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hare Krishna Prabhu,
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, 29th Chapter, 10th verse, 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, not 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 the 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.
Foolishly, people who are enamored of the glimmer of modern materialistic advancement are thinking that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for less intelligent men. "I am better off being busy with my material comforts-maintaining a nice apartment, family and sex life." These people do not know that at any moment they can be kicked out of their material situation. Due to ignorance, they do not know that real life is eternal. The temporary comforts of the body are not the goal of life, and it is due only to darkest ignorance that people become enamored of the glimmering advancement of material comforts.
Śrīla Bhaktivinode Thākur has therefore said that the advancement of material knowledge renders a person more foolish because it causes one to forget his real identification by its glimmer. This is doom for him, because this human form of life is meant for getting out of the material contamination. By the advancement of material knowledge, people are becoming more and more entangled in material existence. They have no hope of being liberated from this catastrophe.
In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya it is stated that Prahlāda Mahārāj, a great devotee of the Lord, prayed to Nṛsiṁhadeva (the half-lion half-man incarnation) as follows: "My dear Lord, I repeatedly pray unto Your lotus feet that I may simply be stronger in devotional service. I simply pray that my Kṛṣṇa consciousness may be more strong and steady, because happiness derived out of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service is so powerful that with it one can have all the other perfections of religiousness, economic development, sense gratification and even the attainment of liberation from material existence."
Actually, a pure devotee does not aspire after any of these perfections because the happiness derived from devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so transcendental and so unlimited that no other happiness can be compared with it. It is said that even one drop of happiness in Kṛṣṇa consciousness stands beyond comparison with an ocean of happiness derived from any other activity. Thus, any person who has developed even a little quantity of pure devotional service can very easily kick out all the other kinds of happiness derived from religiousness, economic development, sense gratification and liberation.
Thank you so much, prabhuji for your enlightening answer. Danvants pranam! Hare Krishna !
Here is a general description of devotional service given by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Previously, it has been stated that devotional service can be divided into three categories-namely, devotional service in practice, devotional service in ecstasy, and devotional service in pure love of God. Now Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī proposes to describe devotional service in practice.
Practice means employing our senses in some particular type of work. Therefore devotional service in practice means utilizing our different sensory organs in service to Kṛṣṇa. Some of the senses are meant for acquiring knowledge, and some are meant for executing the conclusions of our thinking, feeling and willing. So practice means employing both the mind and the senses in practical devotional service. This practice is not for developing something artificial. For example, a child learns or practices to walk. This walking is not unnatural. The walking capacity is there originally in the child, and simply by a little practice he walks very nicely. Similarly, devotional service to the Supreme Lord is the natural instinct of every living entity. Even uncivilized men like the aborigines offer their respectful obeisances to something wonderful exhibited by nature's law, and they appreciate that behind some wonderful exhibition or action there is something supreme. So this consciousness, though lying dormant in those who are materially contaminated, is found in every living entity. And, when purified, this is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
There are certain prescribed methods for employing our senses and mind in such a way that our dormant consciousness for loving Kṛṣṇa will be invoked, as much as the child, with a little practice, can begin to walk. One who has no basic walking capacity cannot walk by practice. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be aroused simply by practice. Actually there is no such practice. When we wish to develop our innate capacity for devotional service there are certain processes which, by our accepting and executing them, will cause that dormant capacity to be invoked. Such practice is called sādhana-bhakti.
A pure devotee never cares for liberation. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed to Kṛṣṇa: "My dear son of Nanda, I do not want any material happiness in the shape of many followers, nor immense opulence in wealth, nor any beautiful wife, nor do I want cessation from material existence. I may take birth many times, one after another, but what I pray from You is that my devotion unto You may always remain unflinching."
The attention of a pure devotee is so much attracted to glorification of the pastimes, name, qualities, forms, etc., of the Lord that the devotee does not care for mukti. Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Thākur has said, "If I am engaged in devotional service unto You, my dear Lord, then very easily can I perceive Your presence everywhere. And as far as liberation is concerned, I think liberation stands at my door with folded hands waiting to serve me." To pure devotees, therefore, liberation and spiritual emancipation are not very important things.
In this connection, in the Third Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Chapter 25, verse 23, Kapiladeva has advised His mother, Devahūti, as follows: "My dear Mother, My pure devotees are charmed by seeing My different forms, the beauty of My face, the structure of My body so enchanting. My laughing, My pastimes and My glance appear to them so beautiful that their minds are always absorbed in thoughts of Me, and their lives are dedicated fully unto Me. Although such people do not desire any kind of liberation or any kind of material happiness, still I give them a place amongst My associates in the supreme abode."
This evidence from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives assurance to the pure devotee of being elevated to association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī remarks in this connection that one who is actually attracted by the beauty of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa or His service, and whose heart, by such attraction, is always full with transcendental bliss, will naturally never aspire after the liberation which is so valuable to the impersonalists.
Who is a true devotee ?
One who is fully surrendered to the Supreme personality of absolute truth Godhead - Sri Krsna
Explain his characters ?
There are 2 set of characteristics - Primary & secondary.
Primary characteristic of a true/pure devotee is complete surrender to Sri Krsna
There are 26 secondary characteristics or qualities
How can I become a true devotee of Shri Krishna ?
By chanting of the Hare Krsna Mahamantra
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
in a favorable & humble attitude.
How to divert our thoughts from materialistic desires ?
Diversion of thoughts is only a temporary solution. Permanent solution is to be freed from materials desires. This is possible very quickly by simply chanting the Hare Krsna mahamantra & following 4 regulative principles of Krsna consciousness.
Thank you so much, prabhuji for your enlightening answer. Danvants pranam! Hare Krishna !
Well, everything is already explained very nicely by prabhu ji's. There is nothing there to add..when Srimad Bhagwatam and CC are also quoted..... let me quote from BG what Bhagwan tells about the characteristics of a devotee which Bhagwan likes to see in a HIS devotee.
Lord Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna the characteristics of a true devotee in Chapter 12 BG Verses 13-20.
One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me-he is very dear to Me.
He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me.
A devotee who is not dependant on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me.
One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me.
One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equiposed in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me.
He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me.
Hmm....diverting thoughts from material desires ( including lust, anger, greediness etc.) into service of Lord Sri Krishna..HOW?
As Bharat prabhu ji said diverting thoughts is temporary ..yes the material desire should go off from us. But its going to take time. We cannot develop Instant vairagya.
But for time being we can divert every material thought into service of Lord.
Do karma always keeping Krishna in the center. Any Karma if you do, do in such a way it become akarma or nishkama karma.
divert all senses to Krishna just as Ambarish Maharaj did.
in this way constantly pactising one can achieve vairagya ( dispassion ) some day by the mercy of Krishna and guru.