Bhajan kriya

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After having developed firm faith in the process of Krishna consciousness and having been blessed with the association of pure devotees, one starts performing bhajan under the guidance and instructions of the advanced devotees. This bhajan kriya involves being aloof from material consciousness and being completely fixed in performing the different limbs of bhakti without any interruption. Srila Rupa goswami has given 64 limbs of devotional service, starting from Guru pad ashraya, taking shelter of the lotus feet of a bona-fide spiritual master and so on, in his book Sri Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. One should engage their body, mind and words in the performance of these various bhakti dayini activities, the givers of bhakti. Besides these, the 9 principals of devotional service as given by Prahlad Maharaj are of great importance, which are as follows:

sri-prahlada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye ‘dhitam uttamam
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24)

Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.

Srila Rupa Goswami has also mentioned that out of the 64 limbs of bhakti, 5 are most prominent and should be performed by all the devotees. These five principal angas of Bhakti are Naam sankirtan (chanting the holy names of the Lord), Sadhu sanga (associating with the devotees of the Lord), preeti poorvak murti seva (serving the archa vigraha form of the Lord), Bhagawat shravan (hearing discourses on Srimad Bhagwatam from the living Bhagwat) and Mathura vaas(residing in Mathura Mandal or Navadwip dham).

Once on the platform of Bhajan Kriya, one should with firm faith, great determination, enthusiasm and patience practice the various limbs of Bhakti in the association of the pure devotees of the Lord, and doing thus one shall be able to quickly make further progress on the path of Bhakti. This stage of Bhajan kriya is, however, present right from the beginning stages up to the top most stages of spontaneous love for the Lord. In order to set examples for the sadhakas, Srila Rupa goswami and the other exalted goswamis and associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who are all nitya siddha or eternally liberated companions of the Lord, performed their bhajan and thus following in their footsteps, we should endeavour hard to put in all our effort in the performance of the various limbs of devotional service, the best amongst which is the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord, for that is the Yuga dharma for this age of Kali.