We may have a great vehicle, but we won’t get anywhere unless we get into it
Suppose we want to go to a particular destination and have an efficient vehicle for getting there. Still, we need to get into it and drive it; otherwise, it won’t do us much good, even if it looks good in our parking lot.
When we gain spiritual knowledge, we understand that life’s supreme destination is the absorption of our consciousness in Krishna, who is our all-attractive Lord, the source of unending joy. For cultivating absorption in him, the process of bhakti-yoga is a powerful vehicle: it can take our consciousness towards him easily, swiftly and joyfully. Easily because those who remember him steadily attain him without difficulty (Bhagavad-gita 08.14). Swiftly because those who fix their mind on him are delivered from material existence soon (12.07). And joyfully because connecting devotionally with him provides sublime satisfaction (09.02).
Though bhakti is a powerful vehicle, we still have to get into it and drive it. The fuel for the bhakti vehicle is our desire for Krishna. Sometimes however, we may practice bhakti mechanically, without any desire for him. Why? Because we may be selfishly motivated. For example, we may see bhakti not spiritually, but ornamentally – as a cultural activity that increases our prestige.
Having no desire for Krishna, we practice bhakti ritualistically, thereby depriving ourselves of sublime sweetness. Experiencing very little higher taste, we stay stuck with our worldly tastes. Consequently, our consciousness remains materialistic, no matter how long we go through the motions of devotion.
If we find ourselves caught in a spiritual rut, how can we come out? By associating with devotees whose hearts are energized by a strong longing for Krishna. When we practice bhakti in their midst, their divine longing permeates and fuels our heart, propelling us towards eternal ecstatic absorption in him.
Think it over:
- For attaining Krishna, how is bhakti-yoga a powerful vehicle?
- What happens when we practice bhakti ritualistically?
- How can we make our bhakti practices transformational?
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