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Navadha Bhakti: 9 Process of Devotion

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Meaning of Navadha Bhakti

Navadha bhakti means 9 kinds of devotion such as Śravaṇam, Kīrtanam, Smaraṇam, Pāda-sevanam, Arcanam, Vandanam, Dāsyam, Ātma-nivedanam. 

Srimad Bhagavatham elaborates nine forms of bhakti which, if cultivated and practiced regularly will no doubt lead us closer to the lord.

श्रवणं कीर्तनं विष्णोः स्मरणं पादसेवनम्

अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यं सख्यम आत्मनिवेदनम्

(SB 7.5.23)

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9 Process of Navadha Bhakti

These nine process of navadha bhakti are:

  1. Shravanam – Hearing the names and glories of the Lord
  2. Kirtanam – Chanting His glories
  3. Smaranam – Remembering the Lord
  4. Paada sevanam – Serving the Lord’s feet
  5. Archanam – Worshiping the Lord
  6. Vandanam – Offering obeisance unto the Lord
  7. Daasyam – Serving the Lord as His servant
  8. Sakhyam – Developing friendship with the Lord
  9. Aatma Nivedanam – Total surrender of oneself to the Lord

Now let us discuss these nine different processes one by one-

1. Shravana 


Shravana is listening to the holy name and glories of the lord.

Acharya:- The Acharya of shravaana is Maharaja Pariksit who constantly heard the Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukdev Goswami in his last seven days of his life.

Shravanam is the first and the foremost among the nine forms of devotion. It means ‘listening’ to the divine glories of the lord pertaining to His form, qualities, leelas or divine plays, His miracles and His spoken words like the Bhagavad Gita.

By listening lord’s glories, heart will become pure and eligible to back to godhead.

Shravanam can be performed through regular devotees’ association, by listening carefully to the pastimes of the lord’s divine activities, the devotee’s mind and heart becomes purified from bad qualities like lust, anger, greed and envy. 

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Scriptures mention food (prasadam) distribution as one of the most charitable acts. Food (prasadam) distribution is a tradition that dates back to ancient times. Prasadam is infused with blessings. It not only nourishes the body but it energizes the soul one with unlimited blessings of Lord RadhaKrishna

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2. Kirtanam


Kirtanam means chainting the glories of the lord.

Acharya:- Acharya of Kirtanam is Sukadeva Goswami who spoke the Bhagavatam to Maharaja Pariksit. 

The devotee is ever engaged in Japa of the Lord’s Name and describing His glories to one and all.The process of transcendental chanting can be easily performed by anyone. Even if one is physically unfit, classified lower than others, devoid of material qualifications or not at all elevated in terms of pious activities, the chanting of the holy name is beneficial. One can very easily advance simply by chanting the holy name. 

Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one advances perfectly in spiritual life. This is the best process for success in life. Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, one is liberated and returns home, back to Godhead. 

3. Smaranam


After one regularly performs the processes of hearing and chanting and after the core of one’s heart is cleansed, smaraṇam, remembering, is recommended.

Acharya:  Acharya of smaraṇam is Prahlada Maharaja who never forgot Krishna despite constant tortures from his father- Hiranyakashipu.

By remembering God constantaly, the heart becomes pure.

There are five types of smaraṇam- 

  1. In the first type of smaraṇam, the devotee searches in which form, he has more attachment and contemplate different-different forms of the lord. 
  2. Concentrating the mind on one form of the lord and withdrawing the mind’s activities from all other material attachment.
  3. Concentrating upon a particular form of the Lord.
  4. Concentrating one’s mind continuously remember particular form of the lord(this is also called perfect meditation) .
  5. Awakening a likening for concentration upon a particular form (this is called samādhi, or trance).

4. Pāda-sevanam

Pad sevanam

Pāda-sevanam means to serve the Lord’s lotus feet.

Acharya:  Lakshmi Devi is the acharya of Pāda-sevanam who has always been engaged in the service of the Lord lotus feet.

This process gradually includes other processes, such as seeing the form of the Lord, touching the form of the Lord, visiting such places as Jagannātha Purī, Dvārakā and Mathurā to see the Lord’s form, and bathing in the Ganges or Yamunā. Bathing in the Ganges and serving a pure Vaiṣṇava are also known as tadīya-upāsanam. This is also pāda-sevanam. The word tadīya means “in relationship with the Lord.” Service to the Vaiṣṇava, Tulasī, Ganges and Yamunā are included in pāda-sevanam. All these processes of pāda-sevanam help one advance in spiritual life very quickly.

5. Arcanam 

Arcanam means worship of the Deity.

Acharya:  Acharya of arcanam is Maharaja Prthu who used all of his royal possessions in order to offer them in pure devotion to the Lord.

If one is interested in the process of arcanam, one must positively take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and learn the process diety worship from spiritual master. There are many books for arcanam, especially Nārada-pañcarātra. In this age, the Pañcarātra system is particularly recommended for arcanam, Deity worship. 

There are two systems of arcana — 

  1. First is the bhāgavata system
  2. And second is the pāñcarātrikī system. 

Gṛhastha devotees must adopt the arcana-vidhi, or Deity worship according to the suitable arrangements and directions given by the spiritual master. Regarding those unable to take to the Deity worship in the temple, there is the following statement in the Agni Purāṇa. Any householder devotee circumstantially unable to worship the Deity must at least see the Deity worship, and in this way he may achieve success also. The special purpose of Deity worship is to keep oneself always pure and clean. Gṛhastha devotees should be actual examples of cleanliness.

6. Vandanam 


Vandanam means offer prayers to the lord.

Acharya:  Acharya of Vandanam is Akura who offered prayers to Krishna when he was traveling to Vrindavana in order to see Krishna.

Srila Rupa Goswami says in Bhaktirasamirt Sindhu that whoever prays to lord with a pure heart, all his sins are destroyed and he becomes eligible to enter Vaikunda Dham.

The most important and beautiful prayer is Hare Krishna Mahamantra-

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

This prayer real meaning is, ‘hey Radha Krishna please engage me into your service’.

There are four categories of vadanam-

  1. Praising the glories of the lord
  2. Offering gratitude towards lord (we should thank to lord by prayers)
  3. Nivedan ( Never demand material thing to the lord)
  4. Apologizing to the lord ( We should apologize for our faults to the lord)
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Sadhus are those who engage in the service of Lord Krishna and have surrendered completely themselves to Lord Krishna. They perform kirtans in temples and serve the societies by spreading the teaching of the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.

Lord Krishna is more Pleased when sadhus are served. Kindly Donate to feed Sadhus and get the spiritual shower of blessing and success in your life. 


7. Dasyam


Dasyam means considering oneself as an eternal servant of Lord Krishna and serving God with a servant mood.

Acharya: Acharya of Dasyam is Lord Hanuman, a dear servant of Ramchandra, Hanuman ji followed all the orders of Shri Ramchandra despite all kinds of difficulties.

Srila Prabhupada said that service towards lord is actually devotion, hence devotion is called devotional service.

Dasyam not only means serving God, But also to serve those who serve lord Krishna. Our goal should be to serve the servants of the Lord’s servants. By serving in 

this way anyone can bind Krishna in love.When someone serves the Lord, he gets the mercy of the Lord. We all should try to follow the Dasyam process of Navadha Bhakti.

8. Sakhyam


Sakhyam means serving God in the mode of friendship.

Acharya: The Acharya of Sakhyam is Arjun ji who was so close and dear to Lord Krishna that the Lord himself became his chariot driver and served Arjun and his 

brothers in various ways.Arjuna worshiped God as his friend, so Sri Krishna talks to him as his friend. The word “friend” is especially used to denote intense love. 

In Sakhyam the devotees become closer to Lord and get connected with Him. Therefore friendship is better than dasyam. In the state above dasya-rasa, the devotee accept

s the Lord as a friend.

Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Verse 3-

स आवायं मया टेड्य योगः प्रोक्त: परचानः |

भक्तोऽसी मे साखा चेती रहस्यं हैटेदुत्तम् || 3||

I have told you today this very ancient science of relationship with God because you are both my devotee and my friend; Therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science.

Therefore, we all should serve God lovingly in the mood of friendship.

9. Atma-Nivedanam

Atma-Nivedanam means to completely surrender oneself to God.

Acharya: The Acharya of Atma-Nivedanam is Bali Maharaj Ji who had dedicated his entire kingdom, all his wealth as well as his body to the Vamandev incarnation of 

Lord Hari.

In Atma-Nivedanam the devotee has no aim other than serving the Lord, he surrenders everything to the Lord and perform his work only to please the Lord.

Such a devotee is like a cow which is looked after by its owner. When a cow is taken care of by its owner, it does not have to worry about its maintenance.

Such a cow is always devoted to its owner and never does not work independently, but works only for the benefit of the owner. The best examples of Atma-Nivedanam 

are Bali Maharaj and Ambarish Maharaj.

Lord Krishna says Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 18, Verse 66

सर्व-धर्मान परित्यज्य माम एकं शरणं व्रज

अहंत्वं सर्व-पापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः||

Give up all kinds of religions and take refuge in Me alone. I will free you from all sins; Do not be afraid.

Roop Goswami says:

श्रीविष्णोः श्रवणे परीक्षितः भवद वैयासाकिः कीर्तने

प्रह्लादः स्मरणे तद्-अंघृ-भजने लक्ष्मीः पृथुः पूजने

अक्रूरस टीवी अभिवंदने कपि-पतिर दास्ये ‘था सख्ये ‘अर्जुनः’

सर्वस्वात्म-निवेदन बलिर भूत कृष्णपतिर एषाम परम्

“Parikshit Maharaj attained salvation by merely hearing, and Shukadeva Goswami attained salvation by merely chanting. Prahlad Maharaj attained salvation by remembering God.Lakshmidevi, the goddess of fortune, attained perfection by worshiping the lotus feet of the Lord. Prithu Maharaj attained salvation by worshiping the idol of the Lord. Akrura attained salvation by praying, Hanuman by serving, Arjun by establishing friendship with God and Bali Maharaja by offering everything in the service of God.Akrura attained salvation by praying, Hanuman by serving, Arjun by establishing friendship with God and Bali Maharaja by offering everything in the service of God. all these great The devotees served the Lord according to a particular procedure, but each of them attained salvation and became eligible to return home to the Lord.

This has been explained in Srimad Bhagavad.

Thus, we should try to implement these 9 process of devotion in our lives so that we can attain the love of lord Krishna.

Hare Krishna

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