What is your favorite kind of devotional service and why?
PRASADAM IS THE aspect of devotional service which inspires me the most. Prasadam is the Lord's mercy, favor, benedictionsanctified food which is prepared and offered to Krsna with love and devotion. By His immense transcendental energies, Krsna can convert matter (bhoga) into spirit (prasadam) .
In Bhagavad gita (2.65) Lord Krsna says, prasade sarvaduhkhanam hanir asyopajayate. Thus, on achievement of the cause less mercy of the Lord all material miseries are destroyed . Srila Rupa Goswami says it makes us feel livery auspicious." And in parampara Srila Prabhupada said, "Krsna consciousness is the kitchen religion ." He always encouraged devotees to cook, offer, and eat sumptuous prasadam. He transformed the Hippies to Happies by feeding them ISKCON bullets (gulab jamun).
Prasadam nourishes the gross body, life air, mind, intelligence, and the soul. Prasadam is Krsna it purifies the heart, frees one from sinful reactions, controls the tongue, protects one from falling into illusion, Krsna-ises one and takes him back home, back to Godhead.
HEARING ABOUT LORD KRSNA and His devotees is the what I like the most about devotional service. Hearing brings me out of ignorance, situating me in a proper state of consciousness. It is out of their causeless mercy that devotees share their realizations in lectures. I feel it is a great fortune to hear everyday. Hearing helps me to render services enthusiastically in a proper state of consciousness. It helps me to come out of all anxieties of the mind. It is said we either preach to our mind or it will preach to us. Hearing helps me put down the voice of the mind and depend on the instructions of guru and Krsna. Hearing helps me to remember Lord Krsna and His causeless mercy on us. I especially like to hear the pastimes of devotees who, through their lives, have shown us the way back home, back to Godhead.
(Sanjeev Krsna ,Hyderabad.)
HARINAMA SANKIRTANA, public chanting of the holy names, is my favorite type of devotional service. Being shy as I am, I admit it's also the most difficult service for me, yet I know that it is the most pleasing to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya. Besides that, I love to see the reactions on people's faces. So many smile and wave, hold their cell phones up to the music, express an interest in one of the harinama instruments, or join in and dance. Others will only stop and observe from a distance, while some will even toss a few obscenities our way.
But however they react , it touches me to know that this particular harinama party, on this particular day, in this particular place, is planting the seed of devotional service in this soul's heart, destined to sprout in its own time and start them on their path back to the service of the Lord.
(Karunamayi Dasi,Burnaby, Canada)
I LOVE MY DEVOTIONAL SERVICE of writing to inmates and sending them Srila Prabhupada's books. It is so fulfilling to see these forgotten souls grow in their spiritual practices. I receive such wonderful feedback and many questions about how they can improve their service given their unique situations. It is so enlivening to hear about the programs they are forming in their prisons and the new devotees that arise from these. One man said that his cell mate begged him to keep chanting, because he just loves the sound of it.
In the end, we are all prisoners here in the material world, and we must help all our fellow souls find their way to Krsna consciousness. Here at the ISKCON Prison Ministry, we are "prisoners helping prisoners," It is a wonderful service.
( Heather Hovey Tucson, Arizona)
MAKING GARLANDS FOR THE DEITIES is my favorite type of devotional service. When I look at the flowers I always think, "These flowers will become more beautiful when they are adorning the necks of the Deities; their fragrance will increase more when they are on the hand of the Lord." I love threading each flower, arranging it carefully, and finally seeing Krsna become more beautiful being decorated with garlands, and the flowers become more beautiful being used in Krsna's service.
(Malati Dasi, Mataram, Indonesia)
EVERYONE IS SUFFERING IN THIS DARK material world because of ignorance of his identity and the goal of life. But when the nectar of divine wisdom is poured on one's ears, one becomes aware, "I am not this body, I am spirit soul, part and parcel of God, meant to love and serve Him." One's soul is deeply satisfied: Tava kathamrtam tapta jivanam. The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world.
.. .Imagine the bliss of a lost vagabond son meeting his loving millionaire father! Hearing about the futility of material existence and the bliss of spiritual world gives us strength to fight against maya. Maya attacks us constantly to decrease our faith in the Lord; when difficulties arise, we begin doubting if the Lord is really our well wisher. But sravanam comes to our rescue. When we hear eagerly in a humble state of mind, guru and the Lord reveal to us how they are always on our side and even difficulties are arrangements of the Lord for our benefit. Then our struggle with maya becomes ecstatic.
(Kumar Lila Dasa ,Pune)