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How does bhava turn into prema?

Prahladananda Swami: Once I wrote Prabhupada a letter and asked him, "How does bhava turn into prema?" I had been reading the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindu by Bon Maharaj. Srila Prabhupada had told Rupanuga Prabhu that we should only read the purports but not the translations in that book. The purports were by Srila Jiva Goswami or Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur. Rupanuga didn't like me reading that book, but I'd stay up at night and read it secretly. I thought that it would give me some special realizations. After a while I was convinced that I was on the stage of bhava, and it was just a question of time before it turned into prema. That's why I asked Srila Prabhupada about how bhava turns into prema. He wrote me a one-page response on preaching, which surprised me.

Srila Prabhupada wrote, "I've heard that you're all going out in Buffalo. This is very good. You should all go out, chant Hare Krishna all around Buffalo, distribute Bhagavad-gita, and preach about Bhagavad-gita as much as possible. The boys and girls in your country generally are good souls - that's why they've taken birth in such a nice country. Just like here, in San Francisco, we've had Ratha-yatra, and ten thousand boys and girls were dancing and chanting in full transcendental ecstasy. I've heard that in just two weeks in New York they've distributed three thousand Back to Godheads, and that in Buffalo, you're also distributing Back to Godheads very nicely. Please continue in this way and your success in life is assured. As Krishna sees that you are working seriously to bring His other children back to the spiritual kingdom, then He will bestow all of His blessings upon you. Krishna is never ungrateful for our efforts to serve Him, rest assured. Regarding your question, 'How does bhava turn into prema?' there is no need to trouble yourself over such advanced questions at the present time. Shortly I will be publishing The Nectar of Devotion, and that will be explained there. As far as the fifty dollars you sent me, I find no enclosed money in your letter. Do you know where it is?"

So at once I realized that Prabhupada was quite sensitive. Instead of answering my question directly, he answered it in another way. It was not the answer that I expected, but if I actually wanted these advanced stages of Krishna consciousness, the method was going out and distributing Prabhupada's books and chanting Hare Krishna in the street. That would gradually give me what I was looking for.

Reference: Srila Prabhupada-Remembrances - Siddhanta Dasa