The material world is a place of confinement for the living entities who are by nature anandamaya, pleasure-seeking. They actually want to be free from the confinement of this world of conditional happiness
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Nectar of Instruction
The nine processes of devotional service are as follows:
1. hearing the name and glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
2. chanting His glories
3. remembering the Lord
4. serving the Lord's feet
5. worshiping the Deity
6. offering obeisances unto the Lord
7. acting as the Lord's servant
8. making friends with the Lord
9. surrendering oneself fully to the Lord
Śravaṇam, or hearing, is the first step in acquiring transcendental knowledge. One should not give aural reception to unauthorized persons, but should approach the proper person, as recommended in Bhagavad-gītā (4.34):
- tad viddhi praṇipātena
- paripraśnena sevayā
- upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
- jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth."
It is further recommended in the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: (MU 1.2.12) "To understand that transcendental science, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master." Thus this method of submissively receiving transcendental confidential knowledge is not merely based on mental speculation. In this regard, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Rūpa Gosvāmī:
- brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
- guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
"In the course of traversing the universal creation of Brahmā, some fortunate soul may receive the seed of bhakti-latā, the creeper of devotional service. This is all by the grace of guru and Kṛṣṇa." (CC Madhya 19.151) The material world is a place of confinement for the living entities who are by nature ānandamaya, pleasure-seeking. They actually want to be free from the confinement of this world of conditional happiness, but not knowing the process of liberation, they are bound to transmigrate from one species of life to another and from one planet to another. In this way the living entities are wandering throughout the material universe. When by good fortune one comes in contact with a pure devotee and hears from him patiently, one begins to follow the path of devotional service. Such an opportunity is offered to a person who is sincere. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is giving such a chance to humanity at large. If by fortune one takes advantage of this opportunity to engage in devotional service, the path of liberation immediately opens.
One should accept this opportunity to return home, back to Godhead, very enthusiastically. Without enthusiasm, one cannot be successful. Even in the material world one has to be very enthusiastic in his particular field of activity in order to become successful. A student, businessman, artist or anyone else who wants success in his line must be enthusiastic. Similarly, one has to be very enthusiastic in devotional service. Enthusiasm means action, but action for whom? The answer is that one should always act for Kṛṣṇa—kṛṣṇārthākhila-ceṣṭā (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu).
In all phases of life one has to perform devotional activities under the direction of the spiritual master in order to attain perfection in bhakti-yoga. It is not that one has to confine or narrow one's activities. Kṛṣṇa is all-pervading. Therefore nothing is independent of Kṛṣṇa, as Kṛṣṇa Himself states in Bhagavad-gītā (9.4):
- mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
- jagad avyakta-mūrtinā-
- mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni
- na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
"By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them." Under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, one has to make everything favorable for Kṛṣṇa's service. For example, at present we are using a dictaphone. The materialist who invented this machine intended it for businessmen or writers of mundane subject matters. He certainly never thought of using the dictaphone in God's service, but we are using this dictaphone to write Kṛṣṇa conscious literature. Of course, the manufacture of the dictaphone is wholly within the energy of Kṛṣṇa. All the parts of the instrument, including the electronic functions, are made from different combinations and interactions of the five basic types of material energy—namely, bhūmi, jala, agni, vāyu and ākāśa. The inventor used his brain to make this complicated machine, and his brain, as well as the ingredients, were supplied by Kṛṣṇa. According to the statement of Kṛṣṇa, mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni: (BG 9.4) "Everything is depending on My energy." Thus the devotee can understand that since nothing is independent of Kṛṣṇa's energy, everything should be dovetailed in His service.