A devotee should not expect immediate relief from the reactions of his past misdeeds.
No conditioned soul is free from such reactionary experiences, because material
existence means continued suffering or enjoying of past activities. If one has finished
his material activities then there is no more birth. This is possible only when
one begins Kṛṣṇa conscious activities, because such activities do not produce reaction.
Therefore, as soon as one becomes perfect in Kṛṣṇa conscious activities,
he is not going to take birth again in this material world. A devotee who is not
perfectly freed from the resultant actions should therefore continue to act in
Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously, even though there may be so many impediments.
When such impediments arise he should simply think of Kṛṣṇa and expect His mercy.
That is the only solace. (The Nectar of Devotion).
In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, where it is said, "Simply by remembering the Supreme Personality
of Godhead all living entities become eligible for all kinds of auspiciousness.
Therefore let me always remember the Lord, who is unborn and eternal."
To meditate means to engage the mind in thinking of the form of the Lord,
the qualities of the Lord, the activities of the Lord and the service of the Lord.
Meditation does not mean anything impersonal or void.
(The Nectar of Devotion).
In the Nṛsiḿha Purāṇa it is stated, "Meditation focusing on the lotus feet of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead has been accepted as transcendental and beyond the experience
of material pain and pleasure. By such meditation, even one who is grossly miscreant
can be delivered from the sinful reactions of his life."
In the Viṣṇu-dharma it is stated, "Persons who are constantly engaged in Kṛṣṇa
consciousness, and who remember the transcendental qualities of the Lord,
become free from all reactions to sinful activities, and after being so cleansed
they become fit to enter into the kingdom of God."
In the Padma Purāṇa it is stated, "A person who is always engaged in meditation
on the sweet pastimes and wonderful activities of the Lord surely
becomes freed from all material contamination."
Devotional service in friendship can be divided into two categories:
the first is to act as the confidential servant of the Lord,
and the other is to act as the well-wisher of the Lord.
The devotee who has confidence in devotional service to the Lord systematically
follows the rules and regulations, with the faith
will achieve the platform of transcendental life.
The second type of devotional friendship is to become
a well-wisher of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(The Nectar of Devotion).
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed
a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service.
When he becomes firmly fixed in such devotional service,
that assured status becomes a confidential part of his devotional service.
Regarding complete self-surrender, it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā that as soon as
a person surrenders unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa,
Kṛṣṇa takes charge of him and gives him a guarantee of protection
from all sinful reactions. He also instructs from within, so that the devotee
may very quickly make advancement toward spiritual perfection.
This self-surrender is called ātma-nivedana. According to different authorities,
self is differently defined. Self is sometimes considered to refer to the spirit self,
or soul, and self is sometimes considered to refer to the mind or to the body.
Full self-surrender, therefore, means not only surrendering one's self as spirit soul,
but also surrendering one's mind and body to the service of the Lord.
(The Nectar of Devotion).
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung a nice song in this connection.
While offering himself as a fully surrendered soul, he said,
"My mind, my household affairs, my body, whatever is in my possession,
my dear Lord, I offer to You for Your service. Now You can do with them as You like.
You are the supreme possessor of everything, so if You like You can kill me,
or if You like You can give me protection. All authority belongs to You.
I have nothing to claim as my own."
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says that devotional service in friendship and devotional service
in self-surrender are two difficult processes. Therefore such relationships with the
Lord can very rarely be seen. Only for the advanced devotees are these
two processes easily executed. The purport is that it is very rare to see surrender
which is mixed with sincere ecstatic devotion.
One must give himself completely to the will of the Lord.
In the Nārada-pañcarātra there is a statement of how one can act in all spheres of life
for the satisfaction of the Lord. It is stated there that a person who is actually
in devotional service must be engaged in all kinds of activities — those prescribed
in the revealed scriptures and also those which are accepted for livelihood.
In other words, not only should a devotee engage himself in the prescribed duties
of devotional service which are mentioned in the revealed scriptures, but he should
also perform the duties of his practical life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa there is the following statement about self-surrender:
"My dear Lord, a person who has surrendered himself unto You,
who is in firm conviction that he is Yours, and who actually acts in that way
by his body, mind and words, can actually relish transcendental bliss."
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is a statement praising the tulasī tree as follows:
"Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the tulasī tree, which can immediately
vanquish volumes of sinful activities. Simply by seeing or touching this tree
one can become relieved from all distresses and diseases. Simply by offering
obeisances to and pouring water on the tulasī tree, one can become freed
from the fear of being sent to the court of Yamarāja (the King of death,
who punishes the sinful). If someone sows a tulasī tree somewhere,
certainly he becomes devoted to Lord Kṛṣṇa. And when the tulasī leaves are
offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa,
there is the full development of love of Godhead."
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is another statement about tulasī, as follows:
"Tulasī 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
tulasī tree in the above-mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuṇṭha world."