sā tv asmin parama-prema-rūpā
(Devotional service manifests as the most elevated, pure love for God.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

amṛta-svarūpā ca

This pure love for God is eternal.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

yat prāpya na kiñcid vāñchati na śocati na dveṣṭi na ramate notsāhī bhavati

A person engaged in such pure devotional service neither desires anything for sense gratification, nor laments for any loss, nor hates anything, nor enjoys anything on his personal account, nor becomes very enthusiastic in material activity.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

yaj jñātvā matto bhavati stabdho bhavaty ātmārāmo bhavati

One who understands perfectly the process of devotional service in love of Godhead becomes intoxicated in its discharge. Sometimes he becomes stunned in ecstasy and thus enjoys his whole self, being engaged in the service of the Supreme Self.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

A person engaged in the devotional service of the Lord in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness automatically becomes carried away by ecstasy when he chants and hears the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. His heart becomes slackened while chanting the holy name, he becomes almost like a madman, and he does not care for any outward social conventions. Thus sometimes he laughs, sometimes he weeps, sometimes he cries out very loudly, sometimes he sings, and sometimes he dances and forgets himself.

These are the signs of becoming intoxicated in devotional service. This stage, called the ātmārāma stage, is possible when the Lord bestows His mercy upon a devotee for his advanced devotional activity. It is the highest perfectional stage because one cannot reach it unless one has attained pure love of God.

loka-vedeṣu tad-anukūlācaraṇaḿ tad-virodhiṣūdāsīnatā

Indifference toward what stands in the way of devotional service means to accept only those activities of social custom and Vedic injunction that are favorable to devotional service. (Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

One cannot be situated on the platform of pure devotional service, however, unless one is freed from all kinds of sinful reactions. To counteract various sinful reactions, there are prescribed duties in the ritualistic section of the Vedas, and those in the lower stage of life can become freed from all sinful reactions by strictly following the Vedic ritualistic processes. Then they can become situated in pure devotional service.

Thus it should be understood that a person who is situated in pure devotional service must have in his past life already executed all the Vedic rituals with great determination. In other words, after reaching the stage of devotional service, a person does not have to execute any process of atonement mentioned in the ritualistic section of the Vedas. He is already sinless.

bhavatu niścaya-dārḍhyād ūrdhvaḿ śāstra-rakṣaṇam

One must continue to follow scriptural injunctions even after one is fixed up in determined certainty that devotional service is the only means for reaching the perfection of life.(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

When a person becomes firmly convinced about the importance of devotional service, he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord. There are six symptoms of surrender:

(1) One should perform only those actions favorable for devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.

(2) One should give up everything unfavorable for discharging devotional service.

(3) One should firmly believe that Kṛṣṇa will protect one in all circumstances and that no one is a better protector than Kṛṣṇa.

(4) One should have the conviction that Kṛṣṇa is one's maintainer, and one should not take shelter of any demigod for maintenance.

(5) One should always remember that one's activities and desires are not independent. In other words, the devotee should feel completely dependent on Kṛṣṇa, and thus he should act and think as Kṛṣṇa desires.

(6) One should always think himself the poorest of the poor and feel totally dependent on the mercy of Kṛṣṇa.

Devotional service is dormant in every living being, for by nature every living being is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and it is the healthy condition of the part to serve the whole. It is just like the situation of the parts of the body. The hand and the leg serve the body; similarly, as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, every living entity is bound to serve the Supreme Lord in his healthy condition. When he is not thus engaged, he is in a diseased condition, but as soon as he engages all his senses in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he is in his normal, healthy condition.

tat tu viṣaya-tyāgāt sańga-tyāgāc ca

One achieves bhakti by giving up sense gratification and mundane association. (Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

Prahlāda Mahārāja taught a ninefold process of bhakti
for maintaining full engagement in the Lord's service:
(1) hearing about the Lord,
(2) chanting His name and glories,
(3) remembering Him,
(4) serving His lotus feet,
(5) worshiping the Deity,
(6) offering prayers to the Lord,
(7) becoming His servant,
(8) becoming His friend, and
(9) offering Him everything.
While the first two of these processes are extremely important,
any one of them is sufficient for achieving perfection.

loke 'pi bhagavad-guṇa-śravaṇa-kīrtanāt

One achieves bhakti by hearing and chanting about the Supreme Lord's special qualities, even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life in this world. (Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

Understanding the awkward position of people in the Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord has given us the chanting of the holy names as the yuga-dharma, the religion of the age:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
(CC:Adi 17.21).

"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way" (Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa).

mukhyatas tu mahat-kṛpayaiva bhagavat-kṛpā-leśād vā

Primarily, however, one develops bhakti by the mercy of great souls, or by a small drop of the Lord's mercy.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

mahat-sańgas tu durlabho 'gamyo 'moghaś ca

The association of great souls is rarely obtained, difficult to understand, and infallible.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

labhyate 'pi tat-kṛpayaiva

The association of great souls can be attained — but only by the Lord's mercy.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

na dhanaḿ na janaḿ na sundarīḿ
kavitāḿ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

"O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth." (Sri Shikshashtaka).

anyasmāt saulabhyaḿ bhaktau

Success is easier to attain by devotional service than by any other process.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

pramāṇāntarasyānapekṣatvāt svayaḿ pramāṇatvāt

The reason devotional service is the easiest of all spiritual processes is that it does not depend on any other authority for its validity, being itself the standard of authority. (Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

śānti-rūpāt paramānanda-rūpāc ca

Furthermore, bhakti is the embodiment of peace and supreme ecstasy.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

tri-satyasya bhaktir eva garīyasī bhaktir eva garīyasī

Devotional service is the most precious possession of a person who honestly uses his mind, body, and words.
(Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra).

prabhu kahe, — "kon vidyā vidyā-madhye sāra?"
rāya kahe, — "kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā vidyā nāhi āra"

On one occasion the Lord inquired, "Of all types of education, which is the most important?"
Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "No education is important other than the transcendental devotional service of Kṛṣṇa."

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