Steadiness in Devotional Service - Part 6

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

This is in continuation of the previous topic, "Steadiness in Devotional service", wherein we were meditating on the wonderful verses spoken by Sri Narada Muni to Dhruva Maharaj, describing the form and glories of Supreme Lord. In the previous offerings we saw the following points which will help us to become steady in devotional service:

a) We should surrender to Krishna, fully dependent on Him without any reservations.
b) Lord is tolerance personified and is mercifully tolerating our inebrieties. Remembering this we should learn to be tolerant to other living entities.
c) Lord's beauty is matchless and by sincerely hearing His glories from pure devotees, we will be able to meet the Lord.
d) Lord is shaantah - calm, quite and peaceful. When we practise tolerance and satisfaction, then we also become shaantah.
e) Lord is pleasing to eyes and mind. Remembering this we should always be smiling and pleasing in our behaviour to others.

In Srimad Bhagavatam verses 4.8.51-52 Narada Muni says,

smayamānam abhidhyāyet sānurāgāvalokanam
niyatenaika-bhūtena manasā varadarṣabham

evaṁ bhagavato rūpaṁ subhadraṁ dhyāyato manaḥ
nirvṛtyā parayā tūrṇaṁ sampannaṁ na nivartate

The Lord is always smiling, and the devotee should constantly see the Lord in this form, as He looks very mercifully toward the devotee. In this way the meditator should look toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of all benedictions. One who meditates in this way, concentrating his mind upon the always auspicious form of the Lord, is very soon freed from all material contamination, and he does not come down from meditation upon the Lord.

In the above verse Narada Muni is very nicely stressing on the importance of taking darshan of the Lord. When we are chanting the Mahamantra also devotees advise us that to fix our mind on chanting we should try to chant sitting in front of the Deity or any picture of the Lord or Tulsi devi. Because if we keep seeing other things then dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ, mind is so tricky that our thoughts wander hither and thither and we will no longer be chanting with proper concentration on the Holy Names. It is recommended by shastras that grahasthas should carry on Deity worship at their homes as well. Deities are not like show-case dolls, but they are merciful manifestation of Lord Himself in our home. Presence of Deity has a great impact on each and every person in the family. If even some person is atheistic or does not have faith in Lord, simply if they take darshan of the Deity, honour Lord's prasadam has a gradual impact and brings a change in consciousness of all.

In his wonderful purport to the above verse His Divine Grace very nicely says, "The word niyatena is very significant in this connection, for it indicates that one should execute the meditation practice as stated above. One should not manufacture a way of meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but should follow the authorized shaastras and personalities. By this prescribed method one can practice concentration upon the Lord until one is so fixed that he remains in trance, thinking always of the form of the Lord. The word used here is eka-bhūtena, which means "with great attention and concentration. "If one concentrates on the descriptions of the bodily features of the Lord, one will never fall down."

Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.3.22 very nicely mentions that, "The eyes which do not look at the symbolic representations of the Personality of Godhead Vishnu [His forms, name, quality, etc.] are like those printed on the plumes of the peacock." In the purport His Divine Grace very nicely mentions, "All the members of the household should be engaged in the daily service of the Lord, beginning from morning (4 am) till night (10 pm) by performing maṅgala-ārātrika, nirañjana, arcana, pūjā, kīrtana, śṛṅgāra, bhoga-vaikāli, sandhyā-ārātrika, pāṭha, bhoga (at night), śayana-ārātrika, etc. Engagement in such worship of the Deity, under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, will greatly help the householders to purify their very existence and make rapid progress in spiritual knowledge. Simple theoretical book knowledge is not sufficient for a neophyte devotee. Book knowledge is theoretical, whereas the arcana process is practical... If one is unable to maintain a temple at home, he should go to another's temple where all the above performances are regularly executed. Visiting the temple of a devotee and looking at the profusely decorated forms of the Lord well dressed in a well-decorated, sanctified temple naturally infuse the mundane mind with spiritual inspiration."

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.