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Sixty-Four Devotional Practices

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
24 June 2015


[His Divine Grace is reading from Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, chapter 22:]

ebe sadhana-bhakti-laksana suna, sanatana
yaha haite pai krsna-prema-maha-dhana

"Sanatan, now hear about the devotional practices (sadhana-bhakti) following which you can get the greatest wealth of Krishna prema." [101]

sravanadi-kriya—tara 'svarupa' laksana
'tatastha' laksane upajaya prema-dhana

"Practices of sravan, kirtan, and so on are the very nature of these devotional practices (sadhana-bhakti), the marginal characteristic of such practices is that they awaken the wealth of love." [103]

nitya-siddha krsna-prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-chitte karaye udaya

"Eternal and innate Krishna-prema is not something that can be obtained, rather it awakens in the hearts purified by the practices of sravan, kirtan, and so on." [104]

ei ta' sadhana-bhakti—dui ta' prakara
eka 'vaidhi-bhakti', 'raganuga-bhakti' ara

"This sadhana-bhakti, devotional practices, are of two types—one is vaidhi-bhakti, devotion guided by rules and regulations, and the other one is raganuga-bhakti, devotion guided by love and affection." [105]

raga-hina jana bhaje sastrera ajnaya
'vaidhi-bhakti' bali' tare sarva-sastre gaya

"According to all scriptures, vaidhi-bhakti is when one worships the Lord following the order of the scriptures, without spontaneous devotional love." [106]

Then it says that there are sixty-four types of bhaktyanga, practices [verses 111-124]:

1) Guru-padasraya. You must think who will be your Guru and then take shelter of his lotus feet.
2) Diksa. Take initiation.
3) Gurur sevan. Serve your Guru.
4) Sad-dharma-siksa-prchchha. You must get some education, must learn and read some books.
5) Sadhu-marga-anugaman. You must learn what the great scholars, the great sadhus of our dhara (line)—the Rupanuga-dhara, our Guru-varga—think and follow, and follow their conception.
6) Krsna-pritye bhog-tyag. Enjoy with Krishna consciousness. Sometimes you are given some opulent prasadam like big gulab-jamuns, rasagullas, paneer, and you think, "Oh, I will not eat so much. I am a renounced person, I will not take that." But that is not right, it is prasad and you must take it. Krishna will be happy. You should enjoy prasadam, it is not necessary to show that you are renounced. Sometimes you are outside and get no prasadam—this is the time when you can practise renunciation and tolerate.
7) Krsna-tirthe vasa. Where should you live? You must stay in the place where Krishna-katha is going on, where Krishna's Pastimes are going on, where Krishna consciousness is practised. It may be the whole universe (brahmanda), it may be heaven or a beautiful palace, but if there is no Krishna-katha, if there is no service to Krishna, we will not go or stay there.
8) Yavat nirvaha-pratigraha. Take what is necessary for your life and be happy with whatever food, lodging, etc. comes in your life—whatever comes to you for your maintenance, that is sufficient for you.
9) Ekadasi-upavas. you must fast on Ekadasi, you know that.
10) Dhatryasvattha-go-vipra-vaisnava-pujana. Serve the brahmans, the cows, the Vaishnavs.
11) Seva-nama-aparadhadi dure visarjana. Avoid seva aparadh, avoid Nama aparadh.
12) Avaisnava-sanga-tyag. Do not associate with those who are not Vaishnavs.
13) Bahu-sisya na kariba. Do not make so many disciples.
14) Bahu-grantha-kalabhyas. It is not necessary to read many volumes of scriptures. The books of our Gurus are sufficient. You think, "Oh, I have to know so many things, I will read all scriptures," but it is not necessary.
15) Hani-labhe sama. When you lose something, for example your mobile phone, do not be sad; when you get something, for example 5,000 rupees, do not be happy—you should feel the same towards both ("Oh, something is going? OK, no problem, it is Krishna's will. Something is coming? OK, no problem.").
16) Sokadira vasa na ha-iba. If somebody expires (your mother, father, sister, and so on) it is not necessary to be too sad for them. You should not mourn so much. "Sokadira vasa na ha-iba" means "I will not be under the guidance of sadness, I will be under the guidance of my Guru."
17) Anya-deva, anya-sastra ninda na kariba. There are many other demigods, many other sastras, not to criticise them.
18) Visnu-vaisnava ninda na suniba. Not to listen to criticising of Lord Vishnu or His devotees.
19) Gramya-vartta na suniba. Not to listen to village talks.
20) Prani-matre manovakye udvega na diba. Not to say bad things about and to other people.
21-29) Then there are the nine practises of nava-vidha-bhakti:

sravana, kirtana, smarana, pujana, vandana
paricharya, dasya, sakhya, atma-nivedana

"Listening, chanting, remembering, worshipping, offering prayers, serving, becoming a servant, becoming a friend, full surrender." [117]

These are the main nine practices. Then,

30-31) Agre nrya, gita. You should dance and sing during the arati, not to stand like a statue.
32) Vijnapti. You should stand during the arati (that is why if somebody is sitting at the arati time, we say, "Please get up"). You should not sit during the arati time.
33) Dandavannati. When you see a Deity or a sannyasi, or when you come to your Guru's samadhi, you must pay obeisance, dandavat.
34) Abhyutthan. Sometimes you are sitting in the chair and a senior Vaishnav comes—you must stand up, give them some respect.
35) Anuvrajya. When a sadhu comes to your house, talk to them very nicely, and when they leave, you must follow them a little (for example, see them off to the gate), and be hospitable, "Dandavat, Maharaj, please come again," like this. When a guest comes, give them respect, and when they leave, give them respect too, say goodbye, thank you.
36) Tirtha-grhe gati. You should go only to the places where Krishna lives. We visit many houses, but if there is no proper service to Krishna somewhere, we will not stay in that place.
37) Parikrama.
38) Stavapatha. This is like we are doing now, reading in front of the nat mandir, in front of the samadhi mandir, reciting slokas.
39) Japa.
40) Sankirtan. Chanting, doing kirtan every day.
41-42) Dhupa-malya-gandha-mahaprasada-bhojana. Offering incense, flowers, garlands, and taking the mahaprasad.
43-44) Aratrika-mahotsava-sri-murti-darsan. Observe festivals, and when you come to the temple, go to see the Deities.
45) Nija-priya-dan. If you like something or have some favourite things, offer it to the Deities and your Guru: if you like some particular food, buy it for your Guru; if you like some clothes, buy it first for Radharani, for Krishna, for your Guru; if you like some subji, vegetables, buy it and offer to the Deities. Do not buy and eat it yourself—you must first give it to the Deity.
46) Dhyan. Meditation.
47-50) Tulasi-vaisnava-mathura-bhagavat sevan. Serve Krishna: serve Tulasi, serve the Vaishnavs, serve the Dham, serve Bhagavatam (keep the books properly, serve and worship them).
51) Krsnarthe akhila chestha. Try your best for Krishna.
52) Tat-krpavalokana. Always think about Krishna's mercy.
53) Janma-dinadi-mahotsav. Happily make festivals on Gurudev's appearance day, on the Lord's appearance day.
54) Sarvatha saranapatti. Complete surrender.
55) Kartikadi-vrata. Follow the Kartik vrata, etc.

[Not mentioned in these verses—(56) Mark the body with tilak; (57) Mark the body with the Lord's Names; (58) Accept the flower offerings that were made to the Deity; (59) Drinking the Deity's charanamrita;]

"Chatuhsasthi anga ei parama-mahatva." There are sixty-four practices, and the following five are the main:

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

"One should associate with devotees, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, hear Srimad Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. [124]

60) Sadhu-sanga. Keep good association.
61) Nama-kirtan. Do Nama sankirtan.
62) Bhagavata-sravan. Listen to Bhagavatam.
63) Mathura-vasa. Stay in Mathura (it is not necessary to go to Mathura—Mathura is wherever Krishna-katha is going on)
64) Sraddhaya sri-murtira sevan. Serve the Deities with full faith.

'eka' anga sadhe, keha sadhe 'bahu' anga
'nistha' haile upajaya premera taranga

"Whether you follow one of the practices or many, know for sure that these practices bring about a wave of prema." [129]

'eka' ange siddhi paila bahu bhakta-gana
ambarisadi bhaktera 'bahu' anga-sadhana

"Many devotees attained perfection practising just one of these practices, Ambarish Maharaj and many others, on the other hand, practised many of them." [130]

Sometimes somebody does only one practice, for example only does japa, and that can also give liberation, it is not a problem. Ambarish Maharaj and others followed many rules and regulations—they following all sixty-four devotional practices. So, sometimes you can do all, but if you can properly follow at least one of these practices, that is sufficient.



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