Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: The Nectar of Instruction, Preface
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is conducted under the supervision of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, or Bengali Vaiṣṇavas, are mostly followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, of whom the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana are direct disciples. Therefore Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung:
rūpa-raghunātha-pade ha-ibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhaba se yugala-pīriti
"When I am eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvāmīs, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in order to bestow upon human society the benediction of the science of Kṛṣṇa. The most exalted of all the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa are His pastimes of conjugal love with the gopīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the best of the gopīs. Therefore, to understand the mission of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and follow in His footsteps, one must very seriously follow in the footsteps of the six Gosvāmīs — Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha.
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī was the leader of all the Gosvāmīs, and to guide our activities he gave us this Upadeśāmṛta (The Nectar of Instruction) to follow. As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left behind Him the eight verses known as Śikṣāṣṭaka, Rūpa Gosvāmī gave us Upadeśāmṛta so that we may become pure Vaiṣṇavas.
In all spiritual affairs, one's first duty is to control his mind and senses. Unless one controls his mind and senses, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guṇa, by following the instructions of Rūpa Gosvāmī, and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed.
Advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower. A follower of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should become a perfect gosvāmī. Vaiṣṇavas are generally known as gosvāmīs. In Vṛndāvana, this is the title by which the director of each temple is known. One who wants to become a perfect devotee of Kṛṣṇa must become a gosvāmī. Go means "the senses," and svāmī means "the master." Unless one controls his senses and mind, one cannot become a gosvāmī. To achieve the highest success in life by becoming a gosvāmī and then a pure devotee of the Lord, one must follow the instructions known as Upadeśāmṛta, which have been given by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has given many other books, such as Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Vidagdha-mādhava and Lalita-mādhava, but Upadeśāmṛta constitutes the first instructions for neophyte devotees. One should follow these instructions very strictly. Then it will be easier to make one's life successful. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness