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Bhakti is Preaching

A devotee is self-satisfied in his service to the Lord. Because of this, his only duty in life is to spread Krsna consciousness amongst the innocent. For example, Prahlada Maharaja, a great devotee of the Lord, instructed his schoolmates: "Show mercy to all living entities by enlightening them in devotional service, thus becoming their well-wishers." (SB 7.6.24) Srila Prabhupada comments: "Preaching is the best service to the Lord. The Lord will immediately be extremely satisfied with one who engages in this service of preaching Krsna consciousness. This is confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (18.69). Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: "There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear." If one sincerely tries his best to spread Krsna consciousness by preaching the glories of the Lord and His supremacy, even if he is imperfectly educated, he becomes the dearmost servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is bhakti." (SB 7.6.24 purport) In other words, bhakti is not a cheap sentiment of the heart. It must manifest also externally by the entusiastic preaching spirit. If a child is walking on the roof and we see that he is just about to fall down, a sensible human being must endeavor to save the child. It is not a question of force, it is a question of humanity. A human being feels concerned for the well-being, whereas animal does not. This is the difference between animal and man. Srila Bhaktissidhanta Saraswati Thakura, before launching his preaching mission vowed to chant 1 billion names of Krsna (192 rounds daily). Srila Prabhupada states that: "... he underwent very severe penances for starting this movement: world-wide movement." However, upon accomplishing this glorious task, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta wrote a poem where he condemns such solitary chanting: dusta mana! tumi kisera vaisnava? pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare, tava hari-nama kevala kaitava "My dear mind, what kind of devotee are you? Simply for cheap adoration you sit in a solitary place and pretend to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, but this is all cheating." Thus Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advocated that every devotee, under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, preach the bhakti cult, Krsna consciousness, all over the world. Only when one is mature can he sit in a solitary place and retire from preaching all over the world. There are three levels of advancement in Krishna consciousness and preaching is advised for the devotee on the intermediatery stage. However, we can see that Srila Prabhupada advised to engage in preaching even to neophyte devotees. In fact, he writes: "When one is situated on the neophyte platform, one cannot understand the devotional ingredients of a pure, unalloyed devotee. However, when the novice engages in devotional service -- especially in Deity worship -- and follows the order of a bona fide spiritual master, he is a pure devotee. Anyone can take advantage of hearing about Krsna consciousness from such a devotee and thus gradually become purified. In other words, any devotee who believes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord is a pure devotee, even though he may be in the neophyte stage. By his association, others may also become Vaisnavas." (Madhya 15.106 purport) The condition for such preaching work is that it must be executed in pursuance of the instructions of an expert spiritual master pure devotee. Any independent attempt will ultimately fail. Srila Prabhupada writes: "The major portion of our monetary income, not less than fifty percent, must be spent to carry out the order of Lord Krsna. Not only should we give the profit of our earning to this cause, but we must also arrange to preach this cult of devotion to others because that is also one of the orders of the Lord. The Lord definitely says that no one is more dear to Him than one who is always engaged in the preaching work of the Lord's name and fame all over the world. The scientific discoveries of the material world can also be equally engaged in carrying out His order. He wants the message of the Bhagavad-gita to be preached amongst His devotees. It may not be so done amongst those who have no credit of austerities, charity, education, etc. Therefore, the attempt must go on to convert unwilling men to become His devotees. Lord Caitanya has taught a very simple method in this connection. He has taught the lesson for preaching the transcendental message through singing, dancing and refreshment. As such, fifty percent of our income may be spent for this purpose. In this fallen age of quarrel and dissension, if only the leading and wealthy persons of society agree to spend fifty percent of their income in the service of the Lord, as it is taught by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there is absolute certainty of converting this hell of pandemonium to the transcendental abode of the Lord. No one will disagree to partake in a function where good singing, dancing and refreshment are administered. Everyone will attend such a function, and everyone is sure to feel individually the transcendental presence of the Lord. This alone will help the attendants associate with the Lord and thereby purify themselves in spiritual realization. The only condition for successfully executing such spiritual activities is that they must be conducted under the guidance of a pure devotee who is completely free from all mundane desires, fruitive activities and dry speculations about the nature of the Lord." (SB 1.5.36 purport) If one does not follow the guidance of a pure devotee, or rejects the pure devotee's position of the supreme spiritual master he will simply creates disturbance in a society. A neophyte devotee has no knowledge, nor is he completely detached from material association. His faith in the spiritual master is therefore his only hope. If this faith is lost, or adulturated, he will simple preach nonsense. Therefore one must follow the instructions of the spiritual master and that means he must first of all hear. Srila Prabhupada writes: "Bhakti-lata-bija means "the seed of devotional service." Everything has an original cause, or seed. For any idea, program, plan or device, there is first of all the contemplation of the plan, and that is called the bija, or seed. The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-lata-bija, or seed of devotional service. This bhakti-lata-bija is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. Other seeds, called anyabhilasa-bija, include karma-bija and jnana-bija. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-lata-bija from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates such seeds as karma-bija, jnana-bija, or political, social or philanthropic bijas. However, the bhakti-lata-bija is different from these other bijas. The bhakti-lata-bija can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get the bhakti-lata-bija (yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah **). The bhakti-lata-bija is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bija, or root cause, of karma, jnana and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. But one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-lata-bija. This bhakti-lata-bija is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. After receiving the spiritual master's mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called sravana-kirtana -- hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kirtana). This is explained in the Bhagavad-gita (2.41): vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit for chanting or for preaching the cult of devotional service. One has to water the bhakti-lata-bija by receiving instructions from the spiritual master." (Madhya 19.153 purport) In other words, the spiritual master gives us the seed of devotional service, but if we do not hear from him properly and do not follow his instructions, the bhakti lata bija will be choked by many unwanted bijas as mentioned above. The same watering process of chanting and hearing if not done under the guidance of the guru in the mood of servitorship will simply water our unwanted material desires. This is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in the following instance: (3) "It so happens that by the watering process some weeds are also grown, and unless such weeds are uprooted, the nurturing of the main creeper, or the creeper of bhakti-yoga, may be hampered. (4) Actually these weeds are material enjoyment, merging of the self in the Absolute without separate individuality, and many other desires in the field of religion, economic development, sense enjoyment and emancipation. (5) There are many other weeds, like disobedience to the tenets of the revered scriptures, unnecessary engagements, killing animals, and hankering after material gain, prestige and adoration. (6) If sufficient care is not taken, then the watering process may only help to breed the weeds, stunting the healthy growth of the main creeper and resulting in no fructification of the ultimate requirement: love of God. (7) The devotee must therefore be very careful to uproot the different weeds in the very beginning. Only then will the healthy growth of the main creeper not be stunted. (SB 2.2.30 purport) In other words, if from the very beginning a person does not take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, he cannot make any advancement. Nor can he make advancement by disobeying his instructions on preaching work. We must therefore carefully follow he instructions of the spiritual master and distribute his message as it is to the innocent people of the world. This is bhakti. However, there is also another, a more confidential reason why the acharyas in our line emphasize the role of preaching work. Preaching ultimate means to awaken one to his original identity of a devotee. This is the summum bonnum of preaching work. Srila Prabhupada writes: "In the transcendental realm, enjoyment is fully relished in variety. The exuberance of transcendental mellows is increased by the association of a large number of personalities similar to Radharani, who are also known as gopis or sakhis. The variety of innumerable mistresses is a source of relish for Sri Krsna, and therefore these expansions from Srimati Radharani are necessary for enhancing the pleasure potency of Sri Krsna." (Adi 4.81 purport) It is the desire of the eternal associates of the Lord to expand the number of His devotees in the spiritual realm since there is a necessity of variegatedness to enhance the pleasure potency of Lord Krsna. Therefore, from both angles of vision, practical and confidential one should seriously engage in expanding the Krsna consciousness movement under the guidance of his top most acharya His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

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