Pure Devotional Service - Change in Heart

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble pranams! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev!

We are all practicing Krishna consciousness for a long time and one question which comes to our mind is that why even after so many years of chanting and hearing, there is no taste developing in our devotional service and also no change of heart. The change of heart does not mean heart transplant, but change in our behaviour. We continue with the same tendency.

I was once discussing with HG Purnendu prabhuji (our god-brother from Minneapolis) that devotional service should have some impact in our lives and there should be a gradual change. He was differing with me and stating that unless one is on the transcendental platform, it is not possible to change overnight. He said that basic nature of a particular living entity with their vasanas will continue in devotional life, unless and until the consciousness is changed completely with the fire of pure devotional service - performed without any motivation and interruption. I was not able to accept his statement at that time. Prabhuji had been travelling with Maharaj and so constant and personal association with a pure devotee, has given him this wonderful realization. Whereas my association with our Gurudev is more of superficial one - with the only objective of becoming a prominent disciple rather than a submissive one. Everything becomes clear today when I came across the following verse and purport in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam (verse 2.3.24). It perfectly matches prabhuji's statement and I thank him for his revelation. This purport also gives the barometer of our devotional service and the real meaning of pure devotional service.

tad aśma-sāraṁ hṛdayaṁ batedaṁ
yad gṛhyamāṇair hari-nāma-dheyaiḥ
na vikriyetātha yadā vikāro
netre jalaṁ gātra-ruheṣu harṣaḥ

Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one's chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.

In his transcendental purport to the above verse, Srila Prabhupada says - "Therefore real, steady bhaava is definitely displayed in the matter of cessation of material desires (kshaanti), utilization of every moment in the transcendental loving service of the Lord (avyartha kaalatvam [Cc.Madhya 23.18-19]), eagerness for glorifying the Lord constantly (naama gaane sadaa ruchi [Cc. Madhya 23.32]), attraction for living in the land of the Lord (preetis tad-vasati sthale), complete detachment from material happiness (virakti), and pridelessness (maana-shunyataa). One who has developed all these transcendental qualities is really possessed of the bhaava stage, as distinguished from the stone-hearted imitator or mundane devotee."

Srila Prabhupada wonderfully delineates symptoms of pure devotional service in the purport.

1. kṣānti - Cessation of material desires.
2. avyārtha-kālatvam - Utilising every moment in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
3. nāma-gāne sadā ruci - Eagerness for glorifying the Lord constantly.
4. prītis tad-vasati sthale - Attraction for living in the Land of the Lord.
5. virakti - Complete detachment from material happiness.
6. māna-śūnyatā - Pridelessness.

1. kṣānti - Cessation of Material desires
If we are filled with material desires, peace will not manifest in us. Unless the desires are dissolved by fiery devotional service there is no question of change of heart towards devotional service and taste for it. Any desire other than to serve the Lord without any motivation is material desire. As regards the futility of material desire Krishna says - "When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the Supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vaasudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again."

2. avyārtha-kālatvam - means free from wasting time or Utilisation of every moment in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. 
In devotional service our tendency is that once the class is over we want to gossip about so many things other than Krishna. Immediately we jump from Pure goodness state to ignorance. This is a big pitfall and that is the greatest danger for all of us. This does not mean that we have to study 24 hours Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita and chant all the time. This means that eventhough we may read for some time, the consciousness should dwell on those transcendental subject matters. This is very important. In this connection of utilization of time in every moment in the transcendental loving service of the Lord there is a wonderful statement by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Bhagavad Gita verse 2.2. "Although Arjuna was a kshatriya he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Aryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world."

HG Kalacakra prabhuji asked our Gurudev that while executing our prescribed duty in our office, if we are forced to work more than stipulated hours of work, is it right to decline our work. Gurudev after deliberating for few minutes said very clearly in emphatic way - "Prescribed duty has to be performed even if we are forced to work more than required as it is required for our bodily sustenance (maintenance) especially in Kaliyuga. Devotional service is purely your personal work and this you cannot ask as an excuse from your bosses."

This is really a wonderful, practical statement by our Gurudev. I used to complain to Gurudev for my overworking in office and not able to do my sadhana properly. And I got the most perfect answer from Gurudev for my question. Who can be more merciful than our beloved Gurudev in guiding us so practically?! How can we forget him for lifetimes to come? I pray to the dust of his lotus feet to remember him always eventhough I am unable to do it.

Krishna willing, we will see the other symptoms of Pure devotional service - Change of heart in the subsequent mails. I pray to the Supreme Lord, my beloved spiritual master, and Srila Prabhupada to shower their causeless mercy so that I atleast start understanding the verses and put them in practise in my life.

Thank you very much.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Srila Gurudev ki jai!
Your humble servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
SajjanaPriya Krishna das
Abu Dhabi.