In all phases of life one has to perform devotional activities under the direction of the spiritual master in order to attain perfection in bhakti-yoga. It is not that one has to confine or narrow one's activities. Kṛṣṇa is all-pervading. Therefore nothing is independent of Kṛṣṇa, as Kṛṣṇa Himself states in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.4):
- mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
- jagad avyakta-mūrtinā-
- mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni
- na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
"By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them." Under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, one has to make everything favorable for Kṛṣṇa's service. For example, at present we are using a dictaphone. The materialist who invented this machine intended it for businessmen or writers of mundane subject matters. He certainly never thought of using the dictaphone in God's service, but we are using this dictaphone to write Kṛṣṇa conscious literature. Of course, the manufacture of the dictaphone is wholly within the energy of Kṛṣṇa. All the parts of the instrument, including the electronic functions, are made from different combinations and interactions of the five basic types of material energy—namely, bhūmi, jala, agni, vāyu and ākāśa. The inventor used his brain to make this complicated machine, and his brain, as well as the ingredients, were supplied by Kṛṣṇa. According to the statement of Kṛṣṇa, mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni: (BG 9.4) "Everything is depending on My energy." Thus the devotee can understand that since nothing is independent of Kṛṣṇa's energy, everything should be dovetailed in His service.
Endeavor executed with intelligence in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is called utsāha, or enthusiasm. The devotees find the correct means by which everything can be utilized in the service of the Lord (nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate). The execution of devotional service is not a matter of idle meditation but practical action in the foreground of spiritual life.
These activities must be executed with patience. One should not be impatient in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Indeed, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started single-handedly, and in the beginning there was no response, but because we continued to execute our devotional activities with patience, people gradually began to understand the importance of this movement, and now they are eagerly participating. One should not be impatient in discharging devotional service, but should take instructions from the spiritual master and execute them with patience, depending on the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa. The successful execution of Kṛṣṇa conscious activities requires both patience and confidence. A newly married girl naturally expects offspring from her husband, but she cannot expect to have them immediately after marriage. Of course, as soon as she is married she can attempt to get a child, but she must surrender to her husband, confident that her child will develop and be born in due time. Similarly, in devotional service surrender means that one has to become confident. The devotee thinks, avaśya rakṣibe kṛṣṇa: "Kṛṣṇa will surely protect me and give me help for the successful execution of devotional service." This is called confidence.
As already explained, one should not be idle but should be very enthusiastic about executing the regulative principles—tat-tat-karma-pravartana. Neglect of the regulative principles will destroy devotional service. In this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement there are four basic regulative principles, forbidding illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. A devotee must be very enthusiastic about following these principles. If he becomes slack in following any of them, his progress will certainly be checked. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore recommends, tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt: "One must strictly follow the regulative principles of vaidhī bhakti." In addition to these four prohibitions (yama), there are positive regulative principles (niyama), such as the daily chanting of sixteen rounds on japa-mālā beads. These regulative activities must be faithfully performed with enthusiasm. This is called tat-tat-karma-pravartana, or varied engagement in devotional service.