Introduction to Bhakti Vrksa

WHy is it called "Bhakti Vrksha" ?

In the Chaitanya-Charitamrita, Lord Chaitanya and His movement are compared to the tree of devotion, the bhakti-vriksha:

The Lord brought the desire tree of devotional service to this earth and became its gardener. He sowed the seed and sprinkled upon it the water of His will. By His inconceivable powers, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself became the gardener, the trunk and the branches of the tree of devotional service simultaneously. From the trunk grew many branches and above them innumerable others. Thus the branches of the Chaitanya tree formed a cluster or society, with great branches covering all the universe - CC Adi, 9.18.

Lord Chaitanya would go from village to village, and everywhere He went, each person he preached to would branch out and make five more families Krishna conscious. Each of those families would make five more. The bhakti-vriksha programme uses a similar dynamic, with small groups that multiply by each member bringing new people to Krishna Consciousness. Just as in a tree, a branch of a certain thickness divides in two, so the bhakti-vriksha group divides into two smaller groups at a certain point.
In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Lord Caitanya and His movement are compared to the tree of devotion, the bhakti-våkña. Srila Prabhupada writes in his summary of Adi-lila, Chapter Nine:

"It is figuratively described that both the tree itself and the trunk of the tree are Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu… The tree surrounds the entire world, and the flowers of the tree are to be distributed to everyone. In this way the tree of Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu intoxicates the entire world." Srila Prabhupäda also says:
"Our International Society for Krishna Consciousness is one of the branches of the Caitanya tree. -Caitanya-Caritamrta, Adi Lela 9.18

Every small group in ISKCON’s congregation is therefore a branch of the branch, stemming from the bhakti-vrksa, the tree of bhakti of Lord Caitanya. The Bhakti-vrks group is a type of Nama hatta group especially geared toward branching out. Just like a tree, a branch of a certain thickness branches off into two. This branching process keeps going until the tree has thousands and thousands of twigs all connected to the main root. Lord Caitanya is the original root, and even one single branch from the tree can grow and form thousands of sub branches, small twigs, leaves and so on.

We are part of the Caitanya Tree. This is the ISKCON branch and Srila Prabhupäda is our connection. A tree begins from one small sprout, but when it grows it has numerous branches, similarly from a simple beginning a Bhakti-vrksa programme will grow into a massive affair, as predicted by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura.


The process of chanting the holy name of the Lord is so powerful that by this chanting even householders [grhasthas] can very easily gain the ultimate result achieved by persons in the renounced order. Maharaja Yudhisthira, I have now explained to you that process of religion. This is a confirmation of the Krishna consciousness movement. Anyone who takes part in this movement, regardless of what he is, can gain the topmost result achieved by a perfect sannyasi, namely brahma jnana (spiritual knowledge). Even more important, he can advance in devotional service. Maharaja Yudhisthira thought that because he was a grhastha there was no hope of his being liberated, and therefore he asked Narada Muni how he could get out of material entanglement. But Narada Muni, citing a practical example from his own life, established that by associating with devotees and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, any man in any condition of life can achieve the highest perfection without a doubt. - Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.15.74, translation and purport
                                                                      tasmat sarvesu kalesu mam anusmara yudhya ca
                                                                mayy arpita-mano-buddhir mam evaisyasy asamsayah
 
Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
This instruction to Arjuna is very important for all men engaged in material activities. The Lord does not say that one should give up his prescribed duties or engagements. One can continue them and at the same time think of Krishna by chanting Hare Krishna.
Bhagavad-gita 8.7, translation and purport
The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way. The family members can sit down morning and evening and chant together Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Comments