Devotion centers not on renouncing the material, but on reclaiming the spiritual

Some people ask, “Do I have to renounce everything material to gain devotion?”

No – the essence of devotion is reclaiming the spiritual, not renouncing the material.

Reclaiming the spiritual means regaining our right to spiritual existence and enrichment – a right we have unwittingly forfeited due to our infatuation with material enjoyment.

We are at our core spiritual beings, souls. And as souls, we are eternal parts of the supreme spiritual being, Krishna. In our relationship of spiritual love with him we find everlasting fulfillment. When we learn to love him by practicing bhakti-yoga, we regain access to that fulfillment.

The flame of a selfless service attitude burns away all material contamination and lights the heart with spiritual illumination.

Krishna is the source and master of everything, spiritual and material. So, even material things can be used in his service. The Bhagavad-gita (04.24) indicates that by internalizing such a spiritual vision of existence, all our activities become spiritualized, akin to a sacrifice. The flame of a selfless service attitude burns away all material contamination and lights the heart with spiritual illumination.

Then the material resources we use for serving Krishna become tools that connect us with him. Let’s see how this happens with two things often considered material: wealth and the senses.

Devotion helps us see wealth not as Maya, but as Lakshmi; not as the illusory energy that binds us, but as the Goddess of Fortune who blesses us when we re-unite her with her Lord – as did Hanuman in the Ramayana.

Bhakti-yoga is sensory spirituality. It uses the very material senses that are normally the pathways to illusion and bondage to connect us with Krishna’s manifestations such as the Deity and the holy name, thereby paving the way to illumination and liberation.

When we thus use the material in Krishna’s service, we progressively reclaim our lost right to a life of eternal spiritual love with him.

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  1. Thanks for logically clarifying this important aspect of devotional life. Many people have got the notion that being “devotional” means either retiring to the forest or ascending to the Himalayas. This deep rooted misconception needs to be purged.

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji
    Thank you very much for such an enlightening article. Very helpful for preaching to people new to the philosophy of Krishna consciousness.
    Hari Bol
    Narottama das

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