Bhakti-yoga transforms roadblocks to reality into roadways
“Cool down; otherwise you won’t be able to think clearly.” Common statements like these indicate that emotions often act as roadblocks to perception of reality; they obstruct, even pervert, our vision and comprehension.
That’s why Gita wisdom indicates that we need to silence all material emotions to perceive better that which lies beyond matter – spiritual reality. This silencing is akin to the stilling of the water in a pond so that we can see what lies at the bottom of the pond. The Bhagavad-gita (06.07) assures that those who go beyond the ken of material emotions reach the Supersoul.
Yet the same Gita (11.54) later asserts that only those with devotion can understand Krishna. As devotion is essentially an emotion, why is emotion now deemed the roadway to cognition?
Because Krishna is not an object to be analyzed but a person to be loved.
To understand why this changes the means for perception, consider a beautiful artwork, say a rose replica, lying at the bottom of the pond. Relishing artwork requires not emotion-less analysis, but emotion-based aesthetics.
Gita wisdom reveals that the Absolute Truth is not just a neutral observer (Paramatma) to be perceived by dispassionate analysis. He is also a reciprocal lover (Bhagavan) whose beauty and sweetness can be relished only through the spiritual emotion of devotion.
Significantly, spiritual emotions and material emotions are not two entirely different things – they are two different expressions of the same force of attraction originating from the heart. Bhakti offers us a time-honored process to redirect our emotions from matter to spirit. By remembering and serving Krishna with whatever little devotion we feel for him, and by regulating our interaction with those worldly things that hyper-activate our material emotions, we can gradually relish the supreme sweetness of the supreme manifestation of the Supreme.
"My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding."