The books of our predecessor Gurus contain many simplified extracts which are the essence of Vaishnava conclusions. Taking the shelter of the bona fide Guru and studying all these devotional literatures while constantly following proper conduct will help one in contributing to the task of preaching. Books like ‘Prathana”, ‘Prema chandrika’ by Narottama Das Thakura, ‘Saranagati’, ‘Kalyana Kalpataru’, ‘Gita vali’ and ‘Gita mala’ by Bhaktivinoda Thakura contains the essence of all the scriptures. The song ‘Sarangati’ runs as follows:
sri krsna caitanya prabhu jive doya kari
sva parsada sviya dhama saha vatari
“The purport of this song is that without surrender nobody raises himself to the highest stage, nor will he be able to preach the Holy Names, form and pastimes of Sri Krishna effectively.”
Lord Krishna had descended to re-enact His wonderful pastimes tinged with absolute sweetness in the association of His confidential associates in the material world. In Kali Yuga immediately after that, the Supreme Lord Gaura Hari appeared as the most magnificent incarnation to distribute the sweet mellows of devotion after relishing it Himself. It is in order to help people to attain this highest stage that Sriman Mahaprabhu has instructed all of us to take up exclusive self-surrender. In Vaishnava Tantra this is mentioned:
anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam
raksisyati iti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa karpanya sad-viddha saranagatih
“Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in his commentary the following symptoms of surrender which are as follows:
To resolve to accept that which is favorable for devotional service (I definitely have to accept it)
To strictly reject all that is unnecessary for proper execution of devotion (I definitely have to renounce this).
Firm faith that only Lord Krishna can protect me (not any form of monistic theories can help me overcome death).
None other than Lord Krishna is my maintainer and supplier (not taking help from demigods or others)
I am not independent but solely dependent on the will of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.
The feelings of meekness and humility by devotees in conjunction with humility and self -surrender.
In the long run, Lord Krishna is very affectionate to His surrendered servants and ready to bestow upon them all desirable ends up to the spontaneous devotion of the residents of Vraja.
Sri Srila Prabhupada has sung: prana ache tanhara sehetu pracara: “Only one who has life can preach”.
Conclusively, in taking to the above injunctions of self-surrender to the Lord as the first and foremost part of self-conduct only, can one successfully preach the devotional conclusions of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Otherwise, like a dead body, one will neither benefit one’s self not anyone else by his preaching. For our higher spiritual goals, the common striving for the lesser pursuits of profit, distinction and fame is not at all conducive. In Sri Srila Prabhupada’s words:
sri-dayita dasa kirtanete asa
kara ucchahsvare harinama rava
“Sri Srila Prabhupada was always aspiring to hear the loud chanting of the Holy Names which was the life and soul of the surrendered devotees. Those without life cannot take either the chanting of the Holy Names, or preach effectively.”
At the time of spiritual initiation, the devotee should surrender wholeheartedly to the lotus feet of the spiritual master if he wishes to receive the mercy of the Supreme Lord. In thinking the spiritual master as a mere mortal, one will not be able to preach. Only by being the proper RECIPIENT of the guru’s mercy, with the maintenance of personal conduct with proper strength and intelligence can one be able to preach effectively.(Excerpted from “Essence of Pure Devotion” By His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Promod Puri Goswami Maharaj)