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]