Author: Ananda Vrndavan dasi, teacher of Madhurya Kadambini course at Bhaktivedanta College
The first series on Madhurya Kadambini course
Nine stages of pure devotion to Krsna
Rupa Gosvami delineates nine stages of pure devotion to Krsna, in which spiritual emotions first awaken and then gradually intensify to the point of unalloyed love:
- Persons develop pure faith (sraddha)
- Associate with pure devotees (sadhu-sanga)
- Perform unsteady devotional service to Krsna (bhajana-kriya)
- Under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master, they give up their unwanted habits (anartha-nivritti)
- Firm faith awakens, by which devotional service fixes itself in the devotees’ character (nistha)
- A strong taste for devotional service appears (ruci)
- Attachment (asakti)
- Ecstatic emotion (bhava)
- Pure love of God (prema).
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As we can see, spiritual life is actually a very precise, progressive and coherent type of science. With the knowledge of the symptoms of these different stages, we are being enabled to honestly detect where we are now and where we are going next in our spiritual life, which is essential for our further proper development. If we do not understand at what level we are at presently, we might assume that we are at another level and that we should do certain things that in reality might not be relevant or fit for us. People would tend to think that they are more advanced rather that they are less advanced.