Balanced bhakti brings bliss
Some people fear that becoming too spiritual will make them apathetic towards everything worldly.
Apathy towards the world is not the defining characteristic of spirituality and certainly not of bhakti-yoga, the most evolved form of spiritual practice endorsed by the Bhagavad-gita. The defining characteristic of bhakti-yoga is attraction to Krishna.
Bhakti philosophy helps us understand that Krishna exists not just beyond this world as a transcendental person, but also in it as its immanent essence. The Bhagavad-gita (07.07) points to both these aspects of Krishna: as the supreme transcendental reality and as the universal underlying reality.
This holistic understanding of Krishna comprises the material-spiritual balance that characterizes bhakti-yoga. The driving principle of bhakti-yoga is that the things we presently relate with can help us relate with Krishna if we engage them in his service.
Firstly, bhakti-yoga provides us abundant opportunities for directly connecting with Krishna through devotional activities like chanting, Deity worship and scriptural study. But it doesn’t restrict our connection with Krishna to only those activities – through them, it infuses our heart with a vibrant attraction for Krishna. With this attraction, when we engage in the world, we realize and relish his immanence. Not just passively by meditating on his presence in worldly things, but also dynamically by conceiving possibilities of using those things to share his glory with others. This devotional dynamism grants the joy of bringing glory to Krishna here and the greater joy of helping attract his beloved children to him.
Because we don’t have to renounce worldly things entirely, we are not deprived of our habitual interaction with them. And because we have an accessible pathway through matter to Krishna, we glimpse bhakti bliss regularly. As our devotion increases, these glimpses become sweeter and longer till finally they become constant. Thus do we relish the best bliss.