Bhakti-yoga takes our relationship with Krishna from familiarity to comfort to desire to need

Suppose we wish to learn how to drive a car. Initially, we try to become familiar with a car by riding in it. After riding a few times, we start feeling comfortable in it. On regularly seeing acquaintances driving a car, our desire to drive one increases. And if we move to a city with poor public transport, car driving becomes a need.

Our relationship with Krishna grows through similar stages. Of course, Krishna being the source of everything that exists is not comparable with a car. Still, the principles of developing a relationship are similar. Let’s see how.

Familiarity: When we associate with people devoted to Krishna, we start becoming familiar with Krishna’s various manifestations such as Deities, holy names, scriptures and sacred places.

Comfort: Devotees inspire us to move from familiarity with Krishna to practicing bhakti-yoga. By such practice, Krishna’s message helps us make increasing sense of life, and his remembrance gives glimpses of profound peace and bliss. Thus, we start feeling comfortable amidst Krishna’s various manifestations.

Desire: When we see the purity, potency, serenity and ecstasy serious devotees get through their absorption in Krishna, we start desiring similar absorption. The Bhagavad-gita (12.09) states that when we repeatedly strive to remember Krishna – a striving that naturally happens in devotee association – our desire for him strengthens.

Need: When diligent bhakti-yoga practice purifies us, we recognize that our life has no meaning or value without Krishna. He becomes our foremost need, just as sense objects are materialists’ foremost need. Significantly, when we are pure, we need Krishna not because he can give us the things we love, but because he is so lovable.

Being thus convinced that Krishna himself is Krishna’s greatest blessing, we live absorbed in him, both in this life and in the hereafter.

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