Bhakti is not sentiment; it is a great science and we have to learn it scientifically, Bhakti can be applied only to Bhagwan, and if there is no Bhagvan, there is no Bhakti. If Bhagavan is zero, where is Bhakti? Bhakti is the transaction between Bhagavan and the bhakta. Bhagavan is there, and the bhaktas are there, and the bhaktas address Bhagvan, feed Bhagavan, chant Bhagavan, names, invoke people to hear about Bhagvan, publish books about Bhagavan and worship Bhagvan, and in this way they are constantly absorbed in Bhagvan. This is the process of Bhakti.
This prediction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's is now actually coming to pass. The Krsna consciousness movement is being distributed all over the world through the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha mantra, and people who were leading confused, chaotic lives are now feeling transcendental happiness. They are finding peace in sankirtana, and therefore they are acknowledging, the supreme benefit they are acknowledgement. This is the blessing of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His prediction is now factually being fulfilled, and those who are sober and conscientious are appreciating the value of this great movement.''
Srila Gopal Krishna Goswami was born in Delhi on Aug 14, 1944. He became an initiated disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder –Acharyan of the International Society for Krishna Consiousness (ISKCON) in 1969 and accepted the reanounced order of life, Sannyas in 1982. Currently he is GBC of ISKCON around the world. He successfully opened the Sri Sri Radha –Parthasarathi temple in New Delhi, amongst many throughout the world. Following in the foot steps of his spiritual master, He is spreading Krishna Consciousness all over the world by giving people, transcendental knowledge, and guidance resulting in solace, happiness and love of God.
The Bhagavad –gita describes variety of yoga practices including karma –yoga (the practice of conscious action), jnana –yoga (philosophical study and contemplation), and hatha – yoga (the practice of yoga –asanas and breathing excercises). Today, some yoga practioners consider the physical benefits of Yoga to be the end in themselves. But according to the traditional yoga system, physical excercises are just the first step on the path of God realization. The Bhagavad –gita ultimately prescribes Bhakti –yoga (devotional service) as the culmination of all yoga practices. Bhakti –yoga focuses on developing our service, consciousness and love for Lord Krsna. The word ''yoga'' comes from the Sanskrit root yuj which means to link up with or combine. Bhakti is delivered from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means loving service. Therefore, Bhakti –yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service. Service refers to that activity which is intended to please the beloved. Love is the most fundamental need of every living entity. We cannot be happy without satisfying this desire to love, and we cannot perfectly fulfill this desire until and unless we connect to the source of this love, Lord Krsna.
''In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brother and sister, and as he deadly grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved.'' (Nectar of Devotion).
The path of Bhakti- yoga is developed through a variety of activities. Devotional service can be board term and thus may seem difficult to understand. One may ask ''what activity actually constitutes devotional service:
4.Serving the lotus Feet of the Lord (Pada –sevanam)
7.Carrying out the Orders of the Lord (dasyam)
8.Becoming Friends with Him (sakhyam)
9.Surrendering Everything to Him (atma –nivedanam)
Engaging in any one or all of these process can make one's life perfect. Great souls have achieved perfection in each of these process by practice. Their examples have been given in the Vedic literature, Religious life is often viewed as being very strict, austere, and requiring great renunciation. But these process aren't very austere or difficult to perform. In fact, renunciation from sinful activity automatically comes to those who follow the path of devotional service.
The best way to begin devotional service is to try to offer some portion or everything we do, to Krsna. For example, if we are cooking, we should offer it first to Lord Krsna. In the 12th chapter of Bhagavad –gita, Lord Krsna gives different gradations on how to perform the process of devotional service. In the 9th Chapter, he says that even offering a little water, a fruit, or a flower with love to him, constitutes devotional services.
Devotional service is the soul's eternal constitutional propensity, the living entity's natural characteristic. The soul has no other constitutional duty other than to offer service to the Lord. We are all part and parcels of God and it is our true nature to love Him. Through contact with material nature, we have forgotten this relationship. Bhakti –yoga is the way for us to reconnect with Krsna. Lord Krsna Himself states that no one is dearer to Him than His devotee. His bhaktas or devotees, have pure love for Him, and the Lord reciprocates with that loves. The Lord is generally neutral towards all living entities, but he goes to great lengths to favor and protect His bhaktas. He even states that worshipping His devotee is as good as worshipping Him.
In this age, the two most effective processes of devotional service are hearing and chanting – ''Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare'' – and hearing about Lord Krsna through His authorized representative, the spiritual master.
This book entitled as ''Bhakti –The Valuable Assets'' is compiled from the lectures of Srila Gopala Krsna Goswami. He is tirelessly and dedicatedly preaching and serving in the mission of his Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svam Srila Prabhupada from past fifty years. While traveling to different parts of the world, he enlightens various kinds of people through his discourses from the Vedic Scripture like Srimad –Bhagavatam and Bhagavad –gita. This book is a humble attempt to present some of these discourses that are filled with realizations.
I would like to express my gratitude to many devotees who helped me in various capacities to publish this work. Above all, I want to thank Guru Carana Dasa, for spending several ardurous hours in transcribing the audio lectures. I am indebted to Sitarani Devidasi, Ananda Caitanya Dasa for their editorial services. I am very thankful to Anuttama Hari Dasa for layout, Bhaktin Richa Jha for sketches and Styahari Dasa for beautiful cover design.
Last but not the least, I beg forgiveness from all those who have been with me over the course of many years and whose names I have failed to mention.
|Chapter 1 Surrender is the Real Intelligence||7|
|Chapter 2 Devotional Service - The Real Atonement||13|
|Chapter 3 The Essential Principles of Religion||25|
|Chapter 4 Fruitive Activities End in Misery||37|
|Chapter 5 Chanting Without Offenses||57|
|Chapter 6 Going Back to Our Real Residence||77|
|Chapter 7 Devotional Service - The Most Valuable Asset||101|
|Chapter 8 Resolute Determination on the Spiritual Path||121|
|Chapter 9 Transcendental Qualities of a Devotee||145|
|Chapter 10 Learning to Depend||167|
|Chapter 11 Potency of Pure Devotional Service||183|
|Chapter 12 Purify Senses for Success in Devotional Services||201|
|Chapter 13 Surrender to the Will of the Lord||219|
|Chapter 14 Pariprasnena||239|
|Chapter 15 Saintly Qualities Develop in the Association of Devotees||247|