|Madhya-līlā||Chapter 19: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Instructs Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 19.152
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa
śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale karaye secana
mālī hañā — becoming a gardener; kare — does; sei — that; bīja — seed of devotional service; āropaṇa — sowing; śravaṇa — of hearing; kīrtana — of chanting; jale — with the water; karaye — does; secana — sprinkling.
"When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇa and kīrtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout.
To live with devotees or to live in a temple means to associate with the śravaṇa-kīrtana process. Sometimes neophyte devotees think that they can continue the śravaṇa-kīrtana process without worshiping the Deity, but the execution of such śravaṇa-kīrtana is meant for highly developed devotees like Haridāsa Ṭhākura, who engaged in the śravaṇa-kīrtana process without worshiping the Deity. However, one should not falsely imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura and abandon Deity worship just to try to engage in śravaṇa-kīrtana. This is not possible for neophyte devotees.
The word guru-prasāda indicates that the spiritual master is very merciful in bestowing the boon of devotional service upon the disciple. That is the best possible gift the spiritual master has to offer. Those with a background of pious life are eligible to receive life's supreme benefit, and to bestow this benefit, the Supreme Personality of Godhead sends His representative to impart His mercy. Endowed with the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master distributes the mercy to those who are elevated and pious. Thus the spiritual master trains his disciples to render devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called guru-kṛpā. It is kṛṣṇa-prasāda, Kṛṣṇa's mercy, that He sends a bona fide spiritual master to the deserving disciple. By the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, one meets the bona fide spiritual master, and by the mercy of the spiritual master, the disciple is fully trained in the devotional service of the Lord.
Bhakti-latā-bīja means "the seed of devotional service." Everything has an original cause, or seed. For any idea, program, plan or device, there is first of all the contemplation of the plan, and that is called the bīja, or seed. The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-latā-bīja, or seed of devotional service. This bhakti-latā-bīja is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Other seeds, called anyābhilāṣa-bīja, include karma-bīja and jñāna-bīja. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-latā-bīja from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates such seeds as karma-bīja, jñāna-bīja, or political, social or philanthropic bījas. However, the bhakti-latā-bīja is different from these other bījas. The bhakti-latā-bīja can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get the bhakti-latā-bīja (yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **). The bhakti-latā-bīja is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bīja, or root cause, of karma, jñāna and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. But one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-latā-bīja. This bhakti-latā-bīja is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. After receiving the spiritual master's mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called śravaṇa-kīrtana — hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kīrtana). This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.41): vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit for chanting or for preaching the cult of devotional service. One has to water the bhakti-latā-bīja after receiving instructions from the spiritual master.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness