Purity is not just a function of intention – it is also a fruit of devotion
Bhakti-yoga seekers are often encouraged to strive for purity, to connect with Krishna simply for loving him, not for getting some material things from him.
But when we strive to practice bhakti-yoga purely, we will find our intentions getting contaminated or diluted by impurities such as desires for pleasure, power and praise. While striving to push aside such impurities, we needn’t let their presence dishearten us.
The Bhagavad-gita lauds as most dear to Krishna (07.17) those who approach him in knowledge for developing a relationship of pure spiritual love. . Still, the Gita doesn’t minimize those who approach him without such pure intentions. It deems as pious (07.16) and magnanimous (07.17) all those who approach him, whatever be their level of purity.
The Gita later (18.54) indicates that pure devotion is attained by those fully situated on the spiritual platform. Soon however, it assures that bhakti practice can be begun by anyone from whatever level they are at (18.56). By such practice, they will gradually become purified and liberated.
Thus, purity is a fruit of devotion, of sustained loving connection with the all-pure Lord whose service and remembrance dissipates all impurities. So, the stipulation for purity is never meant to deter us in our bhakti practice; it is simply meant to expedite our access to the taste of pure devotion. We can’t wish away the impurities in our heart – we will have to work them out of our heart. And the work of purification often requires time.
By focusing less on the need for purity and more on Krishna’s magnanimity in accepting us however we are, we can become encouraged and energized in our bhakti practice. Such practice will purify us efficaciously, granting us entry into the supremely sweet milieu of pure love.