The next stage of unsteady devotional service is niyamaksama, where the devotee vows to increase his devtional activities. He resolves to chant sixty-four rounds daily; offer one hundred prostrated obeisances to the Deities and the Vaishnavas; serve the senior devotees; avoid talking about mundane topics; shun the company of materialistic minded people, and so on. Daily he makes these vows, but at the last moment he is unable to honor them. The difference between visaya-sangara and niyamaksama is that in the former the devotee is helpless to give up his material sense pleasures, and in the latter he is unable to increase and improve his devotional activities.
Bhakti triology 18-19
There is a component that’s required to be able to make vows to increase ones devotional activities to the point required in niyamaksama. That’s greed. It’s practically impossible to make such vows without determination. That determination will blossom into greed.
What greed is, is perfectly described in Hidden Path of Devotion:
If I desire a rasagulla, but I think “I have no money in my pocket to purchase it, so I cannot have it,” that means I have no real greed for it. A person with greed considers, “Somehow or other, by hook or by crook…”
… Such a person does not think about his qualification or disqualification. He does not consider wether or not he is able to have this bhakti. He simply thinks, “I must have it!” This is real greed.
During the last years before Gurudevas disappearance, he published books that contained such really high harikatha like venu-gita. I began reading this book, but at some point I gave up and realized I was not qualified to read it. I didn’t understand the sentiments it contained and I tried to understand why a glance from Srimati Radhika would have such effect on Krishna, I just gave up. I had no greed.
On the other hand, I don’t care wether or not I’m qualified for bhakti, or this spiritual process. I will keep at it anyway. If my Gurudeva came to me and told me to stop doing all this spiritual nonsense, I would still do it. This material life which knows every trick to stall me, still hasn’t been able to put me off this path. If I considered my qualification, I wouldn’t even be writing this blog.
So how to achieve greed?
Greed does not rely on reasoning. If reasoning is required, there is no greed.
The next consideration is this: Once on develops greed, how does one achieve his desired result? It comes by the association of rasika raganuga Vaisnavas. In that association one reads books like Ujjvala-nilamani, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu, Vraja-riti-cintamani, Krishna-karnamrta, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Srila Jayadeva Gosvami’s Gita-govinda, the books of Sri Kai-karnapura and all our Gosvamis, and especially Raga-vartma-candrika. One will read all of these books and resolve: “How can I somehow easily achieve that mood; by hook or by crook?”
The Hidden Path of Devotion
I have been reading biographies of Saints, because I wanted to understand how they managed to get where they got (and because their lives is interesting). Well, I guess the list of books are revealed to me now.
Furthermore, there is a whole different level between reading venu-gita and reading venu-gita with a purpose.