Combination of inner recollection and outer contribution nourishes devotion
Some people think of devotion as an impractical, sentimental, other-worldly obsession. However, the Bhagavad-gita’s context refutes this caricature of devotion. The Gita’s student, Arjuna, wanted to abandon his royal responsibilities to pursue solitary renunciation. But hearing the Gita inspired him to act practically for establishing dharma. Instrumental for this dramatic transformation was the Gita’s inclusive exposition of devotion as a combination of inner recollection and outer contribution (08.07).
Inner recollection: When we love someone, we naturally think of them. When we are devoted to Krishna, we naturally think of him. Additionally, thinking of him purifies us, for he is all-pure. And our purified heart can better relish his attractiveness. The more we strive to remember him, the more we become purified and attracted to him.
Outer contribution: Love naturally expresses itself through service. Devotees express their devotion by striving to serve Krishna. His mission is not just to liberate people from this world, but also to establish dharma in this world. As devotee-seekers, we are naturally meant to assist him in this mission.
Significantly, this mission is not just about establishing a God-centered administration, as was Arjuna’s specific mandate. It is essentially about equipping all of us to become God-centered, by practicing bhakti-yoga and by connecting our abilities, interests and occupations with Krishna.
Gita wisdom helps us see our talents as Krishna’s gifts, thereby inspiring us to do justice to those talents by developing them and using them to glorify our Lord. With our talents and commitments thus channeled, we can, by his grace, make tangible contributions for Krishna’s cause. Being pleased with our service and service attitude, Krishna reveals more and more his supreme attractiveness, thereby attracting our hearts to him.
Thus, outer contribution intensifies inner recollection, and inner recollection energizes outer contribution – and both together deepen and sweeten devotion.
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