In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.1.11), Sri Rupa Goswamipada gives the clearest, most perfect definition of suddha-bhakti or pure devotional, loving expression toward Bhagavan Sri Krishna. This verse is so crucial and important for all devotees to know, feel, realize, live and express that Srila Prabhupada quoted and explained it over 400 times!
Although we don’t know who wrote it, we offer our utmost respect and gratitude to the author of the following article which accurately describes pure bhakti; which we have modified for your pleasure. We humbly beg all devotees to deeply read, study and try your best to embody and practice these essential teachings. If you do then very soon your bhakti will become pure, and Sri Krishna will run toward you to fill your immaculate heart with His love and bliss eternal.
Sri Rupa Goswamipada’s definition of pure bhakti (uttama bhakti):
anya bhilashita shunyam, jnana karmad yanavrtam
anukul yena krishanu, shilanam bhakti uttama
Trans: Uttama-bhakti, or real, true and topmost loving service (bhakti) is devotion favorably offered to Krishna that is free from any type of selfish, personal motives or desires and devoid of jnana (brahma-jnana) and karma (desiring personal benefits and promotions). In other words, with all the actions of one’s body, mind and speech the pure devotee will try to please and satisfy Sri Krishna.
ANUKULYENA KRISHNA ANUSHILANAM
Anukulya means feelingly acting (with devotion) with a clear, selfless favorable mind only to make Krishna happy. Pleasing Shyama automatically pleases ourselves. Do it and taste the blissful difference between selfless and selfish actions.
Krishnanushilanam means continuous activity; bhakti is a lifestyle not just two hours of “chanting my rounds”. Krishnanushilanam means 24/7 pure bhakti flow, mood, feelings and movements all directed toward Sri Krishna.
However, uttama bhakti is not only restricted to the usual limbs of bhakti like hearing, chanting, remembering etc. The great devotional sage Srila Rupa Gosvami’s definition of uttama-bhakti includes everything connected with Krishna through the thread of surrender, devotion and favorability. Bhakti is a complete lifestyle; not something you do for part of the day and then forget about it. It’s not a job—Bhakti is our life, our heart and our entire existence.
The word anushilanam refers to all the activities one can perform either while awake, asleep or in deep sleep. At every moment a devotee should perform only Krishnanushilanam, activities to bring a smile on Shyama’s lotus face. For example, eating Krishna prasada, sleeping, dressing and exercising to maintain our bodies, which are on loan from Krishna for His seva, are all part of uttama-bhakti.
In Krishnanushilanam there are two modes of action: accepting or rejecting something (sankalpa/vikalpa). If you accept something, it must be anukula or favorable and pleasing to Krishna (and maybe not to you) and His devotees. Rejection of something is also based on the principle of being favorable to Sri Krishna. Krishnanushilanam includes Krishna, His associates and objects belonging to Krishna. Your actions should really satisfy the heart of Krishna; not that you force Krishna to say, “Thank you.”ANYA BHILASHITA SHUNYAM
Anyabhilashita-shunyam means acting for Krishna’s happiness without any ulterior motive, free from calculation and personal ambition. Generally a person desires some fruits from his endeavors. And if one does not desire something then at least one thinks ‘let this work be finished and I will feel happy.’
Such thinking is contaminated with the desire (abhilasha) for freedom, peace, mukti or jnana-avrtam, “Soon the job will be done and I will be free.” This means that one is not really interested in the seva, but in finishing it. Of course, the seva must be finished but not for our interest but for His—Sri Krishna. Desiring to finish quickly and be free means one will act passionately without feeling. This is not uttama bhakti.
In uttama-bhakti, one must perform actions favorably for Krishna’s pleasure whether it takes little time, a lot or a lifetime. The backing motive is the key factor. A real pure devotee thinks, acts and feels, “My beloved Sri Krishna, Radharani and all Their wonderful devotees should be happy and pleased with me and that’s all! You first, you second, everything for you—that’s my life, my purpose and my joy. Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
ANYA ABHILASHITA means to have no other desire but ONE: the desire to serve and please Priyatama Sri Krishna. When one desires to serve Sri Krishna, then there is no question of “let me finish this seva quickly so I will be free.” Uttama-bhakti means absorption in service, moment to moment favorable activities for the happiness of Sri Krishna and His devotees.
Let’s all examine our hearts and motives. Now once and for all time let’s throw away and kick out all our selfishness, holding back, profit calculating, and benefit trading feelings and mentalities. A life of pure love awaits the pure hearted, and this is what Radha and Krishna want. They want selfless, dedicated loving devotees who just want to be with, serve and please Radha-Govinda Yugala forever in Vraja Dhama.
Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Suddha bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!