26 Qualities of a Devotee
A Vaiṣṇava, therefore, should be fully qualified. As stated in the Bhāgavatam, anyone who has become a Vaiṣṇava has developed all the good qualities of the demigods. There are twenty-six qualifications mentioned in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. A devotee should always see that his Vaiṣṇava qualities increase with the advancement of his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A devotee should be blameless because any offense by the devotee is a scar on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The devotee’s duty is to be always conscious in his dealings with others, especially with another devotee of the Lord.
In the Ādi-līlā of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Chapter Eight, there is a description of some of the qualities of devotees. For example, Śrī Paṇḍita Haridāsa is described as being very well-behaved, tolerant, peaceful, magnanimous and grave. In addition, he spoke very sweetly, his endeavors were very pleasing, he was always patient, he respected everyone, he always worked for everyone’s benefit, his mind was free of duplicity, and he was completely devoid of all malicious activities. These are all originally qualities of Kṛṣṇa, and when one becomes a devotee they automatically become manifest. Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, says that all good qualities become manifest in the body of a Vaiṣṇava and that only by the presence of these good qualities can one distinguish a Vaiṣṇava from a non-Vaiṣṇava.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja lists the following twenty-six good qualities of a Vaiṣṇava:
- (1) He is very kind to everyone.
- (2) He does not make anyone his enemy.
- (3) He is truthful.
- (4) He is equal to everyone.
- (5) No one can find any fault in him.
- (6) He is magnanimous.
- (7) He is mild.
- (8) He is always clean.
- (9) He is without possessions.
- (10) He works for everyone’s benefit.
- (11) He is very peaceful.
- (12) He is always surrendered to Kṛṣṇa.
- (13) He has no material desires.
- (14) He is very meek.
- (15) He is steady.
- (16) He controls his senses.
- (17) He does not eat more than required.
- (18) He is not influenced by the Lord’s illusory energy.
- (19) He offers respect to everyone.
- (20) He does not desire any respect for himself.
- (21) He is very grave.
- (22) He is merciful.
- (23) He is friendly.
- (24) He is poetic.
- (25) He is expert.
- (26) He is silent.