The practice of Shri Krishna devotion in SankirtanA passage from the Manipuri book ‘NATA SANKRITAN’ by Sanakshya Ibotombi Haorokcham and published by The Guru Gulapi Nata Sankritana Academy

Yumnam Suren
“Anyabhilashilashunyang Gyanakarmalyanavritam
Aanukulyenkrishnanushilanang Bhaktiruttama”
The above is the eleventh sloka of PurvaVibhag Pratham Lahari of the book named Bhakti Rasamritasindhu, and it means that one who having no desire for anything and side-tracking knowledge and activities (Gyana and karma) etc. is thinking of Shri Krishna only is the greatest devotee. Therein, Shrikrishna Bhakti (devotion to Shri Krishna) is divided into three stages i.e Sadhan Bhakti (practice of devotion), Bhav Bhakti (devotion in idea thought ) and Prem Bhakti (devotion with love). When Sadhan Bhakti is pursued ceaselessly Bhav Bhakti Status will be achieved, and proceeding further without stop the stage of Prem Bhakti will be attained definitely, it is said prem Bhakti (devotion with love) which is the acme of the devotion of Lord Krishna, as said by super Krishna devotees like Bhishma, Prahlad, Dhruv etc. is the devotion pursuing by a devotiee with the foremost idea of taking Shri Krishna as his/her own and the devotion known asRagatmik Bhakti which was prevailing the minds of Vraja Gopas and Gopis (resident of Vraja Vrindavan) is a good form of Prem Bhakti.
The Vraja-vasis Prem Bhakti which is known as Ragatmik Bhakti for having a strong and unflinching desire of attaining Shri Krishna is divided into two types as Sambandh Roopa and Kam Roopa. Taking of their Lord as their child, relative, friend, master and servant relation is called Sambadha Roopa and the thinking of their Lord adoring in their mind & as their beloved husband and having close physical relation is known as Kam Roopa.
To try to worship Shri Krishna reaching this stage of Prem Bhakti is by no means an easy and simple effort. Under Veidhi Bhakti Marg the new entrant has to adhere to the rules prescribed by the Veda, such as, approaching a guru (religions guide/teacher), taking Diksha (initiation by the Guru), Guru Seva (serving the guru), refraining from forbidden food and drink etc. and a list of sixty four items of dos and dont’s in all, are put before him to be performed physically and ceaselessly.
Among the sixty four items required under Veidhi Bhakti Sadhana the five items i.e. Krishna Priti (love of Krishna ), Bhagyavata Paath (reading of Bhagavata), Sadhu Sanga (mixing with virtuous men), Sankirtan (hymnals) and Vraja Vrindavan Vas (residing at Vraja Vrindavan) are taken as very powerful and conducive to attainment of Shri Roop Goswami Pada in his book Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Purvavibhag, Dwitiya Lahari and 238th sloka which runs as-
“Durvhadbhu Tbiryehasmin Shradhadurehastu Panchake Yatra Swalpohapi Sambandha Sandhiyang Bhabjanmane”
It is pointed out that ‘Anuraga Bhakti Sadhan is another form (way) of Sadhan Bhakti which an advanced devotee/worshipper (Sidha Deha) should undergo. In the practice system known as Antaranga Seva, the devout Vaisnavite selects one from among the Vraja Gopa- Gopi (Krisna’s associates) and make him/her his guru (preceptor/guide) and through the guru he tries to experience Ragatmik Bhakti (Prem Bhakti) which in the heart of the guru (Gopi).
Since it is not simple external physical activities of the devout as is done in Veidhi Bhakti Sadhan, to the beginner devout who is not well trained in Veidhi Bhakti Sadhan and has a little knowledge of Shri Krishna’s Vraja Leelas, it will be very difficult for him.
So the devout, before undergoing Anuraga Bhakti Sadhan, he besides knowing Shri Krishna Vraja Leelas well must also know well about the ‘Guru Rupa Vraja Gopi’ (Krishna’s associate who is assumed to be his guru) from his guru (preceptor) who initiated him into Veidhi Bhakti Sadhan. Otherwise, how could the devout participate in Shri Krishna’s Vraja Leelas and enjoy them.
(To be contd)