Krishna’s ladder of love helps us rise from wherever we presently are
Love for Krishna may sometimes seem a distant, abstract concept. But Gita wisdom offers a systematic pathway by which we can slowly but surely attain that love. The Bhagavad-gita (12.08-10) outlines a ladder of love that extends down from the highest level:
- Offer the mind and intelligence to Krishna entirely, thereby living in him (12.08)
- Practice sadhana-bhakti to fix the mind on Krishna and thereby increase our desire for him (12.09)
- Work for Krishna (12.10). This level includes two implicit sub-levels:
3.1 – Direct: Do his work, that is, render service to him
3.2 – Indirect: Offer him the fruits of our work
In principle, these levels may be discrete. But in practice we as aspiring devotees will function at different levels at different times. When we do sadhana, we may be at level 2; when we do seva, we may be at level 3.1; when we work and earn with the intention of donating for devotional purposes, we may be at level 3.2.
The higher the level of our practice, the closer we are to Krishna. Still, whatever our present level, by diligent practice, we can gradually attain him. Even if our present level is way below these levels, still the Gita (18.56) indicates that we can begin practicing devotion from wherever we presently are and we will rise to higher levels.
Levels like these are expanded and elaborated in the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, a sixteenth century devotional classic. By studying such levels, we can recognize where we are and where we are going. This understanding will bring clear direction and tangible ambition to our devotional practices, thereby inspiring us to enthusiastically rise towards Krishna.
“Just ﬁx your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.”
“My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot ﬁx your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.”
“If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.”