It is written in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyudancati
sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah
Pious activities such as serving unknowingly or hearing Krishna-katha from a devotee (ajnata-sukrti) lead to bhakti. Such pious activities which lead to bhakti, generate faith. Then the association of pure devotees is sought. Then initiation is received from the spiritual master and under his instructions the regulative principles are observed. One thus frees himself from all unpleasant habits and places himself firmly in devotional service. Attachment and taste develop as a result. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the practice of devotional service according to regulatory principles. Emotions intensify progressively, and eventually the awakening of love occurs. Such is the gradual development of God’s love for a devotee who devotes himself to Krishna consciousness.
While chanting at the nistha stage the anarthas are uprooted; therefore, the taste for the holy name arises. As the number of extirpated anarthas increases, attachment grows. By the time one begins to enter the stage of bhava, or rati, almost all anarthas have been eliminated.
During this process, if a desire for fame arose due to the company of non-devotees, it would lead to kutinati (diplomacy), which as a result leads to the downfall of the devotee. One should therefore carefully abandon the company of non-devotees and at the same time always chant the name of God in great ecstasy.
The Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu quotes the following verse from the Katyayana-samhita:
It is better to be locked up in a cage surrounded by flames and endure such suffering than to associate with those without Krishna consciousness. Such company is a great adversity.
In the Visnu-rahasya it is written:
alinganam varam manye
na sangah salya-yuktanam
It is better to hug a snake, a tiger or an alligator than to be in the company of people who worship various celestial beings and who are animated by material desires.
It is written in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu that even namabhasa destroys all sins and grants liberation.
tam nirvyajam bhaja guna-nidhe pavananam
sraddha-rajyan-matir atitaram uttamah-sloka-maulim
prodyann antah-karana-kuhare hanta yan-nama-bhanor
abhaso ‘pi ksapayati maha-pataka-dhvanta-rasim
O holder of all good qualities, worship Lord Krishna, the purifier of purifiers, the noblest of personalities, glorified with chosen verses. Worship him with faith and a steadfast mind, unambiguously and in a noble way. Worship the Lord whose name is like the sun. The slightest appearance of the sun dispels the darkness of the night, so the slightest appearance of Krishna’s holy name can wipe out all the darkness of ignorance that falls upon the heart due to serious sinful activities performed in previous lives.
This is a section of the book “Bhajana Rahasya”, by Bhaktivinode Thakura.
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