Based on an article of HG Ravindra Swaroop Prabhu this makes an interesting read for the struggling sadhakas like me on how to chalk out properly their path of devotion and how important it is to follow the principles rigidly to get that HIGHER TASTE in our spiritual lives.
"In all spiritual affairs, one's first duty is to control his mind and senses. Unless one controls his mind and senses, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guna, by following the instructions of Rupa Gosvami [in the first verse of Upadesamrta], and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed."
—Preface, Nectar of Instruction
Envy is a product of false ego. Because of false ego, the members are unable to establish spiritual friendship among themselves. Instead, they vie with each other for prestige, power, and perquisites. Intensely desiring the honor and respect of others, the contentious neophyte pretends to be more advanced than he actually is. He tries to conceal his shortcomings and fall downs, and in so doing he develops a secretive mentality and holds himself back from entering into open and honest relations with his Godbrothers. Because he cannot reveal his mind in confidence, he remains aloof from real fellowship.
He strays from the path of devotional service, but his peers do not help him. For he thinks that if he allows someone to preach to him, he implicitly admits his own subordination. Therefore he cuts himself off from hearing and becomes impervious to instruction or good advice. Because he has many secret misgivings about himself, he becomes eager to find the faults of others; that way he reassures himself of his own superiority in spite of his many unacknowledged weaknesses.
"Spiritual immaturity often leads a kanistha-adhikari to identify spiritual advancement with organizational advancement. He thinks that attaining prestige, power, and the perquisites of office is evidence of spiritual advancement. Lacking the assets for real spiritual achievement, he substitutes organizational elevation, which he can attain through his cunning or political prowess. He therefore competes intensely with others for high office, and he comes to believe implicitly that one achieves a spiritually elevated state only by becoming victorious over others.
A kanistha-adhikari advances to the madhyama platform by means of sadhana-bhakti. Sadhana-bhakti, pursued diligently and attentively, destroys false ego, and as long as the neophyte devotees attend to their sadhana they can be sure of elevation to the higher stages. There is, however, no other assured means of advancement, and habitual negligence in sadhana is therefore fatal to progressive spiritual life.
to be continued............