The following article compiled by Ananda devi dasi, has always been one of my favorites. She has captured the essence of the relationship between the disciple and spiritual master in a very scholarly or academic way.
by Ananda devi dasi
May 12 2009, UK
In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.47 we read: “The disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of Vani. Physical presence is called Vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.”
Srila Prabhupada makes it crystal clear that after the disappearance of the Spiritual Master, the disciple follows the instructions of the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master left His instructions in the form of Books, verbal instructions, letters, tapes, videos, all these are instructions from the Spiritual Master,Vani.
The Nine Processes of Devotional Service
The Nine Processes of Devotional Service are described by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, chapter 5, text 24-25. The great personalities who attained perfection by practice of the nine processes are listed below, followed by the complete text and purport, describing in full these nine processes. If I am not mistaken, this purport to text 24-25 from the seventh canto, chapter five, is one of the longest in the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. Stressing the importance of the verse.
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge. (SB 7.5.24-25)
- HEARING (sravanam)
Maharaja Pariksit(the last seven days of his life, he constantly heard the Srimad Bhagavatam).
- CHANTING (kirtanam)
Sukadeva Goswami(spoke the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit)
- REMEMBERING (visnu smaranam)
Prahlada Maharaja(never forgot Krsna despite constant tortures from his father- Hiranyakashipu)
- SERVING THE LORD’S LOTUS FEET (pada sevanam)
Laxmi, the Goddess of Fortune, is always engaged in serving the lotus feet of the Lord.
- DEITY-WORSHIP (arcanam)
Maharaja Prthu used all of his royal possessions in order to offer them in pure devotion to the Lord.
- PRAYING (vandanam)
Akura offered prayers to Krsna when he was traveling to Vrndavana in order to see Krsna.
- EXECUTING ORDERS (dasyam)
Hanuman, the intimate servant of Ramacandra executed all of Sri Ramacandra’s orders despite all kinds of difficulties.
- SERVING AS A FRIEND (sakhyam)
Arjuna was so close to Krsna, that the Lord offered Himself to become his chariot driver and serve Arjuna and his brothers in various ways.
- COMPLETE SURRENDER (atma nivedanam)
Bali Maharaja gave Sri Vamanadeva his entire kingdom, his possessions as well as his own body, although his own spiritual master was against it.
All these great devotees served the Lord according to a particular process, but every one of them attained salvation and became eligible to return home, back to Godhead
Full Text and purport follows
For devotees aspiring to enter the eternal realm of Vrindavan, service to Vrinda-devi is essential. Srila Prabhupada stressed this by making Tulasi puja a daily part of our morning program. Tulasi-devi is an expansion of Vrinda-devi in this world. Every morning we pray to Vrinda-devi:
“ye tomara sarana loy tara vancha purna hoy krpa kori koro tare vrndavana-vasi“
“Whoever takes shelter of you, all his desires are fulfilled and by your mercy he becomes a resident of Vrndavana.”
click on image to enlarge
The following verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam describes the qualities of a Vaiṣṇava, devotee of the Lord
May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.9)
…Just like a desire tree, a Vaiṣṇava can fulfill all the desires of anyone who takes shelter of his lotus feet… he prays not for himself, but for all living entities—the gentle, the envious and the mischievous…This is the attitude of a Vaiṣṇava, who always thinks of the welfare of the entire universe.
…If the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads all over the world, and if by the grace of Kṛṣṇa everyone accepts it, the thinking of envious people will change. Everyone will think of the welfare of others. (from purport)
full verse and purport Continue reading