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

Cleansing of the Heart

Srimad Bhagavatam

A friend of mine was asking me how we could realize Paramātmā or the Lord within the heart? How would I explain it to someone? I immediately thought of the following verses from the Second Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and I replied to his question by saying ‘by reading about the glories of the Lord and chanting His names, we can begin to purify our hearts and come to understand through His mercy, the Lord within our hearts’. After getting home and looking up these verses…it was clear I gave him the correct answer.

O greatly fortunate Śukadeva Gosvāmī, please continue narrating Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam so that I can place my mind upon the Supreme Soul, Lord Kṛṣṇa, and, being completely freed from material qualities, thus relinquish this body.

Persons who hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam regularly and are always taking the matter very seriously will have the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested in their hearts within a short time.

The sound incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Soul [i.e. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam], enters into the heart of a self-realized devotee, sits on the lotus flower of his loving relationship, and thus cleanses the dust of material association, such as lust, anger and hankering. Thus it acts like autumnal rains upon pools of muddy water. (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.8.3-5)

Full test and purports More

Lunch with the Lord

Krsna & the cowheard boys taking Prasadam

Today, being Monday, and the start of another workday week, I wanted to focus my mind, not on all the work ahead, but rather, on some Krishna Nectar from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam. We share with you a few of Srila Prabhupada’s divine ecstasies. As we mentioned is a previous post, there are two kṛṣṇa-kathās; narrations spoken by Kṛṣṇa, and narrations spoken about Kṛṣṇa. Please note text 5 & 6 which is spoken by Krsna.

…devotees who have accepted the essence of life, are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the core of their hearts, and He is the aim of their lives. It is their nature to talk only of Kṛṣṇa at every moment, as if such topics were newer and newer.

Like the whorl of a lotus flower surrounded by its petals and leaves, Kṛṣṇa sat in the center, encircled by lines of His friends, who all looked very beautiful. Every one of them was trying to look forward toward Kṛṣṇa, thinking that Kṛṣṇa might look toward him. In this way they all enjoyed their lunch in the forest.

Among the cowherd boys, some placed their lunch on flowers, some on leaves, fruits, or bunches of leaves, some actually in their baskets, some on the bark of trees and some on rocks. This is what the children imagined to be their plates as they ate their lunch.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 10, Chapter 13, Text 1-12

Translations and purports More

Kṛṣṇa-kathā, Part 2

Srimad Bhagavatam

The position of Mahārāja Parīkṣit and Śukadeva Gosvāmī is unique. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the right person to hear about the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī is the right person to describe them. If such a fortunate combination is made possible, then Kṛṣṇa-kathā immediately becomes revealed, and people may benefit to the highest possible degree from such a conversation.

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Perfect Segue

Srimad Bhagavatam

This morning I was marveling at how beautifully Srila Prabhupada segues [def: an uninterrupted transition from one song to another. 2. go on without a pause.] from the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam into the Second Canto. This Srimad Bhagavatam, is truly one of the most amazing books in existence today!

You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die. (SB 1.19.37)

Please let me know what a man should hear, chant, remember and worship, and also what he should not do. Please explain all this to me. (SB 1.19.38)

Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: The King thus spoke and questioned the sage, using sweet language. Then the great and powerful personality, the son of Vyāsadeva, who knew the principles of religion, began his reply… (SB 1.19.40) [End of First Canto]

[Start of Second Canto]…Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists. (SB 2.1.1)

…That very Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation. (SB 2.1.10)

Unless one is perfectly anxious to inquire about the way of perfection, there is no necessity of approaching a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not a kind of decoration for a householder. Generally a fashionable materialist engages a so-called spiritual master without any profit. The pseudo spiritual master flatters the so-called disciple, and thereby both the master and his ward go to hell without a doubt. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the right type of disciple because he puts forward questions vital to the interest of all men, particularly for the dying men. The question put forward by Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the basic principle of the complete thesis of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Now let us see how intelligently the great master replies. (from purport to SB 1.19.37)

Full translation and purports More

A Devotee is an Ocean of Mercy

…With similar Vaisnava compassion, Pariksit Maharaja says to Sukadeva Gosvami, “You have described the different types of hellish conditions of life. Now, tell me how those who are suffering can be delivered. Kindly explain this to me.” “How can they be delivered from their fierce miseries and horrible pains?” That is a Vaisnava heart. Maharaja Pariksit says, “Somehow or other they have fallen down to this hellish life. But that does not mean that they should remain in that condition. There must be some means by which they can be delivered, so kindly explain that.”

“Yes, I’ve already described the different types of hellish conditions and very severe painful life, but one has to counteract it.”

If you are to go to Krsna, then you have to prepare your spiritual body. That is Krsna consciousness, If you keep yourself in Krsna consciousness, then gradually you prepare your next body, a spiritual body, which will carry you immediately to Krsnaloka, and you will become happy. You will live there perpetually and blissfully.

A Devotee is an Ocean of Mercy

Lecture given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
From Back to Godhead Magazine 1972 Vol. 1, No 45

Today I shall speak to you about the glorification of the holy name of God. This was discussed between Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Gosvami in connection with a brahmana who was very fallen and addicted to all kinds of sinful activities but was saved simply by chanting the holy name. This is found in the Sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

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Spiritual Vision

When Vyasadeva was following his son, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, they came upon some damsels bathing in a pond, Sukadeva was also naked, yet the maidens did not cover themselves when he passed by. However, they did cover themselves when the fully-clad Vyasadeva approached. Astonished at the apparently inconsistent behavior of the young girls, Vyasadeva asked them to explain. “Your son is purified of all material contamination,” they said, “so when he looks at us he makes no distinction between male and female. But as a householder, you do make such distinctions. Therefore, while we feel no shame before your son, we must cover ourselves before you.

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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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Preparing for Death

Chanakya Pandit says that “If you want to make spiritual advancement, then you should always think that “Death is next moment. Death is next moment.”

Excerpt from lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam
Canto 1, Chapter 4, Text 25, Montreal, June 20, 1968
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Parikshit Maharaja, he was a powerful king. He was equipped with all, everything, but he did not counteract the curse [1]. He could counteract that curse. He was so powerful, but he accepted: “All right. I am cursed. I shall give up my life within seven days.” That means he took it as an opportunity that “I am going to death within seven days. That is certain. And I must prepare myself fully so that my next life I can approach Krishna.” So this is a good opportunity, that “I have got seven days’ time.” We haven’t got seven seconds’ time. We do not know. Nobody has served me notice. We find by practical experience that we are walking on the street—all of a sudden there is some accident, and we die. There is possibility. So the important point is that Maharaja Parikshit was fortunate enough to get seven days’ time before his death. But we do not know how much time is there for our death. So how much serious we shall be. Chanakya Pandit says that “If you want to make spiritual advancement, then you should always think that “Death is next moment. Death is next moment.” Because there is no guarantee when death is coming. If I think that death is next moment, that is not any utopian. The next moment may be my death. And Chanakya Pandit says, “But if you want to be materially happy, you should always think that ‘I shall never die,’ ” although it is false idea. Everyone will die.

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The Appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami

Srimad-Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1:”Creation”
SB 1.19: The Appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami

The great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī was certainly inspired by Lord Kṛṣṇa to appear voluntarily before Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the great devotee of the Lord, just to give him the teachings of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One can achieve the nucleus of the devotional service of the Lord by the mercy of the spiritual master and the Personality of Godhead. The spiritual master is the manifested representative of the Lord to help one achieve ultimate success. One who is not authorized by the Lord cannot become a spiritual master. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī is an authorized spiritual master, and thus he was inspired by the Lord to appear before Mahārāja Parīkṣit and instruct him in the teachings of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Simply by such questioning and hearing, one can achieve the highest perfectional stage of life.

Text 37
You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die.

Purport
Unless one is perfectly anxious to inquire about the way of perfection, there is no necessity of approaching a spiritual master. A spiritual master is not a kind of decoration for a householder. Generally a fashionable materialist engages a so-called spiritual master without any profit. The pseudo- spiritual master flatters the so-called disciple, and thereby both the master and his ward go to hell without a doubt. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the right type of disciple because he puts forward questions vital to the interest of all men, particularly for the dying men. The question put forward by Mahārāja Parīkṣit is the basic principle of the complete thesis of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Now let us see how intelligently the great master replies.

Text 38
Please let me know what a man should hear, chant, remember and worship, and also what he should not do. Please explain all this to me.

Text 40
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: The King thus spoke and questioned the sage, using sweet language. Then the great and powerful personality, the son of Vyāsadeva, who knew the principles of religion, began his reply.

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“Hear, Sing and Accept Prabhupada’s Approved Editions”

BY: NARASIMHA DAS
Dec 28, 2010 — USA (SUN)

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has answered our questions and concerns regarding the status of those who support the idea of changing Srila Prabhupada’s books. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami specifically predicted Srila Prabhupada’s original books from India — books “meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization.”

As predicted, these editions exhibited some “irregularities” in composition due to Srila Prabhupada’s letting a sincere yet unqualified editor finish his proofs in New Delhi. This was His causeless mercy on one sincere soul and the fulfillment of Sukadeva Gosvami’s prediction. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami predicted that these books would be “heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11). In fact, these editions were all we had in the early days when the genuine Krishna consciousness movement was spreading like wild fire all over the world. Sincere devotees relish these unique editions even today, never complaining about apparent “irregularities”.

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