Chapter 2: Defining Bhakti

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra

NBS 15: Now the characteristics of devotional service will be described according to various authoritative opinions.

NBS 16: Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the son of Parāśara Muni, says that bhakti is fond attachment for worshiping the Lord in various ways.

NBS 17: Garga Muni says that bhakti is fondness for narrations about the Lord, by the Lord, and so on.

NBS 18: Śāṇḍilya says that bhakti results from one's removing all obstructions to taking pleasure in the Supreme Self.

NBS 19: Nārada, however, says that bhakti consists of offering one's every act to the Supreme Lord and feeling extreme distress in forgetting Him.

NBS 20: Bhakti is, in fact, correctly described in each of these ways.

NBS 21: The cowherd women of Vraja are an example of pure bhakti.

NBS 22: Even in the case of the gopīs, one cannot criticize them for forgetting the Lord's greatness.

NBS 23: On the other hand, displays of devotion without knowledge of God's greatness are no better than the affairs of illicit lovers.

NBS 24: In such false devotion one does not find pleasure exclusively in the Lord's pleasure.

NBS 25: Pure devotional service, on the other hand, is far superior to fruitive work, philosophical speculation, and mystic meditation.

NBS 26: After all, bhakti is the fruit of all endeavor.

NBS 27: Furthermore, the Lord dislikes the proud but is pleased with the humble.

NBS 28: Some say that knowledge is the means for developing devotion.

NBS 29: Others consider bhakti and knowledge interdependent.

NBS 30: But the son of Brahmā says that bhakti is its own fruit.

NBS 31-32: This is illustrated by the examples of a royal palace, a meal, and so on. A king is not really satisfied just by seeing a palace, nor can someone placate his hunger just by looking at a meal.

NBS 33: Therefore seekers of liberation should take to devotional service alone.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari