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Unalloyed Devotional Service
The definition of a pure devotee, as given by Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, can be summarized thus: his service is favourable and is always in relation to Krishna. In order to keep the purity of such Krishna conscious activities, one must be freed from all material desires and speculation.Any desire except for the service of the Lord is called a material desire. Many armchair speculators spend their whole lives researching on Vedanta and Upanishads, without practicing any spirituality even a bit in their own lives. While smoking on their hukka, they participate in round table conferences on the philosophy of the Vedanta and arrive at conclusions of voidism or impersonalism. This conclusion is useless for a Krishna conscious person. Only rarely by philosophical speculation can one reach the conclusion of worshiping Vasudeva, Krishna. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita itself. The ultimate end of philosophical speculation, then, must be Krishna, with the understanding that Krishna is everything, the cause of all causes, and that one should therefore surrender unto Him. If this ultimate goal is reached, then philosophical advancement is favorable, but if the conclusion of philosophical speculation is voidism or impersonalism, that is not bhakti.
Karma, or fruitive activities, are sometimes understood to be ritualistic activities. There are many persons who are very much attracted by the ritualistic activities described in the Vedas. But if one becomes attracted simply to ritualistic activities without understanding Krishna, his activities are unfavorable to Krishna consciousness. Srila Rupa Gosvami has also mentioned in this definition of bhakti the word jnana-karmadi. This karmadi (fruitive work) consists of activities which are unable to help one attain to pure devotional service. Many forms of so-called renunciation are also not favourable to Krishna conscious devotional service.
Lord Krishna is called as a 'jealous lover', the lover who demands exclusive love from the living being. Just as a chataka bird aspires for water only from the raindrops coming from the sky, a devotee aspires only for the service of the Lord and forsakes all kinds of material benefits like wealth, women, aristocracy and followers. Such a devotee wins the heart of the Lord. The Lord becomes extremely pleased with such a devotee and becomes eager to serve him. Although the Lord demands exclusive love free from motivations, He is also ready to reciprocate with such love of His beloved servants. A crying child may be pacified by the mother by giving a balloon, a toy or a tricycle. But if the child continues crying, his mother admonishes him, "What do you want?"' And if he replies, "I want you and nothing else", then the mother realizes that there is no way her child will be satisfied with anything other than herself. In the same way a devotee rejects all the temptations of this world and wants only to love Krishna with no other motivations. This is termed as unalloyed devotional service.
There are many, many religious people who aspire for material profits, heavenly planets, mystic powers, merging into brahman or becoming God. None of these people can satisfy the Lord, nor can they themselves become satisfied in such materialistic pursuits. Only a pure devotee of the Lord can attract the attention of the Lord and be satisfied in His service. Devotional service means to prosecute Krishna conscious activities, which are favourable to the transcendental pleasure of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. All those activities, which are not favourable to the transcendental favour of the Lord, cannot be accepted as devotional service. For example, great demons like Ravana, Kamsa and Hiranyakashipu were always thinking of Krishna, but they were thinking of Him as their enemy. This sort of thinking cannot be accepted as bhakti, or Krishna consciousness.