Vaisnava Ke? (What Kind of Devotee are You?)

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Item Code: NAV014
Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Author: HH Jayapataka Swami
Language: Bangali Text with Transliteration and word to word meaning English Translation
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9789386956675
Pages: 180 (12 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 8.00 X 5.00 inch
Weight 160 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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23 years in business
Book Description
About the Book

Here is a book that alerts aspiiring spiritualists about the pitfalls of hypocrisy, artificial renunciation and sensuality in spiritual life. Through originally composed in bengali almost a hundred years ago, the nineteen verse of Vaisnava Ke are relevent to all intrested in the eternal path of realization of the all- beautiful Lord Krishna.

About the Author’s


On the fifth day of dark lunar fortnight of the month of Govinda [February 6th, 1874 A.D.] Bimalad Prasada Datta, later to be known as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, made his appearance in Purusottama ksetra [Jagannatha Puri] in the state of Orissa, not far from the temple of Lord Jagannatha. He was the fourth son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Sriyukta Bhagavati Devi and at the time of his birth all thirty-two bodily symptoms of a maha-purusa, a great personality, were pointed out by an experienced astrologer. Furthermore, the boy was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck like a Brahmana’s thread.

When the child was six months old, Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha-yatra Festival was in procession, and the cart stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house for three days. Bhagavati Devi brought the child before the cart and an offered garland fell from the neck of the Lord, encircling the boy. The grain ceremony was observed on the cart at this time and was done with Jagannatha prasdda. When the boy's vocational inclination was tested, he immediately embraced the Srimad-Bhagavatam, indicating his future as a preacher. When he was a small boy, perhaps two or three years old, his father mildly rebuked him for eating a mango not yet duly offered to Lord Krsna. Bimala Prasada, although only a child, considered himself an offender to the Lord and vowed never to eat mangoes again, which he followed throughout his life.

When Bimala Prasdda was seven years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was constructing the Bhakti Bhavan in Calcutta at Ramabagana. During that construction, a Deity of Lord Kirma was unearthed. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered his son to begin regulated worship of that Deity. By now he had memorized the entire Bhagavad- gita and could even explain its verses. His father then began training him in proofreading and printing, in conjunction with the publication of the Vaisnava magazine, Sajjana-tosani. With his father, he visited many holy places and heard discourses from learned panditas. About thirteen years old, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought tulasi beads for his son from Jagannatha Puri and gave him the name of Hari and a Nrsimha mantra to chant which he executed very faithfully, along with the worship of his Karma Deity. As a student, Bimala Prasada preferred to read the books written by his father instead of the school texts. By the time he was twenty-five he had become well versed in Sanskrit, mathematics and astronomy, and he had established himself as the author and publisher of many magazine articles and one book, Siryasiddhanta, for which he received the epithet Siddhanta Sarasvatt in recognition of his erudition. When he was twenty-six his father guided him to take initiation from GaurakiSora dasa Babaji Mahardja, who gave Bimala Prasada the name: Sri Varsabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa and advised him to "preach the Absolute Truth and keep aside all other works."

In 1905 Siddhanta Sarasvati took a vow to chant the Hare Krsna mantra a billion times. Residing in Mayapur in a grass hut near the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, he chanted the Hare Krsna mantra day and night. He cooked rice once a day in an earthen pot and ate nothing more; he slept on the ground, and when the rainwater leaked through the grass ceiling, he sat beneath an umbrella, chanting. In 1911, Siddhanta Sarasvati defeated the pseudo Vaisnavas who claimed that birth in a their caste was the prerequisite for preaching Krsna consciousness.

With the passing away of his father in 1914 and his spiritual master in 1915, Siddhanta Sarasvati continued the mission of Lord Caitanya. He assumed editorship of Sajjana-tosant and established the Bhagwat Press in Krishnanagar. Then in 1918, in Mayapur, he sat down before a picture of GaurakiSora dasa Babaji and initiated himself into took sannyasa order by the sannydsa title Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was dedicated to using the He established 64 Gaudiya Matha temples in India and centers in Burma, England and Germany. Aside from his phenomenal preaching success in India, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s greatest contribution was his foremost disciple Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he initiated and inspired to distribute Krsna consciousness all over the world. When Srila Prabhupada was asked to describe his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he said, "What can I say? He was a Vaikuntha man." priniting press as the best medium for large-scale distribution of Krsna consciousness. He thought of the printing press as a brhat mrdanga, a big mrdanga. He established 64 Gaudiya Matha temples in India and centers in Burma, England and Germany. Aside from his phenomenal preaching success in India, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakua’s greatest contribution was his foremost disciple Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom he initiated and inspired to distribute Krsna consciousness all over the world. When Srila Prabhupada was asked to describe his spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he said, "What can I say? He was a Vaikuntha man."


His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. When he first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic Institutes), Srila Prabhupada was a sincere educated young man. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura liked him and instantly convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada became his student and, eleven years later, his formally- initiated disciple.

At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhadnta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge in the English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work and, in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine. Maintaining the publication was a struggle. Single-handedly, Srila Prabhupada edited it, typed the manuscripts, checked the galley proofs, and even distributed the individual copies. Once begun, the magazine never stopped; it is now being continued by his disciples in the West and is published in over thirty languages.

In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radhad-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the eighteen-thousand-verse Srimad- Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.

After publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to the United States in 1965 to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Subsequently, he wrote more than sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India. When he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically penniless. Only after almost a year of great difficulty did he establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in July of 1966. Before his passing away on November 14, 1977, he guided the Society and saw it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities.

In 1972, His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. Since then, under his supervision, his disciples have established children’s schools throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of several large international cultural centres in India. The centre at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal is the site for a planned spiritual city, an ambitious project for which construction will extend over many years to come. In Vrndavana, India, are the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guest house, and Srila Prabhupada Memorial and Museum. There is also a major cultural and educational centre in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authority, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous college courses. His writings have been translated into over fifty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.

In just twelve years, in spite of his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe fourteen times on lecture tours that took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

HH Jayapataka Swami

Jayapataka Swami was born as Gordon Erdman to John Hubert and Lorraine Erdman on April 9, 1949, the Edadaéi after Sri-rama- navami in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, North America. At fourteen, he graduated in the top of his class from St. John’s Academy, a collage preparatory school.


To control the mind is certainly the crux of all yoga systems, including the system of bhakti-yoga or Krsna consciousness which is the only practical yoga system in the present age. Indeed the Bhagavad-gita states that one who has controlled the mind has already reached the Supersoul, and that the controlled and uncontrolled mind are, respectively, the best friend and the worst enemy of the conditioned soul. Vaisnava Ke? is a Bengali poem written by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This poem contains revelations and practical guidance to aid the aspiring devotee in dealing with the types of nonsense deviations which may continue to be proposed by the mind to distract a devotee until he reaches the level of pure devotional service.

The devotees and friends of ISKCON became aware of the value of these practical instructions in Vaisnava Ke? (What Kind of Devotee Are You?) when translations and commentaries on ten of its verses by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami were published in serial form in the (now defunct) periodical, ISKCON World Review. From that time, many devotees, including the publishers of this present volume, have desired that Vaisnava Ke?, together with its translation and commentary, be published in the form of a complete book so that its lessons could be repeatedly studied and reflected upon. One GBC member recently remarked that its publication was "long overdue." Therefore, it is the humble desire of the publisher to present this book for the pleasure of our predecessor dcaryas. It is especially dedicated to our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness who frequently quoted from the verses of Vaisnava Ke? in his lectures and books, and to His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, the author, as well as the Vaisnavas all over the world.

This book is most pertinent and relevant for those who are trying to advance in Krsna consciousness at the present moment. We must frankly admit that our own "wicked minds" may have from time to time proposed just the kind of deviations mentioned in Vaisnava Ke? Many devotees have left full-time preaching and service in the Krsna consciousness movement for precisely the types of reasons and rationalizations offered by the mind which are described in this book. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has very kindly and plainly described all these subtle matters in great detail. He has also given pragmatic advice as to how the aspiring devotee may remain absorbed in the sankirtana movement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu without becoming yet another casualty to the attacks of the "wicked mind" which many mistake to be their actual self as opposed to what is instead their real nature; the eternal spirit soul.

It may also be noted that in presenting his strong challenge to the mind, dusta mana! tumi kisera vaisnava?, which Srila Prabhupada has translated as "My dear mind, What Kind of Devotee Are You?’, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura refers to a Vaisnava or devotee according to his definition, "who is situated in his constitutional position," i.e. in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna. His intention is that we may not allow our minds to imagine that we are on a very elevated platform in devotional service while at the same time performing activities which are seriously detrimental to our own spiritual advancement and the advancement of the united preaching mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja has nicely translated the text and given an illuminating commentary based on his realizations and practical experience as a dedicated preacher in the Krsna Consciousness movement all over the world for the past twenty years. The commentary is supported with extensive quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. His Holiness Jayapataka Swami has kindly allowed the publisher to produce this book in its present form.

The publisher prays that this book may be of practical benefit to devotees all over the world, as in all cases of whatever individual weakness or collective disunity there may be, the lone accused is none other than our own "rascal minds."


With the purpose of invoking all auspiciousness, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is the servitor of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He has carried Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's transcendental teachings to towns and villages all over the world and out of His mercy has delivered the impersonalists and voidists of the Western world. By his mercy, a lame man can climb over mountains, a deaf and dumb man can become a great orator and a blind man can see the stars. Let His Divine Grace’s merciful glance be upon us in the humble execution of completing the translation and writing purports to What Kind of Devotee Are You? written in the Bengali language by His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my "grandfather" spiritual master, on whose order the ‘sublime science of devotional service’ was brought to the Western world by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Seeing the dangers a devotee faces in this age of Kali, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has mercifully written Vaisnava Ke? Careful study of this book will protect devotees practicing devotional service to Lord Krsna from the dangers of being misled by maya, the material illusory energy, off the path of pure devotion.

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord who are like desire trees in fulfilling the desires of pure devotees of the Lord. By their inspiration, Vaisnava Ke? is being presented in the English language with this title taken from Srila Prabhupada’s own translation of the first stanza, i.e. What Kind ofAC Devotee Are You?

Let me offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Most Munificent Avatara, and Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha- Madhava, the Supreme Form of the Absolute Truth. Let Their rain of mercy be upon the execution of this sublime study of the science of devotional service so that aspiring devotees may quickly attain the shelter of Their lotus feet.

What Kind of Devotee Are You? is referred to frequently in the writings of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It gives a unique view of a devotee’s introspection while traversing the path of devotional service. Devotional service is a unique science wherein what often appears to be the truth to the uninitiated is actually the opposite, i.e., nescience. It seems perfectly natural that retreating from the bustling activities of everyday life would be in fact the best environment for pursuing spiritual life. However, for a practitioner of bhakti-yoga, leaving the association of like-minded transcendentalists to practice nirjana-bhajana, or solitary worship, can have a suicidal effect. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has warned of this many times in his writings. The following verse from What Kind of Devotee Are You? is just one example of this: This nirjana-bhajana, which is the silent worship of the Supreme Lord, is not possible for a neophyte devotee. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura never advised a neophyte devotee to go to a solitary place to engage in devotional service. Indeed, he has written a song in this connection;

dusta mana! tumi kisera vaisnava? pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare, tava hari-ndma kevala kaitava

"My dear mind, what kind of devotee are you? Simply for cheap adoration, you sit in a solitary place and pretend to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, but this is all cheating." Thus Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advocated that every devotee, under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, preach the bhakti cult, Krsna consciousness, all over the world.

There are many ways in which a practicing devotee’s mind can subtly influence and bewilder the intelligence, entrapping even a Seasoned devotee in the spider-like webs of illusion. Devotional service is easy to perform, but it is equally easy to be diverted from the path of pure devotional service if one is not careful. Human intelligence is the most precious gift on this earth, and the final test to applied intelligence is if one can direct one’s life towards self-realization. The body and mind are both mechanical in their function although one is gross and the other subtle. A bhakti-yogi, or practicing devotee, is already engaging his body in various activities of devotional service, but that is not enough. To achieve success in devotional service, he must also train and educate the mind in devotional reasoning. This is done by spiritually enlightened intelligence. The necessity of uplifting and guiding the mind is expressed by Lord Krsna himself in Bhagavad-gita As It is.

"A man must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy. For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same."

What Kind of Devotee Are You? is uniquely presented as a devotee talking or preaching to his mind. Through penetrating statements to the mind, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura vividly and practically illustrates various ways the mind falls down from pure devotional service. The personal dealings with the mind portrayed in What Kind of Devotee Are You? demonstrate the above mentioned statement from the Bhagavad-gita whereby the mind can be a friend or an enemy to the advancing devotee. The essential need to conquer the mind’s subtle and gross deviations from the path of pure devotion becomes more and more evident with each progressive verse. The ultimate goal of pure devotion and the ideal activity for pure devotees is taught to the mind in the concluding verses.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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