Devotional service has to be accompanied with transcendental knowledge. Just devotional service may weaken you, you may get lost somewhere. So devotees should be engaged in hearing about Krishna…that is the beginning of practice.
But then hear from where? Hear from proper source. Knowledge from disciplic succession as it means that they pass on the original message of Krishna. No plus and no minus.
There are four sampradayas ; The Kumar sampradaya is the one in which the knowledge was given by the Supreme Lord to the four Kumaras (sons of Brahma). The Shree Sampradaya, the founder of which is Shree or Laxmi. The Rudra Sampradaya or the one which is led by Shiva and the Brahma Sampradaya or the Sampradaya led by Brahma. So Brahma was given knowledge by the Lord, then he gave it to Narada, from Narada it was passed on to Vyasadev and so on.
So when you have to hear, hear from someone who follows one of the sampradayas and not just anybody.
To understand the truth follow in the footsteps of Mahajanas. Speculations and arguments won’t bring any conclusion. Just don’t follow anyone. Just the 12 mahaajan. Who are the Mahaajans. Mahaajans are the ideal devotees. Mahajan know the science of truth. Who are they? They are: Brahma, Narada, Shambu, Kumaras, Devahutis son Kapila, the Manus, Prahlad, Janak, Bhishhma, Bali, Sukadev, Yamaraj. How to recognise Mahaajanas? They must come in parampara-disciplic succession.
This is the age of Sankirtan. So develop your bhakti, devotional service by sankirtan The power of bhakti is such that it can transform anyone.
api ced asi papebhyah sarvebhyah papa-krttamah sarvam jnana-plavenaiva vrjinam santarisyasi (Bhagvad Gita 4.36)
Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
Remember every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.
Remember that Valmiki was previously a robber who became a saint just by chanting the holy name Rama. And then he Lord is merciful too. There were two sinners Jagai and Madhai who though born in a high-class family were fallen and had done all that is not to be done. But then Lord Caitanya at the insistence of Nityanand forgave them and they became first class devotees.
Devotion is so powerful. we just have to see how to awaken that potency. Just by hearing one can attain perfection. But there should have absorption in hearing like Parikshit. Parkishit sat listening for seven days without eating- sleeping. Shravanam(hearing), kirtanam(reciting) and then smaranam(remembering). remembering will come naturally when you hear and recite. Srila Prabhupad says everything depends on attitude of devotees. So have the right attitude and you will succeed.
Material world is full of misery. It is like a blazing forest fire. We can cross if we have a boat of transcendental knowledge. If we have a boat we should have a captain. Who is captain ……our spiritual master.
Lastly remember that Knowledge is like water in a clay pot. If you don’t use it, it will dry up, the more you give, the more you get.
Excerpts from the lecture of His Holiness Bhakti Vighna Vinasa Narasimha Maharaj on 16th Janary 2015 at Bahrain