Devotion blossoms in a personal culture, not a personality cult

Devotion blossoms in a personal culture, not a personality cult

Bhakti-yoga with its injunction that disciples serve the guru may seem to promote a personality cult.

What bhakti actually endorses is a personal culture.

This personal culture is a preparatory replica of the destination of bhakti: the spiritual world where Krishna and his devotees delight eternally in personal exchanges of love.

Love is learned not in abstraction through theory, but in action through living experiences in the association of those who cherish and relish that love. That’s why the Gita urges (04.34) seekers to approach seers and form a personal loving relationship with them through submission, enquiry and service.

Love is naturally expressed through service – not just towards the object of love, but also towards that object’s objects of love. Accordingly, seekers express their devotion by serving not just Krishna but also his beloved devotees – the enlightened seers.

Significantly, this verse refers to such seers in the plural (jnaninas). Thus it enjoins seekers to learn not just from one seer, but also from a tradition that has engendered many seers. No doubt, one seer acts as the initiating spiritual master. But the Gita’s plural usage underscores that it doesn’t espouse a personality cult.

The problem with personality cults is that they deify the person, thereby distancing or even divorcing the seekers from the broader tradition and Krishna. The deified person, no matter how spiritually advanced, is still a finite human being. Uni-dimensional obsession with one person cuts seekers off from the rich personal culture found in a community of devotee seers and seekers. That community is the most fertile ground for the blossoming of bhakti, wherein the heart’s fledgling attraction for Krishna is nourished by different endearing glimpses of his all-attractiveness manifested in his many devotees. Thus does devotion grow, and fill and fulfill the heart.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 04 Text 34

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3 Comments

  1. Hare Krsna Prabhuji,
    Please accept my humble obeisance.
    All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
    Dear prabhuji,
    I thank you very much for your untiring service at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupad and his devotees.
    I have got little confused with your statement “The deified person, no matter how spiritually advanced, is still a finite human being.”. My understanding is saying that this statement is putting question on greatness of Guru. It means we can not rely on one Guru.
    My purpose is to be clear with concepts. You are very much learned and devoted to Guru and Gauranga. Therefore whatever understanding you will give in reply I will try to accept with rational mind, I have no desire of arguing.
    Thank you very much
    your servant
    akshay

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  2. Thank you Pr for sharing the spiritual knowledge …,

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