Practical Advice on Bhakti Yoga

The child-sages smiled lovingly and happily when they heard Pṛthu’s words, so sweet, appropriate, essential, accurate, and to the point. Sanat Kumār replied on behalf of them all.

“What a wonderful question you’ve asked, Emperor, about the welfare of all living beings,” the boy-sage said. “Although very learned, sādhus always ask questions. That is how their intellect works. Just as you are happy to be in our company, we are happy to be in yours. The meeting of sādhus is certainly wonderful, because their questions and answers allow peace and prosperity to unfold for everyone.”

The king humbly scoffed at the sage’s calling him a sādhu, so the boy explained, “It is obvious, King, that you have real desire to hear about the qualities of the lotus-like feet of the slayer of ignorance, Madhudviṣa. This desire washes away the impossibly rooted muddy stain of selfishness from the inner core of our beings.”

God_VishnuThe king could not speak, so the boy continued. “Let me answer your question. We have carefully examined all the śāstra and reached a definite conclusion: the true cause of relief from suffering is to lose attachment to a self-concept that has nothing to do with the true self, and to fall solidly and strongly in love with the conscious entity who is beyond all conventional qualifications.”

“Please tell us,” the King eagerly asked, “how can we fall solidly and strongly in love with that transcendental being?”

“The auspicious method is to practice bhagavat-dharma by thoroughly and wholeheartedly learn the spiritual philosophy about the nature of All-Attractive Bhagavān. Worship the Master of Mystic Potency by consistently hearing about and discussing him.”

“How will we be able to engage in this auspicious method consistently?” The king asked.

“You will have to distance yourself from those who consistently want to do other things, due to their relentless hunger for indulging in sensual pleasures with sexual partners.”

“How can we distance ourselves from these people,” the king asked, “when we are those people?”

“Drink the nectar of Hari’s qualities,” Sanāt Kumār said delightfully, “and you will experience a sense of satisfaction so profound that you will give up all other ideas of pleasure.”

“Once we gain an initial taste for Hari’s qualities,” the king asked, “how do we develop and deepen it?”

“Cause harm to no one,” the boy replied swiftly and clearly. “And try to live the way great, peaceful spiritualists live: always expressly intent on remembering the nectarean flavor of lotus-faced Mukunda. Also, observe the restraints of self-control – by living with minimal needs, and prevent yourself from insulting anyone – by tolerating loss and gain.

“To summarize,” the boy-sage concluded, “we can most easily fall in love with that transcendental consciousness beyond conventional qualification by always decorating our ears ever more and more devotionally with the beautiful sound of Hari’s wonderful qualities, described by his devotees. This devotion also easily causes detachment from the self-irrelevant world of cause and effect.”

– Excerpt from an early draft of Part 4 of

Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive

A translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s fourth canto

By Vraja Kishor

Parts 1, 2, and 3 of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive

are available at

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    1. Bhakti is the primary manifestation of hlādinī-śhakti. (in English: “love is the primary manifestation of bliss.”). Śakti can be translated as “energy,” though it is not just some jolt or bolt. śakti is the power to accomplish an objective. Hlādinī śakti is the most important śakti, because it accomplishes the most important objective: happiness.


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