|Chapter 2: Defining Bhakti|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 15
tal-lakṣaṇāni vācyante nānā-mata-bhedāt
tat — of it (devotional service); lakṣaṇāni — the characteristics; vācyante — are enunciated; nānā — various; mata — of theories; bhedāt — according to the differences.
Now the characteristics of devotional service will be described according to various authoritative opinions.
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.23), Prahlāda Mahārāja very clearly states what the essential activities of devotional service are:
śravaṇaḿ kīrtanaḿ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaḿ pāda-sevanam
arcanaḿ vandanaḿ dāsyaḿ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
"Devotional service consists of (1) hearing about the Lord, (2) chanting His glories, (3) remembering Him, (4) serving and meditating upon His lotus feet, (5) worshiping Him, (6) praying to Him, (7) thinking oneself His eternal servant, (8) becoming His friend, and (9) surrendering everything to Him."
One should surrender to the Lord as much as an animal purchased from the market surrenders to its master. Such an animal never thinks of his maintenance because he knows that his master will look after him. A soul totally surrendered to the Supreme Lord is similarly never anxious for his maintenance. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī gives further symptoms of full surrender in his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (11.417):
ānukūlyasya sańkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso goptṛtve varaṇaḿ tathā
ātma-nikṣepa-kārpaṇye ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
"The six divisions of surrender are: accepting those things favorable to devotional service, rejecting unfavorable things, the conviction that Kṛṣṇa will give protection, accepting the Lord as one's guardian or master, full self-surrender, and humility." Nārada will gradually explain these principles of devotion in the remaining sūtras.
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