Devotion is meant to be manifested not just on our lips but also in our lives

When we practice bhakti-yoga and cultivate devotion for Krishna, we may become very effusive in manifesting that devotion through our lips – we may speak about him, sing about him and glorify him.

Such verbalization of devotion is essential and desirable, but not sufficient. Speaking about Krishna needs to be complemented with action, by remolding our practical life in a mood of service to him. Otherwise, our speaking about him is likely to be superficial or even hypocritical. Our devotion is superficial when we think that all we need to do is act devoted externally in places of worship. And our devotion is hypocritical when we feel no compunction in speaking lofty devotional truths publicly while privately our actions remain sensual and anti-devotional – actions that we try only to conceal, not correct.

The Bhagavad-gita (03.06) deems as hypocrites those who exhibit renunciation externally, but delight in sensual contemplation internally. In contrast, the Gita (09.14) indicates that serious devotees are externally and internally devoted – endeavoring determinedly and constantly, they glorify Krishna with their lips and worship him with their hearts.

To internalize devotion, we need to mold our lives to make Krishna its center. We see the whole world, not just places of worship, as the arena for serving him. Overall, we strive to sustain devotion steadily for Krishna to see, not make a show of devotion for people to see. Even when alone, we resist non-devotional desires whenever they arise, and we strive to stimulate and strengthen our devotional desires.

Indeed, we see and seek the manifestation of devotion on the lips as a lead to the manifestation of devotion in our lives. Thus, devotion becomes a potent tool for the all-round redirection of our consciousness from the world’s temporary pleasures to our all-attractive Lord.

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