The Process of Devotional Service

Narada-bhakti-sutra
Translation and Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Text One

TRANSLATION

Now, therefore, I will try to explain the process of devotional service.
PURPORT

Devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, where the Lord says that a self-realized person is always in the transcendental state known as brahma-bhūta, which is characterized by joyfulness. When one is self-realized he becomes joyful. In other words, he is free from the material contamination of lamentation and hankering. As long as we are in material existence, we lament for the losses in our life and hanker for that which we do not have. A self-realized person is joyful because he is free from material lamentation and hankering.

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Practicing Krishna Consciousness at Home

Practicing Krishna Consciousness at Home
by Padmapani Prabhu

Since the vast majority of our readers are coming to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna Consciousness for the first time through Internet searches, and without access to devotee association or a nearby Hare Krishna temple, many people have inquired about how they can set up an altar in their homes and start practicing Krishna Consciousness at their own pace.

The first and foremost principle of Krishna Consciousness is chanting the Hare Krishna mantra:
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”

This mantra is a prayer to the Supreme Lord which means: “O energy of the Lord (Hare), O all-attractive Lord Krishna, O Supreme Enjoyer (Rama), please engage me in Your service.”

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Bhakti; Summit of Yoga


Bhakti Notes:
by Vaisesika Dasa

FAQ: Why does it seem that Srila Prabhupada’s translations, word for word renditions and purports all seem to point only to Bhakti?

Answer: Srila Prabhupada’s purpose in presenting the Bhagavad gita As It Is, was to bring out Krsna’s ultimate conclusion of the Gita. This is the meaning of “As It Is.”

Some have speculated that in the Gita Krsna presents many paths and that any one of them is as good as another. However, Krsna clearly presents Bhakti as yoga’s summit even when He explains other processes like Karma Yoga and Dhyana Yoga to Arjuna.

In fact, all such processes are meant to bring one to surrender to the Lord in loving devotional service. The more one advances in devotional service, the more one is considered by Krsna to be advanced in yoga.

At the end of the sixth chapter in which Krsna has explained the arduous process of astanga yoga and meditation, He says:

Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yutatamo matah

“And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me- he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is my opinion.” Bg. 6.47

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Glories of Srimati Tulasi Devi

Glories of Srimati Tulasi Devi
By Bharath Singh

Srimati Tulasi devi is one of the most exalted devotees of Sri Krishna. All scriptures stress the importance of getting the mercy of Tulasi devi if one is to make progress on the path of devotion. In the Skanda Purana it is said:

“Tulasi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about or simply by sowing this tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the Tulasi tree in the above-mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world.”

Above this material world is the eternal spiritual world comprised of millions of Vaikuntha planets. The topmost planet in Vaikuntha is Goloka, which is presided over by Sri Krishna in His original Form. Here resides Vrinda devi, an intimate associate of and an expansion of Srimati Radharani. Her partial expansion is Tulasi devi in the Vaikuntha planets and they are all considered non-different from Her. Five thousand years Ago, when Sri Krishna descended on Earth to perform His pastimes, Vrinda devi created the proper environment for His pastimes in Vrindavana.

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The Prayers of Queen Kunti

Prayers of Queen Kunti

As Kunti approached the Lord’s chariot and began to address Him, her immediate purpose was to persuade Him to remain in Hastinapura and protect the Pandava govemment from reprisals:

O my Lord… are You leaving us today, though we are completely dependent on Your mercy and have no one else to protect us, now when all kings are at enmity with us? (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.37)

From this supplication we should not mistakenly conclude that Kunti’s prayers were self-serving. Although her sufferings were far greater than those any ordinary person could endure, she does not beg relief. On the contrary, she prays to suffer even more, for she reasons that her suffering will increase her devotion to the Lord and bring her ultimate liberation:

My dear Krsna, Your Lordship has protected us from the poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest, and from the battle where great generals fought…. I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths. (SB. 1.8.24-25)

Kunti’s words — the simple and illuminating outpourings of the soul of a great and saintly woman devotee — reveal both the deepest transcendental emotions of the heart and the most profound philosophical and theological penetrations of the intellect. Her words are words of glorification impelled by a divine love steeped in wisdom: O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else. (SB. 1.8.42)

Let There Be Calamities

“I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.” [SB 1.8.25]

Therefore Kuntidevi says, vipadah santu: “Let there be calamities.” Vipadah santu tah sasvat: “Let all those calamities happen again and again.” Because she knows how to remember Krishna at times of danger, she is welcoming danger. “My dear Lord,” she says, “I welcome dangers, because when dangers come I can remember You.”

O Krishna, those who continuously hear, chant and repeat Your transcendental activities, or take pleasure in others’ doing so, certainly see Your lotus feet, which alone can stop the repetition of birth and death.

Bhakti Yoga-the simple process

Is Bhakti-yoga Too Simple?
BY: VRINDAVAN DAS

Is Bhakti-yoga Too Simple?

Srila Prabhupada answers simply


Devotee: …too simple.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore they do not take it. Just like homeopathic medicine. You know homeopathic medicine?

Devotee: Oh, homeopathic medicine.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, simply water. So they do not like to take it. Actually, they do not want God. They want maya. Otherwise, if anyone wants God, Krsna there is no difficulty. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru, mam evaisyasi asamsayah (Bg. 18.65). Four things. “Just always think of Me,” man-mana. Mad-bhaktah: “Just become My devotee.” Mad-yaji: “You worship Me. And offer your obeisances unto Me. If you do simply these four things, then you are coming back to Me without any doubt.” These four things. But they cannot do it or will not do it. Otherwise, very simple. We are thinking of something always. Simply we have to replace Krsna. No. They’ll think so many other things except Krsna. This is the difficulty. Otherwise, it is not at all difficult. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65). This is Krsna consciousness. (Morning Walk June 9, 1974, Paris)
Srila Prabhupada: So, Krsna philosophy is little difficult to understand. If they are understanding so easily, that is not understanding. It is easy, it is easy, if you accept Krsna’s words, it is very easy. That is the difficulty. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakta, mad-yaji mam namaskuru, always think of Me. So where is the difficulty? You have seen Krsna’s picture, Krsna’s Deity, and if you think Krsna, where is the difficulty? After all, we have to think something. So instead of something, why not think Krsna? Where is the difficulty? But he does not take seriously. He has to think so many things, except Krsna. And Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakta. There is no difficulty to take to Krsna consciousness. Not at all. But people will not take it, that is the difficulty. They will argue simply. Kutaka. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakta, where is the argument against it? You are saying that, they may not think of Krsna, they may not say about Krsna. And Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakta. This is argument, this is not philosophy. Philosophy is there, direct, you should do like this, that’s all. You do it and get the results. You go to purchase something, the price is fixed, you pay the price and take it. Where is argument? If you are, if you serious about that thing, you may pay price and take it away. That is the advice of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Krsna-bhakti rasa-bhavita-mati kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate. If you can purchase somewhere the thinking of Krsna, krsna-bhakti rasa-bhavita mati. That is, we have translated into “Krsna Consciousness.” If you can purchase this consciousness, Krsna consciousness, somewhere, immediately purchase it. Krsna-bhakti rasa-bhavita-mati, kriyatam, just purchase, yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate, if it is available somewhere. And if I have to purchase, then what price? Tatra laulyam ekam mulam. Na janma-kotibhih labhyate. If you want what is the price, he says the price is your eagerness. And that eagerness to obtain it, takes many millions of births. (April 12, 1975 Hyderbad)

Srila Prabhupada: Similarly big, big scholars like Dr. Radhakrishnan, he says when Krsna says man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65), he said, “This is not to the person Krsna.” Just see. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, clearly it is stated, bhagavan uvaca. Find out this verse. Please, you find out, somebody. Bhagavad-gita here. Find out.

Devotee: Eighteenth Chapter.

Srila Prabhupada: Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji, Ninth Chapter.

Devotee: Ninth Chapter. Also Eighteenth.

Srila Prabhupada: He directly says that, that “Just become My devotee, always think of Me, offer your respectful obeisances unto Me, and I guarantee that you will come back to Me.” Read it.

Devotee: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Bg. 9.34)

Srila Prabhupada: Now, Radhakrishnan says “Not to Krsna.” So there are so many wrong directions by big, big men, taking Bhagavad-gita. This is going on. And we are poor fellows. We are neither big scholar nor politician. We simply teach our disciple the same thing in Krsna’s service. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto; we are teaching, “You just become devotee of Krsna.” That’s all. No addition, no interpretation. And people are coming. And for the last two hundred years the so-called scholars and politicians published their books, and it is widely read, and not a single devotee of Krsna. Not a single. Just see practically. We have no magic. We don’t play any magic, prepare gold or jugglery. We simply say that you become devotee of Krsna, and these young men have become devotee of Krsna. (Feb 28, Atlanta)

Srila Prabhupada: They have not blindly accepted. So this is the process, that if you accept the pure path as accepted by the authorities,then it will effective. Svayam eva… That is the Vedic principle. Svayam eva sphuraty adhah. Spiritual realization is revealed. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Buddhi-yogam dadami tam yena mam upayanti te. So if we adopt the right principle, then other things will automatically come and help us. And the process is very simple if we accept it. Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. Find this verse.

Nitai: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”
Srila Prabhupada: A simple formula. Anyone can think of Krsna always. Anyone can offer obeisances. Bhava mad-bhaktah. Anyone can serve Krsna. Krsna is open to everyone. So four principle: man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Even a child can do that. And by doing these four things he becomes perfect. (March 14, 1975 Iran)

Guest (3): Yeah, but, the thing is…

Srila Prabhupada: There is no “but.” This is the instruction of Krsna. You have to accept it. Otherwise, you don’t read Bhagavad-gita. That’s all.
Guest (3): The question is…

Srila Prabhupada: It is, it… There is no question of “but,” Krsna says that man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65). If you do not do that, then what is the use of your reading Bhagavad-gita? Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te (Bg18.66). If you do not follow these instructions of Krsna, then where do you, why do you waste your time reading Bhagavad-gita, and mislead others? That is our protest! All these misleaders… Perhaps, throughout the whole world, it is the first time—we are preaching Bhagavad-gita as it is. We are the only institution in the world that we are preaching Bhagavad-gita as it is, and people are liking it. Before that, for the last two hundred years, so many swamis, yogis and…, they tried to preach Hindu philosophy, Vaisnavism. Not a single person was a devotee of Krsna, not a single person. Now you see so many young men. Why? Why this difference? Because we did not present Bhagavad-gita adulterated. Presented as it is, that’s all. What is the use of preaching adulterated things? Everyone wants… That appeals as it is. Therefore we present Bhagavad-gita as it is. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65). We are preaching the same thing—”Always think of Krsna. Chant Hare Krsna. You remember Krsna always.” This is the simplest process. (April 12, 1975 Hyderbad)

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, you can see. You can go to Krsna and see Him. That requires qualification.

Paramahamsa: That’s not as easy.

Srila Prabhupada: No, it is very easy. It is simply, as we are teaching our students, just become a devotee, offer namaskar, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto, always think of Him, and you will go to Him. It is not at all difficult. Bahavo jnana-tapasa puta mad-bhavam agatah. Bahavo, many, did come to Me. How? Jnana-tapasa, by knowledge and tapasya, being purified, they come to Me. Krsna says. Why you are disappointed? You can go. Krsna is open. Te ‘pi yanti param gatim. Striya sudra tatha vaisya, even the women, less intelligent, the sudra, vaisya, they can come. Where is the difficulty? Even if you are born very lowest, you can go. Krsna is open to everyone. Simply you become qualified. That’s all. And what is the qualification? Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65), just always think of Me, become My devotee, offer your respects to Me, and man-mana, worship Me. Four things. That… We are opening this temple (in Melbourne) for this purpose, that you always think of Him, you worship Him, you offer obeisances to Him, and become His devotee. And then? Mam evaisyasi asamsayah (Bg. 18.65), without a doubt you will come to Him. What is the difficulty? There is no difficulty. (May 8, 1975 Perth)

Srila Prabhupada: No. God’s will is open. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65). God says that “You always think of Me. You just become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your respect to Me.” This is Gods will. “And if you do this, then you are coming back to Me.” It is clearly said. God’s will is declared. There is no secret. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad… Find out this ninth verse, er, Ninth Chapter. Yes. Read it.
Bali-mardana: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” [Bg. 9.34)

Srila Prabhupada: That’s all. This is God’s will. It is not secret. It is open. But the thing is that everyone has got his different God.

Yogi Bhajan: Well, question is very fundamental. Everybody has his own God, so let everybody bring one’s own God in understanding. It’s not… God is…

Srila Prabhupada: God… you have got own God. God says, “Always think of Me.”

Yogi Bhajan: Um hm. That’s true.

Srila Prabhupada: So that’s all right. The followers may think of Him. Man-mana. “You become My devotee, become My devotee and worship Me and offer respect to Me,” that’s all. So we are teaching our student, “Here is God, Krsna. You chant Hare Krsna, always think of Him. You just offer your respect and worship Him. In this way become His devotee.” We do not… Spiritually, thing is (?) (indistinct) That’s all right. And they are doing that and they are getting the result. We do not say that “Sit down, press your nose, and meditate and this, that,” or, no. Simple thing. There is God, we have got our temple… (Aside:) Don’t make now this sort of thing…. Simple thing. We have got our temple. We say that “Chant Hare Krsna. Here is God. And think of Him.” As soon as you chant “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna…” Everyone has got the beads. That means you are thinking of Krsna, man-mana. And then we are offering respect, go to the temple and offer our obeisance, very simple thing. So we accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So if you don’t accept, then you must have your own God. Do that. But the followers of Vedic principle, they will accept Krsna the Supreme Lord. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. (June 7, 1975 Honolulu)

Srila Prabhupada: Why one should not think of God always? God says that “You think of Me.” But if you have no idea of God, how you’ll think of? We have God, Krsna, here. We can think of His form. We are busy in His service. We are not only thinking; we are trying to become His devotee. We are serving, trying to serve Him. Rising early in the morning, offering mangala-arati, then prayers, then reading His message, trying to apply in our life as far as possible. We are not perfect, but we are trying to follow the instruction of God. This is our life. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakta mad-yaji mam namaskuru. (July 31, 1972 London)

Srila Prabhupada: In the Bhagavad-gita you understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya (Bg. 7.7). So we are teaching them that “Here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.” So they are accepting. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65). So we are teaching that “Just always think of Krsna, chant Hare Krsna mantra, and you will remember Krsna.” Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. “And just become devotee. Worship the Deity of Krsna. Become His bhakta.” Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji. “Worship Lord Krsna.” Mam namaskuru. “Offer your obeisances to Krsna.” So we are teaching this arcanam. We have got hundred temples like this all over the world. And hundreds and thousands are joining. So this is practical. So they are accepting. Now it is our duty to give the actual Vedic culture which is concise, summarized in the Bhagavad-gita. Sarvopanisad-gavah, the essence of all Upanisad teaching. So there is very good demand for this culture, but unfortunately we give some rubbish things, and they come. Sometimes they go, that he becomes himself God. What is this nonsense? God is so cheap? So they have been frustrated, and our people go and still more frustrate them by giving some cheating type of… But here Bhagavad-gita is very simple. There is no need of great education. What is the difficulty to understand? If Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru (Bg. 18.65), where is the difficulty? “You always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, offer My obeisances.” (April 18, 1974 Hyderbad)

Srila Prabhupada: As long as they will not take to Krsna consciousness, they have to tolerate. They must suffer. That is nature’s law. That is said in the Bhagavad-gita, daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya… (Bg. 7.14). You cannot escape all these miserable conditions of… Mam eva ye prapadyante. If you become Krsna conscious, then you escape. What is the difficulty to become Krsna conscious? Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru: (Bg. 18.65) “Simply always think of Me.” We have got nice Krsna. And attend the temple, and we see. And what is the difficulty to think of Him always? Or chanting, hearing His name. So there is no difficulty in remembering Krsna always. Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. To become devotee, worship the Lord in the temple, prepare food for Him, and take the prasadam—where is the difficulty? The program which we have introduced, where is the difficulty there? But the rascals will not take. That is the difficulty. (May 25, 1974 Rome)

Pasted from

Devotional Service

Devtional Service
by KrishnasMercy.org

Devotional service, or bhakti yoga, is the best method for achieving transcendental realization. In today’s society, the term “yoga” is generally associated with gymnastics poses and various breathing exercises. However, yoga is a term originating from the Vedas and it means to have union with the Supreme, or God. Yoga is meant to be a completely spiritual activity.

There are various types of yoga, such as jnana yoga (meditational/contemplation), karma yoga (fruitive activity), and hatha yoga (body positions/exercises). Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, describes all of them in detail in the Bhagavad-gita. Of all the different types of yoga, bhakti yoga is considered the highest since it involves loving devotion to God. Though devotional service can be classified as a means of self-realization, it is actually the natural disposition of all living entities. We are all part and parcels of God and it is our true nature to love him. Through contact with material nature, we have forgotten this relationship. Bhakti yoga is the way for us to reconnect with Krishna.

Lord Krishna Himself states that no one is dearer to Him than His devotee. His bhaktas, or devotees, have pure love for Him, and the Lord reciprocates. The Lord is generally neutral towards all living entities, but He goes to great lengths to favor and protect his bhaktas. He even states that worshipping His devotee is as good as worshipping Himself.

Devotional service can be a broad term and thus may seem difficult to understand. One may ask “what activity actually constitutes devotional service?” The Vedas give us the answer. There are nine distinct processes of devotional service:

1. Hearing

2. Chanting

3. Remembering

4. Worshipping

5. Serving the lotus feet of the Lord

6. Offering prayers

7. Carrying out the orders of the Lord

8. Becoming friends with Him

9. Surrendering everything to Him

Engaging in any or all of these processes will make one’s life perfect. For each of these processes, Vedic literature has examples of great souls who achieved perfection by practicing them. Religious life is often viewed as being very strict and austere, and requiring great renunciation. Devotional service is above all religious regulations and austerities. Bhakti means love, and it is the natural inclination of everyone to love someone else. So why not try the yoga of love? These processes aren’t very difficult to perform. They don’t take much time and they don’t require any renunciation. In fact, renunciation from sinful activity automatically comes to those who follow the path of devotional service.

In this age, the two most effective processes of devotional service are hearing and chanting. So please chant the Maha-mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare” and hear about Lord Krishna through his authorized representative, the spiritual master, and you will always be happy.

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