The beginning of devotional service is to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is also said that what is the beginning of devotional life. He has explained that śraddhā. Devotion means... The Sanskrit word is śraddhā, devotion, affection, affinity, attachment. So... Or faith. The faith word is generally understood. So what sort of faith? There are different kinds of faith. But Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, he says that strong faith, not ordinary faith. Strong faith. What sort of strong faith? He has explained, śraddhā śābde viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya: (Cc. Madhya 22.62) "That faith means unflinching faith without any deviation, with full understanding." What is that understanding? Kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya: "One who engages himself in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that he has seen all activities of auspicity." That means he has already finished or passed the examination of pious activities. Kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya. This is the beginning. Unless one takes it firmly that "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead..." And if anyone is engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, then it is to be understood that he has done all pious activities. This is this faith, this kind of faith, unflinching faith. When we have got this unflinching faith, that is the beginning of Bhāgavata life. Bhāgavata life means devotional life, direct connection with the Supreme God. That is Bhāgavata life.
So after one has got this unflinching faith, that "Simply by serving Lord Kṛṣṇa, all religious activities or all pious activities are done," that faith is the last word of Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is explained to Arjuna in so many ways. But ultimately, he comes to the point through Him Himself. When He explains the yoga system, He explains nicely the process, how to execute yoga performances, the sitting posture, the breathing posture and eating and sitting and place. Everything explained nicely. But at the end He says that,
- yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
- śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
- sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
- (BG 6.47)
"Of all the yogis, one who is always thinking of Me, Kṛṣṇa, within his heart, he is first-class yogi." Similarly, when He explains about jñāna system, or philosophical speculation, He summarizes at the end, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "After many, many births of philosophical speculation, when the learned scholar or philosopher comes to this point..." What is that point? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: (BG 7.19) "After many, many births' philosophical speculation, when one actually becomes scholar or wise, he surrenders unto Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Why? Vāsudeva sarvam iti: "Because He is everything." This is the end of knowledge, when one understands that Vasudeva is everything. Similarly, yoga-pantha, the process of yoga, the process of jñāna, and the process of karma, fruitive activity. What is that? He summarizes in the Bhagavad-gītā, yat karoṣi yad juhoṣi yad aśnāsi yat tapasyasi kuruṣva tad mad-arpaṇam (BG 9.27). There are different kinds of activities. So Kṛṣṇa says "Whatever you do, it doesn't matter." If somebody says that "I am a businessman," "That's all right." "What is to be done?" "Now, you do business to your best capacity, but the profit give to Me. The profit is Mine." If you agree, then simply by doing business you become a great devotee. The same example: just like Arjuna. He is a fighter. So how he became so great devotee? By fighting. By fighting for whom? For Kṛṣṇa. "No. He fought for getting the kingdom." No, he did not fight for getting the kingdom. He said, "Better I shall forego. I don't want this kingdom by fighting with my relatives." He was very good man. But he agreed to fight for Kṛṣṇa. He changed his decision. Similarly, any work, if you do for Kṛṣṇa, that is bhakti. Don't think that bhakti means simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and sitting down in one place. No. Bhakti means all kinds of activities. God is all-pervading; therefore bhakti is also all-pervading. From all spheres of life the devotional service can be done.
So these things are taught, those who are attached to work, for them; those who are attached to philosophy, for them; those who are attached to yoga system, for them; and those who are devotees, for them it is certainly. So from all angles of vision, when one comes to the point that kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya, if one is engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, then everything is perfect. That is the conclusion of Bhāgavata. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13). You... How you can test that the particular engagement in which you are occupied, whether it is successful or not? How it is to be tested? The Bhāgavata gives you the formula. What is that, the formula? Now, saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13). You just try to see whether by your work Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, has become satisfied. If you see that He is satisfied, then whatever work you are doing, either you are philosopher or a businessman or a scientist, or anything, politician... There are so many occupational duties. But you have to test whether that is giving you real perfection. That test is that you have to see whether by your activity the Supreme Lord is satisfied. Then... This is a great science. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness science. Simply... Therefore we have to take shelter of an expert. Just like a student goes to a school, and if he works on exercises and he puts before the teacher, and if the teacher says, "Yes, it is good," then he is successful; similarly, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) you have to approach to a guru or representative of Kṛṣṇa, and if he says, "It is all right," then you know that Kṛṣṇa is satisfied. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. You have to approach such a person whose certificate will ensure that Kṛṣṇa will be satisfied. You have to find out such person. Then your life is success. That will also... You will get according to your sincerity of purpose because Kṛṣṇa is within you.
So after understanding Bhagavad-gītā, if one becomes faithful that "I shall devote my life for service of Kṛṣṇa," then he is eligible to enter into the study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That means Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins from the point where Bhagavad-gītā ends. Bhagavad-gītā ends at the point: sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66), one has to surrender fully unto Kṛṣṇa, giving up all other engagements. Always remember, all other engagement means not that you have to give up. You... Try to understand that Kṛṣṇa said that "You give up everything and surrender unto Me." So that does not mean that Arjuna gave up his fighting capacity. Rather, he took to fighting more vigorously. So "Give up all other engagement" means don't take the fruit of your engagement. Give up. Just sacrifice the fruit of the engagement. That is to be given to Kṛṣṇa. This is surrender. Just like a good boy surrenders to his father means whatever he earns, the money, at the end of month he puts in the hand of the father: "Oh, this is my month's earnings"; similarly, we have to sacrifice the fruits of our labor to Kṛṣṇa. This is the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
And to develop that Kṛṣṇa consciousness, just like when you have passed preliminary examination in the school, then you have to further enlightenment, further progress of advancement of education, you enter into the college, degree college, similarly, after finishing or understanding Bhagavad-gītā very nicely, if you are convinced about Kṛṣṇa, then study Bhagavad-gītā (Bhāgavatam), where the beginning is: namo bhagavate vaṣudeva. Vyāsadeva begins by surrendering himself to Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa. Bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). He is the origin of everything. Then Bhāgavata begins. And one who has understood Bhāgavata, or he has made his relationship well established with Kṛṣṇa and is functioning in that relationship, then he is passed on the subject matter of Bhāgavata, and then you begin Caitanya-caritāmṛta. That is postgraduate study. After getting your degree, as you try for your Ph.D. or M.A., similarly, Caitanya-caritāmṛta is like that, post-graduate study. And the author of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, he places himself that "I am lower than the worm in the stool." Just see how humble. This is the nature of Vaiṣṇava. That is not artificial. He says. Every Vaiṣṇava thinks himself as very insignificant. Actually, every one of us is very insignificant in comparison to the Supreme Lord. What we are? Nothing. But if we establish our loving relationship, which is already there, then we will become the greatest. By relationship with the greatest, we become the greatest.
So artificially, if we become puffed up, "I am God," we shall always remain in the position of a dog. We shall never be God. But actually if we feel ourselves humble and meek servants of God, then we become more than God. Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He keeps His devotees more honorable than Himself. And He recommends to the devotees that mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā: (SB 11.19.21) "My dear devotees, take it for granted that if you worship My devotees, that is more than My devotional service." Kṛṣṇa recommends, and actually that is the fact, that Kṛṣṇa is more pleased. Just like... It is very natural. Just like one gentleman he has got a little child, and if you try to please that little child, that gentleman automatically becomes pleased. You can please the child with two-cent-worth lozenges, and if the child is laughing and very pleased, his father immediately becomes pleased. But if you want to please the father, you will require at least two hundred dollars. So you can finish two hundred dollars' business with two cents. Similarly, devotees are so nice that if you give him anything... Kṛṣṇa... Kṛṣṇa is also so nice that He will be pleased if anything offer. You offer little water, little flower, little... And devotees are still higher. If you simply offer a devotee a little sweet words, oh, he is very pleased. You see? That is the nature of devotee. Devotee does not want anything from you. They simply want that you... Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, he said... He has got a nice song that "If you simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, oh, I become sold to you." Nityānanda Prabhu also says like that. So to please a devotee is very nice. Therefore our process is to take shelter of a devotee. Directly we don't approach Kṛṣṇa. Gopī-bhartur pāda-kamalayor dāsa-dāsanudāsa. Therefore in Vṛndāvana you will see everyone is praising Rādhārāṇī because Rādhārāṇī is very quickly pleased. And as soon as Rādhārāṇī is pleased, Kṛṣṇa is automatically pleased. This is the process.