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Practical Steps to Achieve Love for Krishna
Bhakti-Yoga means connecting ourselves with Krishna and reviving our relationship as His eternal associate. Accepting the greatness of God is the beginning of bhakti. Bhakti-yoga must include three items: the servitor, the served and the service. There must be a person to accept service, and there must be a person to render service. The via media is the process of service itself, bhakti-yoga.The living entities are the eternal servitors of Krishna. In fact, in their constitutional position they love to become servant or the servant of the servants of Krishna. Lord Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme enjoyer and Personality of Godhead is the object being served. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he also has a direct relationship with the Lord. A devotee is in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of the five different ways:
1.One may be a devotee in a passive state - Shanta rasa
2.One may be a devotee in an active state - Dasya rasa
3.One may be a devotee as a friend - Sakhya rasa
4.One may be a devotee as a parent - Vatsalya rasa
5.One may be a devotee as a conjugal lover - Madhurya rasa
Every living being, out of the many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. This is called svarupa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa, and that stage is called svarupa siddhi - perfection of one's constitutional position.In the spiritual sky, everyone serves the Lord according to his own svarupa with spontaneous love. Even in the material world, a devotee chants Hare Krishna and fixes his mind constantly on the lotus feet of Krishna. When he offers Krishna food, Krishna directly accepts these eatables, and the devotee becomes Krishnaized by eating the remnants. A devotee performs all activities connected only to Krishna. In this way he always remembers Krishna, and never forgets Krishna. Thus a devotee does not live in a material plane. His position is transcendental from the very beginning— he lives in Krishna."My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me." (Bhagavad-gita 12.9)
In the above verse, two different processes of bhakti-yoga are indicated. The first applies to one who has actually developed an attachment for Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by transcendental love. This is known as 'Raganuga Bhakti'. And the other is for one who has not developed an attachment for the Supreme Person by transcendental love. For this second class there are different prescribed rules and regulations one can follow to be ultimately elevated to the stage of attachment to Krishna. This is known as Vaidhi Bhakti.
There are nine standard modes of devotional service to the Lord, and a candidate can choose to adopt any one, two, three, four or all, however he likes.All the services rendered to the Absolute are in themselves absolute, with none of the quantitative or qualitative differences found on the material platform. On the spiritual platform, there is transcendental variegatedness. There are instances in history of great personalities, including sages and kings, who attained perfection by this process. Some of them attained success even by adhering to one single item of devotional service with faith and perseverance. Some of these personalities are listed below:
1.Hearing: Emperor Parikshit attained the spiritual platform simply by hearing from such an authority as Sri Shukadeva Gosvami about glories of Krishna.
2.Recitation: Sri Shukadeva Gosvami attained the same simply by recitation, verbatim, of the transcendental message which he received from his great father, Sri Vyasadeva.
3.Remembering: Emperor Prahlada attained spiritual success by remembering the Lord constantly, in pursuance of instructions given by Sri Narada Muni, the great saint and devotee.
4.Serving: Lakshrniji, the goddess of fortune, attained success simply by sitting at and serving the lotus feet of the Lord.
5.Worshiping: King Pruthu attained success simply by worshiping the Lord.
6.Chanting Prayers: Akrura, the uncle of Krishna, attained success simply by chanting prayers for the Lord.
7.Carrying out the orders: Hanuman, the devotee of Lord Ramacandra, attained success simply by carrying out the orders of the Lord.
8.Making friends with the Lord: Arjuna, the great warrior, attained perfection simply by making friends with the Lord, who delivered the message of Bhagavad Gita to enlighten Arjuna and his followers.
9.Surrendering Everything: Emperor Bali attained success by surrendering everything unto the Lord, including his personal body.
Emperor Ambarisha adopted all the above nine items, and he attained perfect success.