“nocet pramattam asad-indriya-väji-sütä

nétvotpathaà viñaya-dasyuñu nikñipanti

te dasyavaù sahaya-sütam amuà tamo ‘ndhe

saàsära-küpa uru-måtyu-bhaye kñipanti”



nocet—if we do not follow the instructions of Acyuta, Krsna, and do not take shelter of Balaräma; pramattam—careless, inattentive; asat—which are always prone to material consciousness; indriya—the senses; väji—acting as the horses; sütäù—the chariot driver (intelligence); nétvä—bringing; utpatham—to the roadway of material desire; viñaya—the sense objects; dasyuñu—in the hands of the plunderers; nikñipanti—throw; te—those; dasyavaù—plunderers; sa—with; haya-sütam—the horses and chariot driver; amum—all of them; tamaù—dark; andhe—blind; saàsära-küpe—into the well of material existence; uru—great; måtyu-bhaye—fear of death; kñipanti—throw.



Otherwise, if one does not take shelter of Acyuta and Baladeva, then the senses, acting as the horses, and the intelligence, acting as the driver, both being prone to material contamination, inattentively bring the body, which acts as the chariot, to the path of sense gratification. When one is thus attracted again by the rogues of viñaya—eating, sleeping and mating—the horses and chariot driver are thrown into the blinding dark well of material existence, and one is again put into a dangerous and extremely fearful situation of repeated birth and death.



Without the protection of Gaura-Nitäi—Krsna and Balaräma—one cannot get out of the dark well of ignorance in material existence. This is indicated here by the word nocet, which means that one will always remain in the dark well of material existence. The living entity must get strength from Nitäi-Gaura, or Kåñëa-Balaräma. Without the mercy of Nitäi-Gaura, there is no way to come out of this dark well of ignorance. As stated in the Caitanya-caritämåta (Ädi 1.2):

“vande çré-kåñëa-caitanya-

nityänandau sahoditau

gauòodaye puñpavantau

citrau çandau tamo-nudau”

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityänanda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gaudia to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.” This material world is a dark well of ignorance. The fallen soul in this dark well must take shelter of the lotus feet of Gaura-Nitäi, for thus he can easily emerge from material existence. Without Their strength, simply attempting to get out of the clutches of matter by speculative knowledge will be insufficient.


Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaja.


çikñärtham ekaù puruñaù puräëaù


kåpämbudhir yas tam ahaà prapadye”

Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 6.254

Sarbavauma Bhattacarya in this famous verse is glorifying the mercy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that the supreme Lord Sri Krishna the Lord of Goloka, He has descended into this world with the beautiful golden complexion to teach the principles of renunciation. The principles of knowledge and combination of renunciation of knowledge, which is bhakti. I take shelter of the supreme lord Sri Gaurasundara. The combination of Vairagya and Vidya is meant to fructify in Bhakti. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita,

“bhaktyä tv ananyayä çakya

aham evaà-vidho ‘rjuna”

Bhagavad-Gita 11.54



That it is only through devotion we can approach him. It is by no other means. In fact it is described by Prahlada Maharaja. That not by any amount by pious activities can one understand Krishna. Not by giving heaps and heaps of charity. Not by performing great-great sacrifices. Not by performing tapasya for thousands and thousands of years. Not by the chanting of the hundreds and millions of mantras. Not by scrutinizing study of the various scriptures of this world. By none of these means can one approach Krishna. Prahlada Maharaja said that only one who has taking the dust from the feet of the great Vaishnavas and covered his body with that dust. Krishna only reveals Himself to such a humble person and no one else.


Now we speak of the dust of the feet of the Guru, the dust of the feet of the Guru are the symbol of His instruction.
Often times Srila Prabhupada would tell us every morning, when we sing “vande guroù çré-caraëäravindam” I offer my respectful obeisance’s onto my spiritual master. What that means is that surrender to the order of the spiritual master. There is no question of offering your obeisances and having any meaning or depth to such an approach without in accepting the instructions in surrendering to Him. Anyone can offer obeisances, anyone can talk but surrendering to the instruction is the meaning of taking dust of the feet of the devotee and place it on all of your body. It is only by pleasing the great souls, then bhakti is awaken within the heart by the mercy of Sri Krishna. But how to approach that standard. The instructions of the great souls or they are to bring us to that point to the internal realizations of devotion. The spiritual master who is the spokesman of the great scriptures of the world, his mission is to somehow or other soften our stone like hearts, which are cold like ice, which are insensitive selfish and proud. Due to pride, due to selfishness, due to lust, anger, and greed, our hearts which are meant to be a very soft sitting place put the feet of the god to rest. They have become cold and hard like stone. Therefore the purpose of vairagya (renunciation) and the first purpose of Vidya or knowledge are simply to soften the heart. Simply to soften the heart and give one the real experience of love. Because until you have that experience Krishna cares nothing for anything you do. It is only because it is offer through the spiritual master that he has anything to do with you. Because the spiritual master out of his compassion and causeless mercy, he is so kindly taking your hard hearted contaminated service and he is offering it to Krishna with love. Krishna says I’ll accept it only because of you. Not because of us. Krishna accepts only pure devotional service.

Therefore Sarvabhouma Bhattacarya has explained that through the principles of Vairagya and knowledge, these are the preliminary steps that one must very-very carefully understand and carefully apply to one’s life. If we want the fruit of bhakti to   truly awaken. If we want our heart to become softened from the callous condition that is in today. Without knowledge there is no question of real vairagya. The beginning of the spiritual life is the cultivation of knowledge. Krishna explains in the 4th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita.

“tad viddhi praëipätena

paripraçnena sevayä

upadekñyanti te jïänaà

jïäninas tattva-darçinaù”

Bhagavad-Gita 34

You must approach your guru, you must enquire submissively. This is the first step. Spiritual life begins through the process of hearing and we find on all the great scriptures, this is the process.


Maharaja Parikshita approached Sukadeva Gosvami, his guru and what did he do? With the humble heart with the submissive mind with folded palms, he heard the lotus like narration of Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Gosvami Maharaja. Uddhava approach Maitreya Muni in Haridwara in the bank of Ganges. And with the submissive heart he inquired and heard from the great sage, Maitreya. Similarly Arjuna who was in bewildered and confused state of mind, he opened his heart and heard from Krishna. In the Bible we find that Jesus the satyavesa(TRUTH) Avatar, he began the spiritual life of all of his disciples by speaking to them and those who had sincerity of heart they sated at his feet and heard from him. Now the principles that we learned form the great souls, when we hear them, must be applied to our lives. That is Vairagya. Vairagya means to live according to the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness.



The concept of Vairagya is all together different between the school of bhakti and those who are of the impersonal conception of the absolute truth. Because the gyanis and yogis they think that vairagya is to simply fast, to torture the body, to go to a secluded place, to danger oneself with lions, tigers, and snakes, and to deprive oneself. This is certainly vairagya. But according to Rupa Gosvami it is incomplete vairagya.

“präpaïcikatayä buddhyä


mumukñubhiù parityägo

vairägyaà phalgu kathyate”

Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu 1.2.126

Complete vairagya is to simply be the servant of the servant and expect nothing for yourself. If the spiritual master wants you to live in a beautiful palace being served by hundreds and thousands of devoted maid servants and servants then your vairagya is to do just that. That was the condition of Priyavrata Maharaja.

Priyavrata Maharaja was on the Gandhamardhana mountain with Narada Muni performing severe tapasya and Lord Brahma and Soumuvuba Monu, they convinced his Guru Narada Muni to give him the instructions that he did not want to do that was to live in a beautiful palace to be surrounded by hundreds and thousands of servants and maid servants to live a life of luxury but to not accept anything for his sense gratification but to accept that position in the service of his guru. For him staying in the mountain was the incomplete form of vairagya. But to please his guru, whatever it meant to please Krishna that is the perfect Vairagya. So this hard hearted tendency for self preservation and self realization in the bhakti school is not at all wanted by a devotee. The conception of Vairagya of the impersonalist may seem very attractive and it may seem very glorious.

Especially here in India, one performs great-great tapasya that person becomes very famous. My guru lived in a cave for 87 years with the snake and the tiger and he did not eat more than once in every six months and everyone thinks oh, such a fantastic guru you have. This is the common mentality, people love to boost about the super excellent unparalleled forms of tapasya of their spiritual master. For the less intelligent, this is thinking, oh, this is very nice. But for a devotee, he is thinking, yes, this person is obviously very sincere but will Krishna care about that? The devotee is more impressed to hear that someone is cooking Gulab Jamus in the kitchen for Radhagopinath. Because it is the order of guru and because he is doing for the pleasure of Radhagopinath.


THE REAL VAIRAGYA (renunciation)

Srila Prabhupada used to tell us that what the yogis attain in the credit of Vairagya in a hundred years by living in the jungles of the Himalays, He said, my disciples in one day of distributing my books attain the same credit and more. Even you know there on the middle city, sometimes wear a suit and tie on the sky. Most people will not have picture of the guru, saying my guru wears a – and suit and tie, he distributed books. How many people boost like that? But they boost, my guru lived in the caves in the jungles for 50 years. But according to Srila Prabhupada that man with – and suit and tie distributing books, he is doing more tapasya. Because preaching is the most pleasing thing to Krishna. So when we really understand, what is vidya and what is knowledge. Then one awaken the real vairagya be in our life. We should not be mislead by the sentimental conceptions of the society. In fact this type of Vairagya may create very-very great power in a person’s life. But along with it, it usually creates a very harden heart. He said we are not concerned with glamorous lives and hard hearts. We are concerned with a lifestyle that will create a humble and softened heart in which we are the humble servant of the servant of the devotees. That is all we concern is and that vairagya we are impress first. Because that vairagya will attract Krishna. The other vairagya will attract the minds of modern man. But only humility in the service of guru and saddhus, only that tapasya will attract the heart of god.


So therefore we must understand for futility and the dangers of material life in sense gratification. Otherwise is not possible to perform a proper life of Vairagya Vidya and bhakti. The beginning of spiritual knowledge, the beginning of spiritual life is to hear the miserable condition of material existence. Unless we are thoroughly convinced, you will not really make positive progress back to godhead. You can make some advancement, no doubt. Despite eating a little Prasad, just by hearing the holy name, you can make some spiritual advancement. But the real determine march forward on the path that to godhead can only begin, when we are convinced that sense gratification is poison. That pride is our worst enemy. That disobedience is a demon and that doubt is the destroyer of our spiritual lives. Unless we are very-very well versed in this most essential preliminary spiritual subject matter, then it is for certain that Maya will trap you. Therefore the most important subject matter for neophyte devotees is to discuss the miseries of material existence, to discuss the futility of sense enjoyment. That along with explaining the transcendental qualities of the lord and His devotees will gradually bring us to the point of being attracted to Krishna.

I remember one time on Radhastami Srila Prabhupada was just talking about the miseries of material existence and we ask for, can you tell us some stories about Srimati Radharani? He said, yes I can tell you for the next ten years stories about Srimati Radharani but you will enjoy them but you will not understand them. Until you understand thoroughly and convinced with the miseries of material existence, how will you understand this higher subject matter? It will be a minimal benefit.

So here we find Narada Muni instructing all of us about the very great danger of material life. This is a very-very beautiful purport , which describes how if one does not take shelter of Achyuta and Baladeva then the senses acting as the horses and the intelligence acting as the driver both being thrown to material contamination inattentively bring the body, which acts as the chariot to the path of sense gratification. When one is thus attracted by the rouge of Visaya, eating, sleeping, and mating. The horses, the chariot, and the driver are thrown into the blinding dark well of material existence and one is again put into a danger in extremely fearful situation of repeated birth and death. A very strong verse to convince us that we must take shelter of Achyuta and Baladeva.


What does it mean to take shelter? We should understand this. Because according to this verse of Srimad Bhagavatam, unless you take shelter then you will undoubtedly be dragged down into the blinding dark well of material existence to suffer and embracing your life of birth and death to take shelter. We speak about it. We tell others the necessity to take shelter of Krishna, to take shelter of the spiritual master. Do we even have any concept or grasped of what does it mean to take shelter. You see the path of bhakti is the path of the internal turn of the heart toward god. Bhakti is not so much interested in the form as it is in the substance. Of course in the spiritual world there is no difference between the form and the substance. In the material world Krishna is none different than His body. His body is absolute. His personality is absolute. His name is absolute. But in the material world there is complete difference between the form and the substance. The substance is the soul and the form is the body. You are not your body. So you see our tendency due to millions and millions of birth of previous conditioning is what simply concerned with the substance, what totally ignorant and callous and inattentive of the substance or simply attached to the concept of the form.

Therefore the great souls warn us that the substance of bhakti is the taking shelter of Achyuta and Baladeva. There may be many forms, in which we do our service; there may be many forms, in which we glorify our guru and Krishna. But the substance is to take shelter. Now I ask again, what it is meant to take shelter. To take shelter means to accept within our heart that I am nothing, I am fool number one, all I could do is get myself in trouble, all I have the capacity to do on my own, is further implicate me in the blinding dark well of the material existence. Therefore the words of the great souls is only light in my dark life and to accept those words as my life and soul. As the only meaning, only purpose, and only refuge of my life that is to take shelter. To take shelter means to surrender. But not to surrender superficially. But to surrender in humility. The difference between real surrender and the difference between superficial surrender is simply whether our motivation is pride or humility. So when they say I am not humble but how to we become humble? By becoming the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. By understanding the dangers and the ferocious of material life to understand our helpless condition in the ocean of the material existence and in that condition to understand that the order of guru is my life and soul, to understand that the holy name of god, the holy names of Achyuta and Baladeva is the only thing that can save me.

Generally one has to be put in such a sad depressing and suffering condition of total failure before he really accepts within the core of his heart that only Krishna’s name and only the order of Guru can save me. For most devotees that’s why we will take. Because of our pride and because of our superficial approach to our spiritual life, it is not what has to happen. Factually in any condition of life, we can surrender and take shelter of Krishna by simply understanding that I am in the most danger and fearful condition of the miserable ocean of birth and death and only the order of my guru and only the name of God can save me and my life, my soul is dedicated simply to seeking refuge in these most merciful forms of the absolute that we will do that, will you take shelter. This will, must be cultivated within our heart. That is why this particular subject matter is the most universally expounded of all subject matters in the great Vedic literatures and by the great Acaryas to know the miseries of material life, to admit your own insignificance and to hope against the hope beg guru and beg Krishna, let me be your servant, I have nothing and I have none. That is Bhakti.

On the advanced stage, there is simply discussing by Ramananda Ray. Caitanya Mahaprabhu simply discussing the glorious beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krishna. But in the neophyte level and on the advancing, progressive stages of devotional service, we must accept Prahlada’s instructions. That it is only by smearing our body with the dust of the feet of the great souls. By taking shelter in their instructions. By humbling ourselves on their feet. It is the only means of attracting Krishna.


Questions & Answers?

QD:  ?

AM: First of all in the coming verses it thoroughly explains the nature of the mind and need to control the mind. In this particular verse it specifically is explaining controlling the mind. But it simply not saying the word mind. What is it saying? It is telling us that without intelligence we must not allow our senses to run after the objects of the senses, correct. What is that mean? That means to control the mind. This verse is telling us to control the mind, because where there is mind situated, it situated right in the middle between senses and intelligence. This verse is speaking specifically to your mind. Because your mind has the choice to surrender to higher intelligence or to surrender to your senses, correct? So this is explaining that we should surrender to the higher intelligence, which is to take shelter of Achyuta and Baladeva (Goura and Nitai). And the very-very convinced of the absolute miserable condition that will take place in your life, if you take shelter of the senses. So who is this verse speaking to? Very directly to your mind.

Thank you, very much

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.