Devotional Service

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…Devotional service means transcendental activities.

Devotional service is not a matter of sentimental speculation or imaginative ecstasy. Its substance is practical activity.

The execution of devotional service is not a matter of idle meditation but practical action in the foreground of spiritual life.

“In the course of traversing the universal creation of Brahmā, some fortunate soul may receive the seed of bhakti-latā, the creeper of devotional service. This is all by the grace of guru and Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 19.151)

If by fortune one takes advantage of this opportunity to engage in devotional service, the path of liberation immediately opens.

One should accept this opportunity to return home, back to Godhead, very enthusiastically.

The Nectar of Instruction
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Text 3

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Devotional Service and Worship of Kṛṣṇa

…Pure devotees concentrate their minds in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in full devotional service; therefore they are always situated in the transcendental position. Devotional service and worship of Kṛṣṇa are very clearly indicated in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad-gita verses eight to eleven. That is the way of pure devotional service.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 10, Text 8-11

The Opulence of the Absolute

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.

The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.

To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.

Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

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The Nine Processes of Devotional Service

“Parīkṣit Mahārāja attained salvation simply by hearing, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī attained salvation simply by chanting. Prahlāda Mahārāja attained salvation by remembering the Lord. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmīdevī, attained perfection by worshiping the Lord’s lotus feet. Pṛthu Mahārāja attained salvation by worshiping the Deity of the Lord. Akrūra attained salvation by offering prayers, Hanumān by rendering service, Arjuna by establishing friendship with the Lord, and Bali Mahārāja by offering everything to the service of the Lord.”

The Nine Processes of Devotional Service

They are described by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam as follows:

To hear about Sri Visnu’s transcendental name, His form, His characteristics, His possessions and His pastimes and to hear and chant about His pastimes, to remember them, to serve the lotus feet of the Lord, to respectfully offer service to the Lord, to offer prayers to the Lord, to become His servant, to consider the Lord one’s best friend and to offer Him everything-these nine processes are recognized as pure devotional service.

1. HEARING (sravanam) Maharaja Pariksit(the last seven days of his life, he constantly heard the Srimad Bhagavatam).

2. CHANTING (kirtanam) Sukadeva Goswami(spoke the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit)

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Mad Elephant Offense (Vaiṣṇava-aparādha)

Sometimes we see that devotees, even though they are following the rules and regulations, appear not to be making very much spiritual advancement. Often we see that they appear to be going backwards rather than forward in their devotional lives. This is often the case of “the mad elephant offense” or vaisnava-aparadha, which can stop or destroy their devotional career, and should be carefully avoided. We have included a few select verses from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam which support this statement.

…To commit an offense against a devotee is very dangerous in devotional service. Lord Caitanya therefore said that an offense to a devotee is just like a mad elephant run loose; when a mad elephant enters a garden, it tramples all the plants. Similarly, an offense unto the feet of a pure devotee murders one’s position in devotional service…

…One’s pure intelligence, or pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, becomes polluted by material activities. Pure consciousness can be revived by the process of sacrifice, charity, pious activities, etc., but when one pollutes his Kṛṣṇa consciousness by offending a brāhmaṇa or a Vaiṣṇava, it is very difficult to revive. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described the vaiṣṇava-aparādha, or offense to a Vaiṣṇava, as “the mad elephant offense.” One should be very careful not to offend a Vaiṣṇava or a brāhmaṇa…

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.15.39

kṛtsna-prasāda-sumukhaṁ spṛhaṇīya-dhāma
snehāvaloka-kalayā hṛdi saṁspṛśantam
śyāme pṛthāv urasi śobhitayā śriyā svaś-
cūḍāmaṇiṁ subhagayantam ivātma-dhiṣṇyam

The Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure. His auspicious presence is meant for everyone’s benediction, and His affectionate smiling and glancing touch the core of the heart. The Lord’s beautiful bodily color is blackish, and His broad chest is the resting place of the goddess of fortune, who glorifies the entire spiritual world, the summit of all heavenly planets. Thus it appeared that the Lord was personally spreading the beauty and good fortune of the spiritual world.

Purport
When the Lord came, He was pleased with everyone; therefore it is stated here, kṛtsna-prasāda-sumukham. The Lord knew that even the offensive doormen were His pure devotees, although by chance they committed an offense at the feet of other devotees. To commit an offense against a devotee is very dangerous in devotional service. Lord Caitanya therefore said that an offense to a devotee is just like a mad elephant run loose; when a mad elephant enters a garden, it tramples all the plants. Similarly, an offense unto the feet of a pure devotee murders one’s position in devotional service. On the part of the Lord there was no offended mood because He does not accept any offense created by His sincere devotee. But a devotee should be very cautious of committing offenses at the feet of another devotee. The Lord, being equal to all, and being especially inclined to His devotee, looked as mercifully at the offenders as at the offended. This attitude of the Lord was due to His unlimited quantity of transcendental qualities. His cheerful attitude towards the devotees was so pleasing and heart-touching that His very smile was attractive for them. That attraction was glorious not only for all the higher planets of this material world, but beyond, for the spiritual world also. Generally a human being has no idea of what the constitutional position is in the higher material planets, which are far better constituted in regard to all paraphernalia, yet the Vaikuṇṭha planet is so pleasing and so celestial that it is compared to the middle jewel or locket in a necklace of jewels.

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Raja-Vidya The King of Knowledge (Free PDF Download)

king-of-knowledge

click on link at bottom for a free download on entire book to read online or save in pdf format

…It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare)in course of time feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.

Bhagavada-gita As It Is Macmillan Edition 1975
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 9, Text 2

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

rāja-vidyā—the king of education; rāja-guhyam—the king of confidential knowledge; pavitram—the purest; idam—this; uttamam—transcendental; pratyakṣa—directly experienced; avagamam—understood; dharmyam—the principle of religion; susukham—very happy; kartum—to execute; avyayam—everlasting.

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.

Purport
This chapter of Bhagavad-gītā is called the king of education because it is the essence of all doctrines and philosophies explained before. There are seven principal philosophers in India: Gautama, Kaṇāda, Kapila, Yājñavalkya, Śāṇḍilya, Vaiśvānara, and, finally, Vyāsadeva, the author of the Vedānta-sūtra. So there is no dearth of knowledge in the field of philosophy or transcendental knowledge. Now the Lord says that this Ninth Chapter is the king of all such knowledge, the essence of all knowledge that can be derived from the study of the Vedas and different kinds of philosophy. It is the most confidential because confidential or transcendental knowledge involves understanding the difference between the soul and the body. And the king of all confidential knowledge culminates in devotional service.

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Worship God with Love and Affection

“Kṛṣṇa, You have come to me to take some fruit in exchange for grains. All the grains have fallen, but still You may take whatever You like.” Thus she filled Kṛṣṇa’s palms with whatever fruits He could carry. In exchange, Kṛṣṇa filled her whole basket with jewels and gold.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto Ten, Chapter 11, Text 11

phala-vikrayiṇī tasya
cyuta-dhānya-kara-dvayam
phalair apūrayad ratnaiḥ
phala-bhāṇḍam apūri ca

While Kṛṣṇa was going to the fruit vendor very hastily, most of the grains He was holding fell. Nonetheless, the fruit vendor filled Kṛṣṇa’s hands with fruits, and her fruit basket was immediately filled with jewels and gold.

In Bhagavad-gītā (9.26) Kṛṣṇa says:

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

Kṛṣṇa is so kind that if anyone offers Him a leaf, a fruit, a flower or some water, He will immediately accept it. The only condition is that these things should be offered with bhakti (yo me bhaktyā prayacchati). Otherwise, if one is puffed up with false prestige, thinking, “I have so much opulence, and I am giving something to Kṛṣṇa,” one’s offering will not be accepted by Kṛṣṇa. The fruit vendor, although a woman belonging to the poor aborigine class, dealt with Kṛṣṇa with great affection, saying, “Kṛṣṇa, You have come to me to take some fruit in exchange for grains. All the grains have fallen, but still You may take whatever You like.” Thus she filled Kṛṣṇa’s palms with whatever fruits He could carry. In exchange, Kṛṣṇa filled her whole basket with jewels and gold.

From this incident one should learn that for anything offered to Kṛṣṇa with love and affection, Kṛṣṇa can reciprocate many millions of times over, both materially and spiritually. The basic principle involved is an exchange of love. Therefore Kṛṣṇa teaches in Bhagavad-gītā (9.27):

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True Love

Today being Valentines Day, and with everyone absorbed in a loving mood, we thought we would post something about True Love.

…Everyone and everything is attracted to Kṛṣṇa–that is the perfect description of Kṛṣṇa’s attraction. The example of the gopīs is very instructive to persons who are trying to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One can very easily associate with Kṛṣṇa simply by remembering His transcendental pastimes. Everyone has a tendency to love someone. That Kṛṣṇa should be the object of love is the central point of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. By constantly chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and remembering the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, one can be fully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and thus make his life sublime and fruitful.

KRSNA The Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 34

The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation

The gopīs of Vṛndāvana were so attached to Kṛṣṇa that they were not satisfied simply with the rāsa dance at night. They wanted to associate with Him and enjoy His company during the daytime also. When Kṛṣṇa went to the forest with His cowherd boy friends and cows, the gopīs did not physically take part, but their hearts went with Him. And because their hearts went, they were able to enjoy His company through strong feelings of separation. To acquire this strong feeling of separation is the teaching of Lord Caitanya and His direct disciplic succession of Gosvāmīs. When we are not in physical contact with Kṛṣṇa, we can associate with Him like the gopīs, through feelings of separation. Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, and entourage are all identical with Him. There are nine different kinds of devotional service. Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa in feelings of separation elevates the devotee to the highest perfectional level, to the level of the gopīs.

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How to Discharge Devotional Service

The Nectar of Devotion is a summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, or “the nectar that is derived from the ocean of devotion (bhakti).” It fully contains the complete science of bhakti-yoga, or linking with the Supreme by transcendental loving devotion. Bhakti-yoga is the highest path of attaining God consciousness, and it is simultaneously simple and sublime. It is recommended for everyone in this age.

The Nectar of Devotion 1970 Edition
By Hia Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 6

How to Discharge Devotional Service

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states that his elder brother (Sanātana Gosvāmī) has compiled Hari-bhakti-vilāsa for the guidance of the Vaiṣṇavas and therein has mentioned many rules and regulations to be followed by the Vaiṣṇavas. Some of them are very important and prominent, and he will now mention these very important items for our benefit. The purport of this statement is that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī proposes to mention only basic principles, not details. For example, a basic principle is that one has to accept a spiritual master. Exactly how one follows the instructions of his spiritual master is considered a detail. For example, if one is following the instruction of his spiritual master and that instruction is different from the instructions of another spiritual master, this is called detailed information. But the basic principle of acceptance of a spiritual master is good everywhere, although the details may be different. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī does not wish to enter into details here, but wants to place before us only the principles.

He mentions the basic principles as follows: 1) accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master, 2) becoming initiated by the spiritual master and learning how to discharge devotional service from him, 3) obeying the orders of the spiritual master with faith and devotion, 4) following in the footsteps of great ācāryas (teachers) under the direction of the spiritual master, 5) inquiring from the spiritual master how to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, 6) being prepared to give up anything material for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa (This means that when we are engaged in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, we must be prepared to give up something which we may not like to give up, and also we have to accept something which we may not like to accept.), 7) residing in a sacred place of pilgrimage like Dvārakā or Vṛndāvana, 8) dealing with the material world only as far as necessary, 9) observing the fasting day on Ekādaśī, and 10) worshiping sacred trees like the banyan tree.

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A Devotee of Kṛṣṇa is Friendly to Everyone

A devotee of Kṛṣṇa is friendly to everyone. Therefore it is said here that he has no enemy. How is this? A devotee situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness knows that only devotional service to Kṛṣṇa (God) can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this, and therefore he wants to introduce this system, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God Consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord risking their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. The favorite example is Lord Jesus Christ

He was crucified by the nondevotees, but He sacrificed His life for spreading God consciousness. Of course, it would be superficial to understand that He was killed. Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Ṭhākur Haridāsa. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and it is difficult. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person knows that if a man is suffering, it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa (God). Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one’s neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord. Now, we can imagine how merciful Kṛṣṇa is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Macmillan 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 11 The Universial Form Text 55

mat-karma-kṛn mat-paramo
mad-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ
nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu
yaḥ sa mām eti pāṇḍava

mat-karma-kṛt—engaged in doing My work; mat-paramaḥ—concerning Me, the Supreme; mat-bhaktaḥ—engaged in My devotional service; saṅga-varjitaḥ—freed from the contamination of previous activities and mental speculation; nirvairaḥ—without an enemy; sarva-bhūteṣu—to every living entity; yaḥ—one who; saḥ—he; mām—unto Me; eti—comes; pāṇḍava—O son of Pāṇḍu.

Translation
My dear Arjuna, one who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of previous activities and from mental speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to Me.

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Eligibility of the Candidate for Accepting Devotional Service

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Nectar of Devotion – 1970 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Chapter 3

Eligibility of the Candidate for Accepting Devotional Service

On account of his association with mahātmās, or great souls one hundred percent in the devotional service of the Lord, one may attain a little bit of attraction for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. But at the same time one may remain very much attached to fruitive activities and material sense enjoyment and not be prepared to undergo the different types of renunciation. Such a person, if he has unflinching attraction to Kṛṣṇa, becomes an eligible candidate for discharging devotional service.

This attraction for Kṛṣṇa consciousness in association with pure devotees is the sign of great fortune. It is confirmed by Lord Caitanya that only the fortunate persons, by the mercy of both a bona fide spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, will get the seed of devotional service. In this connection, Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eleventh Canto, 20th Chapter, verse 8: “My dear Uddhava, only by exceptional fortune does someone become attracted to Me (Kṛṣṇa). And even if one is not completely detached from fruitive activities, or is not completely attached to devotional service, such service is quickly effective.”

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Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System

Yogesvara, the ultimate object of yoga


Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 2

Yoga and the Master of Yoga

Yoga means the connecting link between the soul and the Supersoul, or the Supreme and the minute living creatures. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is that Supreme, the Personality of Godhead. Being, therefore, the ultimate object of yoga, Kṛṣṇa’s name is yogeśvara, the master of yoga.

At the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said: “Where there is Kṛṣṇa, and where there is Arjuna, the greatest of bowmen, there, undoubtedly, is victory.”

The Bhagavad-gītā is a narrative spoken by Sañjaya, the secretary of Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra. This is just like airwaves from the radio: the play is going on in the auditorium, but you can hear from your room. So, just as we now have such a mechanical arrangement, at that time there were also certain arrangements, although there was no machine. Anyway, the secretary of Dhṛtarāṣṭra could see what was going on in the battlefield, and he was in the palace, telling this to Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who was blind. Now, the conclusion made by Sañjaya was that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

When the yoga performance is described, it is said that Kṛṣṇa’s name is yogeśvara. No one can be a better yogī than the master of yoga, and Kṛṣṇa is the master. There are many different types of yoga. Yoga means the system, and yogi means the person who practices that system. The object of yoga, the ultimate goal, is to understand Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to practice the topmost type of yoga.

This topmost yoga system was described by Kṛṣṇa in the Gītā to His most intimate friend, Arjuna. In the beginning, the Lord said that this system can be practiced only by a person who has developed attachment for it. This Kṛṣṇa conscious yoga system cannot be practiced by an ordinary man who has no attachment for Kṛṣṇa, for it is a different system, and the topmost—bhakti-yoga.

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The Urgent Need for Krishna Consciousness


The Urgent Need for Krishna Consciousness
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This very important Krsna consciousness movement is meant to save human society from spiritual death. At present human society is being misled by leaders who are blind, for they do not know the aim and objective of human life, which is self-realization and the reestablishment of our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the missing point. This Krsna consciousness movement is trying to enlighten human society in this important matter.

According to Vedic civilization, the perfection of life is to realize one’s relationship with Krsna or God. In Bhagavad-gita, which is accepted by all authorities in transcendental science as the basis of all Vedic knowledge, we understand that not only human beings but all living entities are parts and parcels of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole, just as the legs, hands, fingers and ears are meant for serving the total body. We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are duty bound to serve Him.

Actually our position is that we are always rendering service to someone, either to our family, country or society. If we have no one to serve, sometimes we keep a pet cat or dog and render service to it. All these factors prove that we are constitutionally meant to render service, yet in spite of serving to our best capacity, we are no more satisfied. Nor is the person to whom we are rendering that service satisfied. On the material platform, everyone is frustrated. The reason for this is that the service which is being rendered is not properly directed. For example, if we want to render service to a tree, we must water the root. If we pour water on the leaves, branches and twigs, there is little benefit. If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is served, all other parts and parcels will be automatically satisfied. Consequently all welfare activities as well as service to society, family and nation are realized by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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Devotional Service Attracts KRSNA


From; The Nectar of Devotion – 1970 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Attracting Krsna

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has stated that devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Kṛṣṇa. The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa is called Madana-mohana, which means that He is so attractive that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids. But Rādhārāṇī is still more attractive, for She can even attract Kṛṣṇa. Therefore devotees call Her Madana-mohana-mohanī-the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.

To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Rādhārāṇī, and devotees in Vṛndāvana put themselves under the care of Rādhārāṇī in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service. In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is directly under the control of Rādhārāṇī. In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that the mahātmās, or great souls, are under the protection of daivī prakṛti, the internal energy-Rādhārāṇī. So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa, devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa Himself.

This fact is corroborated by Kṛṣṇa in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 12th Chapter, 1st verse, where He says, “My dear Uddhava, you may know it from Me that the attraction I feel for devotional service rendered by My devotees is not to be attained even by the performance of mystic yoga, philosophical speculation, ritualistic sacrifices, the study of Vedānta, the practice of severe austerities or the giving of everything in charity. These are, of course, very nice activities, but they are not as attractive to Me as the transcendental loving service rendered by My devotees.”(from Nectar of Devotion: Chapter One, Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service, Attracting Krsna)

The First Stages of Devotion

Nectar of Devotion
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Two

We should always try to mold the activities of our lives in such a way that we will constantly remember Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Whether one concentrates his mind on the four-handed form of Viṣṇu or on the form of two-handed Kṛṣṇa, it is the same. The Padma Purāṇa recommends: somehow or other always think of Viṣṇu, without forgetting Him under any circumstances. Actually this is the most basic of all regulative principles. For, when there is an order from a superior about doing something, there is simultaneously a prohibition. When the order is that one should always remember Kṛṣṇa, the prohibition is that one should never forget Him. Within this simple order and prohibition, all regulative principles are found complete.

The First Stages of Devotion

The three categories of devotional service which Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu are listed as devotional service in practice, devotional service in ecstasy and devotional service in pure love of Godhead. There are many subheadings in each of these categories. Generally it is understood that in the category of devotional service in practice there are two different qualities, devotional service in ecstasy has four qualities, and devotional service in pure love of Godhead has six qualities. These qualities will be explained by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī later on.

In this connection, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī suggests that the person eligible for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotional service, can be classified by his particular taste. He says that devotional service is a continual process from one’s previous life. No one can take to devotional service unless he has had some previous connection with it. For example, suppose in this life I practice devotional service to some extent. Even though it is not one-hundred-percent perfectly performed, whatever I have done will not be lost. In my next life, from the very point where I stop in this life, I shall begin again. In this way there is always a continuity. But even if there is no continuity, if only by chance a person takes interest in a pure devotee’s instruction, he can be accepted and can advance in devotional service. Anyway, for persons who have a natural taste for understanding books like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, devotional service is easier than for those who are simply accustomed to mental speculation and argumentative processes.

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Opening the door for Srila Prabhupada

Opening the door for Srila Prabhupada
By; Palaka-dasa,
February 19, 2009:

When Srila Prabhupada traveled to  Washington DC in the summer of 1976 I wanted desperately to do what ever little direct personal service for him that I could. So I eagerly looked for any opportunity an insignificant disciple such as my lowly self could find. Considering all of my Godbrothers and Godsisters out ranked me on every level, I would have to be a little aggressive if I were to render any direct service at all. Of course all of us were already assisting and serving Srila Prabhupada and his mission of spreading the Hare Krsna movement all over the world. Still, by some extra ordinary amount of good fortune, special mercy was coming our way. Srila Prabhupada was going to reside among us for one week and the potential for personal contact would be available like never before. Especially for the majority of us who never had been given the opportunity to serve directly along side of Srila Prabhupada. This would be a special time and a rare chance to gather up the nectar of his personal presence. As it turned out, this was the first and only time Srila Prabhupada came to Washington DC, thus making the memories of these days even that much sweeter.

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Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service

Nectar of Devotion
By: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter One

Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verses 12 and 13, Śrīla Kapiladeva, while instructing His mother, has given the following characteristics of pure devotional service: “My dear mother, those who are My pure devotees, and who have no desire for material benefit or philosophical speculation, have their minds so much engaged in My service that they are never interested in asking Me for anything—except to be engaged in that service. They do not even beg to live in My abode with Me.”

There are five kinds of liberation, namely to become one with the Lord, to live with the Supreme Lord on the same planet, to have the same features as the Lord, to enjoy the same opulences as the Lord and to live as a companion of the Lord. A devotee, what to speak of rejecting material sense gratification, does not even want any of the five kinds of liberation. He is satisfied simply by discharging loving service to the Lord. That is the characteristic of pure devotion.

In the above statement by Kapiladeva from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the actual position of a pure devotee is described, and the primary characteristics of devotional service are also defined. Further characteristics of devotional service are described by Rūpa Gosvāmī with evidences from different scriptures. He states that there are six characteristics of pure devotional service, which are as follows:

(1) Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.

(2) Pure devotional service is the beginning of all auspiciousness.

(3) Pure devotional service automatically puts one in transcendental pleasure.

(4) Pure devotional service is rarely achieved.

(5) Those in pure devotional service deride even the conception of liberation.

(6) Pure devotional service is the only means to attract Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, but pure devotional service attracts even Him. This means that pure devotional service is even transcendentally stronger than Kṛṣṇa Himself, because it is Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency.

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Krishna Smiles

Krishna Smiles
By Krishna’s Mercy

“When a devotee with all his heart and soul serves Krishna, dresses Him in nice garments and gives Him a flower, Krishna smiles. If you can get Krishna to smile upon you just once, your life’s goal is fulfilled.” (Srila Prabhupada, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Ch 7)

Shyamasundara, the original and ever existing form of the Personality of Godhead, has an inexhaustible reservoir of sweetness just ready to flow onto whoever is sincere enough to look at His wonderful face and body. The jivas, the conditioned living entities that are technically part of the marginal energy emanating from the Supreme Spirit, have exercised their freedom by turning their faces away from God. As nothing can be separated from the origin of everything, the material nature and all its miserable components are certainly non-different from the Supreme Lord, but since they are not part of His personal, internal energy, their association cannot bring anywhere near the level of satisfaction to the heart so desperately looking for eternal pleasure that one simple and sincere glance at the smiling face of the Personality of Godhead can. From the wonderful prescriptions provided by the sweetheart of a devotee and saint, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, we find an easy way to bring to our vision that enchanting smile, an image which subsequently paints a mental picture that won’t go away anytime soon. Indeed, Krishna’s smile is so beautiful that it will kill the pride of even the staunchest of atheists.

“Dear Krishna, You are the killer of all the fears of the inhabitants of Vrindavana. You are the supremely powerful hero, and we know that You can kill the unnecessary pride of Your devotee as well as the pride of women like us simply by Your beautiful smile.” (Songs of the gopis, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 31)

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Glories of the Srimad Bhagavatam

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1, Chapter 7, Text 7

The conclusion is that simply by hearing the Vedic literature Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one can have direct connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and thereby one can attain the highest perfection of life by transcending worldly miseries, illusion and fearfulness. These are practical tests for one who has actually given a submissive hearing to the readings of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

TEXT 7

yasyāṁ vai śrūyamāṇāyāṁ
kṛṣṇe parama-pūruṣe
bhaktir utpadyate puṁsaḥ
śoka-moha-bhayāpahā

SYNONYMS

yasyām—this Vedic literature; vai—certainly; śrūyamāṇāyām—simply by giving aural reception; kṛṣṇe—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; parama—supreme; pūruṣe—unto the Personality of Godhead; bhaktiḥ—feelings of devotional service; utpadyate—sprout up; puṁsaḥ—of the living being; śoka—lamentation; moha—illusion; bhaya—fearfulness; apahā—that which extinguishes.

TRANSLATION

Simply by giving aural reception to this Vedic literature, the feeling for loving devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sprouts up at once to extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fearfulness.

PURPORT

There are various senses, of which the ear is the most effective. This sense works even when a man is deep asleep. One can protect himself from the hands of an enemy while awake, but while asleep one is protected by the ear only. The importance of hearing is mentioned here in connection with attaining the highest perfection of life, namely, getting free from three material pangs. Everyone is full of lamentation at every moment, he is after the mirage of illusory things, and he is always afraid of his supposed enemy. These are the primary symptoms of material disease. And it is definitely suggested herein that simply by hearing the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one gets attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and as soon as this is effected the symptoms of the material diseases disappear. Śrīla Vyāsadeva saw the all-perfect Personality of Godhead, and in this statement the all-perfect Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa is clearly confirmed.

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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.

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Perfect, Immortal, and Peaceful


Narada-bhakti-sutra
Purport & Translation By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Text 4

TRANSLATION

Upon achieving that stage of transcendental devotional service in pure love of God, a person becomes perfect, immortal, and peaceful.

PURPORT

The part-and-parcel living entities are entangled in the conditioned life of material existence. Because of their diverse activities they are wandering all over the universe, transmigrating from one body to another and undergoing various miseries. But when a fortunate living entity somehow comes in contact with a pure devotee of the Lord and engages in devotional service, he enters upon the path of perfection. If someone engages in devotional service in all seriousness, the Lord instructs him in two ways—through the pure devotee and from within—so that he can advance in devotional service. By cultivating such devotional service, he becomes perfect.

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