Two years ago I experimented with something I had been deliberating on for many years. Along with twelve of my students, I rented a house in Switzerland for a week in the summer and engaged in japa meditation as described in bhakti shastra. There was no contact with the outside world, (i.e. no phone or internet) and we cooked our own food. The results were very encouraging.
I first visited Vrindavan during the month of Kartika. Being fond of buying books I went to Loi Bazar and happened to find the Sandarbhas printed by Guru Maharaja. From these books I got his address and immediately had the desire to visit him. I went there alone in the evening.
One day I was in a mall and discovered a sale of old books. “Easy Journey to Other Planets” by Srila Prabhupada was one of the books I picked up. I began reading this small book immediately and found it quite interesting, but didn’t realize the connection between the author and ISKCON. I was so impressed by Srila Prabhupada’s writing that I would have changed my mind and gone back to the temple had I realized it.
Sri Rupa Gosvami says bhakti develops from sadhana to bhava by passing through eight steps (BRS 1.4.15-16). The first step, sraddha, leads to the second, sadhu-sanga: association with a sadhu, a Vaishnava saint. Commenting on these verses, Sri Jiva Gosvami writes that prior to attaining sraddha, a person
Recently an article entitled “Disobedience and Deviation is More Dangerous than a Falldown!” by Mahasrnga Dasa was published on the Sampradaya Sun website and brought to my notice. This article warns ISKCON devotees against associating with the bābājīs in Vraja, specifically Vrindavan and Rādhākuṇḍa.
In the following verse, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī simultaneously describes both qualities of Vaikuṇṭha [discussed in the two previous sections]: It is beyond the visible or manifest world and is a place from which no one falls down:
Teaching is an art. An expert teacher is one who educates in such a way that the students embrace the teaching as their own, without confusion or degradation. The conditioned souls, being unaware of any other reality, do not aspire to become free of the material world, but would rather be happy in this life, or at best, in some future heaven. Yet a compassionate teacher is moved to help relieve them of their material identification.