Sri Rupa Gosvami says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service

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"Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service. When he becomes firmly fixed in such devotional service, that assured status becomes a confidential part of his devotional service.

Devotional service in friendship can be divided into two categories: one is to act as the confidential servant of the Lord, and the other is to act as the well-wisher of the Lord. The devotee who has confidence in devotional service to the Lord systematically follows the rules and regulations, with the faith that he will achieve the platform of transcendental life. The second type of devotional friendship is to become a well-wisher of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Lord accepts a preacher as the most dear servant. Anyone who is preaching the confidential message of the Gītā to the people in general is so dear to Kṛṣṇa that no one can be equal with him in human society.

In the Mahābhārata, Draupadī says, "My dear Govinda, Your promise is that Your devotee can never be vanquished. I believe in that statement, and therefore in all kinds of tribulations I simply remember Your promise, and thus I live." The purport is that Draupadī and her five husbands, the Pāṇḍavas, were put into severe tribulations by their cousin-brother, Duryodhana, as well as by others. The tribulations were so severe that even Bhīṣmadeva, who was both a lifelong brahmacārī and a great warrior, would sometimes shed tears thinking of them. He was always surprised that, although the Pāṇḍavas were so righteous and Draupadī practically the goddess of fortune, and although Kṛṣṇa was their friend, still they had to undergo such severe tribulations. Though their tribulations were not ordinary, still Draupadī was not discouraged. She knew that because Kṛṣṇa was their friend, ultimately they would be saved.

A similar statement is there in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 2nd Chapter, 5th verse, where Havi, the son of King Ṛṣabha, addresses Mahārāj Nimi: "My dear King, a person who never deviates even for a moment from engagement in service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Person (engagement which is sought after even by great demigods like Indra) with firm conviction that there is nothing more worshipable or desirable than this, is called the first-class devotee."

Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service. When he becomes firmly fixed in such devotional service, that assured status becomes a confidential part of his devotional service.

Sometimes it is found that a pure devotee lies down in the temple of the Lord in order to serve Him as a confidential friend. Such friendly behavior of a devotee may be accepted as rāgānugā, or spontaneous. Although, according to regulative principles, no one can lie down in the temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this spontaneous love of Godhead can be grouped under devotional service in friendship.

Regarding complete self-surrender, there is a nice description in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 29th Chapter, 32nd verse, where the Lord says: "A person who has completely surrendered unto Me and has completely given up all other activities is protected by Me personally, both in this life and in the next. In other words, I wish to help him become more and more advanced in spiritual life. Such a person is to be understood as having already achieved sārṣṭi (having equal opulences with the supreme)." It is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that as soon as a person surrenders unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa takes charge of him and gives him a guarantee of protection from all sinful reactions. He also instructs from within, so that the devotee may very quickly make advancement towards spiritual perfection.