Bhakti is the treatment that transforms into a treat

When we are sick, we accept the prescribed treatment as an austerity necessary for our recovery. And we often dream about the various treats we can have on recovering. Thus, we usually see the treatment and the treat as two different things.

But bhakti-yoga integrates both within a smooth progression. Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.1.4) refers to the process of hearing about Krishna, which is foundational to bhakti-yoga, as bhava-aushadhac chrotra-mano-‘bhiramat. Hearing Krishna’s glories in particular and remembrance of Krishna in general is the treatment (aushada) for us trapped material existence (bhava). And as we become purified, that same remembrance becomes a source of delight (mano-abhiramat).

The Bhagavad-gita (18.37) echoes this progression when it states that sublime joys seem initially like poison and eventually like nectar. Why might bhakti seem like poison initially? Because our heart is presently captivated by worldly things. So, redirecting our heart from those things to Krishna can seem difficult, like drinking poison.

Of course, even in these initial stages, we can relish Krishna’s sweetness whenever we are able to focus on him. But because our worldly attachments distract us from him, we can’t focus on him consistently. So, it’s best to practice bhakti with the discipline and determination with which we would take a treatment – we need to strive for remembering Krishna even when we don’t feel like doing so.

By thus diligently fixing our consciousness on Krishna, we increasingly realize his sweetness. Over time, the contrast of that divine sweetness with the staleness of mundane pleasures registers in our heart. We stop craving for worldly objects and start longing for Krishna – for opportunities to remember, serve and love him. When our desires become thus purified, bhakti transforms into a treat because it provides us ample avenues for fulfilling our cherished longing: to love Krishna and rejoice therein.

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1 Comment

  1. So true, I enjoyed this article, thank you for taking the time to help us find our way to Krishna 🙂

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