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Title: The nine steps of bhakti
User: Damodara Svarupa dasa Date: 2007-05-13 13:49:40
Nityananda, Gauranga, Hare Krishna!
Jaya Guru Parampara! Jaya Swamiji Gaurangapada!
Dandavats to all the devotees.
The nine steps of bhakti are described as follows in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.4.15-16):
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
"In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Krishna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life."
Here are the above steps given in a list:
1. Sraddha--faith, the preliminary desire for self realization
2. Sadhu-sanga--associating with devotees
3. Bhajana-kriya--initiation by the bona fide spiritual master and adopting the practices of bhakti yoga under his direction
4. Anarta-nivriti--freedom from material attachment
5. Nistha--steadiness in self-realization
6. Ruci--taste for hearing about Krishna
7. Asakti--attachment for Krishna consciousness
8. Bhava--preliminary state of love of God
9. Prema--pure love of God.
The stage of pure love of God is the ninth step and is considered the culmination of devotion. As we have been in the cycle of birth and death for millions of lifetimes, we are contaminated by the influence of the 3 modes of material nature. Therefore, reaching the last stage can take a lot of time and we can not expect to become pure devotees immediately. Spiritual life is not a sprint, it is a lifelong marathon in the service of God.
Humbly aspiring to be a sincere devotee of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna,
Damodara Svarupa dasa
Title: Re: The nine steps of bhakti
User: Neil LA Date: 2007-05-23 23:40:56
Thank you Damodara Svarupa dasa!
"Spiritual life is not a sprint, it is a lifelong marathon in the service of God."
This is most wonderful and profound and really has helped me put things in perspective.