THREE CATEGORIES OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE (BHAKTI)
The three categories of devotional service:
(i) Devotional service in practice,
(ii) Devotional service in ecstasy and
(iii) Devotional service in pure love of Godhead.
(SIX FAVOURABLE AND UNFAVOURABLE PRINCIPLES FOR DEVOTIONAL SERVICE! READ HERE!)
QUALITIES EXISTING IN THREE DEVOTIONAL SERVICES
In the category of devotional service in practice there are two different qualities, devotional service in ecstasy has four qualities, and
devotional service in pure love of Godhead has six qualities.
IS DEVOTIONAL PRACTICE COMES THROUGH BIRTHS?
He (Rupa Gosvami) says that devotional service is a continual process from one’s previous life. No one can take to devotional service unless he has had some previous connection with it.
For example, suppose in this life I practice devotional service to some extent. Even though it is not one-hundred-percent perfectly performed, whatever I have done will not be lost. In my next life, from the very point where I stop in this life, I shall begin again. In this way there is always a continuity.
But even if there is no continuity, if only by chance a person takes interest in a pure devotee’s instruction, he can be accepted and can advance in devotional service.
(NINE PROCESS OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE (BHAKTI YOGA)! READ HERE!)
Anyway, for persons who have a natural taste for understanding books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, devotional service is easier than for those who are simply accustomed to mental speculation and argumentative processes.
To support this statement there are many authoritative assertions by the
learned scholars of bygone ages. According to their general opinion, a person may become governed by certain convictions derived by his own arguments and decisions. Then another person, who may be a greater logician, will nullify these conclusions and establish another thesis. In this way the path of argument will never be safe or conclusive.
Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends, therefore, that one follow in the footsteps of the authorities.
(Can Psychological issues cause extremity in devotional practices? How to deal with that? READ HERE!)
DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IN PRACTICE
Practice means employing our senses in some particular type of work.
Therefore devotional service in practice means utilizing our different sensory organs in service to Krsna.
We must practice sadhana-bhakti–which means to offer mangala-arati (Deity worship) in the morning, to refrain from certain material activities, to offer obeisances to the spiritual master and to follow many other rules and regulations which will be discussed here one after another. These practices will help one become cured of madness. As a man’s mental disease is cured by the directions of a psychiatrist, so this sadhana-bhakti cures the conditioned soul of his madness under the spell of maya, material illusion.
Narada Muni mentions this sadhana-bhakti in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, First Chapter, verse 32. He says there to King Yudhisthira, “My dear King, one has to fix his mind on Krsna by any means.” That is called Krsna consciousness.
(Science behind avoiding devotional Practices sitting on the floor! READ HERE!)
It is the duty of the acarya, the spiritual master, to find the ways and means
for his disciple to fix his mind on Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhanabhakti.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us an authorized program for this purpose, centered around the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. This chanting has so much power that it immediately attaches one to Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti.
Somehow or other, one has to fix his mind on Krsna. The great saint Ambarisa Maharaja, although a responsible king, fixed his mind on Krsna,
and similarly anyone who tries to fix his mind in this way will very rapidly
make progress in successfully reviving his original Krsna consciousness.
You can read TWO TYPES of Sadhana Bhakti (devotional service by practice) in the next post.
(SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF PURE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE! READ HERE!)