The Path of Bhakti

Amongst the introspective jivas, he who is attracted to pure devotional service is the most volved. The jiva can take up the path of bhakti only after he has accrued sufficient sukriti or piety from previous births. When such a jiva develops strong faith or sraddha, he comes into contact with a pure devotee spiritual master. By the grace of the spiritual master, he is initiated into the chanting of the Hare Krsna mahamantra the holy names of the Divine Couple. Though this jiva is blessed with sraddha, his desire for material gain poses an obstacle on his path of progress. The spiritual master graces the jiva with a disciplinary process suitable for overcoming this obstacle. Thus he gains spiritual strength from chanting. Chanting on Tulasi beads and meditating on a fixed number of holy names every day is the best form of worship, and will surely lead to success. Therefore, in the beginning, a little time should daily be spent in seclusion for full concentration upon the holy name. In degrees, as chanting increases, a more profound relationship with the holy name is developed, and the material impediments fall away.

The path of bhakti features two important engagements, one of which is Deity worship, the other chanting and meditating upon the holy name. Although both engagements are expedient, chanting and meditating on the holy name is preferred by the more deeply serious devotees.

Many elevated pure devotees at times chant aloud the holy names on their beads, and then at other times meditate upon Krsna's pastimes on the beads. The advantage of performing kirtan, or audibly chanting the maha-mantra on the beads, is that three kinds of devotional service hearing, chanting and remembering are accomplished simultaneously. Of course, all the nine limbs of devotional service reside in the holy name; of them, hearing, chanting and remembering are the best.

Chanting automatically manifests the other limbs of devotional service, like pada-sevanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam, and so on. Thus the process of Deity worship is automatically accomplished by the devotee surrendered to the holy name. But the devotee attracted to Deity worship will have to acquire attraction for hearing and chanting in order to attain complete perfection in Krsna consciousness.

Sri Harinama Cintamani, Chapter Fifteen

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