srnvan grnan samsmarayams ca cintayan
namani rupani ca mangalani te
kriyasu yas tvac-caranaravindayor
avista-ceta na bhavaya kalpate
srnvan—constantly hearing about the Lord (sravanam kirtanam visnoh); grnan—chanting or reciting (the holy name of the Lord and His activities); samsmarayan—remembering (constantly thinking of the Lord’s lotus feet and His form); ca—and; cintayan—contemplating (the transcendental activities of the Lord); namani—His transcendental names; rupani—His transcendental forms; ca—also; mangalani—which are all transcendental and therefore auspicious; te—of Your Lordship; kriyasu—in being engaged in the devotional service; yah—he who; tvat-carana-aravindayoh—at Your lotus feet; avista-cetah—the devotee who is completely absorbed (in such activities); na—not; bhavaya—for the material platform; kalpate—is fit.
Even while engaged in various activities, devotees whose minds are completely absorbed at Your lotus feet, and who constantly hear, chant, contemplate and cause others to remember Your transcendental names and forms, are always on the transcendental platform, and thus they can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
How bhakti-yoga can be practiced is explained in this verse. Srila Rupa Gosvami has said that anyone who has dedicated his life to the service of the Lord (iha yasya harer dasye) by his activities, his mind and his words (karmana manasa gira) may stay in any condition of life (nikhilasv apy avasthasu) and yet is no longer actually conditioned but is liberated (jivan-muktah sa ucyate). Even though such a devotee is in a material body, he has nothing to do with this body, for he is transcendentally situated. Narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati: because a devotee is engaged in transcendental activities, he is not afraid of being materially embodied. (Bhag. 6.17.28) Illustrating this liberated position, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed, mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: “All I want is Your causeless devotional service in My life, birth after birth.” (Siksastaka 4) Even if a devotee, by the supreme will of the Lord, takes birth in this material world, he continues his devotional service. When King Bharata made a mistake and in his next life became a deer, his devotional service did not stop, although some slight chastisement was given to him because of his negligence. Narada Muni says that even if one falls from the platform of devotional service, he is not lost, whereas nondevotees are lost entirely because they are not engaged in service. Bhagavad-gita (9.14) therefore recommends that one always engage at least in chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra:
“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, the great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.”
One should not give up the process of devotional service, which is performed in nine different ways (sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, etc. [SB 7.5.23]). The most important process is hearing (sravanam) from the guru, sadhu and sastra—the spiritual master, the saintly acaryas and the Vedic literature. Sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya, cittete kariya aikya. We should not hear the commentaries and explanations of nondevotees, for this is strictly forbidden by Srila Sanatana Gosvami, who quotes from the Padma Purana:
We should strictly follow this injunction and never try to hear from Mayavadis, impersonalists, voidists, politicians or so-called scholars. Strictly avoiding such inauspicious association, we should simply hear from pure devotees. Srila Rupa Gosvami therefore recommends, sri-guru-padasrayah: one must seek shelter at the lotus feet of a pure devotee who can be one’s guru. Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises that a guru is one who strictly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-gita: yare dekha, tare kaha, ‘krsna’—upadesa (Cc. Madhya 7.128). A juggler, a magician or one who speaks nonsense as an academic career is not a guru. Rather, a guru is one who presents Bhagavad-gita, Krsna’s instructions, as it is. Sravana is very important; one must hear from the Vaisnava sadhu, guru and sastra.
The word kriyasu, meaning “by manual labor” or “by work,” is important in this verse. One should engage in practical service to the Lord. In our Krsna consciousness movement, all our activities are concentrated upon distributing Krsna literature. This is very important. One may approach any person and induce him to read Krsna literature so that in the future he also may become a devotee. Such activities are recommended in this verse. Kriyasu yas tvac-caranaravindayoh. Such activities will always remind the devotees of the Lord’s lotus feet. By fully concentrating on distributing books for Krsna, one is fully absorbed in Krsna. This is samadhi.
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