Devotion is sustained not by tribulation or emotion but by conviction

When we practice bhakti, we need to understand what factors can stimulate our bhakti steadily and what intermittently. Let’s analyze three common stimulators.

Tribulation: We sometimes turn towards Krishna when we face tribulations, as indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (07.16). Though distress may impel us to start practicing bhakti, it can’t sustain our bhakti practice. Why not? Because during our life’s course, distress may come and go unpredictably. If we go through a relatively trouble-free phase, we may question, “Why do I need to practice bhakti?” Conversely, if despite our bhakti practice, our problems remain, then again, we may question, “What am I gaining by practicing bhakti?” Either question can slow or even stop our bhakti.

Emotion: Sometimes, we may start practicing bhakti because it feels good. However, that good feeling is unpredictable, for it usually arises from our fickle mind, whose moods swing suddenly and wildly, from divine to demonic. During its lower moods, the mind can make taste in bhakti seem distant or even delusional. So, emotion can at best stimulate bhakti only sporadically.

Conviction: We can best sustain our devotion by conviction. The conviction that Krishna is everything (07.19), that he is the source of the supreme shelter and the supreme pleasure, that he is the all-attractive source of everything attractive (10.41). We can gain this conviction by regularly studying the Gita in the association of those who love and live the Gita.

Empowered with such intellectual conviction (07.17), we practice bhakti determinedly, seeking not to avoid trouble or to feel good but only to lovingly connect with Krishna. As our connection with him purifies us, we start perceiving and relishing his supreme attractiveness.

When our conviction blossoms into attraction, our consciousness rises above the world’s tribulations and the mind’s emotions to perennial blissful absorption in Krishna.

Think it over:

  1. Why can’t tribulation sustain our devotion?
  2. Why can’t emotion sustain our devotion?
  3. How does conviction sustain our devotion?

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1 Comment

  1. Its very true that devotion is sustained by conviction neither by tribulations nor emotions.Sometimes we are attached to God to deal with distress or out of emotion. But it is only the firm conviction that krishna is everything will sustain our devotion.

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