The devoted shine like sapphire when they go through the sadhana fire
The soul is like a jewel. It is an effulgent spark of consciousness, being a part of the supremely effulgent ultimate reality, Krishna. Presently however, it is covered over by various impurities that obscure its innate virtues.
Sadhana-bhakti or disciplined devotion is a time-honored process for purifying the soul. The discipline of devotion centers on fixing the consciousness on all-attractive Krishna, thereby relishing his sweetness and realizing the emptiness of worldly pleasures. And the craving for those pleasures is the essence of all impurities.
When we start practicing bhakti, we all have varying degrees of impurities. But if we persevere in bhakti practice, it acts like a fire that burns away the contaminations that have for long attached themselves to us.
Practicing bhakti can sometimes feel like going through fire – it is uncomfortable because it forces us to confront difficult choices that we would much rather put off. Frequently, we let our consciousness wander with our mind as it fantasizes various mundane pleasures. But when we practice bhakti as a discipline, we have to choose between letting the mind wander whimsically or focusing it on Krishna, even when such focus doesn’t feel pleasant.
Why does that divine focus feel unpleasant? Because our impurities block our access to Krishna’s sweetness. When we understand that the fire of sadhana will burn away those impurities, we don’t let ourselves be disheartened by the present tastelessness in our devotion – instead, we press on determinedly.
If we thus devote ourselves to Krishna, he purifies us by illumining our inner world with the torch of knowledge (Bhagavad-gita 10.11). This torch helps us see that what is being burned by the sadhana fire is eminently dispensable and what emerges after that bonfire is the pure soul, shining like sapphire, effulgent with love and joy eternal.
Think it over:
- What does disciplined devotion center on?
- Why does practicing bhakti seem uncomfortable, like going through fire?
- What does the inner torch of Krishna’s mercy reveal?
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