Is Not it Enough Just to Serve Without Having Complete Knowledge?

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Hare Krishna Maharaja. Regarding the following text of Prakrita Rasa Sata Dusini. So…

Is it not enough just to serve without having complete knowledge? Could you be so kind to dig a little deeper?

Also … when I asked if it is possible to return to Krsna without having completed the process 100% senior devotees have told me that one should chant japa and have faith that the Guru or Srila Prabhupada can give us his causeless mercy and take us home at the time of leaving this body.

Would you be so kind as to delve into these issues? Thanks – Paramesvari dd


Prakrita Rasa Sata Dusini:

The consciousness cannot be truly fixed upon Krsna if one is bereft of the proper philosophical conception. When there is no knowledge of one’s relationship with the Lord (sambandha), there can be no abhidheya (performance of devotional activities).



prayojana paya na

ku-siddhante vyasta-jana

krsna-seva kare na (27)

That person who is devoid of sambandha-jnana can never attain the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). One who is bewildered by philosophical misconceptions is not performing devotional service to Krsna.



anarthata’chade na

jade krsna bhrama kari’

krsna-seva kare na (28)

That person who is idle in understanding philosophical conclusions never becomes free from anarthas. One who considers Krsna as belonging to the mundane platform can never render service to Him.


Anuvritti (short explanation)

Proper understanding of pure devotional service can be divided into three categories, sambandha (fundamental knowledge of one’s relationship with Krsna), abhidheya (knowledge of the proper performance of devotional activities), and prayojana (knowledge of the ultimate goal of life).

Without proper knowledge of one’s relationship with Krsna (sambandha) it is not possible to serve Krsna (abhidheya) and without serving Krsna one cannot attain the ultimate goal of life (prayojana).

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally taught the principles of sambandha to Sri Sanatana Gosvami and the principles of abhidheya to Sri Rupa Gosvami. To understand prayojana one should closely examine the Priti-sandarbha of Jiva Gosvami and the writings of Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami. Without proper philosophical understanding and following in the footsteps of the Six Gosvamis of Vrndavana, it is not possible to get prema-prayojana (the perfection of love of Krsna) simply by shedding tears and putting on theatrical performances for the public.

Those who are lazy to understand proper siddhanta (philosophical conclusions) or who maintain improper philosophical understandings (apa-siddhanta) can never be free from anarthas and thus can never progress properly in Krsna consciousness. Such persons often think that simply by serving the institution of the guru, they are serving Krsna and thus will automatically go back to home, back to Godhead. They judge the success of their endeavors simply by measuring size, material opulence, temples, Deities, devotees, and members, with no concern for proper philosophical understanding.

But from the above verses it is clear that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura does not agree with such thinking. Without proper philosophical understanding, one cannot get free from material contamination, nor can one properly perform devotional service. Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami states that one should not avoid philosophical controversy out of laziness.

siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa

iha haite krsne lage sudrdha manasa

“A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus, one’s mind becomes attached to Sri Krsna.”



I read two verses from Prakrta-rasa-sata-dusini[1], a booklet by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and a verse from Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 2.117 (not 17). But it is not clear to me who wrote the Anuvritti[2].

So, I’ll say something only on the verses.


In the first verse Srila Bhaktisiddhanta states that knowledge (sambandha jnana) is compulsory to attain perfection in life (prayojana).

However, what does “jnana” mean? How much do we have to be able to understand to advance in spiritual life? Do we all have to be great philosophers? In other words, how much knowledge do we have to mandatorily have?


First thing is that the philosophy according to which one can “just chant Hare Krishna and Guru and Krishna will save you” is rejected by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. He calls these people “jada”, which means lazy, inert, foolish. One has to study, learn philosophy and dedicate to it a great deal of effort. There is no doubt about this.


But while everyone must to be able to sing Hare Krishna or Jaya Radha Madhava, not everyone is expected to do it like our Aindra or Vaiyasaki.

Everyone must be able to speak our philosophy but not everyone will be able to give a class equipped with complicated philosophical reasoning that enchants the crowds.

These may be talents one is born with, or it may be that Krishna blessed this devotee with a capacity out of the normal.

However, if after years of devotional service, one doesn’t know how to chant Jaya Radha Madhava, or to answer simple questions, or he doesn’t know how to correctly write down Guru Pranama Mantra or Pancatattva Maha-mantra or even his own initiated name, then this person is a jada (as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta calls him), a lazy fool.


Sambandha-jnana, or basic knowledge of the main items is mandatory if one wants to advance in Krishna Consciousness.

Once Sambandha is deeply-rooted, then one can go to Abhidheya-jnana, which is a deeper understanding of the relationship with Krishna and the means to achieve it. Just like one should not talk about rasa without even knowing “dehino ’smin yatha dehe” and being able to see life accordingly, one should not jump into understanding Abhidheya concepts without before having full understood Sambandha.


If someone would ask, is not just chanting Hare Krishna sufficient for everything?, I’d answer, in theory yes, Srinama is all-powerful, but our reality is that it is not.

A conditioned soul can’t be attracted to somebody he doesn’t know. Imagine a person coming to the temple for the first time. He chants Hare Krishna and at the beginning something really mystical makes him like it. But after a while, how can he be attracted to Krishna if he doesn’t know who He is, how beautiful He is, how does He speak, what does He say, His dhama, guna, lila, rupa?

So, knowledge is necessary.

By this binomial of knowledge and chanting his return to Godhead is secured.

However what type or quality of knowledge will help us?


Here Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati warns us against false Gurus who promote ku-siddhanta, which means false philosophies. One has to hear only from bonafide authorities, or his spiritual journey will be ruined.

Srila Sarasvati arrives to say that he who follows these counterfeiters, even if he thinks he is serving Krishna, actually he is not. One can serve Krishna only if he takes shelter at the lotus feet of a bonafide spiritual master.

Furthermore, anarthata’chade na, says Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, they will not advance also because getting free from the anarthas will not be possible.


Answering to your last questions:

What if at the end of life, I have not completed the process? What will happen to me?

This is similar to the question Arjuna put to Krishna in Bhagavad-gita (6.37). Sri Krishna answers that whatever one does in devotional service is never lost but will always be there. He doesn’t say, “don’t worry, do any nonsense you like and at the moment of death I’ll save you because you are My devotee”. Of course, He could do anything He wants but it is not the right process, doing the worst and hoping for the best.

The path is the right one and eventually one will return to Krishna.



This publication of Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani by Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, with the Anuvrtti commentary of Srila B.G Narasingha Maharaja, is being presented in five parts. Part one begins with a Preface by Svami B.V. Giri and a forward by Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.

[1] The title means “A Hundred Warnings Against Mundane Mellows”

[2] Following short explanation.


This is a section of the book “Brilliant as the Sun”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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