Dhanurdhara Swami October 22nd, 2000
Govardhana – Ekadasi
Yesterday I was feeling discouraged and hopeless because my concentration was not deep, although I was trying. I felt that I would never become a devotee. Today chanting, however, came easy. Sometimes Krishna encourages one in this way. It is undeserved kindness.
Devamrita Swami came to visit me. Devamrita Swami is from New York and joined in Henry Street after graduating from Yale. He has a rare vitality and vision for preaching. He is making many devotees in New Zealand and I was impressed with the dynamics of his vision. I have heard of his preaching as he sometimes comes to meet Bhurijan Prabhu in Perth and Bhurijan told me about it.
Maharaja opens up independent urban preaching centers where he devises and implements a multitude of programs to interest several different types of people. He has yoga classes, a cutting edge lecture series, and book distribution. He creates a dynamic culture in his centers so that once people visit, they become attracted. Part of that culture is developing camaraderie among the people centered on studying and distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. His method of book distribution, however, is thoughtful. He stresses developing relationships with the people so that they read the books, maintain some sort of contact, and hopefully visit the center. He told me that a big book distributor in his program is, therefore, someone who just meets a few people a day and not only sells them a book but has such an impression on them that they eventually visit the center. By organizing book distribution in his way everyone connected with the center can easily participate in the mission. It makes sense.
I wrote a quick list today of how bhakti comes into the heart. It is a first draft and subject to discussion and revision.
- The process is sadhana-bhakti, the conscious utilization of the senses in Krishna’s service for the purpose of awakening devotion in the heart.
- The essence of sadhana-bhakti is to remember Krishna and never forget Him.
- The acarya finds the best ways and means for the people to do so among the nine basic practices of devotional service.
- The best way to remember Krishna is to chant His holy names, although proper execution of any of the nine activities of devotional service can invoke full remembrance of Krishna.
- Lord Caitanya specifically recommended nama-sankirtan as the best means of becoming Krishna conscious.
- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and Srila Prabhupada emphasized dedicating oneself to distributing the holy name as the best way for us to remain absorbed in chanting and hearing about Krishna.
- If one does not have the taste to remain fixed in chanting and hearing about Krishna, service to the great souls will give one an affinity for hearing about Krishna.
- Although chanting is the best way to remember Krishna, unless one has the mercy of the Lord and a service attitude one cannot chant with concentration and devotion. Therefore to do nama-sankirtan properly it is essential to fullysurrender to a bona fide spiritual master.
- If done properly, there is no dichotomy between chanting and hearing about Krishna and serving the mission of the spiritual master, which includes sadhana-bhakti.