SB 1.5 - Flow of bhakti

Thus during the two seasons – rainy season and autumn, Nārada had the opportunity to hear the great sages chant the glories of Lord Hari. As the flow of devotional service began (bhaktiḥ pravṛttā), which developed due to his fixed intelligence, that devotion destroyed any remaining passion and ignorance. This is the appearance of prema, the 12th stage of bhakti. The natural inclination of loving service to Kṛṣṇa is covered by these lower modes due to one’s association with matter from time immemorial. But if one associates with the pure devotees of the Lord and hears His glories, the flow of bhakti takes place like the flow of a river, and continues till it reaches the ultimate goal of love of God. This flow of devotional service is so potent that any onlooker becomes liberated from the modes of passion and ignorance. The stages of direct vision and experience of sweetness of the Lord are explained in the next chapter.

Nārada next explains the qualifications required to become a pure devotee. He was very much attached to the sages, and thus one must seek the association of pure devotees. Nārada was gentle, and had strong faith in the sages. He had controlled his senses, and was strictly following the sages with body and mind. Only by the association of pure devotees, can one get rid of all sins. A neophyte devotee must faithfully serve the pure devotee, and should be obedient and strictly follow the instructions, as done by Nārada.