Why does Srila Prabhupada “bhakti” in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu as devotion instead of his usual translation “devotional service”?

by Chaitanya CharanMay 31, 2012

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Chaitanya Charan
  • June 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Hare Krishna Prabhuji, thank you very much for sharing the audio.

    Not to speculate, but I wouldn’t mind considering the below understanding.

    As always taught / shown by Srila Prabhupad, and as explained by yourself, in the practical sense, the “essence of devotion” or the “nectar of devotion”, is “devotional service”.

    Hence, by using the word “devotion” ALONG with the word “nectar”, Srila Prabhupad is consistent with His Divine Grace’s usual translation of the word “Bhakti” i.e., “Devotional Service”.

    That is, had Srila Prahupad instead chosen to give the Title “The Nectar of Devotional Service”, then, the Title could in a sense be interpreted as “The Nectar of ‘Nectar of Devotion’ “, which sounds somewhat absurd.

    The above understanding can be gained from the contents of the book itself, where, as always, Srila Prabhupad throughout the book emphasizes “devotional service” rather than just “devotion”.

    Another reason could be (I don’t know whether this should termed as speculation, please feel free to decide yourself as may be appropriate), here, we are talking about the “Title” of a book. Generally, people are “aware of” and “accustomed to” the word “devotion” until one hears or reads Srila Prabhupad’s teachings / books. So, by using the word “devotion” in the “Title” of the book, Srila Prabhupad addresses / extends his call to one and all (i.e., those who UNknowingly understand Bhakti “simply as Devotion”, and, those who rightly understand Bhakti as “actually Devotional Service”)

    Thus, the way the Title of any book should be, the Title of this book is also kept simple and straightforward (most intelligent, practical and compassionate that Sria Prabhupad is), thus making the Title easy to understand for anyone and everyone, and thus making everyone eager to read the book.

    Besides, it is quite possible that some of Srila Prabhupad’s disciples / Senior Devotees who associated with His Divine Grace, may have personally enquired with Srila Prabhupad about this “seemingly different translation” of the word “Bhaki”. Maybe if someone from among them remembers some such conversation that they or their God Brothers / God Sisters had with Srila Prabhupad at any point of time, they could possibly throw more light on this topic for further understanding of everyone.

    Anyway, irrespective of the availability or non-availability of any specific explanation / clarification about this by Srila Prabhupad, the essence of the matter remains, that one eternally be engaged in “devotional service” as always explained / taught / demonstrated by Srila Prabhupad.

    Hare Krishna,

    A servant of Your Servants’ Servants,


    PS: Humbly request your good self to kindly forgive this lowly and ineligible being for this offensive intrusion, and bless him to become a devotee someday in this lifetime or any lifetime to follow.

    • Chaitanya Charan das
      June 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful and valid points.

      I came across this quote of Srila Prabhupada:

      As by drinking nectarine, one can become immortal, similarly, by drinking the nectarine of devotion, one becomes immortal. Therefore we have named the book Nectar of Devotion. You drink it and become immortal.

      VedaBase: Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.20-23 — Gorakhpur, February 14, 1971

      It seems Srila Prabhupada used a name that was both handy and catch while also being an approximate translation of the Sanskrit original name

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