The Rules and Regulations of Spiritual Practice

There is a very common question among those who follow a spiritual life, which is: what is the roleof vaidhi-bhakti? This means, the spiritual practices guided by rules and regulations described inthe Holy Scriptures. Vaidhi bhakti is the companion of our spiritual life that sustains us from not tofalling and it manifests itself, for example, in a Yoga Monastery where sadhana is practiced. For example, we all should participate in the daily readings of the Srimad Bhagavatam, but I askyou: How many classes did you attend the last month? If the answer is not thirty classes, thisshows the absence of vaidi bhakti and the consequences are paid in your flesh, because thisgenerates a lower consciousness.

Vaidhi bhakti is the dose of spiritual medicine necessary to sustain yourselves. Reading theScriptures is a step, singing the holy name, singing the gayatri, attending the arati and receivingthe darshan of the Lord, and practicing devotional services are different steps, but all of them arepart of the vaidhi bhakti. Vaidhi bhakti is not really subject to time, place and circumstance, it goes beyond; and anyspiritual practice that is difficult to comply with shouldn’t be demanded, then: What kind oftranscendental activities should be performed? The ones which have been established in theScriptures and practiced by our ācāryas. There is a tendency to decrease the practice over time,and that is dangerous. One must become a strong, determined and dedicated devotee; those arethe characteristics of a vaishnava. Laziness is not acceptable in the spiritual life; therefore, wemust get our act together. To direct our energy and spiritual love is very important.

Also, vaidhi bhakti is to seriously practice spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada said vaidhi bhakti meansthat one is offering devotional service under the instruction of the spiritual master since we havenot yet developed spontaneous love for Krishna. It is a matter of stages. First it is necessary toadhere to the rules and regulations so spontaneity is manifested. Everything is well explained bySrila Rupa Goswami.

Raga-bhakti means that everything you do spontaneously is directed towards God, it emerges in ahigher stage that requires certain perfection in the process. This means talking about another typeof bhakti. But even so, if you speak of other bhakti, then do not abandon vaidhi bhakti principlesand teachings, because vaidhi bhakti means taking things seriously. There are aspiring vaishnavas that are not very serious when they refer to the raga-bhakti and tend to try to achieve or evenimitate something they are not prepared for, they are only an example of very little seriousnessand lack of humility. The devotees who are aware of their difficulties and errors are actingcorrectly, while the devotees who feel very advanced are situated in a very dangerous position.

In this path that we share with our devoted brothers, everyone should be satisfied with very little,be happy, positive, constructive, generous and enthusiastic in all circumstances or situations thatthey find themselves in; because of this, any distinction that a vaishnava receives should serveas inspiration to become friendlier, more humble and more inspired to serve. Otherwise, this is considered to fall and you will lose the delight for the association with the devotees and for theservice; however, when we are in association with sadhus all these frictions disappear.

Please take these recommendations seriously that come from my heart for your wellbeing andspiritual progress in this wonderful path of Krishna Consciousness, be serious in your spiritualpractice, as it is the only way to become purified so that you can someday achieve the goal of purelove for God.

With affection

Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti