Chapter 23 -The Twenty-Six Qualities of a Devotee
These qualities of a devotee, twenty-six in number, are listed
by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
1.kind to everyone, 2.does not quarrel with anyone, 3.fixed
in the Absolute Truth, 4.equal to everyone, 5.faultless, 6.charitable,
7.mild, 8.clean, 9.simple, without material possession, 10.benevolent,
11.peaceful, 12.completely attached to Krsna, 13.has no material
hankering, 14.meek, 15.steady, 16.self-controlled, 17.does not
eat more than required, 18.sane, 19.respectful, 20.humble, 21.grave,
22.compassionate, 23.friendly, 24.poetic, 25.silent, 26.expert
Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna's incarnation in Kali Yuga in the mood of a perfect devotee
The Lord is satisfied by the development of the transcendental
qualities of the living entities and not by artificial performance
of sacrifices and mystic yoga. In other words, unless one is
fully qualified to become a pure devotee of the Lord, one cannot
expect to be liberated from material entanglement.
1. KIND TO EVERYONE
The devotee is merciful because he is the well-wishing friend
of all living entities. He is not only favorably inclined to
the human society but also to plants and animals. He treats all
living entities in such a way that they can ultimately become
free from material bondage and go back home, back to Godhead.
2. HUMBLE, DOES NOT QUARREL WITH ANYONE
To be humble means that one is not hankering to be worshiped
by others. Humility should not be artificial but honest, deep,
and natural. It will develop when the conditioned soul admits
its wrong attitude towards Krsna and prays to Him for forgiveness
and to be allowed to always engage in His devotional service.
3.TRUTHFUL, FIXED IN THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH
The primary truthfulness for a disciple to keep his vow of following
the regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds of japa every
day. Also, a devotee should not perform any illegal activities
and he should always act in Krsna's interest and not in his own
in order to remain fixed in the absolute truth.
4.EQUAL TO EVERYONE
A devotee sees the soul and the Supersoul in everyone's heart
and treats every living entity according to its position and
in a way that is most beneficial for its spiritual progress.
A devotee, who in words, deeds, and mind is always surrendered
to Krsna and who executes Krsna's desire to the best of his ability
is considered to be faultless.
A devotee is charitable because he knows that love for Krsna
is the best, and he distributes it without selfish motives. His
charity has no limits, just like the happiness someone experiences
who got the gift of Krsna consciousness.
A devotee avoids illusory, materialistic happiness, and thus
is spared from the suffering which is bound to it. He always
remains peaceful, because he is satisfied within Krsna consciousness.
The Krsna conscious movement is meant for purifying the world
in a revolutionary way-by hygienic external principles as well
as by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra which purifies the
9.SIMPLE, WITHOUT MATERIAL POSSESSION
The highest realization is to see everything as Krsna's property.
The sincere devotee is not only satisfied to see everything as
Krsna's property, but also to engage everything in a proper way
in Krsna's service.
Since Krsna-consciousness effects the heart of every living entity,
the welfare work of a devotee is not restricted to a specific
race, species, etc., but for the benefit of all living entities.
To be peaceful does not mean to physically maintain idyllic peace
but to experience real peace in one's relationship with Krsna.
Only someone who has realized that there is nothing beyond Krsna
can achieve real peace and fearlessness.
12.COMPLETELY ATTACHED TO KRSNA
Devotion to Krsna is neither sentimental nor whimsical but authorized
and scientific. By practicing devotional service we can learn
to surrender properly. Complete surrender to Krsna is the goal
of every devotee because he wants to become free from material
desires in order to serve Krsna more and more. Complete surrender
to Krsna is the most important of all qualities to be developed.
When one is fully engaged in devotional service, one realizes
that all one's desires are satisfied. Thus one does not have
any material desire anymore. One only desires to serve guru and
14.INDIFFERENCE TOWARDS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
A devotee may use things in Krsna's service but he does not become
attached to or dependent on them. He may serve Krsna with millions
of dollars by opening temples, printing books, etc. However,
he is also satisfied when he does not have any material assets
and then simply chants Hare Krsna.
The realizations of a devotee should be so profound that his
dedication to his spiritual master and Krsna cannot be influenced
anymore by various temptations, suffering or opposing philosophies.
There are six bad qualities, namely lust, anger, greed, illusion,
madness and envy. A pure devotee controls these bad qualities
by engaging in Krsna's service. These qualities cannot be left
behind in an artificial way by can be easily counteracted with
transcendental knowledge and transcendental taste arising from
one's devotional service.
17.DOES NOT EAT MORE THAN REQUIRED
Lord Krsna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that a yogi does not
eat too much nor too little. This means practically exactly as
much as he can easily digest. According to Ayurveda, one's stomach
should be filled with 1/2 food, 1/4 water, and 1/4 air.
A devotee is never intoxicated by material enjoyment. He reduces
his requirements to a minimum and offers his whole life to Krsna.
In this way he is completely balanced.
A devotee offers respect to others without expecting anything
in return. He respects everyone as part of Krsna and treats them
20.HAS NO MATERIAL HANKERING
A devotee is not attracted by material possessions which help
us to gain a prestigious position. He sees everything attractive
in this world as a reflection of Krsna, the all-attractive cause
of all causes.
Although we lead a happy life in Krsna consciousness, we are
always conscious that the material existence can be finished
at any time and that the way back home, back to Godhead is not
cheap. To be grave means that the devotee is constantly thinking
of Krsna and the ultimate goal of life.
The essence of compassion is the distribution of transcendental
knowledge. The basis of it are Srila Prabhupada's books and the
force behind it is our purity.
A devotee is friendly because he leads everyone to Krsna, who
is the best friend of all living entities.
A devotee is even poetic if he is not literarily active because
he is able to connect everything with Krsna's transcendental
Silence means that one only speaks about Krsna and not about
The essence of the expertise of a devotee is that he can do anything
for Krsna. The best expertise is to surrender to Krsna.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada exhibits these super excellent qualities
of a devotee. He is the acarya (one who teaches by example) and
is exemplary in showing us how to develop the qualities in order
to benefit all living beings and to serve Krsna.
Jaya Srila Prabhupada!