Just as all rivers flow into the ocean following different paths, there are many different paths to know God, to merge into Him and to attain His bliss. But in my opinion, there is only one path. In other words, there was no other path, there is no other path, and there will be no other path. Now there should be no confusion. There is only one path to attain God. You need not be confused. There is only one path to attain God. Now there is no dispute. It is called the path of love, the path of devotion. It has various names.
You might think, “But I have heard of karmyog, gyanyog,” and so on. But they do not take you to the goal. Karm and gyan without devotion cannot free you from maya. Thus, there is only one path, the path of devotion. It is of no use to study the Vedas, the Puranas, and other scriptures on your own. You will just become more confused. srutirvibhunna smrtayo … (Mahabharata) The more you study, the more confused you will be. Strange are the ways of Saints. It is sometimes very difficult to understand the language of great spiritual teachers. I can speak in such a way that all of you would become great agnostics listening to me, and I will quote from the scriptures that this is not so. There can even be different interpretations for the same word!
Once, before an assembly of learned scholars, I said that there are no books as wrong as the Vedas and the Gita, nor could there ever be, and I challenged the scholars to come the next day if they objected and prove me wrong. No one came. So then I said, “Today, I will prove that there never was, is or will be any book superior to the Vedas and Gita.” It is beyond the human intellect to understand the true meaning of the Vedas and the other scriptures. Only God Himself or a Saint bestowed with a divine intellect can know the Vedas and the scriptures. A theoretical person, no matter how great a scholar he or she may be, even if gifted with the intellect of Brihaspati (the preceptor of the celestials) or Saraswati (the goddess of learning) cannot understand. khidyati dhiridamih (Bhagavatam 3.4.16)
When Saraswati’s intellect fails in the subject of God, what to speak of a common person? So, after knowing that devotion is the only means to attain God, it is of no use to listen to, read, or reflect upon anything else. A great scholar may give a long lecture but will finally have to conclude that it is only through devotion that one can attain God. So why practice difficult exercises? Just follow the simple path — the path of devotion.
Originally spoken in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj