are not addicted to a particular plan then there is no chance of being excited. Arthānarthekṣayā lobhaṁ – you have so much greed for money. You have to discriminate, “What is the charm of money?” Whatever you can construct, that automatically vanishes in course of time, so what is the charm of money? Bhayaṁ tattvāvamarśanāt – and if you have got any fear or apprehension then you have to discriminate –tattvāvamarśanāt. So many things are combined – matter, water, ether, it comes and stays for sometime and then disappears. Birth and death, in cause of nature, is coming and going everywhere. Every second something is born and every second something is dying. Calculating in this way you should leave your fear. A long list is given there in Bhāgavatam and in the conclusion it is said:

rajas tamaś ca sattvena sattvaṁ copaśamena ca
etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet

Through devotion to the spiritual master one can easily conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by cultivation of the mode of goodness and giving up attachment to those modes. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.15.25)

Master of the World

Etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet – all these undesirable things can be checked only by concentrating one’s attention to the service of guru. “My guru has ordered? Then no fear, because my absolute guide has ordered it.” We may take this advantage and everything will disappear in no time. Very easily you will be able to cross over all these difficulties if you concentrate only on the divine feet of your guru. “He is my guide, I am not my own. I belong to him. Whatever he will instruct I must do without caring for my individual loss and gain.” In this way, whatever we have got, we may try to utilise that as much as possible in the service of the Lord and in that way He may be able to purge these anarthas from out heart very soon and very easily.

Etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt – one who can control all these animal tendencies, who is master of his own self, his own mind, can be master of the world. He is a gosvāmī proper. He is eligible to give instruction and make disciples all over the world and the number of disciples cannot make him deviate from his standpoint. These are the sādhus who come under the flag of Śrī Caitanyadeva. All these things are recorded for our benefit and caution in the Upadeśāmṛta which was given by Mahāprabhu through Rūpa Gosvāmī to us in detail.

Sri Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta with Illuminations of Srila B.R. Sridhara MaharajaMaṅgalācaraṇa (Auspicious Invocation) of Upadeśāmṛta
Sri Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta with Illuminations of Srila B.R. Sridhara MaharajaUpadeśāmṛta – Verse 2
Avatar of Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Mahārāja appeared in this world in the village of Hapaniya, West Bengal, in 1895 within a high class Bhaṭṭācārya brāhmaṇa family. After studying philosophy at Krishnanath College in Berhampore, he met his guru, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and accepted initiation from him in 1926 and sannyāsa in 1930. In 1942 Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja founded the Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha and remained there until his departure from this world in 1988. He was recognised by his godbrothers for his dispassionate nature and common sense, as well as for his superlative Sanskrit compositions and profound philosophical insights.