Devotion is the culmination of intellectual illumination and emotional connection

Some people downplay devotion deeming it a feeling enjoyed by non-intellectual sentimentalists.

Yes, devotion is a feeling that is accessible even to non-intellectuals. But it is also relished by the topmost intellectuals, as the writings of many bhakti philosophers testify. Intellectually uninformed people often seek emotional stimulation in petty things such as video games or even injurious things such as sadism or masochism. More intelligent people seek stimulation in higher things such as literature and music. But the most intelligent people realize that emotional fulfillment can be lasting only in relation with an eternal and eternally attractive object. Krishna is that object, so devotion to him is the culmination of intellectual illumination.

Further, devotion is the culmination of emotional connection too. We connect well with some people on the first meeting, whereas with others we struggle to connect even after many meetings. While we can have varying degrees of compatibility with different people, we can have the highest compatibility with Krishna. The soul and Krishna are made for each other. Initially due to our impurities we may not feel much connection with him. Still if we persevere in bhakti practice, we will increasingly realize that connecting with him fulfills our heart’s longing for love perfectly and perennially.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (09.13) outlines the characteristics of virtuoso bhakti practitioners – they are intellectually convinced that Krishna, being primeval and imperishable, is the highest reality; and they seek shelter in his divine nature. Esoteric bhakti savants explain that this divine nature refers to Radha, Krishna’s consort who manifests the zenith of pure love for him and blesses sincere devotee-seekers with pure love.

Thus, devotion is a feeling that far from being devoid of intellectual substance is rather the culmination of intellectual illumination – and it grants the most enriching emotional connection too.

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