Devotional service, or bhakti yoga, is the best method for achieving transcendental realization. In today’s society, the term “yoga” is generally associated with gymnastics poses and various breathing exercises. However, yoga is a term originating from the Vedas and it means to have union with the Supreme, or God. Yoga is meant to be a completely spiritual activity.
There are various types of yoga, such as jnana yoga (meditational/contemplation), karma yoga (fruitive activity), and hatha yoga (body positions/exercises). Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, describes all of them in detail in the Bhagavad-gita. Of all the different types of yoga, bhakti yoga is considered the highest since it involves loving devotion to God. Though devotional service can be classified as a means of self-realization, it is actually the natural disposition of all living entities. 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 Krishna.
Lord Krishna 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. 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 Himself.
Devotional service can be a broad term and thus may seem difficult to understand. One may ask “what activity actually constitutes devotional service?” The Vedas give us the answer. There are nine distinct processes of devotional service:
5. Serving the lotus feet of the Lord
6. Offering prayers
7. Carrying out the orders of the Lord
8. Becoming friends with Him
9. Surrendering everything to Him
Engaging in any or all of these processes will make one’s life perfect. For each of these processes, Vedic literature has examples of great souls who achieved perfection by practicing them. Religious life is often viewed as being very strict and austere, and requiring great renunciation. Devotional service is above all religious regulations and austerities. Bhakti means love, and it is the natural inclination of everyone to love someone else. So why not try the yoga of love? These processes aren’t very difficult to perform. They don’t take much time and they don’t require any renunciation. In fact, renunciation from sinful activity automatically comes to those who follow the path of devotional service.
In this age, the two most effective processes of devotional service are hearing and chanting. So please chant the Maha-mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare” and hear about Lord Krishna through his authorized representative, the spiritual master, and you will always be happy.
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