Author: Ananda Vrndavan dasi, teacher of Madhurya Kadambini course at Bhaktivedanta College
The first series on Madhurya Kadambini course
Photo by Dhiraj Amritraj
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes in his Madhurya Kadambini the progressive stages of devotion in terms of the visible symptoms of developing love. He makes it clear that bhakti is not something one can acquire from a source outside oneself; rather it is latent in all living entities, and the devotional process simply awakens it. While developing pure devotion, love is gradually awakened, so the emphasis is not so much on cleansing lust, which is the most prominent symptom of conditioned life, but on developing attachment for Krishna.
Pure bhakti gradually weakens the influence of the modes of nature, dissipates the false ego, the false sense of identity directed toward the body and things related to it, “I” and “mine” respectively, and awakens the soul to its original state as a loving servant of Krishna. Because the devotees take up the process of bhakti-yoga in order to attain love for Krishna, this study of the way love manifests itself at different stages is of great value to them. It shows an authorized way by which devotees can measure the degree of their spiritual advancement, which is their own attachment to Krishna.
The knowledge about the process through which a practitioner goes, from sraddha to prema, helps us to:
- realistically recognize where we are at,
- most important – recognize what we need to do to advance further based on our present position,
- recognize the position of other spiritualists,
- learn how to properly relate to different devotees.
As we learn to recognize who is more senior to or advanced than us, then we are able to take their association in the right way. In the case of those more or less at the same level of advancement as us, this knowledge will enable us to cultivate friendly relationships. And with those who are junior to us, we will understand that they will not be able to help me, but I can try to help them instead.
Madhurya Kadambini course is delivered online at Bhaktivedanta College. You are welcome to join us!