(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23rd September 2012, Durban, South Africa) Lecture: Radhastami Talk, Part 3
The pure devotees are still appearing in this universe, generation after generation. There are always such enlightened souls within the world, those who carry the grace of Krsna. Some of these souls have actually descended from the spiritual world and come to this world to fulfill the desire of Krsna and bestow the mercy upon conditioned souls.
Others are conditioned souls, but by coming into contact with great and elevated devotees, they are lifted up above material existence and are also becoming transcendentally situated. In this way we have different categories of perfect devotees: the nitya-siddha devotees who are descending from the spiritual world; the sādhana-siddha devotees who by their practice in devotional service attain perfection, and also sometimes the kṛpā-siddha devotees who are an exceptional case – a special mercy of the Lord and they attain siddha perfection by the mercy. It is for this reason that we must always follow the vaisnavas. It is for this reason that we are always looking to follow a perfect vaisnava! Because the vaisnavas carefully preserve devotional service, and carefully preserve love for Krsna.
The qualities of the intermediate devotees are at different levels. They are the ones who are spiritually advanced but maybe not completely to the stage of perfection and they are described as:
bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca
yaḥ karoti sa mahatma,’ (SB 11.2.46).
It is said that such devotees at an intermediate stage, for the Lord they have prema, the seed of prema. Not the same as the prema or love that is found in the topmost devotees. Partha-Sarathi Maharaja describes it as going through various stages of development, which includes ‘sneha’ the melting of the heart. Devotees gradually become soft hearted. In this world everyone is hard-hearted, because everyone is concerned with his own selfish interest. But as a devotee is putting his own selfish concerns aside, then the gradual melting of the heart is taking place! Such a devotee who is only interested in pleasing Krsna and being an instrument of Krsna, such a devotee will very quickly advance in spiritual life.
“”In this world everyone is hard-hearted, because everyone is concerned with his own selfish interest. But as a devotee is putting his own selfish concerns aside, then the gradual melting of the heart is taking place!””
Exactly what selfish desires does one put aside? And what service to others happens in place?