Text 6

दृष्टैः स्वभावजनितैर्वपुषश्च दोषैर्
न प्राकृतत्वमीह भक्तजनस्य पश्येत् ।
गङ्गाम्भसां न खलु बुद्बुदफेन पङ्कैः
र्ब्रह्मद्रवत्वमपगच्छतिनीरधर्मैः ॥६॥


dṛṣṭaiḥ svabhāva-janitair vapuṣaś ca doṣair
na prākṛtatvam iha bhakta janasya paśyet
gaṅgāmbhasāṁ na khalu budbuda-phena-paṅkair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nīra-dharmaiḥ


dṛṣṭaiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdṛṣṭaiḥ

are obtained; seen by ordinary vision.
—seen by ordinary vision; svabhāvaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigsvabhava

by nature; by spiritual nature; characteristic; feature; features; natural; natural emotion; natural inclination; natural instinct; nature; of natures; original form; own nature; practice; the nature; the natures.
-janitaiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjanitaiḥ

born of one's own nature.
—born of one’s own nature; vapuṣaḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigvapuṣaḥ

of the body.
—of the body; caplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigca

ca; all these; also; also other bodily forms; also that I have not been able to ask; and (the five gross material elements and the ten acting and knowledge-gathering senses); and; and also; and Devahūti; and for all; and the paraphernalia; as also; as much as; as well; as well as; but; certainly; either; however; indeed; only; or; over and above; respectively; the word ca; this word ca; thus; totally; unlimitedly; verily.
—and; doṣaiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdoṣaiḥ

by such faults; by the faults.
—by the faults; naplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigna

never; not; are not; but not; cannot; certainly not; could not; did not; do not; does it not; does not; is not; it is not; it is not so; may not; neither; never; never does; never to be; no; no one; none; nor; not; not like that; not preceded by oṁ; not suitable; nothing; or not; shall not; should never; there is none; there is not; there should not be; was not; whether; without.
—not; prākṛtatvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigprākṛtatvam

the state of being material.
—the state of being material; ihaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigiha

as a matter of fact; at the present moment; at this place; by this; during this span of life; here (in this body); here (in this life); here (in this universe); here (on this water); here; here in Jagannātha Purī; here in the spiritual world; here in this world; here in Vṛndāvana; here, in this arena of sacrifice; herein; herewith; in material sense gratification; in the foolish species of life; in the material world; in the matter of this offense; in the sacrifice; in the universe; in this (material world); in this (the holy name); in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; in this; in this battle; in this body; in this case; in this connection; in this existence; in this human society; in this land of Bhārata-varṣa; in this life; in this material world (especially in this pious land of Bhārata-varṣa, India); in this material world; in this matter of creation; in this millennium; in this narration; in this place; in this place, in this spot; in this situation; in this universe; in this very life; in this water; in this world; in this world of mortality; in this world or in this life; in Vaikuṇṭha; in which house; it; now; on this planet; on this subject; this; within the universe; within this life; within this material world; within this world.
—in this world; bhaktaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigbhakta

a devotee; a great devotee; a pure devotee; all the devotees; by His devotees; devotee; devotees; of a devotee; of devotees; of the devotee; pure devotee; the devotee; the devotees; the pure devotee; to His devotees.
janasyaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigjanasya

of a person; of all the other people gathered there; of an ordinary person who does not know the goal of life; of the common man; of the intelligent person; of the living being; of the people in general; such a person.
—of a pure devotee; paśyetplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigpaśyet

observes; one should see; sees.
—one should see; gaṅgāplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigganga

Ganges; mother Ganges; of the Ganges; the Ganges; the River Ganges; the River Gaṅgā; the sacred Ganges.
-ambhasāmplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigambhasām

of water.
—of the Ganges waters; naplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigna

never; not; are not; but not; cannot; certainly not; could not; did not; do not; does it not; does not; is not; it is not; it is not so; may not; neither; never; never does; never to be; no; no one; none; nor; not; not like that; not preceded by oṁ; not suitable; nothing; or not; shall not; should never; there is none; there is not; there should not be; was not; whether; without.
—not; khaluplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigkhalu

as a matter of fact; as it were; as well as; certainly; even; famous as; however; indeed; naturally; nevertheless; of course; undoubtedly.
—certainly; budbudaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigbudbuda

by bubbles, foam and mud.
-phenaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigphena

foam; the foam.
-paṅkaiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigpaṅkaiḥ

by bubbles, foam and mud.
—by bubbles, foam and mud; brahmaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigbrahma

brahma; brāhmaṇas; mantras beginning with oṁ (such as oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ); Veda; Vedas; absolute; Absolute Truth; all my brahminical qualifications; all the Vedas; all the Vedas with their different branches of knowledge; all the Vedas; all transcendental literatures; and brahma; Being; brahma; Brahmaloka; Brahman; brahminical civilization; brahminical culture; by Lord Brahmā; called by the name Brahman; from the activities of Brahman realization or austerity; Gāyatrī hymns; impersonal Brahman; impersonal Brahman realization; is the brāhmaṇas; knowledge of Brahman; Kṛṣṇa; Lord Brahmā; of a brāhmaṇa; of impersonal Brahman; of impersonal Brahman, or the Absolute Truth; of Lord Brahmā; of the brāhmaṇas; of the impersonal effulgence; spirit; spiritual; spiritual kingdom; spiritual knowledge; spiritual nature; spiritual power; Supreme; the brāhmaṇas; the Vedas; the Absolute; the Absolute Truth; the all-pervading Absolute Truth; the brahminical culture; the greatest; the Gāyatrī mantra; the impersonal Brahman (which is an emanation from Kṛṣṇa); the impersonal Brahman; the impersonal Brahman effulgence; the impersonal feature; the Parabrahman, Kṛṣṇa; the personified Vedas; the Supreme; the Supreme Absolute Truth; the Supreme Brahman; the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead; the Supreme Lord; the Supreme Personality of Godhead; the supreme spirit; the supreme truth, the Absolute Truth, Brahman; the Vedic knowledge; the Vedic literatures; the Vedic wisdom; Transcendence; transcendental; truth; unlimited; Vedic; Vedic knowledge; Vedic sound; without change; You are known as Brahman.
-dravatvamplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdravatvam

the transcendental nature.
—the transcendental nature; apagacchatiplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigapagacchati

is spoiled.
—is spoiled; nīraplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bignīra

in the water; water.
-dharmaiḥplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigdharmaiḥ

by the power of religion.
—the characteristics of water. 


Being situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water. 


Śuddha-bhakti, the activity of the soul proper—in other words, engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord—is performed in a liberated condition. In Bhagavad-gītā (14.26)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 14.26

One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.
it is stated: 

māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” 

Avyabhicāriṇī bhakti means unalloyed devotion. A person engaged in devotional service must be free from material motives. In this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, one’s consciousness must be changed. If consciousness is aimed toward material enjoyment, it is material consciousness, and if it is aimed toward serving Kṛṣṇa, it is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A surrendered soul serves Kṛṣṇa without material considerations (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11]). Jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam: unalloyed devotional service, which is transcendental to the activities of the body and mind, such as jñāna (mental speculation) and karma (fruitive work), is called pure bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is the proper activity of the soul, and when one actually engages in unalloyed, uncontaminated devotional service, he is already liberated (sa guṇān samatītyaitān [Bg. 14.26]plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 14.26

One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.
). Kṛṣṇa’s devotee is not subjected to material condition, even though his bodily features may appear materially conditioned. One should therefore not see a pure devotee from a materialistic point of view. Unless one is actually a devotee, he cannot see another devotee perfectly. As explained in the previous verse, there are three types of devotees—kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī cannot distinguish between a devotee and nondevotee. He is simply concerned with worshiping the Deity in the temple. A madhyama-adhikārī, however, can distinguish between the devotee and nondevotee, as well as between the devotee and the Lord. Thus he treats the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee and the nondevotee in different ways. 

No one should criticize the bodily defects of a pure devotee. If there are such defects, they should be overlooked. What should be taken into account is the spiritual master’s main business, which is devotional service, pure service to the Supreme Lord. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.30)plugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 9.30

Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.

api cet sudurācāro
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ

Even if a devotee sometimes seems to engage in abominable activities, he should be considered a sādhu, a saintly person, because his actual identity is that of one engaged in the loving service of the Lord. In other words, he is not to be considered an ordinary human being. 

Even though a pure devotee may not be born in a brāhmaṇa or gosvāmī family, if he is engaged in the service of the Lord he should not be neglected. In actuality there cannot be a family of gosvāmīs based on material considerations, caste or heredity. The gosvāmī title is actually the monopoly of the pure devotees; thus we speak of the six Gosvāmīs, headed by Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī had practically become Mohammedans and had therefore changed their names to Dabira Khāsa and Sākara Mallika, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself made them gosvāmīs. Therefore the gosvāmī title is not hereditary. The word gosvāmī refers to one who can control his senses, who is master of the senses. A devotee is not controlled by the senses, but is the controller of the senses. Consequently he should be called svāmī or gosvāmī, even though he may not be born in a gosvāmī family. 

According to this formula, the gosvāmīs who are descendants of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu are certainly devotees, but devotees coming from other families should not be discriminated against; indeed, whether the devotees come from a family of previous ācāryas or from an ordinary family, they should be treated equally. One should not think, “Oh, here is an American gosvāmī,“and discriminate against him. Nor should one think, “Here is a nityānanda-vaṁśa-gosvāmī.” here is an undercurrent of protest against our awarding the title gosvāmī to the American Vaiṣṇavas of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Sometimes people flatly tell the American devotees that their sannyāsa or title of gosvāmī is not bona fide. However, according to the statements of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in this verse, an American gosvāmī and a gosvāmī in a family of ācāryas are nondifferent. 

On the other hand, a devotee who has attained the title of gosvāmī but is not born of a brāhmaṇa father or of a gosvāmī in the family of Nityānanda or Advaita Prabhu should not be artificially puffed up by thinking that he has become a gosvāmī. He should always remember that as soon as he becomes materially puffed up, he immediately falls down. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is a transcendental science, and there is no room for jealousy. This movement is meant for the paramahaṁsas who are completely free from all jealousy (paramaṁ nirmatsarāṇām). One should not be jealous, whether he is born in a family of gosvāmīs or has the title of gosvāmī awarded to him. As soon as anyone becomes envious, he falls from the platform of paramahaṁsa. 

If we consider the bodily defects of a Vaiṣṇava, we should understand that we are committing an offense at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇava. An offense at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava is very serious. Indeed, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described this offense as hātī-mātā, the mad elephant offense. A mad elephant can create a disaster, especially when it enters into a nicely trimmed garden. One should therefore be very careful not to commit any offense against a Vaiṣṇava. Every devotee should be ready to take instructions from a superior Vaiṣṇava, and a superior Vaiṣṇava must be ready to help an inferior Vaiṣṇava in all respects. One is superior or inferior according to his spiritual development in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One is forbidden to observe the activities of a pure Vaiṣṇava from a material point of view. For the neophyte especially, considering a pure devotee from a material point of view is very injurious. One should therefore avoid observing a pure devotee externally, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way one can avoid seeing the pure devotee from a material point of view, and thus one can gradually become a purified devotee himself. 

Those who think that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is limited to a certain section of people, a certain section of devotees or a certain tract of land are generally prone to see the external features of the devotee. Such neophytes, unable to appreciate the exalted service of the advanced devotee, try to bring the mahā-bhāgavata to their platform. We experience such difficulty in propagating this Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Unfortunately we are surrounded by neophyte Godbrothers who do not appreciate the extraordinary activities of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. They simply try to bring us to their platform, and they try to criticize us in every respect. We very much regret their naive activities and poor fund of knowledge. An empowered person who is actually engaged in the confidential service of the Lord should not be treated as an ordinary human being, for it is stated that unless one is empowered by Kṛṣṇa, one cannot spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. 

When one thus criticizes a pure devotee, he commits an offense (vaiṣṇava-aparādha) that is very obstructive and dangerous for those who desire to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person cannot derive any spiritual benefit when he offends the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava. Everyone should therefore be very careful not to be jealous of an empowered Vaiṣṇava, or a śuddha-vaiṣṇava. It is also an offense to consider an empowered Vaiṣṇava an object of disciplinary action. It is offensive to try to give him advice or to correct him. One can distinguish between a neophyte Vaiṣṇava and an advanced Vaiṣṇava by their activities. The advanced Vaiṣṇava is always situated as the spiritual master, and the neophyte is always considered his disciple. The spiritual master must not be subjected to the advice of a disciple, nor should a spiritual master be obliged to take instructions from those who are not his disciples. This is the sum and substance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s advice in the sixth verse.