26 Qualities of a Pure Devotee
Living in the association of Krishna’s devotees in a temple or ashrama makes it easier to practise devotional service. But if you’re determined, you can follow at home the teachings of Krishna consciousness and thus convert your home into a temple.
Spiritual life, like material life, means practical activity. The difference is that whereas we perform material activities for the benefit of ourselves or those we consider ours, we perform spiritual activities for the benefit of Lord Krishna, under the guidance of the scriptures and the spiritual master. The key is to accept the guidance of the scripture and the guru. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gita that a person can achieve neither happiness nor the supreme destination of life — going Back to Godhead, back to Lord Krishna—if he or she does not follow the injunctions of the scriptures.
How to follow scriptural rules by engaging in practical service to the Lord is explained by a bonafidc spiritual master. Without following the instructions of a spiritual master who is in an authorized chain of disciplic succession coming from Krishna Himself, we cannot make spiritual progress. The practices outlined here are the timeless practices of bhakti-yoga as given by the foremost spiritual master and exponent of Krishna consciousness in our time, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
The purpose of spiritual knowledge is to bring us closer to God. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (18.55), bhaktya mam abhijanati: “I can be known only by devotional service.” Knowledge guides us in proper action. Spiritual knowledge directs us to satisfy the desires of Krishna through practical engagements in His loving service. Without practical application, theoretical knowledge is of little value. Spiritual knowledge is meant to direct us in all aspects of life. We should endeavor, therefore, to organize our lives in such a way as to follow Krishna’s teachings as far as possible. We should try to do our best, to do more than is simply convenient. Then it will be possible for us to rise to the transcendental plane of Krishna consciousness, even while living far from a temple.