Nine forms of devotional service in the workplace ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 732) In the Introduction to The Nectar of Devotion we find the following statement from Srila Prabhupada: "Described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam are nine different processes, besides which everything done is unfavorable to Krishna consciousness. Thus, one should always be guarding against falldowns." What is/are the form(s) of devotional service that we can directly connect to our occupational duties, specifically in a workplace outside the home? While I can make a connection from arcana / deity worship to both housework and workplace occupational duties, as they help to provide various financial and other resources for the deity worship process, I am wondering if there are also other connections that we can directly make to the nine forms? Also what must be the consciousness while performing the activities for any connection between our occupational duties and pure devotional service to be valid? Specifically, please help me to distinguish more clearly what is and what is not favorable to Krishna consciousness at work, and thus to better guard against the more minor or inconspicuous falldowns from pure devotional service that happen in the course of daily life. Answer: The first and most important of the nine processes of devotional service is Sravanam, followed by Kirtanam. Hearing is the basis for the other 8 processes. Thus in performing your occupational duties also, you can directly and most effectively connect it to the process of Hearing, i.e. to hear the messages of Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. SRAVANAM The process of Sravanam, as I am sure you have heard, does not end with the physical activity of attending Bhagavatam discourse; a devotee carries with him these transcendental messages and the consequent purified consciousness into the course of his daily activities, conducting his/her work *in submission* to these messages. This was approved by Lord Caitanya as the most effective process to enter into the realm of devotional service: *"sthane sthitah sruti gatam tanu van manobhir..." *(Ref. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's discussions with Ramananda Raya) Krishna also recommends this same process in the Bhagavad-gita to help Arjuna fix his mind upon Krishna, while executing his most challenging occupation in the upcoming battle. *"mayyasakta manah partha... yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu"* (BG 7.1) In this significant verse that opens the chapters discussing devotional service, Krishna stresses the process of hearing. Only by hearing from Krishna or His pure devotee can one understand the science of Krishna. (Please see Srila Prabhupada's purport to BG 7.1 <http://vedabase.net/bg/7/1/en>) All the other activities such as chanting, arcana and so on can be performed effectively and flawlessly only by one who has given careful aural reception to the transcendental messages coming in disciplic succession. In other words, as you connect your work to the messages of Krishna, then your efforts to connect it to Deity Worship, or the preaching mission, and so on will be most fruitful. Connecting to hearing means working according to the principles of Bhagavad- gita, such as working dutifully, working without fruitive mentality, not being affected by dualities, abiding by the characteristics of mode of goodness, avoiding prayasa, prajalpa, jana-sanga. In endeavoring to connect to the Sravanam process, one repeatedly remembers the instructions relevant to one's decisions and actions, and the Personality whose instructions they are. In other words, when you are at work and you don't react to some failure in your effort, or adverse criticism from a fellow worker, or when you decline a tempting opportunity for sense- gratification, and you are reflecting, "This is the injunction of the Bhagavad-gita; by the potency of these messages I am protected; all success is assured by abiding in Krishna; I am an eternal servant of Krishna and meant to carry out HIs orders; I have no independence to act as I please... ", you are thus connecting to the Hearing Process. Progressively, by such practice, in course of time the devotee learns to feel dependent on Krishna's mercy in all activities, to constantly remember Krishna, and act for His pleasure. Srila Prabhupada explains this consciousness in BG 18.57 purport <http://vedabase.net/bg/18/57/en>. KIRTANAM As a devotee's work is progressively aligned with the transcendental messages of Krishna, that work becomes Kirtanam, or glorification of the Lord. In other words, kirtanam refers not just to the activity of chanting or singing the Holy Names and glories; any activity that glorifies Krishna is Kirtanam. Srila Prabhupada elaborates this in his purport to SB 1.5.22, where it is stated that the purpose of all branches of knowledge, sacrifice, charity and so on is to glorify the Supreme Lord. *yad uttama sloka gunanuvarnanam.* *"If one is a learned scholar, scientist, philosopher, poet, etc., then he should employ his learning to establish the supremacy of the Lord. ... If one is an administrator, statesman, warrior, politician, etc., then one should try to establish the Lord's supremacy in statesmanship. Fight for the cause of the Lord as Sri Arjuna did.... Similarly, if one is a businessman, an industrialist, an agriculturist, etc., then one should spend his hard-earned money for the cause of the Lord.... **Scientific knowledge, philosophy and all similar activities engaged in the service of the Lord are all factually hari-kirtana, or glorification of the Lord. "* (Cf. purports to SB 1.5.32 and 22)* In other words, when you act with the purpose that, "Let my conduct be a glorification of the teachings of Krishna. Let my faithful execution of my work establish the potency of devotional service. Let me manifest such qualities as exemplified by the previous mahajanas, which will help others appreciate a devotee of God," then such work becomes krishna-kirtanam. On the basis of sravanam and kirtanam, gradually you will get further realizations how to engage in the other activities of bhakti in every sphere of life. On the same basis, you can also get clarity re. how to discriminate favorable or unfavorable situations -- you can particularly look to the principles of Upadesamrita Verses 1-3 as a guideline in this connection. That is to say, if a certain decision demands, for instance, too much prayasa, or interferes with your ability to follow sadacara, you can recognize it as unfavorable. I hope this answer brings you greater clarity on this subject.