Hare Krishna Yoga, Karma, Reincarnation

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Ekadasi Lasagna

If you're fasting from grains this ekadasi, why not try this satisfying potato lasagna dish, substituting the pasta for a thin layer of potato and the béchamel sauce with sour cream. 

Tomato Sauce:
1 table spoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Dry Oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 carton (500g) Tomato Passata 
142g tin tomato puree
1.5 teaspoon salt to taste

Other Ingredients:
5 medium sized potatoes, peeled thinly sliced and parboiled. 
2 handfulls of spinache
2 medium peppers
1 sweet potato, peeled thinly sliced and parboiled. 
300ml Soured cream
2 Handfuls of grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon Paprika

Boil the potato and sweet potato slices in lightly salted water for about 5 minutes till cooked but firm. Careful not to over-cook.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and when hot, add cumin, herbs, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Sauté quickly and add tomato puree. Stir in passata and add salt. Cover sauce pan and leave to simmer while preparing vegetables. Chop peppers into slices and roughly chop the spinach. 

Assembly the lasagna as follows:
1/2 portion tomato sauce
1/2 portion potato
1/3 sour cream
Sweet potato
1/2 portion cheese
1/2 portion tomato sauce
1/2 portion potato
2/3 portion sour cream
1/2 cheese
Sprinkle of paprika
Place in the top portion of preheated oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Note: This isn't a perfect dupe for lasagna as there is no pasta to absorb the excess water from the sauce and veggies so try not to make the tomato sauce too runny. With neat layering you may be able to serve in neat little square portions with a bed of sauce however don't worry if it doesn't hold its shape, it will still taste delicious! 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Narasimha Chaturdashi

Today is the Appearance day of the Avatar Nrsimhadeva. Also known as Narsingha, He is the Half lion, half man incarnation and is none different to Lord Krishna. Nara = Half, Singh = Lion. To his enemies he is terrifying and ferocious but to his devotees he is their merciful protector, remover of obstacles and destroyer of unwanted tendencies in their path of bhakti or devotion.  

Nrsimhadeva is one of the 10 famous Lila avatars of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna explains the reason for his incarnations in the following verse:

To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium. [Lord Krishna BG 4.8]

Lord Nrsimhadeva delivers his devotee Prahlad Maharaj and annihilates the miscreant demon King Hiranyakashipu in order to re-establish religiosity, as well as display his divine Lila (story) for the benefit of generations to come. What we learn from this divine Lila is that Lord Krishna is present everywhere and will always protect his sincere devotee.

In the Bhagavata Puran Krishnas previous incarnation was Varaha Dev, the boar incarnation. In this lila Varaha Dev killed the evil demon Hiranyaksha, the brother of Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu wanted revenge for the killing of his brother and so performed severe austerities and penance in order to gain the power to defeat Lord Vishnu (Krishna). His severe austerity caused great distress and fear throughout the universe and so Lord Brahma appeared before him to offer the demon a boon in order to stop the distress his yogic austerities were causing.  

Hiranyakashipu asked for the benediction that he become immortal however Lord Brahma, the creator of the material world stated that one day even He will die and therefore immortality is a benediction that he cannot give. 

Therefore, the cunning Hiranyakashipu tried to cheat his way to immortality and asked for the following.

He cannot be killed...
  • By any living entity created by Lord Brahma
  • Inside or outside
  • During the daytime or at night time 
  • On the ground or in the sky
  • By any weapon
  • By any human being or animal.
  • Any entity, living or non-living. 
  • Any demigod or demon 
  • Any great snake from the lower planets. 
Lord Brahma granted these boons and Hiranyakashipu became a tyrant ruler. Shortly after he banned the worship of Lord Vishnu and declared that everyone worship him instead. However his own son, Prahlad did not accept this. When in his mothers womb his mother received divine instruction from the great sage, Narad Muni. He taught her and her unborn child the glories of Lord Vishnu and devotional service. This transcendental knowledge was heard by Prahlad even before birth and so he was born a pious devotee of Lord Vishnu. 

From a young age Prahlad was praying to Lord Vishnu and preaching to others about Lord Vishnu. This infuriated Hiranyakashipu and he ordered his servants to kill his young son. His servants tried many different ways to kill Prahlad, however every time Prahlad was in danger he would meditate and chant the names of Vishnu and Vishnu would protect him. He would escape unharmed from whippings, from fire and even from being thrown from a cliff and being trapped with a mad elephant! Eventually Hiranyakashipu decided to end Prahlad's life himself. 

Hiranyakashipu picked up his sword and threatened his son. He exclaimed "Where is your God now? Show me him!" 

Bhakta Prahlad humbly replied "Lord Vishnu is everywhere." 

The angry demon replied, "But where is He? If He is everywhere, then why is He not present before me in this pillar?"

Hiranyakashipu in frustration and anger struck his fist against the pillar in question and with a mighty thudding crack Lord Narasimhadeva emerged from the pillar. With a tumultuous roar and in crouching position ready to pounce on his opponent, Hiranyakashipu's end was near.  The beautiful, angry form of Lord Vishnu with a Lion for head battled with the demon. Hiranyakashipu was no match for Lord Narasimhadeva and the Lord killed the demon as if crushing a wasp between one's fingernails. The method and timing of killing the demon Hiranyakashipu was very strategic. 
  • Lord Nrsimhadeva was Vishnu himself and therefore not a living entity created by Lord Brahma.
  • Lord Nrsimhadeva was standing in a door way therefore he was neither Inside or outside.
  • The time of day was twilight and was neither during the daytime or at night time.
  • Lord Nrsimhadeva placed Hiranyakashipu on his lap, neither on the ground or in the sky.
  • The mighty half Lion, half man, used his bare hands and sharp nails to rip the demon apart, without the use of weapons.
  • Lord Nrsimhadeva was neither animal or human, but a hybrid. 
  • Lord Nrsimhadeva was an avatar of Lord Vishnu himself, descending from the spiritual realm and not classed as a living or non-living entity, demigod, demon or snake but the supreme Lord Himself. 

After the demon was annihilate, Lord Nrsimhadeva was still raging with fury as much as any parent would be if their child was mistreated or in danger. The demi gods and even Lakshmi Devi, the consort of Lord Nrsimhadeva did not dare to approach Him in his angry form. Only Prahlad, the young boy was brave enough to approach and garland His Lord and savior with flowers and offer his prayers which greatly pacified Lord Nrsimhadeva. Prahlad was then given charge over his father's Kingdom. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Mantra Meditation

“In this age of Kali there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative for spiritual progress than the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.” (Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa)

It's not a typo, the message of this verse was so important it had to be repeated 3 times!

Hearing and chanting are the first two stages of devotional service. Mantra meditation is fundamental for spiritual progression as Krishna's names are transcendental sound vibrations that can purify and cleanse the heart as well as bring one closer to Krishna. Chanting awakens the dormant love and Krishna consciousness within, making the individual qualified to execute devotional service.

Types of Mantra Meditation.

  • Japa: Personal chanting in a soft voice while counting on a set of 108 beads (japa mala)
  • Kirtan: Chanting in rhythmic form, accompanied by musical instruments and audience participation. The leader of the kirtan will sing/chant one mantra and the audience are encouraged to repeat, as well as clap along and dance.
  • Harinaam Sankirtanam: Congregational chanting of the Holy names of Krishna, which takes kirtan to the streets for all to hear and benefit from - as inaugurated by Lord Chaitanya.

Japa - Mantra Meditation.

Kirtan and Harinaam sankirtanam are both very enjoyable and fun, however Japa is the most potent of the types of chanting as it is considered the most selfless and more austere of the 3. It is recommended to chant a set amount of rounds (108 mantras) every day.

Regular silent meditation is very difficult as the mind is always active. There is no focal point. One may only experience temporary relief and peace and quiet until the mind once again takes control.

Mantra meditation however helps to free the mind.
Man = Mind, -tra = Free. Mantra = Free from the mind
It does this by engaging all the senses, with the mantra being the focal point. If the senses are controlled then the mind is also controlled and fixed upon the remembrance of Sri Krishna.

  • Ears - engaged in hearing the mantra
  • Tongue - engaged in chanting the mantra
  • Touch - the fingers count the mantra on beads
  • Eyes - can meditate on images of Krishna
  • Nose - breathing is controlled and regulated through every repetition of the mantra

The Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra is world renowned and is the single most recommended mantra to chant in this day and age. The names of God are non-different to Krishna himself and have a deep spiritual significance. 

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

The meaning behind this mantra is:
O Hare (energy of Krishna) O the all attractive one (Krishna) O the reservoir of all pleasure (Rama), please engage me in your loving devotional service.

Monday, 15 April 2013

ISKCON Leicester - From a Miracle to a Dream

A message from ISKCON Leicester

Following the explosion at our previous centre, we have wondered around various venues, none of which have allowed us to fulfill our full range of activities. Not only was it a miracle that no one was hurt in the explosion but it was a miracle that we were gifted a grade II* listed building by one very generous family.

This building is situated on 31 Granby Street, Leicester, neighboring Town Hall. Right at the heart of the City stands the most beautiful jewel of Victorian architecture, A spiritual centre, the new home of ISKCON.

Previously the home of HSBC bank, ISKCON would like to regenerate this building to act as a perfect community hub, providing a variety of activities to suit the needs of all.

  • A place to welcome people from all walks of life regardless of class, colour or creed. To find a common link in society where we can integrate as one community.
  • A heritage room celebrating the work of renowned architect Joseph Goddard. It will provide a base for learning for schools and colleges.
  • A meditation hall providing regular music, mantra & meditation programs. A place for health, wellbeing and enhanced personal development
  • A café & restaurant serving wholesome, mouth watering international cuisines for the taste buds of all. 
  • A library with a range of books in 165 languages, providing a place for the inquisitive minds for thought, reflection and reading.
  • A truly versatile venue that will serve for Weddings, birthdays, engagements or even corporate events.

Please help this dream become a reality.

We are currently trying to raise £2M to regenerate this building for you our loving community. We are all one and can work best together, with a little help from all of you we have the potential to meet our target.

Please donate, tell you friends, family & colleagues. This is a genuine once in a life time opportunity to be part of a wonderful project that will sit right at the heart of the City in the Centre of England.

Please donate via:


Text RAMA08 ____(enter amount) to 70070

(Eg to Donate £10. Text RAMA08 £10 and send it to 70070).

Thank you. 
ISKCON Leicester

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Devotional Service

You may not realise it, but we are always serving. Serving our mind, our body our boss, our society our family, the laws of our country, our government by paying tax. Everything we do is in service. 

So serving God, should come very naturally. As the third step in bhakti yoga, after acquiring faith and the association of devotees, one can be introduced to devotional service. When we come before god, often we ask God for material benefits  "Dear God please let me pass this exam, please let me win the lottery!". We start bargaining with God, "I'll come to the temple every day if you grant my wish", or "I'll donate this much money if you fulfil this desire". It becomes a business like relationship rather than a relationship of love. However devotional service is selfless and we ask Krishna, "Dear Krishna, What can I do for you?" and not "what can you do for me?".

One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. [BG.18.55]

Nine Processes of Devotional Service

The nine processes of devotional service is described by Prahlada Maharaja in the 7th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam and are as follows:

1. Hearing (sravanam)
2. Chanting (kirtanam)
3. Remembering (visnu smaranam)
4. Serving the Lord's Lotus Feet (pada sevanam)
5. Deity-worship (arcanam)
6. Praying (vandanam)
7. Executing orders (dasyam)
8. Serving as a friend (sakhyam)
9. Complete surrender (atma nivedanam)

Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words). These nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge. [Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23-24]

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Govinda’s Vegetarian Café Nottingham

(Please not that as of June 2015 Govinda's Nottingham has permanently closed. More information here)

Today was the grand opening of the first Govinda’s Vegetarian Café in England outside of London.

Located in the trendy shopping area of Nottingham City Centre, Govinda’s is a good value and heart-warming place to eat. The delightful surroundings is divided into a cafe serving light snacks and daily specials and also a buffet serving an array of delicious Indian food.

The pure vegetarian restaurant is ran by ISKCON with a cheerful team of volunteer Hare Krishna devotees serving tasty spiritual food. All preparations are prashad meaning it is blessed and so is karma free!

Todays menu was:
Peas, paneer and tomatos
Aubergine, potato and chick pea stew (vegan)
Spinach Rice/Brown rice (vegan)
Yellow mung dhaal with carrots (vegan)
Cream of vegetable soup

Daily special – Lasagna & Salad

Veggie Burger
Apple and blueberry crumble
Vegan cupcakes & biscuits
Hot and cold drinks

Govinda’s Nottingham serves food that is satvik, meaning it is without meat, fish, eggs and also onion and garlic and full of love and devotion!

“This cupcake is awesome!” – Happy customer

Govindas Vegetarian Cafe
7-9 Thurland Street
(Opposite Newlook, 2 minute walk from Victoria Centre, Nottingham)
Opening Times:
Open Monday – Saturday: 11am to 6pm.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Gauranga Potatoes

A world famous Hare Krishna dish much loved and favourite of many. Slices of potato in an irresistibly rich, creamy and tasty sauce with a magnificent Golden colour named after Gauranga Mahaprabhu.

8 medium sized potatos peeled, sliced 
1 table spoon olive oil
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin)
1/2 teaspoon hing (asafetida powder)
1 chunk ginger, minced
1 green chilli, chopped (de seeded - optional)
1 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon paprika
600ml Single Cream
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
Handful of cheese, grated
1 generous handful of Love

Boil the potato slices in lightly salted water for about 8 minutes till cooked but firm. Careful not to over-cook or you will have Gauranga Mash potato! Preheat oven.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and when hot, add jeera, ginger and then green chilli. Saute quickly and add hing followed by haldi and black pepper and stir briefly.

Add the single cream, salt and water. Stir into a smooth and even golden sauce and remove from the heat.

Off the heat, add the potatoes to a baking tray or casserole dish and pour mixture over potatoes and gently combine. Top with a layer of cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Place in the top portion of preheated oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot.

For a less Indian taste, instead of ginger, chilli and Jeera, use fresh herbs such as parsley or thyme.
Alternative to single cream, use sour cream.
Cheese is optional
Try other vegetables, eg. Cauliflower. Peas and carrots.
For Ekadashi fasting, don’t add hing

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Golden Avatar

Kali yug, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy is drowning in irreligion and atheistic lifestyles. And so in this age, Krishna was predicted to decent as the Golden Avatar (incarnation) - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and establish the Yuga Dharma of Harinaam Sankirtan - Congregational devotional chanting (prescribed method of liberation according to the current age).  Today is Gaura-Purnima which marks the advent of Sri Chaitanya's descent to Earth, in the town of Mayapur, West Bengal - India in 1946. 

Who is The Golden Avatar? 
Sri Chaitanya is a direct avatar of Sri Krishna Bhagavan in the mood of His greatest devotee and consort, Srimati Radharani. Sri Chaitanya started the Nama Sankirtan movement and gave the world the divine and powerful Hare Krishna Maha Mantra that one must chant to become self realised and to attain the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. This is the easiest way to reach Krishna in this age of Kali! 

The Holy Names of the Lord are:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

His Appearance. 
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in 1486 in Navadvipa, Mayapur in West Bengal to Jagannatha Misra and Sacidevi. He was named Vishvambhara (support of the universe) and nicknamed Nimai, as He had been born under a neem tree. His appearance was accompanied by widespread chanting of 'Hari Hari' and as a child, the only way His parents could get Him to stop crying was by chanting the holy names of the Lord. Therefore, from the beginning, He induced people to chant the names of God. His birth chart was so auspicious that the child was declared as the Supreme Lord, Narayana Himself. It was predicted that He would have extraordinary qualities and would deliver the people of the world with even atheists worshipping him at his feet. 

Gaura Purnima is the festival which celebrates Sri Chaitanya’s appearance. It means "Golden Full Moon". His devotees spend this festival fasting and chanting the holy names. At moonrise a sumptuous vegetarian feast is offered to the Lord and then enjoyed by all.

The Golden Avatar 
In different ages there are different methods for self-realisation such as meditation, temple worship and various yoga practices to control the body and mind. We are currently in Kali-yuga, which is considered the worst age out of the four, (Satya, Treta, Dwarpa and Kali) as the people of Kali-yug are prone to quarrels, hypocrisy and have a lack of God consciousness. However the all-auspicious appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu makes this age more beneficial than the others by His grace and causeless mercy. The prescribed method of liberation has been made easier by simply chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra! And so Kali-yuga is also called the golden age of Sri Chaitanya.

How do we know he is an Avatar?
There is multiple evidence in authoritative scriptures of Sri Chaitanya’s appearance. Here are some examples. 
Prediction of His actual time of incarnation is stated In the Kurma-Purana:
The Supreme Person will appear in the first part of the age of Kali. He will appear in the home of a Brahmana, to save the embodied conditioned souls burning in the troubles of Kali-Yuga. 

In the Padma-Purana, it is written:
The Supreme Personality, Janardana, who is the object of the yogis' meditation, who saves the devotees from various sufferings, and who is the master of all yogic practices, who is always full of divine transcendental ecstasy and bliss, will advent in His own divine form of Sri Chaitanya.

What does he look like?
Avatars of Sri Krishna Bhagavan must:
1. Comply with predictions in authoritative scriptures
2. Display 32 auspicious markings on the body and feet
3. Have long arms that past the knees.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is 7 ft tall and also known as Sri Gauranga because he has the complexion of molten gold. He has auspicious markings on His body and His feet and his slender arms extend down to His knees which are further evidence that He is an avatar of the Supreme Lord.

Why did he come to the material world?
As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna appears in the material world for two reasons which are:
1. Annihilate the miscreants.
2. Deliver the pious people. 
In the form of Sri Chaitanya He shows his mercy by delivering His devotees and annihilating the demons in everyone’s hearts by chanting the Holy names of the Lord. 

He propagated the Harinam Sankirtan movement which is the congregational street chanting of: 
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, 
Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. 

Previously chanting was done quietly and individually. Sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu along with his associates encouraged loud public chanting and graceful dancing with instruments. The intention was for all the devotees, atheists and even the  animals and all living entities, to hear and benefit from the transcendental sound vibrations of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.

Another reason for Sri Chaitanyas appearance is part of the divine Lila or story of Sri Radha Krishna's pastimes  Sri Krishna wanted to feel first hand the devotion which Radharani feels for Krishna and so He came as a devotee in the mood of Radharani expressing Krishna Prem. In this way Krishna can understand Her devotional love for Him. 

What are his names?
A few of his most popular names that you will hear are:
  • Chaitanya – Consciousness
  • Mahaprabhu – Great Lord
  • Gauranga - One with Golden Limbs (named by his father Jagannath Misra)
  • Sacinandana - Son of Saci Devi
  • Nimai – born under neem tree (named by His mother Saci Devi)
  • Visvambhara one who maintains the entire universe (named by his maternal grandfather Nilambara Cakravarti, after reading his birth chart)
  • Gaurahari - Golden Lord (named affectionately by the ladies of Navadwip)
“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons, and confidential companions.” [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32]

Who are his associates?
Sri Chaitanya has four main associates and all five are known as Pancha Tattva (the Five Truths)

From left to right we have :
  • Advaita Acharya who is a combined incarnation of Sri Vishnu and Shiva
  • Nityananda Prabhu who is an incarnation of Balaram (Krishna's brother)
  • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is Krishna
  • Gadadhara Pandit who is an incarnation of Krishna's internal energy
  • Srivasa Pandit who is Krishna's pure devotee, Narada Muni
"I bow down to Lord Krishna, who appears as a devotee (Lord Chaitanya), as His personal expansion (Sri Nityananda), His incarnation (Sri Advaita), His devotee (Sri Srivasa), and His energy (Sri Gadadhara), and who is the source of strength for the devotees." [Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 1.14]

What were his teachings?
Because He is Krishna Himself, His teachings are identical with those in Bhagavad-gita. His only written work is His Shikshastaka, or “Eight Instructions” and If understood properly, they can elevate a person from the mundane plane of materialism to the highest form of devotion, bhakti. Sri Chaitanya taught that Bhakti, or devotional service to Krishna, is both the most effective spiritual practice and the ultimate goal of all spiritual practices.

Sri Chaitanya’s teachings cover three main topics:
  • Knowledge of the soul’s relationship with Krishna
  • The method of awakening that relationship
  • The awakened state of that relationship (pure love of God)

Sri Chaitanya also contributed a great deal to theology by teaching that God is simultaneously identical to and different from His energies meaning that the spirit soul is the same as God in quality but different in magnitude.

Avatar - Incarnation
Yuga - Age, Era
Dharma - Religious practice
Yuga Dharma - Prescribed method of liberation according to the current age
Harinaam Sankirtan - Congregational devotional chanting
Sri - A title of respect or reverence, can be used interchangeably with the English word Lord. eg. Lord Krishna, Sri Krishna.
Hari - Name of Sri Vishnu/Krishna. You will often hear Hare Krishna devotees saying "Haribol!" meaning "say the Lords name!". Haribol/Hare Krishna/Gauranga can also be used as a greeting, replacing hello and goodbye. 
Appearance - When talking about avatars/swamis/gurus/saints we say 'appearance' rather than birth/born as birth is related to material bodies. These personalities are either God themselves or empowered by God and so are on a spiritual platform and are not ordinary human beings. Birthday becomes, Appearance day. 
Gaura Purnima - Although Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on a Purnima (full moon) night, on the day of his appearance there was a  lunar eclipse (considered inauspicious) and everyone, even the most impious and atheists who had never chanted the name of Krishna, found themselves going to the river Ganga and chanting “HARI! HARI!” as if compelled by some imperceptible force.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Bhakti Yoga - The link to God

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Pṛthā, how by practising yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt. (BG 7.1)

Love is the highest form of happiness and love of God is the ultimate Goal in life. So how do we develop that love for God? When you are attracted to someone, you naturally want to get to know them, spend time with them, find out what makes them happy, and do things for that person that will make him or her happy. So when we love someone we naturally aspire to serve them. In the same way, when there is attraction to Krishna, one can get to know him and develop a relationship via the process of Bhakti Yoga.

Devotional service is the heart of Bhakti yoga. Bhakti meaning devotion or love comes in hand with service, as service is the activity intended to please the beloved.

9 Stages of Bhakti Yoga

1. Faith (sraddha)
The first step, one begins with an interest in spiritual life with the faith that spiritual activity is superior to material life. 

2. Association with devotees (sadhu-sanga)
One then associates with persons advanced in Bhakti.

3. Performance of devotional service (bhajana-kriya)
Under the instruction of an elevated spiritual master one begins to practice devotional service.

4. Decreasing of unwanted attachments (Anartha nivrtti)
By executing devotional service one becomes free of all material attachments. 

5. Steadiness (nistha)
With regulated practice one attains unshakeable faith and steadiness. 

6. Taste (ruci)
And one acquires an insatiable thirst for hearing about and serving the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna.

7. Attachment (asakti)
Attachment to Krishna develops 

8. Love (bhava)
Gradually emotions for God intensify to the point of spiritual ecstasy.

9. Pure love for Krishna (prema)
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. Supreme perfectional stage of bhakti.