In the Bhaagvat Puran, Prahlad mentions nine forms of devotion to Hiranyakshyapa when he says
श्रवणम कीर्तनम दास्यम विष्णुहु
स्मरणम पादसेवनं II
अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यम
सस्क्याम आत्मा निवेदन II
One can see these nine forms of devotion unfolded in a beautiful way in the Ramayan. They have followed these nine forms and laid a beautiful example of devotion towards Bhagwan Ram.
Rishi Valmiki has given us the greatest epic of all times Ramayan. To hear, listen and absorb the divine lilas of Bhagwan Ram, unfolds the first form of devotion Shravanam. Luv and Kush, the sons of Bhagwan Ram and the disciples of Rishi Valmiki have taken it further by singing the Ramayan thus fulfilling Keertanam, the second form.
Bhagwan Ram’s beloved brother Bharat is a beautiful example befitting the third form of devotion Smaranam. It is always the image of Bhagwan Ram which is forever instilled in the heart of Bharat and not for a second he forgets to chant Shri Ram’s name, being the ultimate epitome of Smaranam.
Lakshman, the adorable brother of Shri Ram devotes his whole life in the service Bhagwan Ram. It is always to the feet of Bhagwan Ram that he bowed and served all his life fulfilling the devotional form of Padasevanam. Worship of Bhagwan Ram by doing his puja was the Archanam form of devotion done by the revered Shabari thus attaining Siddhi. Sumantr gives the perfect example of Vandanam by always prostrating before not only Bhagwan Ram, but even his dynasty through his services as the loyal minister of Ayodhya.
राम रसायन तुम्हरे पासा सदा रहो रघुपति के दासा says Goswami Tulasidas about Shri Hanuman
in the Hanuman Chalisa. Hanuman is known for his eternal service wherein he says to Bhagwan Ram that “the world may have thousands of masters, but what we need is a master like you” (Sundar kand). None else but it is Hanuman who fits to be the eternal दासा of Bhagwan Ram wherein he wanted only the bhakti of Bhgwan Ram and nothing else.
Another form of devotion is Sakhyam which is friendship. Sugriv attains this devotion when Bhagwan Ram befriends him and accepts Sugriv’s friendship, By making friends with Sugriv, Bhagwan Ram sets an example that one needs no kingdom, no power, no riches to serve
him, but only trust and faith in him. Through friendship, Sugriv became one of the great devotees of Bhagwan Ram.
Vibhishan was given the boon by Lord Brahma that he would be granted the devotion of Bhagwan Vishnu, when he incarnates as Bhagwan Ram. Since then, Vibhishan devotes his soul to the almighty and waits for the opportunity to serve him. When the time comes, he leaves all his family, riches and all and comes and seeks refuge in Bhagwan Ram through his Atam Nivedan. This earns him the protection of Bhagwan Ram thus fulfilling the devotion of Atmanivedan or Sharangati.
In the Shri Ram Charitramanas, Bhagwan Ram says to Mata Shabari
नव महु एकउ जिन्ह कें होई नारी पुरुष सचराचर कोईII
सोई अतिसय प्रिय भमिनी मोरे सकल प्रकार भगति दृढ़ तोरेIIImageSource
“Be it any form of devotion, even if taken one step towards devotion through this nine forms, they become very dear to me” says Bhagwan Ram to Mata Shabari. It is not beyond comprehension to say that all these devotees have chosen their own path of bhakti, but reached the same destination named Bhagwan Ram.