All of the previous instructions imparted by Rupa Gosvami in his broad statements can be summarized thusly: as long as one is materially inclined, desirous to merge into the spiritual effulgence, one cannot enter into the realm of pure devotional service

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"All of the previous instructions imparted by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his broad statements can be summarized thusly: as long as one is materially inclined or desirous to merge into the spiritual effulgence, one cannot enter into the realm of pure devotional service"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

All of the previous instructions imparted by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his broad statements can be summarized thusly: as long as one is materially inclined or desirous to merge into the spiritual effulgence, one cannot enter into the realm of pure devotional service. Next, Rūpa Gosvāmī states that devotional service is transcendental to all material considerations and that it is not limited to any particular country, class, society or circumstance.

All of the previous instructions imparted by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his broad statements can be summarized thusly: as long as one is materially inclined or desirous to merge into the spiritual effulgence, one cannot enter into the realm of pure devotional service. Next, Rūpa Gosvāmī states that devotional service is transcendental to all material considerations and that it is not limited to any particular country, class, society or circumstance. As is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, devotional service is transcendental and has no cause. Devotional service is executed without any hope for gain, and it cannot be checked by any material circumstances. It is open for all, without any distinction, and it is the constitutional occupation of the living entities.

In the Middle Ages, after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya's great associate Lord Nityānanda, a class of priestly persons claimed to be the descendents of Nityānanda, calling themselves the gosvāmī caste. They further claimed that the practice and spreading of devotional service belonged only to their particular class, which was known as Nityānanda-vaṁśa. In this way, they exercised their artificial power for some time, until Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākur, the powerful ācārya of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, completely smashed their idea. There was a great hard struggle for some time, but it has turned out successfully, and it is now correctly and practically established that devotional service is not restricted to a particular class of men. Besides that, anyone who is engaged in devotional service is already on the status of being a high-class brāhmaṇa. So Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākur's struggle for this movement has come out successful.

It is on the basis of his position that anyone can now become a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava, from any part of the world or any part of the universe. Anyone who is a pure Vaiṣṇava is situated transcendentally, and therefore the highest qualification in the material world, namely, to be in the modes of goodness, is already achieved by such a person. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the Western world is based on the above-mentioned proposition of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, our spiritual master. On his authority, we are claiming members from all sections of the Western countries. The so-called brāhmaṇas claim that one who is not born into a brāhmaṇa family cannot receive the sacred thread and cannot become a high-grade Vaiṣṇava. But we do not accept such a theory because it is not supported by Rūpa Gosvāmī nor by the strength of the various scriptures.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī specifically mentions herein that every man has the birthright to accept devotional service and to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. He has given many evidences from many scriptures, and he has especially quoted one passage from Padma Purāṇa, wherein sage Vasiṣṭha tells King Dilīpa: "My dear King, everyone has the right to execute devotional service, just as he has the right to take early bath in the month of Māgh (December-January)." There is more evidence in Padma Purāṇa, in the Kāśīkhaṇḍa portion, where it is said: "In the country known as Mayūradhvaja, the lower caste people who are considered less than śūdras are also initiated in the Vaiṣṇava cult of devotional service. And when they are properly dressed, with tilaka on their bodies and beads in their hands and on their necks, they appear to be coming from Vaikuṇṭha. In fact, they look so very beautiful that immediately they surpass the ordinary brāhmaṇas."