Steadiness in Devotional Service - Part 7

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.
f) If we constantly see the Lord's beautiful form, we will be freed from material contamination.

In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 4.8.54, Narada Muni gives the mantra to worship the Supreme Lord and also explains the process to be followed for worshiping Him,

oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
mantreṇānena devasya kuryād dravyamayīṁ budhaḥ
saparyāṁ vividhair dravyair deśa-kāla-vibhāgavit

Om namo bhagavate vaasudevaaya. This is the twelve-syllable mantra for worshiping Lord Krishna. One should install the physical forms of the Lord, and with the chanting of the mantra one should offer flowers and fruits and other varieties of foodstuffs exactly according to the rules and regulations prescribed by authorities. But this should be done in consideration of place, time, and attendant conveniences and inconveniences.

In his wonderful purport to the above verse Srila Prabhupada says, "The prescribed rules, as stated here by Narada Muni, are that one should accept the mantra through a bona fide spiritual master and hear the mantra in the right ear. Not only should one chant or murmur the mantra, but in front of him he must have the Deity, or physical form of the Lord...Not only must one receive the mantra from the bona fide spiritual master like Narada Muni or his representative in the disciplic succession, but one must chant the mantra. And not only must one chant, but he should also offer whatever foodstuff is available in his part of the world, according to time and convenience."

In this verse we find that Narada Muni is teaching us the importance of chanting (kirtanam) as well as Deity worship (arcanam). We might wonder if chanting the Holy Names of Lord alone could give us love for Godhead, why should we take to initiation or Deity worship. Srila Prabhupada in his unparalleled purport to verse 7.5.23, while explaining the process of arcanam clarifies our doubt. His Divine Grace says, "One might ask, then what is the necessity of being initiated? The answer is that even though the chanting of the holy name is sufficient to enable one to progress in spiritual life to the standard of love of Godhead, one is nonetheless susceptible to contamination because of possessing a material body. Consequently, special stress is given to the arcana-vidhi. One should therefore regularly take advantage of both the bhagavata process and paancaraatriki process."

His Divine Grace also mentions that if any householder devotee is circumstantially unable to worship the Deity, then he must atleast see the Deity worship and in this way he may achieve success also. Deity worship brings discipline in us and instills cleanliness and purity in us. It should be done according to the suitable arrangements given by the spiritual master. He says, "Grhastha devotees, however, are generally engaged in material activities, and therefore if they do not take to Deity worship, their falling down is positively assured. Deity worship means following the rules and regulations precisely. That will keep one steady in devotional service."

Krishna willing we shall continue more on this topic in the subsequent offerings.

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