Some lineages in the Gaudiya sampradaya instruct their members in great detail about smaranam (meditation), as smaranam is central to raganuga bhakti and in this sense is distinguished from vaiddhi bhakti. In such lineages the guru tells the disciple his siddha deha and instructs him in an elaborate process of manasi seva (service in the lila within the mind). This begins with a static meditation on a particular lila or the yoga pitha/altar accompanied by an appropriate mantra (mantra mayi) and is eventually developed into a dynamic dhyana of the free-flowing movement of the lila (svarasiki).

Disciples are told of their siddha deha in the nitya lila. The siddha deha for all Gaudiya practitioners in Gaura lila is that of a brahmana boy, a servant bordering on friendship (the ideal guru-disciple relationship: visrambhena guroh seva). Whereas the corresponding siddha deha of the disciple in Krsna lila will vary.

However, this instruction on mansi seva has been abused to the extent that so-called gurus are sometimes are more involved in getting siddha (cooked) potatoes than giving actual siddha dehas. In other words, it has been observed and can still be observed today that some so-called gurus are more interested in filling their bellies by attracting disciples by the carrot of receiving their siddha deha than they are actually capable of revealing the disciples eternal service, etc. Even today you can go from one guru to the next in some places and receive one so-called siddha deha from one guru and a different one from another, regardless of what stage of spiritual advancement you have attained.

To caution against this, our lineage does not stress this kind of manasi seva in any detail before one enters the advanced stage of nistha and more so the stages of ruci and asakti. These three are the final stages of sadhana bhakti in which the mind is controlled first by intellect and sustained spiritual practice (nistha) and later by the softened spiritual heart and spiritual attachment (ruci and asakti). Furthermore, rather than learned manasi seva, we stress natural manasi seva arising out of kirtana. In the words of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, kirtana prabhave smarana svabhave se kale bhajana-nirjana sambhava: “Meditation on one’s siddha deha (svarupa) arises out of kirtana, and at that time one can sit in solitary bhajana.”

This is not to say that remembering the dhama, etc. as it is described in scripture is taboo until one reaches the advanced stages of practice, but that at the time that one is advanced such meditation is truly possible. In the meantime one should concentrate on kirtana of Krsna nama, and dhyana of Krsna nama (japa) and one’s diksa mantra. At the same time, one can try one’s best to remember Krsna, his form, qualities, pastimes, abode, etc. throughout the day.

With regard to one’s siddha deha, for example, when entering the temple or the altar for seva puja, one should chant Mahaprabhu’s verse naham vipro na ca… This verse is about transfering one’s consciousness from one’s sadhaka deha to one’s siddha deha in a general sense. The altar is the yoga pitha from which the lila expands.

So if you are so attracted, you can gather verses describing the spiritual significance of Navadwipa, its nondifference from Vrindavana, etc., as well as verses describing its beauty and charm. Chant these verses as part of your sadhana. They have spiritual power. Learn the naham vipro verse and conceive of yourself as an eternal servant/friend of Nimai Pandita (not Lord Caitanya). Nimai Pandita is the madhurya (sweet) name of our ista devata, whom we will serve in eternal Navadwipa dhama.