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Has anyone ever reached pure Krishna consciousness or tasted Krishna Prema after Prabhupada?

The question is, are you going to just take my word for it, or will you investigate it yourself?

Mind you, to ascertain a devotee’s level of spiritual advancement you’d have to spend some time with that devotee. Also, it takes one to know one. One would have to be at least on the madyam adhikari level of advancement, to recognize an advanced devotee. Devotees on the kanistha level, cannot ascertain whether other devotees are advanced or not.

No doubt, Srila Prabhupada was a liberated soul, come from Goloka to give us Krishna. Nobody will ever take his place. But he gave us a scientific process of knowledge - bhakti. The end result of practicing Krishna consciousness is Krishna prema - pure love of God. To doubt that we can become as advanced as Srila Prabhupada in spiritual life, is to doubt the process of bhakti.

That’s like doubting mathematics, because one is not as advanced as Einstein.

Krishna says:

Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt. —Bg 7.1

To know Krishna in full, means Krishna-prema. When you know someone in full, it means you love that person. In Hebrew, for instance, the word ‘to know’ is synonymous with ‘to love.’

Srila Prabhupada gave us a science, which means that anyone who properly executes that science will get the result. Of course, it requires time to complete the process of Krishna consciousness, just like any process of knowledge requires time.

In order to get a PhD, one must be willing to study diligently for 10 years. Similarly, to get a PhD in Krishna consciousness, to get Krishna-prema, one must be willing to put in the required time - life-times, if necessary, to complete one’s studies.

Contrary to materal studies, however, the spiritual study of Krishna is blissful every step of the way. One experiences the bliss of knowing Krishna, already at the beginning stage. One doesn’t have to wait until one is beyond anartha nivritti to taste the bliss of Krishna-prema. Krishna, out of His infinite kindness, will give little glimpses along the way, just to show us what we have to look forward to.

That’s why Krishna says, bhakti is joyfully performed.

Krishna says:

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. (Bg. 9.2)

Srila Prabhupada reiterated again and again - this is a gradual process.

Also, we should never forget that we have been under way for a long time.

Our consciousness has evolved gradually from fish, plants, insects, reptiles, birds, animals and then to humans (including demigods, rakshasas, gandharvas etc).

And then, finally, after having attained the human form of life, the soul is given the opportunity for the the consciousness to evolve from Sraddha to Prema, meaning an evolution from faith in God to love of God. Obviously, to love God, one needs to know Him.

In the science of bhakti, or devotion to God, the consciousness evolves through nine stages:

1. sraddha - faith

2. sadhu-sanga - association with saintly people

3. bhajana kriya - following and practicing devotional principles

4. anartha nivritti - purifying the mind from material contamination

5. nistha - becoming steady in one’s sadhana (practice)

6. ruchi - taste for Krishna

7. asakti - attachment to Krishna

8. bhava - the dawning of pure love of God

9. prema - pure, unalloyed love for Krishna

Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur explains that the fourth step, purifying material contamination from the heart, is the hardest stage to go through; he describes anartha nivritti as an ocean of contamination accumulated over countless of life-times, and it can take many lives to traverse that great ocean.

That’s why Rupa Goswami says - utsahan nischayad dhairyat - enthusiasm, perseverance and determination are necessary ingredients to advance in sadhana.

One has to be patient and enthusiastic to continue on the path of bhakti, even when the result is not immediate, because the process of becoming purified is very gradual.

The result of becoming free from suffering and developing some little taste for devotional service is immediate, but to attain to the final goal, prema, can take many life-times… except, Srila Prabhupada said it can be done in this one life-time. If we surrender to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions we can make this our last life.

Krishna says:

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare. (Bg 7.19)


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