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Stages of development of bhakti

Rupa Goswami, a direct disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, traces the development of Bhakti, pure love for Krishna, in this way:

Practice

  • One begins with a preliminary interest in spiritual advancement and a conviction that material pursuits will never yield true happiness or perfection.
  • One then associates with persons advanced in Bhakti.
  • In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, under whose instruction one begins to practice devotional service.
  • By executing devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free of all material attachments and all habits that impede one's spiritual progress.
  • Thus, with realized knowledge, one attains unshakeable faith and steadiness.
  • And one acquires an insatiable thirst for hearing about and serving the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna.

Maturation

  • Gradually emotions for God intensify to the point of spiritual ecstasy.

Perfection

  • Finally one awakens pure love for Krishna, which enables one to see Him face to face, to speak with Him, and to live and enjoy with Him eternally.