Manaḥ Śikṣā – Verse 1
gurau goṣṭhe goṣṭhālayiṣu sujane bhū-sura-gaṇe
sva-mantre śrī-nāmni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-śaraṇe
sadā dambhaṁ hitvā kuru ratim apūrvām atitarāṁ
aye svāntar bhrātaś caṭubhir abhiyāce dhṛta-padaḥ
(“O my brother mind, with these pleasing words, I grasp your feet and pray to you – always abandon pride and develop great and unparalleled attachment to the guru, the pasturing grounds of Vraja, the cowherd folk that reside there, the devotees, the brāhmaṇas, one’s mantra, the Holy Name, and the shelter of the ever youthful Divine Couple of Vraja.)
(Obeisance to the feet of Śrī Guru)
(Obeisance to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya-candra)
(Obeisance to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa)
Falling and offering daṇḍavats at the feet of the world-renowned Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, who severed all his worldly ties and took refuge in Śrī Śrīman Mahāprabhu, and who was taught all the secrets of bhajana by Śrī Śrī Svarūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu on the order of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, I have written a commentary on the book Manaḥ Śīkṣā. These twelve ślokas are the very life and wealth of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Śrī Dāsa Gosvāmī has instructed the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas by targeting his own mind.
In the course of attaining great fortune, a jīva’s faith in topics concerning Śrī Kṛṣṇa arises, and whatever are his most important duties are all described within this booklet.
he svānta – he bhrātaḥ manaḥ! tomāra caraṇa dhariyā kākuti-vākya āmi tomāra nikaṭa ei prārthanā kari ye – tumi śrī-guru, śrī-vraja-dhāma, śrī-vraja-vāsi-gaṇa, su-jana, bhū-sura-gaṇa, sva-mantra, śri-hari-nāma u śrī-vraja-yuva-dvandvera śaraṇāpattite dambha parityāga-pūrvvaka atyanta apūrva-rati vidhāna kara. (1)
“O my consciousness, O brother mind! I grasp your feet and with these words of appeal, I offer this prayer unto you – giving up pride (dambha), develop immense (atiśaya vidhān kara) and unparalleled attachment (apūrva–rati) towards Śri Guru, Śri Vraja-dhāma, the respected Vraja-vāsis, the su-janas, the bhū-sura-gana, sva-mantra, śrī-hari-nāma and the shelter of the ever youthful Divine Couple of Śrī Vraja (Vraja-yuva-dvandver śaraṇāpatti).”
1) Śrī Guru (The spiritual master): Dīkṣā-guru and śikṣā-guru. The second śloka clearly explains what type of rati (attachment) is given by the guru.
2) Vraja-dhāma (The holy land of Vraja): Gokula, Nandīśvara, Govardhana, Śyāma-kuṇḍa, Yāvaṭa etc. and all the places of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s līla in Vraja-maṇḍala.
3) Vraja-vāsis (The residents of Vraja): All the devotee-jīvas who reside in Vraja in order to render service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Only pure devotees are Vraja-vāsis, because they reside in Vraja either in body or mind. They are uttama-bhāgavatas.
4) Su-jana (The devotees): Those devotees within the sampradāya, who may not reside in Vraja in their svarūpa (spiritual form), yet they are sampradāyika and devotees of Bhagavān. They are madhyama-bhāgavatas.
5) Bhū-sura-gaṇa (The Demigods who reside on earth): Those brāhmaṇas fixed in varṇāśrama who teach Vaiṣṇava dharma. They are kaniṣṭha Bhāgavatas.
6) Sva-mantra (One’s mantra): Bhagavān’s mantra attained from Śrī Guru.
7) Hari-nāma (The holy name of Hari): Śrī Hari, Śrī Rādhā-Kānta, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Govinda etc. are all primary Names. Patita-pāvana, Paramātmā etc. are indirect names. One should take shelter of the primary Names.
8) Vraja-yuva-dvandver śaraṇāpatti (Surrender unto the Youthful Couple of Vraja): The exclusive mood of surrender to the feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
9) Dambha (Pride): Māyā (illusion), cala (deception), avidyā (ignorance), kapaṭatā (dishonesty), asaralatā (calculation), śaṭhya (malice) etc. are dambha (pride). In the cultivation of bhakti, if one harbors other desires and aspirations other than those for the improvement of one’s bhakti, then that is dishonesty. Wherever jñāna or karma prevail over bhakti, then that is where the power of avidyā prevails. When there is any type of adverse mood in the cultivation of service towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then that is the hiding place of māya. All this must be rejected. By practicing pure bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, all the evils of varṇāśrama, the ardent desire for mundane things, and bewilderment concerning one’s constitutional spiritual nature (svarūpa) are removed.
10) Apūrva-rati (Unparalleled attachment): Ātmā-rati (attachment to the ātmā) is pure rati. Due to his previous conditioning, the bound jīva takes shelter of matter and becomes attached to mundane objects. In pure kṛṣṇa-bhakti there is only the state of ātmā-rati since Kṛṣṇa is the ātmā of all ātmās. As much as this state (of attachment to Kṛṣṇa) arises, it is known as apūrva-rati (unparalleled attachment).
11) Atiśaya vidhāna kara (Taking great care): One should try to follow this with great care. Indeed, one should not be of the mood that, ‘Good fortune comes automatically.’ The more strength is manifests from our ātmā, the more our karma will be destroyed, and this is due to the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the sādhus. There is no doubt about this.
The meaning of this instruction: Until karma is eventually destroyed by the power of sādhu-saṅga, śraddhā cannot appear. Until śraddhā appears, there is no benefit to spiritual instructions. When śraddhā appears, then one should take shelter of the dīkṣā–guru and accept the yugala-mantra. Having obtained the mantra, one should worship the dīkṣā–guru and sikṣā-gurus with ātmā-rati. One should not consider the guru merely as a sage, but one should know that the guru is one’s friend. One should treat the three kinds of Vaiṣṇavas accordingly with affection and friendship. Cultivate attachment for the dīkṣa-mantras and the Holy Name. Considering the yugala-tattva (the Reality of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa) as the embodiment of one’s very life, one should take shelter of Them.