One who desires to go back to one’s eternal home and back to Godhead may adopt the following recognised and authoritative devotional activities in order to train oneself to be eligible to enter into the transcendental realm, the eternal kingdom of God. Nobody returns from the kingdom of God to this material world of threefold miseries. In the Bhagwat Geeta [Bg. 18.55] the process of going back to Godhead is stated as follows:—
“Bhaktya, Mama, Abhijanati,
Jaban, Ja, Cha, Aham, Tattwata,
Tato, Mam, Tattwata Jnatwa,
Vishate, Tad, Anantaram.
Bhaktya=By devotional service only, Mam=Me, Abhijanati=One can know Me perfectly or conclusively, Jaban=As I am, Ja=What, Cha=And, Aham=I, Tattwata=Scientifically, Tato=After that, Mam=Me, Tattwata=Scientifically, Jnatwa=Knowing, Vishate=Enters, Tad=That, Anantaram=After.
Only by devotional activities one can know Me perfectly and conclusively as I am and what I am. Thus knowing Me scientifically and after that scientific knowledge one can enter into My kingdom.
This enberance is interpreted by the empiric philosophers as merging into the identity of Brahma. But this explanation is unacceptable regard being had to the fact that the process recommended for this entrance is ‘Bhakti,’ or devotional service. The process adopted by the empiric philosophers for merging into ‘Brahman’ is called ‘Jnana’ or culture of empiric knowledge. Therefore this entrance is not meant for merging into the Supreme. This entrance means to enter into the kingdom of God personally with individual identity without any spiritual suicide adopted and recommended by men with poor fund of knowledge. Such men with poor fund of knowledge may go on speculating for thousands and thousands of years and yet they cannot attain the stage of scientific approach for entering into the kingdom of Godhead. The kingdom of Godhead is not a myth but it is situated far beyond the boundary of material cosmos, one can know it by the process of devotional service only.
No materialistic thinker can expect to know scientifically the essence of the Lord’s name, fame, form and pastimes by mundane speculation. The essence of the Lord’s transcendental Name, etc. become revealed to the devotee with the progress of devotional service. There are stages of such devotional service and we beg to state below the preliminary processes as primary activities in that great non-fallible procedure.
The details of the main principles may sometime differ as set by different Acharyas (authorities) but the main principles as they are do not differ. In the details of such activities, there may appear some different formularies or formalities, but the main princples of devotional worship called by the name Archan are all the same everywhere. The principle of accepting initiation from a bonafide spiritual master the first thing in the matter of devotional service is always the same. Shrila Rupa Goswami, the highest authority in the spiritual science, recommends herewith ten kinds of spiritual activities as the first lot of exercise. These codes are to be observed by the devotee intending to engage himself in devotional service.
One may not misunderstand the meaning of transcendental service. There is distinct difference between material service and transcendental service although both of them are observed as one and the same by the common man. Every individual living entity is constitutionally meant for service. He is eternally the servitor of the Supreme Lord but somehow or other when he comes in contact with material nature, his service is exploited by the material nature as the service of a prisoner in the jail is exploited by the jail authorities. Service in the jail is not only exploitative but also troublesome not suiting the constitution of the particular man. In the same way service of the material world is not only troublesome for the servitor but also it is unsuitable for the constitution of the living entity. Transcendental service is encouraging, satisfactory and suitable to the very constitution of the living being. The taste is created by the practical method recommended by the authorities of revealed scriptures and they are as follows for the primary beginners.
(1) To accept the shelter of the lotus feet of the spiritual master expert in devotional activities.
(2) To get oneself initiated in the art of worshipping Shri Krishna and thereby to learn from the spiritual master all the details and philosophy of the spiritual science.
(3) One should conclusively accept a spiritual master after knowing him fully well because one has to abide by the orders of the spiritual master in full surrender and in full faith.
(4) To follow the footprints of the previous acharyas who had attained perfection in the spiritual science.
(5) To become sincerely inquisitive to enter in the science. After formal initiation from the spiritual master the neophyte devotee must make sincere inquiries in the matter of spiritual progress.
(6) Anything which may be pleasing to the senses of the neophyte devotee but is hinderance in the way of spiritual progress—must be at once given up for the service of the Lord.
(7) To live, if possible, in some such holy place as Dwarka, Vrindaban etc. or on the bank of the holy river such as the Ganges or install the deities at home and live there.
(8) To accept only as much wealth and assistance of men as it will help one to perform nicely the ceremonial duties of devotional service-the source of realising the Personality of Godhead.
(9) To observe as far as possible all the specific dates of spiritual importance such as the Janmastami day, Sree Ramnavami day, Ekadashi days, Dolpurnima day, Nrisingha Chaturdashi day, and dates in which advent and disappearances of saintly persons have taken place.