The following is a partial translation of the katha spoken by Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja on May 24, 2016 in Delhi. Srila Maharaja ji is presently speaking on Prahlad Carita.
Delhi 2016 May 24: How to get Bhakti (Hindi)
(Hindi recording only – it was a spontaneous Darshan, and it was not possible to record the English translation which arose spontaneously as well and took place simultaneously)
Synopsis: If someone has the desire to get Bhakti, then how to attain it?
bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta-sangena parijayate
sat-sangah prapyate pumbhih sukrtaih purva-sancitaih
“Bhakti is awakened when one associates with bhaktas of Sri Bhagavan. Association with suddha-bhaktas is attained only by the accumulation of transcendental pious activities performed over many lifetimes.” (Brhan-Naradiya-Purana 4.33)
Bhakti can only be achieved by associating with pure devotees of the Lord (bhagavad-bhakta). So how to get this association? “Sat-sangah prapyate pumbhih sukrtaih purva-sancitaih”. The soul will only get the association of saintly personalities, if the soul has some sukriti (sukrtaih).
After Nrsimhadeva had delivered Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada Maharaja asked Nrsimhadeva the following question: “In our house no devotees were allowed to come. I never had the association of pure devotees. Then how can it be that I have Bhakti for You, and that I got the association of Your devotee? I have this doubt. Kindly remove this doubt by Your mercy.”
Nrsimhadeva answered: “In your previous life, you were born in a brahman family, and your name was Vasu Sharma. But because of bad association, you became attached to a woman of low character, and fell down from your pious position. On the day of Nrsimha Caturdasi, you had a quarrel with that woman. You went into the forest, where you didn´t eat anything the entire day and night, and did not sleep at all. Because of the result of this activity (the sukriti achieved by observing Nrsimha Caturdasi unknowingly), you have achieved Bhakti unto My lotus feet. You don’t know this, but I am Trikala-darshi (the Knower of past, present and future), and I remain Nitya-kala (eternal).”
Whatever loving devotional service one does for the Lord, it always remains with one. Hari Bhakti is never destroyed. If someone does even some very little service for Bhagavan, He considers it to be very much, and then that remains eternally. Bhagavan is eternal, and that is why our relationship with Bhagavan is eternal (nitya). Whereas our relationship with this material world is a-nitya, not eternal.
This class was given by Srila Bhakti Vijnana Bharati Gosvami Maharaja in Delhi, on the 24th of May 2016. Srila Maharaja is very expert, and always presents things perfectly. However, the above class was spoken in Hindi, and later the first part of the class was then quickly translated into English by one of the Hindi speaking devotees. The above synopsis is based on that translation. So there may be some mistakes. Kindly do not mind.[The following quote from Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu Bindu may be helpful:
“In the scriptures pious activity is called sukrti, which is of two kinds: That which promotes bhakti, and that which instigates some secondary result other than bhakti. Sukrti that begets ordinary fruits arises from such activities as service to one’s parents or husband, material welfare work, charity, execution of nitya-naimittika-karma (one’s daily and occasional duties), cultivation of sankhya and other types of jnana, and so on.
Sukrti that gives rise to transcendental (paramarthika) results, or in other words bhakti, arises from contact with places such as a temple or holy place, holy times or days, or objects related to bhakti or sadhu-sanga. When heaps and heaps of sukrti that yields bhakti accumulate over countless lifetimes, bhakti makes its appearance through the via-medium of sadhu-sanga.
Laukika or material sukrti, after producing its desired fruits, is exhausted. The fruits of laukika-sukrti extend no further than the limit of material enjoyment. Sukrti that is rooted in brahma-jnana produces its fruit in the form of mukti and is then dissipated. These two types of sukrti are thoroughly incompetent to produce the fruit of bhakti.
Sukrti that yields bhakti arises from association with Vaisnavas; observance of Ekadasi, Janmastami, Gaura-purnima and other occasions which produce a saintly attitude; seeing or touching Tulasi, the temple, Sri Vrndavana and other holy places connected to the Lord, or a holy river like the Ganga or Yamuna; honouring maha-prasada; and other such activities. When these activities are performed unknowingly it is called sukrti. When, however, these activities are performed in the association of devotees and in full knowledge of their greatness, they become limbs of bhakti.”
Quote from Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu Bindu, Verse 3: Stages leading to the appearance of prema
submitted by Swami B.V. Sajjan