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.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

It is stated in the Padma Purāṇa
that there are four kinds of effects
due to sinful activities,
which are listed as follows:
(1) the effect which is not yet fructified,
(2) the effect which is lying as seed,
(3) the effect which is already mature
and (4) the effect which is almost mature.
It is also stated that all these four effects
become immediately vanquished for
those who surrender unto the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Viṣṇu, and become engaged
in His devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

In the Padma Purāṇa it is stated as follows:
"A person who is engaged in devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness
is to be understood to be doing the best service to the whole world
and to be pleasing everyone in the world.
In addition to human society, he is pleasing even the trees and animals,
because they also become attracted by such a movement."

A practical example of this was shown by Lord Caitanya
when He was traveling through the forests of Jhārikhaṇḍa
in central India for spreading His sańkīrtana movement.
The tigers, the elephants, the deer and all the other wild animals
joined Him and were participating, in their own ways,
by dancing and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has analyzed
the different sources of happiness.
He has divided happiness into three categories, which are
(1) happiness derived from material enjoyment,
(2) happiness derived by identifying oneself with the Supreme Brahman and
(3) happiness derived from Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

In the tantra-śāstra Lord Śiva speaks to his wife, Satī, in this way:
"My dear wife, a person who has surrendered himself
at the lotus feet of Govinda
and who has thus developed pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness
can be very easily awarded all the perfections
desired by the impersonalists; and beyond this,
he can enjoy the happiness achieved by the pure devotees."

Happiness derived from pure devotional service
is the highest, because it is eternal.
The happiness derived from material perfection
or understanding oneself to be Brahman
is inferior because it is temporary.
There is no preventing one's falling down
from material happiness, and there is even
every chance of falling down from
the spiritual happiness derived out of
identifying oneself with the impersonal Brahman.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

In the Padma Purāṇa it is stated as follows:
"Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness
is the highest enlightenment,
and when such enlightenment is there,
it is just like a blazing forest fire,
killing all the inauspicious snakes of desire."

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.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

It is stated in the tantra-sāstra, where Lord Siva says to Satī,
"My dear Satī, if one is a very fine philosopher,
analyzing the different processes of knowledge,
he can achieve liberation from the material entanglement.
By performance of the ritualistic sacrifices recommended in the Vedas
one can be elevated to the platform of pious activities
and thereby enjoy the material comforts of life to the fullest extent.
But all such endeavours can hardly offer anyone
devotional service to the Lord,
not even if one tries for it by such processes
for many, many thousands of births."

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has stated that devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Kṛṣṇa.
The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Rādhārāṇī.
Kṛṣṇa is called Madana-mohana, which means that He is so attractive
that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids.
But Rādhārāṇī is still more attractive, for She can even attract Kṛṣṇa.
Therefore devotees call Her Madana-mohana-mohinī
— the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Rādhārāṇī,
and devotees in Vṛndāvana put themselves under the care of Rādhārāṇī
in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service.
In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world;
it is directly under the control of Rādhārāṇī.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that the mahātmās, or great souls,
are under the protection of daivī prakṛti, the internal energy — Rādhārāṇī.
So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa,
devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa Himself.
(The Nectar of Devotion).

bhave bhave yathā bhaktiḥ
pādayos tava jāyate
tathā kuruṣva deveśa
nāthas tvaḿ no yataḥ prabho

O Lord of lords, O master, please grant us
pure devotional service at Your lotus feet, life after life.

nāma-sańkīrtanaḿ yasya
sarva-pāpa praṇāśanam
praṇāmo duḥkha-śamanas
taḿ namāmi hariḿ param

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari,
the congregational chanting of whose holy names
destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances
unto whom relieves all material suffering.

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    sa vai mahā-bhāgavato mahātmā
    mahānubhāvo mahatāḿ mahiṣṭhaḥ
    pravṛddha-bhaktyā hy anubhāvitāśaye
    niveśya vaikuṇṭham imaḿ vihāsyati

    saḥ — he; vai — certainly; mahā-bhāgavataḥ — the topmost devotee; mahā-ātmā — expanded intelligence; mahā-anubhāvaḥ — expanded influence; mahatām— of the great souls; mahiṣṭhaḥ — the greatest; pravṛddha — well matured; bhaktyā — by devotional service; hi — certainly; anubhāvita — being situated inthe anubhāva stage of ecstasy; āśaye — in the mind; niveśya — entering; vaikuṇṭham — in the spiritual sky; imam — this (material world); vihāsyati — will quit.

    That topmost devotee of the Lord will have expanded intelligence and expanded influence and will be the greatest of the great souls. Due to matured devotional service, he will certainly be situated in transcendental ecstasy and will enter the spiritual sky after quitting this material world.
    (Srimad Bhagavatam).

    There are three stages of transcendental development in devotional service, which are technically called sthāyi-bhāva, anubhāva and mahābhāva. Continual perfect love of Godhead is called sthāyi-bhāva, and when it is performed in a particular type of transcendental relationship it is called anubhāva. But the stage of mahābhāva is visible amongst the personal pleasure potential energies of the Lord.

    It is understood that the grandson of Diti, namely Prahlāda Mahārāja, would constantly meditate on the Lord and reiterate His activities. Because he would constantly remain in meditation, he would easily transfer himself to the spiritual world after quitting his material body. Such meditation is still more conveniently performed by chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord. This is especially recommended in this age of Kali.
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    mad-āśrayāḥ kathā mṛṣṭāḥ
    śṛṇvanti kathayanti ca
    tapanti vividhās tāpā
    naitān mad-gata-cetasaḥ

    mat-āśrayāḥ — about Me; kathāḥ — stories; mṛṣṭāḥ — delightful; śṛṇvanti — they hear; kathayanti — they chant; ca — and; tapanti — inflict suffering; vividhāḥ— various; tāpāḥ — the material miseries; na — do not; etān — unto them; mat-gata — fixed on Me; cetasaḥ — their thoughts.

    Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sādhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities. (Srimad Bhagavatam).


    There are multifarious miseries in material existence — those pertaining to the body and the mind, those imposed by other living entities and those imposed by natural disturbances. But a sādhu is not disturbed by such miserable conditions because his mind is always filled with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thus he does not like to talk about anything but the activities of the Lord.

    Mahārāja Ambarīṣa did not speak of anything but the pastimes of the Lord. Vacāḿsivaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane (Bhāg. 9.4.18). He engaged his words only in glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sādhus are always interested in hearing about the activities of the Lord or His devotees. Since they are filled with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are forgetful of the material miseries.

    Ordinary conditioned souls, being forgetful of the activities of the Lord, are always full of anxieties and material tribulations. On the other hand, since the devotees always engage in the topics of the Lord, they are forgetful of the miseries of material existence.
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    naikāntikaḿ tad dhi kṛte 'pi niṣkṛte
    manaḥ punar dhāvati ced asat-pathe
    tat karma-nirhāram abhīpsatāḿ harer
    guṇānuvādaḥ khalu sattva-bhāvanaḥ

    na — not; aikāntikam — absolutely cleansed; tat — the heart; hi — because; kṛte — very nicely performed; api — although; niṣkṛte — atonement; manaḥ — the mind; punaḥ — again; dhāvati — runs; cet — if; asat-pathe — on the path of material activities; tat — therefore; karma-nirhāram — cessation of the fruitive reactions of material activities; abhīpsatām — for those who seriously want; hareḥ — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guṇa-anuvādaḥ — constant chanting of the glories; khalu — indeed; sattva-bhāvanaḥ — actually purifying one's existence.

    The ritualistic ceremonies of atonement recommended in the religious scriptures are insufficient to cleanse the heart absolutely because after atonement one's mind again runs toward material activities. Consequently, for one who wants liberation from the fruitive reactions of material activities, the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, or glorification of the name, fame and pastimes of the Lord, is recommended as the most perfect process of atonement because such chanting eradicates the dirt from one's heart completely. (Srimad Bhagavatam)

    The statements in this verse have been confirmed previously in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.17):

    śṛṇvatāḿ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
    hṛdy antaḥ-stho hy abhadrāṇi
    vidhunoti suhṛt satām

    "Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted."

    It is the special mercy of the Supreme Lord that as soon as He knows that one is glorifying His name, fame and attributes, He personally helps cleanse the dirt from one's heart. Therefore simply by such glorification one not only becomes purified, but also achieves the results of pious activities (puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtana). Puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtana refers to the process of devotional service. Even if one does not understand the meaning of the Lord's name, pastimes or attributes, one is purified simply by hearing or chanting of them. Such purification is called sattva-bhāvana.

    One's main purpose in human life should be to purify his existence and achieve liberation. As long as one has a material body, one is understood to be impure. In such an impure, material condition, one cannot enjoy a truly blissful life, although everyone seeks it.

    Therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.1) says, tapo divyaḿ putrakā yena sattvaḿ śuddhyet: one must perform tapasya, austerity, to purify his existence in order to come to the spiritual platform. The tapasya of chanting and glorifying the name, fame and attributes of the Lord is a very easy purifying process by which everyone can be happy. Therefore everyone who desires the ultimate cleansing of his heart must adopt this process. Other processes, such as karma, jñāna and yoga, cannot cleanse the heart absolutely.
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    A.        BY  SRILA  PRABHUPADA.


    bhaktyā pumāñ jāta-virāga aindriyād
    dṛṣṭa-śrutān mad-racanānucintayā
    cittasya yatto grahaṇe yoga-yukto
    yatiṣyate ṛjubhir yoga-mārgaiḥ


     bhaktyā — by devotional service; pumān — a person; jāta-virāgaḥ — having developed distaste; aindriyāt — for sense gratification; dṛṣṭa — seen (in this world); śrutāt — heard (in the next world); mat-racana — My activities of creation and so on; anucintayā — by constantly thinking about; cittasya — of the mind; yattaḥ — engaged; grahaṇe — in the control; yoga-yuktaḥ — situated in devotional service; yatiṣyate — will endeavor; ṛjubhiḥ — easy; yoga-mārgaiḥ — by the processes of mystic power.



     Thus consciously engaged in devotional service in the association of devotees, a person gains distaste for sense gratification, both in this world and in the next, by constantly thinking about the activities of the Lord. This process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the easiest process of mystic power; when one is actually situated on that path of devotional service, he is able to control the mind.

    (Srimad Bhagavatam).



    In all scriptures people are encouraged to act in a pious way so that they can enjoy sense gratification not only in this life but also in the next. For example, one is promised promotion to the heavenly kingdom of higher planets by pious fruitive activities. But a devotee in the association of devotees prefers to contemplate the activities of the Lord — how He has created this universe, how He is maintaining it, how the creation dissolves, and how in the spiritual kingdom the Lord's pastimes are going on. There are full literatures describing these activities of the Lord, especially Bhagavad-gītā, Brahma-saḿhitā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

    The sincere devotee who associates with devotees gets the opportunity to hear and contemplate this subject of the pastimes of the Lord, and the result is that he feels distaste for so-called happiness in this or that world, in heaven or on other planets. The devotees are simply interested in being transferred to the personal association of the Lord; they have no more attraction for temporary so-called happiness. That is the position of one who is yoga-yukta. One who is fixed in mystic power is not disturbed by the allurement of this world or that world; he is interested in the matters of spiritual understanding or the spiritual situation.

    This sublime situation is very easily attained by the easiest process, bhakti-yoga. Ṛjubhir yoga-mārgaiḥ. A very suitable word used here is ṛjubhiḥ, or "very easy." There are different processes of yoga-mārga, attaining yoga perfection, but this process, devotional service to the Lord, is the easiest. Not only is it the easiest process, but the result is sublime. Everyone, therefore, should try to take this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and reach the highest perfection of life.

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    sa veda dhātuḥ padavīḿ parasya
    duranta-vīryasya rathāńga-pāṇeḥ
    yo 'māyayā santatayānuvṛttyā
    bhajeta tat-pāda-saroja-gandham


    saḥ — He alone; veda — can know; dhātuḥ — of the creator; padavīm — glories; parasya — of the transcendence; duranta-vīryasya — of the greatly powerful;ratha-ańga-pāṇeḥ — of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who bears in His hand the wheel of a chariot; yaḥ — one who; amāyayā — without reservation; santatayā — without any gap; anuvṛttyā — favorably; bhajeta — renders service; tat-pāda — of His feet; saroja-gandham — fragrance of the lotus.


    Only those who render unreserved, uninterrupted, favorable service unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who carries the wheel of the chariot in His hand, can know the creator of the universe in His full glory, power and transcendence. (Srimad Bhagavatam)


    Only the pure devotees can know the transcendental name, form and activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa due to their being completely freed from the reactions of fruitive work and mental speculation. The pure devotees have nothing to derive as personal profit from their unalloyed service to the Lord. They render incessant service to the Lord spontaneously, without any reservation.

    Everyone within the creation of the Lord is rendering service to the Lord indirectly or directly. No one is an exception to this law of the Lord. Those who are rendering service indirectly, being forced by the illusory agent of the Lord, are rendering service unto Him unfavorably. But those who are rendering service unto Him directly under the direction of His beloved agent are rendering service unto Him favorably.

    Such favorable servitors are devotees of the Lord, and by the grace of the Lord they can enter into the mysterious region of transcendence by the mercy of the Lord. But the mental speculators remain in darkness all the time. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord Himself guides the pure devotees toward the path of realization due to their constant engagement in the loving service of the Lord in spontaneous affection. That is the secret of entering into the kingdom of God. Fruitive activities and speculation are no qualifications for entering.
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