Nomenclature of the Absolute (pg 35-38)
These are the processes involved in our progress in devotional development. Eight different stages of a devotee are specified to make him acquainted with his progress. They are: -- (1) 'Sraddha' or confidence in the words of the Guru and the Shastras; (2) this reliance will encourage us to seek the company of the real Sadhus; (3) 'Sadhu-Sanga' or company of sadhus will lead to devotional activities; (4) such activities will have the effect of eliminating all evils associated with our wrong mentality. These four qualifications form the first division of the progrogressive [sic] stages of true devotion. Having gone through those we can earnestly and piously engage ourselves in Nama-sankirtana. Then follow the later four stages: the first stage is Nishthaa which is followed by Ruchi, and then by Aashakti and then our constant devotion is finally developed into Bhaava. Nishthaa is undeviating temper, Ruchi is predilection, Asakti denotes firm attachment and Bhaava is the blossomed state of Love whose distinguishing marks are Kshaanti, Abyarthakaalatva, Virakti, Maanashunyataa, Aashaabandha, Samutkaanthaa, Naamagaane-sadaa-ruchi, Aasaktistad-gunaakhyaane, Pritistad Vasati-sthale. In Bhava-bhakti we mark a composition of four ingredients with Rati.
No matter how much sensual pleasure people have, no matter how much they consume, they always want more. This endless personal craving manifests as ever increasing material consumption.
This mixture is known as Rasa or palatable drink. In this state we can set ourselves free from all mental speculations and we reach a plane where all sorts of good comes to us, to be relished in every way; and this can only be had, when we have a purified mind, free from any disturbance and absolutely peaceful. It is in this state that we are in full possession of Rasa. This state should not be confused with the worldly Rasa of sensuous enjoyment, as the enjoyment we are given in this world is temporal and inadequate. In the attainment of all this we should not, however, consider ourselves as identical with Him, but should surrender ourselves as His eternal servants. All the services that we are going to render to Him should be in His favour and interest and not in our favour or interest. When we chant His Name in this manner He will be on the look-out to regulate us and will automatically teach us the principle of Bhakti. The higher stage of Bhaava-Bhakti is known as Prema-Bhakti, or full Love of Krishna.