The first thing today is because it is a seminar there may be a need to take notes. Did you bring paper and a pen? Everyone brought pens and paper? Who did not bring? Anyway, I can see that most of you have brought a pen and paper. That is very nice. Vaisnava etiquette is a very vast subject but here
we will conduct it only for two days. Today, being the first day, we will discuss about the general understanding of Vaisnava etiquette, the general external aspect of Vaisnava etiquette and tomorrow we will deal with more of an internal and behavioural aspect of Vaisnava etiquette. For example, the
first thing we will today will be "what is the meaning or definition of Vaisnava etiquette?"
So, this Vaisnava etiquette is a combination of two words: Vaisnava andetiquette. Vaisnava everybody knows and etiquette means the activity and behaviour of a Vaisnava. So then the question arises: "who is a Vaisnava?" The general understanding or definition of Vaisnava is one who is a devotee of Vishnu is a Vaisnava. Vishnu-bhakta is Vaisnava. One - meaning one who has surrendered himself to Vishnu is a Vaisnava. Who is Vishnu? Again now the question arises, "Who is Vishnu? " Vishnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Does anybody have any doubt about that? Do you all believe in the
Supreme Personality of Godhead? Who doesn't believe in Vishnu or the Supreme Personality of Godhead? At least here everybody does.And those who believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are the
fortunate souls. They are really fortunate. So, devotees of Vishnu are Vaisnavas. The word Vaisnava has been derived from the word Vishnu, which means devotee of Vishnu. Devotee, what is the meaning of the word devotee then? We again go back to this point: "What is the meaning of the word devotee?" So the word devotee means basically one who believes in Vishnu,believes in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who surrenders himself to the Supreme Personality of Godhead? One, as a result of his surrender,
depends upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead and depending upon Him, he serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in this way he develops his love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So, this devotion begins with surrender and goes up to love. First aspect of devotion is surrender. Well, another thing of course comes before surrender.What is that? Faith because we believe in Krishna, therefore we surrender to Krishna. Those who don't believe in Krishna cannot surrender to Krishna. So,
therefore the first consideration is sraddha. At the beginning there is sraddha tatah sadhu- sangah. So first is sraddha. So sraddha leads to saranagati, surrender. And through the surrender it reaches prema. Atyanta
durlabha prema koribare dana, sikhaya saranagati bhakatera prana. In order to bestow, in order to offer very rare Krishna prema - love for Krishna -Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching us the process of surrender.