Q.Consciousness of a devotee and external behavior, is it related or independent? (This question is related to how a Vaishnava should behave in the mode of goodness so people in general are attracted by those qualities)
A. They are related. According to your consciousness, according to your thoughts and desires that is what will provoke words and actions. Therefore we have to go right to the root of the problem which is our material desires and material attachments and the Holy Name and devotional service goes right to the root of that problem and purifies our heart.
But in the meanwhile while this purification is taking place, on the external level we must be very careful to tolerate any inclination towards offensive activities. If we simultaneously perform the austerity of restraining our mind and senses and at the same time continue with the process of devotional service of chanting and hearing the Holy names and glories of the Lord, very quickly we become purified. If we do not contemplate and keep our mind endeavoring to be fixed on Krishna if we allow our mind to unrestrictedly contemplate the objects of the senses in envious and selfish thoughts then It is just a matter of time until those thoughts force us into offensive words and behavior. Therefore when these thoughts come into our mind we must restrain from giving into them and we must struggle and strain to replace them with holy thoughts. This is tapasya. This is real austerity.
Q&A with H.H.Radhanath Swami