The Nine Processes of Devotional Service

Rama & Hanuman

The Nine Processes of Devotional Service

The Nine Processes of Devotional Service are described by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, chapter 5, text 24-25. The great personalities who attained perfection by practice of the nine processes are listed below, followed by the complete text and purport, describing in full these nine processes. If I am not mistaken, this purport to text 24-25 from the seventh canto, chapter five, is one of the longest in the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. Stressing the importance of the verse.

Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge. (SB 7.5.24-25)

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)

3. REMEMBERING (visnu smaranam)
Prahlada Maharaja(never forgot Krsna despite constant tortures from his father- Hiranyakashipu)

4. SERVING THE LORD’S LOTUS FEET (pada sevanam)
Laxmi, the Goddess of Fortune, is always engaged in serving the lotus feet of the Lord.

5. DEITY-WORSHIP (arcanam)
Maharaja Prthu used all of his royal possessions in order to offer them in pure devotion to the Lord.

6. PRAYING (vandanam)
Akura offered prayers to Krsna when he was traveling to Vrndavana in order to see Krsna.

7. EXECUTING ORDERS (dasyam)
Hanuman, the intimate servant of Ramacandra executed all of Sri Ramacandra’s orders despite all kinds of difficulties.

8. SERVING AS A FRIEND (sakhyam)
Arjuna was so close to Krsna, that the Lord offered Himself to become his chariot driver and serve Arjuna and his brothers in various ways.

9. COMPLETE SURRENDER (atma nivedanam)
Bali Maharaja gave Sri Vamanadeva his entire kingdom, his possessions as well as his own body, although his own spiritual master was against it.

All these great devotees served the Lord according to a particular process, but every one of them attained salvation and became eligible to return home, back to Godhead

Full Text and purport follows More

Goddess Worship

Sarasvati the Goddess of Learning

Sarasvatī, the Goddess of Learning

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The other day I was doing some service at the Hare Krishna Temple here in New Vrindavan, West Virginia, and I ran into some Indian guests. After we greeted each other one of them asked me “when did you become a Hindu?” “I never became a Hindu” I replied, “I am a Hare Krishna devotee, a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I am not a Hindu. I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

So just to make things a little clearer…both to myself and others, I did some research from Srila Prabhupada’s books to find the proper understanding of Goddess Worship, or worship of the demigods.

…Worship of demigods is discouraged herein because even the greatest demigods like Brahmā and Śiva only represent part of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. (Bg 10.42)

…The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, and all-powerful demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are engaged in the worship of Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa; therefore who can be more powerful than Mukunda (Lord Kṛṣṇa) to be factually called the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmījī, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are not independently powerful; they are powerful as expansions of the Supreme Lord, and all of them are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and so also are the living entities. (from purport SB 1.18.21)

…Both the living entity and the demigods are subordinate to the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead…not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Generally, persons who are distressed in the material world go to the demigods, as they are advised in the Vedic literature. A person wanting some particular thing may worship such and such a demigod. For example, a diseased person is recommended to worship the sun-god; a person wanting education may worship the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī; and a person wanting a beautiful wife may worship the goddess Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva. In this way there are recommendations in the śāstras (Vedic scriptures) for different modes of worship of different demigods. And because a particular living entity wants to enjoy a particular material facility, the Lord inspires him with a strong desire to achieve that benediction from that particular demigod, and so he successfully receives the benediction. The particular mode of the devotional attitude of the living entity toward a particular type of demigod is also arranged by the Supreme Lord. The demigods cannot infuse the living entities with such an affinity, but because He is the Supreme Lord or the Supersoul who is present in the heart of all living entities, Kṛṣṇa gives impetus to man to worship certain demigods. (from purport Bg 7.21)

…Everyone thinks that his intelligence is perfect. Sometimes one employs his intelligence in the worship of Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva, in order to obtain a beautiful wife. Sometimes, when one wants to become as learned as Lord Brahmā, he employs his intelligence in the worship of the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. Sometimes, when one wishes to become as opulent as Lord Viṣṇu, he worships the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī.

Intelligence should be employed in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As soon as one uses his intelligence in this way, the goddess of fortune automatically becomes favorable to him. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, never remains without her husband, Lord Viṣṇu. Consequently, when one worships Lord Viṣṇu he automatically obtains the favor of the goddess of fortune. (from purport SB 4.25.28)

Full text and purports from above excerpts More

“One Can Understand Me As I Am, Only By Devotional Service”

Sharma-village-cows-krishna-gopies-gopas-gopas-cowherd-men

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“One Can Understand Me As I Am, Only By Devotional Service”
It Is Not All One and the Same

…Lord Kṛṣṇa told the gopīs, ‘The means of attaining My favor is loving service unto Me, and fortunately you are all thus engaged. Those living beings who render service unto Me are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world and attain eternal life with knowledge and bliss.’

The fulfillment of human life is summarized in this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.82.44).

And in the Bhagavad-gita

…Lord Krsna told Arjuna, “One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.”

Impersonalists cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore it is not possible for them to enter into the spiritual kingdom of God and return home, back to Godhead. Actually one attains different results by different means. It is not that all achievements are one and the same.

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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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Sītādevī

In honor of the Appearance Day of Sita Devi, Wife of Lord Ramachandra, we post a short excerpt from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam.

…Sītā is Lakṣmījī, or the goddess of fortune, but she is never to be enjoyed by any living being. She is meant for being worshiped by the living being along with her husband, Śrī Rāmacandra. A materialistic man like Rāvaṇa does not understand this great truth, but on the contrary he wants to snatch Sītādevī from the custody of Rāma and thus incurs great miseries. The materialists, who are after opulence and material prosperity, may take lessons from the Rāmāyaṇa that the policy of exploiting the nature of the Lord without acknowledging the supremacy of the Supreme Lord is the policy of Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa was very advanced materially, so much so that he turned his kingdom, Laṅkā, into pure gold, or full material wealth. But because he did not recognize the supremacy of Lord Rāmacandra and defied Him by stealing His wife, Sītā, Rāvaṇa was killed, and all his opulence and power were destroyed.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 2, Chapter 7, Text 23

Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions

asmat-prasāda-sumukhaḥ kalayā kaleśa
ikṣvāku-vaṁśa avatīrya guror nideśe
tiṣṭhan vanaṁ sa-dayitānuja āviveśa
yasmin virudhya daśa-kandhara ārtim ārcchat

asmat—unto us, beginning from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant; prasāda—causeless mercy; sumukhaḥ—so inclined; kalayā—with His plenary extensions; kaleśaḥ—the Lord of all potencies; ikṣvāku—Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, in the dynasty of the sun; vaṁśe—family; avatīrya—by descending in; guroḥ—of the father or spiritual master; nideśe—under the order of; tiṣṭhan—being situated in; vanam—in the forest; sa-dayitā-anujaḥ—along with His wife and younger brother; āviveśa—entered; yasmin—unto whom; virudhya—being rebellious; daśa-kandharaḥ—Rāvaṇa, who had ten heads; ārtim—great distress; ārcchat—achieved.

Due to His causeless mercy upon all living entities within the universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with His plenary extensions, appeared in the family of Mahārāja Ikṣvāku as the Lord of His internal potency, Sītā. Under the order of His father, Mahārāja Daśaratha, He entered the forest and lived there for considerable years with His wife and younger brother. Rāvaṇa, who was very materially powerful, with ten heads on his shoulders, committed a great offense against Him and was thus ultimately vanquished.

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