Now that we understand the very basics of Bhakti yoga,from our previous article (‘The A B C D of Bhakti’), it is worthwhile for us to invest our time, and realize the magnanimity of an elevated Vaishnava, a pure devotee of the Lord. Reading Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, we come to understand that out of the innumerable godly qualities, there are twenty-six ,which are very prominent within a Vaishnava. Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, out of his causeless mercy, has listed them down (Madhya Lila 22.78-80) for our meditation and contemplation.
sei saba guna haya vaishnava lakshana
saba kaha na yaya, kari dig darashana
(cc, Madhya, 22.77)
A pure devotee is magnanimous and an inspiration to one and all. It is only by great fortune, that one gets to associate with him. In Fact even a moment’s association with a pure devotee of the Lord is all purifying and it is only by his causeless mercy that one becomes eligible to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. In this article, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall try to relish and discuss about these glorious super excellent qualities that ornament the devotees of the Lord.
- Kind (Kripalu) , Compassionate (karuna) & works for the welfare of everyone (sarva-upakaraka): A Vaishnava (devotee) is always merciful and a well-wishing friend of not only humans, but all living beings. A devotee is always concerned with the suffering condition of the living entities entrapped in material existence. He always tries to devise ways and means to relieve them from their suffering.
When Namacharya Haridas Thakur was asked as to why one should chant the Lord’s holy names loudly, he replied that when one chants silently, only he receives the benefit, whereas when one chants loudly, everyone around him, even the animals and plants are benefitted from associating with the Lord’s holy names.
Again when Haridasa Thakura was being dragged and beaten across the twenty-two market places in Phulia, he kept incessantly praying to the Supreme Lord and begged Him to forgive those demoniac guards who were beating him like animals (refer – ‘Sri Haridasa Thakura’s Bhajana Kutira, Phulia’). Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu later revealed during Mahaprakash Lila, that if Haridasa Thakura had not then prayed, the Lord would have severed the heads of those miscreants.
Seeing the most abominable Jagai and Madhai, Lord Nityananda and Haridas Thakur felt great compassion and wanted to deliver them from their sinful existence. They urged those drunkards to take up the chanting of the Lord’s holy names.As we all know, Jagai and Madhai didn’t take the advice well and attacked Nityananda prabhu by hurling broken pots towards Him. The pot struck Nityananda Prabhu upon His forehead and caused Him to bleed profusely. But this could not stop Nitai from continuing to shower His immense compassion upon these sinful souls. When Mahaprabhu wanted to kill Jagai and Madhai , Nityananda prabhu restrained the Lord from doing so. Jagai and Madhai went onto become great devotees and were delivered due to Nityananda Prabhu’s immense mercy (refer – ‘Sakhi Akhra and Madhai Tala ,Katwa’).
- Humble, does not quarrel (akrta-droha) & without false prestige (amani) – A pure devotees of the Lord (Vaishnava) lives by the instructions given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu – “trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna, amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari” which means that One should chant the holy names of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street and be more tolerant than even a tree.One should be devoid of all sense of false prestige, and be ready to offer all respect unto others.
When the famous Digvijayi scholar Roop Narayan challenged Srila Rupa Goswami wanting to debate the scriptures with him, Sri Rupa didn’t want to waste his time arguing with such a mundane scholar. Instead he readily accepted defeat and signed his Vijaya Patra (certificate of victory). Roop Narayan could not grasp Sri Rupa Goswami’s exalted status and neither could he understand that he had accepted defeat only out of utter humility.Jiva Goswami , however, was very upset seeing Roop Narayan boast, and he accepted the challenge on Rupa Goswami’s behalf. Jiva Goswami subsequently debated and defeated Roop Narayan making him realize the elevated stature of Sri Rupa Gosai. Roop Narayan then surrendered unto the lotus feet of Rupa and Sanatana goswami.
Sri Kashishwar pandita was the personal servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri. After Lord Govinda dev jiu had manifested in Vrindavana,Lord Caitanya ordered Kashishwar to immediately go to Vrindavana and assist Sri Rupa in serving Sri Govinda dev. This instruction was extremely painful for Sri Kashishwar pandita to execute who preferred to even give up his life than abandon the association of Gaurahari. But please note the greatness of this exalted soul, who was ready to easily give up his life but not defy the orders of his master. His personal likings and desires, were the least important when it came to execute the orders of the Lord. Thus keeping a stone upon his heart, this great Vaishnava left for Vrindavana and spent the rest of his life serving the deities of Govinda dev jiu. He took along with him a small deity of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (which Mahaprabhu Himself had gifted to him), that subsequently became renowned as Gaura-Govinda. He placed this deity in the same altar and worshipped it along with Sri Radha Govinda Dev (refer – ‘Kashishwar pith ,Chatra, Serampore’).
- Truthful (satya-sara) & Steady, fixed (sthira) – No matter how difficult the circumstances, a Vaishnava always finds ways and means to remember and serve his supreme master. His entire existence is geared only to satisfy and provide pleasure unto Sri Guru and Gauranga.Sanatana goswami, inspite of his advanced age, made it a point to circumambulate the Govardhana hill daily (around 23 miles). Though it was very difficult for him to undertake this parikrama physically, yet he did not relent. Feeling compassionate, the Supreme Lord gave him His darsana and gifted to him a small Govardhan sila (sacred stone) with His lotus footprint engraved upon it. On request of the Lord, Srila Sanatana used to circumambulate this Govardhan Sila from then on.The Lord assured him, that circumambulating this sacred stone was equivalent to doing Govardhan Parikrama.
We can cite the example of namacharya Haridasa Thakura, who inspite of being very old and physically unwell, continued to chant three lakh holy names of the lord daily. Srila Haridasa did not want to reduce the stipulated number of rounds that he chanted under any circumstances (refer – ‘Sri Haridasa Thakura’s Bhajana Kutira, Phulia’).
A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon, inspite of failing for forty years of his life ,did not lose hope. Though he was greatly criticized by his own family members for having a spiritual interest, he did not give up his intense desire to serve the mission of his spiritual master. In the process he had to abandon his wife and children, live without proper facilities, travel alone to the west on a cargo ship in which he suffered from heart attacks (he was then 70 years old),etc. As a result of his sacrifice, millions across the world today have the opportunity to lead a Krishna conscious life. To learn more about this amazing pastime, please read our article entitled – ‘The birthplace of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Tollygunge’.
Our Gurudeva, HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, has been rendered physically handicapped since he suffered from a stroke in the year 2008. Yet, his advanced age and the difficult physical condition he is in, has not stopped him from preaching all over the world. Travelling on a wheelchair, he continues to provide hope and inspiration to millions.
We should try to learn from these examples and imbibe in our lives the teachings & the service attitude of these great souls.
- Equal to everyone (sama) – A vaishnava sees the same supersoul in everyone’s heart. Hence he treats whomsoever he meets, whether he be of any caste or creed, any language, culture or background as equal. Lord Caitanya had taught us ‘kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene naya, yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei guru haya’. In other words, anyone who is well conversant with the science of Krishna consciousness is eligible to become a Guru, irrespective of whether he is a brahmana, sannyasi or even shudra. There is no consideration of one’s background in caitanya Mahaprabhu’ movement.
We see how Nityananda Prabhu flooded the streets of Bengal with harinama Sankirtana (‘Premer bonya loiya Nitai, aila Gauda deshe, dubilo bhakta jana, dina hina bhashe’). The waves of ecstasy washed one and all, irrespective of one’s qualification or stature. Nityananda Prabhu delivered the gold mercantile community of Saptagram, who were considered fallen during those days.In fact Sri Uddharana datta Thakura, a prominent member of this community, became Nityananda prabhu’s personal cook (refer – ‘Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura Sripat, Adisaptagram (Near bandel)’).
Elsewhere we learn how Sri Kalidasa Roy recognized Sri Jharu Thakura to be an exalted devotee, though he was just a sweeper. Sri kalidasa Roy went out of his way and devised ways and means to obtain the prasada remnants of Jharu Thakura (refer – ‘Sri Jharu Thakura Sripat, near Bandel’).
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Sri Ramananda Raya, he was overwhelmed with ecstatic feelings.Sri Ramananda belonged to a low caste while Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi.Mahaprabhu didn’t judge Ramananada on account of his background but on account of his devotion.
When Syamananda pandita (Dukhi Krishna Das) met his spiritual master, Sri Hridaya Caitanya didn’t reject him though Syamananda prabhu belonged to the lowly sadgopa caste. Instead he was overjoyed to accept a sincere and dedicated disciple as Syamananda pandita (refer –’Sri Syamananda Pandita’s Bhajana Kutira & Samadhi , Kanupur (Near Balasore)’).
- Faultless (nidosa) – A Vaishnava , who in words, deeds, and mind is completely surrendered unto Krishna and executes Guru and Krishna’s desire to the best of his ability is always faultless.Sri Ramananda Raya, although he used to personally dress the Devadasis and teach the young girls how to physically express all the moods of love before Jagannath Deva, has been greatly glorified by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Ramananda Raya was a maha bhagavata, an eternal associate of the Lord, who possessed no desire for personal sense gratification. Though he had to touch these girls in order to teach them, yet his mind was not disturbed in the slightest. His consciousness was forever rooted unto the lotus feet of the Lord.
- Magnanimous (vadanya) , mild (mrdu), Peaceful (santa) & without material possessions (akincana) – Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who is none other than the incarnation of Lord Balarama, used to beg from door to door, urging people to chant the holy name of Lord Gauranga (Amare Kiniya laho bhojo Gaurahari). Holding straws between His teeth, rolling on the dusty grounds ,He requested them again and again to chant. The Lord did not mind to play the role of a beggar just to deliver His children from their material existence. Such is the magnanimity of Nityananda prabhu. He didn’t mind getting beaten by drunkards like Jagai and Madhai, because delivering the sinful was more important than His own personal comforts (refer –’Kunja Vatika, Khardaha’).
We see the example of Gadadhara Das (refer –’Sri Gadadhara das Sripat , Ariadaha’) who delivered the sinful Kazi by making him chant the names of Lord Hari. He took a risk in approaching the Kazi, who was feared by everyone. But a vaishnava doesn’t think twice, in taking risks for preaching the glories of the Lord.
A Vaishnava is always peaceful, satisfied and doesn’t hanker for material possessions. When Lord Gaurahari came to Bengal to visit Saci mata, He stopped over for a few days at Srivasa pandita’s house at Kumarhatta (Halisahar). Mahaprabhu was then amazed to notice that Srivasa Pandita did not go out to earn but instead just sat and chanted in his house for the whole day.When Mahaprabhu asked Srivasa pandita as to how he maintained his family, Srivasa replied that by Mahaprabhu’s mercy he and his family members never suffer from any shortage. Srivasa pandita added that if ever in future the situation arose that there was no food in the house, then he would wait for three days.If even after three days the situation did not improve then he would commit suicide by jumping into the Ganges (refer –’Srivasa Angan & Samadhi of Chand Kazi, Mayapur, Navadvipa – Part 2’).Lord Caitanya then reassured Srivasa pandita that such a day would never arrive.The Lord then assured that for His devotees, He Himself bore all responsibility of their maintenance.The Lord also quoted a verse from Bhagavad Gita to support His statement, wherein He had stated that for His dear devotees, He personally preserved what they have and carry what they lack (ananyas chintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate, tesam nityabhiyuktanaam yoga ksemam vahamy aham). A Vaishnava hence always keeps his faith upon the Lord’s protection (abashya rakshibe krishna -visvasa palana).
Kolavecha Sridhar was a banana leaf seller of Navadvipa.He was a materially impoverished person who could barely make his ends meet. Yet he was a great devotee of the Lord. Inspite of his financial predicament,whatever little he earned,he used to spend fifty percent of it in worshipping mother Ganges.Mahaprabhu, when He was a little boy, used to go the markets and bargain with him everyday. Finally the Lord used to take away the banana leaves from Sridhar without paying any money.Caitanya Mahaprabhu loved him a lot. During the Mahaprakash Lila, the Lord was ready to grant Sridhar any boon – the kingdom of Indra, or even the elusive perfections of the mystic yogic process. But Sridhar did not ask for any money or opulence as a benediction; all he wanted was to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu life after life.
‘Lord, if You must give me something, then I ask for this. May that Brahmin who used to pinch my banana leaves and bark everyday ,be my Lord, lifetime after lifetime. May that Brahmin who used to argue with me be my master, and I serve His lotus feet.’ (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.9.223-5)
The beautiful pastimes of Kolavecha Sridhar indicate how the devotees of the lord are simple without any material hankerings.
- Cleanliness (Suci) , Desireless (akama), Self-Controlled (Free from lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and envy) – Cleanliness not only refers to that of one’s body, but also that of one’s mind and consciousness. The Vaishnava etiquettes, like getting up in the morning, washing feet after eating,taking bath after visiting the bathroom for clearing,etc not only keeps one’s body clean, but also helps clean one’s consciousness. These Vaishnava etiquettes along with strictly following the regulative principles like no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling and abstaining from illicit sex, helps one to be established in the mode of pure goodness. When one reaches such a state of consciousness, it is very easy for him to completely surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord. By the mercy of the lord,such a person no longer possesses any material desires and is delivered from the clutches of lust, greed,anger,illusion,madness ,envy, etc
If we study the recent history, we shall realize how the lives of the hippies, who once led exceedingly unclean and impure lives, have been completely transformed after taking up the process of Krishna consciousness. Strictly following the Vaishnava etiquettes, and the regulative principles, they have been delivered from their material hankerings and have become leaders of the society today. In Fact several of them have become spiritual leaders who provide inspiration and guidance to millions.Being free from lust,greed, anger, illusion,madness and envy, they have dedicated their lives in the service of Lord and humanity.
- Exclusively surrendered to Krishna (Krishnaika Sarana) – A Vaishnava depends on Krishna in all circumstances. He never thinks of himself to be the doer but considers himself to be an insignificant tool through whom the Lord manifests His own desires.
In this regard, we can cite the awe inspiring pastime of Sri Gopal Singh, the king of Bishnupur.The 55th Malla king,Sri Gopal Singh was extremely pious and devoted to the lord. Day and night he immersed himself in singing and chanting the glories of his ishta deva,Sri Madana Mohana.Drawn to its wealth and prosperity, fifty-two thousand Maratha soldiers once attacked the town of Bishnupur. These Marathas were referred to as ‘Bargi’ in common dialect and were known to be exceedingly ferocious who did not spare even women and children to achieve their ends. They looted wealth, killed people, and before departing,burnt down entire villages. So when these Marathas, surrounded Bishnupur, the citizens naturally got very nervous.But King Gopal singh, instead of preparing to retaliate, decided to take complete shelter of his beloved Madana Mohana. He led a tumultuous Harinama sankirtana party that traversed the entire city and filled its land and sky with the auspicious vibrations of the holy name. He asked his soldiers to seek shelter of the Lord and pray for protection.Not all were convinced with his actions though.
Towards the end of the night, frightening sounds of cannons were heard. These cannons destroyed the entire army of these marathas and the dreaded Bargi leader almost died in the fight. Suffering a heavy defeat, the ‘Bargis’ retreated.The next morning, while victory was being celebrated, the king enquired of the brave fighter.The soldiers denied to have fired the cannon and confessed that it was humanly impossible to fire so many shots from these few cannons ,in such a quick succession.
One of the soldiers, then recounted a hair raising incident. He recollected that while he was guarding the forts the previous night, he saw a young boy , wearing a blue apparel, come out of the city,riding on his white horse.The whole atmosphere was surcharged with pleasant fragrance and the effulgence of His body illuminated the surroundings. The guard said that he had fainted on seeing His enchanting beauty. He regained his senses upon hearing the loud shots of the cannon and observed dead and fleeing maratha warriors, all around.But in spite of searching, he could not find the young boy again.While the King was thus conversing with his soldiers, a milkman came rushing. He informed of a young boy, wearing blue garments, who had stopped the milkman on his way and had eaten all the curd that he was bringing for the king. The boy had a bright smile on His face and identified Himself as the King’s son. As a proof, the boy had also handed over His bracelet to the milkman, which He had asked to be shown to His father, so that the King could pay him the required money. The milkman added, that the boy had claimed to be very tired fighting the Marathas all night and needed something cool to eat. The boy had marks of explosives all over His beautiful body.
Sri Gopal Singh began shedding tears of joy. He understood who that small boy was. He was none other than his beloved Madana Mohana who had mercifully responded to the prayers of His devotees and had protected them from grave danger. On opening the temple gates, Sri Madanamohana was found standing, with His blue garments completely drenched in perspiration. The marks of explosives as if decorated His enchanting form and His bracelet was missing from His right hand. Being entranced, the King fainted in ecstasy.’The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ humbly begs at the feet of Sri Gopal singh to bestow upon us a tiny drop from the ocean of unflinching faith he possesses for the Supreme Lord (refer –’The Glories of Bishnupur (the temple town of Bengal) – Part 2 :The Amazing Pastimes of Sri MadanaMohana’).
- Indifferent to material acquisitions (aniha) , without inebriation (apramatta) & without false prestige (amani) – Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi was a great branch of Lord Caitanya’s desire tree of devotional service. He was so dear to the Lord that the Lord would sometimes cry in his absence (…yanra nama lana prabhu kandila apani ). Pundarika hailed from a village known as Mekhala, situated in the Chattagram district of Bangladesh.He was a zamindar(landlord) and he disguised his external appearance as a wealthy materialist. In fact his external appearance was so deceiving with all the rich paraphernalia he possessed, that even Gadadhara Pandita mistook him to be an ordinary wealthy person devoid of Vaishnava qualities. When the two met, Pundarika, was comfortably seated upon a soft mattress supporting his back with silk pillows.Above his head were three tiers of ornamented canopies and there were large mirrors on his either side into which he frequently glanced.Pundarika’s hair was well groomed and they looked shiny with perfumed oil. Behind him were two men fanning him with peacock feathers. Observing the opulence that surrounded Pundarika, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, who was very renounced from His very childhood, could not grasp his elevated stature and mistook him to be an ordinary materialist.
Mukunda Datta, who was also present over there, could understand Gadadhara’s mind and took it upon himself to reveal the real nature of Pundarika. With his sweet voice, he began reciting a verse describing the glories of Sri Krishna. He asked as to how one can be more merciful than He ,who had granted the position of mother to the she-demon Putana, who wanted to kill Him by smearing poison on her breast. Just by offering her breast and by wanting to feed little Krishna ,even though her actual desire was to poison Him, the demon Putana had achieved liberation and the exalted status of His mother. As soon as Sri Pundarika heard this verse, he became absorbed in an intense spiritual emotion and rolled over the ground in ecstasy.He smashed all the valuable paraphernalia that surrounded him,and began tearing off his costly clothes.Incessantly shedding tears ,he cried out for the association of the Supreme Lord. The storm of ecstatic love abated when Sri Pundarika fell down unconscious remaining submerged in an ocean of bliss. Seeing the transcendental symptoms of love on Pundarika’s body, Gadadhara pandit realized his mistake and began to repent. Even though Pundarika Vidyanidhi was a great Vaishnava, he kept it a secret and appeared just like a materialistic person. Gadadhara Pandita ultimately took initiation from Pundarika Vidyanidhi to atone for his offenses.Thus we understand the exalted position of Pundarika Vidyanidhi who though being a very rich landlord, was indifferent towards his material possessions when it came to exhibiting his love for the lord. For such an elevated soul, it does not matter whether he lives in the house or in the forest, whether he wears a loincloth or wears the garb of a king. Pundarika was indifferent towards his material possessions and put on the show of being sensualist for those who were capable of being deceived by someone’s external appearance. The lotus feet of Pundarika Vidyanidhi are the worshipable treasure-house of the devotees (refer –’Remembering Sri Gadadhara Pandita at the Gaur Gadadhara Gaudiya Math, Champahati, Navadvipa’).Similarly, Mukunda Das, who served as the King’s physician in Malda (Gauda), was a great Vaishnava devotee (refer –’The Great Vaishnavas of Srikhanda’).Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu greatly glorified Sri Mukunda’s devotion towards the Lord and compared it to pure gold (…nigooda nirmala prema, yena dagdha hema).Externally Sri Mukunda acted as a physician and served the king, but internally he was a pure devotee whose depths of love (for the lord) was very difficult to ascertain.One day while Mukunda and the erstwhile king, Nawab Hussain Shah, were discussing medical science, one of the king’s servants arrived and started fanning the king with a fan made of peacock feathers. He held the fan above the king’s head. Just by seeing the peacock feathers, Sri Mukunda became absorbed in the pastimes of his beloved Krishna and began meditating upon Sri Vrindavana dham. Contemplating thus,he fell down from the high sitting platform onto the ground. When Sri Mukunda came back to his senses, the king inquired as to what had happened to him. In order not to reveal his ecstatic mood, Mukunda then lied that he had been suffering from a disease like epilepsy, due to which he often falls unconscious. But the king being very intelligent understood the whole affair and realized that Sri Mukunda was a great liberated personality.
Thus we understand that the external appearance of a person can be very deceiving. A devotee, no matter where he resides or what profession he is engaged in, is completely surrendered and continuously mediates upon the Supreme Lord. He is neither overwhelmed by the riches he possesses nor does he harbour any false prestige. He only identifies himself as the servant of the servant of the Supreme Lord (Dasanudas).
- Does not eat more than required (mita-bhuk) – A devotee of the Lord does not eat too much or too little. He lives moderately and does not eat more than required to maintain his body. If we consider the examples of the six goswamis of Vrindavan, we find that they lived by doing madhukari (collected food by begging from door to door). In this way they purified those from whom they begged, by accepting their charity.
We can also cite the example of Shuklambar brahmacari, who kept his body and soul together by offering and eating the foodstuffs that he daily accumulated by begging. Since he was constantly absorbed in the joys of chanting the names of the Lord and remembering His qualities and pastimes, he never suffered from any poverty. Though to an ordinary conditioned soul he appeared to be a poverty-stricken mendicant, but to the transcendental eyes ,he was very rich because of his intense love for Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya out of His causeless mercy and love for Shuklambar used to snatch the dry rice from his bag and eat it. Though Shuklambar was pained to see the Lord eat the unclean and broken fragments of low-quality rice and felt that he was committing an offense,the Lord calmed him and assured him that He always enjoyed eating His Devotee’s food with great enthusiasm.On the other hand the Lord had no interest whatsoever in eating the finest foodstuffs belonging to a non devotee.
- Expert (daksha) – A pure devotee of the Lord is empowered by the Lord and the spiritual master to perform great feats. When the books of the Goswamis were stolen in Bishnupur, Srinivasa Acharya did not lose his cool. Instead he meditated and sought for inspiration. Ultimately he managed to not only recover the books but also initiated the culprit King Bir Hambir, who went on to become a great Vaishnava himself (refer –’The Glories of Bishnupur (the temple town of Bengal) – Part 1 :Srinivasa Acharya and Bir Hambir’).
Similarly, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon, has accomplished feats which are difficult for one to even try and imagine.At the advanced age of seventy, boarding a cargo ship, without any money, he travelled alone to the United States. He suffered from two heart attacks during this journey. In the next ten years, he established this world wide Krishna consciousness movement, encircled the globe fourteen times and opened 108 Hare krishna temples across six continents. By the time he passed away in 1977,He had initiated more than 5000 disciples and launched the ISKCON life membership program enrolling thousands of members (refer –‘The birthplace of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Tollygunge’).
- Grave (gambhira), Friend (maitra), Silent (Mauni) & Poet (Kavi)- A Vaishnava is always relishing the transcendental mellows of the pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna. He is always contemplating upon the glories of the Lord. He knows that the material world is temporary and that the material existence can come to an abrupt end at any point of time.So a devotee is never overwhelmed or carried away and is always focused on his eternal journey back home, back to godhead. Hence a devotee is always grave, silent and serious about his spiritual life.
At the same time, he tries to help the living entities by giving them the supreme Knowledge and encouraging them to practice spirituality.So naturally, he is the best friend that one can possibly have.
A Vaishnava also develops poetic qualities, that enables him to compose poems glorifying the Lord and His devotees.The Mahabharata written by Srila Vyasadeva is the longest poem in the world.The Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. When a devotee wishes to glorify the Lord or His pastimes, he invariably takes the refuge of poems, wherein he can express his feelings in an apt manner.The Gaudiya Vaishnava bhajans(songs) written by Narottama Das Thakura, Locana Das Thakur, Vrindavan Das Thakur,Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other prominent vaishnavas help us relish their feelings and depths of devotion and inspire us follow in their footsteps. Biographies of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu namely Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Caitanya Bhagavata and Caitanya Mangala are the greatest bengali classics to have been ever written.
We worship the lotus feet of our spiritual master ,whose causeless mercy has empowered us ineligible fools ,to gain entrance and take up service in this transcendental abode of Bengal. We seek shelter of this holy land, and pray that its glories remain forever imprinted in our heart. We offer millions of obeisances unto our spiritual master and humbly pray that we advance in our Krishna consciousness, develop attachment unto the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga and be able to develop these transcendental Vaishnava qualities within us one day. We shall consider ourselves greatly fortunate and our existence meaningful if Lord Gaurahari and our dear spiritual master are kindly pleased with our endeavours.