FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA!
Who said praying for material things from Krishna is wrong?
I have been telling it is unnecessary to demand anything from Krishna because He Himself knows your situation.
For a devotee who has surrendered to Krishna, that devotee will have to think of only Krishna,whenever he is in distress, or, he is is unable to face the problems.
Krishna is our only hope and hold.
So, whom else we can think when we are pressed by the problems?
So, praying for material benefits from Krishna is not wrong or not offensive.
You can definitely ask and Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that they are also His devotees.
In this Post, we are going to read the FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA! This will help us to understand the Neophyte devotees. Let us read them:
FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA!
We have seen all these THREE CLASSES OF DEVOTEES. The last one among them was a neophyte devotees.. Now, we will further analyze the Neophyte devotees.
Who are neophyte devotees?
What are their classifications?
What are the examples in history for neophyte devotees?
How can they become mahathmas?
Srila Prabhupada explains the statements of Sri Rupa Gosvami:
FOUR CLASSIFICATION OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES
Out of THREE CLASSES OF DEVOTEES, the Neophyte devotees are classified into four types in the Bhagavad-Gita. It is stated there that four classes of men–namely those (1) WHO ARE DISTRESSED, (2) THOSE WHO ARE IN NEED OF MONEY, (3) THOSE WHO ARE INQUISITIVE AND (4) THOSE WHO ARE WISE–begin devotional service and come to the Lord for relief in the matter of their respective self-satisfaction. They go into some place of worship and pray to God for mitigation of material distress, or for some economic development, or to satisfy their inquisitiveness. And a wise man who simply realizes the greatness of God is also counted among the neophytes. Such beginners can be elevated to the second-class or first-class platform if they associate with pure devotees.
(I like to do full time service to Krishna, but fear seeing advanced devotees. What to do? READ HERE!)
EXAMPLES FOR NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES
(1) Maharaja Dhruva. He was in need of his father’s kingdom and therefore engaged himself in devotional service to the Lord. Then in the end, when he was completely purified, he declined to accept any material benediction from the Lord.
(2) Gajendra was distressed and prayed to Krsna for protection, after which he became a pure devotee.
(3) Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda and Sanat-kumara were all in the category of wise, saintly persons, and they were also attracted by devotional service.
(4) A similar thing happened to the assemblage in the Naimisaranya Forest, headed by the sage Saunaka. They were inquisitive and were always asking Suta Gosvami about Krsna.
(Krishna or Krishna’s Service as target – which one is right for devotees? READ HERE!)
HOW CAN A NEOPHYTE BECOME A PURE DEVOTEE?
Among these THREE CLASSES OF DEVOTEES, if the neophyte devotees achieve the association of a pure devotee and became pure devotees themselves. So that is the way of elevating oneself. In whatever condition one may be, if he is fortunate enough to associate with pure devotees, then very quickly he is elevated to the second-class or first-class platform.
These four types of NEOPHYTE devotees have been described in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad gita, and they have all been accepted as pious. Without becoming pious, no one can come to devotional service. It is explained in Bhagavad gita that only one who has continually executed pious activities and whose sinful reactions in life have completely stopped can take to Krsna consciousness. Others cannot.
The neophyte devotees are classified into four groups-the distressed, those in need of money, the inquisitive and the wise-according to their gradations of pious activities.
(SYMPTOMS OF PURE AND SURRENDERED DEVOTEES! READ HERE!)
(NOTE: Bhagavad Gita (7-16) says: “O best among the Bhāratas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me – the distressed (artha), the desirer of wealth (arthathri), the inquisitive (jijnasu), and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute (jnani).”
All these four are undoubtedly His devotees. Out of the four, the first three expects something from the Lord. However, the last one GNANI has learned about the position of the Lord as Paramathma and himself as athma and is approaching the Lord for knowing more about the Lord. So, he is better among the four though it is not the Pure devotion level. However, the Lord also says that all the above four classes of devotees can come to the (fifth) stage of PURE BHAKTI as followed by the sage Naradha.).
WHO IS DEAR TO KRISHNA AMONG THE FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA? Read further:
WHICH AMONG FOUR IS DEAR TO KRISHNA?
Lord Krsna, however, has explained in the Gita that out of these four types of neophytes, the one who is wise is very dear to Him, because a wise man, if he is attached to Krishna, is not seeking an exchange of material benefits.
This does not mean one among these FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA is the dearest level of devotee to Krishna. It is another one that will be discussed next.
(Why Purity is important in devotion while Krishna Himself gave genitals to all? READ HERE!)
FIFTH CLASS OF DEVOTEES DEAREST TO KRISHNA – PURE DEVOTEES!
BEYOND THE FOUR KINDS OF NEOPHYTE DEVOTEES WHO WORSHIP KRISHNA, we are expected to come to the FIFTH stage of worshiping Krishna with no expectations except His bhakti and service.
Though this may be difficult for us at this stage, it will be attained when you sincerely maintain your devotion to Krishna continuously.
When we realize the real nature of this material world, we will start to worship Krishna just for His bhakti and service.
Krishna Himself will take us to that stage in due course of time.
Till that, you can request your needs from Krishna. At the same time, keep in mind that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who can give the topmost benefit of the eternal life in His kingdom itself.
Ask Krishna when you are unable to face or bear or deal with a situation by yourself. Try your best using the intelligence given by Krishna. If you feel helpless, DON’T HESITATE TO APPROACH KRISHNA.
Whom else we can have to get the real support except Krishna?
In due course of time Krishna will make us His Pure devotee who does not except anything from Him except the opportunity to serve Him.
(PURITY or LOVE – WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR DEVOTIONAL GROWTH! READ HERE!)
Before we finish this article, Let us read another classification also:
ANOTHER CLASSIFICATION OF DEVOTEES BY SRILA BHAKTI VINODHE THAKKUR
Srila Bhakti Vinodhe Thakkur says in Caitanya Sikshamruta:
The Four General reasons for the people approaching the God:
1) Bhaya — Because of fear.
2) Aasa — to satisfy their material desires.
3) Kartavya-buddhi — As a duty as a duty bound person. Worshiping is also a duty.
4) Raga — Because of the natural attraction towards the Lord.
Naturally, out of the above four, the fourth one is in the topmost stage.
From the above classifications, you can know that those who expect some benefits from Krishna are also the devotees and Krishna cares them and fulfill their needs also. However, the topmost stage is to come to the stage of Nishkam bhakti.
(FIVE TYPES OF MUKTI (LIBERATION) AND CHOICE OF DEVOTEES! READ HERE!)