Devotion passes and surpasses the intellect

The path of devotion passes the intellect meaning that its explanation of life’s purpose can survive the scrutiny of the intellect. In fact, the Bhagavad-gita, which is conclusively a bhakti-text, invites (18.63) such intellectual scrutiny.

The intellectual vibrancy of bhakti-yoga is evident not only in the conclusion of the Gita but also in its content. The Gita is a serious philosophical conversation that consistently urges us to use our intellect for going beyond mundane sentimentality while choosing our principles and actions. Further, Gita wisdom explains that our assets are ultimately gifts from Krishna and are meant to be used in his service. Since our intelligence is one of our most important assets, we naturally use it as an expression of our devotion, because love means offering our best to our beloved.

And yet devotion surpasses the intellect in that it offers higher spiritual experience, something that the intelligence alone can’t do. Bhakti raises our consciousness to a spiritual level, thereby enabling us to not just conceptualize the connection of everything with Krishna as a hermeneutical tool, but to also actually perceive that connectedness as an innate feature of reality. The Gita (09.02) underscores this experience-delivering potency of bhakti. In fact, the same verse declares that knowledge about bhakti is the king of knowledge as well as the king of secrets. It is the king of knowledge because knowledge about bhakti is not merely theoretical – it is practical and transformational. And it is the king of secrets because its transformational potency remains hidden for those who don’t go beyond the head to the heart by redirecting their love from the world to Krishna. But for those enterprising enough to do so, it becomes the pathway to relish forever the sweetness of spiritual love for the all-attractive supreme – life’s supreme perfection.


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