Process of Devotional Service


Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
Madhya-lila Ch. 6, Text 241-242

TEXT 241

bhakti-sādhana-śreṣṭha śunite haila mana
prabhu upadeśa kaila nāma-saṅkīrtana

TRANSLATION

Then the Bhaṭṭācārya asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu, “Which item is most important in the execution of devotional service?” The Lord replied that the most important item was the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

PURPORT

There are nine items to be executed in devotional service. These are enumerated in the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.23):

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

Hearing the glories of the Lord, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering worship in the temple, offering prayers, becoming a servant of the Lord, becoming the Lord’s friend, and sarvātma-nivedana, offering oneself fully at the lotus feet of the Lord-these are the nine devotional processes. In The Nectar of Devotion, When Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya asked the Lord which item was most important, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately answered that the most important item is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. He then quoted the following verse from the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa (Thirty-eighth Chapter, verse 126) to confirm His statement.

TEXT 242

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

TRANSLATION

” ‘In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverence is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.’ ”

PURPORT

Because the people of this age are so fallen, they can simply chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. In this way they can rid themselves of the bodily conception of life and become eligible to engage in the Lord’s devotional service. One cannot engage in the devotional service of the Lord without being purified of all contamination. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.28):

yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ

“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.” Sometimes people are surprised to see young men and women take so seriously to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. By giving up sinful activity-illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling-and strictly following the injunctions given by the spiritual master, they have become purified of all contamination. They can therefore fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord.

In this Age of Kali, hari-kīrtana is very, very important. The importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord is stated in the following verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.51-52):

kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ
kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt

“The most important factor in this Age of Kali, which is an ocean of faults, is that one can be free from all contamination and become eligible to enter the kingdom of God simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. The self-realization that was achieved in the Satya millennium by meditation, in the Tretā millennium by the performance of different sacrifices, and in the Dvāpara millennium by worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa can be achieved in the Age of Kali simply by chanting the holy names, Hare Kṛṣṇa.”

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