Dear Bhakta Andy,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
How to know if you are making spiritual progress?
The best method is very simple: take the qualities of the advanced devotees who are very clearly expressed in the scriptures and see if they match in your character and in your life.
Let’s take an example:
In the verse of Bhagavad-gita 18:42 we find the famous sloka “brahma-karma svabhava-jam”. Here we find a list of Brahminic qualities, therefore not necessarily of a suddha-bhakta but in any case qualities that all of us must develop. Take it one by one and see how much you have them, in what quantity and how much you are improving over time.
Obviously the devotee must always ask his spiritual master how he is going and he will tell him in a clear and simple way. Nobody can advance spiritually by himself.
What does spiritual progress look like for a neophyte?
Back to the verse 18.42 of the Bhagavad-gita, samah, pacific. If you are more and more mentally peaceful, and therefore peaceful in your acts, in your words and in your thoughts, then the quality of samah will be more and more evident to anyone who comes into contact with you.
What’s the best way for a neophyte to continue making progress in their path back to Godhead?
Verse 4.34 of the Bhagavad-gita is especially important for any neophyte. Obviously there are many other verses but this is fundamental.
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
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